ANYTHING BUT A DAY OFF

Labor Day (click for more info) here in the U.S. was established to honor the contributions that workers have made. The normal procedure for this is to get the first Monday in September off as a Holiday. Well, if you are a farmer (very laborious – is that a word?), or if you grow your own food in a garden; then this time of year is anything but a day off.
This is what it was for our household this Labor Day:
• Processing a HUGE box of naturally grown plums received from good friends:


• Making homemade tomato paste from our tomatoes to then…
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• Freezing currently picked tomatoes to process later into our special spaghetti sauce from our secret recipe. (Which is actually just using a variety of heirloom tomatoes to get that outstanding flavor – I believe- my sister begs to differ).
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• Beginning fall clean-up time:

  • Clean up dead plant materials (especially from the current growing stuff which, in-turn, will result in more food to be processed – – – never ending!).
  • Start prepping for winter by shearing up fences, mending posts, painting for weather proofing, and clean up gardening tools.
  • Fix as many repairs as possible before the first snow. (One big one right now is a hole in our chicken roof. The wind sucked off a chunk of sheet metal, and apparently, that spot did not have ply board under it – was this way when we bought the farm? So we have this roughly 2’x2’ hole we have to fix.)
  • This year’s garden tool processing includes sharpening blades (we do cheat here and have a handy-dandy electric grinder/sharpener for this), and paint handles. This year we are going to try a coat of poly over the paint to see if they will hold up better. The smaller hand tools are going to get dipped! We found some rubber dip at the local hardware store that works fantastic for this!
  • If we have low to no wind sometime this weekend, we will be burning a huge pile of dried weeds that have accumulated over the summer.
  • Got to get out big Mr. Green (name of my lawn tractor – LOL), and give the whole place a really good once-over. Some spots were neglected when the weather was too hot. They are now coming back around, and I need to get them under control before they get too big to handle.
  • We have a large pile of weed barrier cloth that we got free from my sister’s work. It needs to be de-weeded, cut into usable pieces, (which uses up a ton of box-cutter knife blades. Dulls them down to nothing in just a few good cuts!), and placed in appropriately needed places:
    • Under the greenhouse fan vents where weeds build up too fast, and I can’t get in to mow.
    • Walkway row covers. (That is another yet to-do project that we want to get a jump on before next spring.)
    • Then just adding an extra layer to spots in the greenhouse where some persistent bindweed keeps sneaking in.

There is a lot more detail to our actual to-do list, but I didn’t want to scare off any potential farmer/gardeners.
So, I hope you all had a Happy Holiday Weekend. We will just keep on working.

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I’M SO EXCITED! Can’t believe that it worked?

Our Bee Guy brings up the bees every spring via semi-truck.  When he gathers them all back to our place in the fall to go home to Arizona, he always leaves a case (yep – and it’s huge) full of fresh honey for us.  Well, this year we received a pleasant surprise.  He gave us a 25-pound bag of fresh oranges from his orchard – WOW!  These are some huge oranges:

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I have no clue why the bag says California (maybe he sells to them?).  I do know that they are fresh sweet and juicy – oh and ½ this bag is now gone (and it’s only been two days – hee hee). 

We sat and discussed different ways to preserve these beauties for future use.  The first idea was dehydrating.  Then came freezing, juicing and freezing the juice, and some other ideas.  Then we hit upon orange marmalade.  We make all kinds of jams and jellies, but never tried marmalade.

I grated the orange peels and froze for future cookie use.  Then we juiced and stewed up a recipe (we love our Ball Preserving Cook Book – woo hoo!!).

It worked:

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Made up a dozen of the cute little ½ pints for future Christmas gifts.  Then had enough for a couple of full pint jars and 1-half of a pint jar.  The ½ pint we now have in the fridge so I can have it on toast with peanut butter later today (yum!!).  I have to taste-test everything we do, wouldn’t want anyone to get sick right?  LMAO!!  Yes, that is my excuse for all of my food testing.  We have to make sure it is good enough to share (ok can’t stop giggling at myself now – sick woman that I am!! Ha ha ho ho ho)

orange marmalade made 5-23-16

These are the two big cuties – yum!  So glad it worked!  Happy, happy, joy, joy (doing my happy dance – hee hee)!

happy ck dance

 

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