Soapy, Peppery Successes

The great freeze missed us the first night, but made up for it last night.  Whatever plants were left in the garden are burned off now.  For some reason, maybe the proximity to the front of the house, the Impatiens  survived the night.  The frost was thick on everything this morning.  The car was started about 10 minutes prior to driving A (Grandson that lives with us, (Grands and grown kids will now be referred to only by letter) to his bus stop as he is Florida born and thinks that the 28f and frost mean it is absolute zero and deep snow on the ground.  He has been here for 10 months now and survived a winter, but he is still adapting.  The pre-start warmed the car and defrosted the windows without having to scrape.

The soap was a success.  Once in a while, things go awry and I end up with a batch that never hardens properly.  One batch couldn’t even be rebatched to make a usable product and as it was a coffee scrub soap, I couldn’t make it into liquid soap as it would clog a pump or nozzle.  There are 27 beautiful, generous bars curing with scraps to cure for our use.  Each bar was more than 4.5 ounces, some nearly 5 ounces.  The molds are just shy of 10″ and the cutter cuts 1″ bars, so I get a small bar that I cure for our use from each batch made.

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These bars will be cured in time for the first Holiday Market day if I am chosen as a vendor.  I just found out that decisions won’t be made until the end of the month and notification until November 2.  I am glad I made the additional product, there wouldn’t have been sufficient time if I waited.

The oven dried Ancho peppers took much longer than the internet instructions suggested, about 6 hours instead of 2 to 3, but the two pans combined here will make a good batch of enchilada sauce.

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The greens ones are sunning each day on a baking rack to allow air circulation.  Some are beginning to turn red and they are beginning to show signs of drying out.  Once dry, they will be added to the oven dried ones.

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Each night they are brought in to the kitchen to keep them from freezing or getting too wet from the dew or frost.  Each morning, they are returned to the south deck to continue to ripen and dry if it is a sunny day.

The remaining ripe peppers, instead of using the electricity to run the oven for another 6 hours, were strung and set on window sills in a south window of the breezeway to finish drying.

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The garden was very generous with bell peppers and Anchos this year, not so much with Jalapenos and Habaneros.  We take what we get and are grateful for the bounty.

We have one more threat of frost tonight, then I can join the chickens in the garden, prepare a garlic bed and get the cloves in the ground, covered with spoiled hay and row cover so we will have the wonderful homegrown garlic next summer.  Our first frost as I look back, was 11 days earlier than last year.  I need to be better about garden planning and noting dates and harvest, I can’t look back but a  year.

Loving life on our mountain farm.

 

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