Wednesday, April 28, 2021

FOOD :: Growing your own food!

Well, this year I am trying to grow more food than last year... I shared with someone  I hope to grow more food next year.  It's a challenge, but the food is so good when you grow it for yourself there is nothing to compare it with.

This year I bought a tomato plant, some vine peas, a sweet basil plant, some leaf lettuce, and plan to try for a few more things to grow as soon as I can get to a store to buy them.  I want to try one KALE plant, hoping I find the one I like to eat.  I missed getting spinach so I need to find that.

I am also thinking of starting some plants that take a long time to start producing.  In containers.  All my garden plants are in containers this year.

I have always wanted to have a rhubarb plant because I remember my grandmothers farm garden and how great it was to grab a stalk and eat it dipped in sugar.  Now I want to make other things with rhubarb, but the memory is precious.

Starting some asparagus is also a desire. If I can find it, and can afford it, I will try to get one container going with asparagus this summer.  I saved some of the seeds from my son's patch as it was getting started, but I will save those for now.  I think you have to buy the root stock and plant it.  It takes several years to be able to harvest it for eating.

The other plant I want to start this year, if I can, is blueberries.  I think I can only grow one plant in a container, but I will check on that.  I have to find the right containers... something that will be easy to replant when I get to a permanent space.

Raspberries might be a thought, too.

I have two avocado trees in one container right now... very small still.  I decided to start to twist them together as they grow, adding a third small tree I have growing in the house later on.  I guess you need to have at least two trees to pollinate.  I need to check on that, but three trees growing together should do some good.

Local critters have eaten my harvests before, so this year I am working on ways to stop them.  I cut apart one of my old tomato cages and used the large part for protecting the strawberries... the smaller bottom part is over the baby tomato plant right now... it will need to be changed into something larger soon.  I have some bamboo poles to use for a better barrier. 

I am learning about garden cloth so I need to find some and try it out.  Otherwise, I will try to recycle some old potato sacks (like netting) to put over my containers.

I found some of my unused plastic baskets the other day and one fit over my lettuce container.  I hope it helps until I get something better.  Lettuce doesn't need full sun so the filtered light may help it grow.  I'll be working on finding something that has a barrier against squirrels and birds, but lets the sun through and is easy to remove for harvesting.  It is suppose to take a month to be big enough to eat.

Some of my bamboo poles are really tall.  I want to use them to make vine teepees for another year.  Peas, beans, and other foods grow on vines you can train to different kinds of supports.  It will be a yearly experiment.  :-)

I will try to remember to share the results with you.  I am getting better at planning and recording, but I am not all the way there yet.  Video posting is not too far away.  :-)   I am looking into phone editing apps.

I am tech challenged, but trying to learn!!! haha

I hope you are growing your own food this summer... it is so wonderful when you get to harvest it and eat it.  You will be amazed at the difference from store options, and never want to give up the practice.

In Christ,

Deb Martin

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

FOOD :: Just some thoughts about food and life and poverty and...

Been thinking about posting here for a long time... little things that happen in the days before shopping, after shopping, when I'm online... food thoughts.

There is this before food and after shopping for food change that happens every month.  I tend to eat too much because I finally have some food again.  This month it is a LITTLE better, but I noticed I didn't need to rush into my supplies because I was so full from eating a larger McDonald's meal than I ever have.  I was full for so long, and I didn't even WANT to eat my goodies.

I'm trying to figure out how to do that every day now.

That seems to be the idea behind the veggie eating programs.  To eat a lot of fruits and veggies that make you feel full for a long time.  Potatoes are one of those filling foods... and I think it may have been the french fries that filled me up for so long a time.  I need to experiment this month on foods that will keep me from eating too much.

The Mc Rib is back at McDonalds this month.  :-)    I love those things, and most of the time they are great.  I've only had one or two bad ones... ones that were not like they are suppose to be.  This month I have had two meals so far.  Usually I just get the sandwich.  Someone else bought the first one, so it was easier just to get the meal.  I was in a drive-thru for the second and it was different ordering.  Big Bucks the second time!  Even so, I just like being able to get them at all.  :-)   In searching for Uber Eats options before buying anything fast food, I discovered they had been discontinued since 2012 I think it was.  

Food budgeting, for me, included eating at a fast food restaurant as a treat.  That was when I got around on my own.  I get rides to the market now.  Sometimes I get a treat on the way home from shopping, sometimes I figure I can "save" my treat for another time.  Now I am thinking of one treat a month with Uber Eats.  :-)

Treats are good for morale.  :-)   Mine, anyway.

Of course, this month may have TOO MANY of them! 

I'm OK with that.

I figure we don't have to suffer for the "healthy eating" crowd when we are so old we could die at any time.  I consider it a great joy to have some of my favorite foods.

I am also making plans to eat more fruit and veggies in the next year.  Learning recipes that will be something I WANT to eat.

My back-up pantry is getting better.  I had hoped to be re-stocked by the end of this year, but it's taking longer than I hoped.  I am making my storage options better as I figure out how much I need to feel prepared for unexpected circumstances - like the lockdowns and empty store shelves.

I live in one large room with one big closet... and a kitchen area.  It's like a studio apartment, if you know what that is. Creating storage is an ongoing issue.  I am still working on it for crafting spaces. It's getting better.  I think I will be looking for one storage unit that will fit in one space and then fill that with whatever I can as my emergency food pantry... with associated supplies for cooking without gas or electricity.

I had some really old supplies I found in my reorganizing, which I just threw out.  Now I need a better water supply for emergencies.

One change leads to another, and then I find more space to fill with something else.  That is what I am doing.  Slowly going through my room and making everything better.

What do you need to last three months?  I don't really know. That is what I am trying to figure out.

Oats and dried fruit for breakfast.  I make it with extra water now so it doesn't need milk.

Rice and pasta for multiple meal options.  I am assuming a campfire or other means of cooking for this level of food.

Canned good for easy storage... meats, tomatoes, veggies and fruits.  With no electricity a possibility, fridge and freezer foods won't last.  I am looking for small cans/packages and easy prep.

Boxed meals for easy prep... including RAMEN soups.  When I was homeless in my van, I used five tealights in a container with a makeshift "grill" to be my cooking source.  :-)  It took awhile, but it heats up the water for soups and will make canned meals warm.  Ramen can be put in water on the dashboard and will work as a pasta for pasta salads.

When yeast disappeared from the store shelves for so many months, I decided I need to stockpile it.  And dried milk.

When you buy bulk foods, you need the right containers for long-term storage.  I'm working on that.

I hope I get that all covered by April.

I will try to keep you updated on my progress, especially learning how much you really need.

My plan involves thinking of meals I eat and the deciding what ingredient amounts I need for one month, two months, three months.

If you have some ideas, let me know.

Until next post...

Deborah Martin

Sunday, November 8, 2020

FOOD :: Sharing some thoughts on digital food...

In thinking about what to share on this blog, and my ongoing efforts to find income related to food, I will share some of my random thoughts from recent experiences.

I found a YouTube page called Living On A Dime To Get Rich (link below) because of one video I wanted to watch.  Then there were free offers to get on the email list.  Then the emails.  And here I am... thinking about survival foods again.

Cheap foods are really just made with less.

I use to make anything with ground beef by using less than was normally required... instead of one pound, I sometimes used 1/4 pound.  I figured the flavor and nutrients would be a benefit even if it wasn't a large amount.  This was mostly in dishes like Spanish Rice a Roni made into a one pan dish... adding corn and hamburger, cheese on top if we had it.  I still love that meal, but now I am trying to learn how to make Spanish Rice from scratch.

Meat is a costly item in poverty households.  Living without it was a source of misery then, now I want to live on more fruits and vegetables, trying to go fully organic because of the dangers of GMO foods, and reducing my portions as often as I can.  Looking back, it was a good thing to be poor in that respect (eating less meat).  :-)

The freebie I signed up for was a PDF with 22 Dinners you can make in 22 Minutes... so, when I looked at the recipes, they are simple meals using one main meat source.  Their family is larger than mine was, and I could never afford some of the meats they shared recipes for.  I guess we mostly ate ground beef and maybe hot dogs back then... it's hard to remember right now.

So, living on less is really a relative statement.

In countries with intense poverty, life is much different.  I cringe every time I see people getting their food from the dumps.  I even saw a photo where elephants searched for food in dumps.  This is not good.

I like having more meals with rice and veggies, but I end up with pasta as the main go-to ingredient when I am at the end of my food.  I am working on some better pasta recipes for one these days... smaller portions... less ingredients.

I am really trying to find the right amount of variety each MONTH, which is my budget cycle for food.  That means using rice, pasta, breads, and other grains in varied meals with mostly veggies and fruit.  I discovered the food movie Forks Over Knives and work to limit my meats and dairy.  I don't plan to live without them, but I am trying to reduce my intake.  It is hard with dairy for me... I love my cheeses.

In my search for better foods and recipes, I am beginning to discover things I never knew were possible in food options.  It's so sad that I am heading into the grave instead of looking toward a long life.  Why does it take so long!?!?  

If you can start now, you will be ready for any future problems that don't destroy your supplies.

Here are a couple links to check out this low-cost food living effort ::

Living On A Dime (.com)  -- short video on stocking a year's worth of food for unknown emergencies in the future.

With the economy an unknown, anything you can save ahead will be a benefit.

My idea of stocking up for a year is more ongoing.  I would like to build up to a year's food but go through my supplies at the end of every year to make sure I give any food that is soon going to expire to the local homeless missions and food pantries. Then in January I want to build my food reserves back up to the limit I can.

In the video I shared a link for, and in other prepping videos you can find on YouTube, storage is the critical issue.  I don't have that kind of space.  I am rebuilding my reserves after depleting them to see how long they might last (twice!) and hope to get to a better JANUARY supply.

In restaurants and other food businesses, the rule is "first in, first out" to make sure you use the oldest food first.  This takes a storage plan!  :-)

One thing I really missed in the shopping struggle this year was yeast.  It went away and didn't come back for months.  I was amazed.  It made me wonder how yeast is made!  :-)  I am stocking up on yeast now.

So, this became a nice post!  :-)    Hope you liked it.  Let me know in the comments.

In Christ,

Deborah Martin

and more...