Saturday, September 10, 2011

september september, girl where you been so long?

among the many reasons we decided to buy land and build a house was to obtain our goal of being more self-sustaining. not because it’s trendy or whatever. but because of the cumulative effect of many shitty things like peak oil, peak soil, climate change, economic collapse, etc. which are kind of concerning. so together, we started to educate ourselves on gardening, food preservation, frugality, knitting, carpentry, etc…

this winter i would like to use as much peserved food as possible, (and as little grocery out-of-season food as possible) so i’ve been canning up a storm! every year i try to preserve more and more, and use less and less of the imported stuff. we have a HUGE crabapple tree and i’m doing just about everything you can do with crabapples, including jellies, mushes and juices. canning them whole is great for dessert as well. this year, i took a leap and canned jelly without commercial pectin…something veteran canners would do with little thought, but something about which i (a self-taught learner) have always been reluctant. it turns out i was afraid for nothing, because the result was great! i like doing things that require as little processed stuff as possible…

i bought 20 pounds of nectarines for 20 bucks today, and plan on canning those tomorrow.  i've already canned 20 pounds each of peaches and nectarines. also, i bought 20 pounds of pears for 25 bucks today and canned those. this is my first year canning pears and it's even more time consuming than peaches! hopefully the end product is worth it.
boiling crabapple juice!!

spoon test for ensuring the jelly is "done"

in other fascinating news we’re in the process of preparing a few new garden beds. unfortunately, our land is ROCKY, WEEDY and SANDY and the land needs lots of effort and energy on our part. it’s sort of like breaking in a pair of wooden shoes (or about as easy as convincing the masses that global warming exists). my father-in-law built a rock sieve, which operates with the use of elbow grease and gravity to sift through dirt, so we’ve been spending our days as of late hucking chunks of earth onto the medieval-looking contraption (doesn’t it look like some kind of torture chamber?) . 

notice the sifted sand versus the rock pile!! rar!
enormous pile of dirt which is being overtaken by weeds.
luckily, the enormous dirt pile through which we are sifting (which was set aside during the back-filling stage of our house building) also doubles as my son’s favourite play spot. he literally spends hours there digging around and getting dirty while we work the land (and our abs, our arses, biceps, pregnancy guts, etc). he is a much happier child when allowed unrestricted time out-doors to roam around, so dirt-hucking is a rather enjoyable experience for everybody involved.
prepared bed!
to build a bed, we loosened the existing dirt down about a foot, added another foot of sifted dirt, then topped it off with a delicious inch of city compost (we got it for free earlier this summer). we then planted some hairy vetch (a nitrogen fixing cover-crop, NOT a venereal disease!) which we’ll turn under in the spring. hopefully, this will partially prep the soil for next year. 

notice the rock boarder. my son created that...his very own "rock-train." those are just a fraction of the rocks that we dug up in the process. if you ever want to keep a kid busy, just come to my house, help us dig up rocks, and encourage the kid to build a "rock-train." i'm thinking of patenting the idea. "your child will stay out of your hair for hours!". the catch is that you have to build it in my back yard. come one, come all!

hmm…there’s someone shooting a gun outside right now. it’s pitch black out, what the hell are they shooting at?

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