Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Independence Days challenge begins again

It's time again for Sharon's Independence Days Challenge. It's my third year participating in this challenge, which is a reminder to do a little something each day towards food "independence." Actually, it was just my own laziness that made me stop posting weekly updates last year; this is really something that can be done year round. I love this challenge, because it reminds me that storing food doesn't have to be some big huge overwhelming task; you can do a little here and there and still end up with a pretty impressive pantry.

Generally, I like to post on Mondays, because I'm most productive on the weekends. However, this Monday was lost to sickness, so I'll start now and get on a regular schedule next week. (Thank you for all your well-wishing comments. I think we're well on the way toward health now.)

Sharon's outlined 7 categories for the challenge. In the spirit of don't-beat-yourself-up, I will post only on the ones I've done. So, here's the beginning of what I hope will be our best year yet:

1. Plant something: Only in my head so far, but I did order many many things to plant! I've already posted about the seeds, and I'll post soon about the bushes and plants I've ordered.

2. Harvest something:
What feels like a bounty of eggs, now that the chickens are laying regularly again. And sap! I got a late start tapping the trees this year. But instead of the two trees we've done in the past, I've got 6 trees "on tap" right now, and as soon as I can get my hands on some more buckets, I think I'll add a few more.

3. Preserve something: 1 1/4 qts. maple syrup, the best we've made yet (why is it yummier this time?)

6. Build community food systems: As always, I've got the kids in my early childhood program involved in the process. This week, their buckets of sand and dirt have been "sap" and "syrup." I love seeing through their play how they've internalized the idea of local food. And their parents are curious about the syrup process, too; perhaps I can convince a few of them to tap their trees.

7. Eat the food: We celebrated the arrival of syrup season with a 4-year-old's recipe suggestion: hot maple-syrup milk to warm up after a morning spent outdoors. Perfect. And I've been celebrating the return of my favorite daily treat: maple-sweetened coffee (started this two years ago as a way to make my morning coffee more local and found I far preferred it to white sugar.) Meanwhile, we're eating end-of-winter food-storage meals. We ate the last squash this week, are down to only a few carrots and onions, and so only potatoes remain as "fresh" produce. We've eaten a ton of dried fruit. Today's lunch was a delicious corn chowder made with dried corn and frozen corn stock, frozen green beans, and dried peaches.

What are you doing? Will you join Sharon's challenge this year?

1 comment:

The Mom said...

I love this challenge, and have participated in my own way since the beginning. It's so exciting this time of year to see all the wonderful things getting done.