Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Therese - 20 Questions Answered

It took me a while to get around to answering.  I apologize for the delay.  I just want to say that I intend to keep posting to this blog as I start my spring and summer plantings this season.  If there are any willing participants for a challenge next year - I'm in.  This was a very rewarding experience.  I learned a lot and had a great time sharing food, recipes, experiences and my thoughts.  Thanks for playin'.

1.  What was the best part of the challenge?

The best part of the challenge was that I felt so much healthier with the mostly organic diet.  I had lots of energy and I lost several pounds during the process.

2.  What was the most difficult part of the challenge?

I agree with Mark on the worst part.  There was not enough time to accomplish all of the tasks that were necessary.  There was always a sink full of dishes and coming up with creative new ways to use the same main ingredients also took lots of time.

3.  What was the most valuable lesson you learned?

The most valuable lesson I learned was the valuable gardening lessons.  Due to the extremely wet spring and rainy early summer, I didn’t start planting until mid-June.  My garden plot is 20’ x 40’ so I planted a little at a time.  My last planting was around August 15.  That was wayyyy to late to plant and expect a bountiful harvest.

4   What was the best recipe you made during the challenge?

I really enjoyed the butternut squash soup which was very simple to make.  I also liked the green beans with tomatoes and garlic that I often ate with polenta.  Sharon’s eggplant dish was also very tasty!  I don’t have the recipe for that.  I also loved the turkey and summer squash pizza and the blackberry jelly and blackberry applesauce was a very tasty treat!!!

5.  Was there anything that you did, grew, cooked or tasted that you
would never repeat?

Well, the Christmas soup was not my favorite.  I used a lot of ingredients I would have normally added to the compost pile. It was okay fresh but not so good after being frozen.

6.  What was the most valuable purchase?  What was least valuable purchase?

Probably the most valuable purchase was the turkey.  The turkey weighed nearly 9 pounds and cost $5.02.  It went a long way both in trade and for my own use.  It was really my only source of protein other than the eggs ($1.00 per dozen) which were also part of my purchases. The 10 pounds of potatoes were also very valuable.  I'll watch for another 99 cents for 10 pounds of potatoes if I do this challenge again next year.

7.  What was the best trade item? What was the worst trade item?

I would not have survived past the second week without trade items.  The most valuable was probably the wheat.  The most tasty was the bread and butter pickles from the Jacksons and the eggplant dish that Sharon made.

I don’t think I had a worst trade item.  I used everything I received in trade with the exception of some canned summer squash and I have an abundance of bran remaining.

8.  What disappeared from your stores the fastest? What never left the shelf?

I probably started out with over 20 containers of applesauce in various flavors – strawberry, plain, sweetened and blackberry.  I traded a lot of the applesauce away.  What never left the shelf? – I guess I have to say I have way too much grape juice left over but I used a lot of that as well.

9.  Did you lose any food to spoilage? If so, what?

The only thing I lost to spoilage was a jar of tomatoes that went bad.

10. What is the most questionable thing you ate? Suspect food, dropped food, etc.

Questionable?  Hmmm – I had to think hard about that.  Everything was very tasty.  I did mix some crazy juices together that had a little bit of a funny taste.  I think it was beet and pickle juice.

11. Are there any ingredients you never used before the challenge, but now that it is over you plan to add to your repetoire? 

I loved the turkey and turnip green soup.  I would never have eaten turnip greens before the challenge.  The soup was very tasty.

12. What surprised you during the challenge?

What surprised me was the fact that I was still harvesting root crops during the month of January.  I was hoping to have harvest into November but I never dreamed I would be able to get fresh garden vegetables well into the winter.

13. What was the most important "AHHHH HAH" moment?

I think there were many AHHH HA moments.  Most of them came when I went to the garden and felt a deep sense of overwhelming gratitude that is difficult for me to convey in words.  I would just pause at those moments and offer a little “thank you.”  Those moments often brought tears to my eyes and a peaceful feeling of being totally taken care of and protected.

14. What was the biggest disappointment?

The biggest disappointment was the August 15 plantings.  All of them came up very well and had lots of flowers but not much production at all.  I’m not certain if it was the shorter days or not enough pollinators.  Although, the peas are self pollinating so I think it had more to do with shorter days.

15. What do you think your most important cooking implements/tools were?

Hmmmm.  This is a tough question as well.  I guess it was my soup pot because I made lots of soup.  Other valuable tools were the sheets that thwarted the first few frosts.  Mark's corona mill was also awesome.

16.What did you enjoy eating that everyone else would say is 'gross'?

I can’t think of one thing that everyone else would say is gross.  I know that Mark would say the beets were gross and Kathy would say the turkey was gross.  Sharon might say that the squash soup was gross and Katelynn might say that most of the food was gross but everyone is a broad term.

17. What are your feelings about your diet of ‘normal’ food now that the challenge is over?

I keep thinking that I need to go back to the challenge diet because my system was feeling and working so much better.  I made the mistake of drinking two cups of regular coffee on the first post challenge day and I only slept two hours that night. 

18. If you did the challenge again, what would you make certain to plant more of?

I would plant corn (which I didn’t plant last summer).  I would plant more green beans because I loved the green bean dishes.  I would plant more carrots and lots more squash.  I also plan on planting some grapes and blackberry bushes.

19. If you had $10 more, how much longer do you think you could have survived the challenge? What would you have spent that $10 on?

Another $10 could probably have taken me through the month of February.  For $10 more I would have purchased another $5 turkey, two dozen eggs (when they were $1 per dozen), a can or two of tuna fish (.69 each) and another pound of butter.

20. If you were to do the challenge all over, what rules would you change?

I would either have a bigger allowance – say $25 per person or allow a certain amount per week (maybe $5 per week.  So you could use about $20 for each month you participated in the challenge).  I think $20 per month would make it REALLY easy to last well into spring!!!!!  I would also allow one free day a week and if you were invited to someone’s house, you could bring a dish that was challenge friendly to share but you would also be allowed to eat what the host or hostess was providing “free of charge.”

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