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.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Artisan Lifestyle, Astrology, MRX, Buy American Made, Bruce Springsteen , sears sucks, BOYCOTT

I almost hesitate to write this blog cuz Mercury is retrograde and everything I do is like slogging through mud up to my knees. But it was requested that I do so... so here I am. I expect typos and I will read and reread this before posting to check my facts. Mercury is all about communication and all that entails... travel,computers,phones,feet,neighbors, friends, tv's, conveyances etc. this one happened in Libra (relationships) and moved backwards in Virgo (mudane and health, especially the stomach and when retro.. the throat,mouth and so forth.) If you are having a rough time the last couple of weeks its probably been related to one of these issues. (personally... my computer keeps crashing and I seem to have a permanent belly ache). That all said, Saturday night/Sunday morning was the Mercury RX conjunct Sun. The peak point if you will. I'm getting lots of reports of high weirdness, general dysfunction, small accidental injuries, stomach flu symptoms and miscommunication. All I can really say here is just.... clean up the mess,take a nap and be patient until the 29th when it is over. Around the 30th or so things will start to look brighter.... or at least less murky. I expect the 29th or 30th will bring evidence that the summer is gone and fall is truly upon us.
On a very personal note this retrograde has brought to the forefront what I believe is going to be a new obsession. "Buying American Made" I realised that with 50% of the people I know out of work right now I cant, in all good conscience, buy crap made in china. To that end I need new boots, a couple of sweaters, some new jeans and socks. So I went to sears yesterday to search for the above mentioned items. Sears is an American tradition right? Well not anymore. I checked every single tag on every sweater,pair of jeans,shoes, socks and even wife beaters for Jimmy. I was prepared to put 2 or 3 hundred dollars on my Sears card! I was even ok with the idea that when I was done I would look like something off a 1980's Bruce Springsteen album cover. Not so.... I found some Hanes socks for men that were made in the US. So a big 'ole thank you to Hanes for keeping my neighbors working.!
The Ladies and Misses department was NOTHING but poorly made acrylic sweaters and stretch jeans all made in china and Indochina. Even the Levis were made in Bangladesh. So, no joy there. So... I thought to myself I'll just go butch and headed to the mens department... Lee jeans- oversees, and of all horrors... even the carharts I looked at were produced overseas. The flannels.... oversees, work shirts, oversees. I tried to commit each garment and its 'country of origin' to memory and realised after about an hour that I couldnt keep up. I gave up and went to the shoe department where every single ladies boot in stock was made in china or the Philippines and ALL of them were made of some kind of plastic/petroleum product.
By the time I reached the shoe department the sears employees were starting to follow me around watching me suspiciously. So, I took my American Made Hanes socks to the register where a smiling Clerk asked "Did you find everything OK?". I almost strangled on my purposely unintelligible answer.
As I walked to my car clutching my socks.... I understood fundamentally what I had to do next. I already make it a point to do my grocery shopping from local farmers and dairies.. Now I will begin the search for American Made clothing and products. I will do without rather than buy one more item made in a foreign country. I'm only one tiny insignificant woman in an ocean of shoppers who dont give a damn. ........ But I say to myself ... a lone voice in the cacophony of the city.... LET THE BOYCOTT BEGIN!!!!