Sunday, January 4, 2009

Independence days- week 5

Dinner to be...
Today has been a good day.  Well, for the most part.  I11 finally succumbed to the stomach malady that we have been sharing and was up most of the night and early morning vomiting.  He is feeling much better by now and has managed to have some soup for dinner. It has now made it's rounds of all of us so we should be done with that phase of our lives.  I11 had soup-The rest of us had roast pork loin with winter veggies.  I rubbed the loin with a little bit of 'magic dust' prior to roasting it. Magic dust is a dry rub that I discovered online a while ago.  We use it for smoking ribs in the summer but a little goes a long way. I also use it on pork roasts and chicken. It adds a lovely, complex spicy flavor.  The butternut squash was the one I needed to use because it was beginning to get squishy toward the stem end. I used one of the last of our fresh onions and the first of the organic garlic that was a gift from my friend Jim (it's HUGE!!).  A little olive oil, fresh pepper, sea salt and rosemary and you have a feast.
Tomorrow is back to school and work, except for V who starts his enforced vacation.  I really hope this doesn't trigger a relapse of the depression that he struggled with in the past few years. We talked about goals for the year today on our way to Best Buy. I know- we're trying to cut down on spending and we're going to buy electronics. Well, the surge protector on the main computer system in the house finally gave up the ghost.  It is probably about 10 years old and went through lots of rough weather this year.  It isn't an expense that we anticipated but replacing it will preserve all of the other equipment plugged into it- including V's computer with the household server. This far into the year and we're already spending money we didn't want to. Grrr.
Well, on to the business at hand, Independence Days:
1. Plant something- No- Still dreaming and sifting through seed catalogues.  I did buy some seeds yesterday.  We were out and about running errands and to the grocery store.  A local store had the 2009 seed displays up already at 40% off!  I'm not sure what varieties I want to plant but I did pick up some sugar snap peas and chard seed.  Briefly talked to Roger today and we're trying to plan a time to get together to plan the garden.
2. Harvest something- Well, kind of...J, V and I each had a little 3 inch leaf of lettuce from the planter in the basement- WOW!  it was tasty. Hopefully soon we can supplement the organic Romaine I've been getting with home grown leaf lettuce. I'm not hopeful that we will ever have enough for salads for all of us from this, but it tastes SO good.
3. Preserve something- Nope.
4. Store something- No, unless you count the pound and a half of macadamia nuts from my sister that finally made their way into the fridge drawer with the other nuts.  Oh, I did get a great deal on an 18 lb. bag of red grapefruit that are now sitting in our fridge fruit drawer.  J14 and I are the only ones who eat them so they will last a while.  Definitely not local but seasonal and Oh so good.  I need to look into candying the peels.  My Dad has done that and they're really yummy.
5. Manage reserves- Brought up and ate the butternut squash that was getting squishy (see above). Still have 4 sweet potatoes that need used before they get much worse.  I have 4 apples left in the fridge from my parents.  They are the least pretty of the bunch.  I plan to dice them and cook them in sugar syrup and spices for on top of oatmeal for breakfasts.  V has discovered the spiced apples I canned this fall and has been devouring them.  I'm glad he likes them but I had hoped they would last a bit longer.  Note to self for next year- can more than 6 pints!
6. Cook something new- Not this week.  
7. Prep something- You are all going to think we're candle crazy around here (well, I am) since I've talked about stocking up on candles before-  but when V and I were out yesterday we picked up some pillar candles and tapers that were 50% off after the holidays. We like to light the oil lamps and a few candles in the evenings and can pretty much heat the downstairs with them. Since we don't have a wood stove or fireplace, they are our alternative heat source should we lose power. Not ideal, but it will keep us from freezing to death.
8. Reduce waste- composted, recycled and used cloth bags as usual.  Boxed up the ribbons, etc after the holidays and finally got them stored again. In the process, I discovered another box that I saved last year.  We won't have to buy ribbons for years!
9. Learn a new skill- Not really.  Didn't make time to work on the knitting this week.  Between holidays, illness and trying to get organized for the new year, it didn't happen.  I also have been spending too much time with the garden porn (seed catalogues).  
10. Work on Community food security- didn't do much with this one either. It was a strange week with the holiday madness.
11. Regenerate what is lost- Hmmm, not sure. I still struggle with what this category means to me.  It would be so much easier to give back when I have a chance to nurture my garden and yard.  I guess I did have a chance to work on some family relationships at my brother's party.  We had a chance to chat with my nephew and fiancee and one of my cousins and her husband. This was my first chance to meet Tim's fiancee. She is very sweet.  She is pursuing graduate work in neuroscience and is studying bee brains of all things- trying to figure out how they form working memory.  We had an interesting chat about Colony Collapse Disorder.

I will try to figure out a good time during the week or month to update my personal goals.  I'm not sure how often I want to report on them.  There is something about reporting weekly that seems to keep me more accountable but I'm not sure they are things that will go that quickly that there will be much to report. Monthly seems so far apart, I don't know.  I'll figure it out.
Hickchick asked about drying laundry in the basement so I'll post on how we do that tomorrow. I'm definitely not an expert but have been doing it for a number of years.
Peace and joy to you all.


  1. she's studying BEE BRAINS? wow those are tiny. Interesting update mom!

  2. One year, my mom saved and candied grapefruit rind halves and then used them like cups to bake fruitcake for the holidays.

    I can't wait to hear about the laundry drying. We've been slipping about using the dryer. All of my clothes and most of DH's still get hung, but the girls, who do most of the laundry, are back to using the dryer too often. I only wanted to do towels, jeans, sheets, and socks in there - maybe 2-3 loads a week.

  3. A bee's memory, how intriguing.

    I'm trying to learn how to knit too ... good luck to us both!

  4. Bees memory, that's just awesome. I think the Independence Days challenge will really help me with food management - as you said, it keeps us aware of when food needs to be used before losing that precious nourishment to squishiness - glad you were able to rescue the squash! I have never had winter squash with garlic, how do the flavors mesh with something so sweet like the squash?

    I like your interpretation of the renewing/regenerating - relationships are part of what sustain us as much as food does, so that makes complete sense. And your post and the comments of others have given me courage to do some canning of my own for spiced apples similar to what you describe - my first foray so hope all goes well! Your results sound so good, I have to try.

  5. Local Zone- I love roasted winter squash and garlic. I cut the squash (and whatever other veggies- usually a couple of potatoes, carrots, onions and maybe celery) into cubes, toss it olive oil and the garlic cloves (cut in a big dice) and roast them at 425. The roasting makes the garlic sweeter and I like the way it meshes with the squash. No one else here has ever complained so I guess they like it as well.


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