Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Some thoughts and lessons on foodpreservation

among other things.....

The posts about lessons continue....
There is the gardeningaspect; I am taking composting serious these days and I am quite surprised and pleased with the results so far! Working in layers really helps as does additional and occasional watering. Last week I gathered the leaves from the lawns and after having turned over this year's compost I covered that with a thick layer of leaves. That should make great compost and will act as a blanket, so the compostingproces can go on longer, before the wintercold puts a stop to it. The compost was full of worms, much to my delight.
As a next step in my experiments with feeding the soil of the plantbeds I covered the ones we used this year with a layer of leaves too. See if that will help loosening and regenerating the soil to an acceptable level without digging. So far I have done the covered/raised beds, the dig up the weed routine and now the cover in plantmaterial way.

We are repeating the canningprocess with the things we learned like broth (Well, my wife knows how to. For me it was the first time solo) and new things as in "processed foods" like pastasauce, gulash and a chickenrecipe with pineapple and raisins. Good to have on hand and a good way to use ingredients that might spoil easy. We use a lot of bellpeppers/paprika, tomatoes and champignons/mushrooms. This also means having food that no longer requires energy in order to store.
And then I was surprised by a package arriving from the UK! One of the members of BCUK, called British Red, who also has a homesteading blog, called the English countrlife, sent me some things to plant, which are not available here anymore and are generally not easy to come by; ecological garlic and shallots. He also included a package of Dutch brown beans and a package of parsnip seeds. The garlic and shallots I planted right away and covered the ground with leaves as a blanket against the frosts, before they get to severe.

And the next step was drying. We have a lot of rosehips and I want to have those as a vitamin C-supplement coming winter. So I've harvested those and dried them after which I ground them into a powder to be blended into yoghurt or other dishes. Maybe some marmalade/jam too.
I generally followed this step by step, found on eatweeds.co.uk.

After this I will be off to Finland soon. A 5 day digital detox so to speak. No facebook, blogger, forums or what not.
I'm feeling quite nervous actually. Really stepping out of my comfortzone here, travelling long distance, alone, meeting people I've never seen before, being away from my family for 5 nights....
The original plan was to take the train to the airport, fly to Helsinki to be picked up there by the weekend woodsman and drive to Kuopio. The day before the trip he contacted me and we had to rearrange the final part of the trip, meaning taking the train alone. Last minute adjustments like that make me even more nervous, because they are nor planned ahead. But that's a good lesson in adjustment, I guess.
It also showed that I am not used to packing before travelling. It took me all morning, just to get my stuff together!! And now I am looking at a duffel bag, weighing 17,5kg. Simply because a lot of outdoorgear had to be taken. 5 days in Finland and its woods, without playing with toys? No way...

As usual before such an endeavour I have tons of things to do, before leaving. Gathering wood, doing homesteadstuff, putting up the village's christmastree, all sorts of other things.... I even get the urge to start cleaning the house!
I sometimes wonder why I do that. To get away from the travelstress? It only adds to it!!

And just before I went away I managed to transport a large amount of extra firewood here. I guess up to 5m3. That comes from a large amount of potato crates, which had served their purpose (or outlived their usefulness), so I could come, take them apart and transport them here. Now that taking apart-part was easier said than done. They had been nailed together and needed to handle between 500-600kg of potatoes each and stand the regular abuse during transportation. That means some serious nails were being used, both in length as in numbers. We will need to scrape many a kilo from the ashtray before it is all gone. And there is a large pile of otherwise still useable planks there too.

There is an afterburner;
lately I have been slacking on my low-carb-way of eating, with the trip to Tallinn, my daughter's 13th birthday, my craving for chocolate (love that stuff, especially with hazelnuts!!) and me being sick, trying to replace lost energy. So a good deal of grains, sugars and snacks were on the menu once more.
That had an almost immediate effect! Some of the physical problems I had before and lost when changing diet, reemerged. Once again it was shown that the body, my body does not react well to that kind of ingredients. So I am once more tightening the grip on those. I simply should not consume any of those at a daily basis. Despite the fact that certain ladies in the house, actually all three of them, liked me better with a potbelly...


  1. Hej, Ron, thanks for the two links to the good blogs. Very neat that you got some seeds from another person by sharing. Don't sweat about the trip, sounds like it will a great one. I would totally take one like that, this very second, if I could. Somedays we spend the whole day out, in remote farms and woods, well into the dark, just kids and I, and often I just feel like just pitching a tent at the end of the forest and staying there for a week. Enjoy your time in the woods!! (just don't get too drunk as is customary in Finland, and give our best wishes to Santa).

  2. Yeah, because drink, as you probably know, is another form of carbohydrate just like sugar.

    Can't wait to hear about your Finnish exploits. You will have a blast. At least I hope you have a blast!

  3. Glad the stuff got there safe Ron - always a pleasure to help out a fellow homesteader. Really hope the garlic and shallots work out for you - its holding mild here so our garlic has 4" of growth already!

    Enjoy Finland my friend.