I continue to be asked this question: Do you really eat self-sufficiently?
It’s a fair question -- after all, I wrote the book on it. “The Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency Used by the Mormon Pioneers” is not a research-based book. This is how we live. We eat out off our two acres every day of the year, no matter the season. It’s not hard, it’s not time consuming, it certainly saves us huge amounts of money (I’ll be happy to compare my monthly or yearly grocery store bill to anyone’s -- I’ll win, I promise).
Someone asked me to tour their garden recently and give them some advice. While they were showing me their spread, this person said to me “It must be nice to stay home all day gardening and researching for your next book.”
Um, so wrong.
I have a full-time job (journalist for the Provo Daily Herald) and several part-time jobs (teaching writing both in person and online classes, book tour and book writing, directing writing conferences, selling pure, nonhybrid seed raised on our own property, teaching gardening and homemade yeast and self-sufficiency classes). I’m one of the few lucky people who not only gets to do exactly what I love every day (garden, write, teach) but I am also over-employed in an under-employed economy. (Don’t mistake that for well-paid. If you knew what writers get paid, you’d weep. There is a reason we are self-sufficient.)
So no, I don’t have luxuriant free time to lounge around gardening and cooking and researching books. This is just our life. I was paid one of the highest compliments of my life this week when a friend looked at me and said “You are the epitome of ‘If you need something done, ask a busy person.’ “ Made my day.
I say all of this because everyone can do something to feed themselves, no matter your schedule or where you live -- a huge farm, a couple of acres, a condo, a rented apartment. I have lived in all of these, and I have grown my own food on all of these properties to some degree. If you want to do it, you can.
So, to answer the question “Do you really eat self-sufficiently” I’m going to try to blog more often about what we are eating, to show you. And I’ll try to take some pictures, if I can remember. (It’s hard for a hungry person to remember to stop and take a photo :) Here is some of what we ate this week:
In this dish from our property: dough made from homemade, natural yeast, sauce made from our tomatoes and basil (pureed and simmered for an hour with salt; I should have put in one of our onions, but I forgot). Also worth mentioning -- artisan cheese made locally at Heber Valley Artisan Cheese, which I love!
In this stew from our garden: purple podded pole beans (dried, grown from our own seed), Contender beans (dried), white, yellow, orange and red carrots, turnip, corn.
In this salad from our garden: a gourmet lettuce blend of Rouge Grenbloise (a red lettuce), Green Jewel Romaine (grown from our own seed), Oak Leaf (light green and frilly), Marveille de Quatre Saison (bronze and green lettuce); also, orange and yellow carrots.
Toast & Eggs:
In this dish from our property: fresh eggs, toast from homemade bread made with homemade natural yeast. (Raw honey from my parents’ farm -- that deserves a mention).
In this soup from our garden: potatoes (grown from our own seed potatoes), rutabaga, swiss chard, onion, basil, carrots, tomatoes (pureed fresh). Also in this soup: lentils, chickpeas, brown rice, hamburger. No recipe. All garden soups are the same -- fill the pot about ⅔ with water, bring to boil, put in veggies, cook, season to taste. I added the chard at the last minute.
Toast (several times this week -- it’s been toast weather):
Using homemade bread baked with homemade, natural yeast, spread with an assortment of our homemade jams and jellies.
Using homemade bread baked with homemade, natural yeast, and lettuces from the garden.
The kids have been demanding these, especially Xander. Made with our fresh, free-range eggs, of course.