I can’t tell you how many projects that we have tried around our current home. When we decided we wanted a more sustainable life we started trial and error projects. Some of them were wildly successful and others…well…we’ll talk about those too.
One of the first projects we tried that have taken the longest would be our fruit tree experiment. Now, most people will tell you especially in Canada that you can’t grow trees from seed, it takes a lot of time, effort, and just some good old fashion hope for everything to come together properly. We thought eh, we’ll try it anyway if it doesn’t work then at least we tried. So we stopped at a roadside stand for a local farmer that was selling peaches. The peaches were super delicious and we saved the pits for our little experiment. At the same time, we also tried Avocados, and a month later started apple seeds.
The results were more than I had expected! We now have two avocado trees, both store-bought, of course, one from Brazil and the other from the US. Our Brazilian avocado is almost a foot tall! Never in my wildest dreams did I think we could grow an almost tropical plant going into our Canadian winter. I should be honest at this point with everyone and tell you I do not like avocado, to me they have a distinct way of making everything they are made with look like troll vomit, and the texture isn’t too far off either! Not that I would know anything about troll vomit….
Our peach trees were the ones I was hoping for the most if I’m honest. Just thinking of the peach ice cream and desserts, or just the thought of going into the yard to pick peaches gives me goosebumps! And these little pits haven’t given any signs of life beyond the beautiful fruit from whence they came. I became inpatient one day and dug up all of the peach pits to see if they had even started to show signs of life. With their appearance looking no different from the day this all started, about 4 months later at this point, I chose to intervene with one of the pits to see if I could help it along. Needless to say instead of having three peach pits we now only have two. So, for now, these little trees are on the try again list.
The seeds I have been most impressed with growing are the apple trees! We went to our local orchard like always because I love baking with apples! Apple crumbles, apple pie bites, apple caramel fudge, and more… yummy! This year I decided to save all the apple seeds that came from our Macintosh and Cortland apples. After they did their time in the fridge I didn’t think we were going to get any to sprout. They were too moist for their time in the fridge and most of my seed packs started to mould. But I picked out the most promising looking seeds and planted them. We placed them on the counter with our other hopeful trees. Out of the 24 seeds I planted 2 have now sprouted! Right when I was about to give up on them. I’m not sure which variety they are, but my guess would be Cortland’s because that was the majority of the apples I used this year.
Our two little apple trees!!
Growing food isn’t the only part of our sustainable plans, we want to maintain the same standard of modern conveniences as we currently enjoy without the stores. So we made the biggest and most beautiful purchase for our kitchen to date. We bought a Kitchenaid stand mixer. 6 quarts of fiery redraw processing power. I admit to appreciating it to the point of having to record my first time using the dough hook for pizza dough, it was a beautiful sight. With this beautiful machine growing more than one tomato plant in the new house doesn’t scare me a bit, bring it on future garden! My kitchen will be ready! The beautiful thing about the KitchenAid is in the attachments and the variety of possibilities, my mouth is watering already. But to date, we have experimented with ice cream, which came out as a beautiful Salted Caramel, Chocolate, Peanut Butter Swirl, pizza dough, countless pies, cakes, muffins, cookies and more which I will be posting the recipes for the ones we enjoyed most. We can’t wait to use this mixer for projects that include sausage making, pasta, grinding our own flower, making sauces, jams, shredded meats, and so much more!
Since I have already made you hungry with our desserts and future kitchen plans I should also mention Kevin’s black beauty, His smoker. This little guy simply had to be a part of our lives and stole everyone’s heart when Kevin did a 4-day brine smoked turkey for our Friendsgiving. Kevin has been making beautiful meats and spices in the smoker since the day it came home. Some of the smokers great accomplishments to date that have our friends and family coming back for more are Pastrami (which for some reason I always call prosecco, that just tells you how truly spoiled I am), Smoked Turkey, thick cut Applewood smoked bacon, Chipotle, and over 13 pounds of hand-cut jerky in Teriyaki, Mole (taco flavour), and Sweet Chipotle. Can you tell our family likes to cook?
Now that we have gone through the food it’s time to move on to the drinks we have made. I’m not talking about my usual healthy morning fruit smoothies with chia seeds, we’re talking the after 5 pm good stuff. Now the operation right now is very minor were only doing 2 1 gallon test bottles to see what we will want to scale up in the future. We have now made Mead from maple syrup and honey to try the different tastes. We only went crazy with one of the maple mead bottles and added a cinnamon stick to it while it ages for 4 months. We then moved onto my personal experiment of hard cider which we also tried two different varieties, one came from the store bought apple juice, and the other came from our fresh local orchard. I bet you can guess the one that had the most flavour and quickly turned into the favourite. My latest experiment has been wine from juice concentrates that will be bottled with my bestie later today and I am certain will be tried before it is racked. Those batches were made with fruit punch and berry punch concentrate and if it turns out I’m happy to be able to make a half decent wine for less then a dollar a litre!
These little projects have been so much fun. Even in our little townhouse that we currently call home, we have been able to start reducing our trips to the store and that’s only going to get better with the larger space and access we will get in our little slice of heaven! It truly does give you so much power and control over your personal health and well being. These hobbies make you so proud when you sit down to a dinner with friends and family and you can offer them everything from appetizers to cocktails straight from your own property, and that is our ultimate goal.