More Freegan Zucchini

The neighbors are bringing us a lot of zucchini.

Not only is the quantity of zucchini squashes large, the size of those zucchini squashes is large.

Photographic proof.

I don’t know what the fuck they’re feeding these zucchinis, but this shit is ridiculous.

I’m going to have to go through those pins that Tia is finding me for ways to cook zucchini that aren’t stir fry.

Wild blackberries

We have wild blackberries growing all throughout the back portion of the property. They’re growing so thick that it’s like the briar patch in that old Brer Rabbit story.

I made Mollie come with me to pick some blackberries yesterday and she kept trying to run home. So I carried her around to share in nature’s splendor (which was probably lost on her) and crawled through the blackberry thicket carrying a baby Mollie in one arm (she wouldn’t be still long enough for a selfie, that little wiggleworm).

and picked a handful of blackberries.

a handful from 16 may 2017

I could have picked a lot more if I had just let her run home but I’m trying to get her to not be scared of the clearing out back. Sunshine thinks she smells predator cats or some other scary thing out there, which could very well be true.

Tomorrow, I’m going to go out there without her and pick more blackberries. They’re starting to ripen, and if I leave them then the creatures will eat them all up. I don’t mind sharing with them, but I want some too!

Simple living is a lot of work

There’s a lot of work that goes into living simply (or intentionally, or mindfully, or whatever you want to call it). It seems like there’s always something needing the attention of a human being. The cats need to be fed, the chickens need to be locked up in their chicken house at night, the grass needs to be cut, the garden needs to be harvested, the wild game needs to be butchered……

This week has seen a lot of perfectly edible but not pretty looking food go out the back door at work. My boss is like “nobody is going to buy the ugly squash” and tells me to do what I want with it, just make it go away. Which has led to a lot of squash getting blanched and frozen.

Just as an example:

The back door zucchini. It was lumpy and a bit wrinkled, but still firm and edible. But people don’t buy the ugly food. See how much is piled over the top of that giant stainless steel bowl? And that is about 3/4 of it. There was more.

side note: see how fucking tiny my kitchen is? That shit is ridiculous.

So we now have a bunch of frozen zucchini. It was quite the endeavor, cutting and washing and blanching and packaging all that zucchini. It was worth it, though. It’s food security. It’s one less thing we have to spend money on through the winter when Sunshine and I work a lot less. It’s one more thing that we’re doing for ourselves. It’s one less way we are participating in the consumer driven capitalist economy we live in. And I like it that way.

Final note: I ran out of freezer containers. I made a trip to the Dollar Tree when I made my grocery run. I did some damage to their shelves and filled up an entire shopping cart with reusable food storage containers. Yes, it was grossly consumerist. But at least I can reuse them again and again, which makes it feel like a far more intentional purchase

Leaps and bounds

I’ve mentioned that the compost heap is growing by leaps and bounds. It’s growing faster than even I expected it to, thanks to all of the spoiled food the boss tells me to get rid of and the trimmings from preserving the vegetables we grew.

I figured it was time for a little photographic proof.

Here it is before we turned it last Thursday.

compost heap 27 april 2017

And here it is after I brought home a trunk full of freegan bad food from work on Friday.

compost heap 29 april 2017

It’s getting so big that we’re going to need Mr B to use his orange tractor to turn it soon. That’s probably a good thing, because I think we need to make a bigger vegetable garden next year.

Amateur hour in the garden

So none of us really know what we’re doing in the garden. We’ve been experimenting, I guess. We’ve been talking with neighbors, reading on the internet, and asking at gardening supply places. It seems like every time we make a plan, Mr B finds a new way to build a mousetrap; like when he made the garden longer but with fewer rows so he could fit his tractor in between the rows of plants. I’ve just kind of stepped back and waited for instructions (well, that’s what I was doing before I went on strike). We also seem to have an inordinate amount of green leafy shit growing out there. Seriously, there’s like 4 or 5 kinds of lettuce, some cabbage, two colored varieties of chard, a few types of greens, and some spinach. There are only a few partial rows of beans, which I’m not sure I understand since Mr B doesn’t eat meat and is constantly talking about needing ways to get enough protein, but OK. It’s an experiment, and we’ll learn from it.

We had to relocate the compost heap and create a better way to contain it than the small area we had created with a few pallets. I’ve been back at work at the produce stand, and I’ve been bringing home a lot of freegan spoiled fruits and vegetables to add to the pile.

side note: there’s a lot of stuff coming out of my work as “spoiled” or whatever. My boss has some exceptionally high standards for the products he sells. I’ve seen him toss out whole bushels of cantaloupes because they do not meet his standards for sweetness and texture. I’ve been called into the walk-in cooler to taste cherries because he knows that his sense of taste has been warped by all of the high-quality fruits he gets in stock; I’ve had to tell him that the cherries weren’t necessarily as good as his usual, but they were still far better than your average grocery store cherries. He won’t sell a green tomato that has turned red because he says the texture of the tomato is crap after being refrigerated like green tomatoes have to be refrigerated. There’s a lot that heads out the back door at work… The boss doesn’t care where it goes as long as it doesn’t head toward his customers’ tables. Quite a bit of it gets eaten out here because it’s perfectly good food. Bossman is just glad he doesn’t have to deal with it, and if I can keep it out of a landfill… well, he likes that, too.

So I’ve been bringing home a lot of stuff because the boss tells me to “make it go away”. The compost heap is growing by leaps and bounds.

compost heap is growing

Sunshine got out there yesterday with some pitchforks and turned the compost heap. It was interesting to see the various layers. There was some dark rich stuff towards the bottom of the heap, a few potato plants sprouting on the top, and small bits half pulled through the fencing by little raccoons or something. There were also approximately 8,947,837,658,298,798,632,058,967,093 ants crawling through the pile, and I saw at least one slug.

This week’s heavy rains left standing water in some low spots in our garden and Mr B got out there like a little kid, barefoot, and shoveled a trench to allow it to drain off. It was kind of fun watching him splash mud all over himself.

Today’s agenda includes getting out there and picking broccoli and cauliflower, and researching the proper method to freeze them. I think something called blanching isĀ  involved, and I’m going to have to find the freezer tape to mark the containers with. It’s amateur hour in the garden, and it’s definitely a learning experience.

final note: Having a chronic illness has really sucked this week. I’m hoping I can muster the energy to accomplish this today. The fatigue is still really bad, and the pollen + humidity isn’t helping It might be time to start back on the iron supplements if I can find them. It’s hard to do life when one’s limbs feel like they weigh 100 pounds each.

I made another hat

Mrs W gave me some yarn back in the fall. I finally got around to using some of it for projects for myself.

I took the Lion Suede yarn

lion-suede

side note: so soft and squishy

and I crocheted a hat.

side note: the texture is so rich!

I love the color combination, and the stitches used make it a good hat for spring or autumn weather. It was nice to make something for myself after all the rush to get Christmas gifts finished.

 

Mission Impossible?

So Sunshine and I were given a bunch of cast iron cookware by the neighbor as she cleaned out that house she inherited. It was part of the wonderful generosity she exhibited, and part of the stuff she wouldn’t take cash money for since I helped her with the estate sale.

I brought a few pieces of the cast iron into the magic bus and got them ready for use. I left the rest in the pink house because I thought Mr B would get some use out of them (that man is one hell of a cook, y’all).

In all the confusion of the kitchen renovation over there, all that cast iron got put outside and left there overnight in the rain. It also got some paint overspray on it. I collected it all up and brought it into the magic bus to prevent further damage.

Yesterday’s Jenga collapse and subsequent cleaning/organizing marathon brought the cast iron cookware to the top of my to-do list. This stack of skillets and pots desperately needs to be rehabilitated and put away in a proper cabinet so that I can start using them.

I need steel wool. And oil to season them with.

I also need a light colored shirt that I want to distress, because I’m pretty sure that this process is going to ruin whatever I’m wearing while I’m working through it. It’s going to be messy.

final note: I’ll be back in the near future to report on my progress, and any cool new trashed garments that can be added to my dystopian collection