Monday, 21 September 2015

A surprise bucketful......

Didn't expect to get this harvest.....knew that we had beetroot, did not realise that we had all these tomatoes, all of them hidden from view until we started pulling up the tomato plants to make way for winter veg.

Now the weather has cooled down and I am getting more sorted out in the house after this long year of house renovations I gave into the urge yesterday to visit the veg garden. I knew things were growing in it, mostly weeds, but I could see the odd leaf here and there rising up from amongst the wild growth suggesting that perhaps I might get a harvest of something or other.

So....... started excavating amongst the weeds, and found half a row of beetroot, then several onions (not sure what happened to the rest of those onions but they were not to be found), and then I arrived at the tomato jungle. I did not expect too much from the tomato plants, they were never tied up so had romped over the ground in the manner of all tomato plants left to go their own way so I assumed they had rotted. Some had, but most hadn't.

What am I going to do with them?  Slice and dehydrate the firm red ones, cook the red squashy ones and add them to meat I am canning, and the green ones will be canned. No chutney, no time to make it. The beetroot is to be cooked, then either sliced and dehydrated or added to jars of spiced vinegar.

I have started on the long haul of getting the meat from out of the freezers and into jars, so we can fill the freezers with meat again. On the huge pot of meat (labelled as 'for casserole and stews' on the freezer bags), one big pot of meat which had a leg of mutton in it.

Slow cooked the pots for longer that was needed because we went out for lunch, which seems a daft thing to do when we have so much food here, but when I am food prepping I don't seem to be able to either think of, or produce, reasonable food to eat. My mind can't concentrate on cooking for prepping and cooking for eating at the same time. Lester knows this, so took us out to lunch. Nothing special, just a two course meal at the local eatery, but at least I didn't have to cook it, was better than I could have produced in my current state of mind in regards to food cooking, and it filled us up.

The large pot of mutton......the lower half of the leg I shredded, put them into jars (two) added some left over tomato soup for liquid, and into the canner. Seventy five minutes later, and they were done. Two more meals added to the larder.

The huge the meat off the bones, some of which were donated to the three dogs glued to my side as I worked, one of the bigger bones (which still had some meat stuck to it) I gave to the chickens. They have been banned from going into the cow pens because they rake up the wet straw from beneath the dry straw so I thought they might enjoy arguing over a bone. They did.

- the 'good' meat I put on one side, and the bits and pieces went into the dog food pot for tomorrow. I gave some of that to the chickens as well, which they much appreciated.

Was going to make a couple of meatloaves, but had put the tray of meat into the freezer to cool down ready for mincing but forgot about it so it has had to be defrosted over night.....

.... then minced, then put into canning jars. The meatloaves would have to be frozen for storage and I didn't want to freeze the meat again.

The shelves in my larder are starting to be filled again. It does give us a secure feeling to know that we have food on those shelves. Gives us a sense of being in control of what we eat.

And oh how I love the big sink we have just installed in the back kitchen. I did not want a double sink in the front kitchen because I knew that there would always be washing up, either done or waiting to be done, piled up in it. But the back kitchen, wow! Just love that sink. And I know it is only a sink, but for over seven years my washing up facilities until a couple of months ago were: a bucket, a little sink in the caravans, a bowl of water outside in the tent, then a broken sink in the house which could not be emptied because it got blocked forever by an apricot stone, then I used the sink on a vanity unit meant for bathroom use only so leaked water everywhere. The new sinks, especially this one, they have made my life so much easier.....

Meanwhile, we are still waiting the arrival of Bonny's calf. The chickens are still waiting for their new chicken hut to be made, our Tamworth sow is now with our Tamworth boar so hopefully there will be piglets eventually (the sow put on a lot of weight this year and although has been on a diet she does not seem to have lost much fat. If she does not slim down she will not be able to make piglets with Max.), the sheep are well apart from one of the young males who died out in the field the other day, the geese are still the same, and I think we are all glad to be out of the very long hot summer.

Bye for now,

Vera x


rusty duck said...

Oh I do love a surprise harvest!
You are getting so much more settled Vera, I can 'hear' it in your voice. It's a lovely feeling when it all starts to come together and you can see the end goal.

PioneerPreppy said...

Nice surprises there!! I am always amazed at just how much can grow even when the weeds get out of control at times.

Just for curiosities sake what do you do with the carcasses of the dead sheep? I am working on some solutions but haven't really found and built one yet.

DUTA said...

Nice surprise to find all those tomatoes and onions in your veggie plot. It's also nice to go out for lunch, as suggested by Lester. With all due respect, constant cooking, freezing, canning etc..might make one weary of food in general and of eating in particular.

Dawn McHugh said...

I hope you have a lovely cosy winter and rest up and use what you are storing, I love your big sink, we had a belfast sink in the other house I loved it and plan to have one again. Thats a great tomato harvest you have :-)

Vera said...

RUSTY DUCK, I am feeling more 'together' now that everything is getting organised in the house, Jessica. And amazingly, I am finding myself with more time on my hands even though I am busy!

PIONEER PREPPY, you are right....we are still getting a good harvest even though the vegetables have to be hunted for amongst the weeds! As for the carcasses of dead sheep, we don't often have a complete sheep die, but when it does we give it back to nature. Fortunately we have a woodland, so the sheep is put in there. Nature will then take care of the recycling of the body.

DUTA, it is difficult to explain the sense of enjoyment that one gets when one looks at a larder full of home grown food. Is it worth the hard work? Yes, absolutely yes. Of course one feels overwhelmed when the harvest is such a good one, but 'weary of food'? No. Because home grown food tastes so much better than anything produced on a commercial scale which actually makes eating it very pleasurable. But it also makes eating 'commercial' food very unpleasant.

What has been a problem for me in regards to food prepping is the fact that we have been under almost constant renovation for seven years. Now that the kitchens are done, the flow of work in regards to food storage has become quicker.

So, all in all, once one has become used to eating one's own food, then the work to produce that food is very worthwhile.

DAWN, I am finding things much easier now the kitchens are done, and that sink..... what would I do without it...... and I have only been using if for a month!