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Ideas to assist with 100 mile dieting

OK so nobody has been here for almost a year. Yikes! Most of us are either busy with work, school, kids, looking for work or just plan don't have the energy. Well let me energize ya!

Has anyone been to the Dervaes' updated site? WOW! Talk about inspiration beyond words! Last year I got chickens which I had to downsize from 10 to 7 so I didn't have so many eggs. We still get a lot but not like before where we were like leaving them on the counter for weeks at a time due to having so many. Ha! Anyway, the Dervaes have really added on to their homestead from having Bees..yes BEES in Pasadena,CA!! They also started fish farming which the excess from the fish can go into the compost; water into the garden. All with rainwater collected on their property. Wonder how they will upkeep it over time?

http://urbanhomestead.org/journal/

Check out their urban homestead, get ideas, tear up that useless lawn and have a cuppa while you read though a decade of activity. Granted the products sold on their peddler's site isn't exactly in the 100 mile range but everything else they do should help you plan your new adventures. Does anyone else have a blog of someone's homestead that inspires to stay within 100 miles?


Now a little up date on the Desert Plum homestead (my Mom's place which I stay/garden). With this year's economic down turn I have had to cut back on even going out for long drives. Mostly I am at home poking in the garden which I have increased in activity so I can have both function and food. I added some apple trees, two kinds of blackberries and some ollas to the garden as well as really chicken proofed the important areas. I have to make a gate of some kind but for now, it is set up with both green fencing and chicken wire. Having heavy birds also helps though Sarah (Easter egger) probaby could fly over if she had a running start...a big running start.

I also started reading up on having milking and fiber goats. I started knitting/crocheting last winter and so far I am hooked! Pun intended. :p I have had an interested in weaving and spinning in the past but up until now didn't know how to go a bout it. Well now I can do so while raising my own small batch of goat hair. I have my eye on the rare Pygora which is small but puts out nice hair for spinning.

Milking wise, it is a toss up between the Nigerian Dwarf and the Mini LaMancha. Both give a fair amount of milk for their size however the Dwarf is more suited for our high desert environment plus has higher butterfat which I could use to make cheese, butter, yogurt and yes ice cream.
I have a lot to read plus stopping at the local ordinence people to make sure we can have goats but hope sometime this year to hit a couple of farms to check out goats maybe milk one and gather info. Would be nice if we had some kind of small farm animal convention though there are many resources for goat info online.

http://www.fiascofarm.com/

Start here for an overload of goaty info. Owner warns she is bias for LaManchas but overall the site is good for goat info as well as reality checking. I needs that so I don't purchase the goats too early!

Get cracking people! Your urban dream awaits!

Mixing food plants with flowers

I have a flower bed that surrounds a small circular deck. It is somewhat shaded by a small tree. Last year, on the south side, I planted a tomato plant and a few basil. It looked good and produced well.

So this year I am planting 3 tomato plants in my flower bed PLUS I am growing peas and beans up the trellis. Normally I plant morning glories by the trellis to look good and provide some privacy. I don't know why I didn't think of this before. The peas and beans can do the same job as the morning glories plus I get fresh veggies out of the deal!

Hey everyone!

I thought I’d post a link to a part of the website dedicated to the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet. The part of the website is called Local Food Adventures and is dedicated to people everywhere who are growing their own food or participating in some type of local food production. They post their stories as well as a picture and it’s fun and inspiring to see, so enjoy!

Patiofarmers' Guild

Hi all,

I hope that this is allowed and if it isn't, please let me know and I'll delete it ASAP.

I just wanted to let you know about my new website, http://patiofarmersguild.com for anyone who is interested in organic gardening/farming and self-sufficiency in small or unconventional spaces. It's part blog, part forum, part resource guide and hopefully much more. It's very new but it's worth a look and I'm hoping that it'll keep growing with time. I'm also always looking for contributors, so if anyone is interested in writing an article or essay, passing on a tip or idea, reviewing a relevant book or even just adding pictures of your own patiofarm, I'd love to hear from you. My email is pfarmer@patiofarmersguild.com

Again, I'm not trying to break any community rules, so please forgive me if this isn't allowed. I'll be happy to delete it. Thanks so much for your time and I hope to see you on the forums!

Kelly the PatioFarmer

x-posted a bit.

Missing you....

Dear Farmers' Market,

Even though it's only been a few short weeks since we were last together, I am missing you terribly. While I do miss your fresh produce and meats, that's not the whole of it. It's the energy of the other people walking through the stalls, selecting what they want. It's the pride of the food producers and the knowledge they share with their customers.

I have to be honest with you, my love. I have been seeing another - a grocery store. After all, a human does have needs. But she can't compare to you in any way. The food is dead, the people walking through it are tired, and the people who work there just want their paycheck. I can't blame them. That is what I will have to live with until you are open again in April.

Oh how I long for April. What surprises will you have in store for me then? The first of the greens, perhaps? No matter - what ever it is will be delicious and alive. Until then.

Truely yours forever,

Cara

Tonight's dinner

Dried apple slices
Blackberry honey
Aged sharp white cheddar

Washed down with a glass of Icewine that I bottled today. Mmmmmmmmm.


I wish I could eat this way more often. But I can only do this when I'm home alone. If the husband and kid were here, that would not be considered "dinner". Dinner has to have meat and has to either go in the oven or on the grill. My husband is getting a bit better since he is doing Atkins and so he is willing to eat a salad. But it has to have sliced meat on top of it.

Silly, silly men-folk in my home.

Gift for my husband

For Valentine's Day I ordered my husband an Arbequina Olive Tree. He LOVES olives!

Since I live Up North, this tree will be grown in a large pot so it can moved inside during the winter. Hopefully it will keep my dwarf lemon tree company! If this goes well, I am considering growing more fruiting trees in pots. Not only will it allow me to grow things outside my growing zone, it will allow me to take them with me when we move. (Hopefully in a year)

I wonder how long before we get olives and lemons?


The State of My Stores

Just a quick rundown of how things stand and what I should do for next year:

Onions - my "fresh" onions are few and are starting to sprout. Bummer. I have been buying onions at the Farmers' Market, but it is just at the end of what a person can expect, I guess. Next year I need to research which types of onions store longer and how to better store them. Cause my pantry is too warm. Also, I need chop and dry a few quart jars of onions next Fall. Then I would have enough onion to last me for soups and baked dishes.

Garlic - same deal as the onion. Sprouting like mad. The smaller, red, Italian garlic seems to store longer, though. I like the taste better too...more pungent.

Tomatoes - you've all heard me bitch about this before. More of everything. About 4 times as much. At least. So...48 quarts of sauce and 48 quarts of juice and 4 quarts of dried for next year. Even with my pantry wtf am I going to store all that?

Nuts - Pretty good on those. Black walnuts are about 1/2 gone (1 quart jar). Same with hazelnuts and pecans. I should use more and store more. Why don't I ever think to use the nuts?

Meat - Not an issue. Very easy to get.

Peas and corn - I'm out. I froze several bags thinking it would be enough. But since I'm not buying very many veggies out of season at the store I rely more on frozen veggies.

Fruit - store more apples and pears and ditch most of the frozen fruit. I hate the frozen fruit. I'll eat the apples and pears and do without the others during the winter. Wasted effort. Excited about my lemon tree - will I get a lemon or two this year? Two more years until my grapes produce.

Herbs - My one area of pure and total success! I have frozen basil pesto, dried herbs of almost every type, and a pot of rosemary that I can snip off of. Man does that make a difference. If I could suggest any 1 thing that would make the biggest impact on enjoying food more - it would be to grow and dry/freeze/keep growing your own herbs.

Community Ed classes: Take 2

Here is the the class I am going to (attempt, again) to teach. Meets one time for 2 hours.

Sustainable and Seasonal Cooking: Spring
Seasonal cooking uses local, sustainably grown produce, harvested at the peak of ripeness. Meals are planned around what is in season, either from your garden or the Farmers’ Market. Seasonal cuisine brings many benefits, not the least of which is great taste. It is also great fun to know that you are cooking and eating great food grown or harvested by local people.


In this cooking class you will learn how to
· Celebrate the joys of local, seasonal and artisan ingredients and create meal plans around what is ripe in our area this Spring.
· Understand the source of the ingredients - the way they have been grown, raised or caught. Reconnect with the source of your meal.
· Source sustainable agriculture and humane animal husbandry practices
· Respect and support our local economy - a dollar spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy.
· Reduce the amount of garbage and packaging by purchasing products with minimal packaging to begin with.

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Resources and Links

Websites
http://www.localharvest.org
http://100milediet.org/
http://slowfood.com
http://www.eattheseasons.com/index.htm
http://www.pcfma.com/cookbook.php (recipes)
Books
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver

The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating by Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon

Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets by Deborah Madison

Coming Home to Eat: The Pleasures and Politics of Local Foods by Gary Paul Nabhan

Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should Be Good, Clean, And Fair by Carlo Petrini
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