Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Reflection on my canning/preserving from last year.

Last year I tried to keep a track of what all I canned and preserved. The deer and rabbit meat didn't make it on the list, but I think most of the produce did, except for the corn on the cob I froze, not sure how that didn't end up on my list. I also gathered about 10 gallons of whole pecans from our two trees, that I just keep in buckets in our shed and use as we need them. Below is a list of what put up last year

15 pints Strawberry Jam
3 half pints Strawberry Jam
1 quart Strawberry Jam
3 quarts Frozen Strawberries
7 pints Frozen Strawberries
1 quart pickled Asparagus
1 gallon Pickled Jalapenos
30 quarts Dill Pickles
21Quarts Bread and Butter Pickles 
11 Quarts Bread And Butter Pickles ( ZESTY) 
1 pint Bread and Butter Pickles
11 pints sweet cucumber relish
4 Quarts Blueberry pie filling
4 quarts pickled okra
14 pints hot salsa
6 jars Pepper sauce
6 quarts Pizza Sauce

You can see many of my posts linked to my 2015 Canning Total page here.

Now that canning season is here again ( I just got my first batch of strawberries that need put up). I thought it would be a good time to reflect on exactly what all we ate, what we didn't etc. I encourage you all to do the same so you'll have a better idea of what you need to focus on this year.

We have only 3 of the 15 pints of jam left.. so I'll certainly put more of that up this year. Also as the kids are getting older I assume they will eat more.

We have zero frozen strawberries left in our freezer... we ran out sometime in February. I use those in making strawberry shortcakes, strawberry cake and in smoothies and homemade popsicles. I'll certainly try to freeze as many as I can get my hands on this year.

The pickled asparagus is gone, i just used the last of it in my pickle tray, but honestly I kind of forgot we had it and I just opened it up a few weeks ago. If I can get my hands on some asparagus I'll pickle some more.

I certainly want to do more pickled jalapenos. We use them on nachos, pizza, sandwiches, burgers. All kinds of good stuff.

The zesty bread and butter pickles are GONE ( I gave some away for Christmas, and the others were just yummy so we ate them).

The blueberry pie filling also was a hit and I could have used more this winter if we had them. They are great to use in pies but also cobblers.

We are down to about one quart pickled okra and about 5 quarts of regular bread and butter pickles. We also have probably 5 dill pickles left also.

No hot salsa is left in this house. My husband LOVES it.

There is no pepper sauce left and 1 quart pizza sauce. No pasta sauce is left either.

We have about 5 pints of cucumber relish and about 5 pints of the hot pepper relish left also.

So there you have it. This year I would like to try to put up more tomato based items if we have tomatoes available as we all seem to eat that and they are very good meal starters. Besides that, I'll put up anything we have extra of, and hope to freeze more fruit and more corn also.

As of right now we have plenty of deer meat to last us until well into Fall, which hopefully we'll at least get one or two more. We also have about 15 meat rabbits and use their meat fresh when we butcher them.

How do you all do this past year? Make too much of anything? Not enough of something?

Sunday, April 17, 2016

My pickling came in handy!

If you have been reading my blog for very long at all, you have probably caught on that I'm from the SOUTH. Like super southern. Not so much geographical, but very much cultural south.

So... impromtu fish fry tonight. I love fish, especially when they are caught fresh and fried...

So I needed to get together something to take, as that is just the proper thing to do you know?

You may recall that I pickled quite a bit of goodies in 2015... so I made this beautiful little pickle tray to take.
Starting at the bottom left corner are so delicious dill pickles from our garden last year, then moving clockwise are bread and butter pickles, then pickled whole jalapenos, black olives, pickled okra , then pickled asparagus. In the center are some green olives. The green and black olives were not grown nor were they pickled by me, but I had a jar of each so in they went. 

I thought this made a nice little pickle tray and I made it from items I had on hand. 

Happy Homesteading Y'all

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Look what $5.85 got me: Yard sales and book sale

Ah yes, garage sale season....

It has started here.

I'm not one to just go out and shop all day, but every so often I like to go see if I can find anything.

The first stop was a church wide sale in their gym that was raising money to go on a mission trip.

These two dresses are light and airy and 50 cents EACH. My daughters wear the same size right now, so these should make super sweet dresses for this summer. 

There were two books at this stop, one is a cross words puzzle book and the other is titled " A one Room School" and is kind of a historical book.  The books were .25 cents each. 
 These shorts look brand new to me and are an appropriate length. I paid $1 each for these shorts for my daughters.

Total at stop #1: $3.50

The next stop was actually from our local county library. I went to get a few books to read for myself and the kiddos and they were having a book sale. I found the 6 books above and thought they might be .50 cents a peice or something. Oh no, they were. 10 cents EACH. .60 cents total for the books above... Crazy. 

Total at Stop #2: $0.60

The next stop I saw on the way home at an individual home, I pulled in and they had some of the books like my youngest daughter likes, and a book that I thought I might like. These books were $.25 cents each. 

Total at Stop #3: $1.75

The kids were all excited to get their new books, and even about their shorts... 

Total for all three stops for 15 books, 2 nice dresses and 2 nice pairs of shorts: $5.85!!!!

Happy Homesteading Y'all. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Ozark Folk Center

We loaded up the kiddos and headed up to the mountains in Mountain View, AR for a day at the Ozark Folk Center.
 This is a cute little place to visit, it's actually part of the State Park system that has living history all throughout the park. Each little shop has things to purchase like the one above had herbs.
This is a replica of a one room schoolhouse that we checked out. 

The little one is above checking out how they used to keep the school house warm. 

 We all sat in one of the desks and I did a short lesson about Abraham Lincoln ( really they just wanted to sit in the chairs and pretend like they were at school).

 There are cute little handmade bird feeders hanging around everywhere, with plenty of squirrels.
 I love this cabin. It's a replica of a one room cabin ( with a loft upstairs). I honestly think I could live in this cabin today. It's just so neat and cool. 

There are so many shops , the one here is where they weave things like rugs, placemats, scarves etc. You can actually give it a go, you can watch them make things and then they sell their wares. There is also a quilt shop, candle shop, knife shop, pottery shop, stained glass shop, broom shop, soap shop, art shop, doll shop, jewelry shop etc. etc. etc. There are so many things to go and do and each one you can watch the workers and most let the kids help out a bit. 

When you get hungry there is a great place to eat Ozark favorites ( I had brown beans, cornbread and fried okra) and several snacky type places. They also have live music, which is great. 

I would recommend going if you have this within maybe 4-5 hours of where you live. It's a very nice, fun family day. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Lentil Soup

I wouldn't say it was cold here today, but there was a slight nip in the air and it was overcast. I felt like a nice big pot of soup with some cornbread.

I had some lentils as well as some veggies so I whipped up this great Lentil Soup. I forgot where I got the recipe, but it's not mine. I found it in a magazine or something several years ago.

Start with about a Table spoon of olive oil in a pan. Then add 2 peeled, chopped carrots, a small white onion and 3 ribs of celery.

Then I added several sprigs of thyme and rosemary. I'm using my little ULU knife I got for Christmas from my parents. It is amazing!!

 Chop chop chop and in no time they are all chopped up. Love that silly Ulu. 

 Once they are all nice and browned, I add them to about 7 cups of broth. I used chicken broth because I had it on hand, but veggie broth would work. Add about 2 cups of dry lentils.
 While that is simmering I made up a batch of cornbread muffins. The ones on the right have fresh jalepenos chopped up in them for me and the husband. The others are just plain for the kids. I let everything simmer for about 30 minutes....
So good. No really, it is very good. I find such good flavor and just a really healthy, yummy, quick soup.