Monday, October 27, 2008

Ongoing Projects At Hand

These will continue to be researched and added to, started or gathered together in order to start...some personal, some family

1. Begin attending a local place of worship. We've put this off for different reasons in the past, but now it's time to find a shul.

2. Stepping up inroads to land finalization and relocation.

3. Determining on paper the ACTUAL savings/costs, advantages/disadvantages of my returning to the job I had. Will weigh financial realities and compare money saved by more careful managing from home (all meals from scratch, really stretching our money, no gasoline expenses, pack all lunches/cook all meals for other family members, etc) VS. the cash. Will also weigh the health impact of working nights, and the reality of how much I can get done in a day here at home, etc.

4. Researching greens and crops that would last the winter here. Must get them in the ground. Plan to do floating row covers or something along that line if necessary during colder weeks.

5. We MUST start substituting grocery store items with our own homegrown/homeproduced. The only of these we're actually using on a daily basis are the fresh and dried herbs and the homemade kombucha. Oh yes, and the diabetes plant/gynura. It's a start, but it's not enough. Greens are top on the list for the immediate, also leaf lettuces and radishes.

6. More experimentation with unfamiliar but available plants, such as cooking young papaya leaves, clover, and others.

7. Need to weekly eliminate ANY storebought breads, with exception of maybe flour tortillas now and then, with my own homemade. Same thing with any sweet treats, occasional desserts. Do NOT plan on making these in large quantities, though, because we're trying to cut back, find our balance. We've lost a little weight just cutting back on them a bit and substituting other things.

8. Find tried and true soup recipes...ones I get asked to make again. Ones I have ingredients for without having to include half a dozen difficult ones. ( I really appreciate Lemongrass's recent recommendations...thank you, I look forward to trying them out!!)

9. Take the time to shop a few places for specific things. I can find real deals out there on specific items, but they're places I seldom shop for much of anything and don't think to go on my weekly grocery shopping. I'll be divvying up the food budget to make stops for these things since they're close by and it would save me maybe 1/4 of my weekly budget. Need to find somewhere with better prices for meat, even though we've cut back on meat quantity by about half.

10. Ultimately, to achieve reducing weekly grocery bill by half within a year's time. I am now spending half of what I spent last year weekly.

11. Increase my physical activity daily. I've lost some weight now, not much, but without trying, simply by getting more rest and eating better, eating more homemade...and, I think, by drinking such copious amounts of the longer-fermented Kombucha (not as sugary as the younger kombucha) I think it's something my body's been needing, and now I FEEL like doing more...yay!!

12. Begin planning the spring garden beds and order seeds.

13. Expand useful recipe base for things to make all meals last.

14. Find the many ways to use the pumpkins and winter squashes since the prices of these right now are really reasonable.

15. Don't know if I can achieve this one, but if so, great :) Can we find a small freezer by late November?? If so, I'd like to watch the sales on turkeys and get some. For now, it would feed us for a long time...till the day we can have our own (praying praying praying...) The prices are so stupid these days, it's maybe my onlyhope to find affordable meat in quantity.

16. Write the thank you notes I have procrastinated.

17. Declutter my desk area, my closet, the back porch. Keep floors mopped regularly (we have allllllll tile floors) Keep laundry folded right after washing. Empty a couple of piles in the garage to free up two more laundry baskets for that purpose. Oh yeah, and those dishes that keep replenishing themselves in the sink even after I've just gotten things back in order (grrrr...) :)

18. Keep saving our loose change for the Not Thinking Challenge.

19. Plan simple things for Hannukah. I have no idea what we'll do.

20. Make EVERY shabbat a special celebration in our week. Have the music, meals, clothing ready no later than Thursday, since it allllwayyyyyssss seems to get put off till Friday afternoon and then either gets rushed or otherwise goofed. I want it to be a relaxing time, a planned time, an oasis.

21. Every week study the Torah portion ahead of time, and read my Bible every day. I'll be concentrating on the version by his literal translation and brief yet historical insights in his Torah translation with commentary.

22. Do something with that neglected front flowerbed. (Update: Just started that today, whacking the bushes back with the HEAVY limb cutter since we don't have a hedge trimmer. My forearms are obviously out of shape. I got half of them done and my arms feel like they weigh forty pounds and feel like I imagine Popeye's do, ahoy!)

23. I ordered yarn...this, and this...for The First Time In My Life!!!!! (so excited) I'm SO NOT a thready sewing crocheting knitting person. But my daughter has a neglected Knifty Knitter set, and inspired by Warren's success making things with his KK, initially inspired by Angie's KK success here being modeled by the cutest pictures of her kids, I thought of the time I could be sitting beside my sweetie as we watch movies and in an hour or two I could have a real, homeknitted hat or scarf, or (as I get better) a longer project such as a throw blanket. So this project is underway.

24. I sketched some chicken pictures for possible red-on-white embroidering, or maybe applique? to make some squares throughout the winter for later assembling a quilt or other project...(y'know, when I learn how to sew??? lol)

25. We have honed hand-sketched house plans down to a few basic designs. Now I'm concentrating on trying to imagine what specific things we'll need to incorporate for ongoing real life activities...shelf space for fermenting, storage, kitchen arranged in best way for canning and food prep and large quantities of things needing to be cleaned and chopped, etc. Windows situated for best through-the-house airflow, some sort of passive design that encourages temperate interior during exterior extremes. Siting gardens and animals in relation to the house and our need to access them quickly yet not be too close. And so on and so on...

26. Will I Can??? I have a dozen quarts, new in the box, sitting there. I have a soup pot that could act as a hot water canner. This is where I got stuck with the kombucha, before taking the leap. I could start with something easy, like lemon curd. Or pumpkin pickles a' la Throwback at Trapper Creek, or Pumpkin Butter a' la Kathie. And yet I circle the project slowly and with trepidation. Hmmm...

27. Make my own laundry liquid/powder. Yep, another procrastinated project. I think cleaning out the cluttered corners of the laundry room would inspire me to get that underway.

28. Correcting my typos before posting on the blog. Yeah....right (lolol)

That's it for now...just needed to put this to keyboard so as to have the list handy! :)


Carolyn said...

Sounds like you are going to be busy!!!

Try canning. It really is not that hard. I know that once you try it you will love it. I do!


amanda said...

great (long) list! i have found an excellet laundry soap rec. if interested!!

Robbyn said...

Carolyn, yes, I've been impressed with how you dived (dove?) right in and had great successes! Thanks for the encouragement :)

Amanda, I'd love your recommendations :) I have to have one without much in the way of chemicals because heavy scents and such make me itch all over

annette said...

What a list; I need to put my list to paper - things tend to get misplaced when they live in my head! =P
Amanda, I would love to see your soap recipe. Mine seems to be seperating. =(
Robbyn, I lost alot of weight just cutting out milk products - helps when your lactose intolerant. Makes eating out almost impossible so you have to eat in. Cooking can be challenging; however, you just make substitutions. Anyway, when I was out on a motorcycle ride this sunday, I saw a road called the back forty! =)
Great Blog!

Anonymous said...

You'll love those knifty knitter looms! Cannot wait to see what you've created! ;)

Kathie said...

My goodness that's a list and a half! I wish we were closer geographically so I could plan a weekend canning visit...

Robbyn said...

Annette, neat! Good tip about the milk...we've cut way back on it because of cost and also having kombucha around to have a treat besides water.

Angie,thanks, the ones you made look sooooo neat! Let's see if I can follow the simple instructions...I've never been so good at anything remotely "home ec"...I think I've been repressing the memories, ha!

Kathie, meee tooo!! :) My husband thinks he's freezing if the weather dips below 70, so I imagine we won't be moving that far north anytime soon, rats! :)

Paulette said...

Wow, that is a list! I'm inspired, I'm going to make my own list, there are so many things that I want/need to do, and they are just swirling around in my head.

Good luck with yours.

ejm said...

Very impressive list!!

Flour tortillas are actually pretty easy to make. It takes about 10 minutes (at most) to mix the dough, which can/should be left to rest for at least 30 minutes before being made into bread. Rolling out the rounds and cooking doesn't take long at all and only requires a cast iron pan and a couple of burners.

From what I can gather, tortillas are virtually the same as chapatis. Pita can be made in the same way and are even easier to make than the unleavened breads.


Here are our recipes for chapatis(tortillas) and pita:
soup and stock (my favourites are "broccoli" and "squash with ginger"):

For white bean soup, omit the chicken stock powder in the following and add stock til it's the right consistency:

That reminds me... I've GOT to try making borscht again!

Anonymous said...

What a fabulous list! I hope you accomplish them all :)

Robbyn said...

Paulette, go for the list! I stand a better chance of not throwing it away if I put it here instead of on the back of a junk mail envelope (a habit I have). My favorite part? Actually getting them done and crossing them off, ha!

Elizabeth, I had no idea tortillas, etc, were so easy! Thank you for the great links, can't wait to check them out :) Let me know how your borscht turns out!

Anonymous said...

Wow! We are trying or have succeeded in some of the things on your list. One of easiest for us was cutting out store bought bread and sweets. We have been making our own bread (including tortillas) for almost a year now and can't imagine getting it at the store. Stick to simple recipes and find one that really works for you then you can start to get creative with add in like flax seed etc. We make one sweet treat a week but that's it, we have to make it last the week.

Good luck!

Country Girl said...

Holy, Holy that is quite a list. Sounds like you'll be busy. I am a list maker too but only for short term projects or I'd be so overwhelmed. Great Goals!

fullfreezer said...

Impressive list. I wish you well in your search for a new home. That's also on my list- but I'm not brave enough to publish mine. Then someone might hold me to it ;-)

Robbyn said...

badhuman, thanks for the bread tip...I'm baking my way through some good basic ones and hope to settle on a couple of basic faves soon :)

frugaltrenches, thanks, have plenty to keep me busy!

Kim, let's see how many actually get done, lol

Judy, ha! Ok how about we put winning the lottery on our lists?? :)

Robbyn said...

badhuman, thanks for the bread tip...I'm baking my way through some good basic ones and hope to settle on a couple of basic faves soon :)

frugaltrenches, thanks, have plenty to keep me busy!

Kim, let's see how many actually get done, lol

Judy, ha! Ok how about we put winning the lottery on our lists?? :)

MommaofMany said...

I have put our tried-and-true recipes here:

Not all are NT, but almost all are basic, and things our family of ten really enjoy. NT techniques can be used on most of them, as well!

Shelby said...

Your number one is my number one also. I had this conversation with my husband just yesterday. I simply got out of the habit, and my teenage son called me out on it. HE gets up and goes to Church on Sundays AND takes my teenage daughter.

I am going to Church this Sunday.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Have you visited Miss Effie's Diary? I can; that woman CANS!

As for bread, I make four loaves at a time and put three in the freezer; don't have to make it as often that way. But the easiest way to make homemade is a bread machine. (I used to have one until it broke; but I don't mind my four-loaf method.)

BTW, what is a "shul"?

Robbyn said...

MommaofMany...what a wonderful resource, thanks!! I need it..recent "bank error not in my favor" (remember those community chest cards on the Monopoly board?? ha) I have to strettttccchhh it more this week!

Shelby, we study at home but are really missing the's so important, isnt it? :)

Michelle, I'll check out her blog, thanks! I've done the four loaf thing from time to time...need to get back to it now that my freezer is less squished! A shul is just another word for where Jews study and hold services...depends on the branch of judaism, some other branches are called temples, etc. :)

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

I guessed a shul might be that. We worship on the Lord's Day (Sabbath, the 7th day of the week), too. And yes, community is very important, and God instructs not to neglect "assembling ourselves together for worship." There's something very powerful about "corporate" worship, just as it is essential to study independently. Shabat!

D. S. Foxx said...

New enough to your blog that I don't know where in Florida you are or how much you've had the chance to explore your area. But I did note that you ordered soapberry tree-stock. (Why the Western, BTW?)

The Florida Soapberry _sapindus marginatus_ should be shedding the last of its fruits now in most of its range. If there are any near you, chances are the ground's littered with them and no one but the bugs has taken advantage. Could jump-start your soapmaking!


Robbyn said...

Michelle, I'll try emailing your regular email address here soon...I agree!

DSF, I'm really new to foraging and identification, though we're learning! When we were researching native saponins, we did see mention of the florida one, but could not locate a source to purchase any, although we did find a source for the western one and it indicated it was likely hardy in this zone. They have done well! We'd love to find the florida variety, and if we can do so in person, all the better :) Another entirely different thing we've only just begun becoming familiar with is bokashi, and I see your whole blog is about that...can't wait to learn more :)

Robbyn said... you have that laundry soap recipe you mentioned?? I'd love it!

Gina said...

You will definitely get hooked on canning. Believe it or not, I just started pressure canning last year (I was timid to try even though I bought the PC a few years before that).

Quite an ambitious list!!


D. S. Foxx said...

I always miss the obvious answers! Impressed you found any soapberry stock, now I think about it; it's not a popular nursery tree.


Killi said...

Here's a strange question from a heretic ~ could you recommend a version of the Jewish Bible (in English, please). I know it is very different from the one Christians have access to. Years ago I read the "Book of J" by 2 Jewish Scholars & I'll love to read the full version of the passages they quoted to support their theory & see how it differs from my Christianized versions.

Well done with starting to knit, I WANT that yarn! If you start knitting or crochet ing on a regular basis, check out They don't ship overseas, but I raid their patterns & instructions as American & UK terms are different