Friday, November 5, 2010

Cold outside, and it's only November.

Whenever it starts getting cold outside, my feet start dragging to do anything outside.
The frost has been here for about a week now, and a part of me knows I am overdue to work on the front yard. Probably by now, I'm supposed to till over the front yard and add manure, paper, and dead leaves. Must also bag up the sod and put it into black trash bags, so it can "die" by the time summer comes, and it can be composted.
First, I need to snap photos and get measurements of the front yard to give to the landscape designers. From there, I'm guessing there'll be a mockup and I'll have some winter time to mull it over. I also need to observe the shady/sunny parts of the front yard.

Sorry for the rambling. That's my placeholder, and you all can hold me accountable :)

I read in the self-sufficient life by John Seymour that winter is a time for enjoying the stored foods/grains/meats etc from the summer/fall. While I don't have meat and a ton of stuff saved, I do have 5 bags of frozen apples taking up too much room in my freezer. This was the result of having more apples than we can eat from the fall. I imagined that I'd turn it into pie filling, but living the crazy life I have, I didn't have any time to do such a thing. So here I am trying to squeeze chicken leg quarters into my freezer, and taking out the 5 bags of frozen apples in a huff.

Can frozen apples me turned into "Canned apple pie filling"? Only one way to find out :\
I followed the recipe for making Apple pie filling and poured them into the canning jars.
This is where I admit I am not so good at canning. My blueberry preserves was too mushy, my crabapple jelly turned into crabapple sauce, I constantly have some jars that don't seal, and I need to put them in the fridge. However, I did well with peach preserves... :\

So I canned the pre-frozen apple, apple pie filling. And since I was doing this at 12am, I accidentally let it process for 2 hours. To my surprise there were still 2 jars that didn't seal. Ah well. Sometimes you lose some. I made 1 jar into pie, I put one jar into the fridge, and then the other 4 jars were sealed, and put into the pantry. Since I made 1 of the unsealed jars into a pie, I was able to taste and see whether pre-frozen apples were an issue in terms of texture and integrity. It was actually, delicious. Even the girls were going gaga over it :)

If any of you want to learn more about John Seymour, and his book about the self-sufficient life (which is a very "introduction to the urban homestead" kind of book) his website is:

I believe the author has since passed away, and the legacy lives on here through Will Sutherland:

there are courses you can take in:
Making bread
Making sausages
Brewing beer and wine
Making Baskets
Making jams and jellies
Planning your smallholding/garden
Creating a clean seedbed from weeds and grass
Laying paths, blocks and cement
Building composting areas, making compost and use of compost in the garden
Pig and chicken husbandry
Management and improvement of soil
Scything, Haymaking and Grassland management
Tree planting and management for fruit, nuts and firewood
Growing soft fruits, pruning and manuring
Control of weeds and pests
Cutting and storing firewood, including the chainsaw, its use and maintenance
Harvesting and storing food from the garden, drying, picking, and freezing
Use of the rotavator for controlling weeds and improving soil structure
Use of the greenhouse and transplanting
Tools for the garden
Knots and ropework

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