Day Two Hundred and Eighty Three: Putting my Time where my Mouth is

Or some other mangled proverb.

One of the ongoing themes in my life, if not always addressed explicitly here, is that I don’t always spend my actual time in a way that matches my goals and ideals. In fact, like a lot of underemployed people, I spend a good chunk of my day sitting on the sofa, pretending to do things. Reading blogs by other people doing the things I think of myself as doing, looking for “inspiration” to do new things. Very little actual doing.

I’ve been trying to fix this lately, but habits are hard. Also, I feel an intense need to fill space with something. So, for instance, if I put down the computer to knit, I feel weird unless the TV is on, and I don’t like running the TV during the day. I’m working on that, too. Isn’t doing something + background noise better than all noise?

I have two pretty ambitious goals right now. One of them is the pantry project I mentioned yesterday, which I’m hoping to talk more about as I refine the way we eat through the fall and winter. The other is to make myself a few pieces of winter clothing before spring, which comes early here. I want to finish knitting a lightweight sweater that’s about 35% done right now, plus make a vest and a scarf in time to actually wear them. Plus that fall eating thing, which is going to require some thought, some exploring, and an almost daily time investment.

Plus there’s that whole going back to work thing, which I’ve actually been inspired to do lately.

I’m going to have to be more careful about how I spend my time. I like that.

Day Two Hundred and Eighty Two: The Canning Project

I’ve had some aspirations to preserving food for the last year or two. Aspirations don’t always turn into preserves, though. It’s become a little bit of a running joke that I have to buy cucumbers three times before I actually make pickles instead of cucumber goo in the crisper.

Yesterday was the magic third round of cucumbers. While I was at it I decided to pickle some red bell peppers, too.

In the pantry rooting around for canning jars, I realized that I have a lot of jars. My equipment, my patience and my family size aren’t up for doing huge batches, but jars come a dozen at a time. Our entire stock of preserves right now is four half pint jars of marmalade, three pint jars of pickled sweet peppers, and four pints of pickles (plus one in progress in the refrigerator). This means I have a dozen 4oz jars, four pint jars, and eight half pint jars sitting in the pantry, empty.

It bothers me. So I made a little goal. By the end of October, I want them all full.

I expect this will take some compromises about ingredients given that I am, even in my hot climate, a little behind the curve. Aside from peppers and citrus, most fall produce needs a pressure canner, which I don’t have. Local citrus may or may not be here by late October. It will be excellent practice for next year, though, and there is still something to be said for taking charge of your own food.