Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gathering Food

It's been a while since I last posted something here, so I'll probably just try to do some posts bit by bit to describe the busy season I've had raising veggies, tending the vineyard, and finishing building my house. Fortunately I've been taking pictures, so there is some record of what I've been doing. I just haven't taken the time to update the blog this season. I wish I could be as prolific in my blog posts as Ziggy.

This season, there was a bounty from the garden in many ways.  Because I end up with so much of some crops I try to come up with ways to preserve what I can't eat right away so I can extend the bounty through the rest of the year.  Not so long ago, before the advent of refrigeration, everyone grew their own food and knew special ways of preserving it for the rest of the year.    Pickling in brine was a great way of keeping veggies edible for the winter and inspired so many delicious new foods.  These foods were fermented like saurkraut and could be stored without refrigeration in a cellar for many months.  One pickle that I like to make is the Korean kimchi, which is made with Chinese cabbage or radish, scallions, really hot peppers, and if desired, small fish like anchovies.  I like hot pickles and one of my favorites is a hot pickle mix of cucumbers, carrots, and hot peppers.  In this pickle everything becomes infused with the heat of the peppers adding a kick to the cukes and carrots.  This was a good year in the hoop house for pickling cukes, so I made a big batch of hot pickle mix.

Looking Back on the Season

This season I've finally been able to focus more on generating some income. My house being livable as of last fall, I've put the finishing touches on hold for most of the season so that I could devote more time to market gardening. The hoop house project has gone really well this season and has brought some more positive cash flow to my bookkeeping. Also, since I'm no longer in Wisteria Lodge, I've been able to rent it out to others and begin making money off my investment. This focus on money is mostly out of necessity since I've been only spending money since coming to DR. But it was all an investment in having a place to live, and in a future means of providing for myself. And although I say “making money”, using our Elms local currency a lot of my income actually comes from barter.