Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chip And I Were Feeling Crafty

   Chip and I were feeling crafty today. Chip couldn't figure out how to spin. Sometimes, having paws isn't a good thing. Chip has figured out how to unwind the bobbins of yarn I had spun. I'm not very happy when he does that, so now, all bobbins with spun yarn on them, live on the loom.
   While Chip was trying to figure out how to spin, I was crocheting baby booties. I got the pattern out of the June 2010 Crochet World.
Booties about 3 1/2" long

Front view

Side view

   I even managed to fold that clothes basket full of towels. Too bad, I couldn't get the pictures side by side.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Saga Of The Green Tomato Sauce

9 pints and 7 quarts of green tomato sauce
   I finally got my camera and computer to cooperate and let me download pictures. I'll start with the green tomato sauce. As you know, I had 25 pounds of green tomatoes and I decided to make sauce out of them. I also had some zucchini and patty pan squash, so I added them to the sauce, as well.
   I had planned to put the sauce in the freezer, but we have a small freezer, and all the freezer bags wouldn't fit, so I canned it. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew you shouldn't water bath can tomato sauce that had zucchini in it, it should be pressure canned. We have a totally electric house so I have no pressure canner /cooker.
   I spent all day on the sauce, which looked like green enchilada sauce, and canned it well into the night. The next day, looking at my sauce, I got to worrying about the canning method. I researched it, and researched it some more, only to find I was right. Even though I cooked it and boiled the pints for 45 minutes and the quarts for 50 minutes, it was the wrong method. So, instead of risking botulism, I added it all to the compost pile. It also didn't smell very good. Oddly enough, the deer didn't touch it.
   I am new at this canning business, so it's all a learning experience anyway. Too bad I wasted all day doing it, but better safe than sorry. The tomatoes were so hard and green, they wouldn't have ripened up before spoiling, anyway, so I figure, except for the time, it was no great loss.
   Next year, I'm wondering if I can use propane and the base of Tim's yet unused turkey fryer, get a pressure canner and try that? No, I wouldn't be using the fryer part, just the base that you set it on. Then again, I did find an electric pressure cooker/canner. I think I will probably opt for the electric method.

   Here is a bathtub full of 138 pounds of potatoes. I rinsed all the dirt off of them outside in the wheel barrow, and the only place I could think of to put them in once they were in the house, was the bathtub in the extra bathroom.
   They are out of the bathtub now, and I have dehydrated and frozen a lot of them. Now, I have them in a milk crate in the pantry and the small ones are in 2 boxes in the dining room and a stainless steel bowl on the kitchen counter.
   They are very good potatoes, but the small ones are not going to last very long, so those are the ones that are getting used first. 
   Tomorrow, or this weekend, I will tell you what I have been doing with the dehydrated potatoes and how I am freezing them.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Some Changes Made To My Blog

    Last night, I had a brilliant idea. Why don't I add a recipe section to my blog? Being the computer inept person that I am, I called Alyssa, my blog savvy daughter, and ask her how it was done. Many hours later, I added a recipe, home and about me page. It wasn't really hard. Who knows why it took me so long? Now, if only I could figure out how to get things posted to the right pages. I am disappointed comments can't be left on the recipe page, since I'd like to know what people think of them. I also don't know if it's possible to make a recipe archive. I think one of those would be nice, too.
   I will be adding more recipes soon. I hope you enjoy them. I am also thinking of adding a page for pictures I have taken. I know, I really need to add pictures to my posts to make them more interesting. I like looking at the pictures on the blogs I follow. Sometimes, the pictures don't want to get off my camera and onto the computer. Do you think it could be operator failure? I do, unless it's camera censorship. Maybe, even the recipe section will get photos. I really wouldn't be holding my breath on that one.
   Another thing I added is a weather widget so my readers can see how the weather is in my snow globe, if they are interested. I also added a page view counter with an accurate total of views. Tim and I were curious to see how many hits I've had. Now, we know. More than we had thought.
   As you can see, some people will do anything to get out of folding towels. I really have to fold them tomorrow since the clothes basket is really full and I keep walking to the laundry room to pull out dishrags and kitchen towels when I need clean ones.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

This Winter's First Snow

   I saw snow on Mt. Spokane today. Well, briefly, I saw snow on Mt. Spokane. I can usually see Mt. Spokane from our windows, but, for the most part lately, it's hiding behind low clouds and fog. We even had a few tiny snow flakes this morning, but they didn't stick. Tim stuck the snow gauge in the ground, so I'm ready. I have plenty to keep me busy, and I'm really good at wasting lots of time on the internet.We are getting rained on right now. We have had almost nonstop rain since Sunday. Tomorrow looks like the only non rainy day for awhile.
   Poor Jake doesn't like getting his feet muddy, so getting him to go out is a battle. That dog must have a huge bladder. Chip, on the other hand, tromps through every puddle he sees. Last winter, since Chip was still a puppy, we didn't let him play in the snow much. I bet he'll have a blast in it this year. Jake used to like snow, but he's turning into an old man dog. Either that, or he got smarter. Both dogs like to eat snow off of the floor, and Chip really liked eating snow outside. So much so, that he forgot why he was outside.
   I finally finished putting up all the onions and corn. I have lots of carrots and potatoes left. I need to do something with most of the carrots before Dec. Our oldest daughter is having a baby and I will be in CA for the event, if the baby cooperates. This will be my first trip anywhere all by myself.
   I made chunky cinnamon apples and some chunky apple butter using pumpkin pie spice. Both turned out really good. I still have 7 apples left. I haven't decided what to do with them yet. I used Jonagold apples. I really like them. They are a very juicy, all purpose apple.
   Today, I made a chocolate cake that uses leftover mashed potatoes. It's pretty good. I have been making cherry cobbler lately with some of the cherries I have stashed away in the freezer. I have 3 gallon bags of cherries left. I thought I only had 2. I wonder why I don't seem to be loosing a lot of weight lately?
   I finally finished crocheting my sister-in-laws hats and scarves. Now, I need to finish a baby blanket and make 1 more bootie for the upcoming granddaughter. I'm slowly making progress. I'm also going to make Michaela a crocheted bunting doll. I really don't think she'll care if they aren't all done when she's born.
   I do have another load of towels in the clothes basket waiting for me to fold them. I bet you couldn't tell I don't like to fold towels. I don't know why. They aren't hard to fold. I guess I'm waiting for the clothes dryer that fold, hangs up and puts away clothes.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Here A Jar, There A Jar, Everywhere A Jar Jar

   I bought more canning jars yesterday and then what did we go and do? We went and bought a bunch of apples for applesauce. It's not like I don't have anything else to can.
   Tim noticed that hanging out in the canning area in stores makes strangers talk to you. Tim grew up in CA where strangers don't tend to speak to each other, so it's new to him.  Anyway, as I was loading my shopping cart up with jars, a woman walked by and told me it would be over soon; meaning the canning. I'm beginning to have my doubts, especially when I go and buy more to do.
   The same woman past me as I was putting yarn in the cart. I told here canning was cutting into my crocheting. I never did get my summer clothes sewn, much less cut out. Maybe I'll magically loose wight over winter so I won't have to worry about the clothes I didn't make, not fitting. I can always hope. Unfortunately, I like to eat what I cook.
   When we were in the check out line getting everything rung up, talking about canning, of course, and I mentioned all the carrots in the fridge. An older man suggested I pickle them. I hadn't thought of that, but I think I will pickle our little finger length carrots. It's worth a try. Why not? I canned green tomato sauce. I got to thinking today, which can be a very dangerous thing, that I might need to get more jars. Again. The jars I bought yesterday were 25% off.
   It got down to 27 last night and that finished off the garden. Tim harvested corn today while I was off grocery shopping. Now, I have more to do. I have to figure out how to stuff everything in our small freezer.
   When we bought the house,( the appliances came with it), we thought it was a big fridge and freezer. It is if you've just lived in a 27 foot travel trailer for 2 years. It's not, once you put food in it.
   One of the reasons I went shopping today was to get the vacuum seal bags I forgot to get yesterday. Wouldn't you know it? I forgot them today, too. I even had them on my list. The same list I had yesterday that was in my pocket. I'm not going shopping tomorrow. I hope. I have clothes to was, those never ending towels to fold, along with more to wash, bread to bake, and make the weeks cookies for Tim's lunch. Wheat bread for sandwiches. I came across a recipe for peanut butter and honey bread I'm going to make, as well. Since I have my daily peanut butter and honey sandwiches, why not?
   As I was shopping in Walmart, grumbling about the steadily rising prices, I debated, sugar or no sugar. I figure I have about 20 pounds, so I'm good. Looking at the pickle instructions on the package of mix ( I cheat, since I'm new at pickles), I see it takes 7 cups of sugar. Then there is more sugar for more cherry preserves and cookies. I might even make apple butter. I really like apple cinnamon jelly, too, but I know I didn't buy that many apples. Yup, I should have put some in the shopping cart.
   Pretty soon winter will be here and I will have to stay in. By drs. and family orders, I'm not allowed out in the icy, snowy, slippery weather. I tend to slip and break something that has to be surgically repaired. I hope I'll have all my canning, done by then so I can catch up with my crocheting. Maybe, I'll get to my neglected spinning wheels and looms. Who knows? Maybe I'll even fold towels.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What Do You Do With 25 Pounds Of Green Tomatoes?

   I've been pretty busy lately, so I've been slacking off with my blog. Our garden is the reason. I took pictures of thing to put on here, but wouldn't you know it? I can't get them off of the camera onto the computer. I'll have them up when I can get them.
   Back to the garden. It did really well, even with the deer helping themselves. I didn't weigh everything, but what I did weigh came to 329.25 pounds. That's:
138 pounds of potatoes
54 pounds of onions
27 pounds of carrots
38 pounds of cucumbers
29.75 pounds of zucchini
29 pounds of tomatoes
13.50 pounds of patty pan squash
2 bushels of spinach
25 pea pods
2 green beans
   Deer really like peas and green beans. We are still harvesting corn and my lima beans are still playing around.
   25 pounds of the tomatoes were green. They just didn't ripen anywhere this year and had to be harvested before the frost go to them. I looked for recipes for green tomatoes and found the usual fried green tomatoes. I was looking for sauce. I decided to cook them all, without seasoning, so I could use it for different things. I ended up with 9 pints and 7 quarts of green tomato sauce. It looks like green enchilada sauce. I also have 1 quart of red tomato sauce. I hope the green tomato sauce is edible and not a waste of time and effort.
   I spent 12 hours working on my 25 pounds of green tomatoes. I had planned on freezing it, but lack of freezer space, (we only have the small one on our side by side fridge), said I needed to can it. What a long day that was. I finished canning my last batch at 11:15PM.
   It was my idea to plant a lot of tomatoes, but I was thinking the harvesting would be staggered,  not an all at once thing, except for the few ripe tomatoes we had. Deer started helping themselves to the ripe tomatoes as the summer went on.
   I am freezing and dehydrating potatoes. This kind doesn't have a long shelf life, but I thought it would be longer than it is. It's not.
   Carrots are being dehydrated. I also dehydrated zucchini.
   I still have 3 gallon bags of cherries in the freezer. I had another one, but yesterday it became cherry cobbler.
   This weekend we might be getting a bunch of concord and wine grapes, along with some sprouts.
   I need to buy more jars this weekend. I thought I had enough when I first bought some, but I was wrong. This will be the third time I'm buying more. I need quarts and pints. I have enough 1/2 pints and 4-oz jars.
   Once again, I think it would have been nice to start this self sufficiency thing at a younger age, but it didn't work out that way. I don't mind dehydrating and canning, but it would have been much nicer if it didn't happen all at one time with everything.
   Chip says he's suffering from neglect because I haven't played with him as much lately. He started to sit up and beg when I walk by, and no one taught him how to do that. If that doesn't work, he throws himself on my feet and rolls around. I do add, he is very cute doing both these things, and he knows it, too.
   After seeing how well the garden did, for the most part, I don't know if Tim still wants a bigger garden next year. We do need deer fencing,a freezer and a bigger dehydrator for next year. I also think I need to be cloned a few times to keep up with everything.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Have A Hoppy Day

   Yesterday morning, I was standing in the doorway of the open backdoor in the laundry room, waiting for the dogs to stop goofing off and come when called, like well trained dogs, (Jake is, Chip isn't), and I saw this big brown thing come on in. I guess it figured it might as well, since the door was open.
   We've been having a big ugly brown bug problem, so I was all ready to go hunting for my shoes so I could step on it, when I noticed it hopped. It was a huge toad. It was probably able to fit on a nickle, with wiggle room. We normally have toads that are palm size, or bigger by the back door. Did it shrink in all of the rain we've had this year? It must really have wanted in the house because our backdoor is about 3 1/2 feet off the ground and it had to hop up the steps to get to the door.
   Could it have been a nice cooperative toad and stayed where I could have caught it, right there on the rug in front of the door? Nope! It had to hop behind a bunch of junk, uh, prized possessions.
   I finally got the well trained dogs in, and wouldn't you know it? They wanted to find the toad. It was after all, breakfast time.
   I rounded up the dogs and put them in the bedroom, and grumbled. I hadn't even had my first thing in the morning glass of chocolate milk, and now I had to clean the laundry room.
   I moved paint cans, dog food containers, and a small portable washing machine into the kitchen, since the laundry room is right off of the kitchen. There the toad was, sitting in the corner, laughing at me. I bent down to pick it up, hoping I didn't squish it, and it hopped away.
   After 2 attempts, I caught it. Who knew it was so hard to catch a huge toad in a laundry room? Of course, it couldn't be that easy. It hopped out of my hands twice, because I didn't want to hold it too tight.
   I got it outside and put it in the flower pot with my African Daisies, hoping it didn't beat me back into the house, since I left the door open to but it outside. After I was in the house, with the door closed, I noticed the toad had slimmed my hand. Who knew a tiny, (I mean huge), toad could hold so much toad slime?
   I but everything back into the laundry room neater than it was, let the dogs out of the bedroom and fed them. Jake and Chip still thought toad smelled better than dog food.
   By this time, I was having chocolate milk withdrawals. My morning was off to a hoppy start. I'm glad it was a toad that came visiting instead of a mouse or something. I still don't close the door while waiting for the dogs. Some people never learn.