Monday, September 5, 2016

Garden Update

Every year I say, "Well there is always next year" when something in the garden is disappointing. This year the disappointing factor was me. To be honest most of the time it is me. Or I am a contributing factor. This year, I have been having some health issues, that combined with the 100°F weather or monsoon type rains, and I had to stay frequently indoors.

 My garden is overgrown with sprawling tomato plants and twining morning glories. Despite the straw in the garden, the weeds secured a strong hold as well. The tomato cages bent under the weight of the fruit filled vines. Sadly  quite a few were tossed into the compost pile due to being overripe, there was hornworm damage, the low hanging tomatoes had nibble marks and the top of plant tomatoes had been pecked by birds.

We may go back  out over the next week to gather the rest of the peppers but by and large everything is on the decline. Squash bugs overtook the east part of the garden. The hubbs and I are taking a few "staycation" days later this month and we will used those days to clean up the garden. Once everything is cleaned up, we paying to have the plot plowed and a load of manure turned in. I am undecided if we will overseed with a cover crop (ryegrass) or cover it with straw.

Regardless, I still managed to pull in quite a haul. I had to used my garden dump cart to harvest everything. And all the critterdom will celebrate tonight, as the gate to the garden is open and they can feast upon what remains.

Assembly line for prepping the tomatoes (27 pounds!)

I worked in batches to blanch, peel, remove any less than desirable spots and placed everything in ziploc bags. I put the ziploc bags over ice in the cooler until I have time on Monday  to start making sauce and salsa.  Not pictured--but I have jalapeno's  ready to make a small batch of candied jalapenos. 

I am kind of tired now, haha

©My Cozy Little Farmhouse 2009-current. Unauthorised use and/ or duplication without written permission from blog author/ owner is prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided acknowledgement is given to My Cozy Little Farmhouse, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

New Stuff

I could have sworn I had written a post about this. Apparently I forgot to tell y'all, but I have new appliances. Well, a  new stove and dishwasher. The refrigerator will be soon--not soon enough though! My sister moved into a condo with white appliances and she had a brand new black refrigerator that didn't sell with her house. The builder wouldn't switch the appliances to black, so we bought them from her (mid July).  This is the first time in all the years the hubbs and I have been together, that I have kitchen appliances never used by anyone else. They aren't fancy but I really like how the  white appliances provide an uninterrupted visual line with the  white cabinets in my kitchen.

The new stove is a glass top. Aesthetically it is beautiful, all shiny and clean lines. Although the OCD me freaks out at all the smudges, smears and spots. A big reason as to why I don't have stainless steel appliances. Such a big difference from the old (and I do mean old, >20 yrs) coil top electric stove.  I love the oven, because it has convection capability. It has been a slight learning curve using the glass top. I really wanted a gas cooktop but, oh well, that is a someday dream.

One thing I found out about using a glass top is all cookware needs to be smooth bottomed.  My 21 quart waterbath canner has a concave bottom. It is one of those old speckled enamelware pots. We found it tucked in the very back of the kitchen cabinet when we bought our house in 2000. Who knows how long it had been in use prior to that. The previous owners lived here for 55 yrs. So it  was time to retire the old water bath canner.

Our date day this past Saturday was to Rural King (the romance is real). Long story short, I was going to pass on the canner I found because of the price but the hubbs strong armed me into buying it. It was kinda pricey ($79.99) but then I found it normally retails for $100. So now I have a very sturdy, flat bottomed, stainless steel water bath canner. Bonus is the canning rack from the old canner fits the new one. And wow wee does this hold the heat!  My favorite thing with the new canner is the clear lid so I can see what is going on with my jars.

So shiny!
 I already  broke it in canning salsa. I had a really good harvest of tomatoes this weekend. So I put the new waterbath canner to good use. I canned 9 pints of salsa and ended up with 2 & 3/4 quarts of a beautiful red sauce.

8 lbs of nekkid tomatoes, with another 11 lbs to go for sauce
Salsa in progress of cooking down and of course-a taste test

This sauce was AMAZING! I used fresh herbs from my garden-basil, oregano, thyme and rosemary. I seasoned with some salt, pepper, minced garlic and onion. OOOHWEEE, so good!

So far the new water bath canner (and stove) seem to be going well. I have, possibly an irrational fear, I am going to ruin or break my stove. By scratching it or dropping something.

Or break it because of too much weight--which is why I have not yet used the pressure canner on the glass cooktop.

Because we have all seen the pressure canner/ glass cooktop fiasco on Snopes, right?

Yeah, so I am kind of petrified... I mean imagine all the weight of the pressure canner, filled with quart jars...

Does anyone out there use their glass cooktop to pressure can?  I really need advice.

©My Cozy Little Farmhouse 2009-current. Unauthorised use and/ or duplication without written permission from blog author/ owner is prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided acknowledgement is given to My Cozy Little Farmhouse, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

The Great Garage Clean Out

Or an alternate title..."how to not be a hoarder." Which by the looks of things we, errr..were..are trying to not be!

I don't have any before pics to share because it was bad. Oh so bad!

4th of July weekend, I decided to take advantage of the cool, rainy weather-combined with the fact the hubbs was gone for the day to attack the hoard pile. Here is the de-crappifying in progress. My kid came to help, otherwise I may not have survived.

We sorted into to trash (I ran out of garbage cans), stuff for the scrapper to pick up, a small section of donate and and a small section of keep.  The trash portion took 4 weeks to dispose of all the stuff completely. I am STILL waiting on the scrapper to stop by. And every week I have taken a small donation to Goodwill on my way to the grocery, so it was manageable for me.

Unbeknownst to the hubbs, I plan on completely reorganizing the garage. Where to go for inspiration? Why, PINTEREST of course!

Compact, swing out storage for plywood and drywall.

Popular Woodworking
Overhead lattice to store pvc pipe, copper pipe, or any lightweight length of building materials

Organized storage for all the cordless drills, batteries and chargers


Organize his fishing poles from this

to this

You would think the hoarding issue would have been the main reason I was motivated to clean the garage. Sadly, no. The real reason was this small jail cell looking space (assuming this is what jail cell's look like). The hubbs uttered the words, "well if you clean it out you can have it", in response to my idea for the space. Haha-- the fool. He didn't think I would clean it out. He was wrong!

This is the secret new project! Perhaps not a complete secret. It still needs a lot of work before I can reveal what purpose this room will serve.  The rest of the stuff needs moved.  Some electrical needs moved. We need to frame and add insulation, drywall, etc...

Here is a mock up for the garage reorganization. When this is completed we will actually be able to use the garage for it's intended purpose  and park a car in the garage bay.

I have to say it feels good to have a project. Well, a project to divert my attention from all the other projects I don't want to do, haha. And it feels good to get rid of so much unnecessary stuff.  We will have more funds this month, because we recently refinanced the house and did some debt consolidation.  Hopefully ALL of the outstanding projects will soon be addressed since our money woes are now a thing of the past. Life is very good my friends. 

Anyone else have super secret project or de-crappify their house?