It’s been a while, WordPress!

I’ve been busy, and thus neglected this blog.  In 2014, we became the property managers for 34 rental units in our town and surrounding area.  Many of them have required extensive renovation to come up to speed with our standards, and I’ve been the project manager on all of it.  This has severely crimped my time spent thinking about gardening and canning. To top it all off, I had a SLAP repair and a tendonitis on my left shoulder in early December – it’s really good when all of your parts are connected and work….  Then, in the middle of January, I slipped on the ice and dislocated my knee cap by about 2 inches.  Unknown to me at the time, I also tore the ligament that goes under the knee cap and chipped a bunch of bone in the joint.  3 months later, an ambulance ride, an ER visit, lots of Physical Therapy, a surgery, a full leg brace, more Physical Therapy, and I’m starting t0 finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.  On the other hand, this injury was caused by, and made worse, another issue I have; a bad SI joint.  It’s been there for 20 years, and I’d been told that “there was nothing wrong with me” and “It’s all in your head”, but not sleeping because the damn thing wakes you up every few hours and keeps you awake is just sucktastic.  When I met the Orthopedic Dr., he said I was a perfect example of what happens to women when you have this issue.  Ok, a rant on healthcare professionals listening to women about their pain is not where I want this post to go, though the upshot is, they don’t.  Back to the story, I was unable to recover from the fall in January because my SI gave out.  Surgery was an option, and I’d been exploring a fusion before the knee injury happened, but the insurance terms anything to do with the SI joint “Experimental”, and thus denies the approval.  We are currently at appeal #2, a letter begging them to make it better, and a hearing on the denial of the ambulance ride.  Sigh, thus goes the life of people who’s insurance changes without them being told.

Here’s a picture of some of my lovely BDSM gear.  It really, really, really hurt my hip.   (This is post fall , but pre-knee surgery.) The other, full leg gear is the featured picture – (Sorry about the blurry, I was moving all over the place in my lovely, soft, t shirt, sweats, fuzzy socks, and Birkenstocks.

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Potato harvest 2015

I’ve not been posting due to overwhelming harvesting and putting up!  A chance to breathe finally came today, and my chickadee and I put up all of the potatoes after they cured on our porch for a week and a half.  We had some doozies!  Funny veg…

Here they are:

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My little chickadee with her turkey leg potato!

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Shrek…- you can see it, right?  (IRL, the potato is fairly green.)

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A boot.

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And, if you picture a hole in the middle of this one, a Q.

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In all?  100 lbs of potatoes, and they’re funny colors too.  Pink, blue, white…we’re rather American flag there, aren’t we? 🙂

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Canning tip #3

Steam is hot.  It will burn you.

Says she who got a 3 inch scald a week ago and just for good measure, did it again this week to remind herself…

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Canning tip #2

Don’t be stupid like me and put a sharp knife (used for whatever purpose) into the sink where it can be obscured by veg.  You will get cut.

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Canning tip #1

You will get burned eventually.  Don’t sweat it.

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How to make Applesauce – and other adventures in food

This week has been a busy canning week!  Everything is ripe.  But, because we finally ate up the last jar of applesauce from 2009 in August, (I made an overabundance, being able to pick up burlap bags full of seconds from Allison’s Orchard in Walpole NH that year.) I’ve decided to do apples.  Lots of apples.

Before the apples, however, there were a couple of other adventures in food.  We had grapes this year!  Really the first nice harvest, which was brought about by a wine tasting at a winery last February, where the sommelier told me how to trim grape vines.  So, what do you do with an abundance of sour grapes?  Why, make wine of course!  So I did.  Here it is bubbling happily away.

Then, a friend brought us a 5 gallon pail of pears.  So those got canned up into 9 quarts of pears in light syrup.  See the happy pears?  🙂

20150829_101822We also picked and made 9 quarts of tomato juice, but I don’t have a picture of that…sorry, bad blogger!

Then there were the apples.  One of our trees dropped most of it’s fruit early and I missed it.  The other, however, had most of it’s fruit still on it, so yesterday, my little chickadee and I picked it.

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Then, youngest son and I foraged a bunch of these beautiful apples.  Aren’t they pretty?  They are pink inside!

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Because they were small, applesauce it was.  So here’s how to do it:

Wash your apples and pull any leaves and branches off.20150904_164436

Cook your apples up until the skin starts to come off.  These aren’t quite done yet.20150904_164810

Fish the apples out with a slotted spoon, and put them thru your food mill.  Use the larger screen, because the seeds jam up the smaller screen.  My helpers fight to be the kid to crank and squish!  Though when I helped, I cut up my fingers on the metal edge of the hopper (folding tables are not the best choice for attaching the food mill, but it’s what we’ve got) and am now mis-typing every other word due to the bandages.  What’s canning without a little blood or a burn?  😉

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I had a 12 quart pot full of apple sauce.  Sugar to taste.  I used 5 cups of sugar for this batch.  The sugar also helps the applesauce to become more liquid – I like a fairly juiceless sauce, so I don’t add much, just enough to make it less than tar.

Then, spice to taste.  I used 6 tbsp of cinnamon, 4 tbsp of nutmeg, and 2 tbsp of cloves for this batch.  I wing the spices, because different apples require more or less spicing.  Keep tasting your applesauce.

Bring it to a boil and ladle into sterilized jars.  Water bath can or 60 minutes.  Yummy goodness to be eaten with cheddar cheese or heavy cream.

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How to make Radish Pod pickles

I tell ‘ya, radishes are the plant that just keeps giving.  You can eat the root, the leaf, AND the seed pod.  I let my radishes bolt, because I save seeds.  The first year I did this, I left too many in the ground to bolt.  Then, going out to pick seeds I though…”There’s GOT to be something I can do with these seeds!”  Thus was born the Radish Pod pickle.  They’ve become quite the fancy Christmas condiment at my house.  Here’s how you do it.

Pick the pods and strip them from the stalk.

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Wash them to remove any other debris (leafs, grass, etc)

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Wash and sterilize your jars.

In the bottom of your clean jars, put:

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 sprig fresh dill

Then, jam those bad boys (the radish pods) into the jar; as many as you can fit.  You can squish them in, because as you add the brine, they always seem to shrink.

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Cook up your brine and get your water for the bath going.

While that’s starting to boil, add, on top of the radish pods, the following:

  • 1/2 to 3/4 Tsp Mustard seed – I use brown.
  • a pinch dill seed
  • 1 shake (less than 1/4 tsp) cayenne powder

On to the brine –

  • 12 cups water
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup salt
  • 2 tsp Gerra spice (If you don’t have Gerra, use 1 tsp paprika and 1 tsp cinnamon

Pour boiling brine into jars.  Seal and process for 15 minutes for pint jars.

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