Canning, Hemming, and Haircuts

I’ve been all domesticy the past few days around here! I originally wanted to have a bigger garden so I could can lots of tomato products and peppers and other produce but somehow babies just take a lot of time and that did not happen this year! We did plant a garden but it was limited and I eventually quit watering it (that part wasn’t the baby’s fault… I always quit watering the garden by July).  But, despite me, I did get a lot of tomatoes and some peppers and potatoes and Joe had 4 special hot pepper plants that produced a few peppers as well.  We also had one small sad green pumpkin growing but when I went to pick it it was getting a bit squishy already so I gave it right to the chickens.  My eggplant and several pepper plants didn’t produce anything.

The recent cold weather dashed my hopes of having a lot of red, ripe tomatoes and I ended up with a few sort-of-red tomatoes and a lot of very green tomatoes to find things to do with.  One day last week James and I went out and harvested every last tomato and pepper growing out there and did some fall cleanup.  All the tomatoes ended up going into two types of salsa.  The green tomatoes went into a batch of their own green tomato salsa and then the red tomatoes joined some store tomatoes in a batch of regular salsa.

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Thursday night I finished up 5 pints of green tomato salsa, and also got 5 pints of cinnamon apple sauce too.  Then Sunday I got 8 half-pints of regular salsa done.  Not too bad for a minimal garden! We do have apple trees but the apples I used were just in-season apples from the store.  I might take a look at our tiny apples and see if they could be used easily otherwise I’ll pick them for the chickens like I usually do and leave some for the deer.

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Friday I switched gears and finally got out my sewing machine to hem some of James’ pants.  He is almost 11 months old and comfortably wearing 18 month clothing except for some of the pants that are too long.  He has pretty much outgrown 12 month pants, he still wears a couple pairs at home but they are too short and a bit tight and it was overdue of me to fix his bigger sizes for him to wear.  So I managed to hem 3 pairs of pants and then I started on a pair of Joe’s shorts that need new elastic.  I’m not finished with those yet and I’ve never replaced elastic so hopefully they turn out.  I’ve also got a quilt to finish (that I started over 8 year ago! and finally got out to do the last bit), I need to make James a Halloween costume, one of my jackets needs a new zipper and I might try my hand at taking in a pair of Joe’s pants but that may be beyond my current sewing abilities.

Lastly, since I was being all do-it-yourself for a few days, I made a few pizza kits to keep in the freezer for when we need food and don’t want to cook and I also gave James a little bit of a hair trim!  He doesn’t have a lot of hair yet but was working on a nice mullet and he had a few really long hairs up top that need a trim too.  I did not take a before and after like I should have but it looks alright.  I think I did a good job and then I went back to do some more and there are a few chop marks in his hair on the back… I will need some practice but cutting his hair (at least as long as he will let me) will save a lot of money!  I think I seem a nice pair of clippers and maybe a nice pair of hair scissors in my future! I may, or may not have, used my sewing scissors this first time 🙂

 

Tea-Smoked Chicken and Preserving

Joe smoked us a whole big roasting chicken the other night! It turned out super good and now we’ve had enough chicken for a couple more meals on top of this one.  We had tasty chicken and rice soup for supper tonight… a perfect thing for a cold, rainy day!

WP_002634Underneath the chicken was stir-fried mushrooms which were also super tasty! There was also smoked eggs to go with it…those were tasty but had a very strong smokey flavour to them so I only ate most of my egg and let Cora have the rest.

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James is enjoying sitting up…this is how I found him one morning, all happy and ready to get up! He was sitting under his mobile trying to figure out how to get at it. I see pulling up in his near future…

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This year I want to save some more food of our own so I started by preserving some of our first ‘crop’ – rhubarb.  We didn’t plant the stuff, it was here when we moved, and we’ve always either given it away or ignored it… so this year I make a small batch of rhubarb orange jam. I used 1.5lb of rhubarb so I could only make a half batch but it was a success! Now we promised a big batch of rhubarb to a friend but once he gets that if there is any left I will try another batch of rhubarb-something to save too.

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In the background my 3 jars of jam cooling. I tasted it, it’s pretty sweet but tasty! I’m going to save it for the fall when it gets cold and James and I eat more breakfast and want fun tasty things.  In the way back are some lilac flowers James and I cut, and in the front in the dehydrator are a batch of chives I’m drying. We also didn’t plant the chives, they were here, but we are taking advantage of them!

I also have a garden started but haven’t taken any photos yet. I spent less than $30 on plants but ended up with a lot of them so I am running out of room in the garden! Mostly lots of pepper and tomato plants but I also planted  3 eggplants, potatoes and one pumpkin plant that I thought James might like.  I’m also going to get some basil, cilantro, chia seeds (they were free so I’m trying them) and some wildflowers going but those are quicker growing and need to wait until I get my main plants in.  We skipped the new garden beds this year like we were originally planning and I just planted them in our front flower beds instead! Now I have to keep weeding so it looks nice and they thrive because I have plants for all of those tomatoes and peppers… I really hate weeding!

We have also been on a mission to get rid of tansy! I’ve been pulling it out as I can and Joe has been mowing it and spraying areas of it to kill it off too… apparently one flower head can repopulate 150,000 flowers… talk about noxious stuff!! Yuck!

Applesauce and Homemade Bread

My family left to go back home this morning and Joe and I decided to have an easy day.  We took Buddy for a nice long walk and played and swam (Buddy did anyways) and then we came home and made a quick trip to Wal-Mart for some supplies.  I decided I was going to can some applesauce and Joe wanted to create some homemade bread.

My second attempt at canning went a lot better than the first!  I started with 12 pounds of apples and peeled/cored them and then chopped the bigger pieces up a bit.  Then I put some water in the pot and put them on the stove to cook while I prepared my jars and the canning bath.  It took me a few hours but I managed to can 12 jars of apple sauce successfully (I think – they are still cooling so I can not touch them)… and I think next time will be even easier.  I would like to purchase a pair of jar tongs and some canning specific tools that will make everything go a lot smoother.  I did purchase a canning funnel this morning which was very handy.

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While I was canning, Joe was working on his bread…a type of Jewish bread, Challah? something like that…He mixed it and then let it rise a couple of times and then he had to braid it and attach the two braids together.  Finally, before he baked it, he coated it with egg whites I believe.  It turned out very beautiful and really tasty… better than bread I tend to make!

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Now I am finishing up laundry, and after taking Buddy out I will vacuum, give Pinga her medication (two more weeks of antibiotics/steroid and the vet thinks we should be all done…that will make 6 weeks total!), put the laundry away and finish up our lunches for tomorrow.  I am dreading going back to work because I have been so spoiled for the past 4 days, but because of how my vacation turned out, I have a short week this week again and this coming weekend is the fair which means lots of fun with tractor pulls and the derby and some extremely tasty Greek food… so it is something to look forward to again!  And… maybe some new projects thrown in there too because we have our shop to use now!