Monday, June 20, 2011

Canning on the Homestead

First Canning Session of the Year
What to do with all those radishes???

With the several pounds of radishes I have harvested, I had to figure out something to do with them.  Only my husband and youngest daughter really like them, so I decided to make some radish relish so I can preserve them so they will last.  The recipe I used is here.  I have a feeling my husband is really going to like it.  He tried it with all the raw ingredients and said it had good flavor.  I'm sure it will only get better as time goes on and it has time to mellow out.  It gets such a pretty pink and rosy color.  I made two batches and got about 10 half-pints of relish!

This is a nice recipe because you have to let the whole concoction sit for three hours so you have time to get all your jars ready or do other things.  Once that is done, you boil the ingredients for awhile and then jar them up and process (again, see recipe link).  I look forward to seeing how this will taste in a few weeks, but I can rest knowing that none of the radishes went to waste!  Plus, all the tops of the radishes were fed to the chickens.  They loved them and get so excited when they see me coming!  They have been so fun...hopefully, after this coming weekend, I can show you the finished coop!

I hope your gardens are growing beautifully!  Have you started canning anything???  Happy preserving and blessings!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chicken and garden updates

Wow...time sure does fly when you're gardening! I've got a bunch of updates so I will start with the chickens.  Here's the progression of our coop.

The coop with our salvaged window from a neighbor.

Hubby working on the run and the door has been added on.

Chickens already using the run!

Hubby is still finishing up the coop.  He's got to put on the chicken wire on the back ventilation and he's finishing up the floor.  The chickens are seven weeks old so they really needed some sunshine.  They stayed in the run all night and since it's warm, they have fared very well.  I couldn't sleep because I was so worried about a fox getting his paws/claws through the chicken wire...tonight we'll have them locked up in the coop!  I really need some sleep, haha!  The only supplies we bought for this coop are the screws and hinges, the chicken wire, shingles for the roof (I bet I could have found these but we really needed them now) and the paint (hello, $5 oops paint at Home Depot that normally runs over $37 for one gallon--who can afford that???)  My husband did a great job and we need to put up the trim and finish painting.  I can't wait until it's finished.

The garden is coming along well!  I've had my battles though.  Flea beetles are now prevalent in my backyard and they love the radishes!!!  I think I will continue to sow radishes so that the flea beetles will only bother them...a trap crop.  This is the first year I've grown radishes and they have turned out beautiful (minus the holey leaves!). 

They truly are the jewels of the garden and are so lovely to photograph!

The greens are coming on strong as well.  We had our first garden salad last night with the radishes.  My spinach has turned out really nice this year.  I've kept them spaced properly and they have just flourished.

I am up against the insects, though.  The ants have gone crazy and now I have the flea beetles.  It's an ongoing struggle, and I've found aphids, too.  I've spied a few ladybugs so between me squishing and the ladybugs devouring, we may stay on top of things.  Here's one last shot of the garden from an "aerial" perspective.  This is taken from my bedroom window.

I've laid down hay as a mulch between the boxes.  I'm not quite sure how I feel about it yet, but I consider it the cheap man's pathway.  I would love to put flagstone or brick or pavers down, but that's not in the budget any time soon, so we'll see how this works for me.  It gets quite windy sometimes so we'll see if the hay is still there in a few weeks.  I hope your gardening and homesteading is going well.  Let me know how your garden grows and happy homesteading!  Blessings!