Sunday, October 21, 2007

No wonder they died young....

The home-preserved tally thus far:
* 16 pints of Dilly Beans, + ? lbs. processed wax & green beans in the freezer

* 28 quarts of grape juice
*13 1/2 pints grape jelly
5 pints pickled pepper rings
7 pints of roasted tomato sauce
*8 quarts of roasted tomato sauce

Frankly, I'm pooped. It's no wonder earlier generations of Americans died early. If they did not succumb from childbirth or improperly processed tomatoes, no doubt they died of exhaustion.

Still on my list: 2 batches of pepper jelly with my gorgeous lemon drop peppers. I have a sinking feeling I'll see that hope flash by given the speed of events these days. Over the weekend, I processed another 5 quarts of roasted tomato sauce. I roasted the tomatoes Friday evening, then refrigerated them until this morning, when Dan helped me run them through the tomato mill to remove seeds and skins, then put it on the stove to simmer for the day while we attended to other items on the list.
The above tally does not include the large tubs of potatoes, carrots, and (yikes!) a few more tomatoes in the barn, nor the remaining leeks in the garden.

I picked the last of the Swiss Chard
early last week, after realizing the hens love Swiss Chard, and any left in the garden would be reprocessed into eggs. The few remaining heads of broccoli are already eggs, sigh. I need to remember that next year. Still, the girls are doing a wonderful job cleaning up the garden, and they are so happy while they do it, what a treat to watch them at work.

As the sauce gently bubbled away, we loaded the truck with the mildew-riddled squash and pumpkin vines, and trundled off to the town transfer/composting station. As we pulled in to the yard waste area, we gleefully spied a fresh load of pine needles --just the thing for mulching the blueberry hedge, which Dan had weeded last week. I hope the pine needles are less conducive to the insidious creeping Charlie, (aka ground ivy, gill-over-the-ground and one hundred other names), since it thrives in compost and doesn't blink at shredded bark mulch.

Once we dumped the squash plants, we loaded the truck up with armloads of gorgeous pine needles and headed home. Within a matter of minutes the blueberries were mulched for the winter. I hope that in addition to the preventing charlie encroachment, the pine needles will add to the acidity of the soil as they break down, making our blueberries happy and productive. I still need to add 2 plants to the row, I've got to remember to look up the variety I need. All told, it was a pleasant and productive day in the garden.


Gentle Palm's Gardener, Portia said...

What hard work! But you will enjoy it all winter.....

Sugarcamp said...

I am duly impressed with the amount of food processing and freezing you have done. The peak for color was this weekend for us also in upstate New York. Mom

Kim said...

I think NH's leaves were especially yellow this year, as well. We have had such a warm fall, it almost seemed like the heat was coming from the trees!

Hang in there! You are certainly going to feel good when the first snow comes and you can sit snuggly in your living room enjoying the fruits of your labor, while homemade yumminess simmers on the stove.

Until then.....phew!