Settling Dust

After the intensely emotional Covid-19 scare last week, the dust is settling and life is falling back into order once more. We have been sleeping a lot, intense emotions have worn us down a bit. But we are on the upswing again now. For the moment, all is well.

So, back at the ranch (Mist Cottage) I am keeping myself busy. Yesterday Attila harvested what might be the last of the Pickling Cucumbers, and some English Cucumbers, so 7 jars of Dill Slices were canned.

The canning session took a lot longer than usual. Tuckered out by the workplace Covid scare over the weekend, I was very tired. So I had to slow down the process so as not to make mistakes. The task that concerned me most was dicing the cucumbers with the mandolin, I could do some serious damage to myself with the mandolin. I prepared the mandolin, and the Cucumbers, then I took a long break, and when I felt up to it I began. It went very well, no problems. Slow and steady won the day, so to speak.

Along with the Cucumbers, two large Zucchini were harvested, and with the one harvested on Monday, there was enough for 5 jars of Zucchini-Pineapple. The Zucchini is diced with a paring knife, so that went a little faster, no nearly so dangerous as the mandolin.

Another kitchen project under way over the weekend, and into this week, has been dehydrating Candied Melon Rind. The result is about 3 cups of Dehydrated Candied Melon Rind, made from the rind of one medium sized Watermelon. This Melon Rind will be added to sweet bread recipes, and perhaps muffins, over the winter months. Since the melons in the garden are doing very well this year, I may have a lot of work ahead of me, transforming the rinds into Candied Melon Rind.

It took several days of intermittent drying in the Dehydrator to complete the Candied Melon Rind. This project is a success in my view, the Rind will be lovely in sweet breads, and perhaps muffins too. There were bits of red melon left on the rinds, and I decided to leave them on, I think they add a nice little pop of colour.

Today is another day full of happy activity. This morning the Instant Pot was pressed into service to make a Vegetable Soup. Lunches are haphazard when I am so busy during harvest season, so I wanted something that I could quickly heat up in the microwave for a nourishing lunch. I used 1/4 pound of Ground Beef, a little olive oil, and the following vegetables:
Onions chopped
Celery chpped
Red Pepper chopped
Garlic chopped
1 Whole Beet and Greens chopped (our garden)
5 small carrots chopped (our garden)
1 cup green beans (our garden)
2 potatoes chopped (our garden)
1 litre of canned tomatoes (our garden, last jar from 2018)
1/2 litre of vegetable broth (homemade, home canned)
1 tbsp. crushed dried basil leaves (organic from friend)
1 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. brown sugar

My lunch consisted of one big bowl of Vegetable Soup, and one slice of homemade Organic 100% Whole Wheat Bread. That’s better, on the really busy days I had been resorting to handful of homemade trail mix for lunch, which is not too bad, but not so satisfying a nice bowl of hot soup.

The second project of the day is underway, Hot Dog Buns. The last batch were Organic 100% Whole Wheat, and although they were very good, they were a little heavy for our taste. When I last made Hamburger Buns the recipe was tweaked, using 1/2 Whole Wheat Flour and 1/2 Bread Flour. That made a much lighter bun, and so the same adjustment is being made today for the Hot Dog Buns.

The evenings have been very busy for Attila. The basement is an ongoing project. It seemed obvious the new shelving area would benefit from a light blocking wall. Light is not good for home canned goods After some discussion, it was decided that a wall would be erected behind the shelves, to block light, and as a support to which we could affix the shelves, preventing any possibility of unhappy accidents. The stud installation was completed last night, and hopefully this week the wall board will be painted and installed. This is where Attila’s penchant for collecting comes heavily into play. Over the years our stash of rescued lumber and building materials has expanded. Most people would call it trash and throw it out, but not Attila. The stud wall is built completely from rescued lumber, and the bonus is that the lumber no longer needs to be stored.

We have been getting lots of rain for the last four days, so that the garden is green and radiant. When it rains, the task of watering the garden is considerably lightened, and at times completely eliminated. This frees up time for other garden activities. Attila has planted more Kohlrabi and Cabbage, and will be planting even more Kohlrabi this weekend. There has been the odd ripe Cherry Tomato over the last week or so, and very soon there will be a lot of them ripening, so I will be busy canning Cherry Bomb Tomatoes, about a dozen jars. Then all of the Tomatoes that ripen will either be eaten fresh, or popped into the freezer washed and whole, until such time as a there are enough to warrant a canning session. Also coming soon is a Basil harvest, so there will be some Pesto making.

A happy discovery involves our Ground Cherries. They are beginning to ripen, but there weren’t enough for the filling for squares. My solution was to crack open a newly canned jar of Zucchini-Pineapple, to mix with the Ground Cherries. The squares were outstanding, it is a great combination. It would be nice if the Ground Cherry harvest were large enough this year to freeze them in two cup packages for baking.

Every day I go down into the basement, and I feel great that three shelves are partly organized. It doesn’t matter that the rest of the basement is total chaos, because I know that now it is only a matter of time before all those piles of stuff will settle in an orderly fashion, and I will be able to find things again, but more easily than ever before. Last night I lost my shoes down there, took them off, and Attila cleared the area where I left them, so he could do some work. It took a while, but we found them. These are temporary situations, so we can laugh at them.

And, to make this an almost perfect day, after all the heat and welcome rain we have had, the windows are open! The air is fresh, there is a breeze wandering through the house, the clouds are drifting across the sky, shading some moments, flashing sunshine at others.

Stay safe dear friends!

This was the sky late yesterday afternoon, eventually it did rain. That is our Tamarc in the foreground, we have two of them in our yard, I love them.
The picture also shows the porch clothesline, near the top of the photo, and the umbrella clothesline in our back yard, a domestic scene.



Date: 1:00 PM EDT Wednesday 19 August 2020
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 21.0°C
Dew point: 11.2°C
Humidity: 53%
Wind: NW 14 km/h
Humidex: 23
Visibility: 24 km


“Worries go down better with soup than without.”
Jewish Proverb

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Joan Lansberry

The soup sounds tasty!

Stubblejumpers Cafe

Whew, glad all that anxiety in the end didn’t turn out to be your worst fears realized!
Nice re-do of the webpage. Mine’s long overdue but I’ve been too lazy to tackle it.


I bet the melon rind is delicious. And your vegetable soup sounds amazing!
It takes time to come down from a super stressful week. I hope you feel increasing calm this week.



Do you have a larger size I-pot? Mine is the 3 qt (smaller) version and I don’t think I could fit all those veggies into it! Your soup sounds lovely though. xox


Hello Maggie and all: I continue to fight my adjustment to my new hypertension and AFIB medications….and the dizziness from them. Mike asked me to describe the dizziness…” like I am on an out of control roller coaster”. Not exactly fun. Doc keeps telling me that I may be able to change the meds after my 3 day hospital stay to load a different med. This will happen after 9/17…. my next back procedure. Other wise, continued weight loss. It has been so hot here in Texas. But, we did had a good break in the 100 degrees this past week…only 96 now, but the humidity has so improved. I LOVE soups….Mike not so much. I am going to make a big pot of Southern Chicken Stew sometime this week. I freeze it in individual servings, and it is very filling. I would love to spend a week with you and taste all of your homemade stuff…talk about inviting yourself…lol. Doing lots of reading. Trying to get motivated to start on Meredith’s Afghan…..I do not like the one I have started. I have to have complicated patterns to keep my interest when I crochet. I usually only have problems with keeping my corners good and even. And, I like expensive yarn. Not good on retirement. Well, that is my story. Hope everyone stays safe and well. So far, only one niece, who lives in Bismarck, has had
COVID. She is 50ish, and runs triathlon’s….very healthy, and she is slowly recovering.
xxoo. m