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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Progress Update 10-09-17

Leaves are turning red, orange, and yellow, providing a bright array of colors against deep blue skies and a few green trees. Autumn is definitely here. Temperatures are dropping with a low of 28° F last night. The next round of canning and preserving will commence this afternoon with the picking of rose hips for jelly, tomatoes for tomato sauce, tomatillos for salsa, and peppers to dry. Before DH returned from further north yesterday, he woke to a bit of snow on the car. That explains why the squirrels and chipmunks were scurrying around stuffing their cheeks with last minute bits to store away against winter.

Other than needing to complete more canning, I have been tempted to knit and cross stitch in the warmth of the house, creating more goodies for gifts and decorating. It has also been nice to have a moment here and there to put into crafting.

On September 30, my needle came out and I decided I really wanted to work on my September 1st ornament. With a few hours of stitching, this project was finished, or so I thought:

Project: “Wish Upon A Star” by Wildflower Stitchery & More from the 2008 Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament issue

Fabric: 14-count light lavender Aida

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The fabric is a very light lavender and looks lovely with the called for colors.

 

The wrinkled fabric was driving me nuts, so this last week I decided to carefully iron the whole project through a towel on the back of the project. Slowly the wrinkles disappeared and I finished ironing them out. When I turned the project over to see how it looked, this was the view I had:

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All of the beads and charms were gone. You can see them on the towel at the top of the picture. Apparently the beading thread that I used from a previous kit, disappeared and did not hold the beads on. The wrinkles were gone and so were the beads! So I made sure that there was no melted thread on the project, finished ironing my project, and then re-attached the beads.

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Lesson learned: When beading, either wait until project has been ironed before attaching beads, or use a different thread to attach beads. For this project I used the same beading thread AFTER I had completed the ironing. After this mishap, my project was finished again on October 4.

Project #2: “Heartfelt Harvey” by Imaginating Inc. from the 2008 Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament issue

Fabric: 18-count white Aida scrap

This was to be my September 15 Christmas ornament and was not started until October 3 when I thought I had the other ornament finished. Here is my progress:

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October 3 Progress

 

This ornament has not gone as quickly as the last one and I am finding that I am not particularly fond of stitching a lot of DMC #321.

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October 3 – late evening

 

However, despite not liking a lot of red, I kept at this because I liked the snowman. My progress the next day was here:

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October 4 – late evening

At this point, I was able to enjoy the pattern even if I didn’t like the color. Progress has been made since this picture. Over the weekend when DH and I made a quick trip north of here, I finished the boot on the left foot and began putting the outlining in the tree. Hopefully there will be a finish soon and a picture showing said progress.

This leaves me the October 1 and October 15 ornaments to start and finish this month to be caught up. We will see how that goes.

Additionally this weekend, I started, ripped back, and restarted crocheting a baby blanket for a friend at work who is expecting. I have some Bernat Baby Sport yarn in a pastel blue–yes very traditional, but that’s just the way it will be–restarted in a zigzag pattern. So far I am very pleased, but again have no picture. I am sure that there will be another picture before I post next time.

Until later, these are the projects that I am working on this month because I need to catch up on ornaments and finish the baby blanket before baby comes. I still have the two socks that I am working on from the last post that I hope to finish as I need to cast on another pair of socks for a Christmas gift. Plus, plans are moving forward on the Pathfinder event for next March and DH is trying to figure out the best option for our vacation next year. Lots of fun and excitement ahead so keep tuned.

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