Monday, September 19, 2011

Stocking the Pantry

Preparing for fall/winter here in PA is a gradual thing for us. Starting in June with strawberry jam to October when we grab a few extra squash to store. The in between seems a bit crazy with weekends of chopping vegetables and fruit that have been picked ripe with loads of flavor just waiting to be savored in the cold winter months. So far we have canned tomato sauce, apple sauce, jam, pickles, dry soup mixes, an herbed rice mix, and dehydrated vegetables. Hopefully we will finish off the productive week canning chutney and more tomatoes. In October we will end our season with some hot pepper relish and some apple butter. Yum! We use SIMPLE recipes to keep going because it is work to get it all done. The chutney is a recipe(by River Cottage Cookbook) used by default. It uses extra zucchini and green tomatoes so it is the best end of season use-it-up recipe I know of but it makes a great accompaniment to meats in the winter. Other things we do to prepare are make Elder berry syrup and Children's Composition for colds, chest rub, salve, sniff jars, lip balm, hard lotion bars(, deodorant, tooth powder and any tinctures that would be needed. The meat for our freezer gets ordered as fall closes in. This year we will have beef, lamb, deer, pork, and chicken. SO if you need a pantry and freezer list of what we have done in the past please let me know. The question I get asked most is how do you know how much of any one thing to stock in your pantry? Well I don't always but if you are into a routine and you know your family eats say one pasta meal a week with red sauce then it makes it easy to figure how many jars of sauce you would need for a whole winter. We usually run out in the spring but start making pesto the month that follows to use some of the fresh spring greens. Look at how you cook and some of your most used recipes to see on average what you use that you could preserve or buy in bulk. Buying in bulk is great if you are going to actually use it. We buy wheat in large bags and store in 5 gallon buckets because it has a long shelf life but rice we do not because it is only good for about a year.
Happy canning!

Tooth powder and deodorant

It took me 2 years to save enough white currants to make jelly and I got 2 half pints jars for all that work.
I think I like jam much better!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Warmth of Home

We love our little home and it is hard to think about moving in the next year. As I think about the many memories we have here I realize we carry those with us no matter where we go. I have all my wonderful memories from my childhood that I carry with me as I make my own home a nourishing place for my family. Another warm quilt gets added each winter now, pretty colored preserved foods line the pantry shelves as fall approaches, book reading at bedtime, snuggles, and learning where ever we go. I am trying to cherish every moment as each day passes by. Here are some photos to warm your thoughts on a rainy day.
Our sanctuary (excuse the mess at the end of the bed)

Yummy homemade hot cocoa

warm soda bread

A quilt that took 19 years to finish!

waiting to become chili 

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Rhythm of Family

Enjoying my copy of Amanda and Stephen Soule's new book "The Rhythm of Family. Reading it brings back memories I didn't realize were fading. I am thankful they brought words and photos to the seasons and moments that I cherish as well. A wonderful book with activities and reminders of the wonderful changing creation around us. God is good!
So around here I am starting to feel the cool dewy mornings of fall creeping into the end of the summer. Even though questions of our future pop in now and then we try to live fully today. Mornings are my time to reflect and hug the moments I cherish most in my heart. Finishing projects that are long overdue and starting Christmas gifts is what happens around here the end of summer. It gives me time to be creative and let things develop. I love when the kids peak and ask if something is for them. They love my handmade gifts. Gavin has caught the spirit and bought a book to make softies. He is filled with ideas for gifts. Today momma promised to wash his fabric so he can start cutting. Yeah, I love when creativity is contagious..... now only if the reading would catch on.
My stash of some yummy fabrics and some of my favorite books for sewing.