Okay, on to the update.
I did get soil into three little pots on the windowsill, and I put a few calendula seeds into one of them. Yes, I should get some lettuce going, but the calendula seeds were handy so I stuck them in the dirt. One has already poked it's little head out!
We emptied out the garden this weekend. All the potatoes are in, sorted and stored, and the tomatoes (green though they were), the mullein (dehydrating to be made into tea for coughs and other ailments this winter), milk thistle (nasty, horrible plants that I will never again attempt to grow ... but I did harvest the seeds, they are good for your liver), the last two carrots (which we ate raw), the beets (the leaves are drying for winter chicken feed and the beets are going to be eaten this week), and more calendula (and there's still more out there). Seeds from some of the lettuce plants and a few of the beans have been harvested for next year.
As noted: mullein is dehydrating, milk thistle seeds soaking in vodka (yes, you soak the seeds in alcohol to make a tincture that helps your liver: weird, but the active ingredient is not water soluble, so whatcha gonna do?), beet greens are drying for chicken feed, egg shells have been baked and crushed for chicken feed, and more calendula blossoms are soaking in oil to make ointment.
My sister sent a parcel with some bubblewrap in it, and that was cut and stuck to several of the bedroom windows with a spray bottle of vinegar and water (it took a few tries to get it to stick, but it's on there now). We sorted more clothes and put them in the bins, and brought out the winter gear as the cold has arrived.
We did a bunch of outside work, preparing for winter: there's a proper gate to the cow pasture, the sheep have a feed pen, and the hay's been delivered (well, half of it anyway).
The potatoes were sorted into 'eat now, eat soon, and pack for later' piles. The 'pack for later' pile was stowed in a big plastic bucket filled with sawdust carefully saved from construction: a layer of sawdust, some potatoes, another layer of sawdust, more potatoes ... the bucket is now sitting in the hallway, which is the coolest spot in the house.
Some bulk things were found at good prices so a few big bags of alphabet soup noodles (the kids LOVE having these in the soup, they'll eat any kind of broth if it has alphabet noodles in it), black pepper, and onion soup mix came home and have been put into jars in the pantry. There are also some jars of raisins, cornmeal, and elbow macaroni put away.
Cooked something new
All those green tomatoes meant it was time to try some recipes: I made fake raspberry jam (which isn't too bad), fake raspberry fruit leather (the jam, done in the dehydrator ... which is very sweet, and okay, but not great), and a green tomato soup (which I really didn't like). In the end, I have decided that by far the best use of green tomatoes is as yeast food: all the tomatoes were dumped into a large bucket with a sliced orange, some yeast nutrient, a few raisins and a lot of sugar, then drowned in water and ignored for a few days. Last night I filtered the mush through my strainer and the remaining liquid (and the orange slices and some whole green tomatoes) is happily fermenting in the living room. It has a lovely citrus and yeast smell, with no real tomato scent at all ... so hopefully green tomato wine is drinkable. I hear it needs to age for a whole year or more ... I'm thinking it'll probably make a nice summer wine for July of 2010.
We used up some more lumber from the pile of barn board we have out in the pasture where an old shed was knocked down, and we continue to do our usual routines for composting and such. We are rescuing as much as possible to dehydrate for chicken feed, both to reduce the waste (we have plenty of compostables thanks to the livestock) and to reduce the feed bills. And, it's good for the chickens!
Worked on local food systems
Well, we have a bunch of chicks growing like crazy, meaning we will be able to eat some of the surplus chickens out in our yard before long ... that's pretty local. We tried out a new butcher for the last batch of lambs that went in, I'll be picking up the meat tomorrow and we'll see how that is. We have another very local butcher we also want to try, as well. Oh, we got our listing up on EatWild, although we've had no contacts yet, still, it's a good place to start.