This week, my progress toward being "prepared" has mainly been spent finding useful things to help me process food.
Before I finally found the world of blog recently, I took years of agriculture classes in crop science, forestry, environmental resources, and animal science, but I had no real plan for how to put the ideas I learned into practice. I had a small pantry of organic whole grains and beans, but I did not know how to properly store them.
In the short time that it has been since I started following and reading the weekly blog posts of members of the Homestead Revival Preparedness Challenge, my understanding of the term preparedness has changed as I have been exposed to a wealth of information. Each week I feel encouraged to try something new or expand on something else. So, this week I have a few things to share (baby steps).
My dear husband allowed me to hand pick a few things for my upcoming birthday, so I decided on a pressure cooker/canner, a countertop yogurt maker, and some homesteading/homemaking skills books from Amazon. Now, I am just waiting for their arrival, to dive in.
Then, as if my week couldn't get any better, we spent Saturday morning hunting yard sale treasures and I hit the jackpot at an estate sale. I found a Harsch Gairtopf lactic-fermentation crock, a Champion juicer w/meat grinder attachment, and a Vita-Mix juicer.
I saw on the Champion Juicer website that they have an affordable grain mill attachment. I have an old manual crank that is TOUGH. I have been hoping to get a power grain mill for a long time, but good ones are so expensive. That will be my next preparedness purchase. So many great finds, it was as if someone was watching over me from above, Grandma maybe? Somebody, pinch me, I must be dreaming.
Now, I realize that for some people, electric juicers and an electric yogurt maker may not seem like the greatest "preparedness" items, hence the word "electric", but we are working on that angle too. My son recently finished his state power lineman/climber certification courses and is now half way through his wind turbine technician course at the college. Mom and Dad will be seeking his expertise to help us set up a wind generator for limited backup, for now.
My garden is still growing. I have been giving away more than we can eat so the crock and the canner will both come in handy. My squash and zukes survived a bout with powdery mildew recently, thankfully. I am harvesting potatoes and pulling some pea vines to make room for more winter veggies in my fall garden soon. I did a few succession plantings and am still waiting on those tomatoes. They're pretty as a picture, but GREEN. My professor told me it was my fault, I baby them. I have to "drought" them to get them to turn red at once, but I don't want to see them suffer. Bleeding heart, right.
Anyway, the garden is good, now I'm thinking about the fall garden diagram, what goes where, and soon I will be calculating how productive certain plants were, to determine whether or not to plant them again next spring. I am going to be trying to reconcile what I can grow (volume per season/crop) with how much food storage is recommended for a family of four (I will do this over winter, when it's too cold to go outside much). I am hoping to find that it is reasonable to sustain ourselves from the limited raised beds I have planted (350 square feet). I know it cannot sustain grain crops, but veggies, should be close.
Well, my Mother is coming for a visit and to shop my garden. I look forward to visiting with her, we don't get too much time for eachother anymore. Love you Mama.
Ta ta for now and thanks in advance to everyone else that participates in Homestead Revival's Preparedness Challenge. You are helping us all learn how to be more prepared. What a great joy it is to commune with like minds and share and learn such incredible gifts and talents.
THANK YOU ALL FOR SHARING!