Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Hello to my fans - a change has begun
Hello, all you people who have been missing my blog posts. Yes, both of you! My mom was so busy with her own website, she didn't even miss mine. Thanks for mentioning you missed me. I have been busy this spring doing something I never thought I could do. Not buying stuff. The list of things I have learned to make at home from scratch is astounding to me. Several things happened that started me on this journey of baby steps and risks. First was Target brand soy sauce. The second was my cousin-in-laws blog, and third, a revisiting of a local family's website, and finally just putting it all together and realizing I could make some changes in my life. My husband is a soy sauce snob. At least that's what I called him when I brought home some Target brand soy sauce one day and he complained that he didn't like it. To prove to him that he was fooled by labels and it was just the same, I checked the ingredient lable. Corn. Honey, I am so sorry I ever doubted you. I was miffed. I thought I was buying soy sauce and they sold me corn! I started reading every label of every food product I purchased. I am now determined to only buy the things I actually want to eat. If I want to eat corn, I will buy corn; canned, frozen, ground into meal, on the cob, chips, maybe even in flakes. I will not buy corn and be told it is really soy sauce. Or tomato soup, or maple syrup, etc. I know that corn is in nearly everything from batteries to wallpaper, but that doesn't mean I have to eat it when I don't want to. The same goes for soy. So number one, know what I am actually putting in my mouth. Even seemingly simple things like heavy cream isn't just from a cow any more. Then reading Chanelle's blog I realized that she was several steps ahead of me. She was cooking real, healthy foods that I had no idea normal people could make. Like yogurt, cheese, and beef broth. I started taking notes and asking questions. Lastly, reading about the Dervaes family gave me another shove. My yard is only half as big as their tiny lot, but I can grow fruits and veggies too. I actually took an aberrant action and planted some squash in my front yard. Granted, it's hidden behind a pretty avocado tree, but still. I already had the chickens, I just needed to expand the garden and protect it from the chickens. Then, like a miracle, we received a community garden plot! I know we were way down on the waiting list, but somehow we made the cut. Suddenly, I had a 20x20 foot opportunity. I don't want to mirror all things Dervaes, I like my electricity thank you very much, but I relished the challenge of maximizing my space. With our year-round growing season, I can grow probably 3 times as much as the same sized lot in any place that gets snow. So there you go. I started cooking, learning, trying new things. It has been one year since I have purchased eggs. It has been 4 months since I have purchased crackers. I bought only one box of cereal in that time. I can make yogurt, crackers, broth, even laundry detergent. I don't buy those things any more, I buy the ingredients to make them. I rarely buy anything that has more than 3 ingredients. We ate quinoa and we liked it. My amazing husband even jumped on the bandwagon and made homemade cat food. Liver flavored. What a man. There are still so many things I want to try. Like the sourdough starter that has been taunting me from the fridge, pasta, and more basic cleaners. We are upping our canning, freezing, and drying efforts. Our garden is a source of excitement for all of us. I have found joy in relying on myself to get and make the things our family uses. I decided to track the output of my yard. It is a little slim this month (June) because many of our big crops (like the infamous corn) aren't ripe yet. We planted 4 trees and 5 berry bushes that won't bear anything for another year or so. So I expect a very large increase over the next few years, but here are my totals for June: Pounds of produce grown: 12.5 Included: oranges, peaches, apricots, cucumbers, artichokes and summer squash Number of eggs: 61 Herbs I didn't bother to weigh: cilantro, basil, chives, rosemary, thyme, nasturtiums, salad greens. This is all stuff that came from my yard! I still get very excited about it. I hope I can continue to make progress in making my lifestyle more healthy, less dependent and more skilled. What would you like to learn how to do? Or what have you done lately to improve your eating and living? Please share.