Haven't done an Independence Days check-in for a few months now. Well, since I started the new job anyways! For those not familiar, Independence Days Challenge is an ongoing experiment in learning to live a less wasteful, more self-sufficient manner, started by my favorite "doomer", Sharon Astyk.
The usual check-in outline goes something like this:
Plant something: We planted our Fall garden, and the mesclun-mix lettuces are going gangbusters. The brassicas are thriving with regular applications of organically-approved Bt. Two weeks ago I planted shallots, and once it gets a good ten-degrees cooler during the days, I'll get the garlic in. Onion slips should be arriving in December. Am running out of room in the garden!
Harvest something: As always, eggs from the girls, and now lettuces from the garden. There's a "volunteer" cherry tomato plant at the nursery I've been harvesting the past few days, leaving the harvested tomatoes on the employee kitchen table. Hated to see those gorgeous tomatoes just sit and rot on the vine... oh, and they're tasty, too.
Preserve something: Have been pressure-canning jars of Spouse's homemade pasta sauce and just last Sunday, chicken stock. From one of our butchered roosters, we'll get at least 12 broth-based meals: risotto, donburi, soups, stews, pilafs. I think stretching cuts of meat is not only prudent, but also respectful of the animal's life.
Reduce waste: Coming up with a plan to re-use old wood pallets to create an open-air chicken coop. The chewed-up goose-pond liner will be re-used to make a cover for the smoker/griller and to cover the current chicken coop's leaky roof.
Preparation & Storage: Purchased 3 cases of Mrs. Leepers gluten-free dinner kits that go well with tinned meats - one for chicken, one for tuna, and one for beef. Also bought a case of Annie's gluten-free mac & cheese. We are also finally, FINALLY moving forward on getting the emergency propane generator in place! A contractor gave us an estimate on moving the electric and water pipes (long story), we've an estimate on the transfer switch install, and we've got a line on a generator we want.
Build Community Food Systems: Continuing to sell the eggs through the co-op, and doing more shopping at the local Farmer's Market. If I need the packaged stuff, I'll hit Austin and go to Central Market for Udi's bread (not exactly local, but OMFG gluten-free bread and muffins to die for!) or Wheatsville Co-Op for raw nuts, dehydrated organic fruits, goat's milk, etc. Yes, I am still avoiding Whole Foods, and believe you me the budget is thanking me for it.
Eat the Food: You betcha. All of the above.
[pic: butterfly on a shrimp plant, taken at the nursery]
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