Thursday, October 18, 2007

Walking the talk / God provides

Last Spring I had a plant sale to help finance my gardening addiction and finish paying off what is left on the purchase of my greenhouse as well as my new canning pot (see blog 6/23/07 Puttin Food by in da Hood), and more plants.
During the sale a very youthful looking senior stopped to browse. We soon got around to topics such as victory gardens, mutual acquaintances, cheese making, fruit production, gleaning and bartering. We exchanged contact info, he invited us to his church social later that month, then he went about his yard sale Saturday.
Well four months later there was a knock on my door. Smiling in a simple I thought of you manner this man brought me food for my table. Food for pantry. Food for my friends.
A deeper smile came to his face when I mentioned that I had been praying for some gleaning opportunities.
The day after he dropped off a few beets and squash he again knocked on our door. Bearing more along with the directions to a few fields of freshly machined harvested carrots and potatoes. Ironically only a few miles from our neighborhood.
Mechanical harvesting isn't 100% effective. There will be plenty if permisson is granted.
So later tonight when Husband finishes his shift @ work and daughters are itching to walk in the fall they will go gleaning.
In return for his generosity I repaid him in butter bought by way of another barter deal, and the promise of late fall yard work. With good pickings hope to also seal the deal with a few gallons of fresh cider pressed in our backyard (see blog 9/5/07 Off to the side of a tag sale & blog 6/29/07 Urban Cider Press).
Carrots will be crinkle cut & canned for us, dehydrated for rabbit feed, paid forward to a few neighbors & friends, become part of a barter deal in the days ahead.
Beets will be canned as relish, paid forward to coworkers, neighbors, and friends, dehydrated for rabbit feed. Made into wine and soup.
Squash and potatoes will be root cellar'd for later use in soups, butter, baked, breads for us & gift giving, paid forward, bartered perhaps.
The simple raised bed in the background grew chard & huckleberries this Summer. Considering removing it to set up my portable greenhouse as this is the one spot on my city lot that receives the most Winter Sun. It's an ongoing obsession for a later blog fueled by a crazy vintage MEN inspired project.
~~ Pelenaka ~~
Only lazy men go hungry - Mom who taught me to never loose my edge.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Color Purple

Over this past week my daughters & I canned up 54 quarts of Concord grape juice out in the backyard over two separate canning secessions.
We used the old time recipe of 1 part sugar to 2 parts grapes, fill with boiling water, then Water Bath.
This is the math along with a lesson learned in shopping farmer's markets.
The first peck I bought cost me $12 from Farmer High & Mighty. Total yield was around 29 qt. (one broke due to operator error).
Had I walked down the full length of the market I would have discovered that Farmer John was selling a peck for $8.
Normally all the vendor's prices are the same be it peppers or peaches. I had worked the night before so that is the lame excuse I'm gonna go with, " Don't shop when your tired & defenseless against natures bounty ". Needless to say when I needed grapes a few days later I visited Farmer John's stand. Lesson learned.
So the second grape purchase ran around $12 for a half bushel. He gave me a buck off since DH was talking apples to him, as in we are in need 5 bushels of mixed cull apples nothing windfall for cider making.
So all totaled Concord grapes ran me $24 for one peck & half a bushel.
Sugar was .99 for a 5 lbs. store brand bought last year during mega mart's holiday baking sales. Used 2 bags of sugar altogether. Total $2.00.
Lids bought for $1 per dozen used 54 so $4.40 ish.
Total was $30.40 for 54 quarts (makes a qt. & 1/2 juice) so .56 cents per quart which really is a qt. & a half when diluted with water.
Have no clue what nearly 65 gallons of Concord Grape juice runs retail.
Factor in the luxury of having it on hand in the pantry.
Since jars are all paid for & my fuel was free (firewood) those weren't factored into the math.
So aren't those quarts a pretty shape of purple?
~~ Pelenaka ~~

Thursday, October 4, 2007

File this under," Life in a museum - homesteading skills/green living/ability to tell future children a when I was young tale"
Not every teenager can say his Mom is soo whacked that she makes him use a scrub board & hand cranked clothes wringer to wash his socks. Lucky Son lucky. In my day I had to lug dirty laundry up hill both ways to a Laundromat.
This actually started as a way to prove a point. Something about generating too much laundry and if we didn't have an automatic clothes washer. Ended up as a skills lesson in the vain of " if you didn't have modern conveniences".

** No child was hurt in the making of this PSA **

Utilizing child labor opportunties a.k.a. the making of the sauce

Hauled outta bed early on a Saturday to a local upick farm, then made to live like a migrant worker for a few hours, all topped off an endless afternoon of prepping & cranking ...
many hands make light work.
Wait til apple picking (foraging/bartering) season is on.
Ah prego prego prego no ragu ragu ragu.
Try Ball, Kerr, Golden Harvest, American Harvest, Benadin, and Perfect Mason to name a few.
Thank you Becca, & Sam,for the effort you both put forth that day!