May 16, 2010

Independence Days Challenge: May 9 - 15

The thing is, changing someone's food habits is a big thing

Sharon Astyk ,Independence Days: A Guide to Sustainable Food Storage & Preservation
I reckon anyone who has ever tried to lose weight understands the truth of this statement. So has anyone who has resolved to eat healthier. Or as in our case, anyone who is trying to be more self-sufficient in regards to diet and food. For Dan and me, it's not that we don't like the foods we can grow or provide for ourselves. It's the things that we can't.

Some of those things I will continue top buy anyway. Tuna fish for example, it's favorite sandwich fixin's for lunch with chips and sauerkraut. Or grapefruit for breakfast. As much as we like these things though, they are things we could live without. Coffee and chocolate are another matter. Whether or not coffee is good for us depends upon what you read, and even if I did get a few dwarf coffee trees, I doubt they could supply enough for that daily cuppa. Chocolate, well, we just like it.

Other things won't be a hardship to change. Rice for example. Rice became my staple starch when I lived in Louisiana so many years ago. Now that we are growing our own potatoes, we will simply use those instead. We both grew up on potatoes anyway. In the future we may find ourselves eating more corn, as a vegetable and also corn flour. This is because corn is probably easier to grow and harvest on a small homestead scale than wheat, though it certainly is possible to grow one's own wheat. For more on that, click here.

Apartment living for three years before we bought this place didn't help our food habits. Not that I didn't still cook from scratch and buy wholesome, natural foods, but we didn't garden (except for this), and we didn't have room for food storage, I didn't can or preserve except for strawberry jam. Not that I haven't done these things in the past, but I've lost the rhythm of doing so.

I've learned that the best way to change eating habits, successfully is to go slowly. Some things, like lacto-fermented foods take time to develop a taste for. Other things can be eased in to. Homemade whole grain bread comes to mind. I gradually increased the amount of whole wheat until my family started turning their noses up at the store bought stuff. Cheeses too.

Change is about motivation and the key is mindset, I think. We are motivated by the idea of doing more for ourselves and buying less. For a little more on that, click here.

Here are the small steps we've taken this week:

1. Plant something
  • lavender
  • thyme
  • oregano
  • buttercup squash
  • okra
  • black turtle beans
  • sunflowers
  • nasturtiums
  • popcorn
  • peppermint plants
  • creeping thyme plants
2. Harvest something -
  • strawberries
  • broccoli
  • lettuce
  • radish
  • spinach
  • English peas
3. Preserve something -
  • strawberry jam - 12 pints plus
4. Waste Not
  • scraps to chickens & compost
  • collected turnip seeds
  • Cut the grass field with our new scythe. Will dry & save it for hay
  • Using leftover pieces of wire fence to section off the coal barn carport. We plan to gather and stack the hay there
5. Want Not
6. Build Community Food Systems
  • DH has had several chances to talk to our neighbors about what we're doing
7. Eat the Food
  • finished last jar of 2009 strawberry jam
  • garden salads
  • blueberry cake from dehydrated blueberries. Wasn't as good as the cake from my dried figs.

Independence Days Challenge: May 9 - 15
copyright May 2010 by Leigh at


maggie said...

Sometimes when I read these updates you post, I feel like such a slacker. But just now I started to actually list each thing I did yesterday and realized that the problem is not that I don't do a lot, it's that there's just so much to be done! Perspective- it's a beautiful thing. Your comment about having lost the rhythm of things really resonates with me and describes right where I am right now. But... baby steps, right?

Leigh said...

Maggie, you're hitting the nail on the head. When there's a lot to be done, I find myself totally overwhelmed. I focus on the undone instead of the done. I reckon that's why one of the "rules" of participation is not to report what we didn't do! The philosophy is to do something every day.

I am finding these weekly lists not only motivate me (I don't want a weekly update with nothing to report!), but help me feel productive. I'm realizing that so many of the little things we do get overlooked or forgotten. Really, though it all adds up, and I am slowly working toward my goal.

Sharon said...

We're fully planted with what grows here. Ian put in asparagus the other day and I think that does it. We just found out today that if we order a CSA basket, a neighbor will pick it up. The produce grows in a lower region to the southwest of us. I am so excited and then we've ordered another locker lamb from Mim - we're about set and it's a relief.

Leigh said...

Gosh Sharon,that's great news about finding a CSA. That's how community ought to be.