Sunday, November 28, 2010

Canning Apples

We were getting down to the bottom of the box at this point. We picked this up at a road side stand, as we have no apple trees of our own. They were Vagina Gold and Fungi.

Once there were peeled and chopped, we placed them into a big pot of water and lemon juice so they would not turn brown. We left some skin on for color and texture.

Terri chopping and peeling

Dodger had to give his approval. He liked them.......A LOT!!!

This may look like apple skins and cores to most people, But the worms will love it. I will add this to the worm bed as food that they will consume very quickly.

Once chopped and allowed to set in the water/lemon juice for a few minuets, four cups of apples were placed into a measuring cup and cooked in the microwave on high for 6 minuets. Then placed into a food processor to make apple sauce. And then this mixture was placed into a double boiler on top of the stove to keep it hot until we had enough to fill pint jars and run through the cannier. 10 minuets in a water bath cannier and left to cool and seal on a towel on the counter.

And we had 28 pints of apple sauce. This turned out to be pretty good stuff. We used Splenda as the sweetener, as we don't need the added sugar. And I like it after it has set in the refrigerator to chill down and eat it right from the jar! We also use it in cake recipes in place of the oil. The cakes are wonderfully moist and it adds flavor and texture.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


For those of you that do not live in farm country or in an area where hogs and chickens are raised, I will tell you about the P.U. trucks.
The commercial farms here in north east North Carolina and south east Virginia where hogs and chickens are raised by the hundreds in confinement buildings where sanitation is very poor at best, the animals live in or close to there own body wastes. When they reach market size, they are loaded onto trucks for transport to locale processing plants. And if they are on the road ahead of you, you can smell them for miles!!
I was on my way home from work yesterday and I could smell pig and knew that a Pew truck was ahead of me.
Now I had two choices, 1. slow down and let the distance from the truck widen (in the hopes that the smell would slaken some), or 2. matain the speed limit (or a little above) and try to get around him further down the road. Well I had just gotten off work after 8 hours on the 3rd shift and a 1 1/2 hour drive home and I really wanted to get to bed. I choose # 2.
At 60 mph, it took me another 15 minuets to pull up behind him. At this point, my eyes were watering and trying to breath through my mouth did not help! And wouldn't you know it, traffic coming the other way was spaced just right so I could not pass him!(like they say "the best laid plains of mice and men!!!).
I was stuck behind him for 10 or 15 mins more before I got to the turn off that takes me into Ahoskie and home.
Even after I made the turn, the smell was still with me. And when I got home, I had to put my work cloths into the hamper and take the hamper to the utility room so it wasn't in my bedroom. Talk about RANK
In some states it is eligal to spread hog manure on crop fields unless it is mixed with other materials or watered down, and even then it must be turned under ASAP to control the smell.
At least it helped to keep me awake on the trip home. YUK and PEW!!!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Random thoughts.

Here is a picture of the compost tumbler I built and behind it is the horse manure I use to pre-compost kitchen scraps before feeding it all to the worms. The heat produced by the manure and the absorption of the sun kills most of the weed seeds that are in the manure and they will not germinate when used in the garden later.
I got the barrels off Crags List for $25.00 and was going to use them as part of a rain water collection system, but with no rain gutters on the house (another money project for later!) I put this stand together in an afternoon. The lumber is some that I pick up for free and I get a truck load as often as I can. The place I get it from is near where I work and they would rather I took it then send it to the land fill.
The system works pretty well. I load it up to the point where it gets hard to turn and let it compost for about two weeks (turning every few days) and then dump it out, run it all through a sift box I have built for that purpose and then layer it into the worm bed along with bedding material. The worms seem to like it and the migrate into the new stuff a a few days.
The box I have now ( 3' X 7" X 14") is getting pretty crowded now and I will have to build a new one soon. The box is near full with Black Gold (worm casings) and worms and I will harvest both when the new box is finished. I will split up the worms into each box and layer in new bedding and food materiel's to hopefully get them through the cold months ahead and come next spring, two new boxes will be built (for a total of 4 beds) and the worms will have doubled in numbers.
I will keep you posted.