A Taste of Summer in February

Tonight for dinner we made a soup with canned tomatoes from our garden, chick peas, penne pasta and rosemary, along with homemade whole wheat baguette bread and it was delicious.

Sounds like meaningless Facebook chatter.  What’s the point of this post?

Well, by growing and canning our own tomatoes we were able to use them several months later in the dead of winter and they still tasted pretty much like they were freshly picked.   We didn’t have to pay jacked up prices for inferior tomatoes grown halfway around the world.   The soup tasted better than if it were made with tomatoes from the store or a can, it was healthier and more environmentally sound due to the fact that the packaging (the jar and reusable lids) was reusable, they were grown using sustainable methods and it did not take fossil fuels to transport them.

The actual cost of the tomatoes was next to nothing, compared to the $1.50-$3.00 a pound they charge at the grocery store for non-organic tomatoes right now or even the cost of canned tomatoes.   I put more work into growing and canning the tomatoes than I would’ve compared to simply throwing some tomatoes into a shopping cart, but it wasn’t all THAT much work and it actually provided some sort of enjoyment – at least more enjoyment than my job does.  Watching things grow can be fun and there’s a lot of satisfaction from knowing you did it yourself.     I can’t accurately figure up the numbers right now, but I’d figure that the actual cost associated with producing the jar of tomatoes (my time, the water, the plants, a percentage of reusable gardening and canning supplies, etc) is lower than what it would cost to purchase a few pounds of tomatoes of anywhere near comparable quality from the store.   That’s the benefit of having productive hobbies.

Sometimes doing more with less yields some great results.

Big Mail Day

My neighbors across the street have their front yard torn up due to sewer work and my mailbox had to be taken out of the ground, so I’ve been without mail delivery for about a week.   I finally managed to run out and talk to the mail carrier who had my mail for the day, but told me that my mail was being held at the post office.  I was planning on going there this afternoon on my way to the gym and my usual mailman came to the door with a large box.   I talked to him for a few minutes and he ranted about how lazy and worthless the temp carrier was because she wouldn’t get her ass out of the truck to take mail to my door – which is policy in a situation like this.    For as much shit as the ol’ pony express gets, it’s good to see that there’s USPS employees out there who are actually concerned with taking care of the customer and taking a bit of pride in their profession – I think everyone has a horror story or two about customer service from the post office.

Anyways, today was a pretty good mail day.   I received the following:

– The latest issue of Mother Earth News

– The latest VFW magazine

– About 30 packets of seeds as well as some old-timey gum from Victory Seeds

– A copy of “Bankruptcy of Our Nation” by Jerry Robinson from FTMdaily – they had a deal where you could get his book postpaid for $5 last week.   I will review it later.

–  100 wide mouth and 100 small mouth reusable canning lids from Tattler from a deal on Markdown.com.   For some reason I thought I was buying 100 lids total, but was pleasantly surprised when 200 showed up – I thought some guy messed up the order in our favor.  These lids are BPA free, made in the USA, dishwasher safe and durable.   If you do any canning, these are a good investment.   The lids that come with jars are useless after one use, so you would need to purchase new lids every year otherwise.

– A power bill showing a $32 credit from overpaying last month.   Score.

– Byzantium: The Lost Empire volumes 1 & 2.    This is what happens when you neglect managing your Netflix queue.   While I suppose I’d say I’m interested in all things Byzantine, I’m not really that enthused about getting two documentaries like that right now.