The October Food in Jars Mastery Challenge was either dehydrating food or pressure canning, and I’m reasonably competent at both. Dehydration? No sweat. Actually, I feel like a pro at dehydrating food after my husband and I dehydrated so much food for our 350-mile backpacking stint on the Pacific Crest Trail. We dehydrated stir-fried vegetables and rice, tomato sauces, refried beans, salsas… Basically, we dehydrated nigh well a month’s worth of food.
We have an official freeze watch for tomorrow night, so we finally got our tushes in gear and started tearing down the garden and pulling out the irrigation system. I always find this process a little sad. I love walking around the corner and seeing bam! garden, and the bam! affect is noticeably absent when the garden lacks plants and trellises and the like.
I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Mother Earth News Fair this weekend, and I loved it. I came away with so many fun ideas, and I more or less felt surrounded by people with similar values. The tribalism may have been loose—I did, after all, help a nice older couple carrying heavy bags of worm castings to their car that had a prominent Ben Carson bumper sticker—but I felt it all the same. Better yet, I just had fun.
We recently checked back on our hive after installing the new beetle jails to replace the beetle blasters. As I wrote about earlier, I haven’t been entirely satisfied with the beetle blasters and was looking for alternatives. The post was shared to Keeping Backyard Bees, and many other beekeepers have shared their own strategies there for trapping small hive beetles. I wanted to follow-up on my experience with the beetle jails.
We ordered our wood-burning stove in March, and the installation was finally complete in August. Yes, August. Never mind heating the inside of the house, the great outdoors felt as if they were heated by the wood-burning stove that is the Kansas summer sun. My husband waited with eager anticipation for the day when he could finally, finally justify burning wood in the new stove.
This year, I opted to expand my sweet potato horizons by ordering three different varieties to plant and explore. Although I haven’t taste tested them yet, I have a darn good idea of how the sweet potatoes did in the garden before getting to the plate based on the quantity of each that a friend and I pulled pulled from the ground.
Last year, I made spiced peach butter, and it was absolutely delicious. I feel as if I’ve been hoarding it in my cupboard, afraid to open it. The next-to-last time I had opened a jar, one of my foster kiddos basically drank it, and I didn’t get any of it. So, I’ve been a little wary of opening one of the few remaining delectable jars until I had the time and opportunity to make something equally tempting to replace them. In that vein, I had been looking forward to this month’s Food in Jars mastery challenge because I was hoping to make pumpkin butter, which seemed a delicious way to welcome autumn.