Busy Days

Life has been busy of late.

This past week Attila went into overdrive, finished installing the eavestrough along the back of the house, and installed the 1000 liter rain tank. We had a thunderstorm just after he got it all setup, and the tank filled in 10 minutes! The overflow was shocking, it poured onto the back porch in buckets, before Attila managed to redirect the downspout into the yard. He has since setup an overflow pipe into a second and third barrel to catch additional water. If the overflow barrels overflow, they will empty directly into the yard.

On Saturday we drove straight to the Camp, no stops. Our visits are more as maintenance staff than jolly vacationers!

The mouse trap in Grace the trailer is still collecting mice, so every visit involves burials and clean-up. Attila cut the “grass”, which is really assorted native plants that are generally regarded as weeds. Cutting the grass with a strimmer is a very big job, that takes many hours to complete, but the results are beautiful. I killed about a dozen army worms. This is the first summer that they haven’t swarmed at the Camp, so grateful for that! The water level in the swamp is falling. One of my favourite trees is suffering from a very bad case of black rot, I sprayed the areas I could reach with insecticidal soap, but I am not optimistic that it will be helpful.

The day at the Camp was beautiful, sunshine and clouds, breezy and not too hot, it was beautiful. On our last visit Attila planted six Ground Cherry plants that he had started from seed. One had been dug up by an animal, but the other five were surviving well. They were well watered before we left. While Attila was down by the swamp cutting grass, I heard a noise in the bush and turned to find a doe staring at me from the shadows. She slowly turned away and ambled off into the bush, with her fawn beside her. There are still quite a few birds at the Camp, seldom seen but constantly heard.

Taking a break from our labours, we enjoyed a quick lunch of cheese and homemade potato salad. Then it was back to work, much to be done! We did sit for an hour or so just before it was time to head home, enjoying the breeze, the swaying tree tops, the bird song, just being part of the natural world.

Sunday Attila installed a second 1000 liter rain tank to catch the water from the roof of the garden shed. This tank will fill more slowly than the first, so it does not have an overflow system. These tanks will provide better quality water for our garden plants, and reduce our water/sewer usage and billing from the municipality. He also mowed the yard, another big job, and tended the garden, mostly weeding, and he did more planting as well. Almost all the plants he grew from seed in his little greenhouse are in the ground, only a few left to plant.

My projects on Sunday kept me busy in the kitchen. I baked five loaves of 100% Whole Wheat Bread, one dozen 100% Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns, Apple Raisin Cinnamon Squares, and made four liters of Switchel.

During the week, Attila comes home and after showering the remains of the work day away, he heads into his garden. I make dinner while he is doing that, almost always in the Instant Pot, which works well because we only decide what we will have after Attila gets home from work. Attila eats and heads back to his garden. By the time the light begins to fade Attila will come back into the house, we will chat a bit, and then it is time to turn in for the night. Every day is different, and everyday is the same.

Monday was very busy paying bills, which has been challenging these last months, but is getting a little easier to accomplish. In the early morning before I arise, Attila is usually out and in the garden harvesting Swiss Chard and Beets for my breakfast or lunch, and picking the Strawberries that ripen, usually five or six Strawberries a day. My fresh garden meals are delicious!

Yesterday was Canada Day, so Attila had the day off. We celebrated by roasting a chicken in the portable oven on the back porch. So good! We gardened, and made coleslaw, which I canned, six 500-ml jars. It is so good. I used Tattler lids, they are reusable, and so much more ecnomical than using the disposable metal lids. I am still leary of them though, after having an 80% failure rate last year. This is the third batch I’ve canned using the Tattler lids, and they all sealed. My confidence is gaining with the Tattler lids. The trick for me has been to keep the lids and rings in a simmering pot of water, on a hot plate, on the counter, beside the work space where I fill the jars. When I was experiencing failures I was not keeping the lids and rings boiling hot before putting them on the jars.

Six jars of Canned Coleslaw. This Coleslaw is a quick and easy way to ensure vegetables are consumed at every lunch or dinner meal.
Cabbage, Onion, Red Pepper, and Carrots, along with Mustard Seed and Celery Seed. I make mine by halving the amount of sugar called for in the syrup, and replacing the other half of the sugar with liquid Stevia.

When I weeded the garden a few days ago, I brought in some of the Purslane that I pulled, I was going to add it to my stir fry, but changed my mind when I read about Spurge, a look alike plant, so I put the Purslane in the compost. However, I’ve now done additional research and feel sure what I harvested was Purslane. Yesterday, while weeding the garden, I saved more Purslane, washed it, and set it in a big metal bowl of cold water. Wow, this plant would thrive in a hydroponic system!

This Purslane was limp and underwater in the bowl after I harvested and cleaned it, then I went to bed last night. and left it on the counter This moring look at it! It is actually growing in the bowl of rinse water. This would make a great fresh winter green, in a hydropinic system. That is, if you like it. I don’t know yet, if I like it.

So here it is, July already! I have resigned myself to not being able to get fresh local Strawberries this summer, no one delivers, and I dare not venture out into areas where potentially coronavirus infected people are roaming without a care. I purchased some frozen Strawberries, not a product of Canada, which is all I could access easily. I have plans to can Strawberry Rhubarb pie filling, with the frozen Rhubarb from our garden, and the frozen Strawberries from God Knows Where. No hurry, all of the ingredients are frozen.

It has now been 135 days since I ventured into a store or public place. I’ve seen no one in person, other than Attila, during that time. I do miss grocery shopping, and shopping for supplies. I am grateful we can still drive directly to the Camp though, it is a change of scene, even if it is mainly for maintenance purposes.

Take good care of yourselves! Stay safe! Stay strong!

I have always found older women quite beautiful. It is a different sort of beauty than seen in youth, muted, intensified, mysterious, complex.
Granny’s Rose

Worldly

Weather

It is going to be stinking hot today!!

28°C
Date: 9:00 AM EDT Thursday 2 July 2020
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 27.7°C
Dew point: 17.7°C
Humidity: 54%
Wind: NW 11 km/h
Humidex: 33
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Normality is a paved road: It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow on it.”
Vincent Van Gogh
1853-1890

So very true, I love to visit normality, but I wouldn’t want to live there… no fear (or is it chance) of that. Maggie

Heat Wave

These were delivered to us by the local grocery store, part of the last online order. THIS is why we are not eating fresh produce this summer, unless it comes out of our garden. I want strawberries! But I dare not order them from the grocery store. So unless I venture into public areas, which is ill advised and I refuse to do, quality strawberries are not to be had.

The temperature is climbing, as is the humidity. I took a turn around the garden this morning, weeding here and there, soaking in the sun before the heat of the day set in. The ever-bearing strawberry plant has a mesh cage around it, and a good thing too, as a squirrel was attempting to break through it this morning to get at those few ripening strawberries. Little beast. He failed, thank goodness. There are no local places that deliver high quality fresh produce to those of us self-isolating, so no strawberries here this year. I am really feeling the loss of access to fresh food.

While wandering about the yard, I observed that our two Ash trees are dying, that the Ash tree in our next door neighbour’s yard is dying, and that the Ash trees in our back neighbour’s yard are also dying. This is so sad, they have been such beautiful trees! It will cost a small fortune to have these trees removed safely, as they are all near buildings. Probably by next summer, or the summer after that, these trees will be completely dead. The birds will miss them as much as I will, maybe more.

The interior of Mist Cottage is quite comfortable, so the focus is on indoor tasks.

I was able to can a lot of produce last summer and autumn. The empty jars seem to accumulate on the counter in the kitchen. A few factors contribute to this, one is the trip down the tricky stairs to the basement carrying glass jars, and the other is that the basement is still in chaos. We decided to paint the floor while things were moved around, and that is a project that is on hold while Attila continues to get the garden in. So finding a place to store empty jars in the basement is not a pleasant experience. But today I tackled it, climbed over piles of items to find empty boxes for the empty jars, phew, got that sorted! Soon it will be time to start filling those jars again, hopefully the garden will give us a good harvest… and the basement will be more organized.

Filing is another one of those jobs that gets put off. Today was the day! The clutter of the last few weeks, since Attila went back to work, is beginning to disappear.

Heat waves are good for puttering indoors, if you have air conditioning!

Worldly

Weather

Heat Warning In Effect
Maximum daytime temperatures: 31 to 33 degrees Celsius (Humidex 37 to 40)
Current Temperature: 21°C
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Friday 19 June 2020
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 21.2°C
Dew point: 17.9°C
Humidity: 82%
Wind: S 14 km/h
Humidex: 27
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.”
Salvador Dali
1904 – 1989

Canned Coleslaw and a Bit of Advice

Five jars of canned Coleslaw and a pan of Strawberry Rhubarb Squares. There were six jars of Coleslaw, we ate a jar of it for dinner last night.
Note the experimental Tattler Canning Lids, and the one lone Bernardin one-use used metal lid, on the jars.
The Strawberry Rhubarb Squares were made with the Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Filling I canned last spring, with our garden Rhubarb, and the strawberries we picked at a pick-your-own farm.

At our house, the lastest thing since sliced bread is canned coleslaw. Wow!

Attila chopped the vegetables, and I took care of everything else from there. Canning projects are so easy with two people, not only does the job go quicker and easier, but there is also a sense of connection in sharing the tasks, connection to each other, and connection to our food, for both of us. If I were to give away some of the canned products, I think I would also feel a connection to those people who would be eating my creations. Of course, we struggle, and will have to struggle harder from here on, to ensure we have enough to eat, so we aren’t giving away any food, that would mean we would go without.

Coleslaw is something I have not tried to can before, so the whole concept was new to me, the recipe, and the techniques used. Since the coleslaw would be consumed within a week or so, and the jars would not be going into longer term storage, I decided it was the perfect time to experiment with the Tattler lids I purchased a few years ago. The Tattler lids were a big disappointment, the learning curve is very, very steep. I was confident I could master the skill, but alas, after many failed jars, I realized I had met my match. I gave up and went back to the the 100% reliable one-use, tried-and-true metal canning lids. In four decades of canning , not one metal lid has failed on a canning jar, no food has been lost, not even once. The Tattlers were 80% failure. Experimenting with them was put off until a suitable project presented itself, a project like Canned Coleslaw.

As I sit here writing the jars of coleslaw are waiting on the counter, as they must for at least 12 hours after being removed from the canner. Of course, one was consumed for dinner last night, and it was delicious. Also, the Tattler lid on that jar had sealed, yes! But it must be remembered that many of the Tattler lids in the past sealed, only to loose the seal after a week, two weeks, a month, meaning the jars on which they were used had to be constantly checked every few days. Checking lids every few days is far too labour intensive. But since this coleslaw will be sitting in the cupboard in the kitchen, the task will be easily performed, and is a part of the experiment.

The other experiment in the project was the reuse of a previously used metal canning lid. It sealed! So reusing metal canning lids for products that will be eaten within a few weeks is something that is viable at our house. Of course this is NOT RECOMMENDED practise, I am saying that up front, because it is definitely not considered a safe practise. Still, when needs must, metal one-use lids are expensive, and right now are not even available. I will be keeping a very close eye on that one jar with the used lid!

The really, really important aspect of the project is that we LOVE the canned coleslaw. It tastes great, so we will eat it. Other considerations are: cabbage is cheap, the vegetables are all good for us, we leave out the salt so it is sodium-free, it is an instant vegetable side dish or entre, it is easy to preserve, we can grow all of the vegetables required in our small yard, and all of the vegetables are grown in Ontario, so they might be readily available going forward in the new economy.

I will tweak this recipe in several ways. The salt is omitted. The syrup in the recipe was doubled. It was too sweet for us, so the sugar will be reduced, not drastically, but reduced. The important preservative in this canning recipe is the vinegar, so that ingredient stays the same no matter what.

Taking a break from writing, I am just now back from the kitchen. The rings on the Coleslaw jars were removed, and all of the jars sealed. That was good news! The jars were washed to remove any sticky remnants of syrup around the lids or on the jars, and all of the jars are still sealed. That was good news! The jars are lined up at the back of the counter, where I can check the seals on them every day. If a seal fails the jar will go into the refrigerator and if it smells and tastes fine, will be eaten within 24 hours. It is hoped none of the seals will fail. Time will tell.

If I were to give advice to people who are new to canning, this is what I would relate.

First, learn the difference between high acid and low acid foods, this is fundamental to safe canning. The method of canning is different, depending on the acidity of the food you want to can.

High acid foods are most fruits, and canned items like jams, jellies, pickles, and relishes, and can be steam or water bath canned.

Low acid foods are most vegetables, meats, beans and legumes, fish, and many other foods and MUST be pressure canned.

Reliable canning books and online resources have information on what foods are high acid and what foods are low acid, and how to can them safely.

For people canning for families of three or more, intending to can a substantial amount of high acid foods, this larger, stainless steel Victorio Steam Canner is what I would recommend. It Handles 8 pint or 7 quart jars, for canning, AND can also handle 20 quarts of liquid if you use it as a stock pot. It is easy and simple to use, and does not use a lot of water.

For people canning for one, or two, intending to can small to medium amounts of high acid foods, this smaller, lighter and easy to handle aluminium Victorio Steam Canner is what I would recommend. It handles and processes up to 7 quart or 8 pint jars of high-acid foods at one time, does not work as a stock pot, but does allow people with most mobility issues to can with ease. It uses very little water, and does not require lifting jars out of the top of a large pot. I love mine, because I can use it for small batches of the foods I forage, like dandelion blooms, and small batches of jams, jellies, pickles, and relishes.

For people on an extreme budget, or who just want to try out high acid food canning to see if it is for you, low-budget water bath canning may be the way to go. You may already have a pot in your kitchen that will work for water bath canning, as long as it is deep enough to cover the jar lids on a rack with 2 inches of water, and there is a rack or means of keeping the jars from sitting on the bottom of the pan, e.g. use canning rings.

Low acid foods require a Pressure Canner (not a pressure cooker). There are two pressure canners that I would suggest. The first I have not used, but have interacted with dozens and dozens of seasoned canners who rely on it, the Presto 23 Quart Pressure Canner. It is apparently easy to use, and very reliable, and has a relatively reasonable price point, it does require a gasket that needs to be replaced occasionally, and has a gauge that needs to be tested annually. The other is the All American Pressure Canner, which is relatively expensive, will last for generations if it is used as recommended, has a metal on metal seal with no gasket required, and can operate with the weight and/or the gauge. Gauges need to be tested regularly to rely on them, but the weight is a piece of metal that does not require upkeep to be deemed reliable. There are NO ELECTRIC PRESSURE CANNING appiances that have been deemed safe for pressure canning by the USDA, in particular no model of Instant Pot should be used for low acid pressure canning, they have been tested and deemed unsafe, despite statements by the manufacturer.

Now, to talk about knowledge. To learn how to can safely, the books by Ball, Bernardin, or Kerr are the way to go, or the free online resources The National Centre for Home Food Preservation, the University Extension Service sites, or the Ball, Bernardin or Kerr web sites, are up to date and reliable sources of information on recommended techniques, and tested recipes.

Always use tested recipes until you evolve into an expert canner, which takes years of experience and study. Botulism can permanently maim or kill, carelessness in canning can be unforgiving, but there is little risk (I feel no risk) unless you fail to follow reliable techniques and recipes. Do not rely on Pinterest, Youtube, or personal blogs for canning techniques or recipes (that includes my blog by the way).

Note that this entry is based on a recipe that is not tested by reliable sources, so use the recipe at your own risk. I am a seasoned canner, and consider myself an expert canner. This is my personal reasoning in using the recipe. It is a pickled product, so if it spoils I will immediately smell it is off. Pickled products will not harbour botulism, the only undetectable danger in the world of canning food. I will trust it is safe unless I detect an off smell or taste, and even then it would probably not hurt me if I ate it, there is no danger of botulism in pickled products, but I wouldn’t eat it.

Well there you have it, brief, unasked for advice. I love canning, just as I love all aspect of food preparation and food preservation, so writing about it delights me.

Stay safe dear friends!

Worldly

Weather

6°C
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Tuesday 21 April 2020
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 99.5 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 5.5°C
Dew point: -1.8°C
Humidity: 60%
Wind: W 31 gust 55 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“I have found that everything wants to kill you. For some things, like fast food, or riding a bike, it just takes longer.”
Devin J. Monroe
1983 –

Eat your vegetables!!

Fun Project!

Yesterday, Monday, was a beautiful day! Our back porch gets the afternoon sun, which in the summer makes it too hot to enjoy at that time of day. But the warmth of the sun was wonderful to experience yesterday, as we sat out there and chatted. The outdoor temperature reached 12C! It was very windy, so I wore my parka though, as I do not want to risk a chill.

Attila had a phlegmy chest cold over the weekend, no fever, no aches and pains, just the cold. He still managed to do a bit of work on the basement, and is done with the electrical, and beginning to plan the plumbing. There are still areas that are insulated with vapour barrier, but are not covered in drywall. They will remain that way until the plumbing is sorted, then things will be moved around down there and the final drywall installation will be undertaken, sometime later in the spring.

My big project for the weekend was to make re-fried beans. I cooked dried Pinto beans in the Instant Pot. While they were cooking, I sauteed about 3/4 of a pound of chopped onion in the cast iron frying pan, then added spices, then the beans and some water. I cooked the bean mixture down to the desired consistency, like a thick pudding in this case, cooled it, and refrigerated it. I have been eating the re-fried beans on a slice of homemade 100% whole wheat toast, lightly sprinkled with hot sauce, and topped with shredded lactose free cheese. I love it. Attila calls it Mexican Beans On Toast, a fairly accurate description.

I would have used flour tortillas for my re-fried bean meals, but the commercial ones are too high sodium for me, and I haven’t learned to make my own yet.

Re-fried Beans.
So easy to make! I love this recipe, and since there is no added sodium, the sodium in the hot sauce and grated cheese used in the Mexican Beans On Toast are well within my sodium limits.

The fun project was something Attila was craving, Cowboy Candy. I made some jars of it for him as a Christmas present, and he has been rationing himself to make it last. Last week he finished it. Oh no! So he decided that despite the price (he loves a bargain, always waiting for sales) he would bite the bullet, and purchase 4 pounds of Jalapeno peppers.

It was a lot of work! Four pounds of peppers is about double the recipe, in for a penny in for a pound. But when I doubled the recipe I used the computer recipe database, and because of the way the recipe was formatted, it only doubled some of the ingredients, and not others. YIKES! So we had to take a break from the project, to sit down and figure out where it went wrong, and how much of each ingredients to add to make it right. After that it was smooth sailing. Attila chopped the onion and Jalapeno peppers, I took care of everything else, cooking the syrup, filling the canning jars, canning the Cowboy Candy, then cleaning everything up. We ended up with five 500-ml jars of Cowboy Candy, and 5 1/2 jars of Cowboy Candy Syrup.

Cowboy Candy on the right, Cowboy Candy Syrup on the left.
Attila eats the Cowboy Candy, I use the Cowboy Candy Syrup as an ingredient in my Salad Dressing, and in rice and pasta lunches, where I combine rice or pasta with cooked vegetables, a tablespoon or so of olive oil, and Cowboy Candy juice as a sauce, then heat it in the microwave.

Just an ending note to share some resources I consult, when feeling concerned about the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Current Global Distribution and Information

John’s Hopkins University Mapped Data

Dr. John Campbell Videos

Ontario Information

Province of Ontario Health and Wellness The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Worldly

Weather

7°C
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Tuesday 10 March 2020
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 7.4°C
Dew point: 3.7°C
Humidity: 77%
Wind: SSW 30 gust 41 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Whatever you do, do it to the purpose; do it thoroughly, not superficially. Go to the bottom of things. Any thing half done, or half known, is in my mind, neither done nor known at all. Nay, worse, for it often misleads.”
Lord Chesterfield
1694 – 1773

The half known part describes information shared on social media, for the most part. Participant beware!

First Snow!

I think this is the first video clip I have ever created to post on this site! I am a complete beginner when it comes to videos, and this is the result of taking a video with the iPad this morning, then using iMovie to edit it a bit, save it, upload it, and place in this entry. I watched about 45 minutes of videos on how to use iMovie before getting this result. The beginner iMovie youtube videos move way too fast and don’t cover the basics very well. I will be searching for a video made by someone with a bit of instructional ability, not just technical ability! Baby steps!
ANYWAY, this was our snow this morning, so pretty.

It is snowing here this morning, lots and lots of snow. It is melting too, but enough is falling out the sky to accumulate significantly on the branches of the tree branches outside my windows, about 4 inches so far.

I love the first snowfall of the season! It is pretty. But beyond the visual is the feel of the soft white blanket that now surrounds my little house. The busy brashness of late autumn sounds has been muted. White brings sharp visual contrast to the landscape. I can see paths in the snow, where squirrels and rabbits have made their way in our yard. That is on the outside of me.

On the inside of me is a deep feeling of containment and contentment. I am cozy here in my little house, warm enough, well fed enough (understatement), and peacefully occupied enough to love where I am. The first snow always brings into sharp focus how wonderful it is to have a peaceful home to live in. I stepped out onto the back porch this morning, to take out the compost bucket, and to bring in some washed and dried plastic bags that were hanging on the clothesline, and oh what a pleasure to breath deeply that air, so sharp and crisp and biting. And then, what a delight to retreat back into the warmth of this little house.

These feelings of wonder at the first snow never get old. They return every year in late autumn, when the world first turns white. It is amazing to me that I feel this way every year, despite having experienced late winter impatience for it to melt away.

The first snow marks a turning point in the seasons, a natural turning point, dictated by mother nature herself, and it is delightful.

There is another turning point at this time of year however, that is not so delightful, nor is it natural in any way. It is a corporate interest turning point that occurs here in Ontario, where we have Time-Of-Use monitoring and billing for the electricity we use. It is the perfect opportunity to increase prices, and inflict restrictions on the domestic population of Ontario, Canada.

On November first we were switched to winter rates and time schedules. The rates have increased of course. And what this also means is that I must do my daily tasks that use electricity either before 7:00 a.m. in the morning, or after 7:00 p.m. in the evening. In other words, the most economical hydro is largely available overnight, when I sleep. This is very, very inconvenient, and changes the way my whole day is structured.

There is a period of mid-peak pricing from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., when I will undertake tasks that I feel just cannot be done during the 12 nighttime hours when the electricity is least expensive. But I try to avoid doing that, because it will affect our monthly billing.

It seems Hydro One is determined to make the short cold winter days as dark and dreary as they possibly can.

Heating is our priority, and it is a service I do not want to cut back on significantly, despite the government urging seniors to turn their heat down! The government paid for ads a few years ago, showing an elderly woman wrapped in a blanket, turning down her thermostat, like that was the RIGHT thing to do. I hope the genius who thought up that ad, and the one who chose to run with it, have severe arthritis in their older years, and find themselves wrapped in blankets in chilly homes, doing the RIGHT thing. Heartless campaign.

I’ve been busy. One of the things that has come to my attention is that I experience significant pain if I try to get down on the floor, or back up from the floor. Arthritis is not my friend. All of my life I have been physically nimble, hale and hearty. Age is having none of it! So I did a bunch of research on techniques for getting down on the floor, and up from the floor, and have been practicing. And the practice is paying off, after a few days of cleaning shelves that can only be reached if one is down on the floor, I can now get down, and up again, without experiencing pain. I still forget I am not young anymore, and without thinking try to get down, or up, as I had whole life through, for decades and decades. But pain is a determined reminder that adaptation is required.

On Tuesday I made a loaf of 100% whole-wheat low-sodium bread in the bread machine. The whole loaf contained only 1200 mg of sodium. I added dried mango and dried cranberries to it. Wow, it was so good. I love bread with dried fruit in it.

When I was a single Mom on a tight time and financial budget, a loaf of bread with mixed fruit in it was my only special treat. I even dreamed about that loaf of bread at night, watching the slices fall as I opened the bag. I love breads and pastries. Yesterday, I could not resist having my homemade bread with butter for breakfast, again for lunch, and as a bedtime snack. And I had it for breakfast again this morning, and again at lunch. I know I will not want to eat anything else until that loaf of bread is all gone, and it won’t be long. Well, it is best fresh, right?

I was so in love with the bread I made, that I decided I needed more dried fruit in the house, with which to make it. Out came the dehydrator, to dry the Gala apples purchased at the grocery store this past week. They are Ontario apples, and on sale at the moment for $1.00 a pound. They were peeled, cored, sliced thin, then spread out on the racks. I ran the dehydrator at 140F last night after 7:00 p.m. when the hydro cost dropped to off-peak pricing, and turned the heat down to 90F for the night, to let it run overnight. It seemed best to keep the temperature down when the unit was not being supervised. It was turned off this morning at 6:58 a.m.. The apples are not dry yet, a little rubbery, so they aren’t done. Tonight the dehydrator will be turned on to 140F again at 7::00 p.m. and will run again all night if need be.

The apples cores and peels are now in the crock turning themselves into Apple Cider Vinegar, which needs to be stirred daily to prevent mold.

Last Friday the pressure canner was put into service again, this time to can six 500-ml jars of Taco Soup. These are intended for my lunches, on those days when I am suddenly hungry and just can’t figure out what to eat. Since there were no empty jars left, the pressure canner was cleaned and back into storage it went. But Attila, upon finding out that the jars were all in service, picked up another dozen jars when he was out and about. So there will be more canned instant meals on the way soon.

Six jars of Taco Soup canned, ready for quick lunches.
On the plate are seeds from our Jack-O-Lantern, a pie pumpkin, drying for spring planting.
Pie Pumpkins are amazing, who knew!
I have always purchased field pumpkins for Jack-O-Lanterns, and then cooked, pureed, froze, and baked with them. They were perfectly acceptable. BUT why use a field pumpkin if you can have a Pie Pumpkin. This was the first Pie Pumpkin I had ever had, and wow, the cooked puree is sweet and not in the least bit watery. It is significantly superior to any commercially canned pumpkin pie filling I have ever purchased.

The cabbages were first harvested in September. Each stem that was left started to grow new little cabbages. Attila harvested them on the weekend, and now we have a 1 liter jar of sauerkraut fermenting in the basement. Hopefully this batch will be a success!

These small cabbages, on one stem, were harvested from our garden over the weekend. They sure don’t look like much, do they! These all grew from the “stump” left when the first crop was harvested, a second crop on the same plants.
Here is what the little cabbages looked like when the outer leaves had been removed. they look pretty good!
The cabbages have been cut into thin slices and are now ready to be made into sauerkraut. This cabbage is sweet and crunchy, so good. Not really what might be expected based on their appearance when harvested.

Worldly

-1°C
Date: 11:47 AM EST Thursday 7 November 2019
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -1.3°C
Dew point: -3.5°C
Humidity: 85%
Wind: NNW 14 km/h
Wind Chill: -6
Visibility: 16 km

Weather

Quote

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy: They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
Marcel Proust
1871 – 1922