BIG canner


IMG_1033 14 pints of Lentil Soup

Having had one of those DUH moments, it occurred to me that while I like things like Lentil and Pea soup, my husband, not so much.  So instead of making QUARTS of soup, why not make pints?  Then he can have what he wants and I can have what I want!

Summer time hot (a balmy 98F for the high when I canned the soup), took advantage of my BIG Presto canner which allowed me to double stack the jars so they were all done in one batch.  A little longer on the heat was still less fuel, time, and heat generated than doing either two canners at the same time, or as two separate batches.

Each jar perfectly sealed.  Did this yesterday, today took off the rings and cleaned them up, then cleaned off the jars and labeled them.

Two jars to a friend who has a teeny apartment with a teeny fridge.  The rest for ME!!!!

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hungry critters

Despite a great deal of fencing, covers, barriers, etc. critters are eating me out of pretty much EVERYTHING!

Having worked to further seal the mean garden, they got at my container grown tomatoes last night and did a number on one of the plants.  They got into another barriered grow bag and pretty much ate all the bean plants that were in there; how I can’t figure out because the barrier was a two foot tall plastic cylinder that would offer no purchase for climbing up and in or up and out.

Two different potato plants in grow bags – one with the plastic barrier and one totally surrounded with 1/4″ screening have been eaten to the ground.

They ate a newly planted blackberry and a newly planted grape – the latter twice!  Not sure if it has enough left to come back a third time.

Despite a new layer of the 1/4″ screening around the main garden they’ve been after the old chard plants that I’ve tried to let go to seed.  also eating the greens from the two turnips still in the ground.

While I don’t mind sharing, expect them to do the same and leave some for us!!

Posted in brassica rapa, chard, container gardening, fruit, gardening, greens, grow bags, homesteading, legumes, organic, prepping, self-reliance, tomatoes, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

new planting area

for winter greens

new planter18 feet long, about 2.5 feet deep.  Against the west wall of the house where it is protected by a fence and trees in front and kept warm by the house in back.   The bottom layer is a couple of inches of compost, not all of it done, then potting soil.  Will fill the three ollas so the compost can continue to cook in the heat of the summer and be ready for fall plantings.  Will put up some mesh against the back posts for peas and such.  during the dead of winter will use hoops and material to keep it warm at night. Will still get a good amount of daylight even during the shortest of days.

Posted in compost, container gardening, gardening, homesteading, legumes, prepping, self-reliance, Uncategorized, water | 1 Comment

update, June 19, 2017

In the midst of a record breaking heat wave, am updating the veggie garden.  This is what I refer to as the MAIN garden because it was the first area we created.  Have been hit very hard this year by hungry creatures, from lizards to ground squirrels to I don’t know what else munching on everything!  And have found out I’m not alone in this

june19a This was supposed to be a blackberry.  eaten to the ground and not coming back

june19braspberry.  It also got eaten to the ground but is coming back and hopefully I’ve protected it enough from hungry mouths

june19cthis was grape.  was coming up nicely before being eaten to the ground. hope it recovers

june19dcenter is california white sage. Second year I’ve tried this, coming along nicely.  To the left in the pic is some comfrey which has been growing in this container for over 5 years now.

june19eThis was a big luscious potato plant, before it was eaten. Yes, there is screening around it, it was eaten anyway.  now have a “top” of screening material over it.

june19fThese are some chard plants.  also eaten.  They were from last year and was trying to let them go to seed but the flower stalks are being eaten as fast as the leaves

june19gthere are actually 5 zuchinni plants in this fenced in enclosure.  2 planted in April, 3 planted in may.  all have been eaten and are sloooowwwwlly coming back, I hope.

june19hIf you look closely you will see two little stems sticking up, this is all that’s left of 6 broccoli plants.

june19i3 zucchini plants here, planted in May.  eaten down to the ground.  Now its soo hot they are not coming back very strongly

june19j These faired the best of the May planted zucchini seedlings.  The April planted ones are dead and gone.

june19kThe new compost area.  With neighbors close at hand and the forest also, do not want open bins attracting more critters than we already have.  The green one on the far end is the oldest, and has had all the panels already replaced once under warranty.  They were rusting out again and we’ve tried some Flex Seal to seal them and hopefully help this barrel last a bit longer.

june19lThese are some very pretty dark purple calla lillies.  Having shaded pretty much the entire back yard they are lasting a long time this year

Posted in chard, comfrey, container gardening, gardening, grow bags, homesteading, potatoes, prepping, self-reliance, squash, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

still knitting

This is the “ironwood” shawl, plus.  Found the pattern in an issue of Interweaves Knit Scene.  It is done in sport weight yarn on big needles (for sport weight).  It was not quick, it did NOT knit up per the pictures, and as I neared the end of the pattern repeats decided to extend it over the shoulders and down the front, rather than counting on the ends of the shawl to do it.  Adding a couple of buttonholes and buttons make this into something more like a poncho if I want to just have something to keep my shoulders warm, while I’m doing stuff. Yarn is Mary Gavan’s Canyon yarn – 52%cotton/48% rayon, color tilled soil. Used 3 skeins, 2 for the back, and split one for the front, size 9 needles for most of it, extended the front a bit by switching to 10.5’s. Has not been blocked.

ironwood2Yes, light enough yarn that it can be tossed around like a scarf

ironwood4“top” button with “bottom” button hole

ironwood5top button in top button hole, bottom button in bottom buttonhole

ironwood7this is the back showing the lacy detail that marks the center

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end May garden update

well, things aren’t going as planned – but do they really ever?  The shade cloths were up early this year and this may have stunted growth.  Lizards are taking more than their share.  Have already had to replace my zucchini seedlings.  have to replace tomato seedlings too, but waiting on that until am sure I’ve sealed the space from lizards!!  Of course, that space was devoted to roma tomatoes and not sure that I’ll find any more, may have to just put some seed in the ground and hope.

friday1 greens being allowed to go to seed for fall planting

friday2 hard to tell that there are actually several tomato plants in this pic

friday3 There were 28 good healthy seedlings in this bed.  There are now about 8.  Hopefully some of the ones that have some stem left will resprout.

friday4 these potato plants are in a large grow bag with 8” of 1/4” screening around the edge and you can see where the lizards have gotten in and eaten the plant anyway.  It could be ground squirrels, but know the lizards can go right up the fabric and screening.

friday5 eggplant and bush beans.  large olla in this 4’ planter

friday6peppers and chard. medium olla in this 3’ planter

friday7spaghetti squash.  There is another larger grow bag with more plants. small olla in this 2’ planter

friday8garlic looking good.  Will probably be ready for harvest in a couple of weeks

Posted in container gardening, gardening, garlic/onions, greens, grow bags, homesteading, legumes, organic, peppers, potatoes, prepping, preserving, self-reliance, squash, tomatoes, Uncategorized, water | Leave a comment

Olla Ole!

the Ollas are at work.  They work even if it is raining.  The water is dispersed underground where it is needed the most.  More efficient than a sprinkler, hose watering, even soaker hoses.

The seedlings put into beds with Ollas exhibited ZERO transplant shock.  So far, the heat of the day hasn’t gotten to them; ie, droopy leaves.  Of course, we’ve only been into the 80’s, will see if that continues as we get to the 90’s and 100’s.

Ollas are taking about three days to empty.  Will that increase as the weather gets hotter and the plants are bigger?  my assumption is, yes, it will.  Still, just pouring a gallon or two of water into an Olla every day rather than dragging out the hose has its merits.

Am so enamored of Ollas that just bought 4 small ones last night.  We’re working on an elevated bed for near the kitchen door for a winter greens garden.  This is the west side of the house so there will be protection from the worst of the cold.  drew out the design, and bought the wood last night.  Our grand nephew is going to do the build.  Will use the ollas in that through the winter.  When that bed gets too hot, will move the ollas into another bed for the summer grow season.  Or will just use the elevated bed for tomatoes and squash, and save one of the larger in ground beds for a try at corn.

While I’ve been thinking about this for some time, it was my hubby’s idea.  Either he’s humoring my gardening fetish or he likes the idea of fresh greens through the winter.

Posted in container gardening, gardening, homesteading, prepping, self-reliance, squash, tomatoes, Uncategorized, water | Leave a comment