This weekend we went down to the gleaner's garden, to volunteer, and then had an hour or so between when the gardening shift ended and we could go pick up food, so we took the boys to a nearby park. I noticed that there were pears all over the ground, and at first I though maybe some kids had been snacking, and then that maybe someone dropped an entire bag of them, and then finally found the productive tree at the edge of the play area. The boys and I gathered a small bag of them (about 20 or so), even though they were all quite hard, leaving behind any that were obviously cracked or nibbled on. Then we got to the food distribution and one of the attendants handed me a full paper bag of pears. Now I had two bags of pears staring at me in the kitchen, stuck in that limbo of I don't know what to do with them and I can't eat them all before they go bad. Finally today I looked up my options; I sorted through and put all the unblemished ones in the fridge ( I lined the bin with a paper bag, just in case of spoilage) and put the rest, most of which had nibbles taken thanks to the boys, in a box. Those I am going to either sauce or dehydrate tomorrow, once I look up which is the better method for unripe pears, as these will go bad before they ripen.
We also got a chest freezer this weekend; I had been looking for a while online, all the ones being sold on craigslist were too old or being sold for almost the same price as new, and the free offers were all broken, so I kept putting it off. The choice this weekend became either glut ourselves or let food rot, as the freezer compartment in our refrigerator has been full to capacity for sometime and a large influx of frozen food meant that we took advantage of labor day sales (with added warranty). I am not thrilled about having bought one new; I would rather our food preservation were not electricity dependent, but it is a time for taking what steps I can right now. Eventually I want a smaller refrigerator, and then perhaps not to have one at all, and the freezer can help lessen the reliance on the fridge while increasing our food reserves now, while the produce is coming in, for later, when I can sort through and perhaps preserve some of this another way. That's one reason I am leaning toward drying the pears; the less food at risk of spoilage due to loss of power the better. I do still need to store water; I am going to try to do that this week, although this week is already pretty full.
We have someone coming to do a (free!) inspection and estimate for window replacement; we definitely can't afford it now, but at least we'll have some numbers to work with. The solar power 'inspection' never happened; seems to me that they want a commitment to buy before even coming out, and I will not do that without being given any numbers whatsoever, so we are at an impasse. I will eventually just install something myself, I'm sure, but not soon. In the meantime I am looking at plans for bike power. We have a lot of bikes, so that's done.
The certification process for foster care seems to be moving forward; I heard from 2 references this week that they received and submitted the paperwork for references, so I am trying to get the house ready for inspection, whenever that may be, as we have not heard from or know who our caseworker is yet. I am excited, but a bit nervous right now. Once I get the house done I'm sure I'll feel less worried, but if someone were to show up now, well, we would definitely not pass. Too many projects waiting to be implemented, but we are getting there.
I still have not written about the Hazon conference; I'll do that next, but on the way home another attendee gave me some excellent advice and a weight has been lifted from me. Sometimes you don't realise just how weighed down you are until it has been lifted; a 'lightness of being' has been restored. It's funny, I feel free again, even though I'm in the middle of all this. It's great :)