Community Pantry

So Mrs B went all in, and started taking over the procurement of supplies right away. She found a good deal on bulk white vinegar for me at Costco or one of those big-box-stores and grabbed 3 giant jugs of the stuff, which is smart since white vinegar is probably the most used liquid in canning.. She also rounded up a lot of the most commonly needed spices that I had been unable to find locally. She also stopped at the local trade days and bought up quite a number of jars for not much cash (I was proud of how good she did).

Last Saturday, Sunshine got Biff and Pancho to clear all of the random bullshit out of the laundry room and take it all to the barn so that Mrs B and I could take over the laundry room and turn it into the community pantry. Mrs B kicked ass at spearheading that herculean effort. I would imagine that more ass will be kicked before it is all said and done, because she confessed to me that organizing was her comforting ritual (kind of like repetition is for me).

Mr B went all in, too. He got up before the ass crack of dawn and carried his ass to the nearest big box home improvement store for some heavy duty shelves to hold lots of jars of jam and pickles and shit. Biff and Pancho put them together and got them arranged the way Mrs B wanted them. I think it looks great so far. Well, except for all the empty shelves, but I’ll take care of that as quickly as I can.

pantry

Look at all that shelving!

white vinegar

When I say she found some mega jugs of white vinegar, I ain’t lying.

crocheted cleaning supplies

I moved all of my crochet dusting mitts and swiffer covers in there for the community to use.

She organized the jars of food I gave her to store in there.

empty jars

We put all of the unused jars in there. Biff was happy to empty them out of his closet.

frugal jars

Look at all those jars she got me!

drawers of labels, markers, papers

She put all of my wax and parchment papers in this drawer unit. The markers and labels are in there too.

Sunshine moved his meat machines in there, and we put all of the sausage and jerky spices in there too. Once the storage compartment those had been living in was empty, Biff quickly moved all of Sunshine’s art supplies from his home into that compartment

It’s nice to not have so much stuff crammed into every possible nook and cranny in our magic bus. A lot of that stuff was for community use anyway, and it was driving me crazy playing all that Tetris day in and day out.

Now, if I could just find a steady supply of the labels I like best for the lids of the canned goods, I’d be a happy camper.

 

New faces

We have a new face out here in the middle of buttfuck nowhere. Actually, there are a few new faces. A couple of them are visiting from the Pacific Northwest. One of them is a part-timer who works for Sunshine; we call him Pancho. I’m not sure how he got that nickname, but he says it was a childhood nickname. I’m not sure how he & Sunshine found each other, but I’m glad they did. He works his ass off, he’s polite; and he isn’t a weirdo that won’t eat squash and cantaloupe like Biff is.

side note: what the fuck is that even about, anyway? Who the fuck lives in the south and doesn’t eat squash or cantaloupe? I suppose I’ll give Biff a pass, since he does understand that peanut butter is a food group.

I’m glad Pancho is here. He likes to garden, so I’m hoping that he’ll be able to help me with the workload. He might be able to, if Sunshine will give the guys enough of a break from working on our little house.

It’s nice to see progress starting on the house again. Now, I just hope that the weather will cooperate and it won’t rain on us and shut down work.

I definitely need help

I might have finally gotten some. 

Mrs B likes organizing. I like organized things. I am tired of playing the never ending game of Tetris that all this food preservation causes. So, Mrs B is going to take charge of the community pantry and store and organize it all. She’s also volunteered to take charge of procurement of supplies for preserving food and inventory management of all of the above.

Side note: she also said she’s willing to help pick beans and shit as she can, but she will have a full time job most of the year because that’s how it works for teachers.

Thank heaven! I can’t do all the things alone. She likes organizing, please organize this stuff! She gets out and about far more often than I do, so she has far more opportunities to drop by a grocer or Costco or whatever and grab a gallon of vinegar or whatnot when needed for canning. She also has friends and family in the region that she’s going to ask for donations of jars because that’s the ultimate in frugality and eco-friendly consumption–reuse Mason jars! 

We’re kicking the guys out of the laundry room. They have to get their shit (tools and nuts and bolts and screws and random pieces of what the fuck ever those metal things are) out of there. Mrs B donated a bunch of rolling shelving units to the cause, and Mr B has already said he’d pay for jars since I provide the labor so it’s perfect that she’s taking on procurement for us since she can access him easier for funds (she does live with him, after all).

Once we get a system in place I won’t have to worry about keeping track of how much vinegar and jars and lids and shit I have and I can concentrate on processing the food. The guys have said that they’ll help harvest stuff, she will help when available, I’ll gladly shell peas and snap beans and freeze/can/dehydrate shit all day long, and then I can hand it to her and let her organize and store it for us all. 

Side note: I find a great comfort in the repetition involved in all this processing. I understand the appeal of Catholicism, what with all the repetition of the rosary and all.

It will be nice to have someone else taking on part of the headaches (and TBH it sounds like it won’t be a headache for her once the guys clear their shit out of the laundry room since she likes organizing). It will allow me to concentrate on the processing parts of the equation with the garden (and backdoor fruit from work). 

Thank you, Mrs B, for taking on inventory management and procurement of supplies! It’s nice to have help!

Water water everywhere

We’ve had torrential rains this past week or so. The road was under water from flash flooding; not like that’s a big deal out here in the middle of buttfuck nowhere but still…

I woke up one morning and noticed the sound of dripping as I drank my coffee. Apparently the roof of my magic bus is leaking, and it was dripping down from the built in TV box over the dashboard.

Wednesday evening, just before sunset, I went to take some trash to the barrel and stepped in a river running through the back yard. The leaky pipe from the water line installation had decided it was tired of slowly bleeding to death and decided arterial hemorrhaging was a better way to go. Mr B and I crawled around in the mud and got that repaired thanks to the kind visitor who held flashlights and lanterns for us.

I get inside, covered in water, mud, and sweat, (and smelling like a dirty buffalo), and less than a minute after I finish taking a shower? It starts raining. I had to put my big ass pot I use for canning under the drip that I knew was coming from above the dashboard.

Yesterday, as I was attempting to fold the pile of clean laundry on the bed, I noticed that the foot of the bed was soaking wet. The roof unit air conditioner was dripping condensation.

Sunshine will be home tonight, and maybe he can deal with some of this stuff. Maybe he can get to work on the little house so I have a more watertight environment. I’m tired of lurching from crisis to crisis out here. I’m tired of all these water problems and plumbing problems. I’m just tired.

Learning to pickle things

So I decided to try learning to pickle some things. I started with pickled chard stems, which I have now tried two ways. Mr B like both of the formulas I tried, but he said that the second one was even better. Sunshine got to sample the second formula, and he liked it too. Sorry, I forgot to take pictures. Maybe next time, after we grow our fall chard.

The other thing I have tried pickling was turnips. Sunshine loves turnips; however, the turnips were going soft and rubbery before he could eat them all

side note: that’s what happens when you plant as many fucking turnips as Sunshine planted, but that’s a post for another day

so I decided to try a pickle turnip that Tia and I found on the internet.

pickled turnips

side note: here’s the link in case you’re interested

Sunshine and Mr B tried them last night and said that they were really good.

I’m glad I’m finding ways to preserve foods that don’t require a freezer, because freezers are quite electricity intensive, especially here in Texas.