Thursday, April 2, 2009

Doomer Update

Well spring has energized me to once again pick-up working toward sustainability. My motivation has several facets: stewardship of the earth, a deep belief that this is what is "right and good", a concern for my children's future, as well as a spoonful of belief that all is not going to go smoothly for any of us in the future. It is this last point - the idea that there is a kind of future that needs special preparation - where this blog tends to find its niche.

While I don't think I'll do a marathon 21-day challenge again (which seemed to coincide with some scary financial times where are still grappling with), I am reviewing family preparedness again. We hardly set foot in the grocery store this winter as we ate the foods we had produced and preserved from our garden as well as those we had stored.

One of the things I'm doing now is looking over the pantry - and seeing how we used our food over the winter. I'm getting a better ideas of how much of what we actually use. I bake a lot, and so in addition to grinding wheat, I used 25# of white flour. Some things were hardly touched - some of the fruits and juices are so prized we hardly get into them duing their shelf life (now that's silly and I'm encouraging their consumption while they are prime). I found I'm not that fond of vinegar pickled cucumbers, and that if I were to try and meet all our needs, I would need to dehydrate onions and potatoes to make it through the year (or get much better at cold storage). We are heavily dependent on onions and potatoes. Dimitri Orlov mentioned how crackers were an item to store and I began to watch how many crackers we really did use.

One place where we are completely dependant: cheese. We love cheese, and yet I horrible at making it. This has to change.

I am entering into a different level of food storage - and that is the dehydrated long-term storage. No I'm not also buying cammo and night vision goggles to go with it (yet ;-). I still plan to preserve the bounty and harvest, but I've lost my garden space for good and I think of the dehydrated foods as insurance in tough times - job loss, interrupted harvests, economic collapse... It's also easy to do here - hey, Walmart sells blue water storage barrels and gamma lids for buckets. The grocery store has an entire isle of 10# cans of long term food storage - dehydrated butter, sour cream, milk, all sorts of flavored TVP, peas & carrots, muffin mix, pudding and on and on.

Reading the super-doomers (who have so far been batting better than say, the media or the experts) I get a picture that while we may soon enjoy a return of what looks like the good 'ol days with the pundents proclaiming the return of a healthy economy and easy money, it won't last long. The idea is that for one thing the card house that is modern economics and culture is beginning to develop structural problems, and for another our infinite energy consumption and finite supply will one day collide.

As the darkness of winter lifts (even if it is still snowing), I will once again be
looking toward posting about our own preparations. Such is the saying: make hay while the sun shines


Chile said...

I've been happy with the quality of dehydrated food from Harmony House. Shop the sales and get enough to get the free shipping. If you sign up for the email, you'll get alerts about coupon specials as well.

d. moll, said...

Good post, since we live in Earthquake country I always feel like we should be prepared for some sort of breakdown of services as a matter of course. Sorry to hear you've lost your garden. BF grows a lot of things in pots, maybe up on your roof?????

ilex said...

I know what you mean about vinegar cukes- a few go a long way. We put up 140 jars of vegetables last season. All were vinegar pickled; some were first fermented, but then pickled for long-term storage. Our favorites were the non-fermented zucchini and red bell pepper pickles, and the non-fermented mixed jardinieres. The pickled squashes are even tastier if you double the cinnamon in your spices- it cuts the strong vinegar taste. I also give my pickles a good long soak in fresh water before I eat them.

I can't do low-acid canning (blasted glass-top stove) but this past season, I learned that pickles are more versatile than I thought. And you can't beat vinegar for safe, no-energy food storage.

Verde said...

Chili - that's another good resource.

Dianna, we do have some yard we can break into - I'd rather water vegies than grass.

Ilex, you are the queen of pickles - that's a good idea to soak the cukes before eating.

I dislike my glass top stove for that and not being able to cook with cast iron. I set up a propane work stove out on the porch - it keeps the heat out of the kitchen too.

Fleecenik Farm said...

We have been eating just out of food storage and purchasing of dairy all winter too. But now that the shelves are starting to thin. I think it is probably a good time to reassess what we ate and what we will be giving as hostess gifts to every cookout we go to this summer:)

I also have been pretty lax for the IDC challenge thanks for he reminder:)