...Growing, Building, Cooking, Preserving, Crafting...

2006 began our urban homestead when I broke ground on a garden, which now includes perennial fruits, flowers, & many vegetable varieties. We dream of solar panels, keeping bees and hens. Until then we'll continue growing and preserving our own fruits and vegetables, building what we can for our home, cooking from scratch, and crafting most days.


The Busiest Week of My Year

Our lonely bird waiting for his brine
The days leading up to Thanksgiving always make for the busiest week of my year.  The local food round-up last Saturday--with all of its intricate choreography--turned out pretty well and no one (neither Mommy nor Vera) spontaneously combusted even though we didn't return to the homestead until well after normal nap time.  Whew!  This week I made my traditional stop at the conventional grocery store--you may recall that this is one of my favorite "guilty pleasures" before the Thanksgiving holiday (call me weird for thinking of it that way.)  We are more or less ready to go with the food preparations for Thursday.  I will begin this afternoon by bringing back the "turkey bucket," our name for the 5-gallon bucket where we brine our bird until cook-time on Thursday.  Vera's first Thanksgiving week found her carefully guarding the bucket.  Last year when she was already stringing a few words together and repeating anything we suggested, the slightest utterance of "turkey bucket" in her sweet little voice would have Ben and I in stitches.

I crossed a cooking class off my list last night, realizing after shopping for my class that it wasn't the best timing because where was I going to put the food until prep. time?  I crammed and jammed it into the fridge, but I will tell you that by National Restaurant Association standards, they should have revoked my Safe Food Handler certificate late Saturday night. (For the record, there was no cross-contamination, but my limited options for food placement in the fridge might have been given a second glance from an inspector.)  Anyway...

This morning I had the pleasure of hosting a new interest group at our home.  After all of our talk over the last couple of years, we finally pulled together a small group (four of us so far) of like-minded folks who essentially want to "save the world"...or at least get started preparing our little corner of it to withstand whatever the Earth, economy, or other powers-that-be throw at us.  We are calling ourselves the "South Shore Resilience Circle," and I'm flattered and honored to be a part of this group of experienced men with specialities, knowledge, and interest in permaculture, gardening, rainwater management, forest gardens, alternative energy, peak oil, and community living, just to name a few.  The gentleman who so generously let me pick elderberries at his impressive South Milwaukee homestead last season, a self-proclaimed "urban camper" and dedicated Power-downer, and the founder of Bay View's Eco-Village are my team members in this endeavor.  We're also planning to recruit a gentleman who has electrical engineering experience, which could come in tremendously handy in setting up alternative energy systems.  We've chosen to limit the size of our group, not because we want to be exclusive and only "save ourselves," but because through other similarly focused organizations around the city we've found that working in smaller groups can often be a better way to more quickly get to work on important projects versus continuing to meet, talk, meet, talk, meet, talk, but never set out on a task.  Not to mention, it's nice to be able to fit everyone around a dining room table to solve the world's problems.  Many of which have been sorted out when a small group of people pull up a chair.  I was asked to be part of this circle for my culinary, preservation, and solar cooking experience.  I am excited to share that skill set, but am also hoping to gain a better knowledge of the more technical details--exercising the other hemisphere of my brain--to learn about solar energy, bio-swales, and alternatively-fueled transportation just to name a few projects that have already been mentioned.  I am hoping to inherit four inspiring mentors through this group and finally get somewhere with ideas that have thus far just been dreams in my urban homesteading journal.

Gorgeous label artwork by the
winemaker's wife/tasting room host
So it's two days before the big feast and once again I have most likely disappointed my blog followers by not posting more Thanksgiving recipes.  Let me at least offer you a cocktail [recipe.]  There's a great article in my current issue of Mother Earth News about hard cider.  I just bought a couple bottles from Aeppeltreow Winery near Burlington. (You may recall, this was the orchard trip where a friend and I with the kiddos nearly got kicked out of the winery.)  Never imagined Butterscotch Schnapps would be on my holiday shopping list, but, alas, it is now part of my "liquor cabinet" as I will be pouring this cocktail on Thursday--possibly at 10:00 AM sharp (official Wegner Family "beer-thirty") depending on how the day starts.

Cheers to you and yours this week.  Stay tuned for my "List of Gratitude" in the next post.

1 comment:

  1. The days leading up to Thanksgiving is always very busy..