After spending a beautiful day in the garden I sent the evening canning beef.
The beef comes cut up in chunks ready to put in the canning jars. This year I'm trying something different. In past years I have browned the beef before putting it in jars. This year I am putting it in raw. I also include a bay leaf in each jar. I skip the tallow and it seems to come out just fine and tasty.
Here are the jars in my pressure canner. Thank you gma and gpa for the wonderful Christmas gift of the canner a few years ago.
And here they are cooling. I canned 18 quarts of beef this time around. Every jar sealed which I wondered about with having the raw beef cold. But it worked out.
Next up is strawberry jam and maybe blackberry jam. yum!
Basil is growing strong. I will use it in my spaghetti sauce.
Dill for pickles...it's just starting to fill in.
I grow all my herbs in containers because I don't have enough space in my garden. I use my food dehydrator and continue to replant throughout the season so that I dry enough herbs for the year.
Last summer we started fixing our wood floors. We reclaimed vintage wood floor boards from houses that were being torn down, found some at a restoration warehouse, and used what my father years ago tore out of the house I grew up in. Then we stripped them and installed. No professionals needed...just good friends to help with the gunky work of cleaning the boards and a father-in-law willing to crawl around on his knees. Thanks Dad! Here is what they looked like right after being torn out of a house. Really icky in the tongue and groove area. But as you strip them it's incredible how the natural beauty just seems to leap right out of the faded boards. Now that the rain has stopped and we've got some warm weather consistently, it's time to strip this load that's left in my garage from last winter.
Here is what our floors looked like when we bought the house about 6 years ago. The living room was covered in a really gross carpet that had to go. When we pulled it up we found the original wood floors in pretty bad shape with water damage and plywood cut outs. We also found that our house had no subfloor under the dining and living rooms. Just one layer of the original wood floors. Our house was built in 1918 so it's worked but we noticed some sagging and soft spots. We strengthened from the underside and decided to use the original floor as the new subfloor. We didn't feel too bad as we are putting in wood floors just as old and even older in some cases.
Last summer and fall we completed the dining room and most of the living room. We were just a few rows shy of being done when the cold weather hit. So, we called it quits for the season. You can see the new old wood we are laying over the original floor. Again, we did it ourselves with no professional help. This will take a weekend finish up.
Before we called a halt last winter we completed the dining room floor. We decided we liked the natural beauty of the wood. This is quarter sawn southern heart pine. It's beautiful. What a shame for this kind of lumber to end up in landfills! We sanded and then put 4 clear coats over it. It's super tough and has stood up to lots of wear already. We are going to do the same in the living room as the two rooms connect via a double pocket door and then the floor will look seamless.
We have a small raspberry patch but if I can keep the kids from picking and eating, including my college daughter who digs them out of the freezer and eats them frozen, then I can usually make enough raspberry jam for the year.
The first berries of the season. Great flavor. Our strawberry bed is about 4 years old now so hopefully we will have a great crop for strawberry jam.
View from our dining room window. This yellow climber gets so large it almost takes over the driveway. We've tried to tame it this year. We'll see how it goes.
I just wanted to check in with how my morning walks are going. Well, seems mornings about 5-6:30am are dry during this wet spring. I walk about 45 minutes to an hour at a good clip. I am feeling energized throughout the day and sleeping better at night...sometimes even more than my usual 4 hour sleep segments for those of you who know me this is a big deal. Also continuing to do my floor exercises. Low key but seems to be working for me.
I'd love to hear about what you all are doing to keep healthy. Keep
Pole beans are up. I planted 2 rows of beans right next to each other and then put my fence down the middle of the row utilizing both sides of the fence and maximizing my space. Unfortunately I had a bunny guest the night after I took this photo...ate a lot of the leaves off. So, I took chicken wire and just lightly encased the beans to see if that would help. In past years once the beans were climbing the bunnies didn't seem to pay any attention to them. This bunny was brave, however, as I walked right up to it in the morning as it was munching away. It only ran when I nudged it. I was thinking maybe it was one of the babies from the nest in my garden last year. A mother rabbit made her burrow under my onion row. I removed them to a box and of course we had to snuggle them some and feed them with a dropper before giving them back to mommy. (We thought mom wouldn't come back for them.) I did notice the babies and mom hanging around and getting real close to me when I gardened last year. Maybe they still recognize my scent. This could be trouble for the garden:)
One whole day to work on the garden without rain. I knew that was all I needed and now I can say that everything is planted! I have almost half of the garden covered in newspaper and grass. In the next 2 mowings I should have the whole garden covered. Thanks to all who donated newspapers:) Absolutely no weeds yet in the areas that are covered.
Red Barn Young Writers' Guild launch. I'm excited to offer our writing workshop for young people ages 10-15. Bring your writing to share and your friends to share with. Register for the workshop by visiting the Red Barn Writers' Guild page on this website.
I grew up and currently live in Iowa. I have three beautiful daughters and a Miniature Schnauzer. I'm interested in anything that supports healthy families and healthy lifestyles.