Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Keeping it local

For those of you who don't know me IRL, or heck, those of you who don't pay attention IRL, I'm a bit of a closet environmentalist/homesteader wanna be. Okay, so maybe I'm not always so in the closet and annoy people when I preach to them about recycling and using cloth shopping bags, but, anyway...
I have attempted tending a garden the last few years. I started off really slow, with just a couple tomato and pepper plants, just to be sure I could grow something. Last year, I was lazy (which doesn't go well with the whole homesteading thing, hence, the wanna be tagged onto the end). I did manage to weed and prep the garden area, and planted a small fall garden. Unfortunately, the laziness crept in and the frost got to my beans and lettuce before I did. The bastard.

This year, I actually have a decent size garden with tomatoes, lettuce, green beans, carrots, peppers, cucumbers, and corn. I know, there are a gazillion different kinds of veggies but considering that I have little people who are veggie resistant, why waste my time? I'm too self conscious to show you a picture of my garden. Since I hurt my back a couple weeks ago (and I'm lazy), my lettuce looks like a hedgerow. I'm sure most of it will be split between the rabbit and the compost bin. But, now I know, if you ignore it long enough, it will reach epic heights, so I will be prepared to plant the fall round and harvest it in a timely manner. Besides, what the heck was I thinking planting two rows of lettuce for 2 salad eating people?

On to my adventures in home preserving. I couldn't believe the amount of green beans we had growing. I could have sworn when I weeded around them a couple weeks ago, I only saw a few beans.
Here's my short tutorial on freezing beans, but don't take my word for it because this is the first time I've done it. I got the directions from the Pick your Own website.

Step 1: Wash your beans. Then cut or snap the ends off, and break them into about 1 inch sections, or however, big or small you like them. I prefer snapping them.
Keep in mind, if you are 8 months pregnant, and you stand at the sink long enough, you will no longer have ankles or feet for that matter. Just big fat pads where your feet used to be. A better idea would be to sit at a table and prop your feet while doing this. Step 2: Blanch your beans. Boil for about 3 minutes, then.......
Step 3: Submerge them in an icebath to stop the cooking process.
Step 4: Bag them up in serving size portions. Yeah, mine are just quart size. Remember the veggie resistant gnomes that live here? If you have a food saver, you can get the air out that way, or you can be like me and use the old fashioned suck the air out with a straw technique. As long as you don't mind sucking green bean flavored air.

Step5: Pop them in your freezer!
I actually skipped the most important step. That would be, sending your husband and eldest child out to actually pick them. Man, the picking was easy.
There is a pick your own strawberry farm up the road and I am really tempted to try some homemade jam or something. But, I'm a little scared. My experience with canning is from childhood. I vaguely remember my step mom in a hot kitchen with a big pot of water and some glass jar thingys. I guess I should have paid more attention.
I would have shared a pic of our farmer's market dinner from last night, but after standing in the kitchen for an eternity cooking dinner and freezing beans, I was too famished to slow down and take a pic. We had pork chops from a local farm in Tipp City and corn and cabbage from a farm in Greenville. I did discover that if you are going to eat pesticide free corn, you might have to share with a worm or two. Ewww. Luckily, they don't eat much.
I try to visit the farmer's market weekly which is where I get my free range, chemical free chicken eggs and some yum, yum, yummy homegrown bacon, among other things.
Other ways we, I mean I, (Bobby's just along for the ride) try to reduce our carbon footprint:
Buy locally and/or organic when able.
Plant a garden.
Compost scraps and yard waste.
RECYCLE! Everything!!! (Ever heard of Craig's list? Don't throw out your junk, someone will want it)
Combine errands.
Plant drought tolerant plants to reduce watering.
Don't water the grass. It will grow, trust me.
Hang clothes to dry. (Heck, let your kids run naked, that would be even better)
Limit shower/bath time. (With water hog kids, this one is hard)
Use cloth shopping bags.
Use cloth diapers.
Use recycled toilet paper. (Okay, it's recycled paper products, not actually recycled TP. That would be gross.)
Turn your thermostat up in the summer and down in the winter.
Walk (or bike) when able.
Encourage others.
Limit the use of our gas guzzling SUV that my husband insisted he must have. Yeah, $140 into the tank and even he thinks of not driving the monstrosity. Unfortunately, with a family of 7, our choices are pretty limited, if we don't want to strap the kids to the bumper.
So now that you know about my environmental tendencies, please don't get me started on Baby Bush lifting the ban on off shore drilling. Like that will make up for his other incompetencies. The price of gas is what it is, and opening up the coastline to oil barons is not going to help. My darling husband doesn't seem to understand this. Some times, I could just smack him for being the greedy American consumer that he is.


Debbie said...

You go girl!!

Anonymous said...

One other way to limit your "carbon footprint": not have so many kids!

Anonymous said...

I wish I would have paid attention to my mom too...but then again I don't even really cook.