The Weekly Digs #177

by Becky

Preserving

This week I did something really foolish. I needed to preserve some salsa and I had tomatoes that were on the counter that needed to be used ASAP. 

So at about 6:30pm, I started to chop and prep them for the salsa. I worked for about an hour, then I needed to go out to the garden and get a few things done out there during the “cool” part of the day.

 I planted another succession of corn which I’m about pretty sure won’t produce ears before our first frost since it really depends on the year but that’s another story I’ll tell later.

At about 8:30pm, I was back inside but by that time we were eating dinner (Cam and the kids had just made it home after running some errands). We cleaned up and got the kids to bed by 10pm.

Then I decided I ought to record some of this for Youtube and spent about an hour clearing some space on my SD camera card (it was totally full) transferring videos from the card onto a backup drive and then onto my video editing program before I erased it to make room for new videos. 

Now I was all set to go at about 11pm. At this point, I did think to myself I should just go to bed and finish in the morning but I had already started the tomatoes.

Tomatoes are one thing where if I start, I have to finish right away. You can put them in the refrigerator but something weird happens to the texture and flavor and it spoils the freshness, in my opinion. 

To add to the craziness, when I make the salsa, I do eight times the original recipe and it makes 16-18 pint jars, perfect for fitting in two water bath canners. 

With such a big batch, and with no other helpers, I WAY underestimated the time it would take me to make the salsa. I figured I’d be done about 2am. Which is definitely past my bedtime, but on occasion doing this during the preserving season isn’t a big deal.

The reality was I was ready to boil the jars at about 4am and pulled them out of the canner at 4:45am. I went to sleep at 5am. I decided at that moment that I would never do that again.

I’m fine with a little lost sleep because it’s a short lived season but going to bed at 5am about did me in. I was so tired the next day! And even now that I’ve had a full night of sleep, I still feel tired.

We sliced peppers for the freeze dryer as well this week.

But after that batch and a batch we preserved earlier this week, I’m up to 36 pint jars of salsa. We need 50 pints to last us a year. So I just have one more batch to do. 

I know I’ll be glad for the salsa in the winter when all we have in the garden is spinach, kale, and carrots. 

In the Garden 

We are cleaning up the garden and doing more fall planting. A couple of weeks ago, I had a friend ask me if we were finishing up for the season and things were slowing down. I chuckled a little bit.

I think even for colder areas August is busy! It definitely is for us. This is our busiest time of year.

 While things will slow down incrementally over the next few months, we are nowhere near “finishing up”. However, at this moment of craziness, I do look forward to a little rest when the cold comes in November. 

Planted corn here, our third succession planting for the year of corn
Planted Napoli carrots under the burlap above

In the garden this week, we’ve been working on several tasks:

  • Finished cleaning up most of the corn area and planted beans.
  • Cleared out the beans and planted corn.
  • Weeded almost the entire caterpillar tunnel and started putting down compost for fall plantings.
  • Planted asian greens, tatsoi and chijimisai in soil blocks
  • Planted casper kale in soil blocks
  • Direct seeded carrots
Pretty close to weed free. Prepping for fall crops.

Chickens

I order some more egg laying hens this week, 10 Cuckoo Marans and 5 Welsummer. We already have a couple of cuckoo Marans and have found them to lay consistently large and beautiful eggs.

We had planned on breeding the cuckoo marans, but it never panned out because the flock was mixed and we didn’t have a separate place for them. Then the rooster was eaten by a raccoon or perhaps a coyote. The new ones will come in a few weeks. We are getting more hens because we have enough demand to sell them to our farm customers.

It’s all we sell from our farm right now (and primarily managed by the kids) but in December, the pigs will go to the butcher and we’ll start selling the pork as well.

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12 comments

Joanna August 28, 2022 - 4:30 pm

I cannot tell you how happy I am that I found you and your channel. If I’m not rereading your blog, I’m rewatching your YouTube videos 😂 Well,.not every waking moment but A LOT!
How did your sweet peas and green beans do this year?
Have you dug up the potatoes yet? Well, I guess not because we would’ve heard about that here 😂
Love you, girl!!

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Emma Deller August 29, 2022 - 6:12 am

Love to see your planting plan, you mentioned you did three plantings of corn did you do them all in the same bed?

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theseasonalhomestead September 2, 2022 - 6:13 am

No, three different locations for the corn. They take so much of the nutrients in the soil I don’t think I could plant them in the same spot several times in a row.

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Amelia September 1, 2022 - 11:50 pm

Your blog is so inspiring! I was wondering, how do you use all the salsa you make and preserve? I’m assuming with such volume that you aren’t just using it with chips.

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theseasonalhomestead September 2, 2022 - 6:09 am

Thanks. We use the salsa mostly for weekly tacos or burritos, on eggs and potatoes in the morning, chicken tortilla soup, and tortilla chips. We also give a few jars away each year as gifts or bring it to pot lucks.

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Susan September 3, 2022 - 2:01 am

Oh, Becky, I have pulled the same stunt of staying up all night on a project. Ugh. I also love the salsa recipe you recommend and my family devours it too. I’ve started switching from using vegetable shortening in my baking to using lard and leaf lard for dessert type baking. Do you save and render the lard from the pigs you raise? I can’t get over how much better pie crusts are when I use it. Hope you get some well earned rest soon!

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Christi September 22, 2022 - 6:33 pm

Do you have a recipe for the salsa? We are pulling 60lbs of tomatoes from the garden daily. I’ve been making gallons of fermented salsa but, I want to can some salsa. However,I’m afraid to spend all that time on a recipe that’s not good. Would love a tried and true one!

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theseasonalhomestead September 24, 2022 - 2:06 am

Yes, it comes from a book and I link it on this page along with a few changes I make to the original recipe. https://www.theseasonalhomestead.com/canning-recipes-that-actually-taste-good/

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Clarice Kieffer February 28, 2024 - 9:10 pm

Hey Becky, I tried out the salsa recipe that you recommend and my husband cannot stop eating it! I canned over 50 8-ounce jars last fall but it wasn’t enough. My question to you is that the recipe says to can in 8-oz jars but I noticed that you can in pint jars. I’ve read that you shouldn’t go up in jar sizes when following a canning recipe. Do you adjust time to be able to use pint jars? I’m still a beginner and a rule follower when it comes to canning to be on the safe side, but I’d love to be able to can in a larger jar since I plan to preserve so much this year.

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Becky March 2, 2024 - 2:46 am

I am a canning rule follower too. I referenced another reliable tested source, The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, and in all their salsa recipes both half pint and pint jars are processed for the exact same time. So I did the same with the salsa recipe from Foolproof preserving. I do add 5 minutes to the processing time because we are over 1000 ft above sea level. If it makes you nervous, you can always add 5 additional minutes after adding time adjustment for elevation without it overcooking anything. In my opinion, it’s really not necessary though.

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Clarice Kieffer March 11, 2024 - 2:23 pm

Thank you so much for your reply!
Your blog and YouTube channel have meant so much to me over the past 2 years. Thank you for all the amazing content that you produce. Wishing you and your family the best from Ohio 😊

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Becky March 17, 2024 - 4:06 am

Thank you!

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