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.

nasturiums

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:

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

Instructions
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.

Worldly

Weather

26°C
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

Quote

“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

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8 Responses to What I Get Up To

  1. Birdie says:

    What will the tomato skins be used for?

    I love wind chimes. Before my grandma died she gave windchimes to my mom and told her that every time she heard them it would be her telling her she loved her. She was my mom’s mother-in-law.

    This year I am drying marigold seeds but I just dried them in the sun then stored them in an envelope. I hope I am doing it right. I have never done it before.

    I really want to learn how to can! There is nobody here to teach me. Harrumph.

  2. Birdie, I use the tomato skin powder to add to soups, chilis, stews, and any dish that would benefit from a bit of tomato flavouring. I did the last batch in the dehydrator, and it is very light coloured, but the new batch was baked and browned, so it is a deep red brown colour, and the flavour is a little stronger.

    What a lovely story about your Grandma and Mom! Such a sweet sentiment, your Grandma sounds like a lovely woman.

    Your seed technique sounds good to me, but I am no expert. I do know that the seeds saved here in envelopes do fairly well. Labels are important though, as demonstrated by our Zucchini plants that is really a pumpkin, which is now turning orange!

    Canning isn’t really taught in Canada, not that I could figure out. I took my course through a University Extension Service in the US. The university extension services in the US are my go to source for safe, reliable information about canning, hot water bath and pressure canning. They are a little stricter than some of the individuals putting out canning videos, because they err on the side of caution, and ensure that all aspects of safety are considered. I love canning!!!!

  3. Teri says:

    That’s quite the set up for canning! You’re so game for things like that. I think you should have been a pioneer woman.

    I love my set of chimes on the back deck. They’re molded metal in the shape of small carousel horses. When the south wind is blowing we can hear them in our bedroom at night.

    Thanks for the tip on drying seeds!

    Oh gosh, more mice. I swear they must have put down tiny little signs, “Grace’s, for good eats.”

  4. Sandy says:

    You get more done in a day than I get done in a week! I love your home. I have wind chimes that I love. They hang off my balcony near my little flower garden (almost all wildflowers). You can eat nasturtiums? I know I have some. I’m going to try one! Good luck to Attila and his ankle.

  5. Teri, I love canning. I think I would have enjoyed being a pioneer woman. My Granny was the Granddaughter of a pioneer woman, and talked about her, which left a lasting impression on me.

    Your chimes sound so pretty, and that is interesting that they catch the south wind.

    I got the idea for drying seeds in a roundabout way. I saw a video that suggeted putting herbs in a paper bag in a closed vehicle in the sun, to dry them. I shifted taht around to seeds in paper lunch bags on the clothsline, it made sense to me.

    Yep, it sure feels like the welcome sign is out there somewhere at the Camp!

  6. Sandy, Attila has mentioned to me that I tackle projects in a relentless sort of way, focused entirely until they are complete. I was thinking about the canning though, and have decided that the next batch will be done in two shorter work sessions instead of one. I’ll cook and strain the tomatoes on day one, and then can them on day two. I was pretty tired after being on my feet for thirteen continuous hours, lol.

    Wildflowers ona balcony, how lovely and peaceful, the chimes would be perfect.

    I love nasturtiums, and apparently the leaves are edible as well, as a salad green, although I haven’t tried them.

    Attila says thanks for the good wishes!

  7. Birdie says:

    I don’t know why but I keep thinking about that purple ball blowing around your yard. I want one.

  8. Birdie, who knew! That ball blew in during a storm, I asked around the neighbourhood, to see if one of the children here lost it, but no, it didn’t belong to anyone around here. And so it took up residence, and caught my interest. I look to see where it is every time I look out the kitchen window, 🙂