Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A thing or two about canning....

So this may not be the most enticing picture to convince people to can their own stock for soup but believe me it is worth it!  We used to just make stock and freeze it or use it right away but that took up too much of our freezer space.  We finally purchased a pressure canner at the beginning of this year and this is one of the few things we have canned with it. 
This is a really convenient thing to have in the winter when you want to make some quick soup. 
What a great guy!  He does all of the pressure canning...I am still afraid it is going to blow up in my face!
Have your kitchen clean and everything you need at hand...
Better than money in the bank (well almost)!

If you are interested in canning buy the Ball Blue Book on canning and preserving.  I made the mistake of trying to get all my info off the internet but people leave too much out!  I bought this book at Menards for $7.00.  Well worth it!  The best online resource is although you still should have the book handy too.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Well we just got our first seed catalog in the mail! Baker Creek Heirloom seeds catalog is by far the most interesting. If you like to grow unusual heirloom plants this is the catalog for you! Also a lot of these plants are endangered so you are doing some good at the same time. I just got finished making some laundry soap. This small thing has been a surprisingly big step for us in becoming more self-sufficient. It costs around 90 cents to do 30-40 loads! I can't imagine all the packaging waste this eliminates which is a huge plus. There are many different "recipes" for this soap online. The first I did was a liquid recipe. It was MUCH more difficult than what I do now but I guess if you really like the liquid kind you could do it. The ingredients are Fels Naptha, Borax, and Washing Soda...all of which I get in the laundry aisle at Kroger's (Wal Mart does not have can buy it online if you can't find it anywhere else). I do 1 cup Borax and Washing Soda with 1/2 bar-1 bar of Fels Naptha. I really just grate as much Fels Naptha as I can. It is kind of a work out. I then put it in a container and shake it up. We clothe diaper so this saves us a HUGE amount of money over a year. I wear glvoes when I do this since Borax is a little harsh.
(The Fels Naptha is not in the picture but is is just a bar of I said you can probably find it in the laundry aisle or online)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hey there! So we finally have time to start writing. The wee one is sort of getting a schedule! Woo hoo! With Christmas almost here we are keeping busy but we know that when January hits and we start getting those seed catalogs we will get antsy to start planting. As Gene Logsdon suggests, farmers should take a vacation in the spring so they don't plant things too early. That is so true! Our progress on making our house more self-sufficient has slowed down with the holidays. We did make stock and canned it for the first time with our Thanksgiving leftovers. I believe that it turned out ok. It looks good so I will have to make soup this week maybe? As Christmas approaches I always wish that I would have made more of my gifts. I love to crochet but I think knitting looks so much better! That is one of my goals this winter, to learn to knit. Our main focus with this blog is to document us on our journey to becoming more self-sufficient. A huge part of that is our garden and selling at the farmers market. Last year was our first year and we loved it! John is going to be the Market Master on Saturdays this year which will make things a lot more hectic but is an awesome way for us to be able to contribute to something we care about so much! I hope as the kids get older I can do more as well. We will still be growing at John's parents this year which means a 50 min. drive we make twice a week. Hopefully we can find some way to buy our own land close to town in the not so distant future. I leave with a picture of our whole family!