Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Hopping Tiny Little Homestead
I don't have a farm, nor do I have a garden. I don't even have a small patch of dirt to call my own. My family of 4 lives in a 454 square foot apartment with a shared front porch, but I've been blessed to live in a place where most of the other families do have yards, many do grow fruits, and there are many wild edibles in my vicinity. So while I might not be able to homestead in the same large scale as people with large farms can do, by taking advantage of the resources available to me, I'm able to be relatively self sufficient, and do many homesteading type activities.
Homesteading is generally a slower paced life than the rat race of the professional world, which works terrifically for someone like myself. There's a lot of physical labor involved, but not much pressure to get things done according to someone else's time frame.
Aside for the summer.
Where I live, things grow throughout the year, but the vast majority of foods grow in the spring and summer and are ready for picking between May and August. This year, the weather was kind of weird, and the growing season was pushed off- things that typically would have been ripe in May, June or July are only starting to get ripe now.
What do you do when you have 100 pounds of grapes, 50 pounds of figs, 50 pounds of passion fruit, 50 pounds of tomatoes, and many other fruit and vegetables all ripe at the same time? Even if you eat fruit for breakfast, lunch, and supper, there's a limit to how much one family can actually eat without causing gastric issues for themselves.
And why eat everything at one go if you can find a way to make those foods last you throughout the year, even when those foods aren't in season?
So things get busy round here.
Canning. Dehydrating. Freezing. Fermenting. But mostly canning.
Together with my family, we've been picking tomatoes, making salsa and tomato sauce, and canning them.
Taking a trip to the city to pick up canning equipment from someone who is moving away and was giving away her things.
Picking grapes, stomping them, and making wine.
Picking grapes, making grape juice, and canning the juice.
Picking green grapes, making verjus, and canning it.
Picking figs, making chutney, canning the chutney.
Picking passionfruit, making chutney, and canning the chutney.
Picking figs and dehydrating them.
I also went to the city and picked a whole bunch of carobs. Still need to make a second trip together with Mike so we can gather a good 100-200 pounds of carob, because we like to snack on this healthy food throughout the year, and we also want to make carob syrup and carob flour.
Yup- with carobs, you can actually make a delicious syrup, reminiscent of molasses, can be used as a healthier sweetener in recipes. And you can make flour to use as a gluten free alternative to regular flours.
I've also made fermented fish sauce, am making homemade soy sauce, and am making various vinegars.
Tomorrow I'll be making Worcestershire sauce.
Lots of things hopping around here, and I want to be soap making sometime this week as well, as we're running pretty low on our stash.
Wow, I usually have a very laid back, calm life.
But now- so much pressure to get things done. If I wait too long, things will spoil and I'd have missed my chance to preserve all the free food I have that can save me money throughout the year. The growing season is only so long!!!
Are your summers more laid back or busy than the rest of the year? Do you do any preserving of foods? What types of foods do you preserve, and how? What are your most busy times of preservation? Does the whole family pitch in as mine does, or do you do it all on your own?
Linking up to Simple Lives Thursday, Homestead Barn Hop,