Have we been busy!

Of course our garden consumes an awful lot of our time these days but our freezer is getting fuller and fuller with yummy vegetables.  Thursday we spent the day prepping and storing 10 lbs. of green beans and 9 lbs. of yellow beans.  The beans are getting to the point now where they’re almost spent, but the corn, tomatoes, acorn squash, pumpkins, peas, and onions are just getting to the point where they’re going to be ready to go.  So, guess what we’ll be doing for the next several weeks?

To date, we have put up (out of our garden):

  • 24 lbs. green beans
  • 24 lbs. yellow beans
  • 14 lbs. broccoli
  • 7 pints bread and butter pickles
FoodSaver V2440

FoodSaver V2440

We have gotten such good use out of the FoodSaver that Lisa bought me for Christmas.  Ladies (and gents) if you don’t have one of these and you’re tired of the science projects found in the back of the refrigerator, you need to get one pronto.  You can also reseal your chip bags (so you don’t have to hunt down that chip clip that never seems to be around when you need it).  We’ve found that food retains it’s color, doesn’t get freezer burns or ice crystals, and lasts a lot longer in the freezer using the FoodSaver.  OK…end of FoodSaver commercial!  😉

Saturday we went shopping, looking for Mason jars and lids/rings to go with those that we already had.  We also wanted to see if we could find a canner or, lacking that, a canning kit to go with my pressure cooker (that I also got for Christmas).  As luck would have it, WalMart had a 16 quart pressure canner for only $59 so we snatched it up.  The beauty of it is that it’s also a pressure COOKER so I can pressure cook large items (like a small turkey, for example) in it where I couldn’t do that before.  The nice part about pressure cooking is that it takes less time, meaning it takes less energy to cook.  And with natural gas going up 50% this winter and electricity already out of site, I’m all about using as little energy as possible these days. 

We’re also going to spend a day each weekend in the fall rounding up wood from trees that have already fallen so that we can augment our natural gas heating system by running both fireplaces.  Indentured servitude to the local gas and electric company doesn’t really appeal to me.

Our last stop was BJs Wholesale club for some more FoodSaver bags, some sugar, vinegar and a handful of grocery items.

We went to the Rochester Public Market yesterday and picked up six heads of cauliflower.  These things were huge and were the best looking heads of cauliflower I had ever seen in my life.  We picked up some onions (for the pickles), collard greens, strawberries, and some plums as well.

As we first arrived there, we were just moseying along, taking in all the sights and people when a woman approached us and said “I feel like I should be thanking you two.”  We must have had a “deer in the headlights” look and she then said “Aren’t you……..uh…..” and Lisa helped her out by introducing us.  It turns out she and her wife had been married in Massachusetts — they lived there.  Then for whatever reason they had to move to NY state and lost all their rights as married people.  Until, that is, the ruling in our case came out.  Later I told Lisa that I don’t care how many times that happens, it still blows my mind when perfect strangers come up to us like that and tell us thank you.

We got home and started right to work on blanching the cauliflower and slicing the cucumbers for pickles.  We put one head of cauliflower on the kitchen scale and it weighed just under 6 lbs. with all its leaves and stem.  By the time we were done, out of those six heads of cauliflower, we had packed up 19.5 lbs. of it.  Didn’t I say those heads were huge?

Lisa made shortcake for the strawberries while I prepped the greens and began cooking them down.  I added white northern beans, sauteed some onions and garlic in olive oil and added that, some salt and pepper, some chicken stock and a bit more olive oil to the pot.  We had wonderful “greens and beans” for dinner, and had enough left to freeze about 4 quarts of that as well. 

We work together quite well, for the most part.  We spent better than 4 hours in the kitchen together doing all this stuff yesterday but found the work, the company and the conversation very enjoyable.  Later on we went to our friends’ house and had “adult beverages” with them and another couple we know.  We had a great time!  One of our friends, Wendy, threatened to arm-wrestle me for the remainder of the Pomegranate Martini but in the end, we divvied it up like the adults that we are.  I have ever-so-slight a twinge of a headache this morning, most likely from the Smirnoff Ice and large glass of wine I’d had before we ever went out, combined with the Pomegranate martinis.  I’m such a lightweight!

Today I think, for the most part, we’re going to lay low and try to get some laundry done.  I haven’t done any meaningful knitting in a couple of nights so I think I want to get some of that done, too.  I’m making a cable afghan for my younger daughter and want it done in time for Christmas.  Of course, it will need to be assembled so I need to have it done by the end of November or so, in order to give myself plenty of time to get it put together and in the mail to Colorado.  So far, I’m more than 100 rows ahead of schedule. 

Lisa will likely do some putzing around today as well, doing whatever her mood dictates.

But, right now, Idgie is jonesin’ to go outside so it looks like that’s how we’re going to start the day.