Video series on Canning added to our YouTube channel

I just added a well done six part series to our YouTube channel. The series goes step-by-step through the whole process of canning food. I haven’t done any canning yet, but I plan to do much canning come Spring harvest. Here is the first clip in the series.

The full series can be seen here on our YouTube Channel.

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Snow comes to our part of Texas.

Hopefully the plants in the big garden can hang on a bit longer. They were blanketed with snow this morning for about two hours. The temperature was around 40 degrees F. I think they’ll make it. There are lettuces, collards, broccoli, cauliflower, and swiss chard. I did go ahead and clip the swiss chard from the small garden this morning, just in case the snow would have done them in. So, it is salad for a couple of days now.

Snow in Texas

I and my family enjoyed seeing the snow. It is rare here in North Texas. It is nearly gone now, a few hours later. If the garden is a loss, I will be ok with that. I had some good harvests. I’ll check on the big garden at lunch. Either way, I am excitedly getting into planning the Spring garden now.

GMO=bad

Genetic engineering: The world’s greatest scam?

A Case for Returning to Homegrown Heirloom Organic Foods

nutrientdecline

Here is the complete article in pdf.

nutrient_decline

Heirloom organic fruits and vegetables generally are more nutritious and more flavorful. Additionally, there is a huge variety in nearly every type of fruit or vegetable that isn’t to be found on grocery store shelves. By leaving food production to corporations and retail entities who, compared to what is available to the independent home grower of today, offer a narrow range of choices due to logistical considerations and profit-driven motives, people are missing out on the wonderful selection of foods available in nature.

If you are looking for more choices, consider Seed Savers Exchange, for example. They offer 25,000 different seed varieties. Why not grow your own? It isn’t terribly hard.

The Icy Hand! My Beans Hath Perished!

The air was only down to 40 degrees at my house last night. I thought my garden veggies were safe. Unbeknownst to me, just 15 miles to the northeast, a cold wind blew. At the family acres, home to the larger of my two garden plots, Winter made a visit.

On my lunch hour, I drove over to pick some greans. Initially, I wondered if the large recently active burn pile, full of tree branches and old unusable lumber, had burned too closely or too hotly, scorching or choking my two rows of green bean plants. They are nearest the burn pile. It was an immediate reaction. Then, a moment later, I realized that the damage was from the freeze that evidently occurred last night. The leaves and vines of my formerly prolific grean bean plants were wilted, discolored, and sad.

I paused and reflected on the cyclical nature of…well, nature! Far from being upset at the loss of my green bean plants, which had produced so easily and abundantly for me all Fall, I was joyous at having participated in the natural process of the seasons. The experience was as tasty as the beans had been. Besides, I have four large bags of assorted green beans in my freezer, and my lettuces are doing well still.

Here is a picture of the green bean plants, now on their way back to the soil.

green beans after the freeze

Here is the last green bean harvest of the season (and some dill). I picked the small beans too, since they had grown as much as they were going to grow.

last green bean harvest for Fall

Friday’s Harvest

More green beans today. They just keep on producing! I just throw them all together. It makes for a nice mix of flavors. Somewhere in this pile there are Blue Lake Pole Beans, Contender Bush Beans, Purple Pod Pole Beans, along with some others.

green (& purple) beans

Wednesday’s Harvest

gardenharvest11112009

At lunch today, my mom came out to the garden and helped me pick green beans. Here is today’s harvest-some for her, some for my aunt (her neighbor), and some for me, the wife, and our kids.

Here are some previous harvests.

gardenharvestw3squash

gardenharvestonpapertowel

Getting my feet soiled.

Here is the site we chose for our new larger garden. It gets good sun and is bordered on two sides by trees, providing a nice shaded area for sitting. The soil is fairly rich. There is a gentle slope, but not too much.

site for big garden plot

1biggarden08172009

So, here is the garden plot for which I paid a local to plow up for me. I have made the leap from my two backyard four feet by four feet raised beds that I started last Spring. They did fairly well, considering I had not gardened before, not counting a little help I gave my mom when I was a child. I am an ambitious gardener. I now have a garden plot of sixty feet by forty-five feet on the family acres. Since I got it going heading into this Fall, it is not fully up and running.

Another early photo…

earlyprogress

Good source for canning jars

A great source for canning jars (mason jars) are Classico pasta sauce jars. I really like their sauce. Granted, eventually I want to make more of my own sauce, but my garden has not fully grown up. I don’t have any tomatoes right now. So, I still buy my pasta sauce at the store, unless my wife is nice enough to make the sauce. She’s a better cook than I. I have a stock of empty jars tucked on a couple of shelves in a closet. I am stockpiling them for canning of my excess from the coming spring garden season. Once I start that, I’ll upload pictures. For the Fall, I am freezing my surplus harvest.

Animals

Some possible future residents…

  • Angora rabbits
  • goats
  • chickens
  • guinea fowl
  • varments
  • cows
  • cats & dogs

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