God speaks to each of us in a language we can hear. For me, it’s what shows up at Good Cheer, our Langley Thrift Store. I have such an uncanny ability to find whatever I or anyone else is looking for – if we really need it – at this variety store of everything used.And shopping there supports the food bank. Sweet.

Yesterday it gave me a pannier for my new electric bicycle (more later about that!).  Today, beside the very cool black leather jacket for $8.50 (tiny tear at the pocket),  the canning jars came in that just yesterday I thought I might need for a 10 mile winter diet. Brand new. Ball. Even brand new two piece lids. I’ve done a lot of canning. I know the top of the line.

People have been saying, “Hah! A 10 mile diet is easy in September. Try it in February.” To which I say, but not out loud, “Hah! You try it in September! Armchair eater!”

But it’s got me thinking. Yesterday when I got the wheat from Eric I also stopped by at the folks who share milk with me. They also, I found out, sell their laying chickens when they’ve stopped laying.

“They’ve given me one egg in two days. There’s 2 dozen of them. They are heading for beheading very soon.”

“I’m interested in one. Or two. Or more.” I have enjoyed my Long Family beef but I’m now craving chicken.

“They are pretty tough. Last year I pressure canned them. An hour and a half. It takes that long to cook them, but the meat was sooooooo good.”

“I have a pressure canner,” I said. We’d bought the best for our home-built motorhome we were going to spend the rest of our lives in, a land yacht for cruising the world. The canner holds 4 quarts or 7 pints. I canned turkey and burger and chicken and fish for our back country stays when shopping was a once a week affair – at best In recent years it’s been something I take with me from home to home, never using it but would never sell. Now I know why.

Later in the day a friend stopped by with some apples from her tree.

“Crunch” she said. She’s been reading this blog. She knows how much I’ve longed for crackers. I told her about the chickens.

“I have a box of pint jars I am absolutely not going to use. New. You can just have them.”

“Thanks.” God is now chattering loudly about about doing the 10 mile diet in the winter.

Then, today, those 11 brand new Ball jars.

Guess I ought to get more serious about this winter.

My 10 mile diet has shown me what I eat, and in what quantities. So I can sort of project some necessities:

If I fill all those jars I’ll have about 35 pounds of meat. I eat about 6-8 ounces a day. So that’s 75 days (10 1/2 weeks) right there of protein.

I could eat about 3 potatoes a week. A 25 pound bag of potatoes would go 8 weeks.

Likewise for onions.

I’ve can go through a head of garlic a week so I’d need 4 a month. Not infinite.

For soups and over roasting, I could use a big squash or 3 acorn squashes a week.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. 7 apples a week.

Let’s add 3-4 hefty beets or turnips or rutabagas a week.

Milk, hopefully, can keep coming from our cow. Eventually I hope to learn to make cheese.

Greens (salad, kale) I can grow in my greenhouse (not yet built but getting more interesting by the day.

Tomatoes I could can – and hopefully find someone with chili peppers for hot sauce.

Ahh, and now we get to grain. And beans. They grow up on Ebey’s prairie. That’s 30 miles north. So perhaps in the winter it needs to be a 30 mile diet. That would also guarantee some salmon or other fish.

I’ll still have exotics. Maybe 10 instead of 5, so we can get chocolate in the door. Baking soda would really help too because with salt and soda I can not only clean a lot of my kitchen but I can make some bread. No, don’t talk about that. I’d almost forgotten how much I miss toast.

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