This Week In The Garden

this week in the garden october 2 2014

What a week this has been.  Today has been the first morning that was relatively “free” to do with as I please (read: canning, finally!)  Then a call came, “You haven’t dropped off the plans yet this week.  I can come pick them up or were you coming here?”  So, again, plans change and the canning gets delayed.

This may be a blessing in disguise.  As I was reviewing how I made blackberry syrup last time, I came across a note where I said I would not do it again unless I had a jelly bag or the right amount of cheese cloth.  Perfect.  I plan on stopping by Walmart for a few things, so I will add a jelly bag to the list.

The blackberries I am going to use are actually from last year.  I have 2-3 gallons in the freezer that I have been wanting to use up.  1 gallon will remain there to use for glazes this winter.  Last year I was able to pick berries from bushes belonging to a friend of a friend.  The bushes were huge and more than that family needed.  My friend has also already picked there and had more than she needed.  At the end of last summer, the family decided to mow down the bushes and let them regrow this year.  They really were huge and made quite the bramble.

I am glad now that I froze the extras to use as needed later.  By using these up now, turning them into something we are short of, I am also freeing up space in the freezer for  other things we may be needing.

frozen blackberries

The garden has slowed down.  It has not stopped, but is not growing as quickly.  I was able to pick a few strawberries yesterday, something I have been unable to do with the unexpected warmer weather these past few weeks.  First it got cooler, than a spell that was warmer than it has been all summer.  So goes the life of a gardener.

There are still some okra to pick, as well as cherry tomatoes.  I am going to leave the larger tomatoes to see if they will turn red.  If not, I will pick them green, puree them, and freeze the results for green tomato bread in the upcoming months.

salsa in unwiped jars

Yesterday I was able to process 21 jars of salsa.  The picture above shows the results.  If you notice how messy the tops looks, well that is due to our water.  I added vinegar to the water bath canner, though I think it could have used more.  I will remove the bands, wipe the lids and label them before storing them away.

At the end of the evening I was looking back on the day and trying to figure out why it took me all day to get the salsa completed.  That is when I realized I was viewing the day wrong.  It was not solely a “canning day”.

  • I dropped my car off in the morning to have work done
  • Met with yet another contractor to talk about the house
  • Made several calls (to the utility company, to the city building office)
  • Did some laundry
  • Had Olaf come in the afternoon
  • Walked the mile or so with Olaf to pick the car back up
  • Picked up the kids from school then proceeded to deal with the frenzied excitement when they found out that Olaf was having a ‘slumber party’ with us
  • Handled everything from after-school through bedtime all by myself as my husband has class last night.  I even was able to get all 3 kids to sleep by 8 p.m.!
  • Finished unraveling the first sleeve of the first wool sweater, resulting in 9 cores for wool dryer balls.
  • And to top it all off, all the dishes were clean when I was done … well, except the coffee cup I used after finishing the kitchen to reward myself with a homemade cappuccino.

Canning 21 pints of salsa while doing the rest was actually a great accomplishment for me.