It seems that I’ve been very challenged lately, but I haven’t posted anything about it. Well, here goes an update for each challenge I am participating/have participated in this fall.
I must say I did very well on CDG’s Ditch the Disposables Challenge. I still buy paper towels, but use them very rarely. I’ve replaced paper napkins with cloths at home, work, and in the car! I’ve also replaced sandwich baggies, wrap, or foil with my reusable sandwich wrap. Overall, I think the challenge was a successful one, but I never got around to replacing my plastic tupperware-esque containers with anything else, mostly because I don’t want to buy anything new. But I’ve made an effort not to put these containers in the microwave.
CC’s Pioneer Week went okay. I tried to skip the TV, but kept getting drawn back in, since the election was going on and all. I did manage to cook from scratch all week, except when we went out for my mom’s birthday, which I consder to be a valid exception. Ed and I went to bed early for the most part, and we kept the heat off since it was a pretty warm week with daytime temperatures in the 60’s.
Sharon’s Independence Days Challenge has gone very well. Although I don’t spend nearly as much time in the garden as I did during the summer, I do still make my way out there. My updates below address everything we’ve done this fall.
- sunflower seeds
- canned applesauce and apple butter
- froze cranberries
- froze fish from Ed’s catch of the day
- continue to research winter gardening
- saved pumpkin seeds
- saved sunflower seeds
- bought a freezer and set it up in the basement
- split and stacked wood (okay, Ed did that!)
Cook something new.
- lots and lots! Too many to mention here.
Manage your reserves.
- lots of organizing and using some of the stocks, pesto, and veggies I froze
- continue to recycle, compost, carry reusable bags, and limit packaging
- got our new reusable bags at the stand!
- Ditch the Disposables Challenge (see above!)
Work on local food systems.
- groceries from my family’s farm market
- participated in local fairs
- visited farmer’s markets until they closed
- teach kids how to plant seeds, transplant, and care for plants in my Botany class
Learn a new skill.
- fall and winter gardening
- I learned a lot of new recipes, so I’m going to count them
I’ve spent a lot of time working on gardening this fall, but much less than I did in the spring and summer. However, I’ve been working on being able to eat from the garden as late as possible. I have some carrots that I can pull any day now. The lettuce is going strong, and I only wish I had planted more, but that’s a lesson for next year. I have a bowl of green tomatoes that slowly are used as they ripen on my countertop (the first killing frost was a while ago, so I picked them then). Parsley from the spring is still beautiful. The broccoli and spinach are coming along, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to pick the broccoli this year. I can always eat the spinach young if I’m worried it’s going to die. I’ve learned a lot from Eliot Coleman’s Four Season Harvest, but I’m still reading. While we didn’t get to build a cold frame this fall, I’m hopeful that winter will give us the time we need and I’ll have it ready to go for the springtime.
CC’s Freeze Yer Buns Challenge has been an easy one, so far… The furnace has only been turned on at night when it’s really cold, which hasn’t been more than a couple of times. We’ve been depending on the wood stove to keep the house toasty, but I must say that I’ve noticed my definition of “toasty” has changed, and now I often find myself feeling hot at work and when I go shopping. I would say that a temperature of 60 degrees to sleep is entirely realistic, and coming home in the afternoon to a house that’s around 60 (even though the heat’s off) is perfectly fine. Not to mention it helps save money! We’ll see how I feel about this challenge when winter begins!