A Better Start

My day started earlier than I wanted due to an ailing pup, and not being able to go back to sleep after dealing with him, but it got me up to see the sun rising, the fog lifting, chores and breakfast done in time to peel, chop, cook, and can the basket of tomatoes before hubby was up. The basket minus a couple of slicers that were slightly green on the crown were all used and it made 7 pints of plain diced tomatoes to be used however needed in the coming months. Only 6 pints fit in the canner, so the 7th was put in a wide mouth jar with a storage lid and will go in the refrigerator to be used in some recipe in the next week. If I only need half, the other half will be frozen until it is needed. As I began this post, the lids are popping indicating the seal. Since my lovely SIL sent me the lids, I have canned 4 dozen jars of goodness and I still await the delivery of the reuseable ones I ordered. Tracking shows they should be here on Wednesday, so I have a break of at least a couple mornings before there are enough tomatoes or tomatillos to process. I am almost through my jars as well, though there are wide mouth pints that can be used if needed. There are some half pints being used for storage that can be switched to other containers if needed.

The shelves await the cooling tomatoes. They are deep enough to hold 3 or 4 jars front to back depending on the size of the jars. I will save enough jars for a batch of pear marmalade if I can get the pears, and a small batch of ground cherry jam if they produce before frost. Tomatoes and tomatillos after available jars are exhausted, will be blanched and frozen. Peppers are dried, frozen, and brined in quart or half gallon jars and there are plenty to get through this season. Other than peppers, the remaining tomatoes ripening and the tomatillos, the only other items growing are beans and peas which are used fresh and blanched and frozen. The paltry few carrots that germinated can stay in the garden until needed. Any spinach or lettuce used fresh until frost kills them off. It has been a good garden season. As the weather cools, I will finally make the final box or boxes and will spend the milder winter days doing more maintenance in the garden. It was fairly easy to manage this year but would be easier if I was more consistent with the use of cardboard under the edges and between the boxes and if something other than old hay was in the paths. Maybe now that I have an easy to use line trimmer, I should just let grass grow and keep it mowed short, though wood chip mulch would be better. I may rent a small wood chipper to grind the corn and sunflower stalks to help them break down. If I do, there are plenty of fallen branches that could be chipped for mulch.

Hours later:

The belt has been returned, the new one picked up. The cucumber vines are pulled, planting #2 of beans were picked clean and pulled and #3 provided a generous harvest to blanch and freeze this evening along with enough for tonight’s dinner with our corn and our last cucumber.

Tomatillos will be blanched and frozen, Jalapenos brined, there are a couple more Thai peppers somewhere in the midst of the beans, I guess they will show up when the beans are washed for the pot. A few more tomatoes to finish ripening on the sill, if I leave them on the vines, the birds peck holes in them. Some of the slicers will be eaten, some frozen with the paste tomatoes for winter use.

I didn’t quite finish the mittens last night, I quit before I was done. The top is being closed in, the thumb will be finished, it is less than an hour’s work to be done.

Stay safe, if you are in the middle of the country, find your parkas and hope the snow is light and quickly gone for another month or so. It is getting delightfully cool at night, but still hot during the daytime. We should have 5 or 6 more weeks before first frost.

I would love to hear your comments on this post.