Independence Days Check In

It's been blasted hot here - a good 10°F warmer than normal. I've managed to avoid the air-conditioner, but I sure hope it returns to normal temperatures soon. Oh, and a little rain would be appreciated as well. Anyhow, on to the week's progress for the Independence Days 2009 Challenge:

Plant something:
Nope, but am tending some sprouting Flying Dragon orange trees.

Harvest something: Gathered goose & chicken eggs (credit for the idea of putting this under "harvest": http://greenbluebrown.blogspot.com).

Preserve something: My sanity? Nope... too late.

Reduce waste: Hung clothes to dry on clothesline. Fixed and re-used old wire chicken run for new pullet shelter. Did not turn on air-conditioner in either car or home. Purchased “antique” metal nest box (10 cubbies) for the chickens at a fraction of the cost of new. Of course, will clean & sanitize thoroughly.

Preparation & Storage: purchased in bulk: coffee, dried garlic, curry seasoning blend, dried garbanzo beans, rice flour, garbanzo flour. Bulk homemade pasta sauce frozen. Researching pressure canners, finalizing on an All American 30-quart canner so I can start canning instead of freezing broths and sauces. Last week had electrician come out to look over site for emergency generator. This week, finalizing generator model, plans and costs.

Build Community Food Systems: Picked up CSA basket, purchased local goat cheese at our tiny farmers market. Preparing for local co-op vendor/member "meet and greet" next week.

Eat the Food: Ate CSA goodies.

[pic: Maggie being silly]


  1. If you get a 30 qt. pressure cooker bear in mind that it will be extremly heavy when filled with water and produce. I have a seven qt. PC and don't know if I can use it this year without help. It was my mother's and no one wanted it until I had it repaired.. then everyone wanted it!

  2. goal: to leave AC off all summer.

    So far: success.

  3. Great pic of the spouse! He has quite the set of chompers though...

  4. @MEB - hadn't thought of that, thanks for the tip!

    @Virgotex - good luck! I'd try for that as well, 'cept Spouse - being diabetic and such - doesn't handle the heat as well as I do, poor guy.

    @warren - "the better to..." hmm. No way I can finish that sentence have it not seem like a double-entendre. *insert junior-high giggle here*

  5. Wow, love the challenge! You did really well.

    I have a Presto 23-quart pressure canner & cooker and am happy with it. I've never used anything else so don't really have anything to compare it with. As MEB points out, it is pretty heavy when loaded. However, I don't move it when it's *fully* loaded. I use the kettle to fill it to the appropriate level with boiling water, and I place and remove jars with canning tongs. That said, it can be a bear to empty the water from when done, especially if using it as a boiling water bath & not a pressure canner. (A BWB can be faster sometimes because you don't have to wait for pressure to build up and then come back down again, a pain when prepping multiple batches of tomatoes, for instance.)

    I only use it for canning. I use a much smaller pressure cooker for cooking.

  6. What a great challenge! Thanks for the report. I have the All-American canner and it is a gem. I highly recommend it. Just not having to worry about those stupid gaskets is Worth It.

    It is really, really heavy when filled with water, but I just put in place, fill it with the kettle, and siphon the water off with a length of plastic tube into the 5 gallon bucket when done. That's one system or since you have a manly man available, you could use the honey-do method and get him to hoist it. But IMHO, that canner is the best.

  7. Flying Dragon trees! I must check this out! I'm in Central Texas too, and just starting my own little mini-orchard -- so far I have figs, plums, loquat, kumquat, and blackberries. But a Flying Dragon is a type of Myer Lemon? And you're planting it outdoors, in the ground?

  8. @Accidental Huswife - I'm sprouting them in pots at the moment, but will put into the ground once they seem strong/hardy enough. The oranges are about the size of walnuts, with the insides almost all seeds and resin. The skins make the most AMAZING marmalade I've ever tasted.

    These are more bush-like than tree-like, with wicked thorns. Some have suggested that Flying Dragon would make a terrific security hedge. :-)


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