Sunday, July 30, 2017

July 30, 2017

Homesteading, when you are doing it there are so many places you can drop the ball, especially with garden produce.  Not only do you need to find good seed, you need to germinate it, plant it, weed it, water it, pick it, preserve it and eat it.  If you drop the ball at any one of those places, you have wasted your time.  That's a lot of places to miss out.  Sometimes you have a tremendous crop and need to put away enough for two years in case the next year ends up with a place where you have dropped the ball or something unforeseen happens.  This year's crop of tomatoes is phenomenal.  So far we have canned 90 quarts of spaghetti sauce, a few quarts of catsup, and made lots of salsa for eating fresh.  We use it for soup bases, chili, pizza sauce, and pasta sauce.  We grew the bell peppers, oregano, basil, cayenne peppers, tomatoes, and garlic.  We did not grow the onions or salt.

Our Asian Pear tree finally put out some fruit this year ( 5 years old), but only enough for fresh eating.  So far we have picked from two varieties.  The one on the right is very sweet, and the one on the left is a little less sweet and more firm.  We tried the last one cut up into pieces and put into chicken salad.  It was yummy and added just the right amount of sweetness and texture.

We are using our greenhouse as a solar dehydrator and will let you
know how that goes.  We pruned the basil plants and left some for them to grow back and produce more basil leaves, and we picked the cayenne peppers and strung them on unflavored dental floss.  I have been drying the cayenne, running it through the blender (and being careful not to breathe in when I open the lid away from me after it has been stopped for a minute), and using it in the place of black pepper in all of our dishes.  It is much better, I think, and I like knowing how it was grown.  We also sprinkle the cayenne liberally in the dogs food (even making their treats with it.)  This keeps them flea free.  It does not, however, seem to work on ticks.  I do the same with basil, drying it and running it through the blender, then putting it in a sprinkle container.  I love using the basil on almost anything.  The flavor is SO much better than what you can buy in the store!  I especially like using it on eggs.  Did you know it is said to have a calming effect? I can use all of that I can get. . .

Lastly, I wanted to remind everyone to be sure to learn safety on their new power tools, as some things are not obvious.  For example, we got a new compound miter saw and I was using it to cut out the trim for the new floor we are putting down on the main floor.  While I was very respectful of the power of the blade and made sure I kept my hands out of the way, I did not know the power of the kickback of the saw on wood that is not resting on the fence.  Sometimes tuition comes in the form of stitches. . .Be safe!

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