I was an extreme coupon shopper and I do still have a stockpile of .....a lot of stuff, I am more interested in keeping foods for when times are hard or its cold outside than anything else. Yes I could do my homework by reading and keep up the stockpile with store bought pickles for around fifty cents a jar or less, but I want to stop relying on the grocery store and get back to making my own. I am slowly but surely getting off the grid, this weekend I picked enough cucumber to to make dill pickles. I know that I will have to buy things like oil, flour and some type of sweetener from the grocery stores but there are so many other foods we can grow and make for ourselves.
We had a wet Spring with plenty of rain and then it just cut off like turning off a water facet. I have had an excellent crop of yellow squash and zucchini, seems they beat the moderate drought that we are in at the moment and I am still getting squashes daily, so much that I have put plenty away for me and I gave away plenty and I sold plenty. Cucumbers love water and with that said the vines are dying back a month early. Actually the whole garden is in dire need of rain. I am not sure how much more these poor plants can take, what water I have gave them doesnt seem to help. Late this evening we got a small rain shower. I am beginning to get enough red tomatoes to make into something, I will do salsa first because I can do that in small batches, once again they will not grow big without rain.
This past Sunday I was off from work so I made dill pickles and more of that delicious pineapple zucchini jam, I may as well use up the zucchini while I have it.
For the dill pickles I just sliced those into circles and I used Mrs. Wages Kosher dill pickle mix, Yes I will eventually make my own brine but I misplaced my recipe, This mix is as close to my recipe as I can get. I had enough cucumbers to make five quarts, I saved the rest of the brine to use later.
I followed the same recipe for the Pineapple zucchini that I used last time and it turned out perfect. You can get that recipe here : http://getoffthegrid2.blogspot.com/2016/06/pineapple-zucchini-jam.html
I also sliced both zucchini and yellow squash for the deep freezer, I vacuum sealed several packs, each for one meal.
We had cut and ate on a red watermelon for days and days, being that it would not last much longer in the fridge I decided to dehydrate the rest instead of throwing it out. I had four trays of five. I know using the electric dehydrator is not what I should do to save power but I don`t have one built outside, yet, and I do not dry as much as I used to when I first got the dehydrator. After drying I got a nice quart of crispy watermelon bits for winter, did I mention its like eating candy?!
I got as much as possible done around the homestead on my day off as I could.
On Monday :
Before work I scalded the skins off a large bowl of super ripe tomatoes and put those in the refrigerator to make something after work.
I was picking nearly a gallon of blackberries per day till I was asked by this old man could he pick some, I said "sure" and I stopped picking. He never showed up so I went back to picking them today, I got one pint picked after work before the lightening began.
A new work week with new challenges are ahead of me for this last week of June 2016.
I can say that being on the grid and preparing to get off the grid is not as easy as some may think it is, especially when I still work a couple jobs to make money. I have plans for a greenhouse and more but finding the time is my problem, I don`t mind hard work.
I have heard my entire life, when I wanted to give up, "Hard work is the only way to have anything, Don`t wait for someone to give it to you or you`ll die and still be waiting."
As much as I work I can actually see that it is getting easier and easier.
By Andria Perry
Photos by Andria Perry