Feels more like winter than fall this week. We have had snow off and on all week – our first of the season. It has been fun to have it, though I am hoping for some more of the warmer fall weather and I am hopeful that winter isn’t here early this year. We still have some things to get done before winter sets in.
Our canning season is winding down. We have finished everything except the tomatoes. They are continuing to ripen in the basement. As they ripen we will can them into marinara sauce.
We got the apples done into apples in honey syrup, applesauce, and apple butter. We haven’t done apple butter in many years, so that was fun to bring back.
We also did the peaches in honey syrup, and then decided to try something new – peach butter! We weren’t sure how the new sauce maker would handle it, but we decided to just pit and quarter the peaches, leaving the skin on, then boil them a little until soft, and then put them through the sauce maker. It worked beautifully! We ended up with a nice peach puree and the warm skins were given to the chickens, which made them happy in the cold snow.
So far, we have canned over 300 jars this canning season. By far our largest amount in one season ever!
The garden is done for the year, and we are cleaning it up and putting it to bed. This year we are planting fall garlic, which is one of the reasons I am hoping it will warm up a bit. The garlic places ship mid-October, which is a bit late for our climate. But I am hopeful it will still work out well and from now on we can plant our own in late September each year instead of waiting for the shipment. It is supposed to arrive this week, so we will get it in asap once it arrives. We added some compost to the area to prepare for planting it.
We are also putting straw over some of the newer perennials to help them through the winter. And we are planting medicinal herb seeds and covering them with straw. We learned this spring that many of the medicinal herbs grow better when the seeds are put in the ground in the fall. Hopefully this will help our new medicinal herb garden really get going next year.
Most of the older hens are finishing their molt, with just a few still at it, but their egg laying is still pretty non-existent. The young silkie pullets are laying like crazy though, so we are overflowing with tiny eggs.
We even decided to try out pickling some. We have never done this before and don’t know if we will like them, so we only did 3 jars. We will open them up and try them in a month or so, once the full flavor can set into them.
I am working mostly on Christmas present knitting right now, so I can’t show much because I want to keep them a surprise. But since Mr. Smiles’ doesn’t read the blog yet, at 3 years old, I can show his present. It is a blankie that I made using the Plymouth Yarn Hot Cakes in Denim Mix. It turned out nicely, with a good amount of cozy squish to it.
Wood Stove Remodel Project
We got the antique wood cook stove hooked up to heat the dining room. The remodel still isn’t finished, but it is complete enough that we can use the stove for heat now, which is good because we have definitely needed it this week. We are learning the ins and outs of this particular stove and how to make it do what we want heat-wise. There is always a learning curve with a new wood stove. But overall it seems like it will heat wonderfully with the added bonus that it looks beautiful in and I could cook on it if I wanted. Plus, it doesn’t back puff, which is why we did this remodel in the first place – because the last stove had to have 2 elbows in the pipe and thus back puffed terribly.