And so the frenzy starts

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                                                                                                            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.

Rois

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About Hrafinstaad Homestead

We are an Urban Homestead located in Beaverton Oregon.We are all about growing,cooking,preserving and curing our own foods. From time to time we offer various classes that interest those who are wanting to learn basic homesteading skills.

2 responses »

  1. I bought about 8 quarts of pecan halves in quart freezer bags from the local farmers at our market. Since plastic bags are porous, I put the pecans in Ball quart canning jars. The ones that are straight are the only ones in which to freeze. The newer wide mouth jars without a shoulder are the only canning jars labeled “canning/freezing.” I am sure if you just put loose berries in jars, they are safe. My only problem is that the freezer over the refrigerator is on the top and everything slides out. So, the pecans get the door shelf real estate. If I ever freeze anything in wide-mouth, straight-sided jars for the upright freezer, I will have to put the jars in boxes or shallow plastic bins to prevent them falling. Frozen jars of food shatter into a million pieces. Ask me how I know.

    I really like your blog.

    My three hens have about another year of laying to do before they slow down. I could not bear to eat Fancy. Thelma and Louise? Well, I could eat them. Maybe.

    How do the meat chickens stress the egg layers? Or, did you address this problem elsewhere?

    • Practical Parsimony- Having the meat birds was stressful on the layers because it made for a full coop.We had plenty of room to house our 6 hens and the 12 meat birds but the layers are used to have plenty of room to themselves.Also by adding that many birds at once it threw the pecking order off.
      We also let all of the birds free range the yard in the evenings which meant there was less goodies for everyone.
      The layers still laid but slower.Overall though they were cranky through the whole thing.
      We are still working out a system where we can have some of our own meat without the stress.After talking with our chicken guy yesterday I think we have a good plan figured out.I’ll blog about it soon.

      Finally thanks for the cats/chili pepper idea.I am going to give it a try in one of the beds to see how it goes.If it goes I may be buying a huge jar of chili’s!

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