Friday, October 24, 2008

Canning, Canning, ALL the day...

give oh giiivee away!! ( Sung in tune to the primary song of Give Said the Little Stream)

Doesn't it always seem like the more you can, the more you end up giving away? Like you have to share the bounty, you know?

Yup, that's what I've been doing the last little bit here ~ ok, the last MONTH or TWO ~ besides homeschooling, Cub Scouts, acting classes, ballroom dance classes, chickens, friends in need, husband's web-site needing re-designed & added to.......oh yeah, and somewhere in there... household management, dinner, & from time to time... sleep.
So, yah wanna see what I've been up to? The fruits of my labor & all that jazz?

This lovely red gem is crabapple syrup. It can be used as either waffle & ice-cream topping, or as sweet & sour sauce for Asian dishes, such as fried rice, egg rolls, won ton, & etc. It has just enough bite to make you smile, but not enough to make you grimace. ;-D

Here is a representative sample :-D of some of the other things I have been canning ~ the small jar with the white ring ( yes, I remove my rings, I just didn't yet with the pic) is plum jelly from my plum tree out back ( 6 gallons worth). I also did plum syrup & plum jam. (About 10 gallons worth.) The pink-ish quart jar is crabapple/apple butter. (We call it pink applebutter ~ sorta like pink lemonade... it has a tang, and it's a good one :-D, & we did 3 1/2 gallons worth.) The next quart jar is regular apple butter ( 4 1/2 gallons). The pint jar is grape juice, from grapes out of my mother's garden, & it is absolutely HEAVENLY!! (Thank you Mom!, we got over 10 gallons out of those grapes!) And the bag is full of plum fruit leather, of which we did 7 huge cookie sheets worth! (Can you tell we were swimming in plums this year??!!)

This is pumpkin soup, which I made from fresh baked pumpkin ~ I also baked up & froze another 5 gallons worth of pumpkin mash. This was great, because every year for Harvest Fest, they hire Wood Genius to do a ~power tool carving demonstration~ on pumpkins. This year we did 6 pumpkins, but the weather was so bad, we only got to give one away before they shut down the whole event. It was blizzarding, and later that day we ended up with 5 or 6 inches of snow!

And do you see the tomatoes sitting on the counter there? Well, I ended up canning the mostly red ones into stewed garlic tomatoes, & the green ones I made into this absolutely LOVELY green tomato salsa verde! Well over 15 gallons on the tomato homefront! WHEEWWW!

Here are the stewed garlic tomatoes, in my pantry storage room.

And here are the other jams & jellies that I have canned. Those few with labels are jams that I canned over at the church cannery. There is peach jam, blackberry jam, raspberry jam, & strawberry jam.

And although you can only see the edges, those huge cannisters are holding about 800 lbs of wheat. (Thank you Mom & Dad, they worked perfectly, rather than dumping the wheat into them, we put them in bag & all, that way we can get out 50 lbs. at a time without risking the entire cannister of wheat.) We still have a few hundred lbs more of wheat to get, & I have actually thought about getting enough cornmeal to fill one of those cannisters, as well as one of sugar, one of oats, & one of beans. I already have about 50 lbs + of each of those, but I should get some more.

And I have been thinking about getting at least one or two more bags of chicken feed, sort of waiting for it to go on at least SOME sort of sale at the feed store.

Our last act of winter preps? We also logged about 5 cords of wood, 2 on the front porch, already blocked & split, and 3 cord out back, in 8 ft lengths. (It's harder to grow legs & walk away in stacked 8 ft lengths ;-D).

Today the tree-house tree ( it's an old Dutch Elm!) shed almost every single leaf in one large leap of faith that winter would soon be upon us, so we raked all the leaves onto the gardens, as a mulch till spring.

So far the ladies (read...My haven't slowed down one bit in their laying, in fact, they seemed to have finally geared things up, we are now averaging about 7 eggs a day. I'm so proud of them!! Believe it or not, we really go through the eggs, too. I think there are only 4 in the fridge right now. No, not 4 dozen, just 4. But we know there will be 7 more tomorrow.
I love my ladies!!

(ARRGGHH ~ it looks like these last 3 pics won't show all the way unless you click on them ~ sorry ~ don't know how to fix it.)

Here they are, with a little bit of that 1st snow still left on the ground.

And this is our newly updated locking system, as it wasn't toddler-proof before. And now it is. :-D

And here you can see that one of the stacks of firewood in the background of the pic, as well as the final resting place of the chicken arc for the winter. It is close enough to be easy to tend to in the winter, it should gets lots of sun, and once Wood Genius & I raze the rest of the garden, & put the extension run on the backside of the arc, it should serve nicely for the ladies. Plus they will be busily scratching & chickening for the greater benefit of my garden come spring. :-D

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's PUMPKIN CARVING time again!

Well, Wood Genius has struck again! This time, he was commissioned to carve a pumpkin in the theme of The Phantom of the Opera.
I have to apologize for the pics, because apparently my camera goes a little fuzzy without proper lighting, but I could'n't get the full effects without turning out the lights... hence.. a slightly fuzzy pic. Hmm... I think that's grounds for a new camera... hehehehe.
Here is what it looks like with the light on:

Here is what it looks like with the lights out:

Left side


Right Side

Close up of the words