Well I took a nose dive into canning when I got bombarded with cucumbers. I didn’t have enough stuff to make the juice so I did three jars at once. I figured I better try it on something BEFORE our 50 tomato plants fruit turns red.
I struggled with it. I was afraid I would screw it up somehow, but I didn’t. I filled my waterbath canner up halfway full. Turned it on. Put the lids in water and turned them on and then kind of followed the directions on the packet of Ball bread and butter pickle spices. One problem, it says it makes 2 quart jars…Wrong! I put the sugar and vinegar in the saucepan. Then opened the packets and picked out every single clove (YUCK). I put some cinnamon in and let it start boiling.
When the canner water was about boiling I put the jars in my oven on the rack and turned it on to 200 degrees for 10 minutes. My mom used this method. Other people have. Ball doesn’t have it listed, but oh well.
I filled them and let the process for 20 minutes to be sure. Took them out and was mad because all of my cucumbers shrunk and there was nothing but juice on the bottom and pickles toward the top of the juice..UGH.
I went to my mom’s to visit and came home and saw two jars had popped!! YAY. I checked them today and two lids stayed on, one came off. I put that one in the fridge only after a taste test. Am going to start some dills tomorrow. Super excited!
I also have froze 4 loaves of zucchini bread, gave one to the parents and one for us. Froze two bags of homegrown peaches and a small pack of green beans!!
With all the rain we have been getting here I was a little worried about the garden, but everything is doing well except for the corn. I have learned they need lots of nitrogen and that is why they are tasseling early. My tomato plants are taller than me (I am 5’6), I have already picked almost two dozen cucumbers and a good batch of green beans. I also have harvested our green onions. I have used the onion part and have diced up the green part and put in vacuum sealed bags in the freezer for winter soups.
Some progress I have made in things I am learning and wanting to do are the following:
-Invested in a freezer. I put a Kenmore 7cubic feet on layaway at Kmart and picked it up a couple weeks ago. I am planning on putting pico de gallo in there, possibly some peaches, etc.. Hopefully, some meat also!
-Saved some cucumber seeds and let them dry for next year.
-Harvested the green onions as above.
-Made two batches of refrigerator pickles.
-Have got canning supplies. still need pint jars.
-Have got some seeds for next years garden and put them in an air tight jar.
-Rearranging and reorganizing our garage for more shelving to get more stockpile items.
-We were blessed with two rain barrels, food grade plastic, with spigots that we put on blocks on each side of the garden. This is something we were going to tackle by making our own out of garbage cans. I was so happy when I got a message from a friend that she had a couple extras.
I am excited about the progress in the garden and the blessings of veggies we have had so far.
The other day it was announced that two coal fired power plants are closing in my area. I live within a 10 mile radius of four plants. One of them is closing and the other is about an hour away. This is almost 400 area jobs. The power plant closing near me just spent $265 million on a scrubber for new epa regulation. Now they cant afford the new upgrades.
This may not sound like much in job loss but when you live in a rural area that most jobs are either in coalmines or gas wells it is.
Besides what this will do to our local economy, I am very worried about the news that gas prices are supposed to skyrocket. I am happy the obamacare mandate has been extended so I have a little more time to prepare. I have insurance, but the effect this will have on our economy will be horrible.
I did get one thing off my list of a freezer to store more frozen food including garden goodness. I have green onions in there now for winter soup.
What are you doing to prepare?
So for the last month we have been getting the garden done. We have been tilling, raking, mulching, landscaping, planting, etc… I am almost done. Still have a couple tomatoes to go. Here is a picture of the whole large garden
It is double the size of last year. We have ventured into new crops. I have planted potatoes, onions (Red and white), garlic, cauliflower, shallots, beets, cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, zucchini, 45 tomato plants, 24 pepper plants, a pumpkin, watermelons, green beans, lettuce, wax beans, cantaloupes, midget melons, corn (3 varieties) and sunflowers.
THey are fairing pretty well so far with the exception of my garlic 😦 I did have to fight some aphids on my tomatoes. We have been having lots of rain. I am praying we don’t have the bad storms they are calling for.
As for ‘landscaping”. I did purchase landscape fabric (and used last years leftovers) and then put grass clippings over it to keep out the weeds. I still have a bunch more to do but have to wait for the grass to grow. you could also use newspapers for this.
Spring has sprung here in the sticks of PA. Flowers are out. My seedlings I started are up. We have gotten four truckloads of wood getting ready for next year!
In other news I had seen a easy way to make homemade breadcrumbs with a dehydrator. While I passed at buying one at an auction for $5.00, I decided to go the easy route and ask my dad to borrow his that has been taking up space in the barn.
I got a loaf of clearance bread at Wal-Mart (not a store bought loaf, a bakery load of Italian). I cut it up into about one fourth inch thin slices and put them into all five of the dehydrator trays. After four hours I checked them and started pulling out the crumbly ones and left the ones that were still moist. I put them into my mini food processor and grinded them fine, threw in some garlic powder and voila…homemade bread crumbs. Out of this I got a salasa jar and a relish jar full of bread crumbs. I am not sure how long they will keep but it should be for a while in their air tight containers.
Since I started paying attention to what is in our food, trying to cut out most of the junk, following different homesteading blogs, trying to save and looking at the world around us, I have increasingly got this feeling of being alone. I don’t know if it is the fact that when I talk to people about gardening, how excited I am for ours, the idea of learning how to can and even more the crap that is in our food I am looked at like I have six heads and conversations turn or I have heard the “you can just go to the store and get rolls” or “You can pay $2 for a loaf of bread”.
My mom listens to me, my husband does. My friends no. I try to share Ideas. Try to share the ingredients in foods. I know I am not alone because of what I have seen others post, but I feel it.
I like the way that I have made my own bread, just managed to make homemade sausage gravy, homemade brownies, etc.. Though if I was going to have a career in making homemade rolls, I would fail because for that I have not mastered yet….but I am determined.
I have bought a pressure canner off of Ebay. It is vintage, not ancient, but older. i am excited and nervous to try it. My seedlings are up and I am excited about maybe trying to tackle dehydrating food.
I guess after writing the above and looking back, I am not really alone, maybe if I am alone, I am all right with that. People have their differences.