Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Growing... and More Growing


This year's onions are in. Harvested. I pulled them up, dusted them off and looped them together with fistfuls of twine. Now they hang from the enormous pot rack in the kitchen, bunches of them. Garlic and shallots will soon follow. It's a good time to be a gardener.


Over the break, I found a box tucked underneath a bed in the back of Freeman House. In it were mementos from elementary school days, and at the bottom, a tattered copy of Little House on the Prairie. The cover was hanging from the book, exposing my name written in my childish hand. Underneath it, in crooked numbers, was a phone number: 796-9389. Our first number after we moved to Texas. I would have been nine. I flipped through the book, seeing familiar but forgotten pictures of Pa, Ma, Mary, Laura and baby Carrie. An hour later I looked up, realized the time, and put the book aside. I had laundry to hang and rows of beans to weed, for heaven's sake. I was a grown woman now, with a house and land of my own to tend to. Laura would be ashamed of me, hiding in the back of the house, reading like a nine year old again.

......................

In true Little House on the Prairie style, I've dreamed up a new mission for myself: to survive the entire month of June on brown rice, oats, corn meal and bread flours, and what I can dig out of the garden. Or what I can trade for what I dig out of the garden. Truly. I gave myself $25 to buy staples for the month. I bought brown rice, organic oats, corn meal, flours, and cheese. Extras like butter, yeast, honey, condiments, salt and spices, etc., I already had, so those didn't count toward my $25 grocery budget. Twenty-five dollars. Works out to about 84 cents a day. Can a girl live for 30 days on that? We're about to find out.

Here's the rundown so far:

June 1 - no breakfast (I rarely eat breakfast); roasted sweet potato fries with garlic for lunch; baby Yukon potatoes, green beans, and onions from the garden, along with a chunk of homemade bread for dinner. So far, so good.

Yes, there's a lot of growing going on over here. Growing outside and growing inside. Always pushing myself to do more, learn more, see more, live more. (Or in this case, a bit less.)

I wonder what Laura would think of it all...

25 comments:

Kathi said...

What a sweet surprise to find that box. I'm growing too. It's a great feeling. All the best to you. Kathi

Christen said...

Laura would be proud.

I checked out Little House on the Prairie not too long ago from the library. My heart was aching for a piece of my childhood and re-reading the book eased that ache. I spent most of my childhood wishing that I could live alongside Laura on the prairie, or in the big woods, or wherever she went. Even now, there is a part of me that still wishes for that.

Southern Comfort said...

That is a very interesting challenge you've given yourself. I think I could do it if I had lots of tomatoes, onion and zucchini. Oh, and eggplant. Fresh cornbread, topped with green onions and tomatoes would be perfect. I think you've got the know how and the work ethic to do it! I could also read those Little House books over and over. Oh, and were you tempted to call that phone number?

Cindy said...

Fun challenge. Years ago my hubby challenged himself to see if he could eat on a dollar a day (the kids and I refrained from participating). He used the salt and pepper we already had but that was it. A 10lb sack of potatoes were his first purchase...which he ate boiled. :) He...and you....are braver souls than I!

laurel said...

Very cool challenge. I love things like that. I will be interested to see what frugal meals you come up with out of what you have on hand and in the garden. Very cool. You can do it!!

Susan said...

Honestly ... I think it's fantastic if we all challenge ourselves to a few crazy budget tightening games. I can't wait to hear more about how it goes, what you eat etc... maybe I'll try a the 30 day challenge along with you.

Louise said...

Have you read the blog: http://30on30challenge.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default
He had $30 in a month to get by on.. Was pretty interesting reading....

LindaSonia said...

Like someone upthread remarked and I agree - 'Laura would be proud'. You are always inspiring. Glad to have you back.

LindaSonia

ParkerMama said...

I think the differences in our growing seasons is so interesting.

Our onions are only up about 4 inches. I planted my garlic this Fall and they will be ready to harvest soon!

I've been re-working the budget around here too. I like to think of these type of things as grand adventures.

Sandi said...

I think a lot of us could learn a lesson or two from you. I could live on veggies easily every day...don't know about getting a months worth for $25 though. You are very inspiring~
Blessings~

Shelley in SC said...

I think she would smile and remember a certain "long winter" where they lived on wheat ground up in a coffee grinder. Thank God you're a gardener, Brin.

Jenn said...

Such a wonderful book, at any age.
And I wish you the best with your challange since I'm pretty sure you will do fine since you have such a good garden. I know we would have a little difficulty feeding 4 on $25 even with a great garden, but that is only because of the milk & cheese & peanut butter my girls love so much...ok and hubby loves his meat(but I know we could probably get away on somewhere between $50-$75 for a month all things considered...heck we make do on maybe $250/month now. How I miss having the land to have a real garden and all the fresh veggies...and living near an orchard and having permission to pick up as much as the dropped fruit as we wanted(drops were unsellables). One day we will get our little house on a piece of land and I am sticking to that dream even with things as difficult as they are now.
I am glad you are back...it makes my day to see a new blog from you!

kali said...

Oh Brin, I am soooo glad you are back! I have certainly missed your posts.
I know the feeling- I have had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches every day for several weeks now. Not my ideal lunch, but fills the tummy just the same.
Still praying for you,
Kali

Jessica said...

I must confess to still reading Little House books. They are too dear never to be read again!

Good luck with your challege! I really hope you have success.

Sue@CountryPleasures said...

Laura would be proud, that was her life in a nut shell! I turn 50 in a couple of weeks and I swear I've grown more in the last year and still at it than ever before! It's good to pull out those old boxes now and then and return to the past, they keep you connected!

judy in ky said...

I think that Laura might have lived on a similar diet herself!

Victoria said...

What a great idea and challenge! I'll look forward to hearing how you do!

I have Little House and haven't read it in ages. Hmmmm...I bet my 4 year old would enjoy it too.

tara said...

Onions hanging from the pot rack... something my hubby would do. He is the gardener in our family. But it looks much better in an old farmhouse than it does in our small home - with no pot rack. :) I wish I had the energy you have. you are as inspiring as ever. God made you for wonderful things!

Patty's Stitches said...

Brin, I think I could learn alot from you. Your grocery list for the month sounds like the type of thing my son would challenge himself to. I came home from college yesterday announcing he wants to buy some shrubs to plant in front of his house and some flowers too! He said he would like to learn to grow his own vegetables too! We would all be healthier if we would only eat foods in the form that the good Lord gave them to us. I enjoy reading your blog so much. And I would have sat down to read Little House for a while too if I had found it in a box! Blessings, Patty

patientmom said...

Completely agree, Laura would be proud. My husband's grandmother often told us of how they survived many winters with only potatoes, so with your wonderful fresh add-ins, you will do better than survive, I believe you will thrive!

Have a great day!

Michelle said...

Brin, you can do it! I have no doubt you will come up with all kinds of little creative meals.

Have you seen the little lady on youtube that does the depression cooking..you might find her a treat to watch. ;) Look for Depression Cooking with Clara. She's a doll to watch, and you might find some ideas. Now I need to go dig out the Little House series of books I have. :)

Carolyn (Harbor Hon) said...

I'll have been on this earth 57 years in December and I feel like I'm still growing myself. You always inspire me with your great posts. You know how to touch a heart and make people smile. I thank you for that. xxoo

Torey said...

I've been reading the Little House series to my 6 year old and finding lots to think about. In these economic times, I think everyone could do with a little Little House "dose of reality". Having food, shelter, family, and a little bit of entertainment (bring on the fiddle!) is really all we need. Can't wait to hear about the meals you come up with!

Sweet P said...

I love your challenge. I would fail though because I love beef too much!

Do you have any news on my plates? I still have not received them and I don't know if you got them back. If they can't be found, can I get a refund? Thanks!

Rebecca said...

I think your 84 cents a day diet is a fabulous idea. And, you know it has to be healthy! Good luck