Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The adventure and some little changes...

So, I know you are all burning to know how the winter camping trip went... Well, it went great! They all came back at 7:30 smiling and hungry and a little cold!

Je sais que vous brûlez tous d'envie de savoir comment s'est passé le camping d'hiver. Ça a très bien été! Ils sont tous revenus à 7 h 30 ce matin, souriants, affamés et un peu gelés!

A happy but tired camper!

Une petite campeuse heureuse, mais fatiguée!

Look at that great gift from my Italian friend! They are family handpuppets from Hungary (www.bi-ba-bu.hu).

Regardez ce joli cadeau de ma copine italienne! Ce sont des marionnettes maman et bébé (www.bi-ba-bu.hu).

Grand-maman est ici pour deux semaines et elle a apporté son accordéon!

Grandma is here for two weeks and she brought her accordion!

Mathilde is quite happy to see the Christmas tree being replaced by her beloved hammock.

Mathilde est bien heureuse de voir le sapin de Noël se faire remplacer par son hamac bien aimé.

Now, the resolution part. Just like you, I don't like to take resolutions that I always write down again every year, like an old mantra. I don't even like the word resolution. So let's call this Little changes. In this regard, look at this Community of Change created by Suzy from Hip mountain mamma. The idea is to pick one change each month until Earth day. If you click on the blogs, you can read what everybody decided to work on. Quite inspiring!

Yes, we do a lot for the Earth around here, but we sure can do much more. So, here's a list of the Little changes that we will work on :

  • Being more careful about the wrapping (no styrofoam, packaged baby greens, soft plastics - like cheese wrappers, saran wrap, ziploc) and of course, grocery bags (we're quite good with those).
  • Buying our laundry and dishwashing produits in bulk (I tried making my own for many year but never found a satisfying recipe).
Here's a list of the food we will stop buying (or only very rarely):
  • Italian prosciutto, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and parmesan (oh, I'll miss my parmesan... and olive oil... well, maybe we'll get some olive oil once in a while!)
  • Coconut product (milk, oil, nut)
  • Tropical fruits (but we'll buy the occasional banana, orange and grapefruit). We actually just signed up for a veggie basket from a local producer that will include Quebec only veggies. We will used our canned veggies and frozen berries, as well as our sauerkraut and sprouts. No more veggies that come from far away (maybe the occasional avocado...)
  • No more chia, goji berries, carob
  • No more imported pasta, cookies (Lu!)
  • We will cut down our rice consumption a lot (including rice cakes)
  • Making our own crakers or finding some local alternatives (I didn't even know the Ryvita were from England!! Urgh!)
  • We don't drink much coffee nor eat much chocolate, but we will be even more careful, and only buy organic and fairtrade when we do
  • Cut down on our cane sugar consumption and use mostly local raw honey and maple syrup (no more agave nectar for us)
  • No more cashews, sesame seeds and other imported nuts (carefully read labels and find some US grown nuts when we consume them)
  • Same for dried fruits (dates, figs and other fruits from far away will not be bought)
  • As healthy as they are, seaweeds come from far away, so unless we find alternatives, we will stop buying those too...
  • Cutting down our imported spice consumption.
I have made a list of meals that we can prepare with local ingredients and need to work on changing my cooking habits. We love indian food, italian food and many other ethnic foods, but they require ingredients that come from far away. I am planning on buying an Native Amerindian cookbook to get inspired to cook with local ingredients. Living with my Grandma is also very helpful in that regard!

And on the farm front :
  • Learn to milk the cow
  • Try to milk the ewes in the spring
  • Learn to spin
  • Get a bee hive or two and get comfortable around bees
  • Plant enough veggies for a whole year and pick as many berries as last summer to fill our freezer for the winter!
Je suis trop fatiguée pour traduire les amis!

Here' a great article on real milk (raw milk) by Sally Fallon.


Nadine said...

Wow...that is alot of food changes..Never thought about it that way..ahem...may be we need and will make also some very needed changes...but olive oil....coconut oil...I would cry...:(...coconut oil helps regular my hyperthyroidism issues...may be I will just add other things to cut in order to make up for this...:)

Catherine said...

I know.. I am a bit drastic... I sure will keep using some olive oil. I know coconut oil is supposed to be very healthy for the thyroid (I have low thyroid issues), but I never noticed any difference when I take it and when I don't. Plus, I wonder about the benefits of taking something that comes from so far away, from a tropical land, when I live up North... What do you think?

ninibottine said...

Moi je rêve que l'on puisse établir de vrais liens de communication avec les autochtones (ceux du 3e âge particulièrement) afin de mettre par écrit leurs nombreuses connaissances sur la nutrition et toutes les plantes comestibles de notre région... Toutes ces connaissances sont sur le point de disparaître à tout jamais...
À l'INRS (Institut national de recherche scientifique), il y avait une "chercheur" qui se spécialisait dans ce domaine... peut-être qu'il vaudrait la peine de chercher dans cette veine?

Catherine said...

Oh oui, Nini, c'est une bonne piste! Tu as tellement raison, c'est terrible que toute cette sagesse de notre peuple se perde à jamais...

farmama said...

Wow Catherine! You are awesome! How wonderful to be so conscious of your food. We definitely still buy a lot of grains and oils, salt, and dairy (only in winter when the goats are dry.) In the summer we are able to grocery shop very minimally. It's hard in this society that we live in. Well you are an inspiration to me my friend! Oh and we have a few bee hives.....they are nothing to be intimidated by....they fly around pollinating our crops all day long and we have never ever been stung by them. It's the nasty wasps that do all the stinging! Have you read Rudolph Steiners book called Bees? It's super!

Catherine said...

We are getting Steiner's book on bees this week! And some others on biodynamy and the Obsalim method with cows (spending our Christmas money on books!). The oils are the hardest to drop. I think I will keep using some olive oil for my salad dressing once in a while. We have a good local company for sunflower oil, so I'll try to switch to that instead, but it sure won't taste the same!

Elke said...

Wow Catherine, your changes are HUGE and very inspiring. I have never really thought about the food miles so indepth as you are with olive oil etc. We actually have local olive oil producers, so maybe I could start to look to that for our oils. I am really interested in reading about the 100mile diet and starting to look at our food and where it comes from. Have an amazing 2010.

Catherine said...

Elke, the 100 mile diet has been written by one of our Yukon friend's brother, so it has been in our life since quite a while. There are so many great reads on the subject! Have a wonderful 2010 too!

June said...

Writing it down makes it almost done! Good for you!

We live as much as possible off the bounty of our local food sources. The garden makes such a difference.

Happy eating!

leaningapplemama said...

no agave, olive oil...yikes i know i should cut back on these but ... do i want to? we use a lot of our own maple syrup and local honey but i just recently fell in love with agave. how sad, isn't it. i hardly buy avocados anymore and very very rarely any citrus fruits (but they are so good). well...anyway good for you on your changes....they are inspiring. i just bought some local spelt flour and cream (for butter making) for our sunday meal. good luck and i can't wait to hear more about how those changes are suiting you! by the way do you have a cow already? xo, pennie

Catherine said...

June, yes, the garden makes a huge difference... Now, I need to plan the crops better next year. We are all sick of squashes and craving kale, turnips and carrots... It's a big learning curve!

Yes, we have not only one but TWO cows! One jersey and her calf and a Dexter that will have a calf in July. We have stopped milking the Dexter, but milk the Jersey once a day (4 liters a day). Raw milk is illegal in Canada, so that's the only way to have access to some of that goodness!

Ellen said...

Wow. I really admire not only your "small" changes for the new year, but the obvious care you already invest in living self-sufficiently and sustainably. Our one small change is just hanging the laundry to dry, and this year we're planting our first real garden.

A pleasure to discover your blog, and to take some inspiration with me.

Bonne annee!

renee ~ heirloom seasons said...

Oh my goodness Catherine... your ideas are so wonderful! I will have to read this over again with my husband. We are putting much thought into our food choices these days. Actually we always have, but now in totally new ways. Thanks so much for all the inspiration!

heather said...

you are a badass! i just drank a cup of umeboshi tea. can you grow that in your area? i actually looked at growing an umeboshi plum tree. i think i will try it, for sure, cause i love how it makes me feel.