Life on a little urban homestead in the making, with ideas for self-sufficiency, Permaculture, DIYing, organic gardening, food preservation, Chicken keeping, cookery, crafts, thrifting and more...

Jul 7, 2022

Homesteading Thrifting Finds/Pressure Canning, Veggie Garden Growing! My Eton Mess, RIP Rosie

Homesteading Thrifting Finds/Pressure Canning-
Here's an update of some things that we've been doing here! My thrift store radar was pinging the other day, I went to Goodwill, came around the corner and saw something I have been thinking about buying new. With the price of wheat going up and up and no end in sight in the future, I had thought about buying a bread machine. Since I work full time I thought it would be nice to buy a machine where I could just dump everything in and have a loaf of bread! You can also use it to make a lot of different kinds of doughs for other purposes as well. I really just didn't want to spend the money on it. So I went thrifting and what did I find? A Breadman Ultimate bread making machine! For a whopping $10.00! I love the fact that loaf goes sideways and is not shaped like a square- 

I plugged it in at the thrift store, the power came on, looks like it's been very well taken care of and hardly used. It even came with the owner's manual and the recipe book! I wiped it down, washed it and it almost looks brand new. Will give it a test run this weekend. While I love Dave's Killer Bread, and a few of the other whole grain breads, it's just getting too expensive. I really loaded up on flours the last eight months, as well as wheat berries. So I can definitely make bread a lot cheaper than I can buy it. And fresher too!  I also found a really nice big heavy class Anchor Hocking storage jar. Like new as well! $4.00. 

I did some research on how to dehydrate eggs, since we have our own, and turn into egg powder. Egg powder will take up a lot less space than freezing eggs in our freezer. I'm also trying to move away from relying on our freezer in case we have brown outs/blackouts in the next 6 months and ongoing. After doing research I realized that I could use my existing dehydrator I just needed to buy some food grade silicone liner trays. I found a good deal on Amazon, $14.00 for four, and they fit perfect! I may also make some fruit leathers for the grandkids- 

Basically you do about 8 to 10 eggs at a time, blended, and dehydrate at 140° until completely dry. I think I read that can take about 10 to 12 hours or more. I will be doing that shortly since we have almost six dozen eggs! Will fire it up this weekend and post results. 

I've been doing some research for a while and decided to start doing pressure canning. For a long time there was a lot in the media about NOT being able to use a glass top stove. After I did a lot of research I realized that you can, however you have to make sure about the weight, the size of the burner, and the canner. After doing research I decided to buy a Presto 16 quart pressure canner. It will be a good smaller size for us. I did research on my stove top and how big the canner would be. I was really excited to see that the thick round part of the canner bottom fits exactly my large burner, perfect-

This was something that I saw lots of places is really mandatory. There's also weight limit on most glass top stove of about 50 lbs so I didn't want to get a huge canner. I was really excited when it arrived it fits perfect! I will not be dragging across the glass either, and was advised to only have the one pot on the stove at a time. Best be careful! Looking forward to canning meat, beans, soups and veggies! Will post more of that over time. 

Veggie Garden Growing!
After all the crazy weather we finally got our vegetable garden planted and cleared off our deck! There were so many pots and plants on the deck for so many weeks I couldn't even see what the deck look like underneath it all! 4th of July weekend we made a push on Sunday and Dave and I laid out all the veggies and strawberries. He planted all of that while I was able to plant up all the herbs, flowers and some of the perennials. I can finally see my deck again! 

Sorry about that thumb

We have a really nice mix of vegetables this year and we're very fortunate found some really good deals. With my job change and other craziness I was never able to start any seeds in our grow light plant rack. We have planted several kinds of tomatoes, two kinds of cucumbers, collard greens, curly kale , three or four kinds of peppers, some small refrigerator size watermelon, yellow squash, and something else I'm probably forgetting! 

Mound garden this year, gorgeous from all the rain! 

flowers near the veggie gate

lots of veggies! 

New strawberry row, will add more next year

Luna peeking out behind the gate

Lots of thornless blackberries! 

Lavender to harvest, I leave 30% or more for the bees

White lavender

Small watermelon, my 1st!

We mulched everything really well and my herbs really took off in this hot weather! Now we're finally into the part of just watering and keeping an eye on everything. We're finally in the mid-90s and this will probably be the norm for a while. I think the rain is finally over! Need to mulch the strawberries a lot more, taking a beating in the heat! 

My Eton Mess-
I read about a traditional Eton Mess, a British dessert and decided to try it! Jamie Oliver did something pretty similar. Eton Mess is a traditional British summertime dessert of gooey meringue, sweet strawberries and rich cream in a generous sticky mess. Here's what I did- crushed about 3/4 cup fresh strawberries and 1/2 cup fresh blueberries. I used a potato masher, added a few Tbl of sugar and left on the counter to get the juices going. I bought some Trader Joe's meringue cookies (not baking a huge one for two people) then whipped some heavy whipping cream. I used our medium drinking glasses. I started with the slushy juicy berries, then add the cookies (cut in 1/2), then the whipping cream. Keep layering. Last fresh plain berries on top, added a cookie on top. That's it! I loved it!!! 

RIP Rosie-
Rosie was our wonderful Rhode Island Red hen that we had for about almost 10 years. She'd been through her trials and tribulations over the years. Several months ago she started limping really badly and had to use one of her wings on one side to be able to walk. She kept doing pretty well was eating, drinking and hanging out with the rest of the flock. I couldn't really tell what had happened. I did read chickens can have strokes, maybe that was it? I examined her but couldn't figure anything out. Over time she started eating less and less and resting more. I couldn't bring myself to euthanize her because I'd had her for so long. So I kept her comfortable. I made sure she always got treats 2xs a day, water, was clean and would take her from the nesting box at night where she slept, down into the main part of the garden. Depending on the weather would be in, or out, of the coop. She enjoyed being with her pals. Finally last week I could tell she was ready to go. I brought her in, she sat next to me in a nice laundry basket on a big fluffy towel-

It was nice and cool. She only lasted about an hour after I brought her in. She had a really good life, she ate lots of bugs and weeds and laid wonderful eggs. I like to think that she's on the other side now with her chicken friends who preceded her. We'll miss you Rosie! She was a real trooper and the mother/protector of her flock. She had quite the personality! RIP my sweet girl. Last summer with her flock-

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