1. Cooking: I made a yummy mock cookie dough with chickpeas, peanut butter, and a few other ingredients. It is really good, and only costs $1.50 or so per recipe. About half the cost is the chickpeas, and a majority of the rest is in the chocolate chips (I used fancy, expensive dark chocolate). I would like to try making some other varieties (ginger snap, chocolate, etc.) as well, at some point.
2. Garden: I'm using grass clippings again to mulch some of my garden beds. The straw is fast and easy, but it's harder to arrange around tiny plants. Not only that, but the grass clippings add nutrients to the soil, while the straw doesn't, really. In the past, I've loaded up wheelbarrows full of clippings and dragged them across our 5-acre property. This year I'm only collecting it from outside the garden and only mulching three beds with it. Hopefully after this mulching, those smaller plants won't need to be weeded as often.
In light of that, I made a list this week of which organic fruits and vegetables are available to us each month from the garden. In May we've had lettuce, spinach, asparagus and rhubarb. Looking at my list, there should be three or four garden offerings available each month from April to November. And this is just with my small, manageable garden and some perennials that have been growing here for years. In December and March there is only one offering (kale/lettuce, if you're wondering).
Last year I decided not to do any canning in 2019, but if all goes well with gardening/parenting/life (and since we'll have a dishwasher...YAY!), I may lift the canning ban for next year. Canning two or three months' worth of produce is far less overwhelming than canning six or eight months' worth. In other words, instead of canning enough tomatoes for November-July, I only can tomatoes for December, January and February. For a majority of the year we'll eat different produce fresh from the garden.
That being said, I think I might arrange our pantry and freezer by month instead of like food items. In the new house we have a large basement and there will be room for an extra chest freezer. I'll keep a shelf for every month, and then distribute canned goods to the appropriate month. If I find a sale on pasta or peanut butter, for example, I can buy enough for a year and then distribute it equally (or unequally, as the case may be). I think this will help with waste and remind me to use up food items. As for the freezer, I think it will work the same way. Instead of putting meat in one section, fruit in one, veggies in another, I'll just divide everything equally and it will be a (somewhat planned) surprise what we get to eat every month. I think this will make it easier to plan a no-spend month as well. I'll just make a list of food needed every month ("__lbs. of meat, __lbs. of fruit, __lbs. veggies," etc.) and when the list is checked off, I can stop buying and/or canning.
3. Strawberries: are almost here! Just a few more weeks and all of the berries will start to ripen! I'm really excited about this year's harvest, as I've been diligent to keep on weeding and shut the deer fence every day. Have I mentioned how proud of myself I am?! Haha. I found a little bunny in there today, but otherwise the critters are staying away. The patch looks so much better than it did last year.
4. House update: Work on the house is coming along fast! At least, it feels like it's going up fast. Since the last update, we poured concrete in the crawl space, put in the floor and now everything is framed up, and the roof is on (and the walls are up, and several doors are in! *as of today*).
Til next time,