October 4, 2020

A Bit of Last-Minute Canning


We decided about a month ago that we weren't going to do any canning this fall. 
Nope, none. No time--especially not with trying to sell our house and pack. 
Just no.
Then we harvested 4 buckets of apples from our apple tree. 
Wormy apples, most of them, but good tasting despite that.
Then before frost hit, we harvested tomatoes galore--bins and bowls and strainers full. Also, 4 buckets of green tomatoes. Plus onions, peppers (sweet and hot), cucumbers.
I just couldn't stand to see all that produce go to waste!
I made some comments about giving it away, but deep down, I didn't want to! My kids had worked so hard on their gardens this year and we were blessed with this abundant harvest. 
I just had to do something with it.

So. We had already packed all of our empty bottles, and some of the canning equipment, like the Vittorio strainer for applesauce. 
Moms to the rescue! I knew my mom still had her Vittorio strainer, and bless her heart, she also had bottles that she just gave to me! 
I had stocked up on lids last year, which was a good thing, since they are very scarce this fall.
So last week we did our homeschool Monday through Wednesday, then we were off to Grandma's Wednesday afternoon.
Thursday was applesauce day! 
It was so fun to can with my mom! It was actually the first time I've been able to do that.
She has a pretty slick setup for canning in her new house, let me tell you.
25 quarts of applesauce, done!

Then Friday we went down to my mother-in-law's to take care of the rest.
She had offered to just do it for us, but we couldn't let her do that.
We came bearing all of our tomatoes, onions, and peppers, several spices, and various other assorted canning things we could round up.
I think we all underestimated the sheer amount of tomatoes we had to process.
She kept pulling bottles out of her garage--by the time all was said and done, we had used up every last bottle on her shelf, except for the extra small half-pint sizes.
We did 28 quarts of regular red salsa on Friday.
Saturday we did 14 quarts + 7 pints of green tomato pickles.
Since we can't even open those for 3 weeks, we won't know how we like them until after the move.
We finished up the day Saturday with 21 pints of salsa verde, also using the green tomatoes.
In addition, I have a big batch of barbecue sauce that I need to finish up here at home tomorrow, and get it canned. It was way to vinegary for my taste, but we ran out of bottles, so I didn't finish working on it. We will have to pull a box of pint jars out of storage to put the BBQ sauce into!

It's ironic that we made so much salsa this year, since I haven't made it for several years.
I hadn't found a recipe I liked, so it seemed a waste of time.
I am happy to report we all tried the salsa--both varieties--and liked them.
That's a relief!

So after I can BBQ sauce tomorrow, then I'll really be done. For real, this time.
No, I mean it.
Second wave of packing up starts this week! 
We are a little more than 2 weeks out from moving truck.

September 20, 2020

Utah Home, Then and Now

 As we're getting ready to move to Oregon (by the way, we're moving to Oregon!), I thought it would be fun to do the same Before and After series that I did for our Pullman home. 

When we moved in, everything was brown, dead, and dry. There were very few flowers, and a lot more fruit trees. Our outbuildings have changed quite a bit. Are you ready? Here we go!

Front of House



Not a huge difference, except the lawn and the little maple tree are both alive and green.
For those with very sharp eyes, you may notice that the swamp cooler is also no longer on the roof--we switched to central air!

Front Flowerbeds


Admittedly, this bed is chock full of bindweed.
I should have taken a picture after the last time we weeded it!
It has a couple of rose bushes, a peony, some irises, and lots of spring bulbs.

I do enjoy this front corner bed. It's got all kinds of things in it these days: sedum, daylilies, asters, roses, peonies, irises, scabiosa. It makes me happy all summer long.

We also added these front flowerbeds all the way down the fence on either side.
I still feel like I was just getting started with those, but what's in there is pretty.

Front Shade Beds



A little more greenery in there. 
I meant to put matching hydrangeas on each side, but ended up only getting the left side planted with those. I also added lady's mantle, feverfew, heuchera, and hostas.

Back Yard


Garden spot, orchard, and the woodshed there on the right.

Woodshed, fire pit, garden shed

Looking back towards the house.

Far back corner


Garden with greenhouse

A much more sparse orchard, unfortunately.
Chicken Palace in the background.
Our fruit trees have died off like crazy!

Our new fire pit area, and the shed we put in.

Woodshed and garden tool storage add-ons to the shed.
The inside essentially became my husband's workshop.

Garden area, from the back deck.

Looking back at the house. New deck.

Toward the far corner.

Back Flowerbeds



This bed doesn't look all that different than before, but the surroundings are much nicer! :) 

We did finally get this corner flowerbed put in.

This is another flowerbed full of good stuff, and also full of bindweed.
It has been a losing fight on my end with the bindweed here.
This bed also holds 5 peonies, coreopsis, yarrow, daisies, a couple of sickly rosebushes, and several spring bulbs.

Oval Flowerbed



Well, this is not the glamour shot by any means!
Also, I had this bed completely weeded a month ago and now it's full of grass and bindweed again.
So from 6 lonely rose bushes, it now has a pie cherry tree, several roses, a peony, lots of spring bulbs, 2 ninebark bushes, bachelor's buttons, asters, phlox, and coreopsis.

Here was this bed back in May:

A little better representation of the goodness!

I am proud of what we accomplished in the 3 years we've been here. 
Now we're headed off to a rental home, with a tiny little yard, and no landscaping duties at all.
I wonder what we're going to do with our time?