Busy Busy Busy–an update

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In the kitchen

Jams are coming out of my ears. I keep getting free fruit and I can’t let it go to waste. Currently, I am working on Asian pear (with ginger and vanilla bean) and plum jam, lots and lots of plum jam.  I think this will be the last of the jam for this year.  I am excited about the plums. I made all sorts of pairings (cinnamon, cardamom and balsamic vinegar). The harvest was so plentiful this year, next year the tree will not produce much. This is an observation we have made, and tends to hold true.  Our jam stash should last us two years!

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We have been staying up late pickling, canning or freezing vegetables.  We brought out the canner for the first batch of tomatoes and tomatillo salsa. Pickles are pickling.  Batches of green beans are frozen, shelling beans are canned and pesto is also done and frozen in half pint jars. We add the cheese after thawing it directly into the pot.  Half a pint of pesto is  is enough for Paul and I. I can’t wait to have some pesto zucchini noodles.  I am salivating as I type! The kids aren’t brave enough to try it just yet, silly kids!

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Operation “freezing vegetables for baby food” has officially began.  First batch of beans and zucchinis (blanched and air sealed) is already in the freezer. Carrots are next and of course more zucchinis.  Hopefully he will enjoy them in December.

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In the garden

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It’s September already!  Amazing how fast time goes, we must be having fun–we are.  The garden is exploding with lots of green tomatoes that are reddening daily, we picked our corn and the zucchinis keep coming.  We are not complaining –I go out to the garden and get over joyed to see the fruit of our labor.  This may sound corny but I can not possibly explain the joy and the emotions I feel when I harvest my own food.  It will be sad when it gets too cold and the plants will die, but then all I have to do is go to the pantry and the freezer for a pick me up.  Knowing that our family will be well nourished with home grown organic fruit and veggies will amplify that joy by a million. We planted root vegetables where the corn was, saving the corn plants for Halloween of course.  We hope to get a bit more out of land with a Fall garden.  A few weekends ago I weeded the front yard, and our salad bar has been planted.  We hope to enjoy lettuce, spinach, chard and kale until the first frost.  Hopefully we were not too late planting it–we will see.  We hope to share some greens with our feathered girls.

Chicken run

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I don’t have a more recent picture…a lot more progress has been made.  We are waiting for the roof and conversion of shed into the coop.

It is almost done!  Lot of progress has  been made.  We hope to move the gals this weekend.  It was fun helping Paul building the run–being a daughter of a carpenter I get an unusual and hard to describe satisfaction from using electrical tools.  I don’t know what it is about a power drill that gets me all excited!  Soon enough our feathered friends will be on a new territory with lots of new ground to scratch and pick bugs.

Chickens

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Our older girls are molting.  Boy do they look pathetic when half of their feathers are missing.  I guess it is a good time to do it–before it gets cold. Our not so baby chickens are starting to lay eggs…teeny-tiny eggs.  They are too cute to eat–but we gladly do! Currently, our chickens are on depleted land and because of that we buy and or get fruit and veggie scraps from family and friends.  In addition, we buy them lettuces, spinach and herbs.  I am excited to say that our CSA (Helsing Junction) has generously agreed to collect a box of over grown squashes and cucumbers for our birds to enjoy.  Squash, cucumber and pumpkin seeds act as natural anti parasitics and are delicious treats.  We also found a farm stand that will gladly give us their expired salad greens, fruit and veggies.  The hope is for the birds to be more on a fruit and veggie diet and get supplemental bird feed.  This makes for a healthier chicken, darker yolk eggs and less expenses on their feed.

What’s next   

The summer growing season is almost over and we hope to collect as many tomatoes as possible before they get converted into fried green tomatoes and green tomato jam (stay tuned for the recipe).  Fall growing season will be brief and should be pretty low maintenance,  Salads and greens grow well and need little attention not to mention watering will not be an issue since the rain will pick up.  We have a few plans to keep us busy during the late fall and winter projects. This is a tentative list, as expected–nothing goes as expected!

  • Get the garden beds ready for winter.
  • Build a better pantry in our garage where it is cooler to house our storage items better.
  • Mushroom Hunting.  This will be a weekly activity until mid November and it gets too cold.  The season has started!
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  • Collecting fallen leaves for mulch.  We plan to get one of those battery operated shop vacs to collect leaves on various trails as we go for walks.  Great mulch for free!
  • We need to finish a few garden beds and prepare them for next year.  These beds will house plants that are perennial.  Paul will utilize his permaculture skills to design a neat little garden.
  • We will finally put the blueberries and grapes in their forever homes–they have doubled in size and we desperately hope they did not become root bound.
  • We have plans and I really hope we can execute–operation greenhouse.  We hope to have it up before February and allow it to naturally warm the ground  for a few months and get our starts in as early as possible.  Our starts this year were a big fail and we had to rely on our favorite farm stand/nursery Carpinito Brothers and I guess we will keep using them as back up until we figure out the whole starts business .
  • Last but not least, we want to put in a fence in our front yard and redo the fence in the back yard.