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A Year of Living Sustainably
Old 05-26-2011, 07:53 PM   #1
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Default A Year of Living Sustainably

From my blog. It's a project that we're starting on June 1. Yikes!

"Prequel: The Week of Panic
Posted on May 26, 2011 by Molly

What are we doing? I mean, what are we DOING? A year of living sustainably? Are we KIDDING ourselves? We can barely go a week without fast food, let alone live an entire year on what we can produce. A growing sense of unease flutters in my stomach as I contemplate the culinary trial ahead.

When settlers crossed the continent in the late nineteenth century, they brought not only their livestock and furniture; they carried the food that they would need for the journey and the time that it took to get a homestead producing. A haphazard research on my part returned the following information for average wagon loads:"

http://reclamationfarm.com/?p=35
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:03 PM   #2
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I'm all for the bacon part!

Seriously, good luck
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:04 PM   #3
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I saw that movie.

Mel Gibson before he went mental
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:14 PM   #4
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Trout fishes. You bake. You'll do great.
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:20 PM   #5
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The part I'm unclear about is what about your tripple mocha-chino lates? How are you going to make those yourself?
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:31 PM   #6
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The part I'm unclear about is what about your tripple mocha-chino lates? How are you going to make those yourself?
I don't drink coffee and/or coffee drinks, and Trout drinks his java black, so unlike the entire population of Washington, we won't jones.
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:45 PM   #7
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I don't drink coffee and/or coffee drinks,
That's unAmerican!
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:53 PM   #8
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wonderful!

best of luck with this
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Old 05-26-2011, 09:00 PM   #9
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I've already told Trout to get a couple of piggies.

The bacon jones will be upon you :P
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Old 05-31-2011, 10:39 PM   #10
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This Is It!
Posted on May 31, 2011

Today we went shopping for our last time, hopefully, in a while. We picked up staples that pioneers would have taken on their cross-country voyage: flour, salt, beans, dried peas, dry yeast, baking powder, and oils. We really wanted to do a full hog’s worth of bacon since that’s what settlers would have carried, but we just don’t have the storage space, and I can’t see packing bacon into a barrel of bran to keep it. Instead of lard from the bacon for cooking, we’ll be using vegetable oils until we run out; then we’ll move to animal fats. I’ve done a comprehensive catalog of our food in-house; this is what we would have ended up with after walking 2000 miles back in 1870. The full weight of food in our house, right now, not including spices and bottles of BBQ sauce (four!) is 365.3 pounds.

So. We’ve crossed the continent. We’ve built our house. We had a hard freeze the second week of May, and hail last week; it’s a VERY good thing we didn’t plant – our seedlings would be dead by now. So, fingers crossed, we planted our seeds this past Sunday, May 28. It’s late for planting, according to the locals, but after the crazy weather we’ve had so far, we were lucky that we waited. The only things left to plant are corn, squash, and pole beans, which will be done on the next non-rainy day. Our 6 chickens are happy and producing roughly 4 eggs/day.

Here, just for kicks, is our food list. I haven’t included things like ketchup, mustard, mayo, spices, or herbs. We don’t have full containers of any of these items, and they will be used up throughout the year, and not repurchased. Although, like I said earlier, I’m not really sure how we ended up with 4 bottles of BBQ sauce, but I blame Trout. I honestly don’t foresee myself eating 4 bottles of BBQ sauce in the next year.

Food List 1 June 2011


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Old 05-31-2011, 10:46 PM   #11
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O brave new world that has such people in it...



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Old 05-31-2011, 11:04 PM   #12
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I honestly don’t foresee myself eating 4 bottles of BBQ sauce in the next year.
No, but you underestimate the ability of most husbands to find the inherent kink-potential of any bottled sauce.


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Old 05-31-2011, 11:05 PM   #13
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Man.

I sure do love BBQ sauce.

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Old 05-31-2011, 11:07 PM   #14
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lol - Jen posted before I hit the send button. I didn't see that when I declared my love for BBQ sauce.

Nevertheless, I still love BBQ sauce.
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:20 PM   #15
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lol - Jen posted before I hit the send button. I didn't see that when I declared my love for BBQ sauce.

Nevertheless, I still love BBQ sauce.
Dont worry, when those 4 bottles are gone you can make home made stuff
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:35 PM   #16
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Here's me geeking out:

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Old 06-01-2011, 12:51 AM   #17
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I dont know but isnt that a lot of starch?
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Old 06-01-2011, 12:55 AM   #18
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I dont know but isnt that a lot of starch?
Trout's dress shirts
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Old 06-01-2011, 01:05 AM   #19
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Old 06-01-2011, 02:13 AM   #20
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I dont know but isnt that a lot of starch?
Probably, but think that it's supposed to last for a whole year. Hopefully the proteins and veggies/fruits will go up in percentage while the starches go down. We're going to reweigh all the food every month to see what the percentages look like. It will definitely be interesting.
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Old 06-01-2011, 02:20 AM   #21
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Very cool I wish most luck.
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Old 06-01-2011, 06:33 AM   #22
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Good luck you guys!!

Oh, one more thing you *may* want since dairy will be hard to come by is Nutritional Yeast. (find it in the bulk section of pretty much any store that has a bulk foods section) Here is the secret of it; it is vegan, lasts forever, and tastes mildly like cheese. With the right preparation, you can make AMAZING vegan cheese sauce.

Soy milk is great to have on hand since it is shelf stable for like a year. Soy milk is always in our emergency supplies!

http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=10618.0
This is my favorite recipe for vegan cheese, and Mulch loves it too! The changes I make are: I add about 1/3 cup dried onion, a couple teaspoons of mustard (gives it a bit more tang, like a sharp cheddar instead of a mild), a tablespoon or so of Trader Joe's 21 salute spice mix, and substituting Spike spice for the salt. The pimentos you dont need, you can use tomatoes or red bell peppers. The pimentos add a distinct flavor to it, but it is a flavor that can easily be substituted with something yummy from the garden
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Old 06-01-2011, 07:01 AM   #23
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rice milk try it also.
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Old 06-01-2011, 12:19 PM   #24
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We had a hard freeze the second week of May, and hail last week; it’s a VERY good thing we didn’t plant – our seedlings would be dead by now. So, fingers crossed, we planted our seeds this past Sunday, May 28. It’s late for planting, according to the locals, but after the crazy weather we’ve had so far, we were lucky that we waited. The only things left to plant are corn, squash, and pole beans, which will be done on the next non-rainy day.
I'd like to preach the gospel of cold frames, they seriously rock, are easy to build from scavanged materials and let you stretch your season both directions as well as letting your direct-sow earlier than otherwise.

A very old solution, but coming back into favor as more people grow their own food.
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Old 06-01-2011, 12:22 PM   #25
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A couple of things I didn't see on your list. A couple of gallons of vinegar for making pickles and condiments and pectin for jams if you've got any fruit going (although mixing in apple can substitute). Jam takes sugar too - preservative.

I assume you've got a nice stock of canning jars laid by and someway to dry foods. too

I'm jealous!!
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Old 06-02-2011, 03:14 PM   #26
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Today Trout and I went to the Yelm Food Co-Op and found some great sources of local milk, yogurts and cheeses. Check out http://www.cozyvalleyfarms.com, http://www.smithbrothersfarms.com, and http://www.rosecrestfarms.org, all within 100 miles of Yelm. We bought a cheese, a bottle of pasturized 2% milk, and one of whole raw milk, just for taste tests. The raw milk reminds me of the milk that I drank in France from my host family's neighbor's dairy. So good!

Surreal: Yup, we have tons of jars for canning. I'm not sure what we'll do this summer for canning fruit - last year we used a ton of sugar. Re: Vinegar: I forgot to add that to my List, but we do have roughly 2 gallons right now. We're picking up more from a friend at the end of June, and there's a local apple orchard here in town - I'm hoping they make their own cider vinegar, because I really don't want to deal with making our own.
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Old 06-02-2011, 03:42 PM   #27
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Today Trout and I went to the Yelm Food Co-Op and found some great sources of local milk, yogurts and cheeses. Check out http://www.cozyvalleyfarms.com, http://www.smithbrothersfarms.com, and http://www.rosecrestfarms.org, all within 100 miles of Yelm. We bought a cheese, a bottle of pasturized 2% milk, and one of whole raw milk, just for taste tests. The raw milk reminds me of the milk that I drank in France from my host family's neighbor's dairy. So good!

Surreal: Yup, we have tons of jars for canning. I'm not sure what we'll do this summer for canning fruit - last year we used a ton of sugar. Re: Vinegar: I forgot to add that to my List, but we do have roughly 2 gallons right now. We're picking up more from a friend at the end of June, and there's a local apple orchard here in town - I'm hoping they make their own cider vinegar, because I really don't want to deal with making our own.
When do you start bottling and selling "Trout and Oryx's Fiery Hot BBQ Sauce"?
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Old 06-02-2011, 03:49 PM   #28
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When do you start bottling and selling "Trout and Oryx's Fiery Hot BBQ Sauce"?
I would totally love to create a recipe good enough to sell... that would be awesome!
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Old 06-08-2011, 05:15 PM   #29
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A Visit From Dad
Posted on June 8, 2011

My father popped up to Seattle from Tucson for a three-day seminar, and drove down last night to see us; it was a wonderful evening. We were very proud to show off the house and our nascent garden. I must, however, admit that we sinned against our Year; we went out for pizza at La Gitana which is some of the most amazing pizza I’ve ever had, and bought a jug of orange juice for breakfast. Sinners! This might have to count for our monthly dinner out. It was so good to see Dad; I haven’t hugged him in over two years! That’s too long.

In other news, we’re seriously considering buying a big bag of sugar; how else can we can fruit at the end of the summer? Does anyone think this is unfair? Should we stick to what we have and suffer the consequences of our poor planning? I’m hoping the consequences include about 20 pounds off my hips. What’s the general consensus?
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Old 06-08-2011, 05:24 PM   #30
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Probably, but think that it's supposed to last for a whole year. Hopefully the proteins and veggies/fruits will go up in percentage while the starches go down. We're going to reweigh all the food every month to see what the percentages look like. It will definitely be interesting.
This ^

Starches keep really well - stuff like flour and rice. Proteins and veggies - not so much, since we haven't had a crop to can yet, and are low on meat. As the year goes on, the amount of protein and veggies should grow as we produce them, but the starches like flour and rice will drop as we consume them without replacing them.

I think. In other news...I'm often wrong about these things.



Also - please vote for sugar. A pioneer family crossing the plains to Washington would have brought a big bag, and we need it to can fruit.
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Old 06-08-2011, 05:31 PM   #31
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Yeah, you pretty much have to have some sugar in your lives, kids. Even Def Leppard would tell you that.

Unless Dakota shows up unexpectedly with a hive for you [and even then, it's different chemistry, isn't it?]

My vote is for semi-flexible adaptation- with copious note-taking/ record-keeping- rather than artificial rigidity for your first year's effort. Call it your learning-curve year.
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Old 06-08-2011, 05:31 PM   #32
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I voted for sugar on the website.

Absolutely. Must. Have. Sugar.

(BTW, I eat very little of it compared to most folks so that's saying a lot)
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Old 06-08-2011, 05:49 PM   #33
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Buy the sugar.
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Old 06-08-2011, 05:50 PM   #34
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Yeah, you pretty much have to have some sugar in your lives, kids. Even Def Leppard would tell you that.

Unless Dakota shows up unexpectedly with a hive for you [and even then, it's different chemistry, isn't it?]

My vote is for semi-flexible adaptation- with copious note-taking/ record-keeping- rather than artificial rigidity for your first year's effort. Call it your learning-curve year.
I think this is the direction it may be headed whether we like it or not. Sustainability is a journey not a static form. We are dedicated to working hard towards being self-sufficient, but it's not going to happen at the snap of our fingers. Maybe it might be wise to push towards it, first by becoming gastronomically sustainable - then work hard to reduce gas consumption, electric generation and reduction of use, water usage (we already have a rain barrel), etc. The eventual goal is to drop our carbon footprint substantially, and to be self supportive.


BTW, Jen - we planted beans on Monday. We would have had them in earlier, but it's been a terrible, terrible Spring for the gardens. Heavy rain, cold weather, hail, overcast, etc.
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Old 06-08-2011, 05:54 PM   #35
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We have access to loads of local honey, so sweetener per se isn't an issue; it's the canning I'm worried about. I wonder if there's a way to preserve with honey? Like a watered-down honey? Didn't the Egyptians preserve their organs and other stuff in honey when entombing themselves?
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Old 06-08-2011, 05:57 PM   #36
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We have access to loads of local honey, so sweetener per se isn't an issue; it's the canning I'm worried about. I wonder if there's a way to preserve with honey? Like a watered-down honey? Didn't the Egyptians preserve their organs and other stuff in honey when entombing themselves?
Well


They didn't actually preserve their organs and entomb themselves...

Other Egyptians did it for them, since they were incapacitated by a complete lack of metabolism at the time.
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Old 06-08-2011, 05:58 PM   #37
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Well, according to one website,

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To use honey in place of sugar, use 7/8 cup for every cup of sugar, and don't change the other liquids. According to food labs, honey may be substituted effectively for up to half the sugar called for in a canning syrup recipe.
which means that we'll need sugar anyway. So I guess we'll buy sugar!
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Old 06-08-2011, 05:59 PM   #38
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Honey is a natural preservative itself, it was used to preserve food in the past. It should keep well simply stored in glass jars, airtight, in a cool place. Don't mix water in it. Natural honey will crystallize, eventually.
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Old 06-08-2011, 06:04 PM   #39
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I googled and there are books on preserving with honey: http://www.amazon.com/Putting-Up-Honey-Preserving-Cookbook/dp/0930356136/ref=pd_sim_b_2
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Old 06-08-2011, 06:04 PM   #40
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We have access to loads of local honey, so sweetener per se isn't an issue; it's the canning I'm worried about. I wonder if there's a way to preserve with honey? Like a watered-down honey? Didn't the Egyptians preserve their organs and other stuff in honey when entombing themselves?
http://www.pickyourown.org/Susbtitut...eyForSugar.htm

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/l...130813903.html

http://www.ldspreppers.com/showthrea...n-Home-canning

basically, only in pectin based recipes does it call for slight mods.
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