BACK TO CANNING AGAIN

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IMG_3607Well this has been a long awaited month for me, I started canning in earnest this month, even though I had done a little upon moving into my apartment 1 year and 9 months ago. This year I am stocking up on home canned goods much as I used to do when I lived in Bridgewater.

IMG_3609The last two weeks have been busy for me. I started off by taking advantage of chicken leg quarters on sale, and making and canning chicken broth, chicken and broth, and chicken vegetable soup.

This past week, I was not planning on canning all the meat that I did, but you have to take advantage of sales as they come along, and this week two stores that I shop at had extremely good “Come On” Sales. We always called them “Come On Sales” due to the fact usually in the meat department prices on a product that are too good to be true as compared to the regular price. This week it was Whole Pork Loins $1.88 per pound. and Boston Butt, for $1.38 per pound.

IMG_3608While the second store had boneless skinless chicken breast for $1.99 per pound and pork shoulders for $1.29 per pound.

I simmered the pork shoulder for the broth, then canned the pork shoulder meat in the pork both (pints) the broth in quarts. The pork loins were canned in pints, the chicken breasts in pints. I also picked and canned 15 quarts of Roma Italian green beans.

IMG_3611In the coming week I will be canning and freezing a couple of bushels of peaches (my absolute favorite fruit) that I have not had in over 5 years. I just cannot stand store bought canned peaches as they tend to be bland and flavorless or canned in heavy syrup, I use extra light syrup. What is not canned will be IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) on trays then vacuum sealed.

The picture above also shows my trusty near 100 year old metal to metal seal pressure canner, the forerunner of the All American Pressure canners. I would say in my lifetime since I was 16 years old when I bought it at a second hand shop (it was ancient then) LOL It was modified by replacing the old petcock safety valve with a Mirr-O-Matic weighted valve, by my Old Order Mennonite Bishop, in my horse and buggy days. Over my time it has canned many thousands of pints and quarts of foods.

IMG_3612I feel this week I am regaining the old me, returning to a normal way of life. and the things that you do all through the year! I FEEL AMAZING AGAIN~

I also need to give a special THANK YOU, to my good friend Elizabeth Scott of Harrisonburg, who upon her moving gave me quite a few dozen canning jars  to get started again. THANK YOU SO MUCH  ELIZABETH!!!!

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Above is pork broth from the shoulder and a couple quarts with shoulder meat and broth. On the Right side picture, (left side) Canned Pork Loin, (right side) canned Pork Shoulder meat in pork broth.

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Left picture Roma Italian Green Beans (my absolute favorite) Right picture is tonight’s canning project a canner load of canned butter beans and small read beans.

That is it for canning up till now, next well be the peaches, then it will quiet down until Autumn’s Apple Season for Applesauce and Apple Butter, oops forgot the pears late summer, early fall.

HOPING TO START POSTING BY NEW YEAR!

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IMG_3520For the last several months my laptop has been freezing up, needing to be restarted up to 12 times a day, says I have no internet connection when I do have one.

The list goes on and on, a good friend in the Netherlands teamed up with me on Team Viewer and what he did helped for about 4 days then back to the way things were, except now it just freezes up all the time.

It is important to me to continue buying my way out of bohemia and working on getting my old life back which must seen exceedingly boring to most people but it was my life and I was happy, gardening, cooking, canning, doing watercolor painting and card making, basket weaving etc. All this made the topics I wrote me blog posts about. Basically it means going back 4 years and picking up where things left off. and continuing on.

A new computer was not in the forecast of purchases, and as I have found laptops are basically junk manufactured to last only a max of 4 years. NO MORE LAPTOPS, I WILL ONLY BUY A NEW DESK TOP THIS TIME AROUND.

IMG_3523Well this is just meant as an informative blog post should no one see a blog post for months this is why. In all likelihood we are looking at sometime after the first of the year before it is replaced.

I use art as a means of relaxation, something that the Drs. tell me that I need more of (relaxation) so the things that I have waited for 4 years to replace will be replaced first.

This year is the first year I will be back to canning, freezing and preserving and dehydrating, in 4 years. I am hoping that if I lay my hands on my laptop and pray for it, some way some how it will repair itself long enough to be able to make the blog posts about canning etc. this summer. This week I will go and pick up my first two bushels of peaches at the orchard to can and freeze. So hopefully it will not freeze up  or continue to do so and I can get these posts made. I also have several rows of green beans planted at some dear friends that offered several unused rows in their garden for me to use and plant.

I will be looking to buy some crab apples, summer and fall apples and pears to preserve. So some good photography and blog posts coming if I can get the computer to co-operate with me long enough to get them posted.

BALCONY GARDENING MID JUNE

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IMG_3527I must say that I am very pleased with my balcony container garden this year. Though I believe I have created a monster that will need a machete this fall for both the black and green elephant ears. They both are heavy feeders and like to be well watered. You can understand this with both, as when you plant 1/2 to 1 pound bulbs you get what you plant. The young leaves are huge!

I am looking forward as they grow, to take more close up photography of them as they both have striking textures and veining. The passion flower vine is growing like a weed, now that the Grackle has started leaving it alone, I am sure he/she heard me say that it was soon to be a dead Grackle and poof like magic stopped nipping out the top 4 inches of each vine.

IMG_3522The black eyed susan vines really grow faster than I thought, they don’t appear to be doing much, however they really are they are blooming towards the outside of the deck, (I think they are intimidated by the size of the elephant ears planted directly behind them) The nasturtiums are still growing and blooming heavily, though the older first leaves of the plants are yellowing, I believe as I thought when I planted them that they will last until probably mid July when they will succumb to summers heat. That will leave a color void on that end of the balcony, however this will give the Salvia Guaranitica more room to bush out and the vivid orange of the IMG_3524nasturtiums will be replaced by striking cobalt blue.

The geraniums are growing slowly, I believe as the night temps have just recently begun to stay in the mid to upper 60’s at night, I am sure as soon as the night time temps hit the 70’s they will spring to life. My heavenly blue morning glories and cardinal vines are entwined and growing up now approximately 8 ft tall, the cardinal vines now have immature buds forming, alas none for the morning glories yet.

IMG_3528Now the Phaelenopsis orchids to my utter amazement almost all are setting flower spikes and getting buds on them now. I am going to still trim off the old roots and repot them hopefully this week.

 

A surprise came to me about a week ago, a garden space to plant a vegetable garden, after a very long 4 year dry spell of unsettled living and no canning or freezing what so ever. This is indeed presents a welcome relief. When you are used to home canned foods, store bought just does not cut it. This summer I should be able to can tomatoes and V-8 juice as well as green beans, I am already planning on going to the Mennonite orchards for peaches, pears and apples. I love homemade apple butter and plan of making several turns of this, in the fall. I use the 18 quart roaster oven method which requires no stirring and comes out perfect every time. Here is the recipe for this method.

APPLE BUTTER TIME!

 

If the garden produces well, some lima beans from the garden for the freezer. I also have cauliflower seed to plant for the fall crop, these will be transplanted to the garden the end of July first week of August. My primary interest with it is for canning Mixed pickle consisting of Cauliflower, Carrots, Bell Peppers, Lima Beans, there are so many variations to this recipe. some even include corn and peas. However it is a great way of eating more vegetables rather than just cucumber pickles.

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MY 1996 TOYOTA CAMRY XLE

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IMG_3576I wanted to take this opportunity to express my sincere Thankfulness and Gratitude for the benevolent generosity of all that donated personally and through the GO FUND ME campaign. With out your help and support a car to replace the one that died in the January accident would never have been possible.

Having been on a fixed income for the past decade, has  made savings a near impossibility. This 1996 Toyota Camry with just 117,000 miles on it could never have even been a possibility for me without the love and support of friends and strangers alike. Amazing the car came to me on my birthday May 30th!

I just want to tell you all how much I sincerely appreciate what you all have done for me in giving me back my freedom to travel once again.

I also want to thank Carolyn Garber and Diane Bowman, for the many trips they made to Elkton from Broadway and Rawley Springs, Virginia to pick me up and take me to medical appointments every two weeks since January. Without them I am uncertain where I would be today. Thank You Carolyn and Diane! Thank you both for your sincere friendship over the past 25 years. You both are the best friends anyone could ever wish to have!