Saturday, November 22, 2008

Hunting Season Again In New York

It's hunting season here in New York. I do not mind hunters usually, as I did grow up in a family of hunters. But these hunters drive round and round with their loud diesel trucks making so much noise they announce their presence way in advance. My three horses know they are coming at least five minutes before they appear. So I imagine the deer do too.

Animals have awesome hearing and smelling abilities! And speaking of smelling abilities, that is another thing they do, smoke cigars and what have you, plus their own human smells announcing to the wild life "here I am! I have come to kill you!" The thing to do is to not take a shower just before heading out in the woods. You should also wash your hunting clothes with lye unscented soap only and then let it hang out in your barn or outside for the week till you have to wear it. Don't use shampoos or deodorant or anything that will tip the animals off to you being out in the woods.

My brother hunts with blackpowder guns only and he will sit for hours in one spot and not talk or move around. He usually always gets his buck. It takes patience. He is a very experienced hunter though having hunted from the time he was very young with our father. He now has his own Wild West Show and puts on western re-enactments in Cooperstown among other places. He also sews leather garments, holsters, etc. all sorts of things working right from the hide. I guess it sounds like I'm kinda proud of my brother and maybe I am. But he does so many things that are not done that much these days. Like he build beautiful blackpowder muskets and rifles. That though is not what I planned to write about exactly. I don't mean to tell you how to hunt if you've been doing it for years. Everybody has their own methods.

I wanted to say that I think that more hunters are out this year due to the high cost of food this year. The grocery stores are charging us some hefty prices for a little package of meat. And then there's the question of it's safety. I have cut down on it and have stocked up lentils, beans, dried peas, etc. Found other sources of protein and have to say they make me feel better health wise. So maybe meat isn't that big of deal after all. Given my choice I'd much rather have fruits and vegetables than meat anyhow. It's just that my husband likes his meat in his meals.

Well if you are a hunter, stay safe and remember those deer have awesome noses!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Food Planning For Winter On A Budget

The Grocery Game and Coupon Mom are web sites you join to save money on your groceries using sales and coupons that are posted on their sites. Anybody could do the leg work themselves to find this information out, but for the measley five bucks a month the Grocery Game charges it's easier for most folks to pay for the service. Lots of people love it and save tons of money on their grocery bills. Which is very good. It made me think maybe I could subscribe and save some on ours..........

Well, what was I thinking? I found out from the Get Rich Slowly blog that it only pays if you eat store bought processed foods. If you are eating organic, natural, fresh or bulk foods there are no coupons or deals for those. Mostly boxed foods, frozen foods, new products that they want you to try, etc. So basically, the bottom line is if you are a homesteader or self-sufficient type of person, you will not want to subscribe to to a site like that-unless you join to save on pet food, paper products, personal products like shampoo and toothpaste, household cleaning products. Which is why I might still join. But not for the food products unless it is a condiment or something I do buy at a store.

I like to grow as much as our food as we can. What we can't grow or what crop fails that year I try to buy locally so I can still put it up for the winter. Yes, I do try to put up enough food to get us through from one harvest season to the next. We keep increasing our raised beds and hopefully will be adding fruit trees and berry bushes this coming year. We had to get our land cleared first, which my husband did himself with no equipment except a chainsaw and manual tools.

This harvest season I was able to can wild elderberry juice, wild blackberry jam, tomatoes, green beans, carrots, beets and applesauce. Now that the gardening part is over, I will try to acquire meats to can. I have been buying store bought meats, as I am able to get them at low prices. Low prices being the bottom line for me at this time. Now if I was wealthier.......I'd be buying only organic, pasture raised meats.

Canning isn't the only way I store foods. I have a root cellar that I wrote about on here a few days ago. So I store foods also. This year I have stored potatoes (had an awesome potato crop!), acorn squash, butternut squash, pumpkins, onions and herbs and hot peppers that I dried.
All summer we lived on the vegetables that we can't store, the zucchini, yellow squash, dandelions, plaintain, lambs quarters, lettuce, mesculin, cucumbers, peppers, salad tomatoes, new potatoes, swiss chard and fresh wild berries.

Living in the middle of the forest adds to our food plan immensely, as there is so much available out there. I use pine needles for tea and that is also a good way to get a high dose of vitamin C. I haven't even begun to make a dent in how much is really out there. I am learning more though every season and it is something I really enjoy. After all ,God put it there for us to use for our health and our food.

One thing that really got me thinking about this is that yesterday my husband cut down a tree that the top of it had fallen in the wind last week on our horses' fence line. Inside the tree was bird's nest packed full of bedding and elderberries. He felt so bad! Hopefully, that bird had made other nests in case of something like this happening. I know chickadees do make many, so I hope he planned for that type of emergency. Which is why people too, should not depend on grocery stores or freezers......both can go down.


"He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you."Romans 8:11