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The winter is the slowest time around here and while it may not seem like there is a lot going on, there is always something happening on the homestead. It may not all seem exciting but organizing and planning are a couple of the most important jobs around here. Making progress in these areas is exciting for me as it is moving me closer to my goals.
I am really happy to be getting my homestead, office and brain organized for the week. Planning out my meals will help me not only make the time and money saving adjustments that will keep us eating healthy but will use the items in my freezer and pantry. This is also going to help me keep track of what we go through so I can continue to work towards my goal of making or growing 80% of our food on our homestead.
I am doing this by sitting down each week and looking at our activities and appointments. Then I shop in the freezer, pantry, and refrigerator first to see what I have and what needs to get used first. I then take the time to sit down and write out our meals for the week.
I am going through cluttered areas one at a time to reduce the amount of stuff I have in the house. Somehow, I end up with random baskets and piles of paperwork. I am working my way through each basket and getting rid of stuff I don’t need.
I cleaned out the pantry! Taking one area at a time helps me not feel quite so overwhelmed by the task of getting the house organized. The busyness of summer and fall gardening and preserving means that inside the house can get neglected. Winter and early spring are great times for me to get caught up on all the indoor tasks that need to be done. Having my pantry organized and clean will help me know exactly what I have in there, what needs to get used up and where everything is. I have a section for all my canning supplies. Toiletries are in one section; baking supplies are all neatly in another area. This way when I send one of the kids in to get the vanilla or baking soda, they know exactly where to look.
I am planning my garden and finalizing my seed orders. I am planning my chicken coop. The goals I am setting now for the year have tasks that are broken down and each has a time period. This can all be planned out now so I will stay on track for accomplishing the things I want to get done this year. This planning is how I am going to meet my goal of producing 80% of our food here. Without an actionable plan I will not make any progress.
Part of this planning includes getting my seeds organized so I know when I will start different ones indoors. Things like tomatoes and peppers need more time to grow than things like radishes and peas. I will be starting my tomatoes and peppers soon and will have new things to start each week so it is vital that I go through and sort my seeds and get them organized so I don’t miss the timing on starting my seedlings.
Fermented foods provide probiotic bacteria that help your gut function properly. Not only that but they provide a way to preserve food that gives us new flavor varieties and its fun. Kitchen science is one of my favorite things and trying new fermented foods is a great kitchen science. This week I started a new batch of Kombucha, and I am trying a honey fermented ginger.
A handy tip I learned somewhere, is that if you write with a sharpie on glass, it will wash off. I use a sharpie to write the date on all my ferments and even my yogurt and buttermilk. This way I always know what it is without wondering if it is an old label.
While everything is covered in a foot of snow outside, I still want fresh greens. Sprouts are a great source of nutrition. They also satisfy my craving to grow and eat something from my homestead. Different seeds provide different nutrients and flavors. You can sprout radish seeds for a little spice or alfalfa for more standard flavor. I am experimenting with different varieties and figuring out which ones we like best.
So far everyone seems to like alfalfa sprouts best but I want to experiment with bean sprouts in a stir-fry next.
I am excited to be making progress this week and working towards the goals I have set. While these are not all huge things, they are important steps in the right direction. What little steps are you going to take this week to improve your homestead?