Food Storage: It’s What’s for Dinner

Not really.  I mean, as far as rotating through what we have, sure.  But are we relying on it totally?  Not yet.  However?  I am more glad than ever that we have it and that we already had arrangements to pick up more (as in 2,400 lbs more) this weekend.  Because, you know, when you hear on the N3WS that your husband’s place of employment may shut d0wn for, oh, much of the summer, there is nothing more comforting than a storage room stocked with food and some money in the bank.

So I realized I haven’t been blogging much about our self-reliance/preparedness efforts (oh, wait . . . will this put me on some government watch list for being a radical right wing nut job?  Oh well, at least I won’t be a starving nut job).  Despite the fact that I haven’t been writing much about it, we have been doing a great deal to stimulate the economy through our preparation and efforts to be more self reliant.

For instance, we spent a gob of money to have a dump truck FULL of dirt dumped into our garden.  Hopefully this will be helpful in leveling it off so that I don’t lose half of my plants to drowning this year.  We also expanded the size of the garden, which meant purchasing some lumber to enlarge the frame (in hopes of keeping the dogs out).  Of course, a wooden frame isn’t going to keep out a young German Shepherd and even younger Newfie, so we also purchased extra invisible fence wire to staple to the frame.  I know, I know.  Why didn’t we just skip the framing and bury the wire?  I don’t know . . .

We spent another gob of money on all the supplies needed to build and (hopefully) maintain two beehives.  We have to finish getting everything painted and getting the frames assembled this weekend as the bees are supposed to arrive next week.  Eeeek!  I really have little to no idea what I’m doing here, but I’m going to give it a try anyway.  Honestly, it would have been cheaper to just buy a year’s worth of honey, but if I manage to not kill the bees it should pay off after the second year.

Let’s see . . . what else . . . Oh yeah, I spent a smaller gob of money on heirloom seeds (supposedly they are better for harvesting seeds from the produce you grow so that you don’t have to buy more seeds the next year, so it was an investment – I hope) (and how many times can I use the word “seeds” in one sentence?).  

I have roughly a fragillion tomato plants (with names like Hawaiian Pineapple, Isis Candy Cherry, Dad’s Sunset, and Pink Ponderosa, to name a few) currently growing in my laundry room and kitchen window.  I also have some run of the mill California Wonder bell peppers growing, and the more interesting red cheese peppers.  I’ve never had these before, but they supposedly have a cheesy taste.  For some one like me who can no longer eat cheese, this is kind of exciting.  I also have several gooseberry bushes sprouting, some Vietnamese mint, two varieties of basil, two yellow and two three black egg plants, half a dozen decorative pepper plants, a plethora of onions, and a couple of weeds (because apparently?  the miracle grow potting soil I purchased was laced with weed seeds – weed seeds that temporarily led me to believe I was successfully growing stevia; but alas, I am not). 

Oh, and?  I’m most excited about the hardy kiwi seedling I have going.  I planted several of these seeds, but only one has germinated.  It seems to be a very, very slow growing thing (unlike gooseberries, which just suddenly appear out of nowhere), but if I manage to keep it alive and growing so that I can actually plant it outside next spring?  It allegedly can get to the point where it is producing 300 lbs. of fruit a year.  This is me, however, so I’ll be surprised and happy if I get 3 lbs. of fruit.  This is my horticultural nod to Korea, as well, since they apparently grow them there.

Aside from all of these things I have started indoors, I also have another fragillion seeds to plant straight into the ground.  The ones which I am most hoping will grow are the lemon cucumbers, red warty thing (some type of squash – how could I not try growing something called a red warty thing???), and the jelly melon.  The rest of it is just run of the mill stuff:  beans, snap peas (which probably should have been planted already), zucchini, etc.  Though I am also really hoping to get a good crop of spaghetti squash as well.  I love serving that instead of actual pasta, and McH actually doesn’t mind it too much. 

I’d take pictures of all my little plants, but I’m too lazy right now.

Actually?  It’s like 80 degrees outside and I need to go start hoeing.  Don’t I just sound trashy?  I may even hoe while listening to my iTouch.  Shouldn’t somebody pay me to do thing like that?

I wrote all that yesterday.  Now it’s Saturday morning.  Nobody paid me.

Anyway, we’ve also bought a dehydrator so that I can dehydrate a lot of whatever I manage to harvest after trying not to kill the garden all summer.  I really have no desire to can (though I think gooseberries are only good for jam and/or pie – I suppose I could dehydrate them and pull them out for pies – but it will be another year at least before I get any anyway).  It is my basic understanding that most canning involves a lot of heat and steam.  I’m just not big into creating humidity when I spend most of the summer trying to avoid the humidity caused by nature.  It is also my basic understanding that most canning of fruit involves lots of sugar.  Again, not my thing.  I mean, actually?  Sugar is totally my thing.  Totally.  But that’s not good.  So?  When I eat fruit?  I want it to be without any additional sugar.  If I’m going to eat the bad stuff, it’s going to be in the form of an oatmeal cookie.

Hmm . . . anything else?  Garden, food storage, dehydrator, bees . . . oh yeah.  I also got two raspberry bushes, two blackberry bushes, and two blueberry bushes to plant by the garden or something.  We shall see how they do here.  My neighbor is also planning to put in raspberries, and we’ve joked about setting up a roadside stand out front – berries and honey.  The kids can work it and start saving for college.  Truthfully?  It’s only a half joke.  We really could set up a roadside stand here.  Then one of us could be Mary Ann and the other could be Wanda.  Fifteen point to the first person who gets that reference first.

Holy cow!  If you’ve read to this point about my attempts to become more self reliant and you haven’t gone into a coma, then you deserve a prize!  So here it is, some links to my favorite self reliance resources:

1.  Bulk Food Storage.  This is for your basics:  wheat, sugar, beans, rice, oats, etc.  The link takes you to a page showing where all of our church’s home storage centers are around the country.  It is my understanding that you do not have to be a member of the church to get food from these centers, and I can almost guarantee that you won’t find better prices anywhere.  You can find the price list here.  If you are interested, just call the closest home storage center ahead of time to find out about ordering, policies, pick up times, etc.

2.  Heirloom Seeds.  It’s probably a little late in the season to be ordering seeds, but still . . . you can request a free catalog and see what all they have to offer to start planning for next year.  Plus?  It’s probably not too late for everything.  But seriously, I’m not the person to be giving advice about this kind of thing.  I’m trying to grow a garden, but I really have no idea what I’m doing.

3. More Bulk Food Storage.  But this is more than just the basics – fruits and vegetables all dehydrated and sealed in #10 cans, a variety of flours and other baking needs, powdered milk, butter, and cheese, and all kinds of other stuff.  The prices are very competitive, and?  The best part?  Shipping is just $4.95 no matter how big your order is.  I haven’t found any other place that can touch those shipping costs.

If you are interested in grain grinders or food dehydrators, let me know and I’ll send you some links for those things as well.  If you are interested in a generator big enough to run everything in your house but your heating/cooling system I’ll pass that along to McH, since I let him research anything that requires an engine.

Oh, and speaking of engines (will this post ever end?) we found out officially that his place of employment will be cl0sed for a good chunk of this summer, but he will only be la!d 0ff for two of those weeks at the most, and possibly not at all.  Now, as long as his location actually re0pens after this “temp0rary” shutd0wn . . .

And George, if you’re out there, Tewt the Newt has some work to do!

5 thoughts on “Food Storage: It’s What’s for Dinner

  1. I may sound like a radical-right-wing-nut-job but I found your post fascinating. Actually food storage has become a bit of a obsession for me lately. Ever since your mother started posting those youtube videos about dehydrating I’ve been salivating over an Excalibur dehydrator – I finally ordered one off of ebay for way too much money, but I’m hooked. I have visions of dehydrating everything from strawberries to potatoes. We’ll see how long this fascination lasts.
    Thanks for the links. With everything that is going on in the economy (and the country) right now I think its smart to look at ways we can make sure our kids always have something to eat. 😉 And YES I’m planning on including tons of brownie mix in my food storage. Even if I can’t bake it because there’s no electricity – I can prepare it and eat it straight out of the bowl, right?! 🙂

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  2. Dixie Chicks, “Goodbye Earl”!! I LOVE your posts!!! Good luck with the food storage! My hat’s off to you, since I can’t grow anything that doesn’t have legs (kids, animals)!!

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  3. As any Pacific Northwesterner knows (Christine will surely agree), our biggest gardening challenge is trying to kill the incredibly hardy and invasive blackberry vines that can NEVER be beaten into submission. So the idea of planting them ON PURPOSE kind of makes me want to throw up. Have you read “Still Life with Woodpecker,” one of my favorite books? Be careful with those blackberry vines!

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  4. I love it. That was a lovely post. I have started a very small container garden on my little patio (which will turn into a yard soon!!!) I have some tomatoes and basil. And that’s it. But, you go girl!

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  5. I love, love, love my Excalibur dehydrator!

    I use it for drying mail that gets wet (our mailbox is in a bad place), kid’s art work, jerky, yogurt, raising bread, dehydrating fruits and veggies, drying herbs, and on and on. It gets used more than our toaster.

    I’ve been thinking about you with all the news about your husband’s company. Glad to know that so far it is okay and I really hope that continues. I also need to stock up more on dry goods, something my husband and I keep talking about and finally have started doing among other things…right-wing nuts that we are.

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