Harvest Season Vacation

My vacation this year was taken primarily in the kitchen over a hot stove. Pressure canning!  Doesn’t sound like a dream vacation does it?  It didn’t sound that way to me, but the reality is very far from the experience.  I love canning, I love harvest season, I love spending time in my kitchen, I love good fresh food, and I loved having Attila around and about the place, sometimes helping me, sometimes off puttering in the garden or the garage.  Most of all I love to get my teeth into an activity, tackle it, and accomplish a goal.

Here are a few pictures of my canning adventure.

canning assembly line in kitchen

This is the canning assembly line in the kitchen. There were no meals cooked during the canning days, all available space was used for at least 12 hours each day, and usually deep into the night.

Jars of Tomatoe Red Pepper Sauce

The first 23 jars of Tomato Red Pepper Sauce cooling on the table. Pressure canned jars need to sit undisturbed for 24 to 48 hours, before moving them into storage.

tomato puree

Cooking the tomato puree, in the 16 quart pot. The smaller pot was used for boiling water to sterilize the jars, rings, lids, attachments, for canning.

jars of tomatoes on kitchen counter

The results of the canning marathon! 12 Litre jars of Tomato Puree. And there is my All American Pressure Canner, resting after all its hard work.

dehydrating tomato skins and seeds

After making tomato puree with the food mill, the skins and seeds were spread on silicon sheets and placed in a 200F oven for an hour or so, this was done several times.

Jar of powdered tomatoes, with three layers.

The dehydrated tomato skins and seeds. Multiple methods of dehydration were used and can be seen in the layers in the jar. The bottom layer was air-dried, then put in the blender to create the light coloured tomato powder. The middle layer, a little darker in colour, was baked briefly in shallow baking pans, then powdered. The darkest layer, the top layer, was baked on silicon sheets in the oven, then powdered.

large pot of applesauce

The apple puree in a 15 quart stock pot. The half bushel of apples had the blossom ends and stems cut out, were quartered, boiled till soft, then put through the food mill. This was a lot of applesauce, and the pot was almost too heavy for me to lift myself.

jar with apple skins and seeds and botto of apple cider vinegar

The skins and seeds, taken from the food mill and placed in a 1 1/2 litre mason jar. To this I added 2 tablespoons of sugar dissolved in water, 2 tablespoons of
apple cider vinegar, and water to cover all of the skins and seeds, which almost filled the jar. It is sitting a dark cupboard for two weeks now, with a coffee filter covering it, held down by the screw top lid. This may or may not yield apple cider vinegar.

9 jars of applesauce

The applesauce made from 1/2 bushel of Paulared apples. The jars were pressure canned, and they all sealed as they should.

comsumers mason jar

I have been canning for decades. This was one of my first set of canning jars, a Consumers Mason jar. I have only a few of these now. I don’t remember where the others ended up, probably given as gifts, filled with some canned delight.

Atlas Mason jar

This Atlas mason jar is one I acquired somewhere, no idea where. It is an American Quart, rather than a litre.

Douglas Mason jar.

I have five or six of the Douglas Mason jars in my collection.

Dominion Mason jar.

The Dominion Mason jar, I have a few of these as well. I originally had a dozen each of the Consumers Mason, Douglas Mason, and Dominion Mason jars. I don’t remember ever having broken a jar, so I suspect I gave the missing jars away, filled with food.

different varieties of tomatoes on a plate

In the summer of 2018 we grew four varieties of tomatoes.
Upper Left: big round Pink Girl
Upper Right: one short oblong Health Kick tomato
Middle: elongated tomatoes, San Marino
Bottom: Amish Paste tomatoes
I would not grow the Pink Girl tomatoes again, they were nice but not outstanding and took a long time to ripen. The others were very nice tasting, and were wonderful for canning.

The beat up chest freezer.

And finally, the poor old thing!  This is the little second hand chest freezer I bought years ago. It was only meant to be a temporary solution to keeping frozen foods at Mist Cottage before we moved here. But when we sold the Country House, the buyers wanted our bigger, new freezer, so we had to let it go. Now this is the main freezer. It is not energy efficient, and it is very beat up, that is why I got if for a song. It works, but it doesn’t provide as much storage as we need. That is why I am canning and not freezing during this harvest season.



Date: 1:00 PM EDT Monday 10 September 2018
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 102.2 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 12.6°C
Dew point: 11.4°C
Humidity: 92%
Wind: ENE 10 km/h
Visibility: 13 km

It was less than a week ago the humidex was hitting 40C! Look at that high today 13C! The weather people say warmer weather is on the way. That will give the garden a chance to yield lots of produce before the first frost hits.


“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”
Bertrand Russell
1872 – 1970

Tomato Red Pepper Sauce

It is a long weekend, here in Ontario, Canada.

And what am I doing on this long weekend?

Well, Saturday morning I wanted to visit farms. Attila was game. I found information about local farms on the internet, what little there was, made a list, and off we went. Well, that didn’t go well. There was a bad accident on a nearby highway, it was closed, and the traffic was routed through our little urban area. What would have been a 15 minute drive into the country took two hours to get a mile or so to the grocery store, and we dealt with a lot of rude, frustrated, aggressive drivers who kept trying to take short cuts on dead-end streets.

Since we were stuck in traffic so close to the grocery store, and so cut off from getting to any farms, we decided to shop. All I wanted was a bottle of lemon juice. What we walked out of the store with was two 25 pound boxes of Roma tomatoes, a 20 pound box of Red Shepherd peppers, and six pounds of onions.

And that sealed my fate!

By noon Saturday Attila and I were chopping and dicing vegetables; cleaning and sterilizing canning jars and rings and lids; setting up the food mill; setting up the pressure canner; and the canning began. This is only practical on weekends, when the hydro is affordable.

Attila helped by chopping onions, celery, and garlic. I cleaned and sectioned the 50 pounds of Roma tomatoes, then cooked them down so that Attila could put them through the food mill. Wow, all that work described in one sentence! I also cleaned and diced 20 pounds of peppers. Then I cooked the first batch of Tomato Red Pepper Sauce, and pressure canned it in 500 ml jars. The yield was 23 jars. Then I made a second batch of Red Pepper Tomato Sauce. It was after 1:30 a.m. by this time, and I was wearing out. So I left the second batch on the stove for the night, and hit the hay. I had been on my feet since noon, and was feeling a bit tired.

At 6:30 a.m. this morning I was wide awake and thinking about that second batch of Tomato Red Pepper Sauce sitting on the stove. Up and at em’! Still in my pajamas, I turned on the stove and got the sauce cooking again. Well, here I am, writing this, it is 8:14 p.m., and I am still in my pajamas, apron over all, finally sitting down for a break!

By 11:00 a.m. this morning I had canned an additional 21 500 ml jars of Tomato Red Pepper Sauce, and by 7:00 p.m. I had canned 12 one litre jars of tomato sauce.

That makes a total of 44 500 ml jars of Red Pepper Tomato Sauce and 24 1 litre jars of tomato sauce. Two days of very hard work for me. I love my pressure canner!! I am pretty fond of the food mill too.

Two very busy days. It has been a long time since I sat down and felt relief in every cell of my body. Working that hard isn’t a bad thing, when you don’t have to do it, when you want to do it, when you are so engaged with what you are doing that the time disappears, and discomfort means nothing at all. I enjoyed myself immensely today!

Some people run marathons, run rivers, dirt bike… me, I pressure can.



Date: 8:00 PM EDT Sunday 2 September 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 24.9°C
Dew point: 21.8°C
Humidity: 83%
Wind: SW 16 km/h
Humidex: 34
Visibility: 24 km


“To the soul, there is hardly anything more healing than friendship.”
Thomas Moore
1779 – 1852

What I Get Up To

purple ball in the back yard called wallyball

This is the purple ball that blew into our yard some time ago. It blows from place to place with the passing winds, and I enjoy watching what it is up to. Attila has named it Wallyball.

chimes hanging on the back porch

These are chimes I bought at the dollar store. They pass along whispered messages from the wind. I love them.

perper lunch bags containing seeds haning on the clothsline

These paper lunch bags contain seed heads from the Cosmos, the Giant Marigolds, and the Marigolds. The bags are labelled and hanging out to dry. This method of drying seeds seems to be working rather well!

Giant Marigolds, yellow, and Cosmos, White

These Giant Marigolds are so very beautiful! Behind them are Cosmos. I am really enjoying the flowers this year!

clump of wild flowers, small white flowers, left standing as the lawn was mowed around them

When Attila mowed the lawn this week, he left a bouquet of flowers just for me. This bouquet sits prominently in the middle of the back yard! It is the little things.


The Nasturtiums are doing very well, nestled up against the compost bin. I have been plucking the blooms, washing them, then popping them into my mouth. They taste sweet and peppery. I love them, the way they look, and the way they taste!

Canning assembly line.

The tomato canning assembly line. Top to bottom, the tomatoes were washed in a sink in cold water, then set in the next sink to drain, then cut into pieces on the cutting board, then placed in a large pot (in which they were boiled until soft), then ladled into a food mill which was placed on the 16 quart stock pot.  The tomato skins that were removed from the food mill were placed in the white bowl.

tomato puree

Cooking the tomato puree, in the 16 quart pot. The smaller pot was used for boiling water to sterilize the jars, rings, lids, and attachments for canning.

tomato skins spread out in pan and cleaned egg-shell on small plate

The tomato skins, having been dried in a warm oven, in a pan lined with a silicon sheet, and an egg-shell, drying on a plate. The tomato skins were separated from the pulp using the food mill, then spread in the pan and dried at 200F in the oven, off and on, over the course of a few days. All egg shells are cleaned and dried, then crushed to use as a soil amendment.

jars of tomatoes on kitchen counter

The results of the canning marathon! 12 one litre jars of Tomato Puree. And there is my All American Pressure Canner, resting after all its hard work, and behind it the Instant pot, waiting patiently to prepare our dinner.

Attila’s ankle is getting better, bit by bit, day by day. He will begin physiotherapy soon, and hopefully that will help alleviate the pain. He has two issues, one an injury to his back, and the other an old injury that has been flaring up in his ankle. He seems to be able to control the pain using Voltaran (Diclofenac) rubbed on his ankle, this allows him to sleep at night. I think that applying this locally is much better for him than taking Ibuprofen tablets, as those could affect his stomach.

Yesterday was very hot and muggy, and it did not cool down much during the night. It was, and still is, very windy. The wind toppled the Giant Marigold plants, and one of the Cosmos plants. They were then staked, and fingers are crossed that the plants will suffer no ill effects.

The garden continues to yield a small but steady harvest of tiny tomatoes. They are washed and frozen after they are harvested, to be processed all at once when the harvest season is over, and any green tomatoes have ripened. A total harvest of about two six-quart baskets is anticipated. The tomatoes from our garden will be organic tomatoes, heritage varieties, no GMO.

Last night we ate a quick supper of leftover Lebanese Instant Pot Beef and Green Beans over rice, then loaded the car and headed out to Grace the trailer. On the last visit Attila applied Mouse Free compound to the undercarriage of the trailer, and I set out numerous cotton balls infused with Peppermint Essential Oil. Two bucket type mouse traps were set and left to catch any remaining mice in Grace.

I looked for an image of the setup for the mouse trap, and found only one image, which included the deceased mice, which I didn’t need to see, and probably you don’t either. All of the other bucket mouse traps were more elaborate than ours, involving beer or pop cans. They may be more efficient, I don’t know. I am very happy with the efficacy of the trap we set. The first time we set it we caught two mature mice, while the traditional snap traps were all empty.

To create the Mouse Trap that works for us:

5 gallon bucket
two tablespoons peanut butter
table knife
piece of wood for a ramp

Using the table knife, smear peanut butter horzontally to the inside of the bucket about six inches down from the rim.  A one inch by three inch smear works nicely. Pour water into the bucket to a level about in inch below the peanut butter.  Place the wood as a ramp up to the rim of the bucket, resting  just above the smeared peanut butter.  I make sure the ramp rests just on the rim, firmly.  Check occasionally for dead mice.

When I opened the door to Grace last night, I knew from the smell that we had caught mice. They must have passed away the first night we were gone, more than a week ago. In this heat, well, it wasn’t pleasant. Four mice were caught in the living room. There were no mice caught in the boot or in the bathroom traps. Although less humane, the bucket allows for much easier clean up. We burn or bury the mice we catch in the trailer, because we have warfarin laid out. It is undesirable that animals further up the food chain eat any of the mice caught in the trailer. The trap was washed with bleach, sun-dried, reloaded and set back in place, in case there are any more mice in the trailer.

When Attila applied the Mouse Free he found two hidden entry points that hadn’t been located or blocked previously. Those entry points were plugged, so that in theory any mice in the trailer from that time forth would be trapped there. The Mouse Free, in theory again, will repel further attempts by mice to enter the trailer. We are hoping that the recently trapped four mice were the last mice in the trailer.

We sat under the trees at the Camp until dark, letting the trailer air out. It was hot, humid, and windy. A flock of geese flew overhead, in V formation, heading away from the lake, probably to a nearby wetland to shelter for the night, or perhaps they would press on. It is getting to be that time of year, when the geese begin thinking of migration. Oh how I love the quiet of the bush.



Date: 10:00 AM EDT Wednesday 29 August 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 26.2°C
Dew point: 23.9°C
Humidity: 87%
Wind: S 25 km/h
Humidex: 37
Visibility: 24 km


“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not lived at all. In which case, you’ve failed by default.”
J. K. Rowling



They can be horrendous.

The garage roof was one of those horrendous projects. It began in late June, and the exterior portion of the project was completed on Sunday, August 26th. And it was a two-day push, those last two days, all day Saturday and all day Sunday, to complete it. Of course, there are a few little things that aren’t done, but that is the way of it with Attila’s projects. He is a person that always leaves a little bit… in the pot when serving food, in a project that he is working on. I think it is one of the reasons he likes to work alone, someone else might want to finish a job completely. Like me, I like to finish jobs completely and forget about them. Blasphemy!

The garage roof project was undertaken by Attila, and it overtook him. In his absence from daily life, I took over and fulfilled all the day-to-day tasks that he usually takes care of, in addition to my own day-to-day tasks. Because they aren’t my tasks, they aren’t setup the way I would do them, so they were challenging. I kept Attila’s routines going, because I knew that he would experience additional stress if I changed things on him. So project support was a long and tedious process for the garage roof project.

The exterior of the garage roof project, although it probably needs wee bits of tweaking to completely finish it off (like painting the caulking), is done to my satisfaction, as well as Attila’s. The new roof, wall, and window, keep the weather out, and it all looks lovely.

The interior, well it is only my concern in that when Attila moves all his materials and tools out of the basement, I will reorganize the basement to make everything stored there accessible to me. No more asking Attila to move heavy objects so that I can fill the flour canister, or fetch a few mason jars and lids. No sir, I’m going to go and get what I need, when I need it!

Not all projects are horrendous.

This past weekend I tackled a project that was not horrendous, was rather enjoyable, but exhausting.

I canned a half bushel of Roma tomatoes. They were available in half bushel boxes at the local grocery store, were grown in Ontario, and were $7.97. The produce from that particular grocery store, the one we usually visit, does not last long. It is cheaper for a reason, and that reason is that it isn’t the freshest produce available on the market. I needed to start canning as soon as possible.

Saturday morning Attila took the time to carry my All American Pressure Canner up from the basement. I spent an hour or so reading the manual again, since I haven’t pressure canned for quite some time. I also researched canning tomatoes, and finally found a good guideline offered by the Ohio State University Extension, called Canning Tomato Products.

I started just after 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning, and was taking the last of the dozen one-litre jars out of the canner just before 10:00 p.m. Saturday evening. I was on my feet the whole day, washing, trimming, dicing, boiling, straining, cooking, sterilizing, bottling, and finally, canning. It was a lot of work, and those jars, filled with lovely tomato puree, lined up on the counter, looked wonderful to me!

Pressure canning commands a lot of respect, mistakes can be dangerous. I took a certificate course in pressure canning before I did it for the first time, so that after months of preparation I felt I was able to proceed safely. It was nerve-wracking, the first few times. This time I found it a lot less intimidating, after preparing by re-reading the manual and reviewing my notes. It went smoothly.

Freezing tomato puree is a lot easier, but that requires a lot of freezer space, which we don’t have. Canned goods can be stored on shelves in the basement.

Another project, a much smaller project, I set for myself, was to begin a binder of Instant Pot recipes that are low-sodium, low-cholesterol, tasty, and easy to prepare from ingredients we keep in the house. It is easy to reduce the sodium and cholesterol in a recipe, but that usually results in a far inferior taste.  My small collection are those recipes that still taste good after reducing the sodium and cholesterol, at least to our low-sodium adjusted palates. I have about six recipes now, taken from online publishers, then altered to make them fit within the sodium and cholesterol limits of my diet. I had to order some page protectors from Amazon, to keep my printed pages in. Uncovered pages have a way of getting splattered.

One recipe I am currently working on is Tuna Noodle Casserole. I have tried several recipes, and none of them offer desirable results. The latest recipe calls for adding milk to the Instant Pot before pressure cooking. Well, it burned, I knew it would. BUT what I didn’t know was how much flavour was added to the dish when the milk caramelized.

I wasn’t in the room watching the Instant Pot when the burn warning first came on. I discovered it later. When I did discover it, I did a Quick Release of the pressure, then lightly scraped out the mixture into an oven proof dish, and transferred it to the oven to finish cooking, which didn’t take long. The taste of the casserole was amazing! I am thinking of trying it again, while watching the Instant Pot constantly for that burn warning, then immediately doing a Quick Release. Then, if the there isn’t too much burning on the bottom, Saute to deglaze the pot, and stir while cooking for several minutes to completely cook the noodles. That is my plan at the moment anyway, working towards getting that flavour!

So those are my little projects.

Attila’s first non-reno project was to pickle some hot red peppers from the garden. He wanted to experiment with making pickled peppers with substantially less salt. The taste test results will be in by next week!

Life is about to evolve here, there are no more high pressure projects on the immediate horizon, and perhaps not on the horizon at all, if we decide the house is fine as it is. It is unlikely the renovation projects will cease altogether, and that after a long break after the garage roof project, we will begin to think about other projects, all of the low-key, at least low-key for us. Things such as building stud walls in the basement, insulating and drywalling; extending the back porch; rewiring most of the upper floor of the house; new siding on the house; a new metal roof on all buildings; none of these things, or others on the long list, is crucial. If they don’t get done, well they don’t, we will survive.



Date: 4:00 PM EDT Tuesday 28 August 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 28.8°C
Dew point: 23.2°C
Humidity: 71%
Wind: WSW 31 gust 45 km/h
Humidex: 39
Visibility: 19 km


“Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”
Will Durant
1885 – 1981

This one didn’t just speak to me today, it shouted!

Nobody Grows Food Anymore

Well, that is what it seems like to me. I grew up in Niagara, with gardens and orchards all around. We grew and raised some of our own food, mostly fruits, chicken, pork, and beef, and purchased locally grown vegetables by the bushel basket, for canning and freezing. There were reasonably priced fresh produce stands everywhere. Now fresh produce is considered an “artisanal” food, and the rest, I don’t know what the rest is. I have to wonder, when a McDonald’s employee was thrilled to tell me they use “real” cheese… there is another kind of cheese? What has happened to our food supply!

On Wednesday I drove out to a nearby farm and purchased a bushel of tomatoes, seconds, for making chili sauce. While I was at the farm I purchased a pumpkin and a squash as well, all grown on the farm that was selling them. I have purchased tomatoes, peppers, and onions from this farm before. This year all they had was tomatoes, squash, and pumpkins, and the farm is for sale. The work is too hard, and the profit isn’t providing a brand new house and car, just the serviceable 3 bedroom farm house, the pickup truck, the tractor, and other equipment. I guess I will have to look for somewhere else to find tomatoes, and peppers, and onions at reasonable prices. We can grow some of what we need, but not all. I cannot afford “artisanal” fresh vegetables for canning, nor do I want to purchase the bred-for-shelf-life varieties of vegetables sold in the grocery stores, tasteless wonders that look like vegetables but taste like nothing.

I wish that the farmland in Ontario was used to grow food and not wine grapes. Wine is great I guess, but if you are hungry it isn’t going to keep you healthy. “Who needs food, we will just drink wine”, sounds like hedonistic fun, unless you really have to do it.

I am waiting for the comeback of local fresh food at affordable prices. Eventually all the baby-boomer wealth is going to fade, the market for artisanal priced items will shrink and hopefully the farms will return to growing local food for local people.

It has been a busy week for me, quite unusually so.

On Monday Attila ordered the 3″ crush run stone to be delivered to the Rideau Camp on Tuesday. That meant that Tuesday morning I was up and out of the house bright and early. It was arranged that I would meet the truck at the Camp, show the fellow where to dump the first load, and pay for the two loads. Of course, it didn’t go exactly to plan. When I was about a half hour into my drive I received a cell phone call, the truck was already at the Camp. So I carefully described to the driver where we wanted the stone dumped, and told him I would be there in about a half an hour. When the cell phone rang I was driving, and so missed the call, waiting until I found a place to safely pull off the road to return the call.

I arrived at the camp to find the stone exactly where I had asked that it be dumped. I waited in the quiet of the early morning for the fellow to return with the second load. He backed into our long driveway with no trouble whatsoever, got out of the truck to discuss the placement of the second load with me, dumped it, and then came over to the picnic table while I wrote him a cheque for the delivery. He seemed amazed when I said that Attila and I would be spreading the stone ourselves. “Well,” he said, “that size is hard to work with, good luck to you!”

After he left I puttered about for a few minutes and then headed right back home.

On Tuesday evening Attila and drove back out the Rideau Camp when he got home from work. He brought three plastic bushels with him, filling all three with stone to bring home for the French Drain. We shovelled and raked an infinitesimal quantity of stone into a low area, but soon tired, and decided to call it a day and headed home.

Yesterday, after I purchased the bushel of tomatoes, I struggled to carry them into the house from Tank. I washed, blanched, peeled, chopped, and simmered the whole bushel yesterday. There were enough tomatoes to fill a 16 quart pot to the brim. It is a wonderful Paderno soup pot, and I was able to simmer the tomatoes for hours on a very low temperature. At bedtime I turned off the stove, put the lid on the tomatoes, and turned in. The pot was still hot in the morning!

One bushel of tomatoes, peeled, chopped, and set to boil in a 16 quart stock pot. I couldn’t lift this thing if I tried!
Tomatoes 2016

This morning I washed 5 1 quart mason jars and one 1 ½ quart mason jar, ladelled the stewed tomato into them, and put sealer lids on them. The lids popped as they cooled. These will go into the freezer for use this winter.

Into the tomatoes remaining in the pot, about 20 cups, I added 4 cups of chopped onion, 4 cups of chopped celery, 2 cups of chopped sweet pepper, 6 chopped hot peppers, 1 ½ cups vinegar, 2 ½ tablespoons of salt, 3 cups of brown sugar, and a gauze “bag” with pickling spice tied into it. This simmered on stove all day long, the wonderful aromatic scent filled the whole house, it was wonderful!

After dinner more canning jars were washed and rinsed, then the hot chili sauce was ladled into them. I decided to use hot water bath canning for the chili sauce, as I had added quite a bit of vinegar to the chili sauce, making it acidic enough to be safe for the hot water bath canning technique. Once all of the chili sauce had been bottled, the hot water bath canner was filled with water and set to boil. The canning lids were placed on the jars, the rings tightened finger tight, and into the canner went the jars. It took almost an hour for the water to come to a boil, and then 20 minutes more to process the jars.

Our bushel of tomatoes yielded 6 ½ quarts of stewed tomatoes, and 9 quarts of chili sauce. The total cost was roughly $20, including the cost of the fresh lids, and two full days labour, by moi. The advantages are that there are no preservatives in the stewed tomatoes or in the chili sauce, and both are preserved in glass jars, so no leachates from plastic lined cans, or metal cans. The enamel lids do not touch the contents of the jars.

Truth be told though, I am tired after two days in the kitchen transforming a bushel of tomatoes into frozen stewed tomatoes and chili sauce. I would rather buy canned tomatoes than stew my own for freezing. But the frozen stewed tomatoes were a by-product of the project. The real goal was the chili sauce, it is so good! I plan on having it on pasta for my lunches this winter, and we always have a generous dollop with our grilled cheese sandwiches, or the occasional Jamaican patty.

Unfortunately I only have two more recipes worth of pickling spice left. All of the commercial pickling spices contain preservatives, so they are off limits. There is a quest for the best pickling spice recipe in my future, I can feel it coming.

The weather is cooler, but still quite humid. I fear I did not pick the best two days for keeping a stock pot on the simmer in the kitchen. It has been a rather uncomfortable two days. Attila tells me to turn the air conditioning on, but I just cannot do it! It just seems wrong to me that I heat the house up using electricity to simmer and can, while trying to cool it down using electricity. I kept the windows open all day yesterday, and all day today. I will turn the air conditioning on when the last jar is lifted from the canner and set on the counter, and the boiling water has been sent down the drain. It should cool down outside tonight, so that the air conditioner won’t have to work too hard, but it will remove all of this clammy humidity.

Well, that is what as been keeping me off the streets and out of trouble for the last few days!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 8:00 PM EDT Thursday 22 September 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 20.9°C
Dewpoint: 18.3°C
Humidity: 85%
Wind: SW 7 km/h
Humidex: 27


“I didn’t mind getting old when I was young. It’s the being old now that’s getting to me.”
John Scalzi

You don’t really understand what aging is until you do it yourself.