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Garden and Pantry Month Update

So, it's the 9th of February and I've already had a few panic attacks. Turns out not going to the store this month is harder than I thought it would be.

But I'm determined to stick it out. My most recent panic attack was dinner time tonight. I made tacos- they were just about ready and I went to get the cheese to shred and there was just this tiny piece of cheddar left. BARELY enough for the meal, so the tacos were saved, but I panicked- no cheddar for the rest of February? How will I make it? I tore the freezer and the fridge apart- I know I bought two blocks of cheddar last month. We haven't eaten them (they were smaller than the one I finished today). They are missing. But I loose stuff- yes, even groceries sometimes, so this isn't that odd. Then I realized I was being stupid. Not only do I have a ridiculous amount of food in this house, I have an economy sized package and a half of string cheese. I have a huge container of Parm. And I have a block of mozzarella. There is no shortage of cheese, just no cheddar. We'll be okay:)

Curious to know what else has caused me to panic? Well, I forgot to stock a month's worth of apple juice for the kids' breakfast. I am very anti-juice for kids, but it was something we started during their food allergy nonsense as a substitute for Izzy's morning milk and as a way to get them to take their therapeutic vitamins (the probiotics and the B-complex were mixed directly into the juice- there was no other way I could find to get them to take the B-complex). And we just kept doing it. They are limited to one small cup in the morning, and I have been hesitant to give it up because Oliver isn't a big breakfast eater (unlike every other meal of the day- and maybe the juice has been to blame). But if we run out, we run out.

Panic attach number 3 (not in chronological order) came last week when I tried to make yogurt. I have enough milk to make yogurt for the month, so that's not an issue. I heated my milk as usual (although to a lower temp than normal, which may have been the issue), mixed in a little of the old batch as usual, and let it sit in a warm oven overnight as usual. I wake up the next morning- total liquid. It was a disaster. Finally after letting it sit another 8 hours and some SERIOUS straining I ended up with about 4 cups of yogurt. Out of a gallon of milk. And it's still pretty runny. But my biggest concern was that I would end up with NO yogurt, meaning not only an entirely wasted gallon of milk, but an entire month (gasp!) without any yogurt. Yogurt is my go to snack when I'm craving something creamy and/or sweet, and it's my lazy breakfast when I don't feel like cooking eggs or oatmeal. The idea of a month without yogurt was by far the most challenging to my resolve.

On a related note, I made a tiny concession to my grocery store fast, if you will. When I was in Kansas City this past weekend (at trip on which I packed and brought the food for all the meals so we wouldn't eat out) I HAD to buy two bags of wheat. Because you know what? They sell bags of wheat at the Walmart in KC. From what I can tell (and I have done EXTENSIVE searching) there is nowhere near me where I can buy bags of wheat. I have wanted to grind my own whole wheat flour for over a year now, but the price of shipping is prohibitive since it is such heavy and bulky cargo. And since I don't plan on getting back to KC in the next few months, I had to stop by and buy a few bags. I spent just over $24 on 50lbs of wheat.

Also, I ordered all the gardening supplies I plan to purchase this month, with the exception of seed flats, peat pots, and seed starter I'll pick up locally. I ordered seeds (lots and lots of seeds), some dwarf cherry bushes, asparagus plants, tomato "mulch" (red plastic that helps heat up the soil for tomatoes... maybe I should try it for my pepper plants, too- anyone know if that would work?), biodegradable plastic mulch for the rest of the plants, an organic anti-fungal spray for my tomato plants (had some fungal blight last year), some organic insect spray, and a big ol' jug of surround, a clay based spray that is supposed to stop apple maggots.

It's a start. I still need to buy apricot trees, blueberry bushes, more tomato and pepper plants, potato and sweet potato slips, and the nasturtium and borage (companion planting/pest management aids). Oh, and lots and lots and LOTS of straw. But it's a start. A start that makes spring feel a little closer. I wish there was more I could do now to prepare, but besides starting some of the plants when I receive the seeds the only thing for me to do is wait and think warm thoughts.

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