The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

What kind of food do we buy?

Agricola"Anna, I'm curious- are there any staples you buy anymore? I seem to remember you saying you love avocados and can't grow them yet but do you purchase other treats or things like grains?"
--- Maggie

Mark and I were at the grocery store Friday, and I was just thinking that the only thing we bought were treats --- chocolate, avocados, apples, and clementines.  We're mostly off grains, so we only buy flour every few months, preferring to get our carbohydrates from homegrown staples like sweet potatoes and butternuts, along with fruit (a significant quantity of which is still store-bought at this time of year, but hopefully will be homegrown within a few more years).

Other staples we purchase in very limited quantities include: sugar, spices, baking powder,  baking soda, salt, pepper, corn starch, lentils and dried beans.  We buy significantly more dairy products (cheese and yogurt), nuts, and a considerable amount of meat (75% of which is butchered whole lambs from a friend).

We also buy eggs, although most of those go to Lucy (and most of the eggs we eat come from the farm).  On that note, despite a few forays into making our own pet food, we're currently still on dried kibble for both the cats and dog.

Me and BenThe good news is that since the bulk of the food we eat is either homegrown or bought from friends, we could continue eating those staples indefinitely regardless of the state of our wallets or the world.  The bad news is that we seem to increase the quality of the non-staples we buy at the same time we cut down on their quantity, so we don't spend any less at the grocery store.  That's the trouble with growing your own food --- you start to realize that high quality is really worth it.

(By the way, the photos above have nothing to do with this post.  My big brother and I enjoyed a couple of delightful games of Agricola Saturday after he helped me scout the middle third of my new trail.  And Mark and I met up with my cousin-in-law for lunch in the big city Friday.  Today we get to hang out with my mother-in-law, who I don't see nearly often enough.  Quite an action-packed weekend!)

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Thank you this is so helpful!
Comment by Maggie Sun Dec 29 10:37:00 2013

Hi guys, I was wondering with the acres of land you have, do you set up snares/traps for catching rabbits or any other game. Also, have you thought about planting fruit trees and perennials around the border of your property. The part of your property you don't think you can get to do anything with for years, because of the projects you have going on so close to home. I was thinking of fruit trees and blackberry bushes. Also, straw berries. If they grow without your help, GREAT! If not, try a different spot for next year. I really love your posts with all your pictures, please don't stop posting. Thanks

Comment by john Sun Dec 29 10:46:33 2013

John --- I got excited about trapping rabbits and squirrels about a year ago, but my first try really turned me off. Even though I was using a live trap, the animal I caught (a opossum) was injured during capture and soon died. (No, it wasn't just playing possum.) That got me terrified that our cats would end up in the trap, so I stopped setting it. This week, I decided to try again far enough from the core homestead that hopefully no friendly feline would curiously wander in, but haven't caught anything yet. It's definitely something I want to keep experimenting with along my Lucy-walking routes.

I'm less keen on planting fruit trees outside our perimeter. We have a huge deer population in our area, and unless we solidly fence things in, the plants are gone in short order. I did try one pear tree in the powerline cut last winter, and fenced it in, but then learned the other problem with planting things outside the perimeter --- I forget about them and they get no care, so they soon get overwhelmed with weeds. If we had large pastures, I might try planting fruit trees from seed as experiments out there, but in our wooded setting, it doesn't seem to make sense.

Comment by anna Sun Dec 29 11:12:00 2013
This post prompted a question: Any new rabbit updates? Our family has recently taken the jump into meat rabbits and I'm wondering how your bun--bun experiment is going??
Comment by Tinga Sun Dec 29 13:11:27 2013

Tinga --- That wasn't actually us raising rabbits, but a friend of ours. I'm afraid he had to move and, I believe, sold his rabbits. So no new updates.... :-/

Maybe you'll be the new person to tempt us with updates on your rabbits?

Comment by anna Sun Dec 29 20:20:30 2013

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