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..