Time for another Independence Days update.
Plant something I got my first ever okra seedlings into the ground. This is one of my two experimental plantings this year. Okra should do reasonably well in my area, but it's not something that has ever regularly been a part of our diet. I germinated a bunch of seeds and put the eight most promising ones in the ground over the weekend. We'll see how it does and how much we enjoy eating it. We're hoping that the freshness factor overwhelms our heretofore ho-hum impression of okra. In any case, the plants apparently have beautiful flowers, so I'm looking forward to seeing how it grows. I also put in some anise hyssop and more onion family transplants over the past week.
Harvest something I'm still looking at not much beyond greens and herbs from my garden. I feel way behind the curve. Still eating salads, and I harvested quite a large quantity of herbs for bread baking (see below). A few garlic scapes were big enough to cut, but most of them will probably be cut later this week. Eggs from the girls as usual. Lots of weeds "harvested" for the girls too.
Preserve something Last Thursday was supposed to be unusually cool, so I earmarked it for a marathon baking day. I baked 24 loaves of bread, and most of those went into the chest freezer. I'm hoping this will get us through the summer without the need to buy or bake any more bread. Lots of my own herbs went into one of the two types of bread I made: oregano, chives, and sage.
Reduce waste The only new thing I can think of in this category is that I identified yet another weed that my hens will happily eat: yellow wood sorrel. It comes up like crazy in my garden, so now I've got another way to reduce their feed costs and give them still greater diversity in their diet.
Build Community I bartered a few of the loaves of bread I baked for some local honey.
I didn't make it to the opening day of the local farmers market. My excuse is that my husband's away on business travel again, and I'm stuck with a lot of leftovers. So I haven't shopped in more than a week. More garden surplus goes to the food bank this week though, and I'll try to make it to this week's market. I want some beets!
I offered some unwanted ornamental plants from our yard to some neighbors down the road. They may come dig them up today.
Eat the food I'm just trying to bat cleanup on all the leftovers!
Preparation/Storage I priced some new shelving (ouch!) and have been scouring the free listings for a way to help organize our dry food storage area. We need a better system. Right now it's too difficult to see what all we have, and what we might need to pick up.
Also, I picked up some silicone caulk and have begun the project of sealing the air gaps around our windows and doors. This will help make our "envelope" more air tight and so help us to conserve energy when either heating or cooling the house.
I've cooked on the rocket stove a few times, so as to begin learning its ins and outs and be in practice with it. There are several items now on my project list to make this a more feasible regular activity. More on this, no doubt, in future Independence Days updates.
I bought some extra-large wide mouth canning jars and will soon use a borrowed vacuum sealer contraption to seal beans, grains and other things critters might like to help themselves to. Then I can put them in the basement and not worry about moisture or anything else.
Finally, I picked up extra sunscreen to have on hand. See? I am capable of thinking about things other than food!
You can play along on the Independence Days Challenges too. Post your own achievements, or link to them, in the comments.
Eat Local Challenge, Redux
7 hours ago