Thursday, October 19, 2017

A Variety of Harvest Pictures

One way that we are able to create much less waste is by growing, harvesting, using and putting away much of our own food. I love doing this. Not only does it mean we deal with much less packaging but also we have food that is much better for us and we know exactly where it came from.

  I had taken a bunch of harvest photos this year that I had never gotten put on this blog so here they are in this post. :-) In order of when they were taken - some of the harvest that we have rejoiced over this year....

 One of the earlier meals from our garden. New potatoes, green beans and cucumbers along with meatballs which had veggies in it and the sauce as well. So yummy!
 One of Mom and Dad's lovely watermelons - displayed by Aaron. Isn't it so cool??? Those watermelons looked funny (though most of them were normal shaped just yellow too) but tasted great!
 Aaron using the apple picker to get apples at Mom and Dad's.
 The grapes at my parents were really lovely this year.

Mara and Mom picking grapes. I picked grape leaves once as well to try making dolma but that never happened. I did however can a lot of grape juice and jelly.

 Green beans, husk cherries and cucumbers all did quite well in our garden.
 Boxes and baskets like this can feel overwhelming - both with how am I going to get these all processed and also just overwhelming thankfulness. God blesses us abundantly!
 Many jars of applesauce were canned.
 Nana gave Aaron her old juicer. It was so much fun to enjoy fresh yummy juices. We enjoyed a grape, apple, cucumber and husk cherry juice. It was really good!
 I love these big jars for canning juice in. I tried making husk cherry jam this year and I really like it.
 Snapping green beans over at my parents. It is a very fun job to do while visiting but not quite as much fun to do it by yourself.
 Final garden clean-up (though I do still have carrots and beets to dig) after the frost. We had covered the peppers for a couple of nights but we just picked everything (green tomatoes too) now. We only got our first frost last week which was extremely late for us.

 Apple sauce process.... I put yucky stuff in a bucket to go to the chickens (wormy parts, bad spots, etc), "good" cores and such go into a kettle which I cover with water and make apple cider from. Good pieces go into a put which I put a little water and cinnamon with and cook until soft. Then I add some honey and puree it and can it.
My pantry shelves are nearly full. Woohoo! Much of veggies actually go in our freezers too.

  When I can I use reusable jars, bands and tattler canning lids (for the most part - I do also use some metal ones which I will generally use several times as well). That means no waste is created either now or later. For frozen foods I will re-use containers over and over again.

  Do you put up food for the winter? I would love to hear about it.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Zero Waste Sour Cream

I don't buy sour cream all the time but it is something that we enjoy fairly often. I didn't know of any way to buy it however except in plastic containers with a plastic seal. So I tried making some instead.

 I figured if I was now buying raw milk with cream that I could somehow turn some of that cream into sour cream.  So I started searching that online to see what I could learn.
 I found instructions at Gemma's Bigger Bolder Baking and at OhLardy. I decided to try it two different ways. In one jar of cream I put 1/4 cup of sour cream that I had on hand and stirred it up well. In the other I put 2 teaspoons or white vinegar. I stirred them and covered them with a cloth napkin and set it on the windowsill for 24 hours. I then checked it but it didn't seem like it had done much so I left it another 24 hours.

   The cream did get nice and thick. It got a little sour but not as much as I would like. I don't feel like we were completely successful yet. But it does work okay.

  This time I used older cream and I think there was a little after taste from that. Next time I want to use cream that is pretty fresh. I also may try using citric acid to help sour it.

Have any of you ever made sour cream? I would love to hear if you have. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Church is the Body of Christ

Lately on Sundays here we have been talking about different word pictures for the church. Today we want to look at verses that talk about the church as Christ's body. This is a pretty commonly used word picture. Let's check it out...

"He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything." Colossians 1:18

"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for you sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions." Colossians 1:24

"And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all." Ephesians 1:22 &23

Christians are what make up this body: "Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it." 1 Corinthians 12:27

1 Corinthians 12:14-26 Explains how we are each different but no less important than another. We need each other to work together. One part is no good all by itself. And what is super important to remember is the fact that Christ is the head. That means we should all be listening to Him.

"This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him!" Matthew 17:5

We need to be in submission to Christ as well: "For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything." Ephesians 5:23 &24

We need to abide in His teaching: " Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teachings of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son." 2 John 9

"There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all." Ephesians 4:4 & 5

"Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread." 1 Corinthians 10:17

 We are only supposed to have one Head - Christ. There is also only one body - The Church. It should not be full of divisiveness. We should work together to follow Christ and tell others about Him.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

My Woodland Nymph

 Mara was invited to go to a birthday party today. They were asked to dress up and told their would be a costume contest. Mara decided that she would go as a woodland fairy/nymph.

 The leaves are still beautiful around here (but falling fast) and Mara loves creating things with them. So she made a headwreath with leaves and flowers that we still had blooming in our gardens.
 I thought she should use woodland products to wrap her gift as well so I helped her with that. We couldn't find leaves big enough so we did have to use a under-wrapping of recycled brown paper. Then I wrapped mullein leaves around and tied them on. I finished it off with a couple of acorns and a birch tag.

Mara, ready for the party.

A side note... I am so happy that Mara is not afraid to be herself - to be different if that is what it takes. When we got to the party we found that pretty much nobody else really dressed up. But I figured Mara would do fine and she did. And yes, she won the the contest of being best dressed :-).

I included this with my Zero Waste series because I think it fits. Here's why:

  • Items like leaves and flowers can just be composted after use.
  • No plastic packaging was required for this costume or gift.
  • We used what we had instead of buying things.

Friday, October 13, 2017

A New Rag Rug

 I finished a rag rug to go by my side of the bed today.
Making rag rugs is a favorite hobby of mine as it is truly a perfect way to use up trash and turn it into something useful and beautiful. Rag Rugs can be made out of small narrow scraps, old stained garments and such like. It is fun to make a bit of a pattern that depends upon how you add in your colors.

Green and purple are the main colors we have used in our room so that is what I tried to mostly use.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Homemade Eggrolls

 This week we made egg rolls for supper. This is something I often think to make in the fall when we are bringing so much in from the garden. I tend to get fairly creative when it comes to what vegetables go in them. :-) This week I had a huge cabbage from a friend to use that got me thinking about egg rolls. I also put onions, garlic, celery, carrots, hamburger, ginger, salt and pepper in them.

 I make my own wrappers (and avoid the plastic wrapping that comes on the ones you buy) which is not that hard. I talk more about doing that in this post.  Making egg rolls is a kind of messy project but I do enjoy the results! :-)

  In the last year or so I have been frying them in tallow (that I processed from our grass fed and finished beef). I think it is a healthier and cheaper alternative (and also fairly Zero Waste).

  You might notice in the top picture that I have the egg rolls on a brown paper. That is the inside of a sugar bag that I saved for that purpose. I do not buy paper towels and generally use cloth rags instead but for this purpose I do like using paper. The bags work great. Afterwards they work good for fire starter.

  Do you make egg rolls? Making them from scratch instead of buying the frozen ones or even buying the egg roll wrappers definitely creates less trash. I made extra and froze a bunch too. I am looking forward to using them on a busy day.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Broiler Pen made from Repurposed Items

 This Spring we were needing a place to put our broilers for their growing up. We didn't need anything super great as they would only need it for a few months and not through the winter. We also weren't wanted to spend a ton of money.

  So, Aaron and I went to work with trusty pallets (we had some on hand that I had collected another time).

For the shelter (that would go inside the pen that we made) we used pallets and some screws and made the lovely contraption about. Then we took a lumberyard tarp (that we get for free) and folded it in half (or maybe more times) to make it even sturdier and then we stapled it securely on our "roof".

For the actual pen we decided to use the garden fence for one side of it. Then we made pallet fences for the other 3 sides. We had to dig a few places so that they sat nice and flat with no holes underneath them. We screwed them together as we went along.

 We worked the fence through and around some brush. I cut down as little as possible as I liked the idea of the brush hiding the fence on the outside and on the inside I knew that it would provide greenery and shade for the chickens.

This is the view from inside the garden.

We used another pallet for the gate and some zip ties served as "hinges".

We found some odds and ends of wire mesh that we had and put that up on the inside of the fence down near the bottom to keep little chicks in (since there were some cracks) and predators out.
 The chickens really enjoyed their new space.

 Mara, standing by our "gate".

It was a fun project that we made without having to spend money or create waste. In fact we used up some things that would normally be wasted. And it worked! It was a successful home for our chickens until time for butchering. We thought about getting a piglet after their butchering time but that didn't happen this year. Another nice thing about this pen was that it actually looked pretty decent and especially with it being in the brush it was not an eyesore on the property. Ken really appreciated that.
Have you made things out of pallets? What have you done?

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

"Chips" and Salsa - With Zero Waste

In the fall one of the things that I most like making from our garden is salsa. Salsa just tastes like harvest time to me. My top favorite way to eat salsa is with chips. But even in years past I have rarely bought chips. Why? First I tend to find them on the expensive side. Second I question how healthy they are for us since they are a processed food that sits in a bag for a long time. Thirdly, for quite sometime I haven't  preferred to buy things that are in lots of packaging. Chips pretty much always come in a plastic bag that isn't very reusable. So chips were just a once in a great while sort of treat.

But I have happily found a homemade substitute that I and I think all of my family likes quite well. I like it just as it is but I do have ideas for other varieties as well. What I do is make sure to make extra when I am making tortillas for a meal some day (My recipe is here) and then a day or so later I turn the leftover tortillas into chips. I lay them out on a pan, brush them with olive oil on both sides and then sprinkle them with salt. The next step is to cut them into chip shapes with a pizza cutter. Then I bake them in the oven at around 375 degrees until they are crisp. Take them out and eat them. They are really crunchy and taste wonderful dipped in salsa. 

My tortilla recipe is generally made all with wheat flour but for this purpose I do think it would be fun to make a tortilla with a lot of cornmeal in it and then make chips from it. I hope to try that soon. You could also sprinkle different spices on it to make it even more interesting.

  Do you have any ideas for variations?

That is our zero waste and frugal, chips and salsa substitute. We like it!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Avoiding Trash When Spending Time with Others

Trying to live without creating any landfill waste has been interesting. Over all it hasn't been that hard especially when I am hanging out at home but when I spend time with other people it can get more interesting.

 For instance I have discovered it is pretty common for others to bring trash to your place. Company brings things in bags and such that are normally thrown away. Music students often have snacks that are in wrappers and stuff like that. Personally I am not ready to make this big announcement "We are trying to live with Zero Waste around here (or I am - much of my family is not really ready to take that step) and would you please take care of your own trash." So we provide trash cans and sometimes I go through it later and see if any of it can be composted or recycled or reused in anyway.

This Sunday I also ended up out and about quite a bit. There was a fellowship dinner at church. We are very blessed that at church there are a lot of us who don't really like to waste so for dinners and even big events with over 100 people we still use real dishes and silverware and we wash them and use them over and over and over again. We also use fabric towels instead of paper towels. So it is easy to stay zero waste at church.

We did also go to a 4-H potluck. Even though 4-H is known for being green that isn't super obvious. :-) I did bring plates and silverware along but then I knew Aaron would be embarrassed if I pulled them out and since this was his event and since it was the cheap paper plates that I knew would compost or work for fine for fire starting I did use a paper plate. I used my own fork however and took it and Ken's plasticware home for washing. I brought our plates and programs home for using to start our fire with.  I had a water bottle in the van but forgot to bring it in at first. I thought about grabbing a disposable water bottle or a plastic cup but I refrained and went out and got my water bottle instead. It really is nicer anyway. I do need to learn to think ahead to bring it in with me places however.

 That day as well we were also invited over to some friends to play games and they offered some yummy snacks. Again disposable plates and cups were offered. Since it was just snacks I was able to avoid their use and just take a little bit at a time in my hand.

  All this stuff is in a way rather petty but it makes you think about all the ways that we can create trash through the day. Also I think about how I could easily avoid the temptation to use that trash by planning ahead a little more. It isn't that hard you just have to think about it. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Homemade Pizza

 Making homemade pizza instead of buying frozen or take out or something like that is a great way to avoid trash. It is also better for you and can taste pretty delicious as well!
 I use this pizza crust recipe and then I often put tomato sauce on it but sometimes I do alfredo sauce instead. I make the alfredo sauce by sauteing several chopped cloves of garlic in 1/4 cup butter. Then I add in around 1/2 cup of white flour. Then I add in milk and salt and stir well. Then I add in some pureed homemade ricotta goat cheese (you can also use cream cheese) and some shredded cheese. Cook until thickened. It is pretty easy.

  For this pizza I fried up some of the chicken breast from chickens that we raised. I also put on kale leaves, tomatoes and peppers from the garden. Then I topped it with some more shredded cheese. It was good but I actually forgot to put salt in my sauce this time so it wasn't as good as it could have been.

  I also made extra and I like to freeze them because they make a nice quick supper. I know this isn't a "pure" zero waster tip but I like to reuse the bags that I buy 20 lbs of white rice or pinto beans in. I wash them out and they get used over and over and over. They work great for putting a pizza in and putting it in the freezer. To freeze pizzas I usually pre-bake the crust for around 9 minutes and then I put the toppings on and then I freeze it and just finish baking it when I get it out to eat.
It may not be a perfect solution but it works well for us.

Do you ever make homemade pizza? Have you tried freezing them?


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