The big pots and canner brought down from the high shelves where they rest between seasons. At the end of the growing season last year, I ran out of jars and energy to can any more tomatoes, so 6 or so gallon bags were frozen. Instead of using them first, which would have been the wisest thing to do, the canned jars of sauce and tomatoes were used and all winter and spring, the bulky bags of little frozen orbs were shifted around the freezer. When the last jar of pasta sauce was opened, I decided to make a big pot of sauce from the remaining tomatoes, but chose to only use the spaghetti cooker and ended up using only a few bags of the tomatoes. That sauce was frozen in wide mouth pint jars and most of it has been used as it takes about 3 pints to feed the 6 of us and 3 pints to make a large lasagna. This morning, while looking for some chops to thaw for Jim’s dinner, one of the bags of tomatoes fell out of the freezer. It was time to make them go away, but in a useful way. After swim lessons, a roving dyeing session, some computer help for Jim, the tomatoes were tackled. As they had been frozen whole in their skins, I knew that the skins would be tough, but I didn’t want to water thaw and peel 3 1/2 gallons of tomatoes, so they were just dumped into a huge pot to thaw. The food mill was hauled down and the thawed tomatoes run through a fairly coarse blade to rid the pot of skins. The remaining sauce was thickened slightly and 9 1/2 pints of sauce processed. Most of it was canned so it is shelf stable, but the canner only holds 8 wide mouth pints, so the remaining pint plus will go in the freezer, a much smaller space consumer than the bags of frozen tomatoes.
The new fresh tomatoes are just beginning to come in for this year, so far only a handful of small slicers, but the plants are heavy with fruit, so canning of tomatoes, sauce, and salsa will soon commence.
The roving dyeing session was done as the camp that I will teach begins soon and the kids find the colors more fun than plain white roving. Three pans were dyed, blue and purple, blue and yellow, yellow and tomato red.
A dozen drop spindles have been made for them to each have one to keep. Last year’s version was a bit too light for the beginners, so this year, I sought larger wooden truck wheels and slightly larger shafts so they spin longer. My friend that works with me, bought small weaving looms for them as well. We will take our spinning wheels and each child will be given the opportunity to make a strand of singles which we will double back on itself to make them a strand of yarn.
I still need to go through some of my commercial yarn to help warp the looms and for them to use as weft to weave a small project.
The other prep is for the other day that I will work with them on herbal medicine. The plantain leaves and the calendula flowers have been brewing in oil for many weeks now, the handout for the plant walk and instructions on how to use various wild and cultivated plants for food or medicine has been prepared, but still needs to be printed out for them.