Thursday, February 26, 2009

Casting Off--Downsizing in Troubled Waters

I have been giving a lot of thought to this recently, engaged as I am in packing my life into boxes, and parting with much of it--literally and metaphorically. Our world has just been turned upside down by the decision to move sooner rather than later as we had thought previously. We had been putting all of our ducks in a row to move from Miami to Port Angeles, WA, after our high-school senior graduates in June--onto Whale Song, a 35 year old boat we found this summer. But the larger issues of the ecomony have caused a wake that rocked those plans, so off we go, a bit earlier than slated.

This creates some issues that affect our way of eating as well. I am busy sorting, making arrangements, packing. And I am dealing with sadness of abruptly leaving our friends and family after eleven years here, all in this very apartment--where my youngest child was born. I am taking a leave from school and just keeping up with other things. I would like to blog my way through the move, focusing on my favorite issues, such as eating well despite difficulties or unusual circumstances, and being thrify and mindful while we do this. If you have any questions or ideas for posts related to my move (and living on a boat and a budget) please do let me know. And be patient with me, some days I am just so played out from deciding whether my kids' art projects have to hit the trash that I can barely string a sentence t gether . . .

So there are two things going in my mind now related to food. I have to figure out what needs to be used up--no waste, remember? And, I have to juggle needing to eat well while I go through this process, with needing to get things packed. I suppose that will mean that I pack the kitchen stuff last, after sorting and selling what we will not need on the boat. This is a difficult bit of guesswork though, because I have never lived aboard for more than a month.

My experiences on boats so far could been seen as closer to camping than to living full-time. Moving onto a boat means I have to analyze each item: Will it fit? Does it do more than one thing? (it is my policy that everything on a boat needs to do double-duty, especially if it's a space hog) Do I absolutely love it? Do I absolutely need it? Can something smaller/simpler do the job? Will it last in a marine environment? Can I replace it inexpensively (read: can I thrift it?) if need be?

On our last, month-long, stay I did do quite a few ferments and made stock and other staples. I haven't yet figured out the storage for being able to do these things in the quantity that will make my life easier. It's one thing to show off making beet kvass on the bridge, but how to make a season's worth of sauerkraut? Will I need the mason jars I have accumulated? What about my lovely huge kombucha jar? My stock pot--where will it live? I am thinking to take the items that were a big investment (the Le Creuset stock pot) and eyeball it when I am standing in the galley unpacking. Maybe if I stick a cushion on it (with the lid upside down) I can use it as a stool? This might irk my husband, but he does like to eat well, so I will have to keep reminding him of that. Either that, or I will be making stock every few days in very small batches.

Using things up here is another matter. I have so much delicious cream in the freezer that I personally cannot eat doing GAPS. I had thought to throw an ice-cream party for our friends, but the ice-cream maker died a sad death in the summer rains, left outside after a birthday celebration (we have an antique hand-cranked one waiting in the hold of Whale Song). I may resort to making yoghurt with half cream and half milk--which will make the kids and my husband happy, I am sure. The things hiding in the recesses of the fridge have to be incorporated into meals for real now--no impulse shopping when we have a stocked larder. I can't hope to use it "someday"--someday is today! I hope to only buy fresh fruit and veggies over the next few weeks while I cook through our store of pastured chickens and grass-fed meat. I might have to sneak some liver into a meatloaf or two--shh!

After we consume enough of our stored food for me to really assess the situation, I wll have to cook as if we were on vacation (buy small amounts and use them up) and prepare travel food for the 3400 mile drive. Every time I think: "whatever--let's just eat out" I remember that this is a vulnerable time, where I need to keep everyone healthy (especially me!) by cooking and eating the best food possible. Moving is exciting--full of the promise of the new, but it is also stressful--like weddings. Now is the worst time to cut corners!

In fact, I think I need to start extra cod liver oil for everyone . . . because there's another bottle in the pantry, and after all, it will help us all stay strong as we prepare for our sea change.

6 comments:

Erica said...

Wow, it sounds like there is so much emotional and physical moving you are doing. I hope you stay focused on the good stuff, the important stuff. Living in a smaller space can mean freedom and you'll gain some creativity once you're there. Good luck!! ~Erica

Justine said...

Yes, I am trying to stay focused on all of that--which is part of why we decided to make this move in the first place. I just have to clear some of the stuff out of here to be able to think!

South Florida Lawyers said...

Same here -- best of luck with everything!

Justine said...

Thanks so much! We're excited . . .

Anonymous said...

What a small world. I think my friend just bought your surfboards. I found your blog after my teen son read the article about you in the newspaper awhile back.

Good luck! What an exciting adventure!!!!

Justine said...

Miami really is a small town--don't let anyone convince you otherwise! You just have to sort through the crowd to find your village . . .

I hope your friend enjoys the surfboards; we nearly had a duel over them! Who knew kids' surfboadds were in such high demand in SoFla?

We are in the tiring "pre-adventure preparation" stage, but looking forward to the exciting part! Thanks for your good wishes.

 
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