Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Me and my stash habit.........

I sew so I have a stash of fabric. I knit so have a stash of wool. Then comes the day when an article needs to be made. The stashes are searched through, and the right fabric / wool is found. But now the dithering starts, because perhaps I might have a need for that fabric / wool in the future, and if I use it now it will not be available for me ever again because it would have been already used up.  Therefore, 'Do I, or Do I Not'  use this fabric/ wool now, or do I save it and buy other fabric or wool to make what I need to make.

This 'stash accumulating' habit is one I am trying to break, but not with fabric and wool, but with the produce in my food larder. Maintaining the same 'best save for later' mentality I now have dehydrated vegetables from 2013 still sitting my shelves, the same for jars of canned meat and veg, the same for meat and produce in the freezer. I am good about jams and chutneys though, and these I do use.  But the cheese I make - I really feel the need to save it,  and can get quite uppity with Lester when he does a raid on the cheese fridge. I feel the need to guard the cheese stash against such raids. Bless me, but sometimes I do feel I have daft moments. After all, he looks after the cows and milks the cows, so he deserves to eat what he likes from the cheese stash in the larder.

So ...................................................................

Just got back in from feeding the lamb, Lester is out at the moment (had to change the gun he recently bought) so I am in charge. Sheep in a real fed up mood. Been in all day, ......they dislike having to stay in the paddock so will moan and moan about the injustice of it all. One sheep had her head jammed in the fence wire. Nearly took a chunk of fence wire with her as I got her head free. Had visions of the whole flock disappearing through the damaged wire. Fortunately the 'vision' did not come to fruition and the fence wire held, but will need mending. Will wait for Lester to be in a good mood before I tell him that though. He is still trying to get the gates in the cow pens mended after Bonny decided to wrestle with one of the during the night. One gate and gate post came off worse, and now she has started on the second gate.

Took Boolie with me. He is very good around the sheep, and apart from one head butt from a miserable sheep all went well, and he managed a quick lick round the rear end of the lamb to clean him up a bit. The lamb hasn't a mum, so Bools does come in handy for odd clean up job. He has done this for all the bottle fed lambs in the past, so there will be a job vacancy when he passes over (tumour still busily growing) Neither of the rottweiller girls would be allowed to take the job on because they mess around too much and would want to play 'football' or 'chase' with the lamb. They are in the 'dog house' at the moment. Managed to get through the courtyard gates just as the cows were coming in from the field last night. It was not the best moment for the girls to do this because the cows did a gallop down the lane with the girls bouncing along in jollity behind them. Lester was fuming.

So.......... back to my food stash, and my belated New Year resolve to use up the food on the shelves, and in the fridges and freezers, and fight against my tendency to want to 'keep things for later'.

The Meat Stash: I am gradually working my way through the three freezers and have stopped worrying about having enough meat to feed us. If we run out then we can go vegetarian until we get the stocks back up again.

The Canned Goods Stash: We have finished up all the jars of potatoes, cherries, pears and apples, but still have one jar of rhubarb and several jars of blackberries still to go. Plus several jars of green tomatoes, two soups, and a few jars of meat. We still have lots of dehydrated cherries, figs, apples and plums though, so still have fruit in the larder.

The Cheese Stash: I have given myself a talking to, and realise we really do need to eat what I am producing without me going into 'Save the Stash for later' mode.

In an effort to break the stash habit of thinking, yesterday I broke open four wheels of cheese. The one top left is a salt brined Caerphilly, of the two on the is a Colby, the other a Farmhouse cheese, and the cheese beneath them is possibly a Monterey Jack which has some of its muslin and lard wrappings removed.

Question: Had the mould on the lard and muslin wrapping of the Monterey Jack migrated into the cheese?

No. The mouldy covering looks very ominous so we expected spoilt cheese, but no, the cheese had a lovely full and rich taste and was aging just fine.

Question: Had the Caerphilly gone rotten, because the outside was sticky and vaguely slimy.

No. The cheese was still plump and creamy, although had a stonkingly strong taste. We have to use this cheese up first because it will not store in a food saver bag and goes rank ('off') quickly. It will store in the fridge for a while though.

Question: Have I ruined these two cheeses because I did not put a protective covering of either lard, wax, or salt on them.

No. Although they both had quite hard skins and had dried out quite a bit, both are doing alright. One in particular is deliciously mild and we are eating that one up immediately.

Cheese Stash Plan: Cut these wheels in half, wax one half and put into longer term stash storage, put the other half into food saver bags for the  'eat when the need comes' stash.

The Dehydrates Stash:

At long last I have the much waited for shelves in the front kitchen, upon which is to go my dehydrates. There is plenty of room to fill the shelves up once the harvests start coming in, meanwhile I continue to use up all the 2013 and 2014 dehydrated produce, and am working my way through the 2015 harvests. It has been a surprise to me that none of the dehydrates have either gone off, gone mouldy, or got rotten during their storage, which makes me sold on dehydrating produce, but this has only come upon me during the last month or so, now I have got the dehydrates stash sorted out and I am more organised. But these jars are only the front line of the stash. I also have a cupboard in which is stored the larger bags of dehydrates.

And today's lunch.....

Potatoes, carrots, sprigs of cauliflower (shop bought) - cubed and steam cooked, cauliflower sprigs as is.
Cooked minced hoggett (young sheep_. (ours)
White sauce....milk (ours), butter (ours), flour (supermarket), rehydrated leeks and tomatoes (ours), cheese (Caerphilly, ours), seasonings (supermarket)

Potatoes and carrots,......a layer put own as a base
Then the mince, warmed up.
Then the rest of the veggies.
Sauce over the top, and encouraged to ooze down to the other layers.
Grated cheese on top.
Under grill.
Job done.
It was yummy.

... and a good proportion of ingredients were from our food stash / larder.
Trying to remain stoical in my efforts at lose the 'Don't use now because you might need it later' habit of thinking......
And yesterday's photo of the Lester and the lamb:

.... and our gorgeous black Orpington cockerel.....
Bye for now


rusty duck said...

There are things in my fabric and wool stash that have moved house four times now..
That cheese looks delicious.

Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

Wonder how long the dehydrated veggies last. I have a number of jars myself. It is hard to find the right balance with stashes!

Cro Magnon said...

I have plenty of bottled and dried Cepes in store, but my Paté is running low. I have no idea how to organise all the frozen stuff. Maybe I need a book, or even to write on packs when it was frozen.

Vera said...

JESSICA, I love the security of having a stash of fabric and wool, because it means that I always have a stock to rummage through when I want to make something. It does mean, though, that I will also subject myself to lots of dithering as to whether to use the fabric / wool now or keep it in case I might need it in the future!

LISA, I started dehydrating produce in 2013, and am just about to use the last of the 2013 dehydrates, so I think that dehydrated produce does last. But when I open a jar of elderly dehydrated food I give it a sniff to see if it still smells alright. So far I have only two was cherries which went mouldy because I did not dry them for long enough, and the other was a bag of dehydrated mushrooms.....the smell that jumped out of the bag when I opened it told me immediately that they were not usable!

CRO MAGNON, I haven't made pate to store yet, so ought to have a go at doing so. As for the freezer, I do put on the bag which type of meat it is, but everything still gets into a jumble.

Dawn McHugh said...

I am working my way through dehydrated foods again from 2013, its a great way of storing food.
I say use your fabric wool stash then you wont feel guilty adding new to the stash :-)

Kerry said...

Great post. As you know from my blog we are on a using up spree. We knew if we horded, we wouldn't have any space for this year's produce so we had to get eating. Your cheese looks fantastic and your dinner looks yummy too.

Vera said...

DAWN, I have nearly got to the end of the 2013 and 2014 dehydrates, and I am impressed with the way in which they kept during storage, as I am sure you are as well!

KERRY, the dinner was such as a simple one to make, and lasted us for two days, which is great because I had a day off from cooking!

Jean said...

You simply can't do any kind of creative craft work without a huge stash, the bigger the better. Having finished humping furniture and boxes around to make way for building work I have finally got round to unpacking boxes and sorting my crafty stuff and it is all safely stowed for future projects. I did however throw out my bag of elastic. I thought that after twenty years it might not be too stretchy any more!
We are much better these days at not storing food, but eating it. Working our way through the freezer has produced some interesting dinners. Your lamb and veg bake sounds delicious!

DUTA said...

If you've got enough storing space, then the stash habit isn't bad. If you don't have, you can always build an addition. I suppose if your family was living around, a lot of the food stash would have gone to them, and this would have nicely solved any problem with it.

PioneerPreppy said...

That is one nice looking rooster. I got so tired of tripping over my mothers stash of uncleaned wool in the hay loft I threw some away. She never did notice.

Vera said...

JEAN, I felt quite lost during the time when my stash of wool and fabric were packed away, and even now I don't know where anything is, so I am looking forward to getting it all sorted out so I can start sewing and knitting again.
I agree about having interesting dinners when the freezers are needing to be emptied...... it stretches my culinary skills no end!

DUTA, fortunately I have a lot of storage space here....all I need to do is sort the stashes out so I can quickly locate what I need rather than spending time rummaging through the boxes and making more chaos!

PIONEERPREPPY, ......I keep the wool in large bags, but my husband still has the tendency to 'lose' some of those bags as he thinks they are 'rubbish'. I know different! I know that he just wants to get rid of the wool because I am not using it up fast enough!

My Life in the Charente said...

We do not eat a lot of jam so that keeps accumulating. I opened a 2010 quince jam yesterday and it was still perfect! Yes we also have to get through jars and jars of things but now I can dehydrate maybe that will help the jam situation. I am really enjoying snacking on dehydrated fruit, so I think everything in future will get eaten quicker :-)) Keep well Diane
P.S. I also have a stash of wool and material!!!

Vera said...

DIANE, we eat jam on toast for breakfast, and due to having used all my jam stores up we are now reduced to having to eat Nutella on toast!
I love to nibble on dehydrated figs! Keeps me regular!