Full House

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Autumn!

Yesterday we were out at the Camp for a few hours. What a beautiful day it was! Attila brought his chain saw and managed to get two of the many dead trees out. But the recent rains brought water back to the swamp, so many dead trees remain to be removed at another time. Grace the trailer was closed up for the winter, and happily there was no sign of mice inside. The mouse trap will be left operational for the winter, using plumber’s anti-freeze. it is hoped that the wildlife will live in the wild, and that the trap will be empty come spring. Hopefully there will be more

Today began with heavy, cold rain. The skies are unbroken and the colour of slate. Attila is shutting down much of the garden, mulching some of the perennials, pulling frost killed plants and cutting them up for the composters.

I made tomato sauce this morning, from the tomatoes that have ripened in the basement. There are still quite a few tomatoes down there, and most of them will ripen nicely, for eating, and for more tomato sauce. I am not going to can any more tomatoes, we have enough for this season, and enough pizza sauce as well in the freezer. So as the green tomatoes ripen, they will be either eaten fresh, or made into a sauce for the refrigerator. Tomato based soups will be on the menu this week.

Attila’s ferments are only two weeks old, but they both developed kahm yeast. Attila removed the kahm yeast, and pronounced the ferments tasted great. They were put in mason jars and refrigerated, and won’t last long. What was learned though, was that the ferments with kahm yeast could have been left the full fermentation time, 20 days minimum, before removing the yeast and bottling for the refrigerator.

Attila’s garden harvest was amazing this year. Not since moving away from the family farm have I seen such home grown bounty. Our house is now full, the bulk of the harvest is in, and there is no more room on the shelves, or in the freezer.

Garden Harvest:

Dandelion Blooms*
Nasturtium Leaves and Blooms
Chamomile*
Lemon Balm*
Cilantro
Cardamon*
Basil*
Oregano*
Dill*
Strawberries
Rhubarb*
Ground Cherries*
Melons
Sweet Peppers
Cayenne Peppers*
Jalapeno Peppers*
Habanero Peppers*
Spinach*
Radishes*
English Cucumbers*
Peas
Carrots
Green Beans
Scarlet Runner Beans*
Swiss Chard
Beets
Cabbage*
Brussel Sprouts*
Tomatoes: Beefsteak, Cherry, Black Russian, Roma, Mountain Spring Hybrid*

* INDICATES harvested in sufficient quantity to surpass immediate consumption needs, so requiring preservation.

Over the last year or so, I have acquired some fantastic food processing equipment. All of it got a good workout this year.

Food Preservation Equipment Used:

Canning Jars: 1 liter, 500-ml, 250-ml, wide mouth and regular mouth
Metal Canning Lids and Rings
Pickle Pipes (silicone)
Pickle Pebbles (glass)
Fermenting Jar Rings
All American Pressure Canner
Victorio Steam Canner
Victorio Steam Juicer
Two 8 Quart Stock Pots
One 16 Quart Stock Pot
Long Handled Wooden Spoon
Sieves
Ladle
Funnel
Jar Tongs
Clean cotton rags
Onion Chopper
Apple Whacker
Paring Knives
Food Mill
Apple Whacker
Food Processor
Dehydrator
Onion Chopper
Stove Oven
Vacuum Sealer
Vacuum Sealer Bags

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

It is bright and sunny this morning! My load of laundry is almost finished washing, so that I can hang it on the line. The laundry will be hung on the line under the porch until the temperature drops so low that it will freeze out there. So far, the weather has been bonny for hanging out the wash.

Time slipped away on me again. A few busy days, checking things off my list. Actually, yesterday afternoon I checked the last thing off my list! But of course, it is time to start a new list. I love lists, they keep my mind free of clutter, and my days focused on the things that matter to me.

Attila and I decided that it would be best to apply window film to the lower portion of all of the living room windows. Up until Sunday evening, the possibility of coming out of the bathroom after a shower, to go to the bedroom to get dressed required closing the living room curtains, before dawn and after dusk. Open curtains opened up the possibility that anyone down the street, from the street, from a vehicle, from a house window, could look into our house if the lights were on, and observe us in the hallway and bedrooms. It was a niggling concern, which we have dealt with diligently over the last ten years, but now seemed a good time to address the issue.

The project of applying window film has been put off for weeks. All other projects seemed appealing, compared to it. The materials had been waiting. Our grocery bill has been lower this autumn, with our garden bounty providing so much of what we have been eating, so the surplus was used to purchase window film. All other projects seemed appealing, compared to this project. But at last, Monday morning, I had run out of excuses, the only project left on my list was applying window film. So it began.

Measuring and cutting such a large and cumbersome roll of plastic is difficult to do in a small, almost tiny, house. It took a half an hour to clear a space on the floor, large enough to spread out the film, in order to measure and cut it. And I can honestly say that the older I get, the more difficult it gets to work on projects using the floor as my workspace. Getting down there, and back up again, over and over and over again, well, it isn’t any fun. I am grateful I can still do it, but this is one of the rare instances where I find living in such a small space constraining.

The project took all day. Attila said he was glad he wasn’t here for it, and well he might! Some curmudgeony endeavors are best tackled solo, this was that sort of endeavor. At completion, the constant tension of the “fish bowl” effect evaporated. Why didn’t I make this happen earlier!!

Another project was to start two more ferments, green Ground Cherries, and Jalapeno Peppers. The Ground Cherries are experimental, they may be tasty, but they may not. All a failure will cost is a few teaspoons of wasted salt, so it is worth a try.

My crock of apple scraps are fermenting nicely. The crock is covered with a cotton cloth held in place with an elastic band, and is stirred daily to prevent mold from forming. It smells grand, very hard cidery. In about a week I will strain the fruit from the liquid, jar the liquid and compost the fruit scraps. Then the mixture will sit in a dark cupboard for weeks, until it it transforms itself into Apple Cider Vinegar. The last of the 2018 Apple Cider Vinegar, that was made with our own Crabapples, was used last night.

One of the projects being undertaken here at Mist Cottage is to reduce the recyclables. That was the starting point. Most of the recyclables here are beverage containers, coffee, milk, juice, and plain soda. In an effort to minimize packaging from beverages, a customized recipe of Switchel was prepared, and stored in a clean, empty two liter juice container that would have ended up in the recycling bin. Attila loves this stuff! So, some of the juice containers will no longer be coming into the house. Switchel, as per the recipe, is a sugary drink, and sugary drinks are a treat and not a beverage. The plan it so play with the sweetening agent, substituting some of the honey for Stevia. It will be an experiment to alter the proportions of honey to stevia until a delicious yet healthy balance is achieved.

There is an added benefit to Switchel, it is a lot less expensive than juice. Since a whopping third of our food budget is spent on beverages, this is a step towards reducing the food bills.

So far I’ve tackles a few small tasks. In 2017 I harvested some lovely lavender flowers, dried them, then stuck them in a glass jar with a lid. Today I removed the little blossoms from the stems, placed the blossoms in a labelled jar, and set the stems aside pending research into possible uses for them.

The edge of the forest at the Camp.
Where my day was spent, breaking up the dead branches, that were collected from all over the cleared area. The walk to collect dead branches is getting longer every season. When we started small trees and deadwood were dense into the cleared area, right up to the frontof the lawn chairs. It is much different now.
In the next few years the dead wood under the hydro lines will be gathered and burned, and that is a very long walk indeed!
Note the ring of sand around the fire pit, it was refreshed this year with three 7 gallon bucketfuls of sand, that had been shoveled up from our driveway. The sand in the driveway is the runoff from the road, and is a result of all the heavy construction equipment traveling past us daily. It is ours now!
Deadwood burning in the fire pit. The fire was allowed to burn down at lunch time, and hot dogs were roasted over the coals. They were served on homemade bread, with home grown chopped tomato, home grown Zucchini Relish, some mayonnaise and some chopped onions. Lip smacking good!
This little fellow was busy investigating me! He showed up at my elbow, as I was sitting in my chair. Eventually he moved, and disappeared from sight, although he was probably in plain sight, so well camouflaged was he.
The ingredients for Switchel, all lined up and waiting. On the left is the last of 2018 homemade Apple Cider Vinegar, made from our own Crabapples.

Worldly

Weather

13°C
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Wednesday 30 October 2019
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.5 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 12.9°C
Dew point: 8.9°C
Humidity: 76%
Wind: N 18 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.”
Aristotle
384 BC – 322 BC

I have found this to be true, in my experience. I will say though, that picking fruit, and other menial labour jobs I have had, allowed a certain freedom of thought. It was only the “professional” jobs, where the mind was confined to set parameters, that cut into mental health. With manual labour, I could read a book in the evenings, and think about it all day doing repetitive manual tasks. I had a pretty good time actually, working on the farms.

You Gotta Laugh

Five more jars of Organic Green Tomato Salsa, canned Friday, October 18, 2019. They are made with our very own garden Jalapeno Peppers. That makes 15 jars of Salsa in total. I use a China Marker to label my jars, with content and date processed.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Early last week I ran into a problem with a piece of software on one of my older Macs. It was a result of an incompatible update, which had auto-updated. I began interacting with tech support for the software company, the issue was escalated to more technical support team. I interacted with them for days, tried all their suggestions, and nothing worked. The old Mac just would not connect to the internet. I feared its functional life was over.

Frustrated with the software tech support, this morning I got out of bed, immediately setup the computer, and started to play around. I kept playing around for over an hour, then I found the issue and fixed it. It was a setting buried deep in the software, which needed only to be toggled off, which let me connect to the internet, which let me update the software to get rid of the issue. It is a wonder the tech support didn’t start with that setting when they were troubleshooting with me! I feel very satisfied that I fixed the problem, despite, and not because of, technical support.

Today is an apple day. I am finally sitting down, after being on my feet since 9:00 a.m., it is just after noon now. One half bushel of apples has been peeled, cored, diced, and is now sitting in pots on the stove, on a low heat, turning itself into applesauce. Attila peeled, I cored, sectioned, and diced. I hope we get to the other half bushel today, but I don’t hold out much hope. Sixteen quarts of apples are going to take some time to cook into applesauce, and can.

These Northern Spy apples are very dense. Water needs to be added at regular intervals when it is being cooked and made into applesauce. Stirring it is hard work, and it cooks very slowly, so there is a lot of stirring. My arm and wrist are very sore.

The peels and cores are being saved to make apple cider vinegar. Our first batch, made last fall with crab apples, is fantastic. So we are in high hopes that these apple scraps will give us some wonderfully flavoured apple cider vinegar.

Just shy of a half bushel of Northern Spy Apples, peeled, cored, and sectioned. It was the first time I’ve used this coring/slicing device (two red handles), and it is very handy. The apples are first peeled, the stem and calyx ends are removed. Then the corer is placed on top of the apple, and pushed down to core and slice it.

Here are the cores, and the bits of apple that surround the seeds, which were removed from the slices with a paring knife, where needed. We froze these scraps from the first bushel of apples. The peels went into the compost pile. It is my dream to find affordable organic apples to use for applesauce. So far so bad on that score. We do not use the peels of these commercially grown apples.
OK, here is where my best laid plans failed. And a spectacular failure it was!
I was sitting in the living room, taking a little break while the apples began to heat on the stove. I was pretty tired, and more than a little tetchy at the time, the break was needed. Time out for Maggie.
Anyway, I heard a noise in the kitchen.
I thought Attila was in there, so I called out his name.
No answer, the noise continued.
So I sighed, dragged myself up out of my chair, and headed into the kitchen.
And this is what I saw.
Now the picture does not show it, but this body of apples was steadily rising, like a volcano, and apple segments were falling all over the place, the floor, the stove, everywhere.
Laugh.
I couldn’t stop laughing.
I laughed so hard it was difficult to deal with the issue. Every time I touched the tower of apples, they launched off the precipice.
What a mess!
And the bottom apples were burning, that much I could tell from the smell.
Eventually I managed to get enough of the apples off the top of the pile, so that I could put the spoon handle down into the pot.
A huge rush of air came out of the pot, spewing apple segments, then what remained of the pile collapsed into the pot.
I spent the next hour or so collecting and rinsing apple segments from all over the kitchen. Then I washed the floor and other surfaces, because apples are sticky.
After removing all of the apples from the pot to other pots, except the bottom layer, which was burnt, I cleaned out the pot, and prepared to start again.
I used three stock pots, with an extra liter of water in each pot, to cook these apples into applesauce.
It took over five hours of stirring frequently to make the applesauce.
After having such a hearty laugh, I wasn’t feeling tetchy anymore.

Monday, October 21, 2019

This morning the fog was thick and the air was chill.

It got busy around here after I wrote Saturday’s entry. I added the photographs and wrote the captions today.

Sunday Attila peeled all but a dozen or so apples from the second half bushel. I cored, and processed them in the food processor. They took about four hours to cook, using two large stock pots, even though the apple pieces were pea size. And I had to add a little more than 4 litres of water to keep them from becoming too thick to stir. Wow, I don’t remember Northern Spys being so difficult to cook. Attila thinks it is due to the very dry summer we have had this year, so there is not much moisture in them, and they are very dense.

I ended up with 5 more quarts of applesauce for the shelf, which were washed, labelled and put away on the basement shelf this morning.

The apple cores, and bits that didn’t make into the applesauce pot, were placed in a 5 liter fermenting crock. After covering them with a water/sugar mixture, I added a few tablespoons of active apple cider vinegar. A clean cotton cloth was placed over the crock, which was secured against fruit flies, and other interested parties, with an elastic band. This will be stirred every morning for two weeks. Then the liquid will be strained from the fruit and returned to the crock to turn itself into cider, then vinegar.

My next canning project presented itself to me yesterday. I was about to make dinner, an Instant Pot rice dish with turkey and hot chili, very tasty. But I suddenly realized that all of my vegetable broth was frozen! Oh dear, I had to thaw it slowly in the microwave, adding quite a bit of bother to the meal preparation.

I started making vegetable broth from vegetable scraps in August, when our garden started to deliver a lot of fresh produce. A total of about 10 quarts have been made since then, five of them I have used already for cooking. The other 5 are still in quart jars in the freezer. I was so busy with canning and roasting and drying and fermenting, and the broth was being produced only a quart at a time, that it just seemed more practical to freeze the small quantities vegetable broth.

But frozen vegetable broth does not work well for my style of cooking!

So today I have five quarts of frozen vegetable broth thawing on the counter. Once I can get it out of the jars, I will put it into the 16 quart soup pot, boil it for 10 minutes, then can it in 500-ml jars. Then it will be sitting ready to use on the shelf when I need it, no forethought required. These will be pressure canned.

Attila loved the Fermented Jalapeno Peppers I made for him. They are all gone now. We have a few ferments on the go, green tomatoes, and Brussels Sprout leaves. Attila also has a ferment of his own on the go, hot peppers. Yesterday he started yet another ferment, green cherry tomatoes, with fresh coriander seeds and garlic. Fermenting is easy. But we did have a failure, the second batch of sauerkraut. We will try another batch of Sauerkraut when the fermenting crock is free again, as it is now being used to make Apple Cider Vinegar.

And still there are things to preserve! There are about 20 pounds of tomatoes ripening in the basement. Thankfully all of the tomatoes have been harvested now, no more coming in from the garden. The Swiss Chard was harvested as well, and it will be processed tonight, probably blanched and frozen. BUT Attila says the Swish Chard has not given up, and it is growing like crazy right now, so there might be another harvest. There are some small cabbages that grew from the roots of the earlier harvested cabbage plants. And there are six more Brussels Sprout plants to harvest, Brussels Sprouts and leaves. And beets, lets not forget the beets that are still to be harvested.

Three months of steady food preservation activity. And I have so many conveniences, choppers, shredders, pickle pipes and pucks, a fermenting crock…

I do this because I choose to do it, because it is a hobby with benefits, lots and lots of benefits.

But can you imagine having to do this for a family with many children, on a wood stove… before all this modern technology, because someone HAD to do it, to be on the home front making sure the food supply didn’t spoil. This work was a respected part of the art of survival.

Worldly

Weather

11°C
Date: 11:37 AM EDT Monday 21 October 2019
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 10.5°C
Dew point: 10.5°C
Humidity: 100%
Wind: NE 13 km/h
Visibility: 16 km

Quote

“Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
1929 – 1968

Turning on the Heat

The weather yesterday, and again toady, is chilly, very windy, and very wet. The stiff wind begun to rob Mist Cottage of her comfort. The indoor temperature had been holding steady at 20C, despite single digit temperatures at night, until yesterday. The temperature dropped to 19C by yesterday morning, and was 18C when I arose this morning.

Yesterday I spent the day with four layers of clothing to stay comfortable. Even though I had changed the bedding to flannelette sheets, the cold was uncomfortable during the night. So this morning, when I arose, I turned on the heating system for the first time this autumn. For me, this means autumn has officially begun.

Attila brought these in for me on Tuesday night, so on Wednesday they were transformed into Green Tomato Salsa Verde. There was a second bowl of tomatoes as well that were used to produce the 10 jars of Salsa.
Roasted Green Tomatoes, they are tasty! The tomatoes were halved, tossed in a bowl with a little olive oil and salt, then roasted until browned. I may have browned them a little too much, but they were very good tasting, and bad for my health.
Left to right, fermenting Green Tomatoes with fresh Dill and Garlic; fermenting chopped Brussels Sprout leaves with two Bay leaves, one on top and one on bottom; fermenting Habanero Peppers.

On Wednesday I did some steam canning. When I was done there were 10 jars of Green Tomato Salsa Verde cooling down on the table, all of them sealed.

I had roasted green tomatoes on Monday, but we decided that although they were nice, we would not roast any more of them. They are salty, so no matter how delicious they are, I won’t be eating them. And Attila wasn’t super keen, certainly not keen enough to warrant all of the oven time involved in preparing them. So roasted green tomatoes are not on my list of preservation methods for green tomatoes.

And the experimental fermenting goes on. We are trying to ferment Green Tomatoes, diced Brussels Sprout leaves, and Habanero peppers. So far so good with these jars, no mold and the pickle pipes seem to be working to release gases.

Yesterday morning I baked a batch of Cranberry Muffins for Attila’s lunches, and last night I processed a small batch of ripe tomatoes to be made into pizza sauce.

Also last night Attila brought in another 8 pounds of green tomatoes. And more to come he says. I admit to alarm! My oh my we have tomatoes! It was decided that another batch of Green Tomato Salsa Verde wouldn’t go amiss, so that is what I will be up to today.

Our weekend is reserved for preserving our bushel of Northern Spy apples.

And then, and then, well then just maybe harvest season will be over for this year.

I don’t know how many Beets, Brussels Sprouts, Swiss Chard, or Cabbage will be harvested. Not too much I hope, and I never dreamed I would hope such a thing.

Really my eyes are beginning to cross with all of this bounty. And I have an appliance that will shred and chop the produce. What hard work people did to feed large families, without even electricity! Of course, children worked along with the adults in rural populations (most people in history), survival was a family affair.

Worldly

Weather

7°C
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Friday 18 October 2019
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 6.7°C
Dew point: 2.6°C
Humidity: 75%
Wind: WNW 12 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Many hands make light work.”
This proverb was first recorded in English in the early 1300s in a knightly romance known as Sir Bevis of Hampton.

Happy Thanksgiving! (Canada)

This is the Thanksgiving long weekend here in Canada. Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends! [Ha! Got distracted yesterday, and this did not get posted. So a belated Happy Thanksgiving!]

Saturday was cloudy and cool, a perfect day for being indoors. And a lovely day indoors it was, as Luna brought the Biggles (our Grandbabies Imp, Elf, and Tink) to share a Thanksgiving feast at Terra’s house, where the Littles reside, (Sunny, Sky, and Willow). I call them the Biggles and Littles because both families consist of twins followed by a single child, one set aged 13 and 9, the other set aged 3 and 1. We last saw the Grandbabies last Christmas, and how they have grown and changed. Imp and Elf are teenagers now! Willow is one year old and walking! What fun we had playing with them, watching them play with each other. Who knew this much love could reside in one heart. They are like a rainbow of colours, each of them oh so special, in their very own, beautiful way!

Terra and Lares cooked a wonderful Roast Chicken dinner, and we brought Strawberry Rhubarb Squares for dessert, with lots of ice cream. By the time we headed home, we had already said goodnight to the Littles, and said farewell to the oldest of the Biggles, but Tink had fallen asleep, so we threw her kisses so as not to awaken her.

Sunday we arose early and headed to the Camp. There was much to do. Attila brought the relatively new chain saw, in hopes of segmenting the fallen trees in the swamp, which is temporarily dry, so that we could remove them. But alas, the chain saw would not start, so back to the shop for warranty work!

I burned brush all day, dragging dead brush from various locations near the camping area. I am having to venture a little further afield now, which of course means that the camping area is mostly cleared and looking great! Attila blew the leaves off the driveway, and prepped the slide on Grace The Trailer, so that it could be retracted. We removed all the canned goods and the last of the fabrics from the trailer, as well as the clocks with their batteries, moved the furniture so that the slide would not bump into anything, then fired up the generator and retracted the slide. We found no dead mice, or evidence of mice, which was wonderful. But we can smell that something is trying to nest somewhere in the trailer, probably under the floor. Attila found entry points, that had been filled with foam, that had been chewed into. He plans now on removing a section of the undercarriage to replace with a sheet of metal, they won’t be able to chew through that!

The leaves were at their peak, and glorious. The sun shone all day, and the breeze rustled the leaves, occasionally bringing down a magnificent fluttering of colour. There are still a few tasks left to close the Camp for the winter, but most of the work is done.

Today is a smorgasbord of activities.

Attila is planting the Rhubarb roots that Luna gave us, she wanted them gone, as she doesn’t cook with rhubarb, and they were taking over her garden. Also, Lares does not like rhubarb, but we do, so they have found a very good home with us. Attila is also harvesting more produce, tomatoes, beets, ground cherries, zucchini, and Brussels sprouts. He is also cooking a full course roasted chicken dinner, featuring our home grown organic beets and greens, home grown organic Brussels sprouts, and a zucchini tomato casserole using our homegrown organic canned tomatoes and fresh from the garden zucchini. As if that were not enough to keep him busy, we chopped the lush leaves left on the Brussels sprout plants, chopped them, and have begun a ferment with them. Attila is also fermenting a jar of Habanero peppers.

I have been busy in the kitchen since Friday. Thursday I took a day off, and just lounged around, with just a few odd jobs to do, laundry, paying bills, etc. I took a break from the kitchen.

I was back in the kitchen Friday. We needed bread, so it was bread baking day. I use eggs in my bread, and whenever I break an egg into a bowl, I save the egg shells. I rinse them, remove the inner membrane, and set them out on a plate to dry completely. When I have collected quite a few, I use a mortar and pestle to pulverize them into a powder, which I keep in a jar in the kitchen. We used almost of those pulverized egg shells in the garden this year, almost all of it. But I have all winter long to replenish the supply.

The other project I have tackled is another batch of pizza sauce, and this morning I place four more containers of pizza sauce in the freezer. The pizza sauce went into the space in the freezer that the chicken for today’s dinner came out of. Freezer space is that tight right now, something has to come out, before anything else can go in. Thank goodness we are beginning to explore fermentation, another way to create shelf stable food in jars.

The fermentation process is relatively new to me, so much of what I do is experimental. My first batch of Sauerkraut, made from the garden cabbage, was delicious. In early October we tried another batch with a store bought cabbage, and learned a thing or two. The cabbage was 3 pounds, and we tried to get it all into one mason jar. It went in, but there wasn’t a lot of head space, and there should have been. So the liquid bubbled out of the top of the ferment, which went dry, and then some beautifully coloured growths developed in the jar. As pretty as that was, it was not edible. So we had to through it out. So the conclusion was that we should not tamp down the cabbage so tightly in the jar, and that it is important to leave at least an inch of headspace above the pickle pebble. I will try again soon!

The egg shells saved from Friday morning’s bread baking project. The inner membranes have been removed and placed in the compost. These will take several days to thoroughly dry, then the mortar and pestle will be used to pulverize them for use in the garden, as a soil amendment.
My bread baking day begins with milling organic whole grain flour. The jar on the left is four liters of whole grain organic flour, and the jar on the right is five liters of flour.
I make five loaves of bread at a time. I use the Bosch Universal Plus mixer to knead the bread, as my hands and wrists are not up to the job. I used to knead my bread by hand, but that was the luxury of youth. This mixer was purchased when we lived in the Country House, and is a great mixer.
I have tried very hard to eyeball the even division of my bread dough, and my loaves were always very different in size. So now I use this scale to weigh the sections of dough, so that they are roughly the same weight. After dividing the dough, I knead and shape each loaf.
Here the shaped loaves are in the pans, ready for the second rise. Forty or so years ago I purchased the four stainless steel loaf pans. With only four pans, my fifth loaf had to be baked on a cookie sheet, and the shape was not ideal for sandwiches. A few weeks ago Attila and I went shopping in a nearby city, and visited several charity shops. At Value Village I found a Pyrex loaf pan. They wanted $5.49 for it, and with tax it was around $6.00. It was old and dirty. I snapped it up. Why would I do that when a new Pyrex loaf pan could be had for very little more? The new Pyrex glass is Soda Lime glass, whereas the vintage Pyrex is Borosilicate glass, which is less prone to shattering. When I got my new loaf pan home I cleaned it up, and it looks like new.
The loaves are in the oven for their second rise, which takes about 30 minutes. I turn the oven light on about an hour before the bread goes in, so that the oven is slightly warm.
Ah, five loaves of bread! When I remove them from the oven I let them sit for 5 minutes before turning the bread out of the pans, so they always slide out easily onto the racks.
The bread cools on the racks, and when cool will be placed in bread bags, sealed, and placed in the chest freezer. For the moment I am using bread bags saved from purchased loaves of bread, we wash them, hang them out to dry on the back porch clothesline, and reuse them until the ink becomes sticky and yucky, then we put them out for recycling. Start to finish, including the time needed to mill the whole wheat flour, it took me four and half hours to bake the bread. Since I started before 6:30 a.m., I was able to complete the project while the hydro was at mid-peak prices, and had everything shut off by the time the price doubled!
The first harvest of Brussels Sprouts. Two plants were harvested, and they yielded 1 1/2 pounds of Brussels Sprouts, and one quart of leaves and stems for fermenting.
And finally more tomatoes! This morning 8 pounds of green tomatoes were harvested from the garden, mostly Cherry, Roma, and Beefsteak. There were about 12 pounds of green tomatoes already ripening in the basement, so there are 20 pounds of harvested green tomatoes pending processing.
In the garden there are still about 20 pounds of green tomatoes that still might ripen if the frost holds back.

Worldly

Weather

11°C
Date: 4:00 PM EDT Monday 14 October 2019
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 11.3°C
Dew point: 2.5°C
Humidity: 54%
Wind: SW 23 gust 33 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.”
Frank Herbert
1920 – 1986

Frost Again Last Night

We had frost again last night and it is predicted again for tonight. Attila was prepared, all of the garden, except the Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and Swiss chard, were covered. Attila was off to work early this morning, so the garden will stay covered until he gets home from work. Since it is sunny today, I am hoping that the coverings, clear plastic, will create a slight greenhouse effect, providing enough heat to ripen more of the tomatoes and peppers.

The tomato harvest is slowing down a bit. Last night another two or three quarts of ripe tomatoes were pureed. This morning I added them to a large stock pot with the previously pureed tomatoes that were stored in the refrigerator. A few ingredients were thrown in, such as fresh onion and garlic, and a mixture of herbs. The tomatoes were simmered over a low heat for a few hours, until they were the perfect consistency for spreading on a pizza. After they cooled in the pot, they were measured into tubs, which were labelled and placed in the freezer. We will soon have enough pizza sauce to make pizza once a week for a year. We enjoy our weekly homemade pizza!

Our homemade pizza is made with dough made from our own freshly ground organic whole wheat flour. The pizza sauce is our own, organic. The toppings however, are store bought; red peppers, hot peppers, mushrooms, pepperoni, Vidalia onions, cheese, herbs. Eventually we would like to grow our own organic red peppers. and ferment our own hot peppers. This year though, our pepper plants only produced enough for our immediate use, pureed pepper sauce, and a few 500-ml jars of fermented peppers. I learned a thing or two about growing peppers though, and am looking forward to trying again next growing season.

On Sunday we sliced up a three pound cabbage to make one quart of sauerkraut. Just a bit too much cabbage for the project, but Attila managed to get it all into the jar. I think the jar might have been overfull, because there is quite a bit of liquid coming out of the pickle pipe, about a third of cup so far. This became problematic because the residue was drying on the pickle pipe opening and preventing it from functioning to release gas. When I went this morning to check on it, the pickle pipe was swollen with the pressure from the gas inside the jar, and when I released it there was a fountain of liquid that squirted all over the place.

I brought the jar of fermenting sauerkraut upstairs from the basement, to keep it in the kitchen where I can keep an eye on it. After releasing the pressure, I rinsed the still sealed jar and pickle pipe under the tap, and gently cleaned the vent on the pickle pipe. Hopefully it will begin again to release the fermentation gases as it was intended.

Lesson learned! Do not fill the fermentation jar too full! It needs at least an inch, probably more, of headspace.

Observation about sauerkraut fermentation: the house is going to smell like dirty socks! Luckily the human nose, at least my human nose, becomes inured to mildly objectionable odours after a few hours. I certainly hope that the odour does not collect in my hair and clothing though! How would I know.

We have our apples. On Monday Attila took a run to an apple farm on his way home from work, and purchase a bushel of apples, seconds. My preferred cooking apple is the Northern Spy, so we were very lucky to find them, and to find them as seconds was a big bonus. The price was $25 for the bushel.

Now the work begins. This year I’ve decided to make a small batch of Mincemeat and a lot of Applesauce to can. As well, starting today, I will be baking with apples every few days. Today it will be Apple Oatmeal Squares, and a batch of Apple Muffins. I’ll even do a small Apple Crisp in a mug for my lunch today, yum!

The volume of produce coming out of the garden is declining. This is our entire carrot harvest, and as you can see, not everything in the garden yielded a large harvest. The carrots are about two inches long. Back to the drawing board on carrot planting for next year’s garden. The Brussels Sprout leaves are edible, and I hadn’t tried eating them before. After sauteing them for breakfast, I found they neither added nor detracted from the taste of the dish, so I would say they are mild flavoured, and good for stir fry meals, soups, and stews. I might even try fermenting them!

These were the basic ingredients for my breakfast this morning. I finely chopped the carrots and the broccoli leaves, then sauteed them in olive oil, with chopped onion and garlic. I seasoned it with 1/4 teaspoon of Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper herb mix, then broke an egg into it and when the egg was ready, breakfast!

Worldly

Weather

10°C
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Wednesday 9 October 2019
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 103.0 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 9.8°C
Dew point: 6.8°C
Humidity: 82%
Wind: ENE 18 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.”
Samuel Johnson
1709 – 1784