Friday, July 02, 2010

Food production and preservation (and related topics)

Life has been fun this past week. Less than one day after posting about the June 9 rain, it started raining again. Its been slower this time, in the past 18 hours, we've gotten about an inch. Nonetheless, it has cooled everything off quite a bit, and provided a great deal of free water. In addition to the original rain barrel we put out, I added 3 "homer buckets", which filled in the first couple of hours. Just now, I added 3 more plastic containers that are now filling nicely.

The original bucket and a plastic container, positioned to also catch some of the overflow out of the original rain barrel.

A full "homer" bucket on the front stoop.

The second "homer" bucket and the second of three plastic containers.

The third and last plastic container and the third "homer" bucket (full of water).

Forecast says to expect rain for several more days, so it shouldn't be a problem filling these three new plastic containers.

The compost is coming along very nicely. I'm planning to start some seeds this weekend, so I'll start sifting out the fine stuff soon. I'm very excited... the first bin was filled again with fresh grass clippings yesterday (beating the rain by an hour at the most).

All is growing wonderfully in the garden. Any ideas as to what type of gourd this is? It came in a packets of "mixed gourd seed", and I've seen at least 3 types of gourds so far. I'm planning to dry them and maybe I can make some decorations out of them, or sell them for others make decorations for the fall. Hmmm....

I decided to make 1 big bed, instead of 4 small beds. After talking with a friend at school, I realized roto-tilling will be easier and I have more space for planting and I can mix up where I plant stuff more easily. Plus, its fewer cinder blocks! I've got the last nine to purchase and put out, which I think I can do once the rain stops.

The cayenne chili plant is producing prolifically, so I decided to hang and dry them. They are up in the garage, and I add 3 or 4 peppers every few days. Hubby loves spicy food, so its hard to have too many spicy peppers. I've got plans for 2 cayenne plants for the fall.

I've also tried my hand at canning again. The canning of huckleberries worked just fine, it was just that the huckleberry jam wasn't so good. This time, I went for canning salsa. I used the "Better Homes and Gardens" recipe, using more spicy peppers than called for (and fewer sweet peppers). So far, its been a hit with both Hubby and I. I just hope 5 pints will last till the next tomato harvest.

I'm making pizza sauce today, with plans to can it. I'll dedicate a post to that process, when I know the final results. I'm all about figuring it out myself, so I should wait till its all done to know if it was successful or not.

Gosh, rainy days are nice.


  1. Anonymous9:55 AM

    I've been trying to find time to attempt making peach jam this summer. You're blog has so inspired me :) I will do it at some point this summer! I would love to try to can my own salsa but am a bit daunted by the canning process for acidic things. We'll see. (This is Katie (Dyson) Bernstein by the way...wasn't sure how it would post my name!

  2. Canning salsa was the easiest, so far. I canned pizza sauce last night. Canning is easier than I thought, just need the equipment. I got it off of, posted that I wanted any manner of canning supplies, and some guy dumped masses and masses of jars, rings and a pot on me. It was great. Go for it, try it, its fun!

  3. I'm hoping my tomatoes will grow this summer. We've had such cool/rainy weather! Your salsa looks so beautiful canned! And I'm looking forward to trying your pizza sauce recipe. We got one freezer stocked yesterday with meat to last an entire year. Now on to the other freezer that will be filled with fruit, veggies, stocks, pie fillings, etc.

    The peppers you are drying will be so appreciated come winter.

    Happy Fourth of July!


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