Consecration Acres

"If ye labor with all your might, I will consecrate that spot that it shall be made holy."

A canning week

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The week turned out to be moderately productive. I have this idea that if I can go full-speed for one day, I should be able to go full-speed all week long. This is not the case. I think I might have gotten more done if I’d taken it easier on Tuesday and hit Wednesday a little fresher. Oh well. Jars were filled.

First thing Monday we got up and tackled those 88 lbs of nectarines. I assigned each of the three olders eight full jars each (about 11-13 lbs) and Bethel and Jordan (who was not assigned anything but turned out to be a pretty swell canner) did a few more than that each. By lunch we had only a half box remaining uncut and the processing was all done by about 4:30. One jar lid popped off when I was removing it from the canner, and so I know that they turned out well. For my future reference: one gallon water, ½ cup sugar, ¼ cup SteviaPlus, 3/8 tsp citric acid for the canning liquid was great—sufficiently sweet with a slight acid tang. I had the thought as we were working that there are probably not too many children who can and that ours might stand a good chance of placing if they entered the county fair.  We’ll see if they are interested when fair season comes around again.

On Wednesday I made sweet pickles (these only have to brine for 3-4 hours) and then started a batch of marinara sauce with the tomatoes that were on sale last week. It is the middle of tomato season and they all ought to be at their peak, but the seeds are still bitter. I’m afraid I’m going to have to give in and remove them. Bummer. Even bigger bummer that we have two long rows of tomato plants outside and that between irrigation issues, heatwaves and voles, we have only gotten a small handful of tomatoes.

I have another batch of pickles to make this week and then some peaches, bananas and pineapples to dry and then I’ve got to get to some non-kitchen stuff around here, such as getting back out to the garden and doing some midsummer sucker pruning in the orchard. A drop in daytime temperatures would help in tackling these activities as well. We should have returned to the mid-90s by Thursday. Mmm, nice and cool…

In the barnyard: The meat flock has hit that weird phase when they start to look like full-grown birds, but they still peep like babies. And they continue to eat like horses. Whoever coined “eat like a bird” was not trying to raise 50 chickens to butcher weight. Also, it’s a bit past time to start tracking goats’ heat cycles. I sure love the milk, but the whole caprine ob/gyn /fertility specialist gets to be a little insane some times. I’m also trying to detangle the whole goat registration thing. Registering the does with ADGA will enable us to sell them for much higher prices than we would otherwise, but Ella’s ear tattoo (a permanent identifier like a brand on cattle) was a duplicate of another goat’s…thus, a mess in need of detangling.

Joseph eats at the table now and makes an unbelievable mess at every meal. At least once a day I strip everything off of him, sit him cross-legged in my bathroom sink, turn on the hot and cold water taps and clean him off. He sits with his back to me, so I have to clean him off mainly by touch, working my way through crusty and sticky and greasy till I finally hit soft baby skin. He is convinced that his hair is a napkin, so that takes a good deal of time as well and he has just discovered that he can get food into his ears and nose as well—also a good cleaning challenge. So, I scrub and I scrub until I find Joseph beneath all the mess and then I take him out and he yells and cries because he LOVES taking a bath in the sink. I wrestle him into clean clothes and he sobs on my shoulder and usually wants to nurse, because nursing makes everything better, even the end of bathtime. Being a mother to a toddler is such a funny thing. They are such cute and crazy little beings—smart, observant and capable enough to be either infuriating or hilarious, depending on how you look at it. What an utterly exhausting pleasure it all has been.

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