Again, it’s been a long time since I updated my Independence Days Challenge but … here we go!
Planted: It’s past outdoor planting time here, so nothing in this category. I did cover up the strawberry plants so that the chickens won’t eat them while they are doing their best to clear the rest of the garden, so perhaps that counts. :)
Harvested: Our harvest is all in. We do gather eggs daily (although not very many right now as the chickens are moulting and adapting to new housing and so production is way, way down).
Preserved: Red peppers were on sale at the store, so they were chopped and dehydrated. Two little squashes from the garden were getting weary looking, so they, too, were sliced and put into the dehydrator. More apples were sent home and made into Carla Emery’s “apple ketchup” (which is kind of an HP-ish sauce good on meats), some into apple butter (wow), and some into cider and cider vinegar.
Waste Not: A batch of bean stew that wasn’t really too much to anyone’s liking was combined with leftover lambaco meat to make a nice chili for dinner. Chickens are now in the garden for the winter, and get all leftover edibles. Lamb fat that was rendered in the late summer was used in a candle-making experiment that actually turned out rather well!
Want Not (Preparations): More infrastructure work, of course – the new chicken coop, a sheltered feeder-hanger in the garden to keep the chicken food out of the rain/snow/coop, fencing in the winter pasture to make the sacrifice pasture smaller and save some grass for early spring. The pantry got a minor clean-out (old stale stuff which was then fed to the chickens, who minded not at all), and that makes room for the flats of canned things that were picked up on sale at the store.
Community Food Systems: Sold some more lamb, still have a lot in the freezer to go, and more on the hoof outside. Met with a local fitness coach who recommends that his clients eat grass-fed local meats: he wanted to try our meat and perhaps recommend it to his clients. That was encouraging! Arranged to buy hay from a local farmer who is having a rotten year (as are many), so we put a few dollars back into a local farm, anyway. And, the boys are outside right now helping a neighbour load the last of his cattle into the trailer. Helping the food-producing neighbours is always part of community food systems!
Related to the Independence Days concept, we are also working towards a lower-impact holiday season: the folks at Buy Nothing Christmas have some great ideas about how to reduce the impact the holidays can have on the wallet and the earth. We want to return the focus of the holidays to our faith and to spending time with those we love, rather than at the mall or stressing about the expense of gifts!
We do love the holidays, and we love giving presents – it’s something that we’ve always enjoyed, and it never really has been the stressful experience that it seems to be for so many people. Maybe that’s because our families have always been happiest with gifts chosen for their meaning, not their dollar value – the small but perfect gift is treasured more than a big expensive … whatever. Regifting is really cool with us, as is handing on a possession that you know someone else will get more use/pleasure from than you will (just today I was reminded of the Christmas when one of my very best friends gave me his breadmaker, now I use it all the time). Baking, meat for the freezer, gifts of service, there are so many choices.
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.”
“Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
- The Grinch (Dr. Seuss)
Oh, I’m sure we’ll spend some of our hard-earned dollars as part of our holiday celebrations, but it’s nice to know that it is okay to keep things reasonable, to focus on one another, on the gift of time, and not be distracted by any of the beeping blinking breakable trinkets we are so often told are ‘the really coolest thing’.
I just played three games of Cadoo with my family. That’s way cooler than any beeping blinking breakable trinket, trust me. :)
Think about it, anyway. What could you give that really comes from *you*?