07 May 2015

independence days challenge

all photos from our first summer on our farmstead in 2004

I am joining in with Aubrey's Independence Days Challenge.  I am looking forward to using this to encourage myself to expand what we save and make for ourselves from the farm.  It was, of course, our goal, long before we even had our own farmstead (back when we were in a homesteading class in college).  Each year our farmstead has grown or evolved to feed us more, or more efficiently.  Though I don't think I'll have something to post for each category each week, I'll try and come up with links, recipes or other information for those categories.  Here is the list from Sharon Astyk's Resilience Blog.

1. Plant something - This one is easy this time of year.  Yesterday, I took the kids to an ecosystem expo, put on by our local conservation district.  After a busy day assessing local river health by studying macroinvertebrates and learning about wildlife in our water shed, we came home to plant 4,000 feet of potatoes!   A busy day in the sun!  
2. Harvest something - We are harvesting lettuce from our high tunnel that was seeded down (and just sprouted) last fall.  Since early March, we've been enjoying it for dinner almost every night.
3. Preserve something - Most of our family's preserving happens in August and September.  The most recent thing we've preserved is our maple syrup
4. Waste Not- This category refers to food according to Sharon's list.  We find it easy to 'waste not' when it comes to food scraps here.  We always have pigs here on the farm--two or more sows for raising piglets, a boar and usually several we are raising to for slaughter--and they will happily enjoy most food scraps.  We also have chickens to feed scraps too as well.  And if we didn't have animals, we would be composting them.  
5. Want Not - Oh, we love this one.  We are big fans of bartering, using hand-me-downs or just making due with what we have for kitchen tools or even food in our pantry.  I'll find a recipe I want to try, but we only grow butternuts, not sweet potatoes--I'll just swap it out in the recipe.  My friends often tease me that I've never done a recipe exactly how it is written.  ;)  I did, however, just buy myself a (brand new) spiralizer kitchen tool and have been loving using vegetables in place of pasta or rice in recipes.  
6. Build Community Food Systems - This is something that is hard to do on your own, but where we live, we are fortunate to have many active groups working for this goal.  I was on the steering committee and eventually board of directors of our local co-op that was a scrappy, grassroots project grown out of the love and passion of a group from our community.  We have the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link, a local non-profit who in their words "has been working to expand availability and access to locally produced foods, bolster the greater Rutland region’s agricultural economy, and increase community appreciation and understanding of the positive impact of farms and farmers on the Rutland region."  They are a great resource to local farms and a wonderful way that our area is helping to build a community food system.  Next week, I'll share information about another statewide organization that is doing great things for our regional food system.  
7. Eat the Food - We do this everyday!!  There isn't a meal that we eat that doesn't have at least 1 item that we raised ourselves.  And even in the middle of winter, we enjoy meals entirely made up of things that we grow.  Obviously, we need to buy things at the store.  I'm horrible about making dairy products besides yogurt and some soft cheeses, so buy local cheddar and sourcream (I should make my own).  We buy flour, grains for grinding, some dry beans, lentils, sugar and rice from our local food co-op and other items like condiments, tortilla chips, and even "squishy bread" (store bread) when my family is craving it.  There is a balance when you are raising four kids, homeschooling and trying to fit in your own interests like crafting or schooling.  Sometimes I just have to buy it instead of make it.  But I try to do it at the two locally owned stores near us (the co-op and the little grocer near us).

Want to join in?  Link over to Aubrey's blog and join in!  

1 comment:

  1. Yay Kris! I'm so glad you're using the Independence Days challenge for encouragement. I look forward to reading your posts. Well, I always look forward to your posts.

    I'm curious, what do you use for food and water dishes for your pigs? We have a ridiculous time trying to keep our pigs from totally destroying theirs and/or dumping all their water instantly.



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