Friday, September 18, 2009

Another kitchen day

Today I decided to go ahead and make some chili to can. I didn't follow any recipe, so it was just made on the fly. I used some hot chili peppers, lots of jalepenos, a few green peppers, plenty of fresh tomatos, 3 onions, lots of seasonings, and LOTS of black beans. I love black beans, so I decided that this first batch would be nothing but them. I just tasted a bit and I gotta say its pretty good! This batch isn't very big, so I don't expect to get but 3 or 4 quarts out of it, (less what I eat of course), but I'm ok with that. It will be 3 or 4 more than none! LOL the smell is so strong in here right now....all those peppers and spices in the chili, plus the pot of roma's cooking down. Mmmmm.....strong but heavenly.

Yesterday's canning went well..... The kraut looks funny since I mixed half and half green and red cabbage. The pumpkin on the right is out of the garden too. We kept looking and looking at that big thing and finally decided to pick it. It's 33 1/2 pounder!!! There are 5 or 6 more out there still, but nowhere nearly as big. Last night we did an actual count on empty canning jars, WOW. This spring we had a 6x8x2ft shelf stacked completly full, and almost half of another one the same size. Last night we counted 13 wide mouth pints, 8 widemouth quarts, and 32 regular quarts. Those will get burned up fast when we start soup.

We're taking this weeking off of all homestead duties. Tomorrow Lisa is working a half day, and after she gets home we're going to a Mabon festival not far away and having a bonfire later that night. I'll more than likely clean the chicken house in the morning before she gets home, it's definitly overdue. Sunday is her neice's 18th birthday, so she'll go there. I'll drop her off and I'll go visit my folks since they're only 10 minutes away. I've been going over during the week, but decided to wait to save on gas in the car. Besides, always being the only guy at her family functions isn't always fun, lol. Even when there are guys there, there's always a game on tv, and me being the lone guy that hates sports ends up sitting with the women anyway. Those people still can't figure me out. I *HATE* sports, I've never watched a game in my life. I don't sit around and swill beer. I don't golf. I don't wear pretty little matching shorts and gym shoes. I talk about getting rid of electric gadgets while they go on about their new $4000 plasma tv. I help around the house. I enjoy gardening and being outside. I'd rather spend my money on a new shotgun than a gym membership. *sigh* I'll never fit in with those kinda people lol ah well......I kinda like being a hermit!!!!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

At the moment, I'm sitting down for a few minutes while there are 6 more quarts of whole tomato's in the canner. I have 3 more jars to do after that, then the canning is done for today. I already canned the first batch of kraut that was fermenting, yay! I picked more peppers yesterday afternoon, and I'll have to do those soon. After dinner tonight, I'll cut up the last 4 heads of cabbage for one last batch of kraut, then start cooking down another 5 gallon bucket of roma tomato's that I picked yesterday before dinner. I'm not going to pick anymore peppers now until I have enough hanging to do one good batch of jalepeno jelly. I thought I had one jar left last night, but I didn't.........grrrr how disappointing.

This is the first year I have been so involved in doing the canning itself. Usually Lisa does all of the work, and I just pick and carry. But since I'm home anyway, I've taken on the responsibility of doing it all myself. I'm actually enjoying it quite a bit, which surprised me. Normally I'll find ANYTHING to do outside so I'm not stuck in the house, but canning gives me a great feeling of accomplishmant. It's a great feeling to know that we can grow enough here to feed ourselves throughout the summer and fall, but can and store enough to last until next season or more. Knowing that trips to the grocery store are monthly or less, and normally just for basics like coffee, milk, and flour. Knowing that we aren't eating canned vegetables full of preservatives, pesticides, herbicides, and packed in a can with a lining that leaches into the food. Knowing that we have done the work ourselves, and that the food we eat wasn't produced in Mexico, Peru, or god knows where else. This is a goal we set for ourselves years ago, and are finally reaching it.

Now if I could just find an apron thats camoflage with some of my favorite bands on it.............oh Lissssaaaaaaaaaaaaa...wanna do some sewing? LOL

Monday, September 14, 2009

Harvest season

I'm sitting here taking a 5 minute break while some tomatos cool that just came out of the canner. I did 12 quarts whole tomato's, and will more than likely have 12 more to go tomorrow, though I'm thinking of some kind of preserves added in the mix. I was looking at the other 2 buckets of tomatos and bucket of apples, and started wondering what our total count was so far this year. I dug through notes and got it all figured out. Keep in mind, this isn't counting greens, onions, peppers, squash, etc that was just eaten fresh and not put up. Also remember that weight totals don't include what was canned, so some may appear more than they are.

9qts potatos
6pts dill pickle slices
6pts dill pickled green beans
9pts dill pickle spears
12pts bread & butter pickle slices
10pts jalepeno slices
14pts hot wax peppers
60qts green beans
15qts sauerkraut
12qts whole tomatos
6qts spaghetti sauce
60 ears sweet corn (frozen)
8-1gallon freezer bags broccoli
12 qt freezer bags sliced green peppers
28lbs strawberries
11lbs blackberries
60lbs potatos (basement)
26 1/2lbs onions (basement)
30 1/2lbs roma tomatos
40 1/2 lbs other tomatos
52 1/2 lbs cabbage
8 qt freezer bags sliced yellow squash

We'll still have more tomatos, applejuice, applesauce, apple pie filling, more peppers, and a few other odds and ends to's not over yet!!! Ooooooo I gotta do chili yet sometime too...and chicken soup lol

Even now as I sit here and look at this list, I'm amazed at how much food we can get off of one acre, even just out of a 45x65 foot garden. Add in the eggs, rabbit meat, and chicken from all the freebie roosters and it's been an awfully impressive year.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Still kickin'

I just realized I haven't written here in a while, oops!

We've been canning a lot lately, it's keeping us busy for sure. Last week we canned 5qts and 6pts tomato juice, 5pts hot wax peppers, 4pts jalepenos, 1qt mixed hot peppers, 8qts sauerkraut,3qts meatloaf, and 9 qts potatos. Today Lisa canned 4qts spaghetti sauce from the roma's we've been cooking down, and I got up another 9qts kraut from the 28lbs of cabbage I picked this morning. I may do more tomorrow since I have 4 heads left. (we're using an older KERR recipe that makes the kraut in jars rather than in a crock) Now that the tomato's are finally producing, I picked a ****load this morning, 68lbs worth! Tomorrow I'll start canning them whole in quart jars so we can make whatever we want with them later. There will be more to pick in a few days, so we'll be getting to those as well. We're down to 19 empty regular quart jars, and around 25 wide mouth quarts. We'll have to get more pints soon, since we always use the last good week's picking to make salsa. I'd like to make up another big batch of chili soon, and can that in quarts as well. Lisa doesn't like chili, so this will be just for me, usually eaten for lunches. We're definitly going to need more jars!!!!!

We did take 2 days off of everything this week though. Wednsday was our 9th wedding anniversary, and luckily Lisa's half-day at work. We went out to dinner thanks to some gift cards from her work, of course after a quick Home Depot start. The pressure switch on the well pump went out, grrrrr. I managed to rig it with a stick just to fill a few jugs, buckets, and pots so I didnt have to worry about it that night, LOL. All was fine, we had a great dinner and survived the waterless evening when we got home. It was an easy 10 minute job the next morning, so there's one more thing conquered, yayyy. Of course, I had to call Lisa at work just so she could hear the kitchen faucet running, lol.

We have friends who have a big Halloween party every year, and they have passed it onto us this year. It's going to be tough to pull off, but we'll manage. Both of us LOVE Halloween, and love the challenge of out-doing Mike & Kris on their decorations. They always do a wonderful job, so we have our work cut out for us! We have pretty good ideas on themes for each room, so that's handled. We've been to 3 or 4 shops looking at costumes, and most of them are just plain stupid. Plus....not many are made for someone who's 6'3", so I left each one pretty disgruntled. I was sitting here at the computer, looking at costumes online when I saw something that triggered my warped sense of humor. I was kicking around the idea of being the Grim Reaper, and was even planning to make 6" platform boots, (cause ya know I'm not tall enough already lol) and Lisa told me that it would be awfully hot in a black robe all that idea got shot down. I kicked around the idea of being some kind of barbarian or viking, but wasn't thrilled with the whole idea. Well........then I saw it......and it hit me like a brick. I saw a fake amish beard. My warped mind said "Yodarr"..................."Yodarr the Barbarian". Thats it!!!!!!!! Yodarr, the amish barbarian!!! Twisted and funny, just how I like it!!! I'll be dressed in simple clothes with suspenders, but with fur shoulderpads and leg wraps. I'll be wearing the black amish hat....with viking horns attached to the sides. I'll be carrying a chrome/silver painted pitchfork rather than a sword. I'll even have a shield!! The shield will have it's own custom Yodarr coat of arms, designed by myself, lol. The crest has a milk jug, bonnet, horse & buggy, and butter churn on a red cross and silver background, surrounded by a single round buggy wheel. Oh yea, it's all drawn on paper to the tiniest detail, hahahaha. I know.....I'm warped.

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