Okay, so I've been missing in action. Like most families with children, our summers are packed. They are not a time to slow down and relax, but a time to run, run, run. A majority of our extended family activities are planned for the summertime when the other kiddos with less flexible schedules are out of school. It's hot and we all want to go somewhere cool...like a pool or river. And, of course, there is the itty bitty farm factor.
Summertime is THE busy time on a farm. For all intents and purposes, this 21 acre plot we live on is a farm. There is hay in the summer to cut and put away for the winter. Summertime brings mowing.....again and again and again and again. There are chicks and baby goats that require extra care. Flies need to be battled. Water needs to be hauled. Then there is the garden.
The garden! The garden is a biggie. Plowing. Planting. Watering. Weeding. Tilling. Pruning. De-bugging. Tearing up. Planting again. Sweating. Praying. Picking. Washing. Preserving. Enjoying! That is where I have been.
We have managed to put a fair amount of food away for the winter. Maybe it seems odd to you that we put so much work into putting up food for the winter. After all, we live in an area with mild winters and we are only a few miles from the nearest grocery store. More than one person has let me know that they think I'm a little on the cuckoo side. But this is not for what we need NOW. It is preparation for what we are going to need in the future. No, I'm not going to preach about the apocalypse and how we are going to need to sharpen all our survival skills....although that might not be such a bad idea if you think about it. But just stick with me for a moment and see if this makes sense....then call me cuckoo if you like.
We want better control of how we spend our income. How much money do you spend on groceries? How about eating out in restaurants? Most people in this country spend about as much on food as on housing! Some spend even more. That is insane! I can work hard to grow, harvest, preserve, and prepare food for my family and have as great a financial contribution to my family as I would if I worked a paying job outside the home. Keep track of what you spend on food in a month. Keep a food spending diary. Keep track of everything....even the drink out of the vending machine. Our spending was scary. The scariest thing is that we didn't even eat out often.
We want to eat a healthier, less toxic, diet. When we shop for most of our foods, we eat more additives, preservatives, chemicals, and dyes. The same is true for many restaurant meals. After all, your profit is going to go out the window if your food spoils before you can sell it. The sad thing is that I never noticed. But now that I am eating more freshly prepared foods, and my body is purged of additives, I frequently get sick when I eat out at restaurants and from many 'low preparation' foods from the grocery store.
Lastly, we are hoping that my hubby will be able to retire in a few years and be able to direct his focus on our family mini-farm. We want to be able to work side-by-side more. I want to do my part to make that possible. Finding a way to limit our 'out-go' will definitely make it easier to survive on less 'in-come'. So this is all training and preparation for that day. Maybe by then we will have ironed out most of the wrinkles.
Here is a compilation of what we have frozen over the last few months:
peaches, strawberries, blackberries, strawberry freezer jam, strawberry-banana freezer jam, blackberry freezer jam, cantaloupe, spinach, green beans, okra, breaded okra, squash and zucchini, pumpkin puree, meatballs, meatloaf, whole chickens, steaks, quiche, chicken broth, sausage, bolognese sauce, mixed berry pie, pie crusts, strawberry cream pie, corn, ground pork, goat milk, chorizo, basil/garlic/pesto cubes, lemon cupcakes, mint tea concentrate, zucchini bread, zucchini/coconut pies, whey
banana peppers, dill relish, pickled mushrooms, Cuban black beans, pinto beans, glazed carrots, beef stew, peaches, apple butter, bread & butter squash pickles, pork and beans in tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, mixed vegetables
Coming soon~ pork chops, tomato sauce, tomatoes, various sauces, applesauce, chili, chicken, venison, sweet potatoes