We had a terrible gardening season. The drought and the excessive heat (because we all know there isn’t any global warming – idiots) totally destroyed our hard bean, carrot, tomato, pepper, potato, melon and squash plants. We did get green beans, a few tomatoes, lots of cucumbers, basil, egg plant, sweet potatoes and celery. Our garlic was great but that is because it is planted before the hottest time of the year. The onions were on their way and then got wiped out in a hail storm. So all in all it was pretty sad. We produce tons of food and this year we kind of watched helplessly as it all withered in the heat and sun.
So as always, the problem solving had to start. We are in the process of putting up hail guards and sunblock netting over the gardens by the greenhouse. We may begin converting the big garden to more trees and berries. If these crazy heat waves continue (Which NOAA says will continue until at least 2022 – and I think will continue well beyond) we will be continually learning how to improvise, adapt and overcome until we simply can’t.
I am in the midst of canning as usual though. Our goal is to have a couple of years of just canned food in the pantry that we can rotate in order to keep current. We are on our way and we probably have close to that amount of food (not all canned) if you take into consideration the 2 pigs and 40 chickens in the freezer, the never ending re-supply of chicken butt nuggets every day for breakfast, a flock of turkeys, and the individual items that we have canned like carrots and beans, etc and the hundreds of pounds of pasta, dry beans, wheat berries, and oats we have in storage buckets.
We were lamenting the fact that the tomato harvest was a disaster. We got a couple of gallons of sauce made but not nearly the same was the hundreds of pounds we usually get. Low and behold though, we had a source to get some cheap! Zina has a relationship with a food bank near her office. In the past month they had an open house for their donors so they had a lot of excess that they couldn’t give away (probably because of food safety issues). It was still good though, they simply couldn’t use it. Usually, Zina picks up the waste to bring out for us to compost. This goes to the critters and also to fertilize the gardens (We have fed our pigs loaves and loaves of left over bread from them over the years). But this time she came home with about 40 lbs of Roma tomatoes and probably close to 50 lbs of potatoes! The tomatoes were tasteless, but when combined with ours, it made a pretty good sauce. I had already purchased about 30 lbs of potatoes so we combined them with the food pantry potatoes and spent all day yesterday canning 40 quarts of potatoes! Brilliant! So in the last couple of days we have canned over 68 quarts bringing this fall’s canning production well over 100 so far.
Next up is more split pea soup, white bean and ham soup, black bean chili, baked beans, chicken soup, and whatever other canned meals I can dream up. So despite it all, the pantry is staying stocked. Food self-sufficiency folks. Get after it. Even if it is just canned goods from Costco. The prices will never go down, and…. well…. ex-financial advisor here…. the next crash on the horizon will make 2008 look like a ride at Disney. Plus the food tastes better and is better for you. Sorry. It’ll make you have to do something else other than work on your short game at the country club though. Bummer.
Two is one and One is none: