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  • Welcome to the Gigi Blog!

    Mother to six Little Women and Two Little Men. Married to a Happy Mortician. Caretaker to goats, chickens and many, MANY bunnies. Photographer. Homeschooler. Lover of Jesus, coffee & tea and all things pink & vintage.

Labour of Love

“Don’t live in hope with your arms folded;
fortune smiles on those who roll up their sleeves, and put their shoulders to the wheel.
You cannot dream yourself into character; you must hammer and forge yourself one. To love and to labour is the sum of living, and yet how many think they live who neither love or labour.

The nobelest thing in the world  is honest labour.
It is the very preservative principle of the universe.
Wise labour brings order out of chaos; it turns deadly bogs and swamps into grain-bearing fields; it rears cities;
it adorns the earth with architectural monuments…

A life full and constant employment is the only safe and happy one.
If we suffer the mind and body to be unemployed, our enjoyments, as well as our labours, will be terminated.

Labour, honest labour, is mighty and beautiful.
The nobelst man of earth is he who puts his hands cheerfully and proudly to honest labour.
Labour is a business and ordinance of God.”

-The Royal Path of Life, 1882

 

And suddenly, without realizing it, the weather gently shifts as we slowly slip into the changing days of September …the labour of the harvesting of garden is in full swing … all our hard work during the summer is paying off as the Provision Room begins to fill with beautiful food that will carry us through the years.

 

 

 The morning air has a nip of cold in it … the beautiful maple trees, so leafy and full, have a tinge of red to their tips of leaves.  The ever noticable Canadian Geese are gathering day by day in farmer’s corn fields, readying for their flights south.

Even the bright pink and blue flowers of our garden are slowly fading as the cheerful sunflowers take center stage among the rows. Various school books are brought out to the kitchen table and stubby pencils are sharpened as little minds take on a new adventure of a new grade, a new school year.

The past few days – well, actually the past few weeks- have been a blur of labour – as we harvest the garden, put up vegetables and fruits in season – and prepare for a first ever homeschool family camping trip. This also means cleaning up our old farmhouse for a family who will house-sit our home and graciously take care of our animals for us while we are gone.  It is all a bit much for one week and this stretch of busy time; we have probably never done so many tasks all in a span of a week.

Our daily life has been very busy – today, we managed to clean out the Provision Room (where I noticed nearly all the shelves are begin to fairly burst with produce that has been canned, pickled or put away over the past few weeks; Praise the Lord!) and tidied the rest of our basement, made pizza sauce for canning (happily bubbling away in two canners on the outdoor propane stove) and worked on a double batch of ketchup.  [Now that we have had homemade ketchup, we strongly prefer it to the store bought version. Look it up on this blog – it’s a great idea if you have a surplus of tomatoes! ] Salsa has been canned and put up and tomato sauce has been cooked down for future meals. I’m sure when we return there will be more tomatoes to put into the Provision Room.

 

 

Yesterday, the girls helped me prepare a batch of apple cider vinegar  with free apples gathered from a neighbour’s house down the road-  they are not fit for eating but they are just perfect for vinegar. While we may not have enough time to do tackle a second batch before we are away, we will definitely want to do some more when we return. Making apple cider vinegar is not challenging – but like anything, it just requires thought and a bit of clean up when it all said and done. My husband has given us a juicer and that has helped tremendously this year. I have used it for the apple cider vinegar for juicing the apples and also for juicing the tomatoes for the ketchup. It has been extremely helpful.

 

 

We have shucked 240 cobs of corn and cut off the corn to put into the freezer last week, as well. All the children helped, but the big girls helped specifically with the cutting. It went fairly quickly and by early afternoon, we had finished our yearly prep of our supply of fresh, sweet organic corn, harvested just down the road by local farmers. And while, yes, it is more work, it is a wonderful feeling to know you have a year’s worth of vegetables stored away for your family.

 

 

On the weekend, the girls (and boys – but mainly they played with various tools and sat on random tractors) went to my parents’ workshop to make wooden spurdles to sell at the camping trip. There will be an opportunity to have a marketplace at the trip; we have homemade soy candles, homemade crochet cotton washcloths, handmade soaps, a few crocheted potholders and now, these lovely wooden spurdles. I am excited to see how they sell – I think it is one of my favorite tools in our kitchen! If you have not heard of a spurdle, it is a Scottish kitchen tool – solid wooden stirring stick to be used for porridge, oatmeal, batters, stews of any kind … it is fabulous and very versatile. I love that it is somewhat old fashioned and fits int a theme of “made at home.” The girls will set up a table at camp and try to sell their goods. Whatever money they earn will be used towards extra camp activities such a horse trail rides, kayaking and so forth.

I think the girls did a great job! We have already given one away as a gift to a friend. I love them! [Thank you, dad, for helping the girls with this project!]

Here is a homemade washcloth with a soap packaged up.

 

 

On top of all of this, there has been deep cleaning of random rooms, the gentle start of homeschooling in sporadic moments and random preparation for packing and animal care while we are gone. It is a big deal for our family to go away (for us, anyways) and requires a lot of attention to detail, major planning on my part and a lot of organization and help from all the children. The girls have been amazing helpers and we are all working until night falls to get things ready for our trip.

Some of the themes of the training sessions at this family camp will be “Preparing Sons to Provide For a Family,” “The Life-Giving Mother: Bringing Nurture and Order to Your Home,” and “Building Lasting Father/Daughter Relationships.”  Doesn’t that sounds wonderful? We have friends that drive an even longer than our family, as they drive from P.E.I.,  and they say it is worth it – great training for parents, quality family time and God right at the center.

 

 

 

Although it has added extra tasks to our day, I, personally have enjoyed the satisfaction of knowing we are doing an extra cleaning of our home -after a busy summer outdoors, it can get rather dusty (even with your children helping you clean daily) and unloved inside the walls of our home. A good refreshing is just what our house needed. It is still warm enough to keep the windows open, to dry laundry in the fresh air and to have the children play outside after school and chores are completed. The girls know we do not go away often, so they are working hard to help prepare and work out those last minute details for care for our animals and home.

Although we are tired right now, I would call these days just about perfect. I feel so grateful for all these wonderful children to spend my life with. And my husband – what a hard worker – he takes such good care of us and works tirelessly and steadily all through the seasons.

We all retire to bed with the sun, tuckered out from a day of work and a few hours of rest and play. Life is what you make it and I hope you make your September day beautiful and filled with family love.

 

 

 

 

 

September 7, 2019 - 10:47 pm

Tara Collyer Your kids are getting so big! ❤️ I wish I could have a canning lesson from you

September 7, 2019 - 7:24 pm

Teresa @ SF Gigi, your home is a labor of love for your sweet family. The camping trip and the training sessions sound wonderful. The titles of the classes are ones that I would loved to attend. Enjoy your camping trip. Looking forward to your thoughts on each of the classes and your time away.

Picking Apples – {To be Content}

 

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned,
in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Philippians 4:11

 

P.S. My apologies for the wobbly camera. And hopefully I can put up a written post tomorrow, Lord willing.

September 7, 2019 - 10:43 pm

Teresa @ SF Gigi, Thank you for sharing about your neighbor.
I have always wanted to live by a older lady who
would share her life experiences. I love
the old ways. You are so blessed to have her.
We have a couple of local banks who plants apple
trees for the community to pick for free. I don’t believe
they spray them. Ill need to go by there soon.
Enjoy your time away!

September 7, 2019 - 12:21 pm

Gigi Nancy, I’m so glad you are using the read through the Bible plan. I found it very useful and easy to follow.
Thank you for your sweet, encouraging words!

September 6, 2019 - 10:22 pm

Nancy What a lovely and encouraging video, Gigi! Your sweet neighbor will enjoy spending more time with your family in the future. Your apple adventure brought back dear memories of canning multitudes of quarts of applesauce when my sons were young. I am remiss in not thanking you before for posting in January the link to the Bible-reading-in-a-year plan that you use. Unfortunately, I didn’t start until May, but I am learning much as I read through books that I was less familiar with. The Lord used you to bring this very good thing to me! I appreciate your blog very much.

September 6, 2019 - 2:45 pm

Gigi Kristal, I think you are so right – that healthy active lifestyle is just what we need, isn’t it?
Thank you for your sweet compliment. And in this camping trip, we are spoiled and are using accommodations as it is included – it’s a homeschool Christian family campout at a Christian campground. We used to have an R.v. but it sold now. We will have to tent the next time we want to go “real” camping. My regular lifestyle is more like camping – cooking outside, using the hose for filling canning pots – I find camping not that stressful. It is just getting everything ready to actually go away. Thankfully, we have a great family willing to stay here and help us out.

September 6, 2019 - 10:59 am

Kristal What an amazing testament your friend has! I have known other elderly people in my life, who has make an effort to walk several miles a day, as well as stay active at their home (i.e. do all the chores, fixing things up, etc.) and don’t look a day over 60 because of it! I think there is really something there on maintaining daily activity and it doesn’t have to be hours of harsh workouts at the gym or crazy restricting diets. Also, Gigi your videos have been so wonderful. You have such a soothing voice. I have enjoyed them equally to your blog posts. Enjoy your camping trip. I think that would be a great blog post hearing your tips on how you camp with a large family! Do you use an RV, or tent camp?

September 6, 2019 - 5:34 am

Gigi Yes, your lady friend sounds amazing! I would love to talk with her, too!
I will go back to visit my friend and bring tea and cookies next time. We will be doing Apples Round 2 in two weeks. Pie filling! Yum!
I know – that knife is terrible – I should have been using a better knife but it was the one brought to me so I just went with it. Rather large for those tiny apples!

September 5, 2019 - 11:25 pm

Monica Oh how refreshing! And how inspiring! She reminds me of my children’s voice teacher/art teacher—81 year old mother of EIGHT…so healthy and vibrant and cheerful and eccentric. The other day when we saw her she was going home to finish her seafood pasta she was cooking for her and her husband. I thought that was quite a meal for her and her husband. She could have just fixed a sandwich for them or cereal or whatnot but seafood pasta?! So inspiring! I would love to hear more about your elderly friend. Amazing! I love it. And the video, of course! It’s wonderful!! Wonderful! xo, Monica PS. I’m so glad you did not cut yourself. I was QUITE nervous!! Whew.

Canning Pickled Beets!

Pickled beets, you may ask?

Well, yes, if you have never tried them … you should. They are a family favorite around here! I never thought my children would like beets so much but they do and I am grateful. Fairly easy to grow in our climate, they are a great vegetable to grow in your garden.

Here it the syrup recipe, handed down to me from a friend’s aunt Florence:

Pickled Beets

10 cups of prepared, sliced beets
2 1/2 cups of vinegar
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar

Bring to a boil;
pour over top of cooked beets in jars.
Seal and process in hot water bath canner for 30 minutes.

P.S.

Here is a link to purchase a water bath canner- but first, I would check your local thrift store as many times, I have seen a big canning pot in such locations.

Here is link for jars – again, check thrift stores … there are many jars there! Jars cost up front but they are re-used every year so they are worth the money.

 

August 29, 2019 - 8:24 am

Gigi Jan, I love that you eat beets! They are so yummy and so pretty on the plate!

August 29, 2019 - 8:24 am

Gigi Jan, I agree. I actually only used half the sugar required – not sure what I did last year as I can’t remember but it still tastes great. A lot of canning recipes call for a large amount of sugar so I am usually reducing them as it seems a bit much.

August 29, 2019 - 8:23 am

Gigi Julie, spaghetti sauce is a great way to use up those tomatoes this season. It’s so practical and can be used for anything and everything! I will post a link (will go look for it in my blog archives).
For my hair, I very loosely pin it up with bobby pins, separated the top and bottom (tease the top a bit). Pin the top half as if you are going to leave half of your hair done and then sweep up the rest with various bobby pins. I have had people call it a bird’s nest hairdo – ha! Not sure if that is a compliment, but it is easy for me to do. I have very fine hair so it is not heavy and can be supported by just bobby pins.

August 29, 2019 - 7:39 am

Julie I love these videos! It’s so nice to put a voice with the face. Your outdoor kitchen looks wonderful and seems like such a peaceful place to work. You mentioned canning spaghetti sauce. Just wondering if you could give the recipe you use for the sauce please? I am trying to find a good pasta sauce to make and give as gifts. Thank you! You are an inspiration as a momma & wife. Also, love your hair! I put mine up in a bun but yours always looks very elegant. How do you pin it up? Thanks so much, Have a blessed day!

August 29, 2019 - 6:18 am

Gigi Yes, that is what I do with cleaning, too, Monica! I try to explain this to my girls – not sure if they understand yet, but they will one day … the joy upon entering a truly clean, fresh room after all their hard work of cleaning it!

August 28, 2019 - 8:37 pm

Jan Meant to add…that seems an excessive amount of sugar. When I make the liquid for cooking, I start small and taste and add more sugar bit by bit. Even allowing for larger quantities, that is a lot.

August 28, 2019 - 8:36 pm

Jan I am in Australia. Till well into adulthood i knew only pickled beetroot, either homemade but not bottled, or bought in tins from supemarket.

I made my own for salads by cooking in vinegar, water, a bit of sugar and pepper and salt. Even when I bottled fruit, I would not have done them as they were readily available.

Now I eat them in many ways. Grated raw, boiled, baked or pickled. Love them.

August 28, 2019 - 7:52 pm

Monica What “can” (heehee) I say but I just love it!! Beets…I’m willing to give them a try down here. So pretty…the color. I will add that to my winter seed order. Great tips and I love the “restaurant” one. Especially since my kitchen is a disaster with the cooking, deboning chicken for canning (along with cooking supper)…I will be sure to hook up the pressure canner on the back porch stove and enjoy being outside. Thanks for a great video, Gillian….PS. Sometimes when cleaning my bedroom/bathroom I will pretend I am a hotel maid…”would I leave that on the floor?”…”how would I make my bed?” It’s great fun!! Hugs!

Why Bother?

  “Then the rush of harvest-time came.
The oats were ripe, standing thick and tall and yellow. The wheat was golden, darker than the oats.
The beans were ripe, and the pumpkins and carrots and turnips and potatoes were ready to gather.

There was no rest of play for anyone now. They all worked from candle light to candle light.
Mother and the girls were making cucumber pickles, green-tomato pickles and watermelon pickles;
they were drying corn and apples, and making preserves.
Everything must be saved, nothing wasted of all the summer’s bounty.
Even the apple cores were saved for making vinegar …”

-Farmer Boy, Early Harvest

Across the counter, a lineup of freshly washed canning jars were lined up like a parade. I was preparing for another canning session … the jars were clean … and the pots were scrubbed and ready for boiling.  Tomorrow, 220 cobs of beautiful golden corn will be ready for pick up – the girls and I will spend the day shucking the husks, cutting the corn of the cob and preserving it for the year. We will work under the shade of the pine trees and pray that God will send a breeze our way to break up the August humidity we are experiencing.

This is not the way many would spend a summer day anymore.

However, if you read books of old fashioned living or are blessed with a friend that likes to live in the old ways, you will  be encouraged to find mothers and daughters working together to preserve what was in season for the fall, winter and even spring months of food supply. Sadly, it seems, overall, this homemaking skill is lost — and what a true loss that is.

 

Not just canning — but putting away food that is in season, freezing, drying, dehydrating, preserving the fruits and vegetables of season is not a regular housewife duty anymore.

 

Why did we leave this way of living and eating? When did it become an old fashioned way of living to put up food that is in season?

 

I have fond memories of my mother canning in our country blue and white kitchen. I remember seeing the steam forcing out of the pressure canner, loaded up with green beans from the garden. Even if we did not have enough property to have a big garden, my parents always found a way – once, we borrowed land from a neighbour and planted our large family garden there. I remember our other gardens in various backyards and even now, as almost-retired adults, my parents still put in a vegetable garden every year.  My sister puts in a garden every year now, too – it must be something our parents taught us because I don’t think either of us would skip a year of vegetable gardening. It just seems wrong to waste the growing season…

 

Why has society lost the art of gardening and growing food?

 

Even if you have a small plot of land, you can grow something – anything. Many people say gardening does not work for them – and that is true, sometimes it doesn’t work out – but other times, it just needs a little bit more effort – or compost. 🙂 Sometimes we just need to learn how to do these tasks all over again – we think we know how to plant a garden, but perhaps we only watched our parents and did not actually learn how to do the process ourselves. It takes time and effort, sweat and a natural schedule to follow. Isn’t it time we learned? Isn’t it time we grew our own food – at least, grow what we can handle or what we can manage on our property, big or small?

[our tomato tunnel]

A well-meaning friend recently asked me, “But why bother? You can just go to the store and get canned tomatoes for really cheap. It’s so much easier.”

 

An interesting question. Truly … why bother?

Tomatoes *are* cheap to buy at the store, that is true.  I am quite sure they are probably not as healthy. When you grow your own tomatoes or buy from a local farmer, there is a better sense of safety in what food you are putting into your family’s bodies.

Recently, another friend’s son was diagnosed with some health issues that drastically changed their eating habits. It was mid winter and she now was  searching around for organic tomatoes – if they were to be found at all. It made me suddenly  realize the value of canning all those home grown tomatoes and tucking them away safely into the Provision Room. While I could offer some jars, it was not enough to supply a second family for their needs. Every year, my husband suggests that we have too many tomato plants – but with 98 plants, we just make it a year with our supplies of tomato products. Perhaps I should plant some extra, just in case?

Right now, the garden is coming to harvest – bright, red juicy tomatoes are starting to pile up on the summer kitchen table. Rows and rows of freshly washed canning jars are constantly being lined up to be filled … sauce, salsa, ketchup, soups … green beans, beets … it is not perfect. I did not get to harvest broccoli as it went to seed to quickly. I am battling squash bugs and am slowly picking them off the plants and praying for a somewhat modest squash harvest. A local garden centre employee suggested I shop vac the bugs off the plants – and so I have dragged out our shop vac and have been sucking up the bugs when I see them. This is the healthy way of gardening – instead of spraying bug killer or a toxic, un-natural chemical that will leach into our food.

[Another garden predator – the Great Horned Tomato Worm! So ugly, albeit strangely beautiful for a worm, and destructive!
A good snack for chickens!]

Why bother, you may ask, when you can just get a can of tomatoes at the store for around $1? Just buy those squash?! Pickles … who needs pickles?

Well, if cucumbers are growing in season here, there must be a reason God made them!  Pickling is  a great way to preserve them. And yes, pickles are very healthy! There is a reason mothers and housewives of old made jars and jars of pickles for their families 100 years ago. Perhaps they did not understand the science behind pickling, but they knew it was what you did with your lot of cucumbers every summer and that is what their mothers did …. well, there is a reason for pickles, I am happy to report, but not store bought. Homemade.

[And if your cucumbers get a little too big for pickles, just make a cucumber salad for dinner…]

Yes, jams and jellies are very cheap at the stores, I’m sure, and perhaps it’s easier just to grab a bag of frozen strawberries instead of picking them locally when they are in season. Is all this work really worth your time, you may wonder… planting seeds, weeding, watering, more weeding and harvesting … tending and toiling, caring for meat birds and raising the meat we eat … planting garlic and harvesting it months and months later …drying it on big tarps and replanting half of it for the next year’s harvest … thinking ahead …

Why bother?

“The little red seeds that Almonzo had planted had grown into two hundred bushels of carrots.
Mother could cook all she wanted, and the horses and cows could eat raw carrots all winter.”
-Farmer Boy

 

 

For our family, it just feels right. It fits into our lifestyle that we are trying to build. It feels like the right way to do things, to make it simple in the long run, to work with our hands, to do the best we can with what we are given. Why not go back to the simple ways of growing your own food, putting it away for the winter and eating from the fruits of your labour? Do you suppose there is a hidden blessing in these tasks and responsibilities?

I wonder sometimes if the faster, smarter ways of this modern world are truly not the better ways at all. Perhaps today’s society has it all wrong … they need to be going back in time [ in some aspects] instead of rushing forward. I know the ‘olden days’ were not perfect … but perhaps today’s world is so much further along, so busy and mind-frazzling hectic that going backwards would indeed be beneficial.

 

Sometimes I wish I was a part of the older generation so I could back up what I feel and think with facts and stories -but, I have not lived through the Great Depression and I have not had to live without food. God has taken care of me and my family so well.

If my generation has lost most of this skill of growing, storing and providing healthy food for their family, what will happen to the next generation? Will they be so dependent on grocery stores and big food chains that they will no long even know what is in season or what is truly healthy to eat?

 

Sometimes, when we are picking produce from our garden and someone finds reason to complain of the heat or mundane chore of gardening or kitchen work, I suggest that we pretend it is a time of Great Depression or need – that we would not complain at the amount of food we are blessed with in our garden … I know I would not waste one green bean or drop one clove of garlic on the ground in waste.

We may not own 100 acres, but we can still raise chickens, some small meat, and grow a big vegetable garden. Our beautiful honey bees will provide honey in the fall and over time, Lord willing, our tiny orchard will bring in some fruit. If we do not have it on our little spot of land, we can source it out.  I have picked wild apples along the road to make our apple cider vinegar in the past. Most land owners are quite willing to have you pick up their old apples as it saves them a chore. I have a neighbour who allows me to use his apples for making apple cider vinegar – he has no use for them. It is a wonderful blessing!

So, in a world where baskets full of groceries can be delivered right to your door … what is the point of all of this work? Speaking for myself, I do not want to lose the homemaking skills of preserving food. I would also like to teach it to my daughters for their future families.

 

And honestly, I do not think the easier way is necessarily the best way.

To me, the hard old fashioned way is no bother.

 

 

 

 

August 23, 2019 - 11:00 pm

sue Well, its just hubby and I here at home now, the kids are all grown and our youngest grandchild is now 13. So its been a while since I had to think about feeding our children but I still home can various fruits, vegetables and soups every year for hubby and I and I love it! There is such a sense of fulfillment that I cant describe. Not only that, but canning has been a blessing for my family and many friends as home canned goods always make wonderful gifts! Thank you again Gigi for your beautiful blog, it has given me so much inspiration over the years!

August 22, 2019 - 4:11 pm

Gigi Kelsey, so good to hear from you. Thank you for taking the time to introduce yourself. 🙂 Yes, I agree with the Biblical lessons!
That’s such a great reminder — thank you.

August 22, 2019 - 8:58 am

Kelsey Dear Gigi,
I have been enjoying your blog for some time now, but this is my first time commenting. Thank you for such a wonderful article. It is just the encouragement I needed, as I get asked the question “why bother?” quite often. There is just something more special about growing and putting up your own food. So much love goes into it. I also think it’s a great opportunity for teaching Bible and life lessons, such as reaping and sowing, good seed/ground, stewardship, bringing forth fruit, and so much more.
Thank you for all the work you put into your blog. When another old-fashioned friend (the one who taught me to garden!) and I get together, we will often say, “Have you seen Gigi’s latest post?”
With love to you and your family,
Kelsey

August 21, 2019 - 3:58 pm

TERESA @ SF Gigi, I would love to share them with you! Yes, there were many tales and wisdom they lived and shared. I often think do we have many generations of these type of ladies left?

August 21, 2019 - 3:21 pm

Gigi Rebecca, that is so funny because I always say the same thing about working out and how our lifestyle creates a natural “gymn” for us. Climbing, carrying, lifting, and yes, even running (after animals!) …. it’s a great way to stay healthy, I agree!

August 21, 2019 - 3:21 pm

Gigi Monica, you are amazing. I hope you get some rest today after being up so late last night canning. I know you had a busy day! I love the sound of your grape jelly. Yummmm!

August 21, 2019 - 3:18 pm

Gigi Teresa, wow, what a family you have come from! Fourteen children – amazing! Yes, saving money is another aspect in putting up food. We have just finished our corn for the year – it cost $80 for the year’s worth of corn– Organic and local from a family farm. I feel that is a great option for our family and I will never need to go to the store for corn for a year!
I would love to hear stories from your mother and grandmother. What tales and wisdom they could share!
Yes, I would love to do a Provision Room post again. The garlic is hanging and hopefully we will be planting again in late October. I still need to do a good garlic count to see how it went this year. Thank you for your encouragement.

August 21, 2019 - 2:53 pm

TERESA @ SF What memories this brought back to me of my mother of nine children and grandmother of fourteen children canning each summer. Canning happened in those days for different reasons; one was because families were larger than they are today. This was the only way they could afford to feed their families. My grandmother raised her children during the depression…she canned everything she could get her hands on. I truly loved this post; when all your canning is finished, I hope you will do a provision room post and a post on the hanging garlic. Hugs to you!

August 21, 2019 - 12:02 am

Monica Funny, I am up canning grape jelly, reading this as the grapes boil and the juice seeps out. I have two garbage bags full of pears to my right, an overflow of a hamper full of winter squash as I keep turning around and on the counter is a freshly picked basket full of tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers, gathered this afternoon. Right in front of me is my grocery circular in which I have circled the chicken sale at 49 cents per pound. I will pick up 40 pounds and pressure can it this week. I’m also one of the strange, old fashioned birds. 🙂 I just love the satisfaction of doing it myself, from start to finish, from seed to can. It’s an amazing feeling. When I am old I may have to buy those $1 cans of tomatoes but as I am able, I plan to raise mine and continue our family in the old fashioned way. I smiled at the excerpts from Farmer Boy. Our all-time favorite book.

Which reminded me, time to get our carrot seeds in the ground for late fall!

August 20, 2019 - 11:19 pm

Rebecca Yes! It’s totally worth it! The other thing is, having a garden and animals to care for, keeps you healthy because you have to work up a sweat and get out daily, no matter the weather. I chuckle to myself when I’m daily hauling 5 gallon buckets of hot water to my ducks and chickens in the winter, that some people pay money to go to a gym and do things like flip tires or lift weights. People ask me all the time why I want to “have chores” and I tell them it keeps me healthy, it makes me get out and get fresh air and sunlight in the cold dark winter, it provides my family with quality organic food, it teaches my kids where their food comes from, it teaches them hard work and how to care for animals — it has so much value beyond the cost of homegrown tomatoes verses store bought tomatoes.

Canning Hamburger Soup

It is Monday already – and while I have some writing in the works, again, I thought I’d share a quick video of my morning. The girls were busy hanging our garlic up to dry in the shed – the house is somewhat quiet and the soup was ready to be canned.

Did you try your hand at canning anything this past week? I would love to hear from you.

 

 

 

 

 ~ Hamburger Soup ~

Approximately 8 lbs of ground beef

5 onions, chopped
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 litres of tomatoes
(canned, chopped, however you choose)

a dash of salt to taste
4 cups diced carrots
4 cups diced potatoes
a handful of chopped celery

Prepare your vegetables in a large stock pot, but do not over cook. Your soup will be cooked fully in the pressure canner and if you do not want mushy vegetables, then you only need to gently cook up your soup before you can it.

 

Pressure can for 60 minutes at your proper weight. I used 10 lbs of pressure.

When you heat your soup to serve, add some barley or lentils for extra bulk. {These cannot be canned.} This will make a delicious hearty meal for your family this fall or winter.

** Edited to add: A question about the shelf life of canned goods … here is a good article about shelf life.

 

P.S. Here is a link for the Fly Lady’s purple rags. I would love to get the pink ones, but I have to wait as shipping to Canada is very expensive. Last year, a friend visited Florida and brought me back my shipment of purple rags. I stocked up as I just love them! They frequently go on sale and that is the best time to purchase them – and guess what? They are on sale  (buy one, get one free – so you actually receive six rags in total) right now … so if you were thinking of getting some …. maybe this would be the perfect time!

 

August 21, 2019 - 5:55 pm

Rebecca I’m loving your little videos! And I’m totally gonna can up some of this soup, it looks amazing!

August 21, 2019 - 5:32 pm

Danessa stride I love your videos, it is so nice to see the face and hear the voice of the lady behind all those posts, lol. They are wonderful!!

August 20, 2019 - 2:26 pm

Teresa @ SF Another great video…I am looking forward to your written post as well. Do you write out each post on paper before posting? If so, that’s a great idea.

August 20, 2019 - 8:29 am

Monica Great video!! You have the skills, my friend! 🙂 What lovely soup and what a lovely “canner”. I’m enjoying the videos! ❤️

August 19, 2019 - 10:31 pm

Kristal I am loving the videos! This was really helpful. Your tip on using vinegar is so smart. I’m curious, when you can something with meat, what is the shelf life? I’m sure for your family, you probably go through everything you can yearly, but for those who maybe don’t, does it last awhile? Take care!

August 19, 2019 - 10:24 pm

Rachel I saw the purple rag from the previous video and was wondering if those were FlyLady’s rags. Haha! I recently discovered her and have implemented certain aspects of her routines. Many great ideas and inspiration there!
You remind me of another blog I miss…StrangersandPilgrimsonearth.
As for canning soup, I have a canner and the cans, I only need to plan my method of attack lol.
Thanks for another “lovely” video 😉

August 19, 2019 - 10:02 pm

Gigi Jen, thank you. That is so wonderful of your husband to build those shelves! Now is the time to get started. Peaches are here, you can still find local blueberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans … so much available!

August 19, 2019 - 9:15 pm

Jen Seriously love these posts!! And love hearing a voice to your words! I canned some peaches last year but have been wanting to do so much more. My husband built me beautiful wooden shelves- and now I just want to fill them with canned goodness. Thank you so much for sharing!! I am a visual learner so this is so helpful!!