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Living the Dream
38 recipes and over 140 jars

Well tis the end of canning season with the end of the garden. I was a good little squirrel and made over 140 jars of jellies, sauces and pickled foods from 38 recipes. Canning was fun for the most part but let me tell you sometimes after a full day of work, the last thing you want to do is start a few recipes that go until midnight. But it's all worth it (though I haven't figured it out in dollars) because you get food you wouldn't find in a store and it came from your garden. Some go for gifts, some I exchange for other recipes I didn't make, and we hope some will go with us to Mexico.

It will be good to get my kitchen table back since it's been filled with jars in multiple layers for months! I think we'll have to put in some shelves so the jars can get put out of harms way. We only lost one jar of black raz jelly (Phil was trying to be good and help clean and ended up snagging a jar with the vacuum hose), so for that I'm thankful.

Yum, Yum! Haven't tried everything yet but everything has been good so far.

You just don't realize how much supplies you use when you can. As far as I can calculate, I used over 30lbs of sugar (and I was reducing the amounts whenever possible), 2 gallons of white vinegar, over 1 gallon of cider vinegar and enough spices that I started pricing out who had the cheapest. Let me tell you McCormick is NOT a canner-friendly priced brand. But thankfully, we do have a co-op nearby that has lots of spices you can go in and weigh up your quantity and it's decently priced too. I showed Phil a few of the spices, like rose hips and chives (at $1.00/ounce) and told him that's what we have growing over there and over there. I think he's seeing the dollars in our weeds now. HA!

Don't you just love it?

NY made the news yet again this year. Now for records in snowfall in October and power outages. Yeah and Happy Halloween to you too! LOL! Thank god we at our place were just north of the storm path and didn't get this lovely sight to wake up to. It snowed but never stuck or built any accumulation. But the plows did go out and sand/salt the roads because it was wet and brrrr cold (in the 20s).

This photo is from my niece's place about 15 miles south of us. My sister and brothers all got the same beautiful sight.......snow, snow and more snow! They are all south of us and are in the upper elevations (1200-1500 ft), while we are more north (near the Adirondacks) and are at 900-950 ft above sea level depending on what part of the property you stand on. It sure doesn't feel that high! I think of snow warning at blah blah elevations in CA and you look at the mountain and say ok it will be covered in snow to there. I don't feel like we're in the mountains here in NY, just lots of hilly farm land!

Birthdays, family & surprises

We had a birthday party for my dad's 85th up to my brother Jeff and his wife Pam's place (and a little belated one for Pam as hers was a few days earlier). Lots of food, lots of people and lots of noise. God when we get together the volume gets really loud. And if you know how I get, just try 5 more brother and sisters, 3 nieces, and 2 spouses, and 3 in laws!

Most of us are sick (we think) mostly from Pam's grandson who was sick at the wake/funeral or from my nieces who work at the hospital. (Sidebar - sad month for us as Pam's mom passed after a fall which broke her hip). My brother kept making me hot toddies with whiskey which didn't help and tasted like he poured multiple shots of straight whiskey. Ick!

Surprise of surprises for my dad was my sister Bernadette flew in from California. She hasn't been home in too many years so it was good for her to come now. Oh and ha ha for her as she hates winter, it snowed! Lots of wet and chunky snow!

The party itself isn't really for visiting as you feel like you have ADD and can't finish one thought/story without switching to someone/some topic new. Don't get me wrong it's fun and filling (always have plenty to eat and drink) but don't ask me what we talked about for 5 hours because I really don't remember half of it. Is that a sign of aging? a new mental problem? OR is that just a normal kind of nuts?

Happy Bday Samantha

Phil's youngest and 2nd daughter's birthday! Sorry no new pics since I can't figure out a download from facebook. But she's as beautiful as ever. Cheers!

Step 4 of Heating with Wood

So here's our wood stack for the year. How do you like it? This is what most of 3 big maples look like after they've been blocked and split. Whew! A lot of work! We haven't exactly figured out the cost of heating with wood (and would you really want to know) but when you get free wood (thanks Dad), it's cheaper than anything else you have to buy.

We tried to make our wood multifunctional 1) our heat 2) privacy screen and 3) it's pretty. Hopefully it will still be standing after all this winter's snow and wind. I know you can't tell by the pictures but the far right stack between the trees is double stacked over 5 feet high by about 10 feet long plus 3 feet outside the tree. The other stack is lower about 4 ft but longer maybe 15 and it's also double stacked. No need for exercise machines during wood cutting season! My back is aching just thinking of it! LOL!

Step 3 of Heating with Wood

So after the tree falls and you've cut everything down to 14-18" long (so it fits in your wood stove) and have piled it, you then are at step 3 which is splitting. Now you could be a lumberjack or amish and do it with a splitting axe but come on let's get real, you use a wood splitter. For this our neighbor let us borrow his on his tractor as ours is still being put together. We spent 2 days about 4 hours each in crappy weather splitting our wood pile (and almost finished before it started raining too hard). While Phil split, I did step 4 - stacking and almost had it finished, darn it!

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Who: Jim & Jeannine
Port: Newport, NY
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