Monthly Archives: August 2011

Sidetracked by Jam


I know I said I would follow up on my last blog posting but this evening I was sidetracked by this Blueberry Lemon Zest Jam. We ended up with 6 half pints using berries from our neighbors yard.Sol and I agree this is our new favorite jam.

I will be back soon with my follow up.



P.S I must say I am totally in love with smal batch canning.It is so easy to use whats growing here and fast to boot.


Chicken Butchering Class this evening!


This evening Chance and I will be teaching our Chicken Butchering class.This time around the class is very small but this works out just fine since it gives us lots of room for helping and chatting as we go.

Yesterday we met up with our chicken guy to pick up our demo hen and had a great chat with him about chickens and raising our own meat birds. I always enjoy getting someone elses input on some of our ideas.This time around our thoughts were not to far off,we just didn’t realize we have some options avalible to us.But before I say to much more I am going to stop so we can think it all out to the end.That way I’ll have a clear plan to share.

Chance and I have this ongoing talk with each other about what more we could be doing around here.How can we take things a step further,what are we over looking and what is missing that we may want to be doing? Over the last few days we’ve come up with a list of sorts and here it is.

  • Trying a sane way of raising our own meat birds.
  • Adding some Runner Ducks to our flock for their charm & eggs.
  • Turkey?
  • Seeking out new skills that would further us along our journey.What those are is still open and a major focus.

There is a whole posting about why we are looking closely at what we are doing which involve a couple of conversations with others,the state of our personal economy and our country’s but it will be a long post that this busy day does not have time for.

On that note I must be going.I have a list of things to do before this evenings class.The top item go grocery shopping because for once our Issac is right there is nothing in the house to eat.Well, nothing that would work out.Peanut butter and canned smoked fish sandwich anyone? I didn’t think so.I will be back here with a report on our butchering class and the list of thoughts.



And so the frenzy starts


                                                                                                            And so the harvesting frenzy begins after weeks of tending to things,watching and waiting .Yesterday morning it was time to start.

The photo shows a snap shot of what we had gathered by 10 in the morning. We picked 5 pounds of Apples,about 1/4 of our Hops,1 gallon Blueberries,8 Onion heads for their seeds (don’t tell Monsanto) 3 Tomatoes & 3 Eggs.

 At the beginning on the week we had been away on vacation.We camped,swam,took walks and looked for treasures.When we returned we came home feeling recharged and centered again.Chance’s work schedule had been crazy for many weeks which mildly snowballed into all phases of our lives.So the break was much-needed.

But now it is time to focus on the season,it is time to can until our pantry is full again. It is also time to carefully plan out the coming weeks.We need a two-part time line showing when things are ready to can and when we have open time to do all of the work that needs doing. With some tinkering I am sure we will pull it off.It may mean doing some late nights but I remember stories of my Grandmothers doing the same so we will just be following tradition.

This summer is proving to be a Fruit Year.We have noticed a pattern over the years of every other year we get plenty of fruit from our trees and bushes.Soon our Bartlett Pears will be ready to pick.This year we are trying a different way of ripening them.We will pick the Pears green,place them in our extra fridge for 3-4 days so they cool down.Then we will lay them out on a table in our spare room that stays cool so they can ripen,another 4-5 days.By cooling down the Pears we are kind of reversing how Pears naturally ripen.On the tree they ripen from the inside out.The coolness keeps that from happening.Once the Pears are laid out they will ripen from the outside in.This will mean the centers of the Pears will not turn to mush which is what would happen if ripened on the tree.

Chance and I have also been talking about how we can sanely have our meat Chickens here.In the past we have bought chicks, raised them to butchering weight and then butchered them all in one day. Having a dozen or so meat Chickens here is stressful on our whole environment here.The other hens get pissed and slow their laying, Having the extra birds uses up more of our time,energy and resources.So we are looking for a lower impact system. What we are thinking about is to buy 3-4 Hens who are of butchering weight or just about so.These birds will be on hand for us to butcher one at a time as needed. When we need to we will buy more birds to keep the cycle going.

This plan is closer to how farmers used to have Chickens for meat.There were usually a few older Hens who were no longer laying or were just around that farm families used for their tables.Our own layers will eventually make it into this new group of Chickens once they stop laying.

Yesterday I froze our Blueberries and realized I did not have any smaller freezer bags.I wanted the quart sized ones which are the best size for us for things like berries.What I did have were some canning jars. I had read a long while back that you can freeze in canning jars so I gave it a go.I put most of the Blueberries into jars and a few in one freezer bag. I like the idea of not using plastic and having containers that are reuseable but the jars take up a ton of room. I guess I will have to continue my search for a not- so -bulky- not -plastic freezer option.

Well I must be going, today I return to work after my 10 day vacation. I am thinking in the coming weeks there will be more to blog about.We are organising a Tomato Canning Party and have our Chicken Butchering Class this Friday,both of which will be blog worthy I am sure.