Monday, November 24, 2014

Canning and More Canning

I have been spending more and more time learning to can, water bath can and pressure can.

I started with jams and conserves.  So far, I am too impatient for jellies.

I am pressure canning veggies and meats.

I canned corn, organic, freshly grown, harvested and shucked corn for the first time last summer.  There will definitely be more of that!

My goal is to fill up a pantry with two years worth of food while I learn to grow it.

I am looking for wholesale sources now, since I am buying in bulk.

I am also learning how to dehydrate.  So far I have done it in the oven and in the solar oven and in a hooded grill.

I have yet to build my outdoor dehydrator, but it will happen.

We moved to our land in Missouri last June, 2014, stayed there for five months before returning to the DFW Metroplex for my husband’s seasonal business.

I am continuing to can while living here.  I have canned 15 pints of pinto beans, a couple of cases of stews and soups.

I am getting ready to order cheese-making supplies.

The more food preparation I learn, the more I will free myself to learn more homesteading skills.

I am having the time of my life!

© 2014 Kathryn Hardage

Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Smaller Garden

I am helping a friend design her tiny backyard.

At first I planted herbs, spacing them to allow for their mature size.


Lavender                                 Thyme                                   Rosemary


Oregano                                     Fennel                                  Sage

Then she decided large pots would give her more flexibility.

She used an organic treatment to cut down on weeds and put in a mulched and stone walk.

Marigolds help to distract bugs from her herb, vegetable and fruit transplants and provide a colorful border.

What a beautiful transformation!

© 2014 Kathryn Hardage

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Fourth Fruit Tree

This year, I worried about the unusually heavy winter weather in North Texas. As we moved toward Spring, the last frost date kept getting pushed back farther and farther. Even though I was grateful that we would not have to worry about enough chill hours to set fruit, as in previous very mild winters, it seemed like Spring would never come.
Then when it finally did, my peach tree began to blossom beautifully.  Lovely pink blossoms, budding out all over the tree.   When it had about a quarter to a third of a tree full of blossoms, the weather turned freezing cold and we received quarter-sized hail.  Many of the peach blossoms were destroyed.  We all felt cruelly fooled again by the weather.

However,  since all the buds had not blossomed yet, I realized there was a possibility that all was not lost.  So it turned out to be.  Gratefully, more buds blossomed into their beautiful pink color during the next couple of weeks.  Tiny peaches began to grow.

Two of my other fruit trees began to bud before the hail, but the third one just looked like a tall dead stick with small dead branches.  It just stayed looking dead as everything else began to grow around it.  A few weeks after the other fruit trees had budded and were beginning to blossom, the fourth fruit tree finally began to bud.  It actually was not dead, just dormant until the right time for it to bud out. 

I draw a metaphor from this experience.

I have many projects which I wish would all happen right away when I think of them.

I write, plan, collect resources, and wish and hope and work, but some of them just take a much longer time to come to fruition, like the fourth fruit tree.  I could live more calmly and with much less anxiety if I realized this.  Obviously, it will be worth learning more patience.

© 2014 Kathryn Hardage

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Market Garden Class

I am enjoying what I am learning in the course taught by the Oklahoma Extension Office about starting a Market Garden.

Even with our differing backgrounds, my colleagues and I share an interest in producing and selling food.

The quality of the instruction was pointed out to me a couple of years ago at a workshop by graduates of this course.

Several people had started their businesses from the ground up and had good results.

Although I do’t know when I will be able to put the information I am learning to use, or where my next garden will be, (our house is on the market), I feel a deep value in learning sound practices for producing my own food and making it available to other people.

I enjoy learning about other food production centers that have been started in small settings and how they have grown to larger greenhouses and acreages when I talk to farmers at the Farmer’s Markets.

I like becoming part of the solution to local food sources and food security and food purity.

I like the practical and proven practices I am learning about and look forward to putting them into practice myself.

© 2014 Kathryn Hardage