Whoops, I can’t believe it’s been over two years since I have blogged!
I have to apologize for completely dropping the ball on documenting our journey towards real food. When I took on the project of “The Warehouse,” I just became too busy and a bit overwhelmed with figuring out everything that running a small business entails. It would have been wonderful to document the past two years — the mistakes, learning experiences, small victories — but suffice it to say the last two years have been crazy, busy, awesome, scary, empowering, hectic, inspiring, stressful, challenging, and wonderful all mixed together.
Our Farm Direct and Bulk Food Buying Club has grown and evolved a lot. We now have over 750 members and are helping more families than ever source better quality food, at better prices too. We work with many wonderful local farmers and vendors who produce real food without any weird stuff in it. It’s been so long since I have shopped for our food in a grocery store, that when I do end up going to a grocery store for an odd item here and there, I am literally overtaken by a feeling of surrealism when I see the aisles upon aisles of mass manufactured “food” in cans, bags and boxes. It’s amazing how learning about the manufacturing processes of, say, boxed cereal really changed my perception of this item that I used to regularly buy and feed my kids. I don’t think we will ever go back to buying that kind of “convenience food” again.
In other areas, I still have a long way to go. Keeping up with my garden has been a real challenge. As much as I tried, I have not been able to make our back yard produce much food for our family despite planting lots of fruit trees, berries and trying my hand at vegetable gardening. Mainly I found that I am away from home too much to be able to tend to my garden as needed. Too many times, a hot sunny day meant I’d return to 3 foot tall, bolted lettuce, arugula and broccoli. And the poor blueberry bushes suffered without irrigation. Another problem is that I don’t know how to prune trees at all. I realized I was a bit of a “garden hoarder,” not wanting to cut any of the luscious green branches off of any of our trees and bushes or thin any of the vegetable crops. As a result, everything grew like mad, but nothing produced properly. All the plants’ energy went to growing foliage instead of crops. We finally decided to hire someone to cut everything back, so I am hoping our fruit trees will produce some fruit now that they are properly pruned and I can finally enjoy that edible landscaping that I have been wanting.
Recently, the last of our chickens were killed off by racoons, so right now we are not producing our own eggs either. After that happened we decided to take a small break from backyard chicken keeping, but I really miss having our own fresh eggs, so I have ordered four new chickens from The Little Homestead — a wonderful small local farm that offers an amazing “All You Can Eat” CSA program, which includes a share of all of the farm’s production (including chickens). The farmer, Joanne, has agreed to raise the chicks for me to pullet size, which means I won’t have to deal with setting up a brooder indoors right now.
My idea of urban homesteading has not unfolded exactly as imagined. Instead it’s been put on the back burner, while I’ve
plunged into learned about running a small business. Recently, however, I have taken a step back from all of these things to welcome our 4th child into our family. Our daughter Josephina Salomée was born March 28th, 2012, and we are still mostly at home, resting and getting to know each other. Soon enough we will have to get back into things, and figure out how to balance all the needs and wants of our family. With 4 kids, a home and a couple businesses to run (and a blog to keep up with if all goes well!), I am anticipating having to find a new rhythm in order to stay sane.