Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!!!

Happy Earth Day everyone!

I have made my Earth Day resolution, have you?

Mine was to buy these bags from Grassroots

They are re-usable fruit and veggie bags for grocery shopping, so you don't have to use plastic all the time. I'm very excited to get them, although I'll not be able to get down to the store until tomorrow (on the subway no less!).

Tonight we are also going to have a dinner on the BBQ with candle light and no tv.

I spent most of the afternoon planning out my garden and which vegetables were going where, and how many containers I need to find.

Mini me is just waking up so this is going to be a short post.

Happy Earth Day again!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bread, butter and pest control

Well, I did it. I made my own butter. I did cheat a bit though. I used the Magic Bullet. Not exactly the self-sufficient homestead way to do it, but I needed to know what it would look like. I currently have a jar of cream sitting out over night so I can shake it up tomorrow, the non-electrical way.

I was surprised how excited I felt when I made the butter. Even though I only made a small amount, it really felt good to make something of my own, with organic cream that came from a local Ontario farm. And because we don't use butter all that much, it is something that I can keep on doing without it getting over whelming. I've been experimenting with different types of cream to see which one works best. Once I find out which one produces the best butter, I'll post how I did it. My next attempts will be with whole milk (milk that hasn't been homogenized) and a high fat cream then I started out with. I'm excited to see which one works best.

My next project this weekend was to make bread. I had made bread in my teen years quite often so I felt pretty safe taking this step. While we eat almost exclusively whole grain breads, I made a white bread because it was what I knew, and because I wanted to get back in the swing of kneeding without having to worry about the actual recipe, since I had followed it before. The bread turned out great, and it wasn't as time consuming as I remember it. I was able to make the actual dough in about 20 minutes, and then it is all about it sitting around to rise, so I did other things. Definitely something that I can continue to do with a toddler and a baby on the way.

My pride and joy for the weekend, after Husband and Mini Me attacked it for dinner:

Feels so good to feel your family quality food :D

Next thing on the agenda for this weekend was the vegetable garden, which used to be a flower garden. The entire thing is only three feet by eleven feet, but we will be transplanting the roses and tulips to take over that part of the garden as well. That will make it 20 feet long.

Unfortunately, the whole bed is totally over grown with Star of Bethlehem bulbs and sprouts. And most of the bulbs are only about 3-4mm wide. And yes, they look like little sperm. Millions and millions of little sperm. In my soon to be vegetable garden. Just lovely.
If I'm lucky, which only happened twice in two hours, I find clumps of them together, but it is pretty rare. They also mulitply like rabbits, so I know that I'm going to be pulling these out of the garden for years to come. I just hope it doesn't affect the veggies any. I guess we shall see.

One more picture of my buddies, the worms. I saw tons of them, which made me so happy! Here is one that was crawling back in to the dark after I disturbed it while turning up some of the blasted bulbs.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I've been on another planet

I have totally neglected my blog, but for good reason.

Reason #1
Morning sickness. My baby fever ended up turning in to a pregnancy and from January until the middle of March I was so sick and exhausted that I couldn't even get two sentences together. But I'm so happy that I'm pregnant and everything is going well, so I an now focus on things other than keeping my breakfast down.

Reason #2
A need to find a simpler life. A lot of my posts before were about how I wish we lived in a world that would just slow down and really live and experience life. I was so focused on what was going on around me in society, that I started to feel overwhelmed. I took a step back and realized that just because I'm a member of this society, doesn't mean I need to take part in the craziness. I realized that the way to a more peaceful and simple life was by making changes to my own life, not by waiting for a whole society to change.

I have been spending many an hour pouring over books and websites about a trend called "homesteading". Homesteading involves really getting back to basics and living a more self sufficient and sustainable life. While I am by no means planning on moving to the country to do this, I am making steps in my deep in the city dwelling to live a life where the world doesn't stop if the lights go out or the supermarket is closed.
Here is the Wiki definition if you are interested:

My first step is my vegetable garden. I have become totally enthralled in anything edible that I can grow in my garden, lol. I soak up every bit of information I can find about vegetables and herbs and am basically taking the hope for the best expect the worst stand point. I have no clue what type of soil I have, or if I already have vegetable crop killing insect infestation that is the result of previous planting of flowers or vegetables. All I have is a shovel, a few containers, some good quality soil, and lots of sun. Lets hope that is the equation for a good vegetable garden.

I'm not a trendy person by any means. But this is a trend that I am very excited to experience as a way to give my children a sense of relationship with the land, the knowledge that food doesn't just magically end up at the grocery store, and to experience the stilling of the mind while digging out weeds or a crop.

I plan to do this one step at a time, enjoying the experience, celebrating the triumps and learning from the downfalls. After all, isn't that how our ancestors lived?