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Posts Tagged ‘community’

Bunching onions, sauerkraut, local lamb roast, and working in the garden….

Chopping up bunching onions to go in my neighbors freezer

Chopping up bunching onions to go in my neighbors freezer

What do all those things have in common? …. Just more “not dabbling in normal” normal.

Over at the neighbors getting things ready to plant.

Over at the neighbors getting things ready to plant.

Cleaning and clearing out the winter garden. the onions are starting to flower. I let a few turnips and some of the kale flower so I can collect seeds. The monster spinach is just starting to bolt, so will leave a few plants in the ground for seed saving also.

I was over at the neighbors yesterday to help clear out winter plants and get some spring things in the ground. He uses a hoe (made in the USA) that belonged to his grandmother. (my neighbor is 81 years old, so that is one old hoe that he is using.) we planted some cucumber and zucchini seeds and got a few bell pepper plants in the ground. My body is still playing catch up from being sick a year ago…. so that was all we got done. We will work out there again on Saturday. I plan to work in my garden today and hopefully get some plants in the ground. I still get out of breath, but it feels good to work out there and I need to keep pushing myself a bit to keep getting better. I have certainly come a long way, especially when i think back to march 2013 when I couldn’t even walk across the room!

chopping cabbage for sauerkraut

chopping cabbage for sauerkraut

I have picked my cabbages and they are in the crock turning into fermented sauerkraut. I picked up some more local cabbage at the local swap that I go to and those are also fermenting in another second crock. A Roasted lamp shoulder

Dinner the other night was a roasted local lamb shoulder (picked it up at the swap/barter.) I had a second pan in the oven roasting sweet potatoes and onions that I also traded for.

Making a cough syrup

Making a cough syrup

I am also taking an herbal medics class. Learning a lot, and So much more to learn. It is a lot of fun. I am harvesting some wild herbs and edibles as they are popping up this spring. The lambsquarter is popping up so I am potting some up to take to plant swaps and also the month swap/barter.

So, like I said…. Life. There is a lot going on. Spring is in the air (It was 87F yesterday – I think we skipped Spring!)

What are you up to this time of year?

Sincerely, Emily

 

 

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I went to my first swap this past April. I had heard of swaps but didn’t find one in my area until a friend found this one on a MeetUp page and told me about it.

Swap July 2013

Swap July 2013

The organizer set up a few guidelines and the rest is history. She holds it once a month.

There were a few guidelines to follow:

  • No money was allowed – this is all about the trade and bartering with what you have for what you want/need.
  • Items should be sustainably-minded. Something you have grown in your garden, something you conned/cooked/brewed/baked/preserved/dried, etc. Something your animals made (goat milk, hen eggs, lamb wool, etc.) Something you sewed/knitted/re-purposed, etc. Items to do with sustainable interests are also good (Mother Earth News magazines, cookbooks, cooking/camping gear, etc)
  • The items you should leave at home: this is not a garage sale, items should be about sustainability. Leave the knick-knacks at home.

Once we set up, we were allowed 15 minutes to walk around and check out the items other people brought so we could see what we were interested in.

Lemon pickles, Dill pickles, Homemade Teriyaki sauce

Lemon pickles, Dill pickles, Homemade Teriyaki sauce

Each month I have been posting about the swap over on my personal blog. About a month ago I realized that I hadn’t posted about the July swap and I thought it would be a good topic to post here. I have known the swap and barter system is out there and alive, and I realize that there may be others out there that are interested, but don’t know were to look or even how to get started.

Here are the other swap posts I have done”

Here are a few places to look to find swaps in your area: Note: I will add additional information to this post as I find it or as people comment. (updated 19 Sept 2013)

Would you go to a swap if you had one in your area?
Are you participating in a swap in your area?

Please use the comments to let others know about how to find a swap. If you out there participating in a swap, please comment with the general area you are in and add a link to the swap information.

Sincerely, Emily

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Hi All from narf7 from Serendipity Farm

Today’s post was brought to you by the concept of flour through the ages. I have a very sketchy ability to recall my own history let alone the history of the rest of the world but somewhere in the back of my mind I remember a history lesson regarding how important the growing of cereal crops was to the history of mankind. It meant that we would no longer need to be nomadic and that there would be a degree of surety regarding our food supply that was previously reliant on the hunting of large and dangerous creatures to feed us. Maybe that’s where vegans started as well…who knows! All I know is that it meant that people tended fields of grain while others went out to catch the mammoths and that’s where humanity started to really appreciate the concept of community. Everyone had a job, and the cereal became the backbone of the community.

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Sourdough rye starter after being fed, ready for use

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A sourdough loaf

Very early on we humans learned that a loaf of bread (albeit unleavened and most probably somewhat tasteless) was a valuable thing when the mammoths went on their annual sabbatical to wherever they went (most probably the La Brea Tar Pits) and being able to harvest perennial grasses allowed communities to grow and prosper. The production of flour allowed a community to store food and once food was stored it could be bartered for other food and goods and services, and over a period of time commerce was born. Flour, and that tasteless loaf of unleavened bread was incredibly vital to how big a community could grow and how far it could travel to meet up with other small communities.

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Homemade spinach pasta dough made with eggs and spinach produced on the property

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A Roly Poly Tiger Stromboli created from a savoury Stromboli recipe after wondering if a sweet version might be nice…it was!

Fast forwards to today and flour is just as important to our economies as it was back then but we have refined (pun intended) our flour to within an inch of its life and it isn’t the life sustaining product that it once was. Fortunately for us there are healthy alternatives and we can all have a go at creating customised baked goods suitable for everyone in our family. There is a groundswell of interest in cooking and especially baking and a subsequent rise in food blogs enabling us all to customise our diets to suit our requirements. It also allows us to share what we learn with our friends and family and spread the food love around

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Delicious and healthy, a cake baked using dates as an alternative to refined sugar

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These muffins were baked using kefir and sourdough starter a great way to use up excesses in a most tasty way

Where our communities were once reliant on spreading the grain love for survival, we now share recipes to rebuild a sense of community…we have almost come full circle. I shared how to make a wonderful pizza, calzone and Stromboli dough with a wonderful friend who was staying with us recently. She can now take the recipe back home with her and share it with her friends and family to make their lives richer. Humble flour still enriches our lives even though our lives are a whole lot easier than they once were. Where would we be without bread, birthday cakes and pizza?

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I am a member of the San Antonio Herb Society and we do several outreach events each year where we work at educating people about herbs. The display we have is called Everyday Herbs and it is made up of many examples of boxed and packaged foods that you can buy in your grocery store that contain herbs. Along with those boxes and packages we have pots of each herb to show people what that herb looks like before it is added to those foods, and educating them how herbs are a part of their everyday life. We also focus on 12 basic herbs that grow well in our area.

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Last year three of us worked at freshening up the display and finding more healthy and organic examples to use in our display. We used to use these neat ceramic plant marks, but they were so heavy that the 4″ potted herbs would end up falling over a lot of the time so we decided to take a normal terracotta/clay pot and use blackboard paint on them and use a white marker (to look like chalk) and write the herb on each pot. Those pots would make a nice strong and steady base to place the 4″ potted herbs in and help them remain upright throughout the day.

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This is a really simple way to label your potted plants. We used two different pots shapes and sizes to give the display some variety. The blackboard (chalkboard paint) paint in permanent and the white marker we used it also. We will be using these pots over and over again, so it was important that they would hold up. You could also use regular chalk, but just remember that it would wash off in the rain.

We only did the 12 basic herbs that grow well in the San Antonio area to keep the focus on what herbs are easy for people to start with if they were interested in growing herbs. The pots turned out great and the display turned out well.

The pots have really freshened up the display. This is an ongoing display as we continue to to switch out the older boxed foods with examples of more organic and healthy options.

Do you have a creative way to label your potted plants?

Sincerely, Emily

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Who else loves Pinterest! I do, i do! Pinterest is a relatively new website/tool that allows us visual rememberers to bookmark things we find on the internet based on their images. Bookmarks are great, but i can never find what i’m looking for and often use some random description that helps me not at all in my search.  Then there’s the whole “woops, i lost all my bookmarks” issue that occasionally arises. Pinterest allows me to grab my favorite image from a website to help me save something for later. I use Pinterest as a bookmarking tool, as well as a sharing tool. Not exactly “social media” in the Facebook “show off your baby” sense, but social in that you can share a board with someone else to keep them in the loop of what you’re reading and discovering online, and you can follow folks and gain ‘followers’ who are interested in the same things you’re interested in.

Here are two of my favorite pins lately:

 

These pumpkin cinnamon rolls from Smitten Kitchen look delish! I’d love to bake them later, so i pinned her post to my “Food and Eating” board.

Source: squidoo.com via Miranda on Pinterest

 

I just love Boer goats! We hope to raise goats for milk and meat one day soon, so i pinned this image that links to an article about raising meat goats to my “Goats and Livestock” board.

I have boards for sewing, knitting, inspiration, cooking, gardening and more. I can visually organize my bookmarks in a way that i’m more likely to remember and all of Pinterest is searchable, so my pin descriptions can also help me find the articles i’m looking for. I follow fellow Dabbler, Susy on Pinterest, as well as several other Pinners that post things ranging from home decor to sewing patterns. There is a wealth of info there to be had and shared and it’s growing all the time. The site has suffered a few hiccups resulting from a shoddy business plan (gee, i don’t know anything about that!) but i love it and so do tons of other (mostly female) people. My husband is on Pinterest, pinning things like fishing lure designs and construction plans. The more things you grab from the internet and add to Pinterest, the more that’s available to browse using their various search/wander functions.

Do you pin? I’d love it if you’d follow me and see what i’ve been pinning lately.  You never know what you might find to inspire you next. Have you found a favorite recipe or a  juicy piece of info from Pinterest recently?

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