Saturday, April 22, 2017
Living the Pantry Lifestyle - A little at a time continues
We are well into Spring this year with a very warm April. Except for the blooming of the Dogwood tree, most blossoms have been replaced by green leaves in the smaller trees and bushes. The tall trees in the forest have only begun to grow buds on their limbs but if past years are any indication, they could all experience a pop of leafy fullness almost overnight.
That beautifully scented tree on my neighbor's lawn near the gravel lane was in bloom only a few days this year but it was lovely. I wish I knew what kind of tree it is, my husband says it may be a Tulip Tree. The kids and I always thought it amusing that he has a graduate degree in Forestry but can't always tell you the species of a tree. He reminds us his degree is in Wood Science and Furniture Engineering, so give him a microscope and he may do a better job of identification.
I've been working about thirty minutes at a time outside, mostly near the fence line and around the deck so far. However, I did clean up the perennial apple mint raised bed in the garden that was neglected at the end of last summer. It now looks (and smells) lovely. Even the dead plants and wood from the mint smelled beautiful as I carried it to the forest.
I also cleaned up the very small herb raised bed at the corner of the garden as I plan to plant a few extra herbs there. The lovage looks quite healthy this year but the thyme plant is getting huge and woody. I'm thinking I'll plant another one to get it started and then dig up the old plant at the end of the season. It has served me well for a number of years.
I will continue to grow herbs as part of my "pantry" since since they are expensive when purchased fresh at the grocery (and even at the Farmer's Market)... and anyway, they look beautiful in the garden and on the deck where they grow.
Part of me wants to grow veggies but the other part... the one that gets tired easily and my back that complains a lot... say it is wise to concentrate on one area this year. My job is to do everything I can to clear brush, vines, tiny trees popping up, weeds, etc. and then Hubby will take over what I can't do. The fence line won't need anything else and the area around the deck will only need a little heavy duty work. But he has to take care of weeds and young trees that have roots on their way to China.
I finally got around to continuing the cleaning out and organizing of my primary pantry cabinets in the kitchen. I had started it a couple weeks ago and finished last week. It is a good thing I checked all the Use By dates for I had no idea two of the Amy's Mac and Cheese boxes were from 2013! I will use a can of non-acidic veggies that far past the date but not a boxed food.
I also tossed a couple cans of crab meat (I just don't have people over and make crab dip like I once did) and a couple other unusual foods which I can't recall at the moment. All were years past their expiration dates. Otherwise, I was very pleased with how organized these shelves had become and how useful they are to keeping my most used items handy. Obviously canned crab was not one of them.
Whenever I do this kind of organizing, it reminds me how fast times goes and if one is going to keep even a small pantry, there has to be diligence about keeping an eye on those Use By dates. Especially being sure to rotate the oldest products to use first and the more recently purchased either in the back of the shelf or on the bottom flats of the cans.
My freezer has been cleaned out and I'm planning to slowly restock it. It is always good to have that job done before it gets hot in the garage. Everything accomplished a little at a time and mostly in 30 minute increments. There are some days that is all I can do and then there are others where I can handle two or even three 30 minute chores through the day (in addition to regular household chores and maintenance).
One thing I can say is this... it looks a whole lot better on the porch, in the garden, near the fence line, around the deck, and in my kitchen cabinets... than if I gave up and did nothing at all because I didn't feel well. Lots and lots better.
When everything there is to do gets overwhelming, I just go out and do what I can for that thirty minutes. Knowing that is a possibility. Thirty minutes. A slow thirty minutes at that. I'm hoping my reward will be a few pounds less showing up when I see my doctor this week. ;)