It’s the typical end of summertime here in the Missouri Ozarks, thunder and lightning outside our open door and the rain pouring down. Our ducks and geese are loving it; they waddle around the paths in search of tasty morsels. The nights are getting longer, the days have been cooler and since we don’t indulge in such modern conveniences as air conditioning, it’s the perfect time of year to be canning!
Today we are coring and cutting up a bushel of local apples. Some are being preserved in simple chunks that we can use to bake pies, throw into yogurt or on top of ice cream, or even use them in hearty winter stews. Some of the apples will get peeled, cored, and chopped, and put into our crock pots overnight to become apple sauce. And all of those cores and skins are being saved to make apple cider vinegar. Well, some of them are sure to be goat treats.
We love our goats here at Oran Mor and I’m very sad to report that one of our furry family members recently died. Meatloaf became ill about a week before his passing and we aren’t sure what did it, but it has me inspired to educate myself on goat anatomy and health. Death is a natural part of farm life, but it’s always difficult.
On a happier note, we have been busy preparing our greenhouse to fill with lots of life to sustain us through the coming cold season. We ordered a new cover which should be arriving any day now, the bio-char stove we built is ready to go, and we have cleared and prepared two beds that are now filled with lettuce, radish, carrot, and beet seeds. It’s going to be a delicious winter!
Fall is a time of preparation and Pearl and I have been very busy in the gardens – pulling weeds, cutting down volunteer trees and shrubs, re-building beds, and laying out paths. Our gardens are on a slope so we consistently build up soil by adding plant matter, compost, manure, and dirt from the paths. It’s a sort of mix between hugelkultur and lasagna gardening. And after much trial and error (five attempts), we finally fixed our hand-pump well so it’s working great and we won’t need to pull it again for a while! While Carlos was up on the windmill, he took a pretty awesome photo of the community –
In other news, Carlos, Kalani, and I recently had the pleasure of going to Twin Oaks Community in Virginia for the annual Communities Conference. It is a gathering of communards and hopeful someday-communards sharing knowledge, skills, ideas, and dreams to build our community network. Some of the topics covered were Radical Resource Sharing, Consensus & Facilitation, Building Cooperative Power, Carbon Footprinting, and so much more! We went on tours of Twin Oaks and Acorn communities, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, and we were invited to dinner at Sapling community. We also had a meeting with Alex, the secretary for the FEC (Federation for Egalitarian Communities) and we are so excited to be working with him on joining the FEC! We already function as an egalitarian, income sharing community here but becoming part of the FEC will mutually benefit the whole organization. It’s a step that Oran Mor has wanted to take since the founding days in 2003.
Tomorrow we are leaving for another community gathering, the 35th annual Ozarks Area Community Congress, OACC. There will workshops, lectures, and networking centered around sustainability, ecology, farming, and that sort of thing. Exciting things happening all around and many more adventures to come, so stay tuned… !!01
My husband and I eat mostly local and / or organic food and I constantly get told by people that it’s too expensive for them and there’s no way they could afford to feed their family. So I decided to keep track of all of our food expenses for August and share here so you can get a realistic idea of how much it costs. Keep in mind, proper nutrition that energizes the body and provides abundant nourishment is an investment in the future of your health as well as the present. The two of us don’t pay for health insurance because we have no need for it, we take no medications, and we don’t have any other health bills. We are two incredibly healthy people because we eat very healthy food and we lead healthy lifestyles. When we do feel sick, we have homemade remedies that we use which are very inexpensive. It pays to know some basic things about herbs and other remedies, saves a lot of money not having to see doctors. Also, keep in mind that I am pregnant so I’m eating A LOT!
Our August Food Bill
Meat – $131.14
Most of this food was purchased from a local farmers market. I make an effort to eat only local, grass fed, free range, organic meat. Meat is very dense so it can harbor a lot of toxins from the environment it is raised in and the food the animal eats. I believe that eating healthy, happy animals is a wonderful part of a well-balanced diet. For those of you who are vegan or vegetarian, this money could go towards other proteins like beans and raw nuts.
Produce – $86.29
A lot of our produce came from the Farmers Market and our local produce stand (The Tomato House). We also harvested many cucumbers, a few tomatoes, and some peppers from our apartment garden. We were also gifted some produce from gardening friends. For those of you with a house or land, I highly encourage starting at least a small garden. Growing your own food can save you a lot of money on your monthly produce bill. You can honestly grow ALL of your produce AND raise your own meat on your property if you have the time, and that could make your food bill next to nothing.
Grains, Breads, Etc. – $25.04
We have invested in buying bulk grains like quinoa, buckwheat, and oats in the past so we didn’t have to buy much of it this month. It is definitely worth it to buy certain things in bulk! There is a great bulk food buying co-op that delivers nationwide called Azure Standard. http://www.azurestandard.com
Dairy – $81.18
Most of our dairy expense went towards local, raw goat’s milk ($64). We go through 2 gallons every week since we make yogurt,, kefir, and drink a lot of wonderful raw milk. This also covers our cheese and organic butter expenses.
Bulk Food Order – $40
This month we bought 1 pound of sea salt, 2.5 pounds of raw cashews, and 5 pounds of organic quinoa pasta.
Eating Out – $30
Cooking 95% of our meals at home saves A LOT of money on food costs. We don’t do it to save money though. We cook at home so that we can have a deep understanding of the ingredients going into our food.
Snacks – $43.19
These are all those times I was out and didn’t bring enough food with me so I stopped and got a raw food bar, smoothie, or coconut water. Pregnant mama has got to eat!
Grand Total – $475.54
So there you have it. That comes out to about $238 per person. I also feel it necessary to mention that there were multiple occasions that we were also feeding my parents and we went to three potlucks this month so we made large meals to share. Had we only been feeding ourselves, and if I wasn’t pregnant, our bill would definitely be a lot less. For those of you who think this is just way out of their budget and totally obscene, I urge you to keep track of your monthly expenses on food and get back to me. Do you eat out at restaurants? Do you pay money for medications, doctors, or hospital bills? Don’t forget to include those expenses. Nutrition and health go hand in hand.
This idea of lack and “not being able to afford it” will only keep you stuck in that hole. Instead of thinking of how to get something, just set your mind on what you want and make it happen. You can have anything that you set your mind to! Eating local, organic food is extremely important to me and my husband so we make it a priority in our life. In the past we have traded work with local farmers in exchange for meat, produce, and dairy. I have also gone to farmers markets near closing time and asked for discounted prices on leftover produce. There are so many ways to save money on good healthy food.. but I think I’ll leave that for another post.
I hope this inspires and motivates you to start eating more locally and organically! It’s not that expensive and it’s totally worth every penny!
Linked up at : Small Footprint Friday
Growing a garden is an absolutely beautiful experience that gives me absolutely enjoyment and I can’t imagine my life without it! So today I’m going to share Ten Reasons to Grow a Garden to hopefully inspire those who are on the fence about it…
Save money on food
You can certainly spend a whole lot of money on your garden, but I tend to find almost everything I need for free or very inexpensively. Here at our apartment garden we practice no-till gardening so we use lots of nice amendments to build up our soil. Manure, straw, and compost cost next to nothing. All of our plants are started from seed sourced from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. A packet of seeds goes a long way and most will last for a few years! I also love to have local seed exchanges to get new, different seeds and make new friends.
Connect with your food
The only true way to understand and deeply connect with your food is to grow it yourself! You will gain a deep awareness of the soil, the water, the plants, bugs, animals and all the other life that is flourishing in your garden.
REAL organic food
Many of the codes and regulations of organic food in the United States are totally hypocritical of what we think to be organic… With all their rules and wordy documents, how do we really know what is truly pure? The only way to know your food meets your standards is to grow it yourself, or go to the farm that you are buying your food from!
Daily Dose of Vitamin D
Gardening will take you outside in the warm sunshine! Absorb the rays of the beautiful, life-giving sun and let it fill you up with luscious vitamins! The sun can also ease your stress and lighten up your spirit.
Calm your Mind, Body, and Soul
Our lives can be very hectic these days. Computers, checkout lines, driving cars, and meetings can make my head spin 20 ways at once! When I go outside in the garden, it takes me back to simplicity where life moves slowly and naturally. It brings peace to the mind, body, and soul like a deep meditation.
Have a garden work-day and invite some friends over to share the work and play of gardening! It is so much fun to share the work load with friends and time will fly by! Brew some sun tea for everyone with some of the herbs from your garden and have fun!
Feed the Neighbors
There is no gift I love more than homegrown food, and my neighbors feel the same way! When I knock on my next door neighbor’s door with a big patty-pan squash and a bag of tomatoes, her face lights up and it totally makes her day! Sharing fresh, homegrown food is absolutely rewarding. You can include a little recipe card with your harvested bounty for bonus points!
Local and Sustainable
Eating local food is one of the most sustainable practices each of us can commit to. When we eat local, we eliminate LOTS of harmful fossil fuel emissions from gunking up our atmosphere. Eating food from your own yard is as local as you can get!
Dirt Makes You Happy
Scientists have actually found a strain of bacteria in the soil called Mycobacterium vaccae that triggers the release of seratonin in the brain! So there is literally a little element of the soil that elevates your mood and decreases anxiety! Very cool.
Be the Change
Talking, planning, and protesting may help spread the message, but to truly transform this world we are living in, we just have to DO IT. Take the leap and make a difference in your world by growing your own food.
Today I’m going to explain the process that my love and I have come up with for gutting and cleaning a trout. We are not fishermen and we are no professionals, but we have experience in gutting and cleaning many a fish! You may be wondering if we aren’t fishermen, where the heck do we get all this fish?? That is a great question! Carlos teaches guitar lessons for a lovely girl down the road and in return her dad gives Carlos fish for our family! He’s the fisherman and he gives them to us just as they are… scales and all.
Supplies – cutting board & a sharp knife
Step 1 –
Take the fish in one hand and grasp it firmly because it’s very slippery. With the other hand gently use your knife to remove the scales from tail to head.
Step 2 –
Make an incision with your knife on the underside of the fish near the tail (anal hole) and cut all the way up to the base of the head.
Step 3 –
After cutting all the way up the belly, I usually go ahead and cut off the head. If you want to leave it on, then just make a cut from one side of the head to the other so you can remove the tongue and gills.
Step 4 –
Now it’s time to remove all the guts! These usually come out really easily in one smooth motion, super simple. Once they’re out you’ll notice a line of blood along the spine.
Step 5 –
Take your fish to water 🙂 and get that blood vessel out by using your thumbnail. At the tail where the vessel starts, gently scrape all the way up to the neck. It usually cleans out very easily.
Step 6 –
Once your fish is all clean, it’s time to cook it!! Or you can store it in your freezer until you are ready to prepare it. 🙂
If you have ever processed or butchered an animal, trout is a walk in the park! There’s really not much to it at all and I think anyone can figure it out if they allow themselves the time to do and with a good sharp little knife! For those who have never butchered an animal, this is a really good place to start!
Have you ever butchered a fish or animal? Do you have any good trout recipes to share? I would love to hear from you!!
A vegan who shops at the grocery store causes more environmental unrest than an omnivore who shops at the local farmers market.
There are a lot of fabulous people out there who are thinking about what they eat, and taking on this task can be a huge challenge! When I first became more conscious about my food, I became vegetarian and ate NO meat at all for NINE YEARS! That’s a long time to me, since I’m only 25. It was an eye opening experience for me and I went all out, really.
After 5 years or so, it finally became apparent that there is massive environmental corruption and slavery happening to PLANTS, not just animals. This realization took me to farms and communities where I lived and worked for the food on my plate. But I still looked at those big, beautiful eyes on a cow or the cute little chicken butts and I just wanted to cuddle them. Who could eat something so full of life??
Plants are full of life too though!!! I finally realized it when I was traveling recently. Everything on this planet, everything in the UNIVERSE is totally and COMPLETELY CONNECTED! We all need eachother. We all work together and effect one another! Every rock. Every tree. Every carrot. Every goat. Every human. We are all one.
We are creatures of this earth, humans on this earth, who should use and eat what is given to us by our surrounding environment. In the wintertime when the skies are bleak and the ground is covered in a layer of snow, fresh produce is scarce. This is when I begin eating canned and fermented produce, plus more meat! Animals live through the winter and they are readily available at local farms and farmers markets. It seems only right to eat animals when that is what nature is offering to me. I take what is given to me and I am ever so delighted and grateful to receive!
Eat local. Live Seasonal.
Give a man a fish and he’ll be fed for a day. Teach a man to grow tomatoes and he’ll feed the whole community!
My wonderful soul partner said this to me the other day… I think he got it from Grow Food Not Lawns. 🙂 I love it!!!