In the case of nuclear winter, Paul and I will be the ones looking suspiciously without scurvy.
We grew a lot of kale this year. A LOT of kale. We are freezing it raw, violating the common practice of blanching… I invented my system, so there is absolutely no guarantee that it is a good plan.
If you care, (which you probably don’t, but I’m going to tell you anyway) this is how:
1. Pick a laundry basket of kale, clean, de-stem.
2. Run kale through the food processor using the slicing disc.
3. Cram shredded kale into a Mason jar. (I’m using quart jars.) This might be more successful with plastic freezer bags, but I’m terrified of keeping food in plastic for months.
4. You can fit a SHOCKING amount of kale into one jar. An overflowing laundry basket will yield maybe 2 1/2 packed Mason jars… I’m not sure how!
5. Now for the interesting part. I use this vacuum sealer Mason jar attachment… (attachment for this machine) air is the enemy when freezing things; it’s how you end up with freezer burn.
6. I can only get it to work 0% of the time. But Paul has better luck at around 50% of the time. So he is in charge of sealing the jars… sometimes he gets on the first try, sometimes he has to do it four times.
7. Add the screw lid and put it into the freezer.
We froze raw tomatoes last year and they were AMAZING. It was so much simpler than canning. Whenever we had a batch of extra tomatoes, I put them in the food processor and liquefied them. Then I froze the whole thing… I have no idea why people are so put off by skins, seeds, etc… IT ALL TASTES LIKE TOMATOES.
We froze an enormous amount and they took me through April of this year! I used the last of them and they were still delicious! Of course, raw kale is very different than freezing a block of liquid. We’ll see how it goes.
What I’m reading:
We Animals, by Jo-Anne McArthur… I’m revisiting this book because I signed up to be a patron for Jo-Anne McArthur… she is doing amazing photojournalism work, documenting animals in the human environment.
She gives her photographs without charge, to organizations working to end animal suffering in all forms— from bullfighting to factory farms to zoos.
Her work is the subject of the documentary The Ghosts In Our Machine … at one part she she says, “the hardest part is leaving them behind.”
We can help to NOT LEAVE THEM BEHIND. We can choose to NOT turn our faces away and say, oh that’s too sad… we must evolve to understand that it is not enough to profess love and compassion while doing nothing… we MUST ALSO ENGAGE.
A Little Life, by Hanya Yanagihara… I don’t know if I’m recommending this book. Her creativity is astounding. She writes despair magnificently. I did not anticipate any of the places she took the story.
But it took me forever to get into.
Seeing as how there is no limit to the generosity of my soul, I will offer the winner of The National Book Award this editing advice: you did not need the first third of your book.
Time for my soapbox: it’s bug and weed season!
When we make the choice to treat our home, yard, trees, foliage, lawn, landscape, ANYTHING… with pesticides, rodenticides, herbicides, insecticides, grub treatment, rose sprays, mosquito foggers, tick perimeter sprays, etc, etc, etc… we have an intent of ridding ourselves of a specific creature that we find distasteful.
However, nothing in nature exists in a vacuum… everything is connected. When you affect one population, it has a ripple effect across the populations that depend upon and coexist with it.
When humans use insecticide, it does not just kill the bugs we don’t like— it kills all insects, including honeybees, butterflies and ladybugs.
THEN, after spraying, the insects do not simply disappear off the face of the earth… many live a short time before they die, and in this time, they may be consumed by natural predators like songbirds, small mammals and other insects.
Pesticides may have a deadly toxicity to these predators… or they may build up in their fat or blood and cause illness or death over time… time in which they might become part of the food chain, further spreading the toxins.
Even so-called “green” chemicals are still intended to kill, and though they may be derived from natural sources or biodegrade quickly, they are still highly toxic to you and other organisms.
Furthermore, rain or irrigation runoff can carry pesticides down roads to storm drains that lead directly to nearby streams, ponds, lakes… AND water carrying pesticides can leach or percolate into the soil, contaminate groundwater.
Our actions have consequences to animals and our environment! It is vital that we do not go blindly into the world, but make ourselves informed and educated!
Considering the steady decline of bird populations and the utter devastation of pollinator populations, it is WAY PAST TIME that we humans take a serious, proactive look at the choices we make and the practices we support – either directly or indirectly.
Resources to learn more:
Neonicotinoids— the most widely used insecticides—are found in hundreds of household products. Shockingly, concentrations of insecticides sold for residential use contain as much as 30 times the chemical load allowed in the agricultural sector. — Dr. Pierre Mineau
Neonicotinoid contamination levels in both surface- and ground water in the United States and around the world are already beyond the threshold found to kill many aquatic invertebrates.– American Bird Conservancy
Rodenticides pose a significant risk to bobcats, foxes, owls, and other animals that are apt to eat poisoned rats or mice… The d-CON company is carrying out unprecedented stalling tactics while their poisons continue to cause gruesome deaths in hawks, owls, eagles and other raptors, as well as in dogs and cats. — American Bird Conservancy
Scotts Miracle-Gro* fined $12.5 million for illegally applying insecticides to its wild bird food products—insecticides that are toxic to birds. It also falsified pesticide registration documents and distributed pesticides with misleading and unapproved labels. — audubon.org
*incase you needed another reason to NEVER BUY MIRACLE GRO.
Random stuff I’m up to:
I had some
horrible blog issues last week exciting opportunities to learn about technology!
While I was at it, I made some other changes and updates (like a page of books I love)… If you find anything broken/not working as it should, I would really appreciate a heads-up!
Also, I am embarrassed to tell you this: I started a shop my Instagram page; so that eventually I can transition to being a fashion blogger and fulfill my dream of not writing any text, and just playing dress up.
I do understand that I am horribly old for this. But I have been late to every other life goal… Must I give up my dreams just because I am slow?
Also, I have stupendous taste.
ALSO, I’m tired of seeing SO MUCH animal skin on Instagram fashion accounts… Paying thousands of dollars for a handbag is already dumb enough, encouraging other people to do the same is dumber still. But SURELY, surely we can make poor budgeting decisions without the suffering of animals? Misery is not fashionable!
Yet another thing I must fix about the world.
Elvis is planning a big celebration for Paul this weekend:
she will open him a can of wet food and also permit him to borrow her fuzzy ball.
I hope you all have a wonderful father’s day… xoxo, VEB