The garden is growing!

As I mentioned yesterday, P-daddy and I have been experimenting with recipes for convenience foods that we can make wherever in the world we are, even El Salvador. One thing we’ve made real efforts at is gardening. I find this pretty funny, as will many all of my former roommates, as I have quite the black thumb. Luckily, P-daddy’s thumb is much greener, and we’re actually having some luck! Here’s our Meyer lemon tree:

Behind it you can see some lemon grass, an avocado shoot, and a few other items. We are also trying out some peppers, having good luck with mint and basil, and see some shoots of ginger and green onions, but right now our triumph is with melons. P-daddy just took all the seeds out of a cantaloupe, dumped them in a shallow hole, covered and watered. This is what we got:

I’ve been anxiously waiting ever since the blooms started, and this past week, I saw this:

I know, it’s pretty tiny, but that was taken on July 25th, and it looked like this by July 31st:

I don’t even really like cantaloupe and I’m so excited about this that I can hardly wait to try one! Hopefully by the time we are ready to leave we’ll have identified some easy-to-grow items that we’ll be able to cultivate no matter where we end up!

The importance of doing it yourself

P-daddy and I have been working for a while on being green and doing what we can to best utilize resources. We Reduce-Reuse-Recycle all the time, perhaps excessively. We have a gorgeous collection of yogurt containers (that we refill with homemade yogurt at times), have been known to wash and reuse gallon-size ziplocs (to put homemade pancakes in for freezing), and make our own laundry detergent (with a lot less waste, and it’s handily stored in one of those previously-mentioned yogurt containers). In addition to yogurt, pancakes, and laundry detergent, we make our own bread, except when it’s 100+ degrees like it is right now. There’s a place in town where we can get wheat in bulk for pretty cheap, and I’ve been lusting after a good grain mill for a while – supposedly freshly ground grains make homemade bread even better. So this morning, I was quite excited to see that Halee the Homemaker is giving away a grain mill! I’ve gotten a few entries in, and plan to do a few more, and I’m sharing it here for you to get in on the goodness. I’m pretty sure that something like that grain mill would be a perfect addition to our list of must-takes!

How so, you ask? What does a grain mill have to do with becoming an expat? Well, believe me when I say it does. Anyone who has lived for long at all in Central America knows that the cost of imported American convenience foods is as high – if not higher – than in the States. But salaries in Central America are significantly lower, and we expect that when we move, we’ll be making significantly less money than what we make now. So we need to be able to cook from scratch as much as possible, and create our own convenience foods rather than purchasing them. We’ve got a start on that, as you can see from our packed-to-the-gills freezer here:

Just a quick glance shows me that we have pancakes, baked oatmeal, pinto beans (yep, in the yogurt container), veggie patties, french fries, and sorbet. As time goes on, I’ll likely be posting recipes for many of those, as well as lots of other DIY projects and must-haves that might come in handy as we get ready for The Big Move.