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Monthly Archives: March 2022

Nothing like procrastinating until the last day of the month but here we are. Earlier this month I did buy two large boxes of produce: one box of bell peppers which we chopped and put in the freezer; and a mixed box of avocados & tomatoes, which we ate fresh. No other appropriate for canning deals were presented to me! πŸ˜‰ I really did not think I was going to make it.

Then today, I got a call while at work from my friend Barbara. IGA had boxes of mushrooms for $10 each. So I splurged and got two for us and two for Mo! She even delivered them to me! What a deal!

Once home I put the kiddos to work helping slice up one full box. They a took a turn slicing & dicing. Thing 1 had prepped jars for me and got the kitchen in order for canning. A big help!

Once prepped I started blanching them and filling jars. I ended up with 21 half pints in the canner. I’m going to process at 11# for 45 mins.

Blanched ‘shrooms in the jar.

A case of canned mushrooms, in the little cans, is about $14 here. So $24.50 if I had bought them the same amount, and my jars are larger than the little cans. Basically I got a 1 3/4 cases of ‘shrooms for $10, less than half price. Great deal!

Besides canning this evening I made some farmer’s cheese with a gallon of fresh goat milk I also got from Barbara! I’ve got friends with the goods!!

Cheese with spices, ready to mix.

All mixed up: chipotle, garlic & parsley. This will be great on tacos or enchiladas! Fresh from the farm cheese.

Besides all this food prep I made dinner. Whew, I’m tired. It feels good to have put up an entire box of mushrooms. The other box will be used divided up between fresh use and dried. Many thanks to my kiddos & Barbara for helping me achieve my March OAMC goal!!

Pretty mushrooms in jars
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Panda got another cute turtle toy.

I’m working our booth at the KPBA Home Show. It’s our annual chance to mingle with the general public and show off our handiwork.

Our best way to see what’s available in the area for home improvement! It’s a favorite for kids since all the vendors have 🍬🍭 candy giveaways. Lots of fun for everyone.

One thing a sourdough usually has is time to ponder. Generally in the darkness of winter, when there’s little else to do.

Since I embarked on this series I’ve spent some time pondering what being a sourdough means to me. I suppose it starts with a grandiose sense of adventure, with a stubborn persistence bordering on the insane. More than a can-do, but a will-do-or-be-damned spirit, the sort of determination you don’t run into every day.
If one is successful and survives their first Alaskan winter, (and doesn’t high-tail it for the lower 48,) they begin to shift into a more refined sense of adventure and wonder but still plenty stubborn and maybe a little cantankerous now. One’s mind will be full of a new found respect for Alaska’s fierceness and unpredictability. Hopefully, if said stubborn person is wise, they develop a better prepared can-do spirit that begins to ready for the winter right after break-up. It’s like feeding the sourdough and keeping it warm, it takes diligence and constant care to keep it going.
Get ready, “winter is coming” is their mantra.
After each winter survival the individual acquires more character and unique qualities, not unlike sourdough starter..
Before long they may even start to smell like a sourdough. Much to the shaggrin of the city folk. No worry, by this time, there’s not a care left in the world for what others think.

Time passes, and there’s no real measurement for this period as it varies with each sourdough, at some point the sourdough is perfected, working in harmony with Nature, ebbing and flowing with Her tides. Full of wisdom from experience, maybe not so full of themselves and their abilities but quietly confident & determined. Or maybe damned proud of themselves and more feisty for it. Either way, they’ll be quite content in their own existence.
It’s taken failure upon failure, possibly even a near death experience or two and quite a collection of “awes” and wonders to get here. There will have been a plethora of lessons learned. Many annoyances experienced. Lots of paths crossed and one or two well worn.
It’s a work in progress. A neverending tending to keep your culture. It’s a lifestyle, a journey.

We started this lap book the first week in February. For this session we watched copious amounts of YouTube videos about desert biomes. Lesson enrichment included crafts like mask making and sand art. And we planned to prepare some prickly pear cactus to eat, if we could have found some locally. We incorporated lessons about sand and silica and glass as well. So this module was heavy on the crafting and very hands on.

Since my kiddos were sick during this beginning of this lesson plan, we relied more heavily on videos. Even when your sick you can still watch a video. πŸ‘πŸΌ

Desert mask complete with saguro and barrel cacti, a jack rabbit & rattlesnake.

We also spent a fair amount of time discussing sand. What is sand made of? We learned that sand is mostly rock particles but can also contain glass, bone, shell or coral fragments and more commonly in today’s age, plastic particles. (Of course this includes beach sand in addition to desert sand.)

So after a series of sand composition, construction use (desert sand does not work well for construction purposes) and magnetic sand experiment videos we made some sand art!

Sand art
Same uniform, different day

There were lots of writing practice sheets, some math and endless desert fact sheets! Lap books are a lot of fun.

Desert Animals Ad Lib

Apparently it’s too much to ask of these northern grocery stores to stock cactus in the fresh produce dept. So we’re going to have to be satisfied with pickled nopalitos. Which the entire family approves of, to some degree.

And that’s it for another fascinating study of our amazing planet’s diversity. What’s up next? Good question.

Unfinished birch, cottonwood & spruce.
A gorgeous day in Ninilchik. There's some warmth to that sun! Air temp is 33Β°.

How is it that we are already 2/3 through with March? The smell of break-up is in the air. Everyone, including the dog, has some measure of spring fever. The seeds are started, foraging lists are made (schedule of foods to be harvested by month) and I’m reminded that I need to do my once a month canning.

Thing 1 and I are working on a project plan for the garden and food production for this season. I’m looking forward to working with her! Plus growing our own veg!

We have oodles and oodles of things to do ’round here as soon as the snow’s gone. Impatiently waiting…