Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dear friends...

Crabapple Cottage is thinking of embarking on an experiment.

This afternoon, upon arriving home from tea with colleagues, Theresa walked in the door to Alyssa shouting, "Want to hear our new plans?"

"After I feed this moldy tortilla to the chickens," said Theresa, and went out to do just that. When she came back inside, Alyssa recounted the plans, which started with a conversation with Gillian that morning.

As Theresa heard it, Gillian and Alyssa had been lamenting the fact that it was Alyssa's night to cook and she hated the idea of going to the grocery store. Alyssa always hates the grocery store -- the closest one, Freddy's, is so big and overwhelming and flourescent-lit and difficult to navigate, and Alyssa doesn't like the longer ride to more user-friendly stores such as People's or New Seasons. How could she avoid going to the grocery entirely?

Maybe that's how it started, or maybe it started with Gillian's obsession with urban wildcrafting, gardening and growing her own food, and canning all the plums and windfall apples we find around town. How long could she go without buying food she didn't procure herself?

Or maybe it's a way to save money. At any rate, here's Alyssa's plan--house challenge, really:

Buying bulk quantities in advance of the things we cannot grow (grains, oil, sugar, &c.), we will otherwise live exclusively off our land and our well-planned preparations. We will can, dry, freeze and elseways put away enough food to make it through September, October and November. Can we go three months without the grocery store? What will happen to our habit of having constant dinner guests? What will Thanksgiving be like when we only have a few jars and cans left? How did pioneers live without a bubbly water maker?!

Although the start of rationing won't begin until next fall, preparations must begin now. The first things we need to do are 1) begin recording everything we cook and eat so that we know exactly how much food we'll need to put away, and 2) plant garlic and onions to harvest next September.

For tonight, however, Alyssa's off to the grocery store for dinner fixings. (Macaroni and cheese!)


  1. This is exciting!

    One big question, though: do things like milk and other protein sources count? Are you going to try to grow beans to dry or scavenge enough nuts? I thought, "They could make cheese!" but you can't make cheese without milk.

    Buying other bulk items makes sense, but most protein sources are perishable -- except beans, which I guess you could include in the bulk buy.

    (This is Beth.)

  2. we plan to do a lot of bulk purchasing (we already contacted a possible source for bulk green coffee beans and will try to roast our own!) including 50# sacks of flour, beans, etc. it will be interesting to see how we'll store them.

    we'll also try to grow beans to dry and ... haven't given much thought to nuts yet, we'll see! any ideas?

    we get dairy delivered through noris, and will likely continue that. you can order milk, cream, eggs, cheese, yogurt through them.

  3. Ladies, this really sounds like fun and I wish I lived in the house next door because I would join in this activity. Love ready the posts.

    This is MOMA

  4. We've been trying to do much of this too. Protein for us though is mostly lentils and beans (bought in bulk) and homemade seitan. We did try to grow some of our own but the weird weather and poor planning thwarted us.

    If our garden gets going again, maybe we can trade some produce! Currently it's just lots of zucchini and green tomatoes, and some jalapenos.

    -J. Mundy