Tuesday, March 30, 2010

BuhBye Corps

So one of my goals for this year is to get off corporate food. Like ENTIRELY. Actually, my goal is to get off everything corporate.
I know. I've sort of lost it, right?
I am just SO OVER IT, this greedy big business capitalism thing. It's started to stink, and I can't ignore it any more.

Anyway, I'm focusing mainly on food because it's doable and lots more practical and immediate than, say, not buying gas or electricity or that kind of thing.
And in pursuit of this goal, I've had to find alternatives to the major label organic canned and dairy foods I have been used to buying. We eat little to no processed food which definitely makes things easier, but still. I shall not name names, here, but did you know that by far MOST of the most popular organic brands are owned by just a few corporate food giants? Now I'm not sure how that sits with you and I'll spare you my rant about the many reasons why I find it objectionable. Let's just say that what it really boils down to for me, I think, is that I have a problem with with the intentions of these companies.

So my problem has become finding smaller, non-corporate label organics to replace the things I use regularly like canned tomato products, yogurt, canned beans and the like. They're out there but in my case, harder to get by being farther away which, realistically for my life, is not something I want to commit to chasing down every week. Plus there's less to choose from as far as varieties in these brands.

My solution to this, ironically, has been to decide to make even more work for myself, and all of this also happens to coincide with me deciding that this is the year I need to get on the vegetable gardening bus, like for real. So I have a grand and abundant garden plotted and in the works, the plan being to grow and can/freeze enough of the staple items to last a year.

In my head, that is.
And have I mentioned I've never canned anything before much less had the opportunity to vegetable garden on a non-space restricted scale?


Here's the extent of "the garden" so far:
seedlings and seeds
and a first foray into the great outdoors, making good use of my new (at long last) patio furniture:
seedlings sunning
Turns out seeds do work as advertised, and if I can keep them away from the punkass M-Ah muncher long enough to get them established outside, I'll be cheering, because there have already been a few casualities. What is it with cats and grassy young plants?

Incidentally, the facts above about corporate food also apply to seeds which is exponentially more scary. If you're a gardener, take a chance to read up on it and choose your suppliers accordingly.

Here's how I've solved the yogurt procurement dilemma:
yogurt baby
I'm calling that my yogurt baby. It's my first. I hope it grows up to be healthy.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Bring on Spring!

PupCake has had spring fever for about a month. I think it was the first morning we went out to potty and heard birds singing that set him off, and ever since he has wanted to do nothing but frolic and sniff and rub his face in the snow. Huge change from my usual sad winter dog who is ALL business about doing his business and then practically drags me back into the house all shivery-like.
My own personal little Punxsutawney PupCake. And yea, I did have to google the spelling of Punxsutawney just then.
He is SO ready for a little of this:
What Mast Thinks of Hiking

Bring on Spring!
What have you got cooking, on the stove or otherwise, for the warm season?

Do you have your CSA share all lined up? If you need help finding or choosing a farm in your area-anywhere in the U.S.-, check out localharvest.org. That delicious weekly box of fresh veggies will be the best thing about your whole summer, I promise!

My outdoor to-do list is already a little out of control. At the moment I'm OD-ing on vegetable garden planning and feeling a little panicky, as this shall be my first official year at that sport in this place, and really, I've only ever grown the basics before anyway. Intimidated and overwhelmed is probably a better description, and being that we are a wild critter-rich environment here at Modern in MN, I have to plant a fence first which complicates the whole deal. I think I've narrowed down my choice to bamboo uprights and a top rail with some kind of wire infill so as not to block the light. Should be interesting.
So my gardening goal, in addition to having week-to-week fresh stuff for the table, is to grow enough of the staple items (and then process and can them, yikes.) to get us through the winter. Mostly we're talking tomatoes and salsa ingredients and fall storage stuff like onions, potatoes and squash plus dry beans and several sorts of pickled things. Because I've never met a pickled veg I didn't love.
Again--this should be interesting, and if you don't hear from me for a while you'll know why, right?

Incidentally, did you read the fascinating article in the Times about aquaponics? I am SO putting that on my future to-be-explored list.

Anyway, in between working and weeding and cooking, I'd also like to get a wee shed designed and built out back. Something quaint yet modern that ties into the fenced garden area and has that enticing destination feel about it. And an outdoor fireplace. And a seating area. And lots of flowers.

It's going to be a busy season.

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