Hello, friends. How are you, this holiday season? I'm enjoying taking the slow and peaceful route, savoring the little things about this time of year... writing holiday cards, listening to holiday Pandora stations while I work at home, enjoying chestnuts a friend brought me, and brisk walks with the pups. Presents are pretty much bought, except for possibly a last minute one or two. Soon wrapping will commence, a tree will be bought within the next ten days or so, and a few decorations placed around the house. I'm not sure yet what holiday baking might look like, with my new Dr. wanting me staying off of all sugar. I expect a small amount will be savored. It will be interesting this year.
Gifts bought online this week were through ebates and swagbucks, earning cash back. After a soap delivery, I stopped at a nearby farm supply store. The store has interesting, and some local items, and I bought NC nuts for a gift, a beautiful olive tree marked 80% off (for $4!), a bright pink amaryllis bulb, marked 20% off. I've never seen a pink one before, always growing red, white, or pale peach, so I'm excited about that. I'd been looking online earlier in the week for 4 oz jelly jars, which are always pretty expensive, probably due to shipping, and was happy to find one case there. I use these for my deodorant, and used all I had before the show. I also picked up a Christmas present for the chickens, a bag of treats which included mealworms and oregano. I'd been looking for a winter coat for our GD, and found a lovely one at a nearby thrift store, navy wool with a velvet collar and cuffs. It happened to be included in their half price sale that day, so was only $5. A few small presents were bought at the natural foods co-op.
I had an unexpected trip to town, after a gallery informed me I'd had lots of soap sales, and they needed replenishing. So, after a quick evening trip to take care of that, I stocked up on a few things at the discount grocery store, including bottles of organic blueberry cranberry juice ($1 ea.), which I'm really enjoying. On Saturday, I harvested kale and chickweed. We watched the weather forecast all week, keeping an eye on the winter storm heading our way. Though it was possible we would get as much as 11" or 12" of snow over the weekend, so far we've gotten about 2" of snow followed by lots of rain and freezing rain. More wintry precipitation is forecast through Monday.
It seemed a good day to can, so I canned up some lentils that were getting pretty old. I started doing this some years back with old beans that didn't want to soften up, following Jackie Clay's instructions. This has worked well for me every time, and having them ready to heat up on the pantry shelf sure makes it convenient.
Canning Old Dried Beans
Pour boiling water to cover beans well, and let them sit overnight in a cool place.
In the morning, rinse beans.
Using fresh water, boil them for an hour.
Pack into canning jars, within 1" of the top, including cooking water.
Add 1/2 tsp of salt for pints, 1 tsp for quarts.
Pressure can at 10 lbs pressure (adjust if you live at higher elevations) for 75 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts.
The bird feeders have stayed busy, with one new bird seen I need to research. Twinkly lights and candles have been burning during the dark days and evenings. More simple pleasures of the season. I hope you are taking the time to enjoy the season, in whatever ways bring you joy.