2011 was the year of finding gaps, and I mean gaps, if you think you have a nicely done complete pantry, go ahead.. stop buying anything from the store.. cold turkey.. no shopping ahead.. and then make everything from scratch for 31 days.. Its eye opening to say the least.
In the cold of Canada, there is no fresh food.. if you are very lucky you might be able to dig out some small spots in the snow in the garden and cover with buckets and force a few things.. If you are on a farm, you might have eggs or not, you might have milk or not.. you might have one more chicken or rabbit that you can butcher yet.. or not..
In 2012-2013, I got better, much better at working my pantry and increasing what I keep as my basic’s and standards.. my biggest tips, always put up more yeast, baking powder and fats.. and more dried fruits for Baking.
In 2014 and 2015, I mixed it up and added extra challenges, added in growing more fresh greens in the house, more sprouting, more double bedded outside growing beds for forcing a few things early (starting them in the fall and overwintering them) and start them growing back in the longer daylight days.
2016, I did the war time food challenge and each year in what was tradionally called the “starving month” that brutal time between when the food put up in the root cellar is either eaten or turning, but the ground outside is frozen down hard and even if some things are starting, its lean.. very very lean!
I learned so many things doing the challenge and I got better at it however it was always done at the same time of the year, then I started really pushing myself with No Buy Feb, this meant that because I was not shopping in Feb, it meant that the house was even more lean food wise when I moved into the march challenges..
I did this year after year not because it was really that much fun (So some of it was a BLAST for me given that I love to cook) but the main thing for me was to figure out where my “blind spots” where my gaps were and I always! found them..
So welcome to 2022, lets head straight into Jan 1st’s
Eat off the Farm/Pantry Challenge overview
Dairy-No Fresh, Cream and Butter freezer, Canned Evap milk in the Cellar and Dried whole milk powder in the pantry.
Eggs: 3 to 4 fresh eggs coming in right now per day
Fresh fruit-Nope, its all frozen, dried or canned..
Veggies- A small mix of standard fresh from my last food baskets (maybe a weeks worth?, 10 days on oranges?), lots of squash, pumpkins, parsnips, turnips and then frozen, dried or canned.. Small amount of radish being grown, greens being grown/mico greens and spouting of course
Lets get real here, I live in ottawa valley canada and everything right now is frozen, covered in snow.. so anything fresh /garden is a NOPE, its winter folks.. but the lakes and rivers are not frozen enough to fish on yet.. so no fresh fish either!
Meat: LOTS and all kinds.. Freezer, dried, canned and still on the hoof or foot depending on need..
Anything harvestable outside.. – While there are a few things, its very minor indeed.. Keep you posted..
Now lets get to those food boxes.. they are amazing and I love them and I will continue to support the program, we normally buy 2 boxes every two weeks but as I am not planning on leaving the farm for other then medical appointments (if they are not cancelled again, 3 times so far) We will see if anything else getting me to go into public zones. We are going to donate the boxes within the program to families in need.. We have done sponsored boxes before over the past year and we did four families for christmas, now we pay the top tier price for the boxs (our wallet is full) but the sponsered boxes are paid for at the lowest tier price point so for a extra 6 dollar we can support and donate 6 boxes to those that need them in Jan, and I expect there will be those in our community that will need them..
This is going to be hard on us in terms of dropping our own fresh foods down massively and I have some worried with hubbies new required meals that we will struggle more to figure this out then I would have in years past pantry challenges..
However for safety’s sake, we need to stay home for the next 4 (?) plus weeks at a min.. I expect that there is going to be a good number of folks that will be doing a 5 to 10 day plus pantry challenge over the next 4 to 8 weeks, I also expect that fund based wise that there will be even more leaning hard and heavy on what they have now, with very little coming in.. Jan is always hard on many peaple as they get those credit card bills and more in the mail if they over spent in Dec an on Christmas..
Then there is just the simple fact that inflation is reducing your buying power, so even for those that are still bringing in grocery’s, I expect that many will spending more, bringing in fewer items and still reaching into their freezer, pantries and so on working hard to stretch things out..
I am not going to say that I am going to post daily, I do not want to say it and then fail.. if I do.. whoot, if I do not.. its all good.. I will say that I plan to do a weekly round up till whenever it ends..
Will all those practice runs help me? How much of a struggle will it be to figure out meals without my fresh fruit and veggie boxes coming in steady? Its not fun when its not a challenge per say.. but more of a well Bleep the Bleep.. those son of a Bleeps.. sigh.. ok, ok.. ok.. one meal at a time, one day at a time..
Yes, I think many are planning to hunker down for this January, and perhaps even beyond that. We certainly are, as work will be really full on for me, and we have many things to eat, play with and use up in the year to come.
I agree Silver, glad you are all set up and ready as well.. also glad you have that lovely park to get some extra outside time when the weather allows for walks as well.. hopefully work will not be to bad..
Yes, we are so thankful we have some outdoor green spaces here we can go to. It does help to get some fresh air and just watching life going by for a bit, while sat on a bench ^_^
For sure, I use my food forest yard for the same thing, a slow walk and bench sitting.. I watch the birds, purrpots and hounds 🙂 and I feel very grateful for it
Each time you post about one of these challenges it gets me to thinking…but then somebody says ‘look – squirrel’ and I’m promptly distracted. I ‘think’ I could pull this off, except cheese. Cheddar specifically – hubby likes his cheddar and I’m out unto the cow freshens…then there’s the aging of the cheese etc. I might give this a go. But will say flat out, I will be buying cheese. I’ll let you know if I’m as prepared as I think I am 😬
This year my focus remains on downsizing and de-cluttering. Making good progress – but still a ways to go.
Sounds like a plan ValB as always when things are stated at the begining its all good so cheddar on lol. I am going to keep on the down sizing and declutter as well but also with a massive push on organization as well.. I have lots of one kind of cheese in the freezers, its a white farmers cheese, it can be flavoured, fried, grated and kinda like mozza but not lo. I miss my fresh milk to make my yogurts and all my soft and herbed cheese spreads and so on.. I had the thought march spoiled me there, I always have a sheep in milk in march.. .. I will be interested to see what you find, I always found things that I thought I had lots of off but then found out didn’t have nearly as much as I planned once I had to use it in a number of ways..
I hear you there…I do know it’s a good push for me to start using up the frozen veggies I put up lat year. I took a look in that freezer – good grief. I also realized (after some rearranging) that I have farm cream cheese and ricotta in the freezer still 🤦♀️. Oops. Like you, I know I’m good on meat no question. The canning shelves are going to get the eagle eye though – I definitely need to use up some of the older stuff. Like my son brought me ten pounds of tiny crabapples….four years? ago…I had no time to anything other than can them up. And there they still sit. And some lamb stew that seems to have lost its appeal…pickled beets. Good god. If only we could live on those. I think the canning shelves is where I should focus.
congrats on finding the cheese and two kinds.. awesome.. I also need to use up things from the canning shelves and really need to get that apple, pear and peach butters into our diet in some way daily.. I had good crops and put up lots but its pressure canned, no sugar added, so while I have lots, its not like its opening a jar of sweetened fruit that is in outstanding shape, texture, color and mouth feel.. great for the new way of eating, no so good at making me want it..
Sadly, husband has a zero tolerance for being deprived of various foods, so we will still be doing click and collect grocery shopping whenever he needs meds. They will only give very small amounts of 2 of his meds, so we end up at the pharmacy at least every 2 weeks. The one pharmacy that could deliver to us makes so many mistakes, it just causes a lot of aggravation with no real reduction in visits to them, so we gave up on that. I can, however, challenge myself to eat a lot of the random things that are in the freezer. Both the freezer in the house and the chest freezer are stuffed full and messy, so this month, I will be trying to work on that. :-).
While my hubby is not happy at the idea, he understands and was very much part of the conversation on why we are doing this and he in fact is pushing for it to a point because we have so much put up that is not being eaten in the same way as normal because we were getting our 4 fresh fruit/veggie boxes each month, its me that is going to struggle more to figure out how to do while limiting those carbs and keeping plates filled.. I have greens, micro greens and sprouts all going but not at the rate I would have if I have not had a ton of salad stuff coming in on the boxes.. . I will look forward to your updates nicola and I am sure it will be a good thing to get a bit of order in the freezers 🙂