Monday, August 3, 2015

A Little Vacation and Frugal Accomplishments

chocolate mint

I'm joining in with The Prudent Homemaker's Frugal Accomplishments today.  As we were getting ready to go away for a few days, I knew I needed to have a bit of a "preserving marathon", so as to lose as little as possible from the garden.  On Day 1, I harvested cucumbers, tomatoes, tromboncino and zucchini squash, and elderberries.  M harvested blueberries, and I'm thankful for that.  My preferred method for preserving summer squash is freezing, but I just didn't have freezer space.  In the cooler months, I usually use it in pasta dishes or soup, and an occasional casserole, so I'm hoping that canning it will do just as well for those things.  Same with the blueberries... no room, so I canned those as well.  I had already canned jam and syrup, so these will be used for cobblers and possibly pancakes or muffins.  I began another jar of elderberry tincture.

removing elderberries from stems
Day 2 was my day to work at Hospice and run errands.  When I got home, I harvested almost all the Corot noir grapes, which the June bugs had already started munching on.  That's OK, I got most of them.  I juiced the grapes, getting just under 1/2 gallon, and froze the juice.  These are wine grapes, and the best harvest to date.  J had said if we got a gallon, he'd try making wine, but I'm not sure what we'll do with this smaller amount yet.

Corot noir grapes
On Day 3, I harvested cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini and dill.  The squash bugs have arrived, and I spent some time dealing with them and their eggs.  I canned kosher dill pickles, and then canned tomatoes.  Bless J's heart, he offered to pick up Chinese for dinner.  I saved a few tomatoes to make caprese salad, but was still working on canning tomatoes as it got closer to dinner time. Occasionally, a mix of homegrown and take out is the best you can do.

Of the seeds I planted recently, many of the zinnias and nasturtiums are up,  and I'm hoping some spilanthes (toothache plant).  It's been a while since I've had any luck in starting them, and I forget what they look like as seedlings.  Hopefully, they're not weeds.  All the squash ends from canning went into the broth bag in the freezer.  The chickens got some soft fruit and vegetables, and the leftover tomato bits from canning.  I shared cucumbers, squash and tomatoes with friends.

Laundry was done with homemade laundry soap and soap gel, and hung on the line to dry.  I made kefir and yogurt.  I checked on the pineapple vinegar I started a few weeks ago, but it's not tart enough yet, so I'll leave it for a while longer.  I colored my hair at home.  With all that accomplished, I'm ready for a road trip!

We had a wonderful time, and got back Sunday evening to many cucumbers, tomatoes, squash and elderberries needing to be picked and preserved.  A few days to relax and unwind makes it all worth it.  I hope your weekend was a good one.


cookingwithgas said...

I'm so glad you got away to enjoy some downtime.
Yum, juice for your future stocks in wine.

Erika, "The Make Do Homemaker" said...

Wow! That list makes me tired just reading it *laugh*. I'd need downtime too after all of that! Glad you got some time away. It really does help to recharge your batteries.

Janet said...

For your squash and zucchini, you might try dehydrating it. I do this for soups and casseroles. I slice them in even slices. They dry beautifully and reconstitute just as well. I just throw some in the soup pot. Takes up less space and really Betty quality than freezing.

Laurie said...

Downtime was lovely, Meredith and Erika. I had considered dehydrating squash, and you've convinced me to try it, Janet. I've not been terribly impressed with some of the vegi's I've dehydrated in the past, due to the texture. At this point, I'm running out of shelf space, so dried foods are a good thing.