Preserving the Harvest

preserving the harvest

It’s the time of year when our minds turn to thoughts of spring and we start dreaming of seed orders and garden plans…oh who am I kidding? We’re in the middle of straight up blizzard and there are 21 inches of snow on top of my car.  The only reason I’m thinking about spring gardening is because I just finished the last jar of this past years tomatoes and I wanted to know how long it would be before I got home grown tomatoes to put on my plate…far too long was the answer.

I preserve produce in a few different ways, mostly canning and freezing with a little dehydrating thrown in.  Things like potatoes and garlic go in baskets in my pantry so they are easy to grab when I am cooking.

The grand total (minus the dehydrating, which wasn’t much, and the taters and garlic)

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Canning

9 1/2 quarts of apple sauce

12 pints of pickles

4 4oz jars of pepper jelly

7 4oz jars of strawberry jalapeno jelly

6 pints of mixed berry jam

5 quarts of tomato puree

Freezing

2 gallons of blueberries

1 gallon of sliced peaches

1 gallon of sliced strawberries

5 quarts of shredded zucchini

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We have already started making some changes for next years garden because though it seems like a lot when typed out, it really wasn’t enough.  My goal is to grow and home preserve as much as possible so that means at least tripling the amount tomatoes that go in the garden since I use them so often.  I am also planning on adding a few new plants including storage onions and kale.  I have grown herbs in the past but for some reason didn’t last year so they are coming back as well.

There is something about planning for spring in the middle of a snowstorm that makes your plans grow much larger than you had originally intended isn’t there?

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Homestead Goals for 2015


We aren’t big new years resolution people.  We’d rather set some small attainable goals to work towards over the course of the year.  Think of it as our yearly to-do list, man I love crossing things off a to-do list.

Our overall goal for life here on the homestead is to be as self-sufficient and sustainable as possible.  In order to get closer to that goal in 2015 we’ve planned out the following “to-do list”.  

Expand the garden…again
The garden did get expanded last year but there is still room for more.  There are two trees that are preventing the garden from getting as much sun as we’d like so, they are coming down! I’m also toying with the idea of replacing the flowers in front of the house with herbs (roman chamomile, echinacea, and calendula most likely).   


Harvest the four older chickens
It’s the circle of life my friends, the 4 older hens are getting old and aren’t laying as consistently as they once were.  They have served us well over the years and it’s time for them to serve us one last time.   This will be a new and important skill for us to learn and I’m grateful to have friends to help. 

 
Add to the flock
We just added 4 younger hens to our flock and are planning on adding some more come spring.  8 or 9 total is an ideal number for us, providing us with enough eggs plus extra to sell.  


Get approval to sell home canned goods
I love to can especially jams, jellies, and pickles.  We have done a good bit of research on the state laws allowing us to sell these items and the biggest hurdle to jump is getting our kitchen inspected by the department of health.  Once they approve our kitchen then we can begin to sell at local markets and fairs.  This would be a huge step for us and I’m really excited about the possibility.  

Grow my Squigglybugs / Cloth by Kailyn business
I am loving my work as a consultant and educator for Squigglybugs.  Teaching families about cloth diapers, babywearing, and natural baby care has been such a great opportunity for me.  It has been slow to grow and I know that I need to spend some more time and energy focused on making my business great! *Check out my store HERE

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We’re always been the kind of people to DREAM BIG but we are realistic enough to know that it takes time and that we are better off taking things one little step at a time.  What little steps are you taking toward your goals this year?