I am a bad, bad blogger. As you can see, the scene in my backyard has changed dramatically since my last post. It's been way too long since I've posted and for that I have a few excuses:
Excuse number one: Being a locavore in March is tough. There's really not a lot of exciting things to cook. Usually I would usually contradict that and say that there's always something new and exciting to be done even with a limited palate, but excuse number two limits me even even further.
Excuse number two: I am buying a house. As part of the deal, my credit union is requiring me to have a nice chunk of cash in savings. Hence, I have had to cut back my spending to the bare minimum. I've been eating as much as possible from the freezer, trying to stay as local as I can - which is no easy feat if you are broke and it's March in Wisconsin. Right now I have milk, cream, cheese, leftover beef stew (beef, the last of my carrots, Jerusalem artichokes, and frozen tomatoes), butter, cabbage, eggs, honey, and potatoes. That, plus some non-local peanut butter, oatmeal, pasta, bread, and mayonnaise is literally all I've got on hand. If I had my usual cash flow, I would be able to purchase beautiful and pricey hoop house spinach, the last of the storage apples, large quantities of local sunflower oil, beautiful cuts of local meat, and other March fare. At the moment, those delicacies are out of my price range.
I don't mean for this to sound like I'm feeling sorry for myself. My wonderful boyfriend Stanley has been inviting me over for meals quite a lot, and I'm finding it interesting to see how cheaply I can live. I've been hyper-conscious of all my spending for the past few weeks, and it's been an interesting process. Consuming less is something many of us could use to think on, and I've used this forced frugality to test my limits. Little things like paper towels and disposable sponges have proved to be unnecessary. I've stopped sneaking in that extra $1.25 cookie and expensive coconut water for lunch at work. Some things I've deemed to be vital: cat food, toilet paper, laundry soap.... these are things I need and I've continued buying, but I'm thinking about conservation in ways I never did before.
In the meantime, real spring has come to Wisconsin! The crocus are blooming, the peepers are peeping, and the daytime temperatures are reaching into the 60s. Despite my money woes, I can't help feeling giddy about the season!
The garlic I planted in the fall is showing itself through the dried leaves I piled on top of it back in October. I'm moving out of the house I'm in now in June, and I'm hoping the garlic will have formed at least little heads by then so I can harvest it before I go.
The seeds I planted a few weeks back have germinated (or at least most of them).
Three kinds of tomatoes (Ox Heart, Candy Stripe, and Black Cherry), tomatillos, basil, and peppers. It's so hard to believe that these tiny little sprouts will bear fruit in just a few short months.....
This is how I started my day today: biscuits and gravy made using Stanley's family recipe. I made the biscuits, he made the gravy with local Willow Creek Farm sausage and Sassy Cow milk. Mmmmm...... this meal is almost more suited for a dinner than a breakfast. Lucky for us, we had garden plans that would help burn of at least some of the calories!
Just to prove that I'm a bad blogger, I forgot to bring the camera when we did the work at the Main Street Garden, but I did take some pictures afterward. Meg and Dave had started expanding some of the beds yesterday, and Stanley and I helped for the better part of the morning.
What you see in the foreground is the community garden that my brother, sister in law, and mom have been tending for a few years. The bed you can see in the very back (with a big pile of dirt on one side), was dug this morning. There's also a new bed to the left of the picture that you can't see very well.
Here's a closer look. It was so good to get my hands in the dirt! The sun was shining, I was working with dear friends and family, and the soil was not too wet but not too dry. Perfect!
Here's another view. The top of this view is the railroad track. We're not yet sure what will be planted here - We'll have to have a big family garden summit to plan it all out...... since it's not even April yet, we still have some time.
We also expanded the plot that Dave and I dug last year for our sweet corn, squash and beans. The plan for this year is to plant it entirely in potatoes.....
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