Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Growing and Saving of Food by a Dummy and Ho-Ho's

I hope that in years to come my grandchildren will be reading my blogs and I hope that they enjoy what is written and don't ask their parents why I wasn't committed. I am not paranoid, I just watch the news and realize that we are facing some hard times and that food may be scarce or so expensive that choice may be limited. I filled up at the gas station the other day and paid over 3.60 a gallon. Today the price is up to 3.87 at the same station. I have seen grocery prices rise as well and it scares me. I want to be able to buy all the Ho-Ho's I want so something has to give financially. Thus I decided that I will grow some of my own food and since Ho-Ho's don't grow on bushes I figured I would have to grow fruits and vegetables to save money for a Ho-Ho emergency. There is a lot of things you need to do and know to grow vegetables and fruits. I don't know any of it so I enlisted my friend Faye who has great experience in such things. My son put in two 5ft by 15ft raised beds for me. Faye came over and we went shopping for seeds, plants, trees, fertilizer, and garden tools. I had no clue how to hoe. I know now and have the sore muscles to prove it. I learned that you have to have multiple pepper plants because some are male and some are female.. and you can't tell by looking so you plant a few and hope for the best. I learned that you have to have two of most fruit trees for the same reason. You have to water, feed and weed said beds to nurture your plants. In preparation for my (I'm sure)bountiful harvest I needed a plan to save everything. I plan to to dehydrate, can and freeze and of course I don't know how to do any of those things. I ordered a dehydrator and then realized I needed a Seal-a-Meal. I have time to order the pressure caner, water caner, the jars and the lids. I now have about 6 books on canning, freezing, and dehydrating. I have planting guides and print outs on the making of compost. The plants are in the ground and Demi the Wonder Dog and I visit at least once a day. So far all are still alive but the smallest pepper plant doesn't look good. I know that you aren't supposed to name the things you eat but the petite pitiful pepper plant is named Pedro. We have wildlife around here and I was worried that my plants would get eaten so Stan put a small fence around the beds. I am digging a hole for my compost both brown and green, in layers according to my papers. I am using store bought food stuff now but next year I will have my own, homegrown fertilizer. When I started this I just figured dig a hole, bury a plant, watch it grow and eat it or save it for later. This living off the land is just a tad more complicated. Everyone that has had experience in dehydrating is just so very, very enthusiastic so I figured if I can read a knitting pattern and make a sweater just how hard could this be. You cut up food, stick it on the pans, put it in the dehydrator and 12 hours later you have dried food. I was up the whole fricking night. I started at noon yesterday with 2 fresh pineapples and 6 bananas. I soaked the little banana circles that I cut in fresh lemon juice so they wouldn't get brown and put them on the trays. I cut up the pineapple and put those on the trays. I had 4 trays of food and visions of just bags and bags of dried fruit. At midnight I was still watching over the dehydrator. I was afraid to go to sleep for fear of a electrical fire or over drying. Finally after 12 hours and still sticky bananas I went to bed and set my alarm for a hour. Then another hour and another hour. At 4 am I finally was able to remove the product and seal it up in my new seal-a-meal bags. First I had to figure out how to use the Seal-a- Meal so I practiced on chicken legs. Easy peasy. I took my fruit(which was very tasty if I do say so myself) bagged and sealed it and went back to bed. All in all it has been a learning experience and I have learned a)not to anticipate how much I will have,( to avoid crushing disappointment) b) I need practice, and c) the return on my investment may take a while. The following pictures will take you thru my journey thus far:
Compost prior to going into the ground. Food for the veggies until next year.
Two of my fruit trees. I have lemon, peach, lime and satsumas
My little plants. Note the fence that Stan gave me.
I started with six bananas and two pineapples (okay... i know the yellow things are lemons. I used my pineapples)
put them in this lovely dehydrator Sealed the produce in my new Seal-a-Meal
and ended up with 2 bags of fruit that I could eat at one sitting.


Equipment and supplies for Josh putting the beds in 250.00

Plants, Trees, gardening supplies, and tools 150.00

Fence and hose 125.00

Dehydrator 140.00 Seal-a-Meal(and extra bags) 100.0o

My expression at 4 am in the morning when I realized all I had was two little bags PRICELESS

Stan did casually mention to me that we could have bought a hell of a lot of food for what I spent so far. Start up in any new endeavor is always expensive. I am not daunted in the least. I am asking for the caners for my anniversary present so I didn't list them. All joking aside I really believe that in the near future we will need to be able to grow and preserve our own food. I just hope I have a few years to work out the kinks!!

1 comment:

Yvette Burleigh said...

LOL... have you ever bought oranges to make your own juice and after juicing discover how many oranges it takes for just one glass of juice? THIS, my fat body, and the cost are three reasons I can't do what you're doing! All that aside... good for you for taking the plunge! Woo! Hoo! David's dad who lives next door to us is a gardener. The man is 82-yrs-old and is still gardening. He has been gardening most of his life. He has fruit trees as well. We watch him work so hard and are amazed. So yes... I know how much work what you are doing really is. Proud of you!