Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Monday, October 16, 2017
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Thursday, September 28, 2017
Saturday, September 23, 2017
A close up of the gear mechanism of the apple press. The girls and I had pressed about three gallons of cider today, and were only about a third of the way through the wheelbarrow full of apples, when the press broke. It always breaks in the same way - the little rod that goes through the horizontal gear and attaches it to the presser-rod breaks. Last time this happened, after I let some over enthusiastic college boys use the press, Homero fixed it by using a nail to replace the little rod. Today, that nail broke in half.
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Friday, September 1, 2017
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
I haven't done as much preserving as I had hoped lately. This late summer season has been incredibly busy - partly for good reasons (family vacations to see once-in-a-lifetime celestial events), and partly for really sucky reasons (my dad has been extremely ill and I've flown to Arizona twice). Plus, this year Hope is entering high school and there are all sorts of orientations and meet-and-greets to attend.
All this means I haven't had time to get to the Gleaner's Pantry as much as I usually do, and therefore haven't had loads and loads of produce to can, totally aside from the question of time. However, I've done a bit here and there. Last week I made four cups of fig jam, and today I've canned three quarts of salsa.
1 Gallon dried apricots
3 gallons kosher dill pickles
1 gallon pickled green beans (lacto-fermented)
9 quarts apple-blackberry sauce
3 pints pickled beets
6 pints blackberry jam
4 cups rosemary-fig jam
11 quarts salsa ranchera
Cheesemaking doesn't count as preserving because we have to eat it fresh, but I've made some chèvre recently too. And soon we will be into apple season and I am planning to press a lot of cider. A new friend of mine lives nearby and has about twenty apple trees - enough that it makes sense to being the press to the apples rather than the apples to the press. We are going to make a day of it. And I think I will brew hard cider again this year, and that definitely counts as preserving.
Saturday, August 26, 2017
Sunday, August 13, 2017
Thursday, August 10, 2017
Thursday, August 3, 2017
Friday, July 14, 2017
High Summer is upon us. Although I have yet to change the altar - it's still dressed with the kids' report cards and end-of-school paraphernalia - the preserving season has begun, and cannot be ignored.
This year, I've decided to try and keep an accurate record of all the preserving I do. So far, I had only posted one entry, and that consisted of:
Four quarts salsa ranchera
four pints pickled jalapeños
three pints pickled beets (all from a single beet bigger than baby's head)
Today I can add:
four MORE quarts salsa ranchera
three gallons kosher dills
for a running total of eight quarts salsa; 4 pints jalapeños; three pints beets; and three gallons dill pickles.
This is not counting cheese, since I still haven't figured out how to "preserve" cheese for longer than a few weeks. We either eat it fresh, or it molds.
Pickles make me happy. I love real lacto-fermentation, and I love real kosher dills. Last year, I made a ridiculous quantity of pickles; far more than we could eat, but luckily I found a neighbor who owns a dairy and cheesemaking operation who traded me pickles for cheese. Cheese that can, unlike my own, be stored and aged. Hopefully she is still interested in pickles this year, because three gallons of pickles is a lot.
Thursday, July 6, 2017
It's been a hard week on the farm for animals. Aside from Haku's accident on the highway (not fatal, thank God), we have had to put down two other animals. My daughter's pet ferret, Commodore, who was seven years old and full of tumors, and Rosie Pony.
Whatever sort of equine Rosie had been crossed with, it wasn't a shetland pony. Poppy quickly grew to be larger than her dam. And kept growing. Eventually, she grew into a sturdy 12 1/2 hands. Rosie was an excellent mama. For years I tried to interest my children in riding. They showed a few fits and starts of interest, but neither of them showed the kind of sustained interest that would justify putting large amounts of money into professional training for Poppy. So eventually, a couple of years ago, I decided to give her away to a family who would invest the time and money into her her that we couldn't. It was very sad, but I don't doubt it was the right decision. The family I chose, after much deliberation, has three little girls of just the right ages to grow up with a pony, and a next door neighbor and family friend who is a horse trainer. They promised to let me visit Poppy sometimes.