What we did on our summer vacation.

Saturday, September 9, 2023

We did not can last Tuesday evening, Attila and I were just too tired from the busy weekend.

After work on Wednesday six jars of pickled peppers were canned. On Thursday twenty meals worth of pesto, using our garden basil, were made, packaged, and frozen.

And now another busy harvest season weekend. This is a long weekend for us, as Attila took Friday, and Monday as vacation days. Friday was chosen because I had a doctors appointment and needed transportation, Monday was chosen just because it is harvest season.

Friday we canned five jars of coleslaw using the cabbage from our garden. Also canned were seven jars of salsa, meant for me, as the previous batches were very hot, which does not suit me.

Today the frozen tomatoes from 2022 were tackled. The bags of frozen tomatoes were placed in shallow pans to thaw overnight. The water (tomato water, no water was added) was drained off and placed in a large roasting pan on the back porch, where it will sit without a lid until the liquid has reduced significantly. When reduced the liquid will be cooled, placed in two cup containers, and frozen. It will be used as broth for soups, casseroles, and stews.

The tomatoes, which filled a 16 quart stock pot to brim, were processed in the tomato mill. The tomato sauce was placed in two stock pots, where it is simmering, and will simmer for many hours, until it is the consistency desired for pizza sauce. Added to the tomato sauce are diced onions, red peppers, green peppers, and herbs.

The skins and seeds that were removed from the tomatoes have been spread out on sheet pans, and are in the oven. First at 170F, which was inadequate, then turned up to 200F. When the mixture has dried enough to form a crust, the sheets will be transferred to the dehydrator to continue drying. Eventually the skins and seeds will be powdered, to be used in cooking and in herb mixtures.

On Friday we shopped for supplies, needing a few more tomatoes for the salsa. There were half bushels of beautiful Roma tomatoes for $9.99, while just a few tomatoes in a bag were $4.00. Unable to resist the Roma’s, we headed home with a few supplies, and a box of Roma tomatoes. Some were used for the salsa, but most were not.

Tomorrow the plan is to process the Roma tomatoes in the tomato mill. There won’t be enough time today, as the pizza sauce has to simmer most of the day, so the range will be occupied and unavailable for canning tomatoes. Also, if unsatisfied with the quantity of pizza sauce made today, more will be made from the Roma tomatoes tomorrow.

If the pizza sauce is done early enough this evening, a batch of dilly beans might just get canned.

Yesterday I had an interesting experience. I wanted to renew a very small RIF at the bank, a very small RIF. I think the fellow I talked to on the telephone was new on the job, a fellow named Daniel. I just wanted to change the renewal instructions. The banks have this whole questionnaire thing their staff have to put you through before you can get down to business, purportedly to help you invest wisely, but I think it is meant to torture the customer support person, and the customer. I was patient. Daniel was pleasant and polite, and as slow as molasses in January, well, maybe he wasn’t and the system he has to follow is the issue. He was extremely diligent, thorough and competent. To set the term for that tiny little investment, on the telephone, took over ninety minutes, that is more than an hour and half. At no time was I impatient, at no time was Daniel anything other than pleasant and professional. That is the longest one-on-one interaction I’ve had in many years.

Monday, September 11, 2023

I thought that today Attila and I would wind down and relax, as he has the day off. HA! More fool me.

I started my day early, at 6:30 a.m., washing and labelling the nine jars of tomato sauce that were processed and canned yesterday. The tomato juice was drained off the tomatoes and evaporated down to fill a one litre jar, which was canned along with the tomatoes. It will be used this week to make soup, so canning it was a bit redundant, but it took nothing extra to do it.

The jars needed to be stored, so I “fixed” the old canning box, by taping shut the plastic cover, which had been split down the middle, and cutting along the sides to make a flap, and taping around three side to hold the plastic wrap on the box. Packing tape was used.

I baked bread.

Then Attila and I began the process of pickling six jars of pickled hot peppers.

We finished that project, and stopped for a spot of breakfast.

Then Attila and I began the process of canning four jars of dilly beans, with our garden beans.

We finished that project and stopped for a spot of lunch.

Then Attila made croutons with the bread I baked yesterday, and the stale bread in the refrigerator.

While Attila was doing that I continued to dry the skins and seeds from the tomatoes. We ended up canning a lot of tomatoes, about two bushels all told, including this years garden tomatoes, last years frozen garden tomatoes, and the full and half bushels of Romas we purchased. All those tomatoes ended up as salsas, pizza sauce, and canned tomato sauce. There were a lot of tomato seeds and skins to dry. That project began on Saturday, and was completed this evening. The yield was two litres of tomato powder.

Then Attila brought in three kohlrabi from the garden, which he peeled, diced, blanched, and put in two cup packages. The kohlrabi was frozen, to be cooked with potatoes, and mashed with potatoes, for winter meals. While he was doing this I was taming the chaos in the kitchen, the living room, the bedroom, all the places where equipment was scattered to every horizontal surface in the house.

Then we took a break and had a spot of dinner.

Then Attila harvested more basil, with which was used to make ten meals worth of pesto.

And now, at last, after 5:30 p.m., the last of the food preservation dishes are washed and put away, the equipment is cleaned and dried and put away, and I am sitting here with my feet up.

The pace didn’t slow down for four days.

This harvest season, as of today, we have canned 312 jars of produce, mostly from the garden, some purchased such as peaches, pickling cucumbers, and tomatoes.

We both feel tired, and happy that we will have good food to eat this winter!

Tomorrow, well we are out of flour, so I’ll be milling flour tomorrow, and I don’t know what else, but there will be something else, there always is.



Updated on Mon, Sep 11 at 5:55 PM
26 °C
A few clouds
Wind 10 NE km/h
Humidity 53 %
Visibility 25 km
Sunrise 6:41 AM
Wind gust 14 km/h
Pressure 101.8 kPa
Ceiling 9100 m
Sunset 7:26 PM


“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”
Helen Keller
1880 – 1968

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Steve-Paul (SP) Simms

Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Attils the Hun ate?

Steve-Paul (SP) Simms

I mean Attila.


Well done! That’s a lot of canning. Our tomatoes were a big fail this year due to the strange weather and probably our own neglect from being caught up in many other things. We bought enough to can our favourites but they do not have the rich flavour of our field tomatoes. Needs must…


Wow that was a productive long weekend!! You two are an amazing team!