Too Early for Comfort

A weekend of beautiful late September weather, tending home, and preserving the harvest. Isn’t that the way this time of year? Wash, rinse, repeat. This year I’ve been focused on canning two years worth, for the things that can be. Most of the food we can won’t fade in quality in that length of time, and it frees up the work on alternate years, while padding the reserves simultaneously. I do can a small selection of vegetables that quite honestly are as soft on year two as they are on day one. Not our preferred, but so practical as emergency shelf stable foods that see us through many power outages each year. And we get to enjoy a moment of elementary school lunchroom nostalgia as a bonus. I am due to preserve 1-2 canner loads of carrots this year, I haven’t done so since 2019. That’s about our pace. Not highly sought after, but much appreciated in certain circumstances.

On Saturday I simmered and deboned six whole chickens, processed tomatoes, and prepped salsa. Yesterday the salsa was made, broth was simmered, and Adam began adding trim to our kitchen. It looks so pretty! Simple pine, sealed with tung oil. Lovely. Classic Vermont cabin. The three windows are done, next up is doorways and baseboards.

These next six weekends are it for us. The final push before winter has every right to shut down all outside work. We have lists upon lists these days, all with the promise of that deep, radical rest I’m seeking, upon completion. Or upon snow’s arrival, whichever comes first.

Somehow I managed to run out of eight ounce canning jars! I don’t can a lot of things in that size, so I don’t have excess (quarts are another story). But this year I accidentally made twenty-two years worth of peach jam, and decided to can salsa in that size as well. Hence the jar shortage. I’ve been dialing in our pantry needs as a household of two and part of that has been noticing too many one pint jars of salsa getting opened, used for one meal, then tucked into the fridge to await their moldy demise. I hate to use an extra lid, but it’s better than tossing half a jar of salsa because we didn’t finish it in time. Some smaller jars will be nice. I managed to scrounge up enough small jars to get that done. Hopefully this will be two year’s worth. We also have fermented salsa that we’ll be going through first.

Coyotes are so intense this year, it seems to be bordering on infestation! Surely the population is increasing? I need to look into that. They’ve had me up since 2:00 this morning and that’s just too early for comfort.

Normally I like to get going on Mondays, and for sure I do have a list to tend. But goodness I’m going to chase down a nap today if I can help it. I’m not a napper, but today the need is there so I’d like to make that happen. Radical rest, and all. This deep kind of rest I crave has to be deliberate. Nobody really “has time” for such nourishing things. It’s got to be chosen. A letting go of something else so that I may take care of this other equally important thing. This all seems preposterous to me because it’s not like we choose water, or make time for oxygen, and yet… luxurious rest? How utterly fancy. Today I’m going to be fancy. 

8 Responses

  1. It is pretty rough to be woken at 2 a.m. and I was almost complaining to be up and about at 6. Hope there is time for that little much needed nap.

  2. Coyotes…. such an increasing problem. Cohabitation is becoming problematic here, even during daylight hours with livestock guardian dog on duty. If I wasn’t so picky about the next dog(s) I bring here we might be making better progress toward keeping coyotes at bay.

    One theory I have is that food is abundant for the coyotes right now so population adjusts accordingly.

    We have never had the rodent infestations we are seeing this year particularly. It began at the start of the pandemic and all neighbors noticed an increase. We surmised it was because restaurants were shut down and food scraps the rodents usually fed from were unavailable. That sent rodents packing to more rural areas. I could be wrong but I seem to remember this being publicly reported on.

    Here we are three years later and it’s a rodent explosion in spite of feed in trash cans, garden refuse buried in the manure pile, brush piles long since burned, etc.

    I think the coyotes have abundant food and have adjusted their population accordingly.

    Our coyotes kept me awake until 2 am, and then I slept in. Good luck with that nap.

    1. So I was getting up as you were going to bed. Does this mean combined we got a full night’s sleep? 😅 Knowing that you are observing the increase makes me feel better. Have wondered if my imagination was exaggerating it.

  3. Hi Heather,
    I like the single use canning in jars also. I have done it with corn and green beans as well. It is a gardener’s version of convenience food and like you, I like how much it cuts down on waste. Convenience food is always more expensive, right?! The cost a canning jar lid is ok for now.
    Your salsa recipe is definitely the best!

  4. Is simmering your preference for whole chickens, over roasting? I have my roasted chicken recipe dialed in BUT this fall am wondering about whether I should take up simmering for canning (mostly only can broth with meat from picked over bones vs canning chicken, specifically).

    Nearly time to butcher the rangers and trying to get my mental plan down. Delightful.