Friday, August 9, 2013

Busy bees!

We are about to start planting our Fall crops! Crazy to even think we are there already! :)

Well we have had quite a few large projects going on. Here is one:
We needed a room to put all of our canning jars! It has much more then that now. We were given almost 6 1/2 bushels of peach seconds and I used what I could to can and the rest went to our pigs! Oh my gosh they do love peaches! These peaches were from a local fruit farm I used to work at as a kid. Their peaches are out of this world! LOL (Stoudt's Fruit...just in case anyone local reads this and wants some yummy peaches ;) HA HA HA)

We have also been working on the new pig barn and it is turning out gorgeous. I will post pictures later. 

We were given quite a few new animals as well! We now have peacocks and a guinea! We are starting to hear some unusual sounds in the morning! HA HA HA We plan to breed and sell them. 

Here is something else we are doing new this year, pressure canning! Opens up a whole new world of canning! Kind of scary to get started, but worth it once you figure it out. There is some water bath canning you can do, but things that have a low acidity level, like these green beans, need a pressure canner. I was not sure of the reason why at first, but now I know! It's the internal temperature of the water inside the jar when canning to make sure there is no harmful bacteria. For a water bath canner it only gets up to 180 degrees (I believe) and for tomatoes, pickles, peaches, jams & jellies it is good. For most of the remainder of the garden it needs a pressure canner that can get the internal temperature up to 240 degrees. They are an expensive investment at first and we were very lucky to be given one as a present, but it is well worth it so far. We have so many green beans and pumpkin to do and not enough freezer space. Yes, the jars also do cost money and are quite an investment as well at first, but again well worth it. Not having to run an extra freezer or 2 for an entire year makes it worth my while, plus we have pork we need to butcher in the next 5-6 weeks! We will need the freezers for that. So far I have canned green beans and refried beans in it. I am about to do hummus! Yes, we do make our own hummus as well. 

We are also about a week from Petunia giving birth to her next litter and 8 weeks away from Piggy. We are also talking about getting a new boar and keeping 2 gilts from Petunias litter. We have had such a demand for our feeder pigs that we haven't been able to keep up. Which is a good thing! Our current boar, Hammy, is also starting to get less friendly. We were warned that by 3 years he would probably start to get aggressive towards us. Well we don't need 2 boars anyway, waste of feed. 

We also haven't been able to keep up with our egg demand. So, things are going really well and we are also talking about expanding into some new avenues, other then the nontraditional farm fowl we have acquired! :)

As for our Fall crops, we are done with green beans and cucumbers. We are close to harvesting our corn field and potato fields as well. We will be planting hull peas in place of the corn field. We will be planting more potatoes, along with spinach, broccoli and carrots. 

We will also be marking more maple trees this Summer/Fall to boil down more sap. I did start baking with syrup vs sugar as well. Ok, it was only 1 thing so far, pumpkin bread. Our family devours it! I made it with honey and it was good, but the honey took over part of the taste of the bread. The syrup on the other hand just enhanced the flavor! So, I will be experimenting with that more as we get out of canning season. 

Happy dog days of summer!
Mrs. Smith