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