Monday, April 25, 2011

Boil 'em, mash 'em, cook 'em in a stew..

Guess what came in the mail yesterday?

My seed potatoes!!!

Check 'em out! They're from High Mowing seed company- I'm psyched to get them planted! Hope to get out there as soon as I get a clear day- this Michigan weather is getting crazy! Lots & lots of rain here.

It was hard to determine exactly how much to order, because really, how many potatoes is 2.5 lbs? Now I know it's about 12-14 potatoes, but ordering was equivalent to just throwing a guess out there!

Last week I started more tomato plants, & several varieties of zucchini. They won't go outside for a while still, but they'll get nice & strong indoors!

What have you started indoors? 
If you haven't braved indoor seed starting yet, what are you planning to plant first?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fine, we can eat the &$^#* harvest!

This title is inspired by my usual response to my partner when he asks if we can finally eat some of the canned goods that I preserved back in June, now that it is April. He is very cute & supportive. (pictured below)

repping EMU, 24/7.
Since I have gotten into canning, one of his small pet peeves is that we can't immediately nom up all of the delicious things I just canned. While I do allow small samples to take place :) part of the whole appeal of canning for me is the idea of saving the harvest for those cold winter months when the only fruit available is the bananas that took quite a long trip to join our breakfast table. We actually did a fairly good job this year of eating home-canned fruit rather than buying trucked-in produce: I only bought frozen fruit several times because I didn't freeze enough and I just needed some color in my diet! I think the only majorly far-away produce we bought this year were bananas (two-three bunches) and several pineapples (one of Sam's favorites).

It's hard to have to deprive your family of delicious fruit, especially when you want to just go nuts and drive to Kroger and buy 4 pints of raspberries in the dead of winter! But I tried very hard to stick to my guns. So now here we are in April, and Mike is so nice and supportive, and usually asks, when I make dinner, "can we eat some of the harvest?" :) Sweet, huh? So why am I intent on portioning out the goods I canned specifically for eating-purposes like a crazy preserving-nazi? I want that apple sauce to last until we have apples again! I want those peach slices to let us hold out until peach season! It's a valid feeling. It is!!

Maybe there's a balance between "preserving the harvest" and "holding the harvest hostage so no one can eat it except when I deem it to be so". I'm trying to find it, folks. Trying! Tonight I packed up a cloth bag for my love with all his faves: canned peaches, applesauce, baked apples... nom away, dear. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Favorites- My favorite follows!

I follow many blogs and have lots on my feed- probably close to 100! While I like stumbling onto new ones, reading new ideas, and meeting new people, there are several that I regularly keep an eye out for updates from. Most of the blogs I love are in the vein of gardening, homesteading, natural living, etc. but there are a few others that always catch my attention- bright pictures, beautiful graphics, or well-put thoughts will do that to me. So for my first-ever Friday Favorites, I will share them with you!

Not Dabbling in Normal
Chiot's Run
from the mouth of a mother
Civil Eats

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Get involved with local food systems in Washtenaw County

If you're looking to get involved in supporting local food systems, all the way from buying local food to helping install Raised Beds at families homes in the community, check out Growing Hope's latest Volunteer e-blast, link below. It's a great way to know how to get involved with us, and we're always looking for volunteers! We are pretty much volunteer-run & supported! Thanks!

camaraderie or solidarity or some other "ity"..

Lots going on on the homestead here.. busy work hours, trying to get outside whenever possible and whenever weather permits, thinking of new ways to buy local, and of course- raising these little baby seedlings to become the strong, healthy plants they will one-day become!

I've been making more of an effort to get out to the Ann Arbor Farmers' Market in the past two months. It's only about a 12 minute drive, and although there's obviously not a lot of fresh produce this time of year yet, I've regularly been getting my bread, jam, cheese, and yogurt from the A2 market. There's a feeling of camaraderie or solidarity or some other "ity" as I briskly pass by the each vendor stalls and zip my coat up just a bit more.

We're all out here, together, freezing our butts off for local, healthy, delicious food! 

Great Lake lettuce, and a mix of onion cultivars.
Damn. Why do I never label things properly?
Granted, Farmers/vendors get a lot more of the credit than I do- they make the stuff, I just buy it and eat it. But I do still allow myself a small pat on the back. Shopping locally is not difficult for me, persay, but it definitely is something I think about a lot and do intentionally.

It's really easy to go to large-nearby-box-store, spend $50, buy whatever the hell I want; pineapple, strawberries, canned stuff that I didn't can, grow, or have a hand in, bread with 800 ingredients, milk from CAFO cows.. it's cheaper and simpler. But I would argue that it is a lot harder to choose healthy food, seasonal food, local food, or even safe food.

Bavaria lettuce, shooting up! :)

My seedlings are doing well- last week I planted some Matt's Cherry tomatoes, some Romanesco tomatoes, some more Copra and Valencia onions, and a second try at the Bavaria lettuce that has not been germinating very well. But it's finally germinating- I think it needed some more warmth.

I have 13 garlic cloves growing strong in my beds out back, which is not nearly enough for the whole year, however this is my first year growing garlic so I wanted to start small in case it was an epic fail. Looks like it was very much otherwise! I haven't planted any veggies outside because the weather has been crazy- I think I'll plant the onions here in another week, and the lettuce too. Then I'll have more baby lettuces and onions transplants ready to go a few weeks after that!

Master Loseph in the Kitten bed he shunned as a kitten.
It's pretty snug now, huh?