Saturday, September 29, 2018

Time Flies! (Part 1) Veggies Tales

Its hard to believe almost 2 months have slipped by without a homestead update. It has been a very productive summer. Canning daily has kept me very busy! My newest addition to my kitchen has been a Carey Canner. It is electric so it is perfect for canning things that take a long time, soups, beans and meats for the most part here. I have so enjoyed it!
Using it I have added canned chicken, canned beef chunks, breakfast sausage for gravy, vegetable soup and canned dried beans to the pantry.

The garden was hit and miss but we did end up with quite a large green bean harvest and the crowder peas did well. Dad's old timey "yard peas" (seeds planted from my grandmother's stash from at least 50 years ago!) did well too. All were lovingly canned and stashed for winter enjoyment. Lots more pickled peppers were canned since we are eating them almost as fast as they are canned!
Chopped peppers (for adding to cornbread) and eggplant Parmesan were frozen.
 The dehydrator has run almost non stop with yet more peppers, fruit slices for adding to water and hot tea and powdering for homemade vitamin C powder and my new love eggplant jerky!
Details on jerky to come and farm tales posted soon!


Friday, August 3, 2018

"Stocking " Up

Last week we committed to buying half a cow from a friend. With my freezers already about to overflow with the chickens we processed this summer and 3 pigs yet to go to slaughter I knew we were going to be short on space. I started doing some rearranging and defrosting and realized a lot of space was being taken up by bones. Lamb bones, pork bones and 40 pounds of chicken parts. Yep, time to make and can some stock!

So while the canners were running full time so were the turkey roasters. The first 2 rounds were 1 each of lamb and pork bones. They each simmered for 3 days. The next 5 rounds were chicken bones. I let them simmer for 2 days. Now jar after lovely jar of stock line the pantry.


The meat arrived today. Guess what came with it. Uh huh, more bones!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

And Still More Maters

The canning has continued. Another large basket of tomatoes was gifted to me. This time I canned plain chunks and sauce. There were a good many yellow tomatoes in the batch so I did a single batch of yellow salsa. It turned out so pretty!


It has been a rainy week here on the homestead with over 7 inches falling the last few days. Outside chores have been put on hold except for feeding and milking. I decided a little organizing in the pantry was in order since all my pretty jars were starting to fill the shelves. I have a collection of old blue canning jars so I washed them up and filled with various beans and grains. So much more pleasant to walk in my pantry these days!

Sunday, July 29, 2018

A Busy July- Preserving The Harvest (Part 2)

Then tomatoes started to ripen. Our harvest was not what I had hoped for so my friend from the farm where I used to help out started sending me her unsaleable ones. Bushels of unsaleable ones.

And of course the corn would come in about that time! My kitchen looked like a veggie bomb had exploded in it. It was constant semi controlled chaos for 2 solid weeks. Right about that time my dishwasher died. The poor fellow was trying to work on it amongst the dehydrator running, jars jiggling in the pan and pots simmering on the stove. He finally said," mam I can't hear if I got it running." Sadly he did not and it was another week before we got the part.
I froze bout 40 quarts and sis froze 38. We ate fresh corn until we could eat no more. I dried several trays of corn silks for tea and made a batch or corn cob jelly. Yum! 


 As for the pantry, 63 jars of salsa and 28 jars of spaghetti sauce were placed on the shelves. My sister brought me a bag of fresh black eyed peas and after eating a huge delicious pot I canned 8 pints of those.
Going to be some good eating around here this winter!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

A Busy July- Preserving The Harvests (Part 1)

Though I have been absent from blogging life on the homestead has been a flurry of activity.
We have been busy preserving the harvests. It has been almost 3 solid weeks of canning, freezing and dehydrating, not to mention keeping up with the other chores.
The cucumbers and jalapenos were producing like crazy the first part of the month, along with the blackberries and blueberries. There was also a large harvest of Roma tomatoes.
The cucumbers and jalapenos were pickled. Blueberries were frozen for eating and making syrup later this Fall when things slow down a bit. Blackberries were turned into jelly. Roma tomatoes were sliced and dehydrated.





So far 9 jars of jelly, 4 quarts of blueberries, 13 pints of pickles, 17 jars of jalapenos and 7 quarts of dehydrated tomatoes have been tucked away for winter enjoyment.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

A Sad Harvest

Well we dug our potatoes today. A sad harvest for sure. Just a couple of bushels and tiny to boot. This garden year has been extremely difficult on the homestead. A wet cold spring that jumped head on into a hot dry summer has stressed our garden to the max. On the bright side, they may be little but they are delicious.
We can only hope the sweet potato harvest will be better.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Salt Brine Pickle Success

We as promised I said I would let you know how they turned out. Success! I liked the flavor of the ones that had the horseradish leaf in the jar better than the grape leaf and I think they are crisper too.
A hint of dill and a bite from the red pepper flakes. YUM!
This will definitely be a fridge staple as long as the cucumbers keep producing.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Pickle Time

Sis is out of town for a week and her garden is way ahead of mine. Mom has been overseeing it and yesterday plopped a large basket of cucumbers on my counter. Today I canned 8 pints of a combination of spears and slices.
 When done I still had a pile of slices left so I decided to try and make old fashioned salt pickles.. Apparently cucumbers are bad to mold so we will cross our fingers they turn out. In one jar I put 2 grape leaves (for added crispness) fresh dill, garlic and red pepper flakes. The other jar is the same except I put a fresh horseradish leaf in. I used a 5 % brine made with pink Himalayan sea salt. A 5% brine is supposed to make a "full sour pickle".

Now they will sit covered for 7-10 days. I will let you know! 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Ready For Tea!

A few weeks ago I harvested the chamomile flowers and put them in my dehydrator to air dry. Today I pulled out the trays and Wha-la! perfectly dried flowers ready for making hot tea when the months turn cooler. I wish you could smell this. It is amazing!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Solar Sun Oven

I have wanted a sun oven for years. The concept of using the sun to cook has always intrigued me and I finally stumbled on a deal I couldn't refuse! Anything that bakes in a regular oven can be baked in the solar oven, even bread and cookies. Today I cooked a whole meal in it.
I set it out around 11 this morning and while it preheated I put my meal together.

My menu was chicken quarters over a medley of root veggies of purple sweet potatoes, carrots and Jerusalem artichokes. I seasoned them with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.
The oven was ready to go so I popped my covered roaster in and walked away. The only thing I did was occasionally reposition it in the direction of the sun.
Supper was served at 6:30 this evening!

Monday, June 4, 2018

The kitchen has smelled delicious for the last few days as a large pot of lamb stock has simmered for the last 48 hours. Freezing and canning season are just around the corner, not to mention we will be processing our meat birds very soon. I have been trying to make some room in the freezer so I pulled out a large bag of bones to cook and can up some stock.
Today I strained it and canned 7 quarts of a gorgeous stock the will add nutrients and a rich flavor to soups and dried beans!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Baby Ducks!

Well the duck that beat me up finally hatched her babies. 5 cute fuzzy ducklings are wandering around the chicken coop.
Mom and babies are doing well and with extra help from Uncle Ed, the goose, who is keeping a very close eye out on them all should be well!