Monday, September 3, 2018

Balance.......... nope!

Over my short life I've strived for balance, great good balance.  I've OHMMMMMMM-ed myself some years to deafness, especially when my kids were little.  I OHMMMM-ed in the bathroom while one kid blew her recorder under the bathroom door and yelled; "MOM! CAN YA HEAR ME?"  After a summer of insane heat and garden madness I suddenly piffed;  an epiphany, as in giving myself a psychic noogie.  Wandering around the big blue marble for 60 plus years, always thinking; Why can't I get this balance thing?  I had a girl friend in grade school who could wear white tights on the playground and eat catsup on her bologna sandwich and went home in really white tights.  She jumped rope and never broke a sweat.  I was not that kid but was very aware that a person who could wear white anything on the playground, eat catsup at lunch and get on the bus looking like she did at 8 am upon arriving to Parkview elementary was pretty awe inspiring.  I was a walker and by the time I tripped out the side door, swinging my plastic lunchbox at my brothers head and missing,  I had ripped my tights and blood was usually streaming down both knees into my rubber boots that left big red marks on my calves as I chased him to school yelling really bad things...... I was THAT kid.  By 6 years of age I was pretty sure balance was going to be very elusive.

As I stood in the backyard with my headlamp beam pointed at the jalapeño pepper plants on the dark side of the moon, I had an out of body experience.  I love my little backyard grocery store and what the hell are you doing out here in the inky darkness with scurrying critters?  WHERE'S THE BALANCE?  I was making salsa at 10:30 pm and forgot to pick the peppers.   And the garden said; You idiot, there is no balance!  We had the explosion of growing in the Spring, a bit of lull during the middle of July letting you rest up for ALL THIS! The explosion of plants reproducing through seeds;  which we humans like to eat in the form of fruits, nuts, roots and other nutritious stuff and they do it better than anything we can even come close to reproducing in the lab, like fake meat! No, not everything sits on a Ritz!  And when it's on it's really ON!  So I have made peace with this thing called balance and I'm probably never going get it because I plant seeds.  In fact every year I plant seeds, can't remember a year I didn't plant seeds.  So I guess I'm just going to be a lunchbox swinger until I no longer plant seeds ....... like never!

I really wanted to complete a blog post each Sunday but it's nuts right now and I'm in the middle of this big grand experiment called my backyard.  How much will this place produce?  And it has not been a very good year!  We have had more than 20 days with 90F degrees (33C)  and above and not much rain.  Pests abound this year but my little jar of dawn dish liquid with hot water have made my reflexes very quick and fingers quite nimble picking little pests off delicate buds and leaves.
But here is where I am thus far.

I spent about $5 on seeds this year and $25 on starter plants like peppers, tomatoes, cukes.   I don't have a very good place to start seeds but I am working on that.

Master Canning List 9-1-18

7-18.     Dilly Beans                22 jars.       $0  garden produce
             Peach Butter.                3 jars        $4
             Pickle Relish                9 jars        $0 garden produce
             Mixed Veg. Pickles     12 jars       $4 for corn, the rest garden produce
            Caponata                      13 jars       $0 garden produce

8-18.    Plum butter                    2 jars       $3 Italian prune plums on sale $1.29 #
            Tomatoes chopped       10 qts.      
            Tomatoes chopped       14 pints     $20 for a bushel of tomatoes
            Kidney beans                 9 pints     $1.78  2-1# bags
            Black beans                   9 pints     $1.78. 2-1# bags
            Salsa I.                           7 pints.     $0. my tomatoes
            Tomato Soup                 10 pints 
            Chili Sauce                    18 pints
            Salsa II                          15 pints 
                                                   2 quarts
           Veg. Soup                       4 quarts     from Tomato Soup to Salsa II are from the second 
                                                                    bushel of tomatoes for $20
           Elderberry jelly              3 half pints  $0.  my elderberries

9-18.   Peaches                          6 quarts
                                                11.5 pints      $28 for one bushel
           Cowboy Candy              9 half pints  $0. my jalapeños 
           Lekvar Plum butter        9 half pints    4 pounds @ $1.29 #  $5.16

still needed corn relish and applesauce and more tomato soup, and catsup...... for my white tights :) 

Master Freezer List

7-18.   Chicken Stock           20 quarts       $0 my chickens, celery, carrots, onions and parsley
           Blueberry curd            3 pints          $0 my blueberries
           Rhubarb Cordial         3 pints          $0 my rhubarb
           Strawberries              30 pounds      10#'s purchased at a you pick farm for $22.50
                                                                    the rest are from my garden.
           Blueberries                20 pounds      $35 picked from local farms
           Roasted tomatoes       1 quart          $0. my garden 
           Squash Soup              3 quarts         $0. my garden
           Roasted bean & corn 3 bags            $4
           Cherry tomato jam     3.5 pints        $0 my garden

also 2 pints of boozy cherries and 2 pints of boozy peaches.   
Ok, I'm a bit gobsmacked, in a good way, after seeing it on paper.

the clip board is hanging on the basement door and this inventory sheet is fastened tight.  

I am out of pint jars and half pint jars and not sure if I really need anymore jars.  I still have quart jars but realized some of the quart jars which I have been using are from my Mom and Grandma so must be quite old!  Should probably think about upgrading a few those.  My pressure canner I bought in 1978 and it still works great.  My water bath canner was purchased at garage sale for $5.  Ball Blue book could use an upgrade so I borrowed one from the library to make sure I am current and up to date on my times, pressures, acidity levels etc.  

So why am I doing this?  I keep reading articles on stuff in my food I don't want!  Two weeks ago I lost my mind when I read the new report out on oats.  I've eaten Quaker Old Fashioned Oats forever and Bob's Mill oat bran for a very long time.  Figured they had't screwed around with Oats too much as far as GMO etc.  Never really thought I was getting my RDA of Round Up or otherwise known as Glyphosate with my morning breakfast.  There I was sitting in front of my computer early one morning unconsciously shoveling oatmeal with raisins and oat bran in my face while reading this.......... my Quaker Old Fashioned Oatmeal dribbled down my chin.   But not to worry because they are telling us no problem it's safe to eat, go for it, it's fine.  IT'S NOT FINE AND I DON'T WANT IT!   I always believed if you can't pronounce it don't eat it but they don't even need to list this on the package.  We are doomed!  Isn't some government agency supposed be looking out for us?  Oh  wait they are way out of balance at the moment, even more so than myself!  Scary huh?  

The only label with not one PPB of Glyphosate was Whole Foods 365.  

The next week I had just started switching out my recipes to use coconut oil because it's sooooo damn good for you.  I posted the recipe on this blog.  Then news flash a Harvard Professor declares coconut oil is poison..... ya here is the article coconut-oil-is-pure-poison-  back to pig fat! 

So eat your vegetables, without a healthy dose of Glyphosate and dig out the olive oil again.  

Here are few pictures from kitchen or frontline ........ 

Elderberry tip; freeze first and the berries come right off! 

I inherited the Squez-O from my Mom :) 

first batch of peaches

Jalapeños for cowboy candy

Lekvar (Hungarian plum butter) 

and I'm weaving too as my pots are due on Friday!! 

and just want to say, 
I'm never going here...... 
nope not even on a handmade plate or bowl but thanks Edible Cleveland.



  1. I am sorry I got rid of my waterbath supplies in Florida, I need them back, and my tomato squeezer thingy; you have done amazing things with your food supplies. now the oat thing ugh seems like nothing is safe any longer. This year I grew shishito and carmen peppers and they are both prolific.

    1. Hi Linda! My sweet peppers struggled in the heat this summer. Wish I had planted shishito peppers for grilling, they are delish! I blew the dust off the canning equipment because I just go so tired of buying subpar food and it’s getting expensive too. Also love not tossing cans in the trash. I also think I was lucky that I inherited a lot of my Mom's canning stuff. I don’t do nearly as much as my Grandma did and remember great big pots of jams and jellies bubbling on a downstairs stove. Now I use my crockpot and can in much smaller batches. Enjoy your Fall and check the garage sales for equipment! Ya never know what people no longer find useful ☺️👍🏻

  2. Sooo impressive in all fronts: colorful healthy foods, same with the pots, and pretty soon you will have to grow your own oats. I eat Quaker oatmeal or cheesiest every morning.

  3. WOW! Your garden did awesome... and so did you. We are definitely in the hole financially with the garden this year. Next year there will be less money put in the ground and perhaps we will break even. We have enjoyed the few things that were successful this year.