Special announcement: I am officially doing an Eat Down The Larder July. If you want to join in, just try not to buy food at the store and instead use up the stuff that’s hidden in the bottom of your freezer and on the back of your pantry shelves.
Feel free to give yourself exceptions. For example, we’re gonna keep buying milk. The kids are at that age where they drink a lot of milk. And we have a camping trip scheduled for this month; we’ll buy hot dogs and stuff for that. But the spirit of the thing is to skip as many grocery store trips as possible and hopefully get creative in using up the food you already have.
Here’s this week’s list of accomplishments, recorded in the hopes that this practice will help keep me motivated and accountable. Please join in, and list your own weekly achievements in the comments, or if you have a blog and want to do your own post and link it up, that’s great too.
Planted & Maintained
- Basic watering, weeding and training of stuff like tomatoes and cucumbers.
- Weeded front perennial bed.
- Sprayed garden with Alaska Fish Emulsion to give plants a boost.
- Started most of my fall and winter crops: cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, etc. They are just barely starting to germinate. Need to do another tray with cauliflower asap.
- The tomatoes I side-dressed with kelp meal last week look worse than the ones I didn’t do anything to. Le sigh.
- Greenhouse still empty.
- Got parts to repair and tune-up the line trimmer so we can start to tackle the weed mess in the upper yard today.
- Red, White and Black Currants
- Summer squash
- Peas! Not mine – my neighbor had an abundance and shared. I love my neighbors.
- Made 1/2 gallon of bourbon-preserved cocktail cherries.
- Made and canned two batches of Cherry Salsa.
- Made and canned Cherry Barbecue Sauce.
- Made and froze two batches of Dark Cherry and Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.
- Made Kombucha.
- Consolidated some mead experiments from 2014 and ditched the abject failures.
- Made cherry pit vinegar.
Cooked + Eat Down The Larder
- Used up a shit ton of duck eggs as breakfast enchiladas. Added scrambled eggs and sauteed ground beef to a big bowl. Seasoned with cumin, chipotle, salt and pepper. Rolled egg mix plus shredded cheddar in tortillas to create small burritos. Lined up the burritos in a baking dish and covered with a mild tomato sauce made by blending a jar of crushed tomatoes, a can of tomato paste, and a few seasonings together. Topped everything with more cheddar. Baked until hot and melty. This turned out really well!
- Made challah to use up more eggs. (Bella did this with minimal guidance from me).
- Made flatbread dough for grilled pizzas, etc.
- Basic daily maintenance.
- Deep clean on coop.
- Shredded tons of old bills and junk mail for coop nesting box material.
Household and Projects
- Cleaned up garage.
- Cleaned out the fridge.
- Got caught up on desk day stuff and shredded acres of junk mail.
- Got ducts cleaned out.
- Gathered unwanted and outgrown toys and clothes for a donation run to our local thrift store.
- The last 10 – 20% on a dozen different projects. You know how that is, right? You get something 80% or 90% done, and then it just hangs out, no longer critical but not done, either? We dealt with the nagging end bits on quite a few things.
Business, Finances and Frugality
- Over $425 per month of direct funding on my Patreon page. Patreon is actually working – it’s pretty amazing.
- We were better about recording in GoodBudget this week.
Energy Use & Solar Panel Production
- Total electricity used: 192 kWh
- Total solar energy produced: 233 kWh (= $125.19 in production incentive)
- Energy “sold back”: 41Wh (= $4.32 in net production)
- Total earned through our solar panels this week: $129.51
Homeschooling & Family
- Family adventure on the 4th of July – just hung out in our town, chilled at the beach and enjoyed the local fireworks.
- Otherwise another quiet week of life. Bella is plugging away on her summer project, but no formal schooling this past week.
- If you missed it, here is why we homeschool.
Planning and Research
- Almost all of my research time went to food preservation this week – figuring out the best recipes to test with my box-o-cherries from the Washington State Fruit Commission.
- I also listen to a lot of podcasts and audiobooks when I’m doing kitchen and garden stuff, and most of what I listen to counts as decently educational.
• • •
I always forget about cherry pit vinegar! Thanks for the reminder. I’m saving the pits as we speak ;o)
Kristina M says
This is my favorite feature on the blog! I love seeing little pieces of your accomplishments beyond what you post on the blog. I’m treading water with a very busy work schedule right now but it’s fun to hear what everyone else is up to. Looking forward to getting back into the game after things quiet down next week.
1 gallon cherry wine in primary
Dried a bunch of cherries, almost a quart bag full
Halved and froze 4 cups of cherries to turn into chutney when I have time
Awe, thanks! That’s a lot along with a busy work life! Good for you using your freezer on those cherries, I’ve got a post coming up for next week that talks about using the freezer as a tool in canning.
We are moving in late august, so we’re eating from the larder/freezer for sure! No sense transporting food 500 miles.
I used frozen blueberries in muffins and pancakes, frozen bananas in muffins, making shrimp fried rice tonight to use up mini shrimp, used frozen tomatoes in something, used up the smoked chicken from the fridge in a soup with fresh corn left from the 4th and potatoes from the garden.
I pulled delicata squash plants out completely because of silver leaf (don’t have time to wait for IPM/healthy growth), and used the squash and some frozen corn and peppers in a veggie hash, using zucchini and potatoes from the garden too.
Projects in preparation for the move:
Clad the brick fireplace in stacked stone and the hearth in huge tiles. Made a mantel. Looks great.
Scrubbed the deck.
Ordered new hall light fixtures.
Installed wood flooring and baseboards in the laundry room (almost done).
Sorted the technology graveyard drawer, added to the goodwill pile from my stash of cookbooks and homestead-ish books.
Removed the defunct string of lights from the bay tree.
Painted the door trim for the laundry room.
Basic pruning, extra watering of plants for the heat wave, training some rebellious tomatoes.
planted and maintained:
-basic watering, weeding, and otherwise sorting of the garden
-planted a couple of new miniature thymes and mints in the walking path I laid a couple of weeks ago (filling in holes)
-trying not to panic about how the pumpkins are (not) doing, same with the one dying raspberry plant (but happy the other is still alive)
-another pot of wheatgrass – once it gets fully grown, it’ll go into the Catio for the beasts to eat
-blueberries, by the bowlful
-almost the last of the spring greens – the chard (still a bit of cauliflower out there)
-herbs, mostly as we cook. I’m waiting till the flowering is all done before I do any drying
-another round of pickled mandarins, another round of cherry-almond-whiskey jam
-saved the pits from the cherries and threw them into a jar of vodka, for making a dry cherry vodka flavoring for cooking and for drink-making
-doing walnut ketchup tomorrow, from neighbor’s green walnuts we picked last weekend
-froze a bunch of boysenberries a friend gave me, planning ahead on the tomato canning she’d like to do with me as the return favor
-maintaining the bug-&-bird baths throughout the garden – we have several shallow and deep baths for all the bugs and birds and other critters who visit our yard; also maintaining the bird/squirrel feeders
-leaving the flowers on the herbs for the bees, carefully picking around them for what we need for cooking
-weaving a couple of long stalks of catnip into the catio bars
-watering the current pot of wheatgrass in the Catio, for the beasts to eat
-washed the bench cushions from inside of the Catio
-found an awesome new toy for the cats at a thrift store, also cut some holes & flaps in a large box for the cats
household and projects
-made a date with the husband and a friend for cleaning out the garage
-working on organizing and storing my canning projects (they’ve easily outgrown the pantry/closet)
-made a date for food swapping with friends, in order to get some of the older canning projects out of the pantry/closet, but also as an excuse to get together with friends
-took a bag of clothing and odds & ends to Goodwill
planning & research:
-continued planning and researching for the Food In Jars Preservation Mastery Challenge, as well as for several local/county/state fair competitions, planning & research into recipes to use, figuring out why a couple of things haven’t been turning out correctly, figuring out the cheapest sources of canning jars & lids and ingredients and labeling materials, planning my official competition label designs, etc
-still in the initial stages of planning a replacement for our slowly-disintegrating pergola with living roof
-still working on how I want to make a thing for the Art-O-Mat project
I had already started a Convert-the-Larder challenge for myself. The goal is to convert the odds and ends into components of various freezer meals so they are in a form they will actually be consumed. Turned a broonie recipe into muffins, so that used up some oats and barley. Pressure cooked some beans that I’ll freeze with rice. Coming up with a plan for the various assorted lentils. If it’s cooked or baked and in the freezer, it’ll get eaten. If it’s just sitting in the cupboard, it won’t.
My other frugality resolution for the week is to minimize the number of dairy products I purchase that go to waste. I recently cleaned out my fridge and there were yogurt containers, buttermilk bottles, sour cream, milk, etc. I had already started making yogurt weekly, so that cuts down any wasted yogurt. And I can sub in either yogurt or whey into almost any baked good. So, if I’m making something and it calls for milk or buttermilk or anything similar, I’m just using either yogurt or whey or a combination. In the broonie I made yesterday, I ran out of yogurt and topped it off with sour cream. Turned out great. So, no more wasted dairy. It’s cream for my coffee and whatever can be derived from homemade yogurt. I’ll still keep sour cream around just because it lasts forever and I love it. But I am done buying milk or buttermilk and not getting through the bottle and having it go to waste.
And I did break down and buy the pressure canner and nice camp stove. Researching things I can do with that…which will probably involve the various old beans in my cupboard.
“Turn ingredients into food” – so important for us, too.
I enjoy your posts very much. I don’t know why, but I can’t read the $1 Patreon posts. I am currently at the $3 level. I am particularly interested in the PBW article for pointers on how to make my stove usable again!
Hi Wade – what happens when you click on or try to watch a $1 Patreon video? I’d love to try to help you figure it out.
I’ve been a longtime lurker on your website, but today really for the first time read – and was astounded by – your home solar energy report. In Wisconsin and Arizona where we live (and have solar PV), net metering rates are being reduced for homeowners with rooftop solar, incentives cut, and in general the utilities are successfully disincentivising new installations. Why do you think Washington and Oregon have such a different view?? I’m envious!
It’s politics. We moved from Wisconsin to Oregon in 2013. I don’t think solar should be a political thing, but it is.
Cherry pit vinegar??!! I think you know this needs to be a whole post. If it already is, I couldn’t find it. I’ve just gained access to 2 full-size tart cherry trees. Alas, barely too late for this year but I’ve already told the owner I’ll see him in 48 weeks. By the way, do comments automatically close after a certain number of days?