Life without Plastic

Thursday, August 18, 2016

And then There Were Nine...

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Made a couple rounds of yogurt in the yogurt maker. So far, so good. This last round was a little runny, but I'll drain the whey to thicken it.

Started harvesting grapes and canned 7 quarts. Pickled a half liter of banana peppers in one of my Weck jars. I fermented our big cucumber into a half liter of dill pickles.

I purchased my first Weck jars with a Swagbucks Amazon giftcard and it worked great. I'm super excited to use them. If you would like to sign up for Swagbucks and earn free gift cards for stuff you do online (search, shop, etc.), feel free to support this blog and use my link.

I baked three loaves of whole wheat bread and two loaves of pumpkin bread with our own eggs. Mr. Greenie butchered and I assisted in plucking one of our bantams. This leaves us with 9 chickens, one of which is a rooster. We roasted the bantam with some vegetables from Food Not Bombs and then used the leftovers into chicken noodle soup. We ate the soup for two dinners so about $10 for raising the chicken and it made three meals.

Here's to more homemade, homegrown, and plastic-free harvest.
Little Urban Greenie

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Homemade and Breaking Free of Debt

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Made sauerkraut with jam in a mason jar and olive oil on top to keep it submerged.

One of my canned raspberries and one of my canned strawberries has mold inside but is still sealed somehow. Not sure exactly how that happened, maybe I didn't wash them well enough or at all?

Cucumbers are starting to form and the plant is growing huge. A few green beans are starting as well. Another ward member has plums ready to pick and the Green Urban Lunchbox will be starting to harvest peaches next week. Looking forward to fermented dill pickles, canned bread and butter pickles, canned peaches, canned plums, and canned green beans for Winter.

Bit the bullet and sold our hybrid this week. We bought a car for $1000 on the local Classifieds and have now reduced our debt by just shy of half! We are actually pretty happy with the car, it's the same make as Mr. Greenie's first car, manual transmission (which we love), no frills but works great, and has a decent radio. It was sold for half the Blue Book value, so it's quite a deal.

(See my post here about our debt reduction start)

Our chickens are just starting to lay about two eggs a day. This gives us some more wiggle room in our budget. We seem to have a rooster crowing now, so we'll be butchering soon. Started baking bread again, so there's some plastic reduction! We've really missed it, but it sure is hard to find time with a baby.

I've gotten pretty far behind in housework, but Mr. Greenie and I tidied up quite a bit tonight so hopefully I'll be back on track soon. UG1 is doing well with our classical home education preschool, so that's been a fairly consistent distraction. We do school year round and take breaks periodically when things get crazy. I've been using The Well-Trained Mind method and it works well for us so far.

Just got a free yogurt maker from someone at Food Not Bombs and I'm trying out tonight.

Here's to life less debt and more of it homemade,

Little Urban Greenie

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Desperate Times...

The links in the post below may be affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.

Canned two quarts of raspberries from the farmer's market and 6 quarts of blueberries from Food Not Bombs.

Made Greek yogurt twice from a free culture starter I got at Food Not Bombs. I used the tutorial for making it in a insulted lunch pail from Food in Jars. Now the yogurt plastic habit can be broken!

Canned 3 quarts of tomatoes from the Farmer's market and dehydrated the cores and skins for vegetable powder. Took all night before UG3 was down and everything was ready. Tomatoes take the longest to process with a 95 minute processing time for my altitude. Also watered the garden with the waterbath water. No waste, yay!

Garden is doing well, my surviving cucumber plant is flowering like crazy, so pickling season will soon be upon us. Another two fall cucumbers are coming up and some green beans as well. So, hoping for an abundant harvest from those before Winter.

With the heat wave we've had, no tomatoes are ripe yet, so they'll all come ripe when it cools at the same time. Most likely I'll be flooded with free tomatoes soon, which means spaghetti sauce, diced, whole, Rotel style, salsas, pizza sauce, ketchup, and tomato soup concentrate will be in abundance this winter.

Discovered that two of the blueberry jars didn't seal and were inappropriately fermenting on the shelf. Had to compost those. I also got a real deal on my beloved Weck jars. A local classified ad sold us 32 jars for $30, and normally they are about $5 a jar. Real win for us.

Now for the sad decision. We have been aggressively been attacking our debt and have realized that we can't afford our hybrid car with our more realistic budget, even with just paying the minimums of what we have left. We have paid off two of our smallest debts and have three more to go without the car which doubles our debt. (Mortgage is separate.) Yay for our progress!

So, with heavy hearts, we will be selling our car back to Carmax, cutting our losses, and buying a beater under $3K. We don't travel or drive far from home, so getting stranded won't be an issue. Eventually we will upgrade slowly back to a used hybrid, after saving up and trading up for slightly better cars along the way.

To a debt-free, plastic-free, and zero-waste future,
Little Urban Greenie

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