Last weekend I was road tripping through Eastern Washington and Idaho with Homebrew Husband, and didn’t put up a Homestead Report. In terms of accomplishments, I’m going to include everything I can remember from the past two weeks.
Please join in, and list your own weekly (or monthly, or whatever!) achievements in the comments, or if you have a blog and want to do your own post and link it up, that’s great too.
Planting & Maintaining
Very little garden progress these past two weeks. The garden itself is going crazy, but I’ve been happy to just keep it watered and fairly well picked. There’s a ton of weeds, trellising, mulching and catch-up out there I haven’t quite been able to get to.
I also still haven’t gotten my fall transplants in the ground yet and I’m just groaning about it.
- Summer Squash
- Hot peppers
- Peach (singular; I picked just one of mine to test ripeness. Nearly there!)
- Old Bay Corn Relish
- Corn Salsa
- Beet Relish
- Sweet and Sour Zucchini Relish
- Indian-spiced Zucchini Pickles (Patreon)
- Candied Aronia in Rum
- Aronia Preserve with Black Pepper and Rosemary
- Aronia Infused Gin
- Aronia Syrup
- Seedless Blackberry Jam with Rosewater
- Nectarine Brown Sugar Jam
- Pickled Dilly Beans
- Yellow Plum Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce
- Turmeric Dill Pickles
I think that’s everything. If you are on Patreon, these two videos describe many of my most recently preserved items, including the aronia things:
- Behind the Scenes: A Day of Canning – Aronia preserves, Blackberry jam, Beet relish and more
- Round Two of Harvest Canning: Salsa, Corn Relish, Plum Sauce
Cooking & Eat Down The Larder
On our road trip we ate out, mostly, so nothing to really brag about.
In Pullman (the eastern Washington town that is home to Washington State University) we toured the Cougar Gold cheese factory (I should have a Patreon video on our behind-the-scenes tour coming soon). Of course we brought home a bunch of cheese. So, plenty of snacking on yummy dairy in the last few days.
I think my “eat down the larder” effort is basically on pause until harvest and build up the larder season ends. There’s just too much fresh food to eat now.
Meals have been really casual. I’m on a crazy tartine kick. If it can be turned into an open faced sammie, I’m doing it. Many salads are being made with cucumbers. This cucumber salad with yogurt curry dressing (Patreon) is one of my favorites.
My neighbor shared Dungeness crab she caught with us. That was a super treat!
- Basic maintenance. Nothing noteworthy has happened with the birds lately.
- The kittens are growing and are adorable. They are very chill cats for their age, and are completely content most of the time to have random people pick them up and haul them around for snuggles.
Business, Finances & Frugality
- Over $500 of direct funding on my Patreon page. I got a big donation from the very thoughtful blogger behind MetaCookbook that helped kick me up past my last goal. Officially MetaCookbook focuses on “food, science, beer and blather.” Unofficially, writer Natasha makes very interesting observations about life, the universe, and everything against the framework of science and good beer.
- Everything else related to consistent recording and budgeting is a complete disaster. As in, I think we haven’t recorded in GoodBudget for 2 weeks. The routine is off, but it’s summer.
Energy Use & Solar Panel Production
This is for 14 days. We’re still trying to dial in on why this is so bad. Right now it looks like it’s just death by a thousand cuts: vent hood on a lot while canning (my vent hood is basically industrial and uses a lot of power), running several fans during the heat wave, the sump pump running frequently, laundry, vacuuming (we vacuumed for an entire day after Oliver decided to take some foam packaging and crumble it to a zillion tiny foam balls that went all over the house), lots of getting in-and-out of the deep freezers, etc.
I guess it could be worse…we could have been running air conditioning. Still, I’m disappointed.
- Total electricity used: 438 kWh.
- Total solar energy produced: 347 kWh (= $186.44 in production incentive). Production has been impacted by ongoing haze from wildfires in B.C.
- Energy purchased: 91 kWh (= $9.56 in net spend)
- Total earned through our solar panels this week: $176.89
Home, Homeschooling & Family
While Nick and I road tripped, Oliver stayed here and each set of grandparents watched him for a couple nights. He was spoiled for activities!
- Lots of woodworking and building
- Visited MOHAI and the restored steam ferry
- Visited the beach and went on a ferry boat ride
In the meantime Bella came with us to Eastern Washington, before spending a few nights with my sister and brother-in-law. We all:
- Toured WSU Veterinary Hospital
- Toured WSU Creamery where Cougar Gold cheese is made
- Visited the Moscow, Idaho farmers market (Video on Patreon)
- Visited the WSU brown bears.
At home it’s a jumble of projects…you guys know how it is this time of year.
- Cleanup of pantry. This is just an ongoing effort right now. I try to fill the shelves, but for some reason everything ends up piled on the floor.
- Big reorganization effort in the library/ TV room. This started off very innocently. “We need a better place to store our board games. Maybe if we move these books off that shelf they could go there?” we mused. That was four days ago, knock-on piles of crap are distributed all over the house, and there is no end in sight.
Formal homeschool work continues. Taking July off was fun and all, but for Oliver especially, routine is very important for family sanity.
- Oliver: basic tablework, including reading, handwriting, phonics, and math.
- Bella: music, music composition, history, writing, research skills.
- Me: continuing homeschool pre-planning and developing the giant integrated humanities spine I put together for Bella.
- Nick: designing next year’s science curriculum for Bella, which is modern topics in physics and cosmology.
Planning and Research
- I’m in one of my periodic social moods. These happen every 8 to 12 months or so and I have to catch them before I slip back into misanthropy. So we’re trying to connect with friends in a real, face-to-face way.
• • •
I’m so impressed by all your canning! I just did a batch of strawberry, raspberry, and your brown sugar nectarine jam, and I’m beat!!! Quick question for you or your followers – I screwed up picking the pears last year and ended up losing them all. How do you know when they’re ready? I have a 4-way tree, but it was here when I moved in, so I don’t know the varieties. Pretty sure there’s an Anjou variety or two, and a Bartlett. Thanks! 🙂
The easiest thing is to pick them when they are full size and still pretty green, but when lifting up from below causes them to separate easily and cleanly off the branch. If you basically hoist them from underneath and they come off cleanly, take them in. Here is more info: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/node/413
Kristina M says
This week I’m on a much needed vacation, but the last two weeks were a real preserve-o-rama, between picking up a bunch of free plums and buying a 20-pound box of tomatoes.
Dried pounds and pounds of plums
Made plum cardamom jam
Made 13 pints of salsa and 5 half pints of tomato jam and dehydrated tomatoes. Going to pick up another batch of tomatoes when I get home, for sauce and more salsa.
Nicole S. says
I made two batches of plum jam from a friend’s plums(red ones), it turned out sweet-tart, delicious. Tomorrow I make your nectarine jam! Can’t wait! I also harvested our onions and potatoes from our p-patch plot.
Lots of garden stuff going on – it looks so vibrantly green! We’re gearing up for spring, had the lowest temp and accompanying worst frost on record a few weeks ago, so I’m holding off to see what’s actually died and what’s just playing dead. Warm sunny days and rain this week, it’s so nice 🙂
I put a brick floor in my garden shed today, basketweave pattern, 12 bricks square, and then moved all my stuff in. It’s very satisfying. Cleared up the tool shed and garage a bit while I was at it, plus bought a fairly random assortment of vegies, herbs and flowers at the markets this morning and planted most of them. So I’m feeling pretty productive.