Another Ill-Timed Update From the Locos

What do you call that when your favorite blog doesn’t update for four months at a time? Annoying? No, that’s not it… Sad? Something like that. Anyway, we’re still here, we’re still loco. We’ve had a busy summer but still found time to can and freeze tomatoes, pears, apricots, peaches, sauerkraut, corn, jam, strawberries, nectarines, green beans and lots of meat. Mom made kimchi the other day. I made some blackberry honey lager this summer and hope to get around to making a batch of yarrow ale soon. Yarrow was a popular brewing ingredient in Europe before hops were popularized.

The most productive members of the loco family this summer have probably been the chickens, who just peck things and lay eggs all day long, whilst being extremely loud and probably driving the entire neighborhood nuts the entire time. This inspired me to come up with what is probably one of the better ideas of my long and illustrious idea-thinking career — the “cluck collar.” This device would be very similar to a bark collar for dogs, only it would be very small so as to fit on a chicken’s spindly neck. If any of you know of a product developer looking for genius ideas that improve lives, let me know.

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My New Pets

Ok so today I’m sitting on my deck with my laptop, writing. I hear this super loud buzzing noise and look to my left to see a massive swarm of some type of insects. Ok, maybe they will just go away. Pretty soon I notice they have moved to another part of the yard, near my beehives, and are are swarming around this little tree… so I get my dad and we take a closer look. They were honey bees!

At first I was worried that they were MY bees and they had gotten too crowded and swarmed. So I put on my bee suit and went down to check things out. It turned out that all my bees were accounted for. (No I did not count each individual bee.) But I realized, hey, there’s a swarm of free bees in my yard. So dad put on a suit, we got a cardboard box and dad held up the box while I swept the swarm of bees into it. Then we took it down to an empty bee box and dumped ‘em in. Voila! New beehive.

If you or someone you know lost about 10,000 bees and you want them back, lemme know. Otherwise… finders keepers!

Bee Swarm

Aren't they cuuuuute?

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It’s Over… Kinda

Well, adoring fans, the loco year has come and gone! Our official stop date was May 21st – the same day that one Harold Camping predicted to be Judgement Day. Coincidence?

We had quite a year. Thank you all for reading our little blog and letting us share with you. The number one question we have been getting lately is whether we are embarking on a second locavore year! Well, it was fun and interesting, challenging and confusing… yes, even frustrating at times. But we did what we set out to do; we tried it out and we learned what’s realistic for the long term and what’s not.

Going forward, there are many things we will continue to do and some things that we just don’t want to do anymore! We’ll still get local meat and milk, grow a garden, can fruit and buy local products when we can. But we don’t want to spend another winter without fresh produce. I’ll still make cheese and Angela will still make yogurt… but no one wants to make bread. We will probably still do a lot of cooking with honey but I’m looking forward to using sugar for baking again.

I personally am gearing up for a great summer homebrewing season and spent yesterday foraging in the neighbors’ yards for dandelions and whipping up a fresh batch of dandelion wine. Today I transferred it into the fermenting jugs but I had a little extra that wouldn’t fit, so I invented possibly the best cocktail known to man by tossing in some decidedly non-local rum, grand marnier and a squeeze of lemon.

We ran out of some things this winter and spring- carrots, pears and apricots for example. We still have garlic, frozen berries, a couple of jars of peaches, a little corn and a lot more stuff in small amounts. And some things we have so much of we’ll never get rid of it, like salmon, fava beans and tomato sauce.

Ok, you’re probably wondering what we got at the grocery store on on our first non-local shopping trip. We bought butter, Sunchips, crackers, cookies, rolled oats and some hard lemonade! Dad got dates and corn chips. I picked out bananas, peanut butter, mayo, mustard, some decent sandwich bread, and cheese I didn’t have to make. Angela wanted rice milk and my mom bought a whole bunch of… vegetables!!

The nicest thing about being done with locavoring is that when we don’t have time to make things from scratch we can just go to the store instead of going without it. It takes a lot of pressure off.

Thanks again for sticking with our sporadic blogging. We may not be locavores anymore, but we’re still loco so keep checking back for our amazing tales of morel hunting, beekeeping, drinking and more.

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Lime Tree Update

It’s a miracle! Our dwarf lime tree is back from the dead!

Lime tree miracle

We thought it was a gonner but apparently it was just dormant. =)

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Spring Has Sprung!

So, yeah, it snowed the other day… but spring is on its way! I swear! I took photos as proof:

Crocuses: These early bloomers have been out for a couple of weeks already!

The trees are budding and unfortunately I am allergic to tree pollen, but I'm still glad spring is on the way!

The Grass Widow is a native iris of the Pacific Northwest and, according to the internet, is the only member of its genus in the U.S. It is one of the earliest blooming native flowers. This photo was taken on Dad's native hillside.

More crocuses!

 

We planted this spinach in the fall. We had a spinach salad in February, which was a treat since we don't get many fresh veggies these days.

Bunching onions that were planted in the fall: They stayed green all winter even under piles of snow!

Here come the tulips!

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A week in the life of a locavore (2/21/11-2/27/11)

I thought it might be fun to let you all know what a typical week is like for a locavore this time of year. For one week I kept track of all the food and beverages I ingested and I also recorded some locavore related activities. The “week in the life of a locavore” began on Monday, February 21st and ended on Sunday, February 27th. Each day in the locavore week appears as a separate post here on the blog in chronological order starting with the most recent date and going back in time from there. As you will see I had a pretty social week so I ate out quite a bit, which is not always the case, but highlights the fact that we are not exactly purists when it comes to locavoring (see the “about us” section of our blog for more details). All the ingredients used in our homemade meals were local (within 200 driving miles of our house) unless otherwise noted or unless the item is on our list of exceptions (see the “about us” section of the blog for more details). I also tried to indicate the ingredients that were from our own garden by using the word “our” so you have an idea of how much we were able to grow ourselves.

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Sun, Feb 27 – A week in the life of a locavore

Breakfast: Hot cereal with toasted hazelnuts, honey, milk, and strawberries plus a cup of orange-mint tea. I grew quite a few types of mint and other herbs this summer with tea in mind and my favorite is definitely the orange-mint. The hot cereal was made of a combination of flaked emmer and spelt (both organic). We have an attachment to our mixer that allows us to flake grains. Dad does most of the flaking around here. Just call him Mr. Flaky! We picked the strawberries in the Spokane area this summer and froze them. They have been a nice treat to have in the winter.

Lunch: Leftover beef and veggie stew from last night.

Dinner: Pork steaks (my nephew raised the pig for us) cooked with sliced purple onion and sauerkraut followed by gooseberry cobbler — sooo good! This summer we cooked up the gooseberries with honey and a little tapioca (on our list of exceptions) and froze it to enjoy during the winter.

Some of the gooseberries that we picked this summer. Thanks again to Sara for helping out!

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