Finished the Canning Shelves

My husband and I finished building the canning shelves on Saturday and I wanted to make sure I got over here and put up the third part so you can see how it turned out. I am really pleased with it.

In other news, we lost Zoe on Saturday. It was sad as she was a very good duck and we tried pretty hard to save her, but I had a feeling she was going to die. After a while of homesteading, you kind of get a sense of these things and how poorly they are doing towards the end. At least she had some good baths before she went.

We sold Jasper.

img_3547

I will miss him as he was the sweetest buck ever, but we don’t need 4 bucks. Well, at least not when 3 of them are whites. If I get a broken red buck out of the next breedings with Zander and Ruby or Zander and Bonfire, I may keep him. If I get a broken red doe, I will definitely keep her. As much as I’d like to have one from Cinnabun and Zander, she has partial cataracts and I don’t want to have those genetics in the rabbitry. Even though she is a big old love of a rabbit and is a fantastic mother, both traits I would like to pass on.

I have made up my list of what I want to can this summer. It is subject to change, but is roughly as follows:

Beets 12 pints
Carrots 30 quarts
Celery 12 half-pints
Green Beans 104 quarts
Parsnips 14 pints
Potatoes, Yukon Golds 104 quarts and 52 pints
Sweet Potatoes 30 quarts
Tomatoes, diced 24 pints
Tomatoes, Enchilada Sauce 12 pints, 12 half-pints
Tomatoes, Ugly Sauce 12 pints, 12 half-pints

Apricots, jelly 24 half-pints
Apples, pie filling 7 quarts
Apples, sauce 0 (still have a boat load)
Blackberries, jam 12 pints
Blueberries, pie filling 7 quarts
Pears, Bartletts, Halves 104 quarts
Pears, Bartletts, Sauce 12 half-pints
Pineapple, Chunks 12 pints
Pineapple, Rings 12 pints
Plums, Italian, Halves (depends on how much is on the tree this year)
Plums, jelly 6 half-pints
Plums, sauce 12 half-pints
Strawberries, jelly 24 pints

Butterscotch sauce 6 half-pints
Caramel sauce 6 half-pints
Chocolate sauce 12 pints

Beef, ground 30 pints
Beef, roast 26 pints
Beef, sausage 26 half-pints
Chicken, bone out 24 pints
Lamb, ground 6 pints
Rabbit, bone out 26 quarts
Salmon, Coho 30 pints, 12 half-pints

Beef Bone Broth 12 quarts
Chicken Bone Broth 12 pint and a half jars, 26 pints, 12 half-pints
Ham Bone Broth 12 half-pints
Rabbit Bone Broth 36 quarts, 12 pint and a half jars, 26 pints, 12 half-pints
Turkey Bone Broth (depends on how much I get from turkey bones at the holidays)

Beef Vegetable Soup 12 pints
Chicken Vegetable Soup 12 pints
Turkey Vegetable Soup 6 pints

I think that is everything. It’s based on what I think we will use from fall through until the following summer for a family of four.

Making Homemade Celery Powder

So the other day I made a video for my youtube channel of how I make my celery powder.  I thought I’d put it up here as well.

I know I’ve been neglecting the blog horribly.  It’s been a crazy few months.  I hope to post more soon.  We have rabbits due to kindle this weekend.  And maybe tomorrow I can do a catch-up post.

Lots of Meat Processed and in Two Weeks I’ll Have to Do it Again

I have been so busy this week. On Sunday we butchered 5 rabbits, two of which were 8 pounders and the rest were not that much smaller. On Tuesday we cut them up portioned out enough for 2 dinners, then deboned the rest and ground it.

On Wednesday I mixed up just under half the ground meat to make sausage with my home grown herbs and spices that I’ve been drying all summer. I ended up with 36 3 oz patties.

On Thursday I mixed up the other half of the ground meat with my homemade onion and garlic powders, salt and pepper, Lawry’s seasoned salt, and a small amount of tomato sauce, and made 27 4 oz burger patties.

All patties were individually frozen on cookie sheets before being bagged up so they wouldn’t stick together. It stuffed 4 gallon size Ziplocs between them.

I also made rabbit jerky with the abdominal flaps and the result of that was to fill a quart size baggy.

Meanwhile I have been making bone broth with the bones and will be canning that today. I am not sure how much I will get, but it’s a 12 quart stockpot and it’s pretty full. I’ve already strained it last night and I’m just heating it up now.

I still have to pick all the meat off the bones and that will be packaged up to use in rice dishes or casseroles or enchiladas or whatever else I might need shredded meat in.

After that I can dry the bones thoroughly, grind them, and use that in the garden as bone meal, a fertilizer that is expensive to purchase if you want to get it organic. It also helps activate a compost pile you want to heat up.

Organic meats are a protein treat for the turkeys and chickens (who are not, despite what some egg cartons in the stores lead you to believe, vegetarians and should not be fed an all vegetarian diet). They love them and gobble them up like the little velociraptors they resemble.

So we are almost there at using every part but the guts now. Further things we could do is to dehydrate feet and ears for dog chews, but since we don’t have a dog, that doesn’t happen. Sardis, when it will answer the phone, gets the heads and any dead kits for the raptors in its recovery program.

Also this week we canned 13 pints of hamburger, though we had a catastrophic lid failure with all but five. I am unimpressed with the Ball canning lids melting onto the jars and gluing the rings on. No I did not boil the lids. I used the new instructions. I am glad I have my new 200 Tattler EZ lids. This has convinced me to go all the way over to Tattlers now. I can’t afford to lose that much grass fed organic beef. It’s too expensive. And I may yet have to sacrifice the jars if I can’t get the rubber off the ones I did get the rings off of. I don’t know why they ever had to change the Ball lids in the first place. Clearly they have never heard of “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

I’ve picked about 3 gallons of blueberries this week, 2 quarts of strawberries, a couple of massive cabbages (one over 8 pounds) and many zucchinis, carrots, and herbs. It’s an ongoing process. It’s almost time to pull my onions and then I’ll get my turnips and more carrots in. Lots of weeding got accomplished, too. I feel like it’s been go, go, go. Probably because it has.

We’ve Got New Breeders

Aside from Zander, who I showed you previously, I have picked out a new buck and a new doe from our grow outs. Jasper is a New Zealand white buck with all of the large hindquarters of his grandfather Leo, the personality of his father Starbuck, and the fur quality of his grandmother Serenity, his mother Serena, and his father. He’s also got the larger, unbent ears I’ve been trying for. He is the culmination of what I’ve been breeding for for the past 3 years and is just a love.

Ella is a black doe kit out of Ruby and Starbuck. She has her mother’s personality and long body type and her father’s fur quality and she also has nice hind quarters, though that is more of a fluke. She also has the unbent, larger ears. Honestly her black fur is the number one reason we chose her, though if she had a bad personality, like the gorgeously colored buck kit we had planned on keeping until he got bitey, we wouldn’t have kept her. We want to breed her with our broken buck Zander to try for more brokens.

The younger kits are all growing up nicely. There are 12 between the two litters. I think we’ll have two different butcher batches because the one litter is smaller than the other and will probably take another week or two to hit weight.

The garden is doing really well. I am so thrilled with how much produce we are getting off of it already.

It is really nice to have cut our produce bill down so low already and to know it will continue through the season. I haven’t bought greens in 3 weeks and we actually got some broccoli already.

Gina, the turkey, is no longer limping and her feathers are coming back in nicely on her back now, after months of being half naked, poor thing. Wade’s limp is getting better enough that he is mating with the ducks again. It was bad enough, whatever he did, that he stopped mating them for 3 weeks.

Not too much else going on right now.

Quick Update

I’ve been sick for quite some time and so haven’t really been taking the time to keep up with the blog. I do post on the youtube channel a lot, because that just requires me to talk with a camera and not sit down and actually formulate thoughts. Despite this long illness, I’ve managed to get quite a lot accomplished between now and the last few months of summer.

I’ve filled 3 bookcases that are six feet high with food that I’ve canned, most rows are double stacked and 3 jars deep. I’ve got two more shelves filled with winter squashes and one more shelf filled with home canned food on a 4th bookcase. I feel really good about what I was able to grow this year and more than made my money back on the garden investment.

The rabbits are doing well and I should have 4 does kindling this weekend. I will get some solid reds this time as I did a red doe/red buck pairing. I’ll also get two sets of solid whites and then one set of mixed kits from a red/white pairing. Assuming they all are pregnant. All 4 are nesting like mad, but Luna nested like mad the last two times she missed and Serena did the last time she missed as well. Kalia and Ruby are both showing other signs of impending motherhood as well, though, so I’m pretty sure we’ll at least get the mixed litter and the red litter.

The ducks are finishing up their molt and looking really pretty again. I got 2 eggs today after going a few weeks only getting 1.

My tom turkey George finished his molt and looks gorgeous. My hen turkey Gina is all bedraggled and in the middle of a molt, yet she is still laying. Not sure how that happens as it was my understanding that they don’t lay while badly in molt. Mabye that is just chickens and ducks?

The 3 new pullets started laying couple of weeks ago and now their eggs are up to size. Both Auracanas and the other leghorn are laying, too.

The garden is winding down, but I am still getting herbs, sorrel, kale, chard, celery, and lettuce to harvest. I have broccoli with heads on it growing. I have managed to plant 50 cloves of garlic, though I’d like to triple that. We haven’t had a frost yet, so we still could get the garlic in. I need to clip and transplant my strawberry runners. I do have frost blankets ready to save some things.

I want to build a small hoop house over one of the garden beds and maybe grow a few things over the winter.

We may be taking our son out of high school to home school. We’ll make that decision by weeks’ end. He’s not learning well there. Some of the classes are out of control. He’s frustrated.

Anyway that’s the quick version of what I’ve been up to.

See Me Interviewed

I was interviewed last month by The Homestead Nation and it went up on youtube on Tuesday night. It talks about how I am raising meat animals, a big garden, and trying to be as self-sufficient as possible on half an acre in the city and what brought me on this journey. It was a really fun interview. Brad and Tommy are great.

I have found The Homestead Nation to be an excellent resource for all kinds of information in regards to this lifestyle. They also cover some preparedness issues. If anyone is interested in seeing it, it is here:

It’s a little over half an hour long, so make sure you have a chunk of time if you are going to watch it.

Back to It

I took 2 days off from canning as I had exhausted myself pretty much with what I have done the past couple of weeks. My son went back to school yesterday, but I think he left his cold with me. I have been fighting it all week and hopefully I won’t go down hard, but I can feel it on the edges. Still, I’ve got to get the next batch of canning done today. I’ve got 3 buckets of ripe tomatoes and 2 more buckets that will probably be ripe tomorrow or the next day and many more still coming. I still have about 18 pounds of potatoes left to can, too. Those can wait if they need to, though. We’ll see how I feel after chopping all those tomatoes.

After I do get to the potatoes, I want to order another 40 pounds to can. Ultimately another 80 pounds. I think that will get us through the year. We ran out of potatoes in June this year and I’d like to go an additional 2 months this time. When I do the potatoes, if there is room in the canner I will also throw in a jar of carrots, since we thinned the Nantes this week.

I am keeping a sharp eye on both the acorn squash, pictured above, and the watermelon, which are both close to being ripe. The weather has really turned on us this week though and is in the 60’s. I hope there is enough heat for the watermelon to finish ripening. I’ve got several big ones that are so close, but the temps aren’t going to go up any time soon. These are supposed to be a short season watermelon, too, Blacktail Mountain.

The cantaloupe isn’t going to make it. I knew it was a risk, since I planted it so late. I will try again next year and plant it much earlier in the season. I think the zucchini is done. I was hoping it would go a little longer, but it really didn’t survive the storm a couple of weeks ago, despite putting out two more fruit. Most of the root mat was pulled up from the wind. We were supposed to have an Indian summer, but I don’t think that is actually going to happen. Especially since the nights have been in the low 50’s and seem to be heading towards the high 40’s.

So this is what my weekly canning looked like:

And my weekly harvest:

I am pretty happy with both. It has been a fantastic garden year.