Several years ago, I decided that I didn't enjoy canning in the way that homesteaders are supposed to enjoy canning. However, I still liked the taste, nutritional value and savings that came from gardening. The result of this quandary was a goal I came up with: to harvest fresh produce year-round.
This month our menu will feature butternut squash, apples, onions, garlic, potatoes, parsnips, beets, and possibly some microgreens or foraged greens. I'll be supplementing those things with some dried and canned produce. I didn't grow a lot of those things; the apples, onions, and most of the potatoes and butternut squash were things I purchased specifically for my cold storage experiment. But I WILL be growing them this year! Every year I try to expand the garden a little bit to get closer to the ultimate goal of fresh produce all year round.
I had a goal last year to do a winter garden, growing spinach, lettuce and cherry tomatoes in our basement. I was able to set up an indoor grow system last month, but it was too late to have a winter garden. Instead, I'm using the setup for my spring seedlings:
The light is one that hooks to other lights, again, so I'll be able to expand up or down a shelf if I choose to.
I put the light on a timer, so basically I just go down there every few days to water the seedlings. Most of them are onions, tomatoes and peppers. They are looking very stocky and sturdy so far. Last year, without a grow light, my tomato and pepper seedlings were tall and spindly. This year I'm hoping for better.
Big Pantry and Household Haul
It's March. Do you remember what happened last March? Well, I sure do! And last week I put in a huge Walmart order and bought a ton of toilet paper. A TON. I also stocked up on stuff like tomato paste, pasta, rice, beans, laundry detergent, toothpaste, trash bags and such.
It cost about $100.00 to stock up the pantry for 4-6 months, and another $100.00 for 6 months' worth (more or less) of personal care and household supplies. We have a small family and I buy mostly Walmart or store brand items, so it doesn't cost much to stock up for a long time. Another thing I've tried to do is replace disposable products with reusable products, which also cuts down on yearly expenses.
Between stocking up twice a year and growing a lot of our own produce, it means I only have to buy a few things when I go grocery shopping, like dairy products or specialty items. There are still some things I wait for sales on, like barbecue sauce (we buy a name brand for that) and butter. But the big pantry haul eliminates time wasted shopping AND money wasted buying stuff I don't really need every time I go shopping. Not only that, but I have a feeling that food prices are going to increase this year, so why not buy stuff while it's still cheap?
Before we picked up our groceries at Walmart, I returned a bunch of cans and bottles; most of which were picked up on the side of the road. I got almost $12.00 from the returns, which I took straight to the thrift store to spend on books and a few other odds and ends. LOL!
Several years ago, I donated about a third of my book collection. We were running out of space, and I was due to have a baby soon. I'd just read Marie Kondo's The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I asked myself, "Does this book spark joy? Is it still useful to me?" One of the books I donated was called The Diaper-Free Baby. I read the whole book and thought, Yeah, I think I know enough about this and I won't need it anymore. So I tossed it in the box. Just a few months later I was wanting that book back!! And there have been several books I gave away that I wish I could have back, including some that were gifted to me and I only donated "because our local library has them". Now that we have space, I realize how stupid it was to get rid of so many good books permanently when I could have just put them in storage until we did have more space (which I knew I would, eventually).
There are a good number books now that I've ended up rebuying, at a much higher price than what I paid to begin with. And depending on how far Amazon and Ebay decide to go with their censorship, many of the books I want to read or reread might be harder and harder to find. So I've decided to just buy a book if it's something I think I will ever read.
Last week I was thinking about what books I should start looking for in regards to our daughter's education, since I plan on homeschooling. I thought about one book I particularly enjoyed that shaped me as a preteen/young teenager called Beautiful Girlhood. Again a book that I owned, and got rid of because "I didn't need it anymore." Sigh. One more book I'd have to rebuy (currently selling for about $4.00 w/shipping) at some point.
Well, when I was at the thrift store a day later, I found a copy! For $0.50! So I bought it. Yes, it will be a long time until our daughter can read it herself. But I know from experience that I regret not buying books, and I'd rather spend a little to rebuy a book than a lot.
Puff Pastry Video
Okay, last thing! I uploaded a new episode of "Meals From the Bunker" on Rumble. You can watch it by clicking the picture below:
Okay, that is all for this week! I hope you are all enjoying early spring as much as I am. We have several guests coming over next week, so I may skip posting. But I will be back then the following week.