Saturday, September 26, 2009

Artisan Lifestyle,harvest,canning,teotwawki,sewing, herbs,winter garden,satan spawn, killing chickens, art,video games

12 more jars of spiced pluot jam went on the shelf yesterday. All made with a 1924 recipe by Ida Bailey Allen. Its end of the season so I have found myself prowling around the garden looking for just one more item too can or preserve in some fashion. I have some green tomatoes left out there and two potato plants that are still vining. After all the moaning and groaning about too much work .. now that it is slowing down, I miss it.
Gotta have a chat with Jimmy about this one.... He whacked poor harelip before the 2 new hens started laying and now for the first time in 2 years I dont have enough eggs to do what I need to do. So.. next time... he has to wait until the new girls are trained up and working steady on their own before he can put heads on the chopping block. The two new girls? They are doing better. The satan spawn has calmed down and is actually looking out for the shy one. The oldsters are still cranky but at least they are letting the little one eat now. Satans spawn is showing signs of laying in about two weeks. They should be able to free range in the back yard by the end of next week. We need to get a fence around the winter garden first.
I think we may be ready for winter. We stacked a cord of split wood last week and got it covered. Jimmy bought me a dutch oven for the odd occasion when the electricity goes out. The Good Typist brought me sourdough starter from her trip to San Francisco. We have a winter garden with spinach,collards, red sails lettuce, broccolli and brussels sprouts and carrots. Yep lots o brassicas. Which means we will not be vitamin deficient... but probably pretty gassy .... Oh and the house will smell like ass every time I cook. I'll have to make bread everyday just to cover the stinky cabbage-y smell! I'll miss the aroma of drying herbs in the house and fresh chopped basil and cilantro but hey its winter and we are trying to live pre wwII. We are going to have to buy potatoes this winter cuz we ate 'em as soon as they were big enough to dig out of the ground. Fresh potatoes, for those of you who have never had them are a sweet and creamy delight that need no flavor enhancers. Next year we are planting twice as many. (We had 6 plants this year).
To wrap this up .... Here is the inventory of everything we have produced ourselves so far. Red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, wine and cordials. (Should the end of the world suddenly be upon us....... We have enough booze to have a teotwawki party for all our friends and family and a few strangers. Yes, it IS our intent to meet the 'end' slobbering drunk and singing show tunes.) Next, we have all the herbs we will need for a year. Parsely,sage,rosemary,tyme,oregano,tarragon,majorum,garlic,dill,hot red peppers,basil and coriander.
Home canned foods ... Jams,Jellies, pickles (hot, dill and bread and butter) Chow-chow (southerners will get that one). Pickled beets, spinach, tomatoes, tomatoe sauce, green beens,red cabbage.
Things hanging in the garage to cure or dry, Beans,onions, squash, peppers,garlic,potatoes.
In another month we will have all the eggs we need.
Things we will need to buy in bulk next week:sugar,salt,flour, black pepper, cooking oil.
Things we will need to buy a couple of times a month.. cuz we dont have the means to make it ourselves (yet): Milk,cream,butter, cheese (notice the missing cow theme?) meat products.
Of course there are things we will buy throughout the year that are on the want ..not need... list: Jimmys peanut butter, my chocolate, icecream, bananas and other fruits.
Thats about it on the gardening,harvesting,preserving end.... Next on our list is the indoors for the winter stuff.
This year I am dragging out the sewing machine and I am going to make some simple household items... like pot holders... a very needful item when cooking with cast iron, a couple of aprons cuz all this cooking from scratch really is messy. Jimmy wants me to make him a couple of shirts. So, I'm gonna do it.... But since I'm doing the work I get to do it my way. I'm gonna make him a couple of piratey,romantic, puffy sleeve, lace-up the front shirts just like the guys on the front covers of historical romances have on. He is after all MY romantic hero! And I think he will look much sexier on the couch, playing video games, in a romantic shirt!
I have lots o paintings to work on... Too bad NOBODY is buying art right now. So, I have to do some marketing to do.


  1. Total admiration and envy here after reading that. My dream has been to have an off the grid home (geodesic dome preferably) laying hens, 2 goats for milk and keeping the grass down, veggie garden and orchard, and a plentiful supply of reasonable priced hemp to sew with.
    Sounds like you and Jimmy are well on your way and streets ahead of me on all that. Power to the People!

  2. Jimmy wants a goat too! I wouldnt say our home is off the grid.... but we are heading that way. We are doing all this in a tiny little cottage in a suburban neighborhood a little north of Seattle. If you find a source for reasonably priced hemp fabric let me know. I plan to spend a good portion of the winter in front of the fire sewing!