Life continues apace. The new pressure canner arrived today. It’s a monstrous construction with a very steampunk look to it. I think it looks like some sort of small nuclear device. Since Im a fan of function over form, I don’t really care what it looks like as long as it does what I want it to. Now that it has arrived I can work up another batch of the soup that girlfriend seems to like so much. At this point I put half into containers in the fridge for immediate use and the other half gets put back in jars for much later consumption. This is interesting because, up to this point, she would absolutely not eat the same food two days in a row. Its one of those little quirks that drives me absolutely nuts. However, she’s been eating this soup everyday for the last couple weeks. Go figure. Regardless, now that the pressure canner, with its increased capacity, is here I can make a couple huge batches and get them put away so I don’t have to make any more for a month or so. And, of course, if theres anything else I wanna put up I’ll have that ability as well.
Which reminds me, I found a use for all the wooden ammo crates I have sitting around here. I tore the bottoms off, filled ‘em with dirt and used them as forms for raised beds to grow vegetables. The tomatoes look good, the cukes didn’t do so well, but the lettuce mix is taking off like a rocket.
(Get it? Lettuce..rocket..arugula…trust me, that joke killed at the greenhouse.) I really meant to put in a nice garden this year but somehow it just never happened. I really, really want to get some peppers and tomatoes going. One year I planted about thirty or forty tomato plants and they did great. Realistically though, lets check some math – a 28 oz. Can of crushed tomatoes costs me, on sale, one dollar. Just the canning jar and lid to house that much garden grown tomatoes would be more than a dollar so, as long as the supply lasts at the supermarket, it makes more financial sense to purchase and store canned tomatoes than to grow them. However, the key thing here is the term ‘as long as the supply lasts’.
As long as the supply lasts, it is cheaper to purchase many things than it is to grow/produce them from scratch. Take hunting for example. I can pay $2.69 per pound for beef. Killing a deer, and that’s assuming I get one on the first day, cost fuel, ammo, cost of a rifle, lost income for the time taken off to hunt, processing for the meat, etc, etc. Factoring in those costs shows that, as long as beef is available at $2.69/#, it probably makes more sense to simply make a trip to the supermarket and load up the freezer.
There are, naturally, intangible unquantifiable elements involved that make it ‘worth it’ to some people. Mathematically it makes more sense for me to buy beef than to hunt deer. However, the experience of being outdoors in the fall, the ‘lottery ticket’ feeling of hope and optimism when looking for deer, the satisfaction of eating something I killed myself, and the quality time by myself may be worth the costs. Same for gardening and growing my own tomatoes.
Of course, when the supply is not assured then all bets are off. At that point it doesn’t matter what the item in the store costs, or what the cost of procuring it yourself is, when it isn’t available anywhere at any price.
There is also, naturally, a bit of satisfaction in knowing that if you had to you could produce your own vegetables and get your own meat. And, as I mentioned, theres some personal satisfaction and enjoyment in doing things the hard way. I won’t say I enjoy watering the plants, but I don’t dislike it either….it’s a simple task that gives me pleasant results. I certainly don’t enjoy running a rototiller and doing stoop work, but I enjoy being able to walk into my yard and pluck a pepper or tomato off the plant and have it on the cutting board a minute later.
So, next year I really, really need to be serious about things and get the damn yard rototilled early, start the seedlings early, and have things ready to go by our last frost date (which is usually around June). Goals: tomatoes, peppers, onions, and various herbs.