Homesteading at it’s finest

We woke up an hour earlier than intended- thanks, daughter of mine, whom I dearly love, but have considered duct taping to your bed at night…- and got started working pretty much immediately…

Or… I got started working pretty much immediately. Everyone else eased into their respective tasks.

I went lazy with breakfast and we had cereal so I could do a fast clean up and start on the morning chores. I moved the chickens into their “mobile” run and they’ve been doing a great job mowing back by the hedgerow. They cleared out some stumps and rocks I didn’t know were there! So that’s cool, thanks chickens.

Then we stacked some more firewood before I took Dearest Daughter into town with me for some mommy/daughter time and to pick up some more jars for canning and preserving. I really need some more jars. Like, more than I bought… But I couldn’t find wide mouth quart jars, so I just got what they had and called it “passable.”

When we got back, I started processing jalapenos. In all, we got about 7 or 8 pints of canned jalapenos, which I’ll add to soups, chili, roasts etc. And I had enough peppers left to do a batch of jalapeno jelly. I love pepper jelly. I couldn’t tell ya why, I just do. So I made 6 half pint jars of that, and they are just waiting their turn to get into the canner.

Do I wish I had things other than peppers stored for winter? Yes. Yes, I do.

Did I slack and not can green beans this year? Yup. I was busy throwing up as Baby #4 wreaked havoc on my garden plans. I did make leather britches, which are more long term storage and not a quick-fix for dinners… But, food preservation has its ups and downs. I’ll take free preserved food and slow cooking over fast and expensive.

I have the grandest of plans to can a mess of butternut squash. Freezing it works well for us, but not for more than a month at a time. We don’t have a deep freeze, just a second fridge/freezer in the garage, so it fills up quick and that’s valuable space for our monthly meat buys. With the basement now clean(er) and (more) useable, I may set up some shelves and call that our root cellar for this year. The only potential drawback is it’s lack of humidity, because we’re trying to prevent any repeats of mold growth down there. We’ve tossed around some alternative ideas here and there, but haven’t settled on any yet. I’ll keep you posted on that front.

My other nagging desire is for either small hot bed or green house for over winter veggies. Can I grow most herbs through December here? Yup. But I’m thinking about when Baby comes in January and I’m going to want lots of greens to keep up milk supply while I’m nursing. So, I have some thoughts, but I’m not sure of the execution. So once I think that through a bit more, I’ll share my plan with you. I’ll give you a teaser; we have a set of old sliding glass doors I’m considering repurposing.

I’m really going hard at winter/postpartum prep because I know how difficult recovery was after Hank the Tank- systemic yeast infection, postpartum depression, fatigue, and all of the hormonal imbalance that presented as RA-like symptoms. So I’m going to do my best to stock my larder and herbal medicine cabinet while I can and hopefully avoid some of the new baby pitfalls from last time.

So far I’ve got Usnea for infection, dayflower for candida overgrowth, red raspberry leaf tea, peppermint tea, and rose hip for vitamin C and mood.

We’ll see how that goes.

What keeps me from being discouraged about our garden this year is that we’ve honed skills, and learned from our mistakes. I hesitate to call them mistakes, more like oversights. And thank God that at this point, it’s not a matter of survival at this point, or we’d really be struggling. Suffice it to say, I definitely want to do better next year, but all is not completely lost this year.

Once all the food is stored, my attention turns to preparing for my Moms’ group holiday market fundraiser. Lots of crafting and prepwork I’ve been putting off for other projects.

More to come!

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