Quick Progress Update 10-14-17

 

Hi everyone! The temperatures took a decidedly much lower dip last night and when I woke up this morning it was 24° F. We had not turned the heater on and it was about 67°F in the house. Everyone was snuggled down under quilts not wanting to face the day. Thankfully it did warm up to about 48° F which wasn’t too bad. We will most likely drop lower tonight as the sky is clear and we are already down to 36° F.

Since the rose hip jelly was finished last week, 8 quarts of tomato juice were canned on Wednesday and 10 3/4 quarts of salsa verde from tomatillos was canned on Thursday (See photos above as WordPress refused to put it where I wanted.). I decided to can the salsa verde in quarts because I didn’t want to spend the money for two dozen pint jars. I have quart jars that need to be filled so they were filled with what I had. With the drop in temperatures I should be able to pick the last of the rose hips on Monday and can another batch of jelly. That may require that I break down and purchase one dozen pint jars as I only have 1 dozen empty right now and the last batch made over 18 pints. Still it will be a good harvest.

We are very glad that we cleared out the veggies and covered the strawberries for winter. It was just in time. Now we just need to winterize the chicken coop and run as well as order the window to put in DS’s room since his now has a gap that refuses to shut. In the meantime we will cover his window with plastic inside so his room doesn’t get too cold and our heating bill go up too much.

Lastly, I can now say that I am caught up on the Christmas ornaments. While they are not FFO’d, they are all stitched and I am ready to start tomorrow evening or Monday on the one for October 15. It is wonderful to be back on schedule. This last ornament gave me “fits” and I have to say it is a pleasure to call it done. Usually I don’t mind symmetrical ornaments or projects but this one was just not intuitive at all. Here is where I started the third color, not realizing that I would need to take out the bottom “purple/lavender” cross and move it as it was not in the right spot:

20171010_234010This is “Poinsettia” by Ink Circles from the 2008 Just Cross Stitch Ornament issue in the colors listed. I believe it is on 18-count white Aida. And here is the finished stitching as of just a short while ago:

20171014_205905_Burst01The colors are not totally true as they are more pinkish red instead of the tan and brown that it is showing up as. My one disappointment is that most Poinsettias that I have seen are shades of red, but this one is definitely not.

Tomorrow I will hopefully get a few stitches into the new one for October 15 when I get home from work. It all depends on how tired I am and the length of the paper that I need to proofread for DS. He has settled into college for the  most part and is getting his work done in a timely manner. We are paying attention to teachers so that hopefully when I go back to college next August to begin pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Forensic Accounting, that I won’t get some of the “difficult” teachers who seem to prefer lots of busywork.

For now I am off to bed as morning comes early and I have a 12 hour shift ahead of me tomorrow. Thank you for coming back and checking out what is happening in our corner of the world. It is my hope that I will be able to get regular updates posted here for the forseeable future. Of course, we are still busily planning another smaller Pathfinder event for March 2018 that will probably stall me from time to time, but my hope is to keep it more regular.

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FO and Canning

Just a short update as I need to get some cross stitching or crocheting done. Last night the September 15 ornament was finished but so late that I didn’t even take a picture. Here is the final picture–other than one when it is fully finished:

20171010_190522He turned out really cute, and now I will start on the October 1 ornament. With luck I might get caught up this month and be back on track.

The rose hips were processed into jelly today. I am pleased to report that this batch made 18 3/4 pints which is more than we have ever put up. We have about the same amount still on the rose bush that are waiting for another hard freeze or two as they were more protected. We should get those freezes by the end of the week and then I will pick the rose hips and  make another batch. Better stock up on lemon juice and sugar as well as 18-20 more pint jars.

20171010_194155This is only part of the jars. And yes, there are sticky mouse traps on the edge of the counter. We have had–and hopefully no more–a mouse living in our stove that thought it was great fun to run out of the back of the stove, around two sticky traps and across the counter. Needless to say, our lining the edge caught him and he is no more. We have left them there, just in case there are more, but I don’t think there are any. So far we haven’t smelled that “mouse” smell again. Here are the rest of them:

20171010_194210I am really pleased with these even though I really wanted to get more done. Tomorrow’s tasks are to get the laundry done, sleeping bags put away, and the ripe tomatoes processed into sauce and canned. If I have enough time, I will also work on the tomatillo salsa and get it canned. It is nice to get these projects completed and food “stashed” for winter. With the cooler temperatures coming, we should be able to pick apples and begin processing them into applesauce to can. Then, I think that I will have everything preserved unless I purchase a pumpkin to process and freeze.

Quick note: One downside to canning jelly and salsa is that I have had to purchase more pint jars and a few ingredients that I usually don’t purchase. However, it is an investment in the future as the kids will be leaving home one of these days and we won’t eat as much so pint jars will be a better size to preserve everything. I was hoping to just buy new lids for the jars, however jelly and salsa do not work for us in quart jars so a few more jars were purchased. Thankfully I only have to purchase cilantro, lime juice, lemon juice, sugar, and vinegar tomorrow as we will use the onions we have and tomatillos and Serrano peppers that we grew. Hopefully I will have all of those processed by the end of the week as the rose hips and potentially apples will be needing to be picked next week.

Now, I’m off to see how much I can get done on the October 1 ornament. Wish me luck!

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Another Garden Season Over

Today DH had the day off which was really nice. That doesn’t happen too often, except for specifically planned events, so this was good. The kids had to work and had schoolwork, but we had plans too. With the lower temperatures at night, we decided it was time to pull the garden plants, strip the produce from them and let what wasn’t ripe, ripen in boxes in the garage.

After taking the kids to work this afternoon, I came back to DH already pulling tomato plants. There were ripe tomatoes and green tomatoes, tomatillos, and more. We found that there was one marigold still alive, two cucumbers that had been missed under everything, and three small, but ripe cantaloupes. Then we also found plenty of Serrano hot peppers and jalapenos. A total of five or six 5-gallon buckets full of yummy tomatoes, peppers, and other goodies were picked and brought in to finish ripening. We also moved the tire with the strawberry plants in it, into the garden area near the wire for the cucumbers and pulled the fabric back over to keep them safe for the winter. Our plan is to gradually add more dirt to the rest of the garden over the course of the winter so that in early Spring we can plant it while keeping it covered. That means I will have to get additional fabric so the whole area is covered, but it will be nice. DH will be taking care of the weeds around the garden and hopefully next year we will work on getting the grass to grow nicely in the back yard.

Then I decided to trim the wild rose back so that I could get to the rose hips. We want to make rose hip jelly again this year and so have let the rose grow like crazy. With the hard freeze of 28° last night, I was able to pick the first batch, which was twice as much as the last time I made jelly about two years ago. The ones we picked were bright red and hard, There were some that were still orange and soft that need another hard freeze to set.

After supper I washed the rose hips and cut off stems and excess blossom parts. Then I put in a large pan with plenty of water and simmered for whole hour so that I could mash them up. The next part was to pour boiling water over the mashed rose hips and let it drain through several times. This is where it is sitting draining overnight.

Usually I would just take this drainage and make my jelly, however this year I think I will keep that aside and run the rose hips through my Victorio with one of the fine screens and some more boiling water to see if I can get more out of them. I will have to let you know how this goes as I haven’t tried this option before. After that I will follow my recipe to boil up jelly and can it up for the coming year.

Additionally this week I will begin processing the ripe tomatoes into sauce, drying the Serrano peppers to make a seasoning powder, potentially save some of the Serrano peppers and some of the jalapenos to put in my tomatillo salsa which also needs to be made this week, and potentially get this canning done before I receive the phone call that the apples are ready to pick. If that call comes, I will have to go to the orchard and pick them to process later as applesauce and apple butter.

I am trying to decide if I want to purchase a pumpkin and process it for freezing. We don’t have much and I like it for pies, cake, and cookies. I can buy already processed, but it doesn’t taste as good as home frozen.

Lastly, if the weatherman is to be believed, we might see a snowflake or two by the end of the week. The earliest we have seen snow since we moved here is October 12 so I am hoping it doesn’t come any earlier than that. It seems like wintery weather is coming so much earlier this year. We will have to see if it actually materializes.

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