It is a pure pleasure to use up food I have carefully put up. The day-before-yesterday, my son and daughter-in-law both came down with some horrid, mutant death virus so we kept my grandson overnight for them. When we returned him home last night, I sent along a batch of chicken and rice soup. I made enough for us to have it for dinner too. Soup is the easiest meal to make and is the perfect way to use up dehydrated vegetables. I started with a rich chicken stock then added chicken legs I had saved from the last two I cooked. I put in dried celery, peas and carrots as well as herbs. The thyme, rosemary, and sage came from last summer’s garden. I also used up some parsley from the greenhouse and added lots of onions and garlic from the root cellar. I put in a cup of rice that I can take no credit for. With some tiny, rich buttermilk biscuits, we had a tasty and cheap dinner.  Because Bruce does not always consider soup a meal, I baked a cherry crisp with the last of the summer’s cherries. I really need to put up a lot more cherries. Both the dried and the canned are now gone and we will have no more until July.

There has been considerable troubling news for so early in the morning. The earthquake in Haiti is the worst. For such a poor country with no available infrastructure, this is the worst kind of disaster. I was asked recently what kind of disaster would make one need to use a bug out bag. This is the kind. One is waken in the night and has to leave. There is no time to pack, just grab and go.

Last night’s permaculture guild meeting was wonderful. We put together a group order of trees and bushes. I have ordered two varieties of pears that will keep for months in a root cellar. among out plans for spring are:

A pruning workshop at a local orchard

A workshop on making medicinal infusions and tinctures with a herbalist who comes to our guild

Recreating an 1800’s kitchen garden on the grounds of a historical tavern/museum that is located just down the street from me

We are also putting together a book of plants we are interested in. Each session, one of us will be assigned a plant. Our job is to research it thoroughly and return to the group with the information printed out. We will give a brief overview of the plant including information on planting, care, preservation and  a look at where it will thrive in our ecosystem. At the end of the year each we should have a booklet of 26 species. I am starting off at our next meeting with the stevia plant. I grew some and had good luck with it. It is very sweet and is good for adding to tea. I have a small bit left from what I dried last year, enough to offer everyone a taste. If you have any resources for learning about stevia, you could pass them along.

The mutant death flu has just hit my daughter. if you don’t see a post for a day or two, I may have succumbed as well.