Monday, March 30, 2020

Some Canning, Pumpkin Soup & Frugal Accomplishments

Hello, friends.  I hope you are staying well.  Not surprisingly, our first case in the county was announced on Monday.  Last week, I canned half of the large pumpkin I had cut up.  With the baked half, I made chocolate chip squash brownies, the dogs got a little with several of their dinners, and I made a pumpkin soup I shared some years back.   There have been a few asparagus to harvest.  One dinner was winter salad, and vegetable soup made from dribs and drabs from the fridge and freezer, and our canned tomatoes.  I did attempt the banana peel bacon, but think I should not have put the marinade in the pan with the bananas, as the maple syrup made them start burning before they were done, so they never got crispy.  I'll try them one more time at a lower temp, and leave out adding the marinade to the pan.  While we still were having cool days, I recanned a #10 can of black olives, so now we have plenty for salads, pizza, omelets, etc, in much more manageable sizes.  There was one more bag of raw peanuts, so I brought them to a boil, and let them cook on the woodstove.  With the warmer days, they hadn't finished when we no longer needed the woodstove, so they were finished cooking on the stove.

For a breakfast, I enjoyed an omelet with asparagus and olives.  Last year's elderberry tincture was strained, local honey was added, and it was bottled.  Home grown sprouts were used in salads.  The collards bolted, and the plants were shared with the chickens throughout the week.  With unseasonably warm temps over the weekend of mid 80's, I harvested kale, swiss chard and lettuce before they became inedible.  Our state issued a stay at home order, beginning this coming Monday evening.  J convinced me to go out one more time for groceries, mostly produce.  With it being a transition time in the garden, there will be little available to harvest for the next month.  Though we can go to the grocery store, my preference would be to stay here and eat what we have on hand, even though I'll be longing for fresh foods before long.  With the warm days, the outdoor shower was turned back on, and I gave Guinness a bath.  He gets a little itchy, so in addition to giving him nettles twice a day, I want to see if baths help.

When you don't have a basket with you, you improvise.  I sowed flower and herb seeds in pots or various recycled mini "greenhouses", and planted swiss chard seeds in the garden.  There is a large amount of yard clean up that needs to happen.  I began with a few smaller herb and flower beds, and then got through half of  a large bed.  Bird suet and yogurt were made.  I may run out of sunflower seeds before the next month is out, but at least the birds will have suet.  The friends I shared eggs and veggies with last week gifted us back in spades.  One shared two beautiful pottery mugs and a gorgeous handmade kitchen knife; the other shared two types of local goat cheese, apples, and home grown frozen blueberries.  Once we have much garden produce again, I'll try to make it up to them.  Pasta was made for a dinner, using our tomatoes, summer squash and herbs.  A kale salad was made to have with the leftovers.  I'm finding helpful and practical inspiration for the current days on gDonna's blog.  I'm thankful for all the colorful flowers, to give us cheer during these challenging times.  May you and your loved ones remain well, and hopefully even thrive these coming days.


Jane said...

Sounds like you are thriving in these times, Laurie. It's quite an adventure that's for sure. It looks like beautiful Spring has arrived at your neck of the woods. Ever since you told me about recanning olives, I've been on the lookout for large cans of them. Such a clever idea! Stay safe and stay contented!


Laurie said...

I think it's in Charlotte where I've had the best luck in finding the olives. So, I get them when on the occasional road trip with a good friend. I'm quite content when my world is this homestead. When too much of the suffering and craziness comes into my awareness, it's easy to get overwhelmed. So, I try to focus on what I can do here, and small ways I can make a difference, like bartering soap for food with a local restaurant/B&B, or sending donations to musicians who are putting on live concerts that ease my mind. I'd love to think when this is over, local small businesses will thrive, and the huge corporations go away or become more socially responsible. Well, I didn't mean to get on a soapbox, but there you have it.

daisy g said...

I have the same hope that you do, that we will all learn the great lesson of working together and simplifying our lives.

I also choose to keep the negativity out of my thoughts. My world is this home, this family, and those to whom I can be of service.

Blessings for another productive week!

Laurie said...

Kindred spirits, Daisy!

Michèle Hastings said...

Glad to hear you are doing okay. Like you, we enjoy being home and cooking at home, so that shift has been easy for us. The hard part is wrapping our heads around all that is happening in the country and the world.
Be well.

Laurie said...

That's the hard part for me too. You two keep well.

April said...

LOVE the photograph of the eggs!

We had a frost this morning; I'm still holding off on planting the lettuce in the planters. Our local wonderful country farm market opens April 6 (it is an essential business under the Ohio stay home order, which is pretty stringent and has just been extended to May 1): it is where I always buy my tomato and pepper plants. I"m not allowed in so I am going to have to rely on my dear husband's ability to find the qualities I am looking far: this place tries out many new types every year!

Stay safe in these troubled times.

Laurie said...

That's wonderful the farm market will still be operating. I haven't heard about our local markets. It got colder than predicted last night here as well. It was 36 when I checked this morning, so may have been slightly cooler, though the forecast was for 40. I'm glad we didn't have a frost. I hope your husband does a stellar job of picking your tomato and pepper plants.