So, I procrastinated in doing the challenge.
Then, Deus Ex Machina started his Foraged Sundays challenge, and I posed the idea to him that we combine our two challenges in August and still forage on Sunday, but eat from our homestead for the rest of the week. He was game, and we started the challenge.
It hasn't been difficult, exactly. The hardest part has been realizing how much I tend to grab-and-go. That is, I realized that I eat a lot of nuts and foods like that when I'm waiting for my daughters at their various activities, and this past week, not being able to do so was actually kind of tough. One day of the challenge, when I was feeling particularly peckish, I remembered that I grew popcorn. It was still hanging in the dining room, looking more ornamental than edible.
It's been an interesting week, and we haven't been completely successful in keeping our food intake to within the requisite five mile radius, but there have been extenuating circumstances. This week we had to choose between being strict about adhering to our very rigid personal food standards, or being thankful that we had friends and family who cared enough to wish for our company and accept invitations for community and camaraderie. We choose the latter. It's all well and good to have personal standards (and we still opted out of anything with gluten, including the mass-market National brand beer, which I wouldn't drink - even if I weren't avoiding gluten ;)), but sometimes life is better with people we love, even if they don't agree with or fully understand why we do what we do.
So, last Saturday and this past Friday, we ended up at social gatherings filling our bellies with food that was, decidedly, not local (except the homemade pickled beets at last Friday's gathering that were grown at a local farm and canned less than 2 miles from my house - local and delicious ... and, hey, Gar, we would love more, if you have them :)).
The rest of the week, however, was spent enjoying the abundance of our local food shed. Deus Ex Machina even managed to make a lunch each day that was (mostly) from our homestead (the first couple of days of the week he said he was cleaning out the leftovers, and he may have taken some leftover rice for lunch).
I didn't take any pictures or record what we had eaten. I ate a lot of hash browned potatoes with eggs during the day. It's actually one of my favorite fast meals. We enjoyed some steaks, hamburg, and stir-fry, compliments of Corky the cow who previously lived at the dairy farm up the road. We also had chicken, which we raised on our farm.
This week was a long lesson in doing without. The Tortilla soup (which is another of those quick, simple dishes I make frequently, especially in cool or rainy weather) wasn't nearly as satisfying without the tortilla chips, shredded cheese and the yogurt I usually add. I still haven't made yogurt or cheese, and it's still on the "to do" list, and either I'll get around to it, or we'll spend a month bemoaning all of the things we can not have.
Still, I'm not hungry, and so far, between what we grow here and what we are able to purchase at the farm stand, we've had plenty to eat.
Melonie, over at Wandering Quail Road has also decided to join the challenge, which she has combined with her own challenge "What Would Ma Ingalls Do?" She had an incredibly tasty week that included local foods from her CSA, some bounty from her own garden, and some wild caught blackberries. I'm impressed and inspired by Melonie to work harder at my own challenge, and I love her WWMID challenge. Too fun!
Be sure to check out Melonie's blog about her week of local eating.
And if you're joining the challenge, leave a comment and let me know how it's gone. I'll post a link to your local meal in my weekly Challenge Update blog post.
The most fun in doing these challenges, for me - at least early in my locavore days -, has been sharing my story with other people. It was always fun to see what other folks were eating where they were. I will always be a bit jealous of the Californians who can avocados and olives, but as I recall, there were some people who envied my meals of fresh-caught lobster. So, it all balances out, right?
In the interest of full disclosure, I should also let those of you who read my blog, but aren't on Facebook, know that Deus Ex Machina and I failed in our Foraged Foods only Sunday this week and had to fall back on just eating local (dinner was grilled chicken, corn from the farm stand, and some garden vegetables sliced and eaten raw - a real homestead meal, actually).
Last week, while cutting some vines growing near the road, Deus Ex Machina met a new neighbor. Apparently, and unbeknownst to us, we have poison sumac growing among the bittersweet vines. What started out as just a very irritating rash turned into a pretty serious case of contact dermatitis with some possible cellulitis.
We had to visit the Quick Care this weekend. The nurse practitioner was deeply surprised - almost to the point of awe - by his condition. The rash covered his entire right side (both extremities and his chest under his arm). It was bright red (like a very, very bad sunburn) with weepy pustules. He probably wouldn't have gone to the clinic for just the rash, but when his hand and foot swelled to twice their usual size, we figured he should probably get checked out, in case it was cellulitis. Unfortunately, because he could barely walk, he did not go foraging on Sunday, and so we cheated and had chicken and local vegetables instead.
He'll be fine, but it's a good lesson in building awareness, in the difficulty of balancing natural remedies and modern busyness, and in the need to balance our health concerns with our work lives.