Monday, October 25, 2010
One of the other ways I've been trying to save our family money is by having a home garden and visiting "you-pick" farms. Our garden didn't do very well at all this year because of a drought in our area. I watered for a while, but was afraid of drying up our well, so I quit at the end of July and let it fend for itself. The result was okay, but not as good as it could've been, and definitely money down the drain. I did manage to have enough zucchini to freeze for bread and some to make zucchini relish. We also got some Yellow Finn potatoes to can. I bought green beans and a sweet friend gave us enough tomatoes so I was able to can those, too.
The you-pick outings went much better. We went out and picked strawberries, blueberries and apples this year.
The strawberries all went into jam, as did some of the blueberries, but we froze a lot, too. The apples went into frozen pie filling, applesauce and apple butter. I'm actually still working on the apples. Things have been a little nuts, lately, but I WILL get it done ;). We also actually came into some free "found" foods. Or rather, donated :). We currently have six pumpkins awaiting dispatch. It's not advised that you home can pumpkin or winter squash of any kind, but we have big plans for the seeds ( yummy) and I'm going to bake and freeze the pumpkin puree' for pies.
Here's a picture of our "cellar room" in the basement. It's where I keep all my home-canned goods and duplicate canned goods. I've got quite a collection going. it's funny, but seeing it almost full makes me feel secure. :).
Thanks to our church, we also have weekly access to bakery-quality bread. Panera Bread has a program where they donate day-old bread, bagels, etc... to churches to pass out. We come away with a few loaves every week that really help stretch our budget.
Something else we're doing to save money ( although it's really more for quality and "know-where-your-food-comes-from sake) is keeping chickens. We've got ten hens and two roosters right now. This picture is from when they first started laying. We were getting quite the assortment of sizes and shapes. They're all pretty uniform, now. It's not really a money-saver, but I like knowing what our chickens eat and that they're not medicated and that they're treated well. We're not really selling eggs, yet ( okay, not at all), but we do give some every week to our neighbor. He's been good to us and if it helps with public relations, it's worth it ;).
I'm hoping next year, our garden goes much better. I've got the canner and dehydrator on stand-by, so maybe next summer/fall, I'll be able to post some REALLY bountiful pictures :).