Friday, January 11, 2013

How much do you think you can eat?

That's the question I am currently wrestling with.

And I don't mean in one sitting, but over the course of the next year. There are some vegetables I no longer buy, so I better start enough seeds to get enough plants to cover at least this years consumption. Better yet, 2 years worth, because there are such things as crop failure and spoilage of preserves to consider.

So... here are my basic considerations:

There's 2 of us, we both pretty much like the same vegetables (Phew, lucky, right?) and we have enough planting space to accommodate our needs.

Husband likes celery (yick), but he tends to forget that we have any; I keep it in the crisper and as far as he's concerned that's like cloaking it with the shields up; so I plan on 5 plants, and cutting as he eats it, leaving them in the ground and growing.

Why don't I' just buy it, you ask? Because he never, ever eats a whole bag, so it goes bad when I buy it, because organic celery is rather expensive and it's one of the dirty dozen, so there is no way I'd buy it non-organic and I can't stand the smell of it, so I wouldn't process it like I do other veggies we can't use up immediately. Cut and re-grow will take care of that.

Now that those are out of the way, here is my trusty little spreadsheet:

Yeah, that's a lot. Remember, planning stage. Also, adding chickens to the equation, so there will be some tweaking as I get closer to spring, to at least partially feed the little raptors.

If you look at the headers there, you see that I have 'need', 'have' and 'seed out'.

'Need' is a number roughly representing how much we need to feed ourselves completely (tomatoes and cucumbers, watermelon and zucchini among others) or at least supplement our diet (Garlic, we fear the sparkle) for one year, so that includes enough to not just eat fresh, but to eat all winter, too. Plus we share, but that's a different story altogether.

'Have' is the number of planned plantings  (you thought I was crazy) and yes, there's linkage and formulae going on behind that entire thing that sort of identify me as a nerd.

'Seed out' is just simply 'have' multiplied by 1.25, because I never get all of my plants to make it. Except when I do. Then there is MORE sharing.

Last year: 25 zucchini plants, NO zucchini. Fat chipmunks, obese squirrels, pouting, reluctantly indoor cats, no zucchini. None of those things are going to happen again, just so we're clear ;)

Another factor you are seeing here is my good intention, there is a percentage buried there to account for my row against hunger. Last year did not pan out, if we have normal harvest this year I am contacting small local charities to see if there are any families that could use a 'CSA-like' box. Not sure how that will pan out, and not making any commitments, but I am planning for it.

Well, it's actually time for me to seed out the first little guys this weekend, the crops listed here:

The Winter/early spring crops.

That's all I have for now,
Happy Pinching

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Crunchy Sales Girl confessions…

OK, so my day (and evening and night and weekend) job is B2B sales. I work for a candle manufacturer in Ferndale, MI; Coventry Creations, to be exact. It's sort of a new-ish and simultaneously recurring development in my life and I love it more than any other job I've ever had. That's not to say it's easy, but few things worthwhile ever are :). 

I have been accused (mostly by DH) of having this job only to finance my own candle Habit (yes, that capital H is on purpose, trust me) and I can’t even say that that is an incorrect statement. I love our candles, they all smell fantastic, they burn beautifully and even before I get to set them on fire they throw their scent, so that when I walk through my house I move from scent island to scent island… just a hint every now and then and it’s lovely, they don’t give me the horrendous migraines I get from most other artificially scented...well, anything, and perhaps most importantly, they work.

But this is not about the candles, it’s about oils. 

 For a while now I’ve been working hard and diligently toward eliminating extraneous chemicals from our home. There are so many reasons for this that I will list them at another time, most likely in more than one post; migraines and chemical sensitivities are just the very tip of the iceberg.

 I am using glass instead of plastic as much as possible, we’ve completely eliminated Teflon from our lives, our toothpaste is fluoride free if we buy it, but mostly it’s home made any more, our soap has no more than 6 ingredients, all of which the average 5th grader can pronounce and I clean the house almost exclusively with Vinegar, Baking Soda, Soap, Alcohol and Water. 

So what does this have to do with Coventry Creations Oils, you ask? Well… Here are some of the things I use them for:

Our deodorant (no antiperspirant at our house, that’s a soap box speech for another day) - there’s a whole journey here, one that involves mixing different kinds of oils and wax and a little bit of this and a little bit of that and filling up old containers and having to heat things to apply and, and, and, and finally we came back to an old standby:  90% alcohol with a few drops of oil of choice in a spray bottle. Give it a quick shake and apply after shower and as needed in between.

Room Freshener – 90% alcohol, a few drops of oil of choice (do you see a pattern here?), mix 1:2 with water and put into a spray bottle. My couch has never smelled this good and I love that I am freshening my rooms and clearing/ charging them at the same time.

Wood cleaner - I use mineral oil with a drop or three of my oil of choice (OK, for anything cleaning related I use Sacred White Sage or Peace) and I clean away. I’ve been doing that for a few years now and my wood seems to love it. We have a lot of wood. Most of our floors and the paneling in the great room are wood.  I’ve also never had any kind of that icky, gunky residue one gets from plant based oils. Now as a disclaimer, I would not use this mix on food preparation surfaces, and I did check how it would react with my wooden areas in little spots before I started using this mix wholesale, so if your finish does not love this don't sue me, I have no money. Check a little spot first.

Closet freshener – I have those little unglazed ceramic disks on a string; no clue where I got them, sorry; and I ‘load’ them with some oil every once in a while. Like when I stick my head in my closet and it doesn't smell amazing any more.

I also put a drop or three of oil on my furnace filter when I change it out (which I am slightly OCD about, what with having cats and all) and every now and then I put a drop or two on the inner part of the toilet paper roll. DH says that this is a waste, but we're talking about the guy that can't smell the k-lit box ;)

One thing I would NEVER do, and I mean never, it’s just wrong on so many levels, is put a little cotton ball or two, with a few drops of Witches Brew Love Spell Oil in the forced hot air heat outlet in the bedroom. That would just not be right, what with DH being completely unable to resist ;}

Still on my list of things to do is to make my own laundry soap (not detergent, different animal altogether) using one of the oils as the scent. I hope to get that wonderful, heady scent of Blessed Herbal Prosperity Oil into my clothes; it smells so clean and crisp and simply does something for me (could this be my childhood hero, Scrooge McDuck, coming through???).

There are infinite ways to use these oils, and I have pretty much replaced artificial scents in our home by using a few of them. I’d love to hear your ideas for household uses, I’m in this to learn after all…

Happy Pinching