Friday, October 12, 2012

A Bit O'Canning (and complaining)

My kitchen counter tops have been a disaster this past week, much to my Mom's dismay. (She's a neat freak.  Yes, you are Mom, just deal with it).

Anyways, with the last of the garden pickings piled up on one counter, pickling spices, large containers of sugar and salt, canning jars, lids, bands and boxes cluttering the other remaining counters and huge pots of boiling water or liquid fruit sugar on the stove, to say that my kitchen was a complete mess would be a gross understatement.  My socks would stick to the kitchen floor from various syrups dripped from stove to sink.  I'm afraid if one of the cats came through there they would be relieved of the skin on their paw pads.

And I didn't even do more than three half-days of canning.  Our garden was a flop this year so there were no red tomatoes to can.  No strawberries, raspberries or blueberries to make into jam.  What I did can was lots and lots of green tomatoes:
Ginormous Bowl number One of Four, filled with green tomatoes,
cabbage & onions.
I got a recipe from Hoosier Girl over at Blessed Little Homestead Life for Chow Chow.  I kind'a followed it.  I didn't put in the green peppers as I already cut them into strips and froze them (saving them for Italian sausage sandwiches) nor did I use jalapeno peppers ('cause I'm a wimp and don't like spicy stuff).  I tasted the Chow Chow just as it was ready to be put into the jars and decided that I wanted it a little sweeter so I dumped another cup of sugar into the pot.

I also made a batch of pickled green tomatoes with onion.  Which then put my green tomato relish count in at six quarts and 11 pints.  I have no idea what I'm going to do with it all.  I mean, how many side dishes do we eat a week that would require the addition of a green tomato relish?  I'd love to have it with fish, but we don't eat fish much at all.  Yes, we have a 70,000 acre (give or take) lake just 3 miles away.  But apparently I don't give Paul enough time away from the homestead work for him to go out and catch a walleye or two.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, the mess.

I admit, this shot of the counter top mess was after I had already started cleaning up.  And I didn't have time to take a picture of the stove top after the apple jelly boiled over the pot as I was too busy trying to wipe the burning liquid sugar off the heating elements without catching the towel aflame and fanning the smoke away from the eardrum splitting noise of fire alarm.  Paul came home from work that day and immediately asked why the house smelled like burned caramel apples.

The chickens have been enjoying the spoils of canning.  Apple mush left over from jelly making.  Cores and icky parts of tomatoes.  Seeds, peelings, parts and pieces.  If it weren't for the voracious appetites of the Cornish meat birds, I don't know what we'd do with all the leftovers from the garden.  But the Creepy Meats (who do I give credit to for coining that phrase???) are only going to be around (i.e., alive) for another three weeks.

Well, we could get a baby pig to raise for the freezer.  We are running out of bacon in the freezer.

Paul's Take
No, no, NO!  We are NOT raising a pig.  I mean it.
And if I wasn't busy making pasture, cutting timber, screwing with fence and putting up with your homesteading projects, I would be on the lake.  You know, the lake that brought us down here in the first place.  The lake that I've only been on a dozen times since we've moved years ago.


  1. Yes, but you will enjoy the "fruits" of your labor all winter. I think you should get a pig ... easy, inexpense way to get a lot of meat for 6 months of inconvience. After all Pork is the other white meat. Think if you try one Paul will give in eventually.

  2. Your canning and jelly making sounds like mine! I still have sugary pickle mess in between my stove and cabinets! When I made jelly it boiled over and down the stove! I stuck to the floor for a week! Your kitchen looks pretty darn clean to me and I'm jealous of your mixer, I might have to ask for one for Christmas ☺ I am wanting a pig too, my husband hasn't said yes but he hasn't said no either!!!

  3. I know what you mean about when are we gonna eat all this stuff. It's just been in the last year or so that I've finally realized there are only the two of us doing 90% of the eating around here these days and try as we might, we can only stuff in so much! My counter is laden with green tomatoes right now but I know I'm the only one who would eat Chow Chow or Green Tomato Relish if I made it. Maybe I need to start a restaurant. NO, wait! Been there, done that. Guess we need a pig or two to raise also. But who would eat all that pork? Here we go again . . .

  4. My Mom used to have a pig and chicken farm. They would slaughter for the local restaurants. She would feed the pigs all kinds of stuff. They would eat a bucket of slope and little feed. When she was a little girl, she would get up on the pig and crank it's tail and go for a ride.
    When I can, I try to sterlize my kitchen before canning. After canning, I usually have a mess that has to be clean and there usually one person cleaning it, me.
    You could let hubby go fishing and then pickle some fish for him and can it.

  5. Pigs are easy. Easy peasy. Really they are and there is NOTHING like raising your own bacon. So distract Paul, buy a little Red Wattle piglet (I'll make you a deal)and then go relax on the lake.

    1. Actually send him fishing and get 2 pigs, LOL. Then you can sell the other one on Craig's List went it's time is up and make a little money. One pig gets bored and messes with fences or gates, a companion will keep it company and they get competitive when it comes to eating so more food in more weight gain.

  6. I'm thinking as I'm reading your post that there's never a dull moment around your house and now you want to raise a PIG? Now THIS I've got to see! Go, Baby GO!

  7. So what kind of pig are you getting? LOL

  8. I have been wanting to raise a pig for some time now; DH is like Paul "No Pigs!". We even have a pen that would work. Like Mama Pea, we don't really need more food....just the two of us, but I like the idea!

    Your cabinets look like mine; are they Ash?

    I think your kitchen looks spectacularly clean! You should see mine. Let's talk about sticky floors....when I defrosted the old freezer before getting rid of it, some frozen cherries must have defrosted enough to leak syrup onto the tiles. I have mopped three times and guess I will have to get down on my hands and knees to finally get rid of it.

  9. Carolyn,

    Thanks for the belly laugh. I've raised pigs every year for a long time so I've been over that mountain repeatedly. And when I met my bride she was managing a piggery farm in the Philippines and farrowed enough sows to raise about 1200 pigs a year. So, I can vouch for the fact that those preceeding me here are absolutely right...raising a homestead hog, or better, two is easy, easy, easy. Your lucky hasbeen will change his tune quickly once he gets his first yummy homegrown pork meal. The meat is so much better than any other source.

    Just don't fall in the trap of feeding GMO corn. You have milk goats and a little of that milk will help piggies grow strong, quickly, and healthy. I also used to stop to pick up every sugar beet I found along the road. I can vouch for the fact that piggies will sell their mama for root crops like beets of all kinds, swedes, plus pumpkins and winter squash as well as everything else in the garden.

    Enjoy that trip, but DO take the first step and get that piggy. Aside from all the rest, they are just downright fun as well, esp when small, LOL.


  10. You are definitely keeping busy, I love the description of the state of the kitchen floor, been there LOL! And you definitely need to get yourself down to that lake!

  11. This was our first year raising a pig. Not sure if we'll do it again next year, or just buy one off a 4H/FFA kid next year after fair. I think if we could pasture it, and supplement with dairy extra milk from feeding calves it wouldn't have been such a hit to the pocket. That means new fences, and that's a hit to the pocket. lol.

    I totally have been there with the sticky floors because of moving stuff from pot, to sink, to jar. I had to wear socks because of the gunk on the floor. Stuff splattered all over the counters, the cabinets, across the stove. What a mess for those pretty pretty jars in my pantry.