Reality Check

So, so remiss on posts lately…summer is here in full force with all it’s watering requirements, putting food up and busy trying not to miss summer.

We are preparing for several shortish trips and of course it’s looking like all my efforts on the tomatoes will end up going to the neighbors because true to form things are looking like they will be ripe just when we are gone. My 30 tomato plants for canning, freezing and drying are just beginning to blush. The corn is looking like it needs about another week. My shiny dark eggplant (first ever) will be ready next week. Nuts.

I’m especially torn up about the tomatoes since they are the food we eat all winter long. I buy cases of BPA-laced cans full of tomatoes grown out of state for salsa, pizza, pasta, winter stews, barbecue sauce, chutney and dried tomatoes. I’ve even been dreaming of making tomato preserves to flavor ice cream. And they go and cheat on me like this. So fickle.

The reality check for me was two weeks ago. While this blog is a labor of love for me it’s generally not until after the midnight hour when I finish my kitchen experiments and real computer work and sit down to record my locovore trials and tribulations. I knew the whole food supplement I had been taking was responsible for quite a bit of my energy but it’s really hit home the last two weeks.

Through an ordering error we ran low and in true mom style I had stopped taking them so that there was enough for everyone else. I’ve been running down, finally getting a horrible head cold and trying to continue on but I’m just barely hanging in there waiting impatiently for the new supplements to arrive. You would think with all this produce growing outside my front door that would be enough but frankly we haven’t been home long enough to prepare things lately. I try to eat a few leaves while I water but it’s clearly not enough. I have to admit defeat there.

Once you start a chain of events ordering food from the farmer or other buying clubs you have committments to meet.

I had ordered too much milk which means I needed to stay up a few nights making cheese. I had ordered way too many apricots from Rama farms which meant making jam, fruit leather, gallette and drying. I got an email Saturday night when I sat down at the computer around 10 p.m. reminding me that the chickens from Pastured Sensations had been delivered and were sitting in a cooler on someone’s front porch across town which meant I had to jump in the car and drive over and back before I could begin processing the 20 pounds of apricots on my counter.

And then just when you think there may be some rain and you don’t need to spend precious free time outside watering you check the forecast – no rain in sight. In fact it’s going to break 90 tomorrow and you need to make bread which involves heating the house.

All of this sandwiched in between T ball lessons and soccer lessons and swim lessons for two little boys who want to go to the zoo and the beach.

I felt guilty but the week of my head cold (which happened to coincide with my husband being out of town) I bought some convenience foods for the kids since I was only eating chicken stock from the freezer and not up to cooking. I didn’t have the energy to bake a cake for the three year old’s birthday and we had a party planned for the day my husband came back in town so I bought a box of cake mix. I tried not to read the ingredients but I couldn’t help myself. I was disgusted, both by the ingredients and the flavor but I have to admit it was easy. While at the store I let both boys pick out a box of crackers which still haunt my car.

There have been a lot of concessions lately and I don’t feel good about it. The worst part about it is we come back from a short trip just in time to leave with the kids on a longer trip and I have no time in between or even this week to cook enough meals to take on vacation so I’ll be buying snack foods for the beach and we’ll be eating out. It’s nice to have a break from cooking though. I really should have been a Jewish grandmother. The guilt around food – OY!

9 Responses to Reality Check

  1. I SO hear you. You are not alone. I am leaving on a 3 week vacation this weekend. My first eggplants, the biggest load of my green beans and other produce will ripen then. Grrr. In preparation for going, I’ve compromised on more convenient type things. I will get to see my mom, who had been very ill this past year, but I wish I could have gone at a different time. Different time didn’t work because of schedules for 4 children. A couple of my friends will be blessed by my garden while I’m gone. :-)

  2. Oh you poor girl, go easy on yourself! I’m so impressed by all you are accomplishing, and sometimes you just can’t do it all no matter how badly you want to.

    Reading your entry really puts into perspective for me how important it is for people to work together if we really want to live sustainably. Thanks for sharing your reality check! Enjoy your vacation!!

  3. DO NOT beat yourself up, you are making great strides in your efforts, helping so many others with your insights and after all only human!

    Being sustainably self sufficient is not always a breeze.

    Thanks for your blog!

  4. I wish I were there to give you first a hug and then a helping hand. I am fortunate that I have my teenage daughter who pitches in during the worst of the canning and preserving season and gives me help. I have to ask – but she always comes through. Between work, normal chores and routine household matters, the garden, and then the harvest and cooking etc…. well, it definitely can get overwhelming sometimes.

    I hope you can relax and get some needed downtime and R&R while on your trips. You will not miss all of your tomato harvest – just some of it.

  5. I feel like I just got a village of hugs – you guys are the best! Part of why I’ve been so busy is because I’ve been trying to make sure I spend more time enjoying summer with the kids – swimming in the lake, playing at the park, running through the sprinkler with a superhero cape on. And making an endless supply of popsicles and ice cream. Thanks so much for all your kind thoughts. My husbands point was well taken too – I can always buy supplemental corn & tomatoes at the farmer’s market so it’s not a total loss. The corn, though, had him cursing tonight since that is his baby!

  6. Charlottte Gore

    What whole food supplement do you take?
    Enjoy your vacation!

  7. Hi Charlotte – enjoy YOURS! We take Juice Plus and have been for years. There really is no comparison to other whole food supplements I’ve tried and I’ll never waste money on traditional vitamins again. I just hate that you can’t buy it in stores but the product is worth their sales tactics.

  8. Wow! You are sooo busy. I, too, have been struggling with trying to balance everything. With a full time job, small children, and all my sustainability efforts, sometimes I feel absolutely overwhelmed. I’ve decided to reduce my expecations a bit. I know I can’t do everything I would like to do. So I am doing the best that I reasonably can without making myself crazy. I am also looking at what I am doing now as learning the skills that I will take further advantage of in the future. Some day, I’ll have fewer commitments and then I’ll be able to take everything to the next level. Right now, I absolutely have to find balance.

  9. Hi Sandy,

    I think I’m coming to the same conclusion. I’m so glad I finally found some dried pasta from Durham, OR so that I can have some quick dinners occasionally! Not having to go shopping anymore saves quite a bit of time and makes meal planning much easier – I just check whatever is ready in the garden and get it to the table but it helps to have my freezer full of meat so I can add some sausage or bacon to round out the meal. Good luck to you!

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