First Peas!

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Yesterday Attila picked the first Peas out of the garden. They are one of the three varieties that were planted, and were not edible pod Peas. Oh the flavour of those little round, green peas, sweet, crunchy, just wow. And then I bit into the pod, just to see what an inedible pod tasted like. Wow again, it was sweet and crunchy and oh so good. I will be eating the pods on these peas. When Attila picked my breakfast greens this morning, he included Swiss Chard, a Beet with greens, and five pods of Peas. Lucky me!

We are well into a heat wave, which is predicted to last at least several weeks. I feel so very blessed to have the air source heat pump, which heats and cools. To conserve energy, by lessening the load on the cooling system, light cotton clothing is worn, and the thermostat has been turned 23C (73.4F), and will be increased slowly as comfort allows. Body movement is limited, cooking is minimized, and any electrical device that isn’t being used is disconnected.

Luckily one of our rain tanks was almost full when the heat wave began. The other has about 200 liters of water in it. With any luck it will rain today, topping up one rain tank, and increasing the volume in the other, as well as lessening the need to water the garden. Most of the plants in the garden will welcome the heat, but they will need lots of water to thrive.

Friday, July 3, 2020

It was almost a year ago when Attila had an eye exam, and discussed a small abnormality on his eye with the opthamologist. Today, almost a year later, the referral specialist’s office called to book an appointment for him. Really!?! I don’t think so, Pandemic appointments for those of us at high-risk-for-compications need to be urgent… if it was urgent, it wouldn’t have taken almost a year for them to follow up with Attila. His condition is the same, waiting until the Pandemic runs its course is the way to go, in my opinion. Hot and humid outside, the heat wave continues, so I sat on the back porch for an hour or so until the thermometer read 30C, then I headed into the cool of the house for the rest of the day.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

I hope US readers have a wonderful day today, 4th of July, a day of celebration for US citizens. I hope the people in the US stay safe, today and every day of the Pandemic.

For weeks now I have been enjoying one meal a day of fresh sauteed Spinach and/or Swiss Chard greens, with various additions such as garlic, onion, fresh peas with pods, an egg, chopped fresh beet, and beet greens. Today I am adding our first Zucchini, only three inches long. The tiny Zucchini are surprising, because the plants they are growing on are as tall as my arm.

Today harvest season begins in earnest here at Mist Cottage! Attila brought in fresh organic Beets with greens, and a bunch of organic Rhubarb stalks. Everything from our garden is organic, but I frequently mention it because it is a different product than commercially raised produce, and would be exorbitantly expensive to purchase, if you could get it. We know our yard is organic because we have owned the property for ten years now, and since we have owned it, not one chemical has been used in the yard, with the exception this spring when I sprayed the new shrubs, which came from the nursery heavily infested with two kinds of aphids. Those aphids could not be controlled by organic methods, and we were going to loose our new shrubs, so I broke down and sprayed them with a weak mixture of permethrin, which solved the problem.

The Beet greens were blanched, then drained, cooled and frozen to accompany three winter meals. The Beets and stems were washed, and placed in a recycled plastic bag in the refrigerator. On Monday, if we get our Potatoes in our online grocery order, I will make a big pot of Borscht. If the Potatoes do not arrive, the Beets and stems will be either canned, fermented, or frozen for winter meals.

Baked goods will be needed for lunches next week, and although baking in a heat wave is undesirable, it must be done. Luckily the portable oven (Nesco) can be placed on the porch outside, and the baking can be done out of doors, to help keep the house cool, and not overuse the cooling system. Rhubarb Squares, made with today’s freshly picked organic Rhubarb, are on the menu!

And so the days goes pleasantly along.

Fresh from the garden this morning: Organic Beets, Organic Rhubarb

Worldly

Weather

28°C
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Saturday 4 July 2020
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 27.7°C
Dew point: 11.3°C
Humidity: 35%
Wind: ENE 21 km/h
Humidex: 30
Visibility: 24 km

Heat Warning in effect:
A prolonged period of hot weather is expected through the weekend into next week.
Daytime high temperatures in excess of 30 degrees Celsius, with humidex values in the high thirties to low forties, are expected for the foreseeable future. Overnight lows near 20 degrees Celsius are also expected through this period, providing little relief from the heat.
Please refer to your public forecast for further details on expected temperatures.
Hot and humid air can also bring deteriorating air quality and can result in the Air Quality Health Index approaching the high risk category.
Extreme heat affects everyone.
The risks are greater for young children, pregnant women, older adults, people with chronic illnesses and people working or exercising outdoors.
Watch for the effects of heat illness: swelling, rash, cramps, fainting, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and the worsening of some health conditions.

Quote

“Never grow a wishbone where your backbone ought to be.”
Clementine Paddleford
1898 – 1967

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

The Last Big Garden Push

Here it is, the last significant harvest out of our garden!
The quart jar gives you an idea of the volume of the harvest. These ten Brussel Sprout plants were harvested Thursday afternoon, rescued from the snowy garden, and you can see some of the snow still clinging to the leaves on the plant furthest left. The first step in processing these plants was to remove the leaves and the Brussel Sprouts from the stalk of the plant. That was Attila’s job!
Attila handed the leaves off to me, so that I could begin the long process of dehydrating them. While I started on that element of the job, Attila sorted through the Brussel Sprouts, cleaned them, blanched them, and we bagged them for the freezer, in 2 cup portions. As you can see, we ended up with 8 good sized packages for the freezer, a meal’s worth in each one. In additon, we served fresh from the garden Brussel Sprouts for one late night snack, and two meals. So 22 cups of Brussel Sprouts harvested from the ten plants in our garden. That is about two servings per plant.
Because the freezer space is full, we were forced to thaw a frozen turkey to make space for these Brussel Sprouts. This weekend we enjoyed a full course turkey dinner, with leftovers for the week, diced meat in the freezer for casseroles, and a big pot of soup from the bones.
Our winter greens.
You could see how many leaves there were on the ten Brussel Sprout plants. Brussel Sprout leaves are tough and chewy. The taste is good, but the texture is undesirable, at least that is how we feel about them.
For two days the house was filled with the aroma of Brussel Sprout leaves roasting in the oven. It was surprising how these tough, chewy leaves shriveled to almost nothing when roasted at 250F for about forty five minutes. They smelled delicious, and tasted wonderful. After drying, the leaves were crumbled into a bowl, the midribs discarded. Then the crumbled leaves were put into the blender and powdered. That huge tote full of Brussel Sprout leaves yielded this much powder. It doesn’t seem like a big yield for two days work, but a teaspoon of this delicious powder in a soup will be plenty to enhance the flavour.
I ask you, where can you buy powdered organic roasted Brussel Sprout leaves, at any price?

Worldly

Weather

7°C
Date: 1:00 PM EST Sunday 10 November 2019
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 7.1°C
Dew point: 1.6°C
Humidity: 68%
Wind: WSW 28 gust 41 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this.”
Emo Phillips

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

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