Friday, February 24, 2012

Installation #4: Independence (Fri) Day

I've been busy.  In a good way. And Peter will be home for another week!  Bonus!

Plant something:

            This week, I took the time to start a few small pots of pea seeds.  I’ve been lusting after pea sprouts lately, as I often do this time of year, and decided to get a head start on the season.  The pots I planted them in were made from recycled newspaper tubes; there are lots of online tutorials, so I combined a few of them to achieve the results I wanted.  Basically, my tubes went like this:

1.      Tear a single side of newspaper in half.

2.      Fold it in half.

3.      Wrap the folded sheet around a piece of 2”pvc pipe with the raw edges extending below the opening of the pipe.

4.      Tuck the raw ends up into the pipe, then wiggle the opt off of the PVC pipe.

5.      Staple the top edge of the pot together

6.      Tamp down the bottom of the pot with something flat.

Peas, etc.
Harvest something:

            You know, it’s pretty tough to actually harvest from an urban yard in the winter (though I hope to harvest those pea sprouts soon!).  I have a garden plot at Flint Hill Farm, but that’s not available to me in cold weather, and my home garden is about the size of a Volkswagen.  I did harvest a gallon of yummy kombucha tea, and I made a new quart of elderberry tonic (which I’ll harvest in 6 weeks).  Otherwise, apart from the good vegetables I’ve been using from my freezer all week, and the good herbs I have dried and stored in my kitchen, it’s been more of a time of consuming than harvesting.  To everything, there is a season, right?
Preserve something:

            I’m still working on preserving my sanity.  Seriously.

 Waste not:

            Since Peter’s home, I‘ve had the help I needed to move some heavy pieces of furniture to the second floor in preparation for my mom’s arrival.  This has had the usual cascade effect; we’ve ended up with a rather large pile of homeless items.  Among those items were several things made of metal (a grill, a lamp, a few wire shelf sections).  I’m a member of our local Freecycle group, a Yahoo list serve that recycles usable objects among its members.  It’s a great idea; if you have something extra, you can give it away.  If you need something, you can request it. Some of the members recycle metal for money, so I posted the metal objects, and they were taken. YAY!

            There was a box of decorative items and pillows too.  I took that to the local VIA thrift store, where it will be sold inexpensively and the proceeds will benefit children with disabilities.  Win/win!  I buy lots of my clothes there as well.

Want Not:

            I think this is the best place to comment on the now-slightly dwindling supply of frozen natural goodies that I put aside last fall. I have had a successful winter of wholesome food, thanks to my garden and my foraging in warmer times, which truly floats my boat.  I can literally “shop the freezer”, and create a gourmet meal with just a few added pantry items.  It’s an awesome feeling.  As the frozen vegetables are getting used, I’m replacing them with local, humanely raised meats and individually portioned meals for my school lunches.  I sense the beginning of a seasonal rhythm, which is a great feeling to me.
          I did manage a quick look at a few of my old-faithful oyster mushroom trees during the past few days, but the nights have been too cold to promote growth. In a week or two, if we're lucky, they'll be bursting with sumptuous spring oysters. Yum!

Eat the Food:

            A day or two before Peter returned home from his cross-country trek (he was returning to Pennsylvania from Los Angeles, CA), I thawed out a chicken that had been deep in the freezer.  I had a nice, comforting roast chicken dinner in mind.  Circumstances being what they were, that dinner never happened, though I did roast the bird in order to preserve the now-thawed meat.  From it, we had chicken breast with ginger and scallion dipping sauce, chicken noodle soup with local veggies, hot open-faced chicken and mushroom sandwiches with cranberry sauce, and chicken salad (still to be made).  That’s a lot of mileage for one little chicken!


Build community food systems:

            I’ll be attending a board meeting at Flint Hill Farm tomorrow evening, where we will discuss fund-raisers to support the farm.  As a non-profit organization, fundraising is a never-ending process.  I thoroughly believe in the mission of the place as both an agricultural education center and a working artisanal dairy.  The goats are nearly ready to kid (I’ll be on call to help with the deliveries, which should be starting in March), and we’ll be in milk again soon.  In the past, I was a regular milker, though I’m not sure that I’m up to that anymore, since my hand surgery last November, but I’m sure there will be plenty of work for me once the kids arrive.  Last year, we had four bottle babies in my living room at one point; it was WONDERFUL!


Skill up:  

            I’ve been on the lookout for the lightly colored, skeletal  remains of wild asparagus plants, which I explored online during the week.    I’ve been adding lots of wild things to my foraging arsenal in the last year or two.  Some wild foods have been a part of my repertoire since I was a child, but others are new finds that I’ve made thanks to the resources on the web.  How did we ever survive without it!


  1. You are certainly busy. I might have to try making those newspaper pot starters. It looks easy enough for me to try it.

  2. It is easy. Gotta love the recycling aspect of it.