Here it is, my last full day at the little house in the city, for this visit. There is so much to do!
After chatting with Attila, enjoying my morning coffee and slice of breakfast apple crisp, I began bottling yesterday’s cooked and cooled tomatoes. I labelled the jars and found room for them in the freezer. Then I blanched the tomatoes that I picked from our garden yesterday, peeled and chopped them, and stewed them for freezing. While they cooled I cleaned the beets, and readied the pressure canner, which I then used as a pressure cooker, to cook all the beets at one go. By 11:00 a.m. I had everything cooked and ready to package for the freezer.
The day started off with sunny skies, but by noon the sky was mostly cloudy and a stiff wind rose out of the southwest. I could hear the wind, it was sighing at the back door, trying to get in, and so caught my attention.
The heat pump has not turned itself on since Monday night, in spite of the drop in the temperature outside. I attribute this to my cooking and canning activities, which seem to be providing enough heat to heat the house. This is a good thing, but there is a drawback. It means that cooking indoors when it is hot outside needs to be avoided, as cooking easily increases the temperature indoors. I would love to have a summer kitchen, for baking and canning in the summer. Some of the old Mennonite farms, in the area where I grew up, had summer kitchens, rooms attached to the house by a walkway, a room that had many windows that would open, and was not heated during the winter months. That is my dream kitchen, two sections, one in the interior of the house for the winter months, and one separate from the house for the summer months.
I am totally against running an air conditioner to cool my home, if the need is generated solely by cooking and canning. Attila sees no problem with it, but he doesn’t like huge hydro bills either. The heat pump also acts as an air conditioner in the summer, so this is now a topic of discussion in our little universe. Attila loves to use the oven all summer long, and at the country house, but I strongly object to it. Since I am the one spending every hour of my existence in the space in question, he respects my wishes; after all he will only be in the house for a few waking hours each day. He is free to use the Nesco portable oven on the screened in porch, anytime he likes during the summer.
I spent a pleasant afternoon with Terra, we went shopping. I seldom see anything I need, even want, but Terra needed a few things, so the trip was successful. We visited two stores and did a lot of walking, which was good for us. Terra bought herself a little treat, and it looked so good I bought a little treat for myself. I regretted it though, as after eating empty calories I always feel lethargic and bloated. After shopping Terra needed to get back to her dogs, who needed to go for a walk.
After Terra dropped me off, I set to work freezing the stewed tomatoes from my garden, and peeling and freezing the cooked beets. Then the cleanup began. It is never fun cleaning up after a session cooking beets. The beets bleed into the water in the pressure canner, and that deep red water seems to end up everywhere, and it stains! Eventually though, I did get the kitchen set to rights, took all the peels and compostables out to the compost pile, and washed the pressure canner carefully. It will not fit in the sink, so I wash it as it sits on the counter.
One project I did not get to, on this visit, was sewing curtains for the dining area of the kitchen. The ones that are already there work well, so I do not feel concerned about it. I also meant to do a thorough cleaning of the house, but didn’t manage to get that started either. These projects can easily wait for another visit.
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Wednesday 8 October 2014
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.5 kPa
Visibility: 24 km
Wind: WSW 25 gust 43 km/h
“Assuming either the Left Wing or the Right Wing gained control of the country, it would probably fly around in circles.”
You’re like my DH, in that he loves mild sweets for breakfast. He’s not much for pie or apple crisp for dessert in the evening but it goes down well for him in the morning. Me, since I don’t process carbs well, I avoid sweets in the morning. Higher sugar contents in the morning can make me dizzy.
DH and I try to avoid cooking in the house during the heat of summer. Fortunately, DH loves to BBQ, so in the summer we’ll BBQ everything from hamburgers, to steaks, to chicken – to even pizza on the grill. We just started using the grill to BBQ as an oven to cook unusuall items about a year ago and are still expanding or BBQ menu.
Those are lovely tomatoes, Maggie. Do you have any idea what variety they are?
Teri, I don’t know the variety of Terra’s tomatoes, but I do know they are a heritage variety. They are very juicy! Our tomatoes are heritage varieties as well, most of the ones in the picture are Mr. Stripey, which I wouldn’t grow again because they need a lot of time to mature. Next year I want to plant Roma tomatoes for canning, and the variety that Terra planted for eating. Attila likes the little cherry tomatoes, but I am not keen on them, so we will plant only a few of those next spring.
I love your saying today Maggie. But the country seems to already be flying around in the circles! Not to mention the entire world. Stop the World! I want to get off!
I’d say that you and Attila are the closest thing to a pioneer family I’ve ever known. Except for his job, you both spend probably 95% of your free time preparing food and preparing for heat. I love those times when you can get away to your plot of land and just “be” – I get really exhausted reading what you accomplish in a mere 24 hours!
Bex, we do love getting away to our camp! Since there are no material objects there, that are of any conceivable value to anyone but us, we can come an go in a carefree way! The camp lot is already “winterized” and ready for the snow, and in the spring all we will need is for the snow to melt off the driveway, in the way of opening things up for the summer.
I was just thinking about our last visit. Across the road from our camp there was a narrow path beaten down through the grass and weeds, leading into the field. In the field there were two areas where the grass was flattened. We guess that a herd of deer spent the night there recently, and that they came down from the hills through our camp. We aren’t the only one’s enjoying it!
Last year in early spring we had a large matted oval impression on the slight embankment of our lawn. From the shape, I really believe either a doe or a yearling slept there that night. Since we’re connected and close to some of the wilder green spaces on the outskirts of the city, I think that’s a possibility. After all, we’ve had a turkey visit, mallard ducks actually nest in the neighborhood, and DH and I have been walking and had a hawk dive to the roadway in front of us to get some small rodent.
I have heard that the deer population is on the rise in Souther Ontario Teri, nice to have an animal seek shelter near you, very trusting!