Tuesday, December 31, 2013

More Winter Weather

The girls have been cozy in their coop this winter.
We've already had a couple of snow storms
and some unseasonably cold weather
and while they aren't particularly thrilled about being
cooped up
they've been nice and cozy.
But we have some weather headed our way at the end of the week
that has me worried.  
Thursday night has a low of 11*
and Friday has a high of only 16* and a low of 5*.
The girls have never experienced such cold before.
So my New Year's Day will include some cleaning of the coop
and filling it with straw.
I hate winter.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Solstice Already?

Today is the shortest day of the year: the winter solstice. And today I received the first new seed catalog. Spring is almost here! 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Apple Harvest

This fall I decided to make applesauce.
I happened upon a recipe that gave instructions
on how to make apple jelly and applesauce all from 
cooking the same apples.  
You'll need about a heaping gallon of peeled and cored apples
(if you have a food mill you don't need to peel and core them just cut them in chunks
and put them through the mill instead of processing them)
Put chopped apples in a large saucepan and add 1 cup of water per heaping quart of apples.
Bring to a boil then cover and simmer until apples are tender
stir occasionally and smash the apples up a little to release more juice.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the apples into another bowl.
You need to leave the juice in the pot.
You may have to pour any juice from the bowl of apples back into the pot.
Next you need to strain the juice.
I used a piece of cheesecloth stretched over a pitcher 
and secured with a rubber band (see above photo)
slowly pour the liquid from the pot through the strainer.
Any bits of apples or apple mush can be added to the bowl of cooked apples.
Measure out how much apple juice you have 
(should be about 4 cups)
Return juice to pot and add:
3 cups sugar
2 TBSP lemon juice
for every 4 cups

Bring to a boil
stir constantly until it gels up
(when it slides off a chilled spoon in one sheet)
Fill sterilized half pint jars with hot apple jelly to within 1/8" of rim
secure the lids and place in a water bath canner for 5 minutes
made about 4 half pints.

Now for the apples....
puree them in a processor
then return the applesauce to the saucepan and bring to a boil.
(add sugar or cinnamon if you want- I don't add anything).
Ladle hot applesauce into sterilized jars
leaving 1/2" headspace
place in hot water bath canner for 20 minutes (pints or quarts)

Remember to use sweet apples.
I used Golden Delicious and Mutsu (aka Crispin) apples
with some red apple varieties thrown in.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Enough Already

We've had some snow,
some ice,
some more snow...
and just when I thought we could get a reprieve
(and I could go out and replace the vehicle that got totaled 
in the above mentioned snow and ice)
we're getting more snow.

I'm ready for the Spring