Monday, July 18, 2022

Summer Canning & A Lettuce Experiment

Hello, friends.  Last week, I canned yellow squash and tomatoes.  Instead of the usual raw pack canning of tomatoes, I tried stewing them for the first time, and canned the juice separately.  I'm thinking stewed should made a nicer sauce.  The time and effort seemed to be approximately the same, but I liked not having to deal with the steaming pot to remove skins, and then the ice bath afterwards.  The recipe I used left the skins on, so I did too.  I've done that with cherry tomatoes used in canning, and they were fine.  Another day, I blanched and froze lambs quarter.  Cucumbers, tomatoes, yellow squash, tromboncino, eggplant, blueberries, a very few blackberries, parsley, oregano, basil, the first green beans and lambs quarter were harvested.  At Aldi, I bought a pineapple for $1.49, which is the cheapest I've seen in a long time.  I keep looking for the .99 pineapples I  read about people finding, but never see any in this area.  If I did, I'd try canning them, as they're doing.  J was given a large bag of local sweet corn, and froze most of it, after enjoying several ears.

I met my sister for a thrifting day, and found a dress to wear to the 70's disco dance party we're going to in August.  It's polyester, with a 70's looking pattern, and flared sleeves.  J had sent me a link for an outfit online, but it was $50, and I refuse to pay that to wear for one night.  The dress should have been $2, but I think ended up being $4 at the thrift store, still a great savings.  I also found J a fleece work vest, which was either $2 or $4, and a scarf for the dance outfit for $1.  We stopped by a produce stand, and I picked up a cantaloupe for $3.  Not a great deal, but cheaper than the stores have been here.  I shared cucumbers with my sister.  After I dropped her back at her car, I shopped at Food Lion, where I found someone had left coupons in the cart, including one for $3 off  $20.

We got rid of our two "extra" roosters, after J listed them online.  A woman and her small son came to pick them up, and though we didn't ask directly, we believe they will be additions to their farm nearby.  Though, in these times, I couldn't begrudge anyone wanting to put food by, I'm hoping they're living their best lives, with a flock of their own.  As the weeks go by, the littlest "RI Red" chicks are appearing to be bantams or some other small breed.  They're definitely not RI Reds.  We lost one of our Americauna hens last week.  She was just sitting near the door to their yard when I went out in the morning, and when I went to check on her a little while later, she was already gone, though she didn't appear to be struggling to breathe or any other signs.  I knew when she let me pet her that she must be pretty sick.  I continue soaking scratch grains overnight for the chickens, and giving them a mixture of banana peels, and whatever else I have that day.  Lately it's been chopped figs, grated cucumber, sometimes chopped tomatoes that have been pecked on by birds.  The day I canned tomatoes, they got all the seeds I had strained out for juice.  J glued one of the legs on the recently thrifted gateleg table, and I stained a small block he had replaced on it.  

Cole slaw was made with our cabbage and carrots, and J had the other cabbage half with potatoes one night.  I dehydrated the cut off tomato tops from canning for suet, and a few mushrooms that needed to be used, to add to the soup mix.  I planted the ends of one celery, and four lettuce in the garden.  Like last year, it doesn't look as though the celery is doing anything, but one lettuce appears to be growing slightly so far.  We have lots of melons and winter squash growing on the vines.  I keep finding various seedlings eaten off.  This week, it was lettuce and nasturtium.  In place of the nasturtium, I transplanted wintersown portulaca.   For the lettuce, we did a project we've been talking about for some time, which is making holes in a large piece of styrofoam for the pots, and floating the pots in our pond.  It supposedly keeps the lettuce cool enough to be happy during the summer, and the water has enough nutrients in it to help them thrive.  I planted four pots to start.  If they do well, we plan to add more.   

I made a peach cobbler for J, with some of the peaches a neighbor gave him, and some flour that needs using, as I'm GF now.  I started another MM cleanse this week, so it seemed a good time to do that.  For the cleanse, I've been able to use kale, tomatoes, herbs, garlic and cucumber from the garden in meals.  We've been able to open up at night, to take advantage of the fresh and cooler air, and got a small amount of rain.  I cleaned the chicken coop, and cut spearmint and southernwood sprigs to place in the coop and nest boxes.  While braiding onions on the porch with the pups, I saw a green snake fall from the roof.  It took me a minute to realize an anole lizard had it in it's mouth.  They battled for two or three minutes before the anole let the snake go.  I figure the snake had probably gone after the anole, and he was having no part of it!  Nature is something to behold.  

We had guests on Sunday.  They appreciated the photos of the garden I shared on social media, and asked if they could come out.  I was gifted a piece of a new to me herb, called papalo.  It's sometimes compared to cilantro, and has a strong scent and taste.  I've got it in water, to see if it will grow roots.  I was also given a bag of worm castings, an excellent gift for a gardener.  Cucumbers and tomatoes were shared.  J sowed carrot seeds.  I did a little bit of weed eating before the battery died.  By the time it was charged, I was onto other things.  J and I do Wordle and the spelling bee it links to pretty much every day, and compare.  As we do the free version of spelling bee, it cuts us off at some point, so I sometimes also do a free version called Free Bee, which does not cut you off.  It's the little things.  Be well, friends.  


daisy g said...

Wow, you had a busy week! Sorry to hear about your hen. I'm sure she had a good life with you.

The idea with the floating pots is amazing! Who woulda thunk it? ;0D

I will be checking out that word game. I used to play a game called "Muddled" which I think is similar and it is no longer available. Thankfully, it is still on my older IPad. I love word games! (It's the English major in me.)

Sounds like you got some good deals for your party ensemble. And finding coupons in the cart? I love little acts of kindness like that.

Have a great week, Laurie. Hope you got some of that precious rain last night!

Staci said...

Wow - worm castings are like a little gift of gold! Happy to hear you're enjoying some cooler nights/mornings. We had been receiving wonderful cooler temps at night however, this week is full of heat and humidity. I can't complain - we were due. What a fascinating idea for growing lettuce. It makes sense - wouldn't it be similar to hydroponic growing? I hope it works.

You're getting a nice amount of food preservation accomplished every week and a great variety. I'm intrigued about canning the pineapple. Are they pressure canning it? I've been finding them on sale around here and I did freeze some for smoothies, but I wasn't sure what else to do with it. Reading about your gifted corn made my mouth water. It's just about that season here and I can't wait!

What a great find while thrifting - the disco party sounds like a fun time!

Sorry to hear about your Americauna. We lost one of our barred rock pullets and same thing - no visible signs/symptoms. I had checked on them just a couple of hours earlier. That's wonderful that you found someone to take your roosters. When we had to get rid of a rooster it was incredibly difficult as there's so many trying to give them away on fb marketplace.

I don't remember whose instagram feed I saw it on, but did you happen to see on someone's feed that they put a board or piece of burlap over their direct sow carrot seeds for a couple of days? I thought that was a great idea. It helps keep it moist so they can germinate and once the board/burlap is removed they will green up and continue growing. I'm going to try it - I have raised beds so I should be able to put a board from one end to the other, keeping it off of the soil.

Have a wonderful week!

Laurie said...

I realized I love word games too, Daisy! No rain last night, but hoping for some this week. Have a wonderful week!

I did see that carrot post, and have used boards before. This time, my husband decided to use feed bags weighted down with tomato cages. I hope it works as well as the boards do. I don't remember if they said how they canned the pineapple, but it can safely be canned by water bath. That's not the first time we tried to give those roosters away. We tried FB Marketplace a while back, with no luck, but they no longer allow you to post animals, even if they're free, at least in this area. I'd also tried my personal FB and my blog. So, we went with Craigslist this time, and are so glad they've found a new home! The lettuce would be considered hydroponic, and I'll definitely report back on it. Wishing you bountiful corn!

Staci said...

The feed bag/tomato cage combo is a great idea. Thanks for the pineapple info, I'll look into it. 😊

christine said...

Don't know if you have Save-a-lot stores in your area, but ours had pineapples for 99 cents this week. Hope you have luck finding some. Let us know how the canning goes.

Laurie said...

I didn't think we had Save-a-lot stores here, but I just looked them up, and there are some about an hour away. Good to know, for when I might be in those places. Thank you.

Jeannie said...

Great onion harvest! What varieties are they? Do they store well? Did you buy the bulbs or start them from seed? Mine are already beginning to go bad so I am needing to chop and freeze them. The bulbs came from the feed store and are not storage varieties. The onions I started from seed last year are still storing well but are tiny since I started them late.

Laurie said...

We bought onion plants this time, which did great. J doesn't remember the varieties at the moment, but we got them from Dixondale Farms. They were a sweet white, a yellow and red. The white won't last long, but the others store wonderfully hanging in braids.

Jeannie said...

I bought onions from Dixondale farms last year and was impressed with their service but didn't care for their prices. I got the short-day variety pack. At the local co-op, a huge handful of bulbs are just a few dollars so I purchased from them this year. Dixondale onions didn't store long for me either.

Laurie said...

J buys the onions, so I didn't know about their pricing. I know when I braided them before, they lasted really well, which may be more to do with method of storage than their onions.