Monday, September 06, 2010

Independence Days #62


I finally have my laptop back, with a new hard drive and new DVD drive, and I'm gradually getting drivers and programs reinstalled (or upgraded). I'm back online from the comfort of my home, and I can get started blogging again.

Funny thing is, during that month or more with no Internet at home, I found I got rather accustomed to not having that distraction around. After hot, exhausting days of work out at the farm, I'd come home and heat up the kitchen with my baking or kick back with a glass of ice-cold lemonade or iced tea and a book.

I'm not sure how I feel about getting back to "normal." And I'm not sure what the future holds for keeping this blog going, much less the farming blog that has been dead silent for a month and a half. (How do I even catch that up?) I've been enjoying the "now" moments way too much to sit and reflect on them, and I'm not sure I want to change back.

I also spent plenty of time in August practicing my "Independence" -- though I didn't bother keeping a running list of what I did as part of the Independence Days challenge. Here's a partial (but still extensive!) list:

1. Plant something: Planted seedlings of Rainbow Lacinato kale, Laurentian rutabaga, Scarlet Queen turnips, Thompson broccoli, Frigga savoy cabbage, Tender and True parsnips, Golden Detroit and Chioggia beets at two of my gardens; started seeds for lettuce, beets, kohlrabi at the OEFFA Male's farm.

2. Harvest something: Cucumbers, dry beans, tomatoes, LOTS of basil, anise hyssop, chard, peppers, onions at the fabulous Jen's; cherry tomatoes at the Renaissance Man's; more basil as well as chard, pac choi, and nasturtiums at the Southern Belle's garden; many market crops (including loads of heirloom tomatoes) plus elderberries at the OEFFA Male's farm; corn, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini at The Farm.

3. Preserve something: Dried nettles, anise hyssop, basil, tomatoes, pears, cantaloupe candy; froze basil pesto, roasted red peppers, breaded eggplant; canned tomato sauce with My Wonderful Parents, pizza sauce on my own, and peaches with My Wonderful Parents and with the Renaissance Man; started elderberry cordial.

4. Reduce waste (Waste not): Took many more "seconds" off the OEFFA Male's hands (many of which were used in weekly baking or put up for winter); shared remaining cucumbers with friends; shared some "seconds" with My Wonderful Parents.

5. Preparation and storage (Want not): Restocked flour in a big way -- a dozen 50-lb bags of unbleached high-gluten flour for bread, then biweekly orders of wheat and/or spelt flour; bought two five-pound jugs of honey and another half-gallon of maple syrup; stocked up on nuts (two 30-lb boxes of walnuts and one of pecans); tried to pick up the pace on drying herbs for winter use; collected more storage containers; cleaned out the cooler for this year's potato storage.

6. Build local food systems: Swapped leftover market bread for herbs, design work, eggs, goat's milk and ricotta; contributed bread to be served at a local fundraiser, plus breads for the silent auction; worked at the OEFFA Male's farm over 20 hrs/week each week; baked for market faithfully, bringing production levels up a notch; baked bread periodically for the Flour Guy (who took the value off my bills); publicized Local Roots events; demonstrated making gazpacho at the market; spent an afternoon cooking a garden-fresh dinner with Beaker as his ninth-birthday present (included teaching him knife skills now that he's a big boy!).

7. Eat the food: Hard to remember all the local dishes, but pasta dishes, French toast, morning fry-ups (potato and more), leftover veg-cheese rolls, and pizza made it to the menu more than once.

Through the exhaustion and aggravation of the last month, I've realized a few things that have me pondering next year's work. No definite plans yet, but I'm thinking about how the balance will change.

And I still wonder what the balance will be here. But for now, I'm back.

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