Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ode to stuffed pantries and a freezer

As I'm sitting here,I was thinking about doing some squirrel hunting this week or weekend, then realized I have no idea where I am going to put them if I make it out. Our freezer is VERY full. Last week I butchered the last 3 rabbits and 4 of the roosters, then finished the other 3 on Sunday when Farmergeek brought over his flock of chickens and ducks to butcher. He offered a full duck, which I gladly accepted and is now in the freezer as well.
We have two turkeys in there that we got over the weekend. We origionally planned to order and buy a "free range organic" turkey from a local market, but changed our mind after we ordered it and thought about it. At first, the $2.30lb didn't seem bad until we realized that a 20+ pound bird would end up costing us somewhere in the vacinity of $50. I'm all for buying local and organic when we can, but neither of us could wrap our heads around paying 50 bucks for a bird, it just didn't register. We ended up seeing birds at the grocery store we went to for .59lb, and got 2. They aren't "organic free range", but damn, I can get 4-5 birds for the price of the one we would have gotten at the market. If I can make room by shifting around a few things, later this week we'll head back for a third. Just like most of the chicken, we'll make 1 or 2 into soup and can it. Lisa made a batch of soup on Sunday while Farmergeek and I were outside, and I canned it yesterday. It was only 5 quarts, but still, its 5 quarts we didn't have. Later this week I plan to make more, which will open up room in the freezer by using the broth we have frozen in containers and one of the birds.
The rest of the freezer is full of various things. Strawberries and blackberries are waiting for one big batch of jam, which Lisa will do soon so we can put them in our usualy Christmas goody baskets for friends and family. The door is full of bags of chopped peppers and whole corn on the cob. There is quite a bit of pork in there, thanks to a generous friend that was clearing out some room in his freezer. Everything else is mainly things we buy when it's on sale. When we see sausage or kielbasa buy1/get1, we usually buy 3-4 so we're freezing 6-8. We've saved a lot of money this way, and it always ensures a full freezer for us. We plan to start saving money soon to buy bulk beef from a local farm/butcher. The prices are a bit more than grocery store beef, but the quality is worth the money. I'd like to have a 2nd freezer to buy basically a half steer, but as with everything else, the budget won't allow it.
Just the same as the freezer, we're out of pantry space. We have two large closets converted to pantry space, as well as a 3x6 foot freestanding cabinet....all 3 are stuffed. Eventually I want to make more shelves downstairs for some of the bulk items, and for a lot of canned goods, but again, that budget thing gets in the way. For now I'll just keep my eyes open at Goodwill, freecycle, cheapcycle, and craigslist for another freestanding unit and/or shelf units. Neither of us have plans to stop our food storage just because we don't have a clear space. We have the room, just not the shelves. I can always resort to 5 gallon buckets or boxes until we can get shelves or a cabinet. Our goal is for a one years supply, so needless to say, we won't stop.

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