Saturday, September 26, 2009

Heh, heh, heh.... Whooops!

I have been trying to clear out Mom's freezer to make some room for meat. She'd gone to all the work of peeling, coring and slicing apples into chunks, then freezing them. I thought it'd be nice to have them preserved in some of the juice that we'd been making.

Good idea. Bad execution.

Wanna know what happens in your pressure canner (yes, pressure canner, i.e. under pressure, not just as a boiling water bath canner) when you don't have enough headspace for your jars?

Yup. That was a mess. And it was fun to clean up.

FYI - for apples that have already been frozen, by the time you bring them up to temperature in the juice, they pretty much become applesauce consistency, no longer firm apple slices. Follow applesauce headspace directions (heck, maybe even give 'em a full inch, just to be sure), otherwise, this too could be what you experience when you open your pressure canner!

The Greenhouse Built by Dave

Dave's 'Little Mule'
We decided that we didn't want to mess around with little plastic sheds over our tomatoes this year, so we took a plunge into the savings, plus hauled a load of donated materials from Uncle Steve, and built our greenhouse this year. This is no ordinary glass house type greenhouse; we wanted to be able to insulate it at least somewhat during the winter, and we want the structure to be a season extender, more than the "perfect" mid-summer growing unit. So it's positioned a little differently than a summer-only glass house would be, and it's not all window (cheaper that way).

Dave laid out a foundation of gravel, then built a frame for the walls to be attached to, sitting on the gravel.

Laying the foundation
He built the walls, we helped him hoist them up & held them in place while he secured them.

One wall up
Three walls up
He built the trusses, we helped him hoist them up & held them in place while he secured them.

Trusses up
He did everything else, just about by himself; we watched while he did the work. Especially the tall stuff on ladders.

Plexi roof up
(That wire across the front of the greenhouse is deer proofing; the little so-and-sos were reaching into the greenhouse and nibbling my eggplant and tomato leaves. Oh, yeah - Dave, helped by Mom & I, built a ruddy great deer defense around what will be our orchard and field crops, which the greenhouse falls within).

Mom grew & maintained, and "bumbled" flowers on the plants that got stuck into the tubs that he filled with horse manure labouriously hauled from the local riding stable.

Plants in
Then I preserved the results.

Joys of the harvest
Nice results.

Yay, Dave!! He's our hero. And we shall be toasting his efforts all winter long as we crack open those jars filled with all the lovely goodies from the greenhouse that Dave built.

v. to "bumble" - pretend you're a bumble bee, buzzing sounds included if you're Dave, and gently shake the flowers of Solanaceae plants to improve fertilization and fruit setting.