Thursday, July 30, 2009

Not All Is Lost: NewMan's Own Organic on Sale

I can still shop for organic if its on sale. That's what I did a few days ago. While shopping for a few baby items some household needs and something for dinner I came thought about what I already had at home to eat. I had portabella mushroom, CSA eggplant, CSA okra, CSA onion, CSA tomatoes, CSA basil, and a box of Organic whole-wheat spaghetti I bought several weeks ago. Can you see where I am going here? So all I needed now was pasta sauce oh and Beef Bouillon, my husband instead. We were so close to have a vegetarian dish... oh well. It was my husbands turn to make dinner so it was up to him to decide if he wanted to make it from scratch or from a glass jar. It was already late in the day and we were already hungry. He opted for glass, but then I noticed Newman's Own Organic pasta sauce on sale. I've heard it was good, but the price has always prevented me from buying it. We bought it this time. I absolutely loved dinner. It was scrumptious. My husband claimed it needs some meat, but I'm proud of him for giving this dish a try and making it so delicious. I asked for a second helping... and I shouldn't have done that. I was stuffed.

Later this week I contacted Fairsted about joining their CSA. They have a drop site much closer to where I live. They emailed me a response that I can still join but that I need to hurry. So, I better hurry and fill out that application.

Posted my Newman's Own reviews here and here. If you have eaten or tryed a green product and really like it these are great websites to go to to write and read green reviews.

Green Site With Ratings here.

Also an organic contest for your kids here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Tomorrow Is The Last Pickup

I can't decide what to do about the veggie CSA. Tomorrow is the last pickup for the summer. The payment for the next season is due on the first. If I were to put this on a scale it would look like this. On the right side I would put 2 lbs for the yummy taste of the food and 3 lbs for the learning experience. On the left side I would place 1 lb for the time of pick up, 3 lb for the drive through traffic and distance, and 1 lb for the amount and variety. I would also add a lb on the left side because I wish there was a way I could have bonded more with the rest of the CSA community. It all seemed rather....distant. Wait I think I have decided. It seems I will not be a part of this particular CSA next season. I will look into other CSA communities for next season. Perhaps new ones have been added to the local harvest website. Maybe the new ones are a bit closer and less expensive.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I Must Confess

I must confess after my husband came home from Iraq and after his last check we had to begin living off our savings, the savings I had saved just in case of lack of unemployment. Law or no law many employers out there find ways to not hire military. It doesn't help that the economy is the way it is either.

I must have not calculated the amount of money needed for several months correctly because we were going through our savings a lot quicker than I had planned. I wasn't sure we would make it much farther. About  two weeks before we knew he would be interviewed and hired I decided best we try WIC to help us live off our saving (pay bills and such) a little longer until he found something. I tried to keep my Wic appointment from him, knowning how much, he hates government assistance of any sort, but the day before my appointment WIC called to remind me of the appointment. He picked up the phone and handed it to me. He wasn't angry, but he was disappointed and the look on his face showed me that he thought I lost faith in him. That wasn't true at all, but I couldn't change his mind.

Still I went through with it the next day and I wasn't suprised at all when we qualified. We were well within need of assistance, afterall our only form of income was, the last bit of our savings and the $50-70 a week I recieve from work working twice a week outside the house. I couldn't pick up any more hours either.

It was sad to see so many people at the WIC office...moms with one kid, moms with more than one kid, moms that have been on the system for a long time for whatever reason. During the appointment WIC also offered me some paper work for food stamps and other assistance, but I knew this was only temporary and I knew we wouldn't stay on WIC very long. It was just enough to help us get back on our feet. Like when we were on it many years ago after coming back from Alabama. My husband had ended his year of duty. We searched and searched for work...

Being on WIC obviously means no more organic milk. The one thing left I had going for us and I had to let it go, but at nearly $5 a gallon it just proved too much.  This also meant no more organic much of anything else or any earth-friendly pesticide free food for a while (other than the CSA I had paid for in advance at the beging of the year and organic foods I already had stocked in my pantry). 

What does it all mean now? My husband is working again. He hates the job. It isn't what he wants to do, but he's doing it to put food on the table and until they open up positions in the career he wants to be in. Everyone there is still on a hiring freeze. We have one month left on WIC. It has helped the food cost come down a lot. They offer milk, cheese, beans, peanuts butter and eggs, juice and carrots and cereal for the kids and for the baby. Despite the fact that we still qualify, my husband asked me not to get anymore. I wont. I will just need to pinch pennies a bit longer again and look for other sources of income from home besides the ones I've been trying for the past year so that I can not only help feed my family, but feed my family with foods I truely believe are beneficial to our health.

I do believe organic is the true way to go and if I could afford it all our food would be completely local and organic.   If we could grow it all at home we would, but now my husbands working hours don't even allow him time to work in the garden. Between the kids, studying for my exam, the house and my work from home I haven't had much chance at the garden either. Our cucumber and okra  plants are all that is left in our vegetable garden.We are also still on watering restrictions, though it has rained at least twice since my last post.

Oh well...maybe next season. In the mean time I have a few weeks left of the CSA. If we want next seasons our bill is due the first of August. I'm still debating what to do. Pictures (not in order) of some of the past pick-up are to the left.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I'm Melting

Between the heat and the many days without rain I feel like I'm melting. My organic garden definitly is. Even the strongest of plants are wilting. Where ever there isn't wilt there are weeds and I at times feel defeated. We can't water, but only during certain times... The rain comes only for a little while every two weeks or so and the rest of the time is too hot to be outside. It is too hot to be inside. I feel like I'm going crazy indoors. To conserve energy all the blinds and doors and everything are closed. The lack of sunlight is .....I'm too lazy to even write this entry and there are so many things I need to write about...the CSA veggies and CSA meat, the new recipes, my new camera that takes better pictures of all these foods and plants, etc... Maybe next time when the heat goes away.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I love it! It is raining!

Finally It is raining a good rain. The smell of wet earth is wonderful. I am constantly looking out the window, opening the door and enjoying the change of temperature. Everything looks so refreshed. I'm tempted to tell my kids, "Let's go dance in the rain!" Should I?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Hot, Humid and Stuck Inside All Day: Poor Garden

It is suppose to rain today, but I'm not holding my breath. On a good note the cucumbers and the pumpkin are doing well. The cucumbers, now gently tied to the tee-pee trellis, is climbing up the poles quickly and the pumpkin is spreading wide about its mound. As for the watermelon... it really doesn't have much of a chance of survival. It will probably last one more week if at all. My husband is very disappointed about this and wants to just ho over the watermelon mounds, but I keep hoping for a good rain to bring them back to life. He is positive it is our clay like soil and the lack of rain keeping them from growing. Since we are on a neighborhood watering restriction right now, we can only water so often. I really wish we had rain barrels. I read the other day that Terracycle sells some of their barrels at Home Depot. Their products are sometimes affordable so we will have to take go to Home Depot and take a look. We need to do a lot of things, but we have just been so busy...

The cantelope is struggling too, but may still produce something. The potted Okra is taking a while to grow, but doing great. I would love to show updated pictures of our organic garden, but my 6 month old snatched it and dropped it to the floor, before I could stop him. The camera is broken beyond repair and now I can't take a picture of him (he's learning to crawl) or of the garden. However, I'm saving money to buy a new one. It may be a while though....Oh, well.

It seems our CSA farmers are suffering from the lack of rain too. The weekly newsletter mentions it all the time and it shows during the pickup. The veggie CSA pickup is down to giving us enough produce to only fill one bag again, sometimes not even a full bag. This week our new vegetable was one bell pepper. We also had onions, tomatoes, basil, and squash. The tomatoes seem to be picked early because they aren't very sweet. We are tired of squash, too tired to even talk or write about it anymore. The basil comes in abundance. It smells great and taste great when cooked in foods like tomatoes sauce. Our own basil is doing well too. It is the best looking herb in our herb planter. Our cilantro...poor thing...looks like it has been torched and set to decay standing. We will have to try it again soon now that we have an idea of what we did wrong. We never did move the plants to the new spot in the garden. In fact since the temperatures here began to rise to the mid 90's or more we began to do less and less outside. It's too hot! We tried but would come back in burned or dehydrated despite or water intake. It's hot inside too. Our AC isn't the best and our old house isn't well insulated.

The Topsy Turvy still has two tomatoes and are just now turning red. Our neighbor's Topsy Tuvy though is filled with red tomatoes. Next time we will try the pinching technique we read about in the gardening books from the library. I love library books. It's a great way to read a lot of books about the same subject without having to spend a dime. Just don't make the mistake of turning them in late like I did this past month. Wow, the charges will add up.

The meat CSA was dropped off at our door on the 27 of June. This is what we received:
2 New York Strip
Boneless Porkchop
Pork Italian Sausage
Beef Shoulder Roast
Por Cutlet
Pork Shoulder Roast
Pork Bacon
2 Ground Beef
Hot Digity Dogs
Whole chicken

Yesterday, I used the CSA bacon and the CSA Hot Digity Dogs plus a CSA onion, CSA tomato and a jalapeno to make frijoles a la charra. I cooked the ingredients above in a pan on the stove and then added them to a pot of almost ready cooked beans. I finished cooking the beans and then served it as a side dish with our meal. It was a tasty dish, but not as spicy as my husband and I are used to. My girls loved it.

I din't forget it is the fourth of July. Happy Fourth Of July Everyone!

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