Saturday, December 26, 2009

Radish





It is radish season. We grew a lot of radishes. They grow really fast. If you are looking for something to grow quickly to entertain a child- I recommend radishes. And yet, we do not especially enjoy eating radishes. Ideas? I also wish we had an outdoor sink. If you ever see a discarded metal sink during bulk pick-up, let me know. Or better yet- pick it up for me and I will barter you some radishes. (or lemons!)

Speaking of, please come pick up your share of lemons. Thanks. Do not come to this house if you do not want a bag full of lemons. In fact, do not even live in this neighborhood, because we have already left bags on the mailboxes of many of our neighbors. They are about to get soft and that means I have to get ruthless so they do not go to waste. I am also thinking about attempting a lemon jelly recipe, lemonade and lemon blueberry cake.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Lemontine




It is Meyer Lemon time! Hooray! I love lemon time. I also love the middle name Clementine. Which I just may know a special someone with that middle name. You might think it is me- but it is not. My middle name is Dorothy. I digress.

We are harvesting lemons by the organic, very local bag full again. No one leaves our house without some. I give thanks to the woman who planted this lemon tree years before our arrival. I hope someday someone will appreciate our Satsuma Orange tree just as much.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Fall Leaves



My husband drove around within a 10 block radius of our house and found this many bags of leaves.

He came back with truck full upon truck full. It may look insane to be gathering this many leaves as quickly as possible before trash day- but it is much more insane to be throwing away this much compostable stuff into the landfill.

I would say I am laissez faire about oh everything but I am about to make a bold statement here:
If you have lived in a home you have owned for more than a month- you must have a compost pile.

No exceptions. Esp. if you have a garden! There is no excuse for making time to have a garden and not having a compost pile.

Now I get those living in apartments without yards or renting with unforgiving landlords- you can only do what you can. But everyone else needs to get on the band wagon. It is great for your soil and your plants. Even if you never use it for improving your soil- at least it won't be going to the landfill releasing green house gasses. Get a fancy composter for Christmas or make the cheapest one possible out of other peoples trash bags filled with leaves! The options are endless. Just do it.

So what did we do with all these leaves? We dumped a ton of them into the chicken yard. The chickens LOVE digging through all the leaves, they turn the leaves under quickly, it improves the soil, more worms come to the improved soil, and the chickens get more worms to eat. Nature never ceases to amaze. We saved some of the leaves right in the garage bags for ease of dumping them into the chickens yard as the leaves in there decompose. It happens quickly!

We used some other leaves for mulch. As for the rest, we just put them into a pile and wait until they break down for great compost. We wait! Everyone can do that. It doesn't involve doing anything!

Let your New Years Resolution be to Make Less Trash.

Feel free to hit me with your reason for not composting. We can brainstorm ideas together.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Reflections



Around day 3 I started questioning, uhh why did we do this again?

Things I enjoyed about the experiment:

I knew for the first time in my life exactly how much sugar I was eating each day (very little) and how many unpronounceable preservatives I was eating (none!) No mono-bi- chasalkdjasklsafjdkfjiwns. None. That alone is pretty amazing.

Really fresh, in season tasty food.

No food trash.

To gage how much we would have to grow to feed ourselves all year and get a brief idea of what that would feel like.

Just to see if we could.

In the future I would add:

Allowances for yeast and flour. That made the experiment much harder than it needed to be.

Challenges:

Not being able to share. One of my favorite parts of having a large garden is the ability to give away fresh grown things to our friends and family as well as share meals together. That was an unforeseen damper on the backyard parade.

Other unforeseen consequences:
I lost over 5lbs.
Extreme grumpiness from lack of carbs and sugar withdrawal.
The tastiness of pumpkin hash browns.

Where I ended the experiment:
Bistro Vatel, the French Bakery down the street. These pastry are to die for. These people are the real deal. They made my life. Unforeseen consequence: I gained 10 lbs in pastries.

In the future I think we will make many more backyard meals and all backyard days. If we do a week again- I would add in grains or maybe start with a 100 mile radius. Those seem like reasonable goals.

Who's next?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Day 7!

Last day! I am grateful to be done.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Day 6!



The end is in sight. Now that I can visualize the last day and feel secure that we will have enough food to last through it- I can splurge on what is left. In the beginning of the week- we were limited by our backyard choices- but also by a fear we would eat all the food on day one and have to resort to eating the purslane weeds.

Hot tip: Purslane is edible and pretty good! It also has a high content of iron and other vitamins.

I digress. Now I can feel free to eat whatever we have left, which feels surprisingly freeing. Also a kind soul, a friend of friend, harvested some persimmons off a tree in his backyard and passed them along to us.

Breakfast: Hard-boiled eggs, persimmons and edamame. I never thought I would eat edamame for breakfast, but it was tasty.

Lunch: Salad (green beans, green peppers, arugula, spinach, radishes, cucumbers) pecans, and butternut squash. Butternut squash is delicious! Why did I wait 6 days before eating it?

Dinner: We are making venison stew with black eyed peas. More butternut squash ... and Dun Dunna DUN! Cantaloupe for dessert.

"I distrust camels, and anyone else who can go a week without a drink." -Joe E. Lewis


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day 5!



Today- we ate eggs, pecans and some lettuce. And that is about it. I have been feeling ill.

Around 5 pm, we called a family meeting. My husband is starting a new job tomorrow! Hooray! and he didn't think he could focus in our no-carb self induced stupor. We discussed the project and called for a minor celebration. We celebrated his new job by eating bread.

Now he can think and we can carry on with the final two days in glory. We never meant to start the adkins diet- speaking of- how the hell do people do the adkins diet? But we miscalculated our corn crop and having never gone a week without bread before, thought we could still carry on.

But now we know- if zombies attacked we could go atleast 5 days before making a run to the local HEB in a carb enduced panic. Actually- we can just continuing buying our bread flour in bulk- and you can run here when zombies attack.

Luckily- zombies are not currently attacking anyone- and I feel ready to eat more salad, pickles, butternut squash and eggs tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Day 4


logobig

I am grumpy. I don't like eating out of the backyard today. We ate basically everything we have been eating for 4 days. Not much new to report there.

But this morning I did think of something serendipitous. A few weeks ago before we changed the dates for our experiment, we bought tickets to see the movie Fresh at a special performance at the Paramount Theatre in Austin. Best of all Joel Salatin will be there before and after the film doing a talk-back! I love him. So we get to break our week long fast... I mean local eating feast with some of the best local food and foodies around. I didn't plan it like that but I am encouraged by it. We bought the fancy seats because it is going to benefit a great charity that I love- Urban Roots. The program teaches inner city kids how to farm and they learn how to grow, market and sell their produce at the local farmers market. Amazing!

You can still get tickets to see the movie and see Joel and the director for the discussion afterwards starting for only $15.00. Hot date! It is also the kick-off event for Austin's Eat Local Week. Join in the fun! We will be there- you can find us and ask my husband how insane I went without carbs and cheese on day 4. I'll be the one gorging myself on Kerby Lane Queso.