Saturday, April 20, 2013

preparing for canning and preserving foods

Well since we were married 42 years ago, I have always used an old fashioned large canner for all my canning needs, and have always wanted something that would separate berry seeds from pulp as my husband can't tolerate seeds and won't eat much of my prepared foods.


This spring I ordered myself a new canner and a new victoria strainer with the attachment package from Amazon.

They arrived this week..The canner is beautiful and will be so much nicer to use, even read the entire instruciton book front to back. This is a metal to metal canner with the screw down things on the top, supposed to be more accurate and safer to u se. Bought some more canning jars and had some I bought before, so I'm ready for a good garden season this year.

I also purchased the new victoria strainer and the accessory package with finer and coarser screens and shorter spiral, so that I can now remove seeds from berries and tomato just putting them thru the processor and can process several other things more easily, it even has a salsa setting which will be nice to use.

One problem that I would like to make known to anyone planning on getting the Victoria Strainer doesn't fit on my countertops or kitchen area requires a very flat board with no lip and a sturdy surface to attach to, big mistake here not seeing that. After realizing it wouldn't work on my counter I did some sleuthing in my house and I found a fairly sturdy bookshelf that it will fit on, but that will mean hauling that to my kitchen whenever I want to use the strainer, I'll be looking for a better solution to that as time goes on, but can use the bookshelf in a pinch (have to haul it from the laundry room or find a closer place to put it).

I tried a new storebought product this week, Outshine frozen fruit bars, they are really good.

That gave me a really great idea for making homemade fruit pops, once I get the seeds out of the berries and such, as I have 2 of those frozen popsickle molds I bought at Meijer last year..that is always nice to have in the hot hazy days of summer. Looking forward to trying to figure out what I need to do to make my own after de-seeding the pulp of strawberries and blackberries and grapes..(a great way to use those pesky seedy heritage grapevines I have (over 100 year old) that has me excited to fix some new things.

As I said in my last post, with my back pain I'm fairly happy spring is coming on slowly this year, as I hurt too much to do much, but it will still all have to be done when  spring does the meantime I'm going to be reading up on new reccipes and ideas for using my new toys..later

It's spring in the garden (or so the calendar says)

Well this has been a very rough spring for me. I am recovering from pneumonia and have something  wrong with my lower back, so I'm dealing with the situation in a slow manner.

Some of my plant orders and all of my seeds have arrive, but planting and seeding isn't going so well.

I am using the "moon phases" for planting this year, however, my in the house plantings didn't line up but had to be done. I started a few annuals in pots in the house, tomato, peppers, pumpkin, squash and brussel sprouts so far, and a few are up. I needed to do more starts inside but so far haven't gotten them done.

I knew that I had trees coming, so I went out a few days ago and used post hole diggers to get some holes started for the trees, breaking through the hardpan (that didn't help my back injury much). The next day the first of two tree orders to arrive this week came, it was much easier planting them when I already had the holes predug. So far I have panted 4 standard peach trees (red haven, hale haven, elberta and reliance), one of two of the cherries ordered (stella, the windsor is still to arrive), one apple (nova spy) is also planted this year so far. There are a few other trees on order yet to arrive. I also received a maximillion sunflower, which i potted inside, 25 strawberries that are hopefully surviving in a container in my frig, and 4 female and one male kiwi vine that are already vined and leafed out when they arrived, so they are also in a bucket on my windowsill waiting for non freezing weather to be transplanted outside.

I just hope the back will heal up enough to get the plants in when need be to do so, we have freshly fallen snow on the ground this morning, and I'm hoping the rabbits don't find my newly planted trees before I can get wire protection around them.

I have a little disappointment regarding some fruit trees and others on the property as we had a small amount of deer browse and a large amount of rabbit browse this March/April. checking earlier in the year all was well, but in March and April the weather has been horrible and the rabbits were breeding like ...well...rabbits and eating everything in site.

I lost completely one pear tree, and had upper graft damage on two others but believe they are savable as there is wood above the graft that I think has buds on it. One Plum was damaged severely above the graft but it also appears to have good wood left, There is some rabbit damage on one side of a peach tree, hopefully it will survive, and there is woodpecker or sapsucker damage to the almond and the fruit cocktail trees, hoping they can overcome that. Many of my nitrogen fixers and ornamentals have lots of very severe rabbit damage, but they are all grown on their own roots and should come back after I do some heavy pruning this spring.

I had two other pear trees that had been ruined above the graft last year, and I dug those up and planted them in a sunny spot back in the woods, and will allow the roots to grow from the rootstock and see what comes of them, I can always graft new pear wood to them later. (I have done that with other trees in the prunus family that have died above the roots, so that I have rootstock that I can graft other prunus branches too in the future, possibly a good way to save things that have been too badly damaged to do well on their own, and have planted tham all at woodland margins.

I did manage to get some mixed lettuce and mixed asian and italian greens planted on the baby hugelbed, but it has been way too wet and cold for them to sprout, so they may have to be reseeded, but I have time to wait and see. Didn't get my peas in, hope to during the next moon phase for planting them and plan to get my seeds in for root crops midweek next week (hope my back allows me to walk that far)..

This has been a disappointingly late cold spring, but I'm hoping it is good for the fruit this year to wait to open their buds and good for my back to have the rest. Otherwise there are some promising aspects with an overabundance of rain in the ground, lots of things that are growing that didn't get damaged, and the thanfulness that I'm doing no till, so I don't have to worry about getting out there and tilling awful it would be if I was still tilling with standing water over more than half of my property and snow on the rest.

I'm still optomistic..and am going to rest while I wait for mother nature to bring it on..happy spring.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

found this interesting..what you need to start out on your own (during gold rush)

Yukon/klondikegold rushstampeder'ssupply list, 1898 Every person traveling to the goldfields of the Yukon Territory were required to take along one years worth of supplies. Every dealer of goods was ready to tell them exactly what they needed, and would sell the products to them at a very high price. There were also many how-to books for th prospector. Many were written by people that were never in the wilderness, let alone the Yukon.

List of items needed by miners distributed by the Northern Pacific Railroad:
For each man:
200 pounds of bacon (maybe some jerky or canned meat as a substitute for some of this)
400 pounds of flour (if you are going low carb might be able to do without some of this)
85 pounds assorted dried fruit
50 pounds cornmeal
35 pounds rice (I don't use rice so maybe some almonds and walnuts or some other replacement)
24 pounds coffee (don't use coffee thank god, that makes the load lighter)
5 pounds tea
100 pounds sugar (yuk, I don't use 5 # of sugar a I'll have osme dried fruit instead)
25 pounds fish (or more..I love fish)
15 pounds soup vegetables (a lot more dried vegetables would be nice)
50 pounds oatmeal (yeah I would use this)
50 pounds dried potatoes (OK, but I might not need this many)
50 pounds dried onions
(25 cans butter
100 pounds beans
4 dozen tins condensed milk
15 pounds salt
1 pound pepper
8 pounds baking powder (I'm sure I wouldn't need as much baking powder, soda and yeast as I wouldn't be eating as much bread as normal high carb people, I've never gone through a pound of either in a year)
2 pounds baking soda
1/2 pound mustard
3/4 pound ginger
36 pounds yeast cakes
60 boxes of matches
5 bars of soap
1 suit oil clothing
3 pairs snag-proof rubber boots
3 pairs heavy shoes
1 dozen heavy socks
6 pairs wool mittens
3 suits heavy underwear
2 pairs Mackinaw trousers
2 pairs overalls
2 hats
4 heavy woolen overshirts
1 Mackinaw coat
1 heavy rubber-lined coat
suspenders, hankerchiefs, snow glasses
2 pairs of heavy woolen blankets
2 oil blankets
4 towels
buttons, thread, needles
5 yards mosquito netting
1 large bucket
1 set granite buckets
2 axes, plus extra handle
2 picks
1 shovel
pack strap
6 files
drawing knife
brace and bits
jack plane
3 chisels
butcher knife
200 feet, 3/8- inch rope
10 pounds pitch
5 pounds oakum
2 caulking irons
15 pounds nails
whet stone
quartz glass
2 frying pans
coffee and tea pot
40 pounds of candles
eating utensils: plate, cup, knife fork, spoon
pots and pans
steel stove for 4 men
gold pan (and I'm not planning on panning for skip these)
gold scales Also additional items were noted, such as: medicines, reading matter, guns, ammunition and personal item

otherwise it has some good info..I would add some things like seeds, plants and cuttings if I was planning on living there and needed a garden as well and I might consider a small generator of some sort with batteries and chargers for computer and phone. I would also take some toilet paper if I was able to ..and some good scissors, knives and multitools..

a good reference list though to get an idea of what you might need..