Weekend Links & Updates

The last of the poppies growing on my porch.

"That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

2 Corinthians 12:10


It's been a whirlwind of a summer, that's for sure. Until just recently, it felt like I was spending any free time - plus some of the time I'd otherwise be writing or doing homesteading projects - taking care of my mother's estate, which is a couple of hours away. It was utterly exhausting, but now the work is mostly done. Of course, summer is mostly done, too. 

I did manage to get in a garden - not the large garden I'd been hoping for, but things planted here and there in miscellaneous found containers, including old bathtubs and large pipes. The garden started out well, too. The collards and kale were thriving, I got a good crop of green beans, and I grew the best broccoli crop I've ever had. But then a large doe and her older fawn showed up. 

Normally, putting up bird netting keeps the deer from destroying my vegetable crops because deer typically don't like to get tangled in netting...but this duo are not like most deer. They stuck their heads under my netting and completely destroyed my garden: green beans, leafy greens, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, beets, kohlrabi, you name it. Eaten down. 

Green beans and turnips, before the deer got 'em.

Add to that the continually cool summer, which has meant no ripe tomatoes - even in the greenhouse - until just recently. Annnnnd...then some of my tomatoes developed blight - something I've NEVER had a problem with. It's definitely been a disappointing gardening season, but I'm counting my blessings that I was able to preserve at least some veggies. I'm also using this experience to urge my hubby along in finishing my large vegetable garden, complete with deer fence. 

Today I finally harvested a few tomatoes.

We've had better success on the animal front. We have lots of rabbit babies and a new batch of quail, all of which are looking fat and happy. We are still eyeballing our ewe, Shannon, hoping she's pregnant again after loosing her lamb to a predator earlier in the year. Currently, she and her ram, Shaun, are finishing off summer grass plus lots of plums and apples. The chickens continue to happily scratch about and lay eggs, the barn cats are still fantastic hunters, and the dog keeps  a doing a wonderful job being body guard to everyone.

It's apple season!

Baby bunnies...so cute, it hurts.

Lots of people are still asking me where to get canning lids. I have two recommendations: 

1. MasonJarMerchant.com. They will only sell you what is IN STOCK, which currently includes both Ball lids and Bernadin lids, which are made by Ball for the Canadian market. In no way am I being paid or otherwise rewarded for bringing this website to your attention, but I have used the site repeatedly and have been very pleased with the service and the lids I've purchased from them. 

2. For reusable canning lids, I still recommend Harvest Guard. (Order here.) Like most manufacturers, however, they are running behind, so if you place an order, don't expect to get your product for at least a month...maybe longer. (Now is a good time to buy lids for next spring and summer!)

Canned apple slices.

As many of you know, in 2020, Ball claimed they'd have plenty of canning lids in stores by March of 2021. However, few of us have seen ANY lids in stores. Just recently, Ball finally spoke out about the situation, saying \their current lid production is higher than their pre-virus output. They say they are working on manufacturing more lids, but find it tricky, due to social distancing, etc. Recently on Facebook, Ball claimed they are adding additional shifts to try to increase output.

Lack of lids and new interest in canning has brought out some bad advice on canning. I recommend reading this post on why old canning practices were never safe.  Also check out "When Home Canned Food Goes Bad."

Why stores are finding it difficult to keep shelves stocked. It's just one thing after another.

Canning peaches? Don't throw away the peels and pits! Make peel and pit jelly! 

Make low sugar blackberry jam with the last of the season's berries!

Definitely don't miss out on old Fashioned baked apples; they are a delicious, healthy fall treat.

Are you using fall leaves for garden mulch and compost? You should be :)

If you're like me and have apples coming out your ears, you'll want to read this post on how to preserve apples by freezing, canning, drying, and root cellaring (even without a root cellar).

I recently read Carved in Stone. Very enjoyable! I recommend it :)

I know it's fall when the spider webs appear in the orchard.

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