Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Carrot Emergency!

I realized today that I used the last of the carrots in making dinner last night. What to do? I just went grocery shopping yesterday and REALLY don't want to go two days in a row, plus I buy organic carrots and the Country Store doesn't carry organic carrots which means I will have to trek to the Giant grocery store. I hate Giant they are always out of buttermilk (and pretty much everything else I need). But then I realized that I do have carrots! Garden to the rescue! 

Is there anything as lovely as carrot tops? I think they are gorgeous and I really don't want to cut them off. These are Tom Thumb carrots which seemed to do quite well in the shallow beds.

My garden at the end of September is looking much better than it did all summer. The intense heat wasn't good for the seedlings so many died despite my diligent attempts at watering. The sweet pepper plants are also now producing since I discovered their secret and the cherry tomatoes are producing in full force!

This is what I am getting every other day, and doesn't count all the tomatoes that were split because of yesterdays and today's rain. They are so sweet and delicious!

 Look at these beauties! Strawberries in September?! Yes, ma'am! I am pretty sure everbearing strawberries are the best thing in the whole world. How are your gardens doing?

P.S. Infested with tomato horn worms? Check out this post on my other blog.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Full Freezer!

What you can see: Stock, peaches, and dehydrated milk.

Finally! After a year of waiting we got our 1/4 of a pasture-fed steer! Huzzah! I was unreasonably excited as we pulled into the farm to pick up our meat. How much would we get? What cuts? Even though it sounds silly, it felt like getting a huge frozen Christmas present in all these little vacuum packed bags. Now our freezer is nearly full! In the next few weeks I will be buying five more whole chickens to cut up and divide into parts.

For $430 we got a 1/4 of a steer. You pay by the hanging weight, so before it was dry aged it weighed 130lbs and we paid $3.30/lb. After cutting and packaging we got about 79 lbs. of meat which is 61% of the hanging weight. After all is said and done we paid $5.44/lb.

46 lbs. of Ground Beef

Out of that we got 44 lbs. of ground beef, 2 boneless should roasts (5.5 lbs), 2 sirloin steaks (3lbs.), 2 shin bones with meat attached (4 lb), 1 eye of round roast (1.7 lbs), 3 chuck roasts (8.7 lbs.), 3 Delmonico steaks (3 lbs), 2 boneless rump roasts (4 lbs), 6 t-bone steaks (3.2 lbs), and 1 porterhouse steak (1.6 lbs). We have 6 lbs. of ground beef left from last year as well as one 2.5 lb. beef top round roast. I bought that last roast retail for I believe $7/lb. so I am quite happy with all we were able to get.  I think I will do a price comparison based on the average retail price for these cuts of meat vs. pasture fed and see if we got a good deal. 

Our freezer also contains 7 whole chickens, 1.5 lb. boneless pork chops, 1 lb. nitrate free bacon, 6 lbs. of boneless skinless chicken breasts, 6 jars of veggie stock, 2 jars of frozen soup, 2 gallon bags of frozen peaches, 2 loaves of bread, 1 3lb. bag of almond flour, and 1 can of powdered milk. Looking at that inventory I think I need to buy more bacon, don't you?

Monday, September 13, 2010

2010 Resolution Update: 4 months left!

The Gigantic Beet!

Here is our update on our resolutions to let you know that we have not forgotten!
  • 1) No longer shop at Big Box retailers unless absolutely necessary: We have done pretty well on this. Andrew has needed to buy clothes at JC Penney because he has not been able to find clothing that fit his needs at thrift and consignment stores. We went into a K-Mart to buy some mattress pads because I feel weird about buying someone's soiled mattress pads.
  • 2) Strive to buy only US made goods and if we cannot, buy fair-trade items: Buying locally really helps and we are lucky to have many farmer's markets, local tradesmen around here. Unfortunately, aside from food, we haven't really had the opportunity to buy anything new.
  • 3) Buy as many used/handmade items as possible: We are doing awesome at this. It has become a habit to look first at thrift/consignment stores before we even think about buying something new. We often go "treasure hunting" as a family once a week.
  • 4) Support our borough by attending borough events: We haven't attended any events for a few months because of my pregnancy sickness and later miscarriage putting me out of commission for most of the summer but with Fall quickly approaching I am gearing up to get involved again.
  • 5) Grow a small garden and frequent local farmer's markets: Small garden did just O.K. this year but with the weird weather I am not surprised. I learned a lot and next year I will plant VERY differently. We haven't been going to farmer's markets as frequently as I like, but I go to an Amish farm and a locally owned and operated grocery store for most of my produce. Our meat comes from local farmers in bulk so we don't spend much time/money in larger grocery stores.
  • 6) Eat-out only at locally owned restaurants: Uhhhh, we haven't done great at this one, mainly because I hate Amish food and had weird cravings all summer.
  • 7) Become involved in a community group: No luck on this one either due to my summer being indisposed. I am still looking for something to be involved in.
For the next four months we have the challenge of preparing for Christmas which will focus on handmade/thrifted items and I am anticipating that will be rather difficult. Ravenna's gifts this year are covered as I collected things gradually while thrifting. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

New Blog!

I am pleased to announce that I have finally decided to create a personal blog for all my hippie-ness so as not to offend or irritate those of you who only come to this blog to see updates on our family. I will try to keep my crunchy ramblings on this blog to a minimum so that you can greater enjoy the drewcarrie-ness.