....these two shelves came with us from the UK, and were only cheap flat pack pine units, but they have served us well although I had to rescue them from the rubbish pile which Lester is making out in the courtyard because he said they were rickety would fall apart soon, and looked mucky and horrid, he said. Well I said that I needed shelving if I was ever going to get straight, and he said he would make me some, but he is busy, and I know that they would get made but in the very distant future, and I am a gal on a mission to get things tidy, so, as I say, I rescued the shelves, washed them down, then stained them dark brown. Sorted. I have already emptied two boxes of things on to those shelves, and yes, they are rickety, but I shall tie them together with a nice little bow and that should stop them from leaning away from each other.
.....the pile of things at the front of the photo are the packets of seeds, some of which are nearly seven years old, bought from the USA when we first arrived here by a keen husband who couldn't wait to get started with the veg patch. Well some of them were planted, but some were not, and it is these which are needing to be put onto the compost heap. And there are bags of saved seed and I don't know how old they are, so out they are to go.
.... and one very mucky and well used box, now ready to go outside. It is a relief to get another one emptied.
Alack and alas........these storage shelves are looking not quite as full as they did this time last year.... On the left second self down are the jams left over from last year, which are all that is left of the seventy jars of jam I made. The shelf below houses the chutneys. I have not made any preserves this year, so what you see on the shelves will have to last us for a while. The bags of things next to the chutneys are the dehydrates from this harvest, and they need to be sorted out when I have time.
They are to go in a cupboard in the front kitchen, all in tidy jars, so they are ready to be used without me having to hunt about to see what I have got, which is why a lot of the dehydrated food has not been used. I am still using dehydrates from 2013, and although a little soft in texture, and probably not quite as full of vitamins and minerals as they once were, they have not gone mouldy, nor do they smell 'off, in fact most of them still carry a lovely aroma when I open the jars. This has 'sold' me in regards to dehydrating veggies and fruit, which is why I have done so much dehydrating of our harvests this year.
Lunch today........I have not been very efficient with cooking this week, mostly because I have been feeling poorly (I am better now!).......anyway, needed to have a hunt around to see what I could cook, and decided to open one of the three jars of mutton I canned only a month ago. Now I never use recently canned food because the jars are supposed to be stored on the larder shelves ready for emergency use. Well I reckoned that today was an emergency, because I could not give Lester cheese on toast yet again.......
However........ I was not certain that these three jars were safe to eat, because a few days after I had canned them the outside temperatures rocketed up which increased the temperatures in the back kitchen, which I thought might increase the risk of nasty organisms in these jars. The house has always held a vague chilliness in the summer, but now walls have been built, doors put in, and everything has been sealed up, the house is holding its heat, this we had not reckoned with in regards to food storage, especially meat storage.
Now I always thoroughly cook the meat before it goes into the jars, (never ever would I can raw meat), and I take all the safety precautions necessary for safe canning, but I was worried when high temperatures hit us again, and I saw the lard in the jars stored next to these three jars start to melt so I had to put them in the fridge to cool down. I suppose I could have put the three meat jars into the fridge as well but that did not occur to me.
Anyway, back to today....emergency food needed......decided to open one of the jars.....very suspiciously I might add......got the lid off......good, well sealed, took quite a pull to get it free of the glass......nose into the very top of the jar to have a sniff....all seemed alright....got a spoon, spooned several dollops of meat into the waiting pan.....gave another hearty sniff into the jar....all seemed alright, .....and carried on down the jar sniffing periodically as I went......got to the bottom.....did a really good sniff of the last spoonful....all seemed alright....the pan put on a high heat, seasonings and other veg added........a good boil for twenty minutes.....meanwhile cut some DIY bacon into small pieces, into frying pan with sliced onion........added some rice which was left over from a meal earlier on in the week......hey presto....one emergency meal done, but should there have been the slightest whiff of 'offness' when I sniffed my way through the contents of that jar, then it would have been cheese on toast again with a side dish of savoury rice, and a dessert of left over apple pie and custard.
I am glad that the recent temperatures were not fierce enough to spoil the contents of these jars, but it is something we need to be careful of next summer when we get high temperatures again. I think we shall have to have some sort of cooling system installed, for safety.
Meanwhile,.....not so good news on the cheese storage area, which is supposed to be in the under the stairs cupboard. Went to get the vacuum cleaner from the cupboard and found a pile of scooped up stones / sand / cement mix by it. Upon inspection Lester announced that the rats were back and were probably burrowing under the newly cemented floor. ***********!!!!**** is all I can say. I think we might have to rethink about the cupboard being used as a cheese storage area.
To get back in the saddle with cooking I had a rummage in one of the freezers and pulled out two big bags of mutton. Some is to be cooked for immediate use, the rest is to go into canning jars. I am aware that we have several sheep and one pig still to be go into the freezers before the end of the year, so I must get a move on with getting meat out of the freezers to make room for that new meat. It is cooler now, thank goodness, means that I have more energy to get this work done.
...... the new front doors are in place. They are oak, the same as the other two doors. So no rats, mice, snakes, or anything else can use this route to get into the house ever again. It also means the house is secure. All anyone had to do to get into the house before was to either lift the old doors off their hinges, or give them a jolly good shove upon which they would burst open.
It is nice to have those doors up.
Bye for now,