york swirls

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

An Antique

Once upon a time in a land not so very far away....

When I was about 12 years old...34 years ago...my mom gave me this tablet.  As she taught me how to do laundry and cook and can, she had me write notes in this tablet.  The cover used to be yellow, but it's gone and so is the first page where I had my laundry instructions written.  What you see here is now the front cover.  I just recently put it in a ziploc bag to try to protect it and make it last a few more years.  She taught me to write down what I had canned each year so I would know if I should do more or less the next year.  I have a record of everything I've canned and frozen since 1988, the summer after we were married.  It's pretty neat to look back over the last 25 years.
This is what I've canned so far this year.  Before I start canning each year, I take an inventory of what I have left on the shelves so I can decide if I need a little or a lot.  I'm still canning and freezing this year, so I will erase the number and increase it as I add to my quantities.
I like to think that one of these days when I'm old(er) and gray that my girls and my grandchildren will look through this and get a kick out of it or maybe even glean some helpful information from it.  There aren't very many empty pages left.  Maybe I should make this "Volume I - The First 25 Years", and start a second tablet called "Volume II - The Next 25 Years."  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sowing and Reaping

We have been very busy these past few weeks reaping the fruit of our labors.
 I canned green beans in pints, quarts, and half gallons this year so I will have just the right size for the crowd I'm feeding.
 Someone gave us peaches twice.  They were tiny little things this year, but they tasted good.  I have 2 stacks of bags of peaches in the freezer.  They sure will taste good this winter with some bananas and blueberries (picked by the girls and frozen) mixed with them.
 We pulled our onions.  We've used 55 of them in salsa so far.  We are going to make salsa one more time this fall, so we'll use more onions.  I'm sure we'll have some left to use through the winter.
 We've picked apples, dug potatoes, and picked bell peppers and jalapeƱos to use in our salsa.
 And we picked more apples and some tomatoes to make salsa with.
 Our vinyl chalkboard was decorated for the occasion the first day we made salsa.  Thank you, Heather!
 Everyone has a job when we make salsa.  I'm so glad we have such a nice, big kitchen.
 Leah & Kara are washing the peppers.
 Nanna displays some of our nice tomatoes.
 The onions almost drove us out of the kitchen.  Kara came up with a plan to keep the strong fumes out of her eyes and throat.
 Nanna helped chop the onions.
 We've made tomato juice twice so far.  The tomatoes are still 'coming on'!!!
 We took some of those apples we picked and went to our retired family doctor's house to make cider.  (That's how it is when you live in a small town...your doctor is a family friend.)  They have a cider press and were kind enough to offer to help us make our apples into cider.
 The girls took turns cranking the press, keeping the press full of apples, washing apples, and emptying the slop.
 I think Gary & Nathan are going to have to build us one of these contraptions!  The cider was absolutely delicious!!!!  We made 12 gallons of cider that day.
 I experimented with canning some of the cider.  We opened one of the jars tonight to see how it turned out.  Great!!!  We'll definitely be making more cider!
We used some of the apples to make apple pie filling this afternoon.  That will make some yummy apple pies later on.

It's so fulfilling to see the "fruit of your labors" as it stacks up on the shelves in the pantry and in the freezer.  It's been keeping me very busy.  I spend my day teaching school and my evenings canning.  I'm thankful I have the strength to do that and the over-abundance of produce.