Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mud, Tomatoes, Rain and More Tomatoes

Yesterday was a "mud day" for Shane. It had rained late Monday night and early Tuesday morning, making the job site too muddy for work. It turned out to be a sunny day, though, so he got started prepping to build the sun room he acquired free in return for the work required to remove it from a different house. He managed to remove the railings from our deck while at the same time saving the scarlet runner beans that were growing on it (Why didn't he just go ahead and pull them out this late in the year? I have no idea.) He also managed to attach a couple of pieces of the track for the walls, but then he ran into a snag. Nothing he can't make work, but enough that he decided to quit for the day. 

Knowing how SonyaAnn loves before and aft pics, here are some "befores".  You'll have to excuse the state of the deck.  We've gotten into the bad habit lately of setting anything and everything out there.  BTW, those aren't trash cans...they're recycling bins.  The deck area looks pretty rustic this summer and while that isn't usually my style, I've grown to like it.

In this one you can clearly see our rain catchment system.  With the rain recently, the tanks are full and what's left of the garden is being watered naturally.  That means the water in these tanks will end up drained out into the yard.  Not a waste exactly, but not it's intended use.  It has to be done, though, so we can have clean and empty tanks before winter sets in.

This last one is of the deck with the side rails off.  We're leaving the end rail by the steps on until the walls go up, for a small measure of safety.  You probably can't tell, but what Shane did with the runner beans was to detach them from the deck rail and let them drape over a couple of pieces of cattle panel (from the garden).  It took him forever to find the seeds this year, so I think his intention is to let the beans dry on the vine so he can plant them somewhere else next year.

Meanwhile, yesterday I was in the kitchen peeling, cooking down and canning some of the tomatoes that I froze whole earlier in the summer. I decided to pressure can them this time (I usually use the water bath method for tomatoes). I ended up with 8 pints of crushed tomatoes, which for me are the most versatile. I can use them later to make pasta sauce or salsa or to use as they are in chili or soups.

Today has turned out to be a rain day, so I expect Shane to show up here at the house soon. With the Labor Day holiday, that makes almost three full days of work missed this month. I had thought I would be able to pay off our van next week, but it looks as if I'll have to do it in two more payments.

Shane won't be able to work on the sun room today. I wonder if I can talk him into helping with the tomatoes. I only canned about 1/3 of them yesterday and I'm hoping to get the rest done today. I'll post a picture when I get them all done.


Jill said...

Looks like you have been quite busy! I love your rainwater system.
I have tomatoes to do as well but havent had a chance to start them yet. The fruit flies are enjoying them though. LOL

Have a great day!


Frances said...

You all are so busy! I am tired just reading about it. I have been lamenting the fact that I have not yet made salsa this year. I am on vacation next week, so I think we will go to our local farm one day and I will get the ingredients to make some.

Thanks for inspiring me!

slugmama said...

Just wondering why you are pressure canning and not WB canning the maters?
Have you had a problem with them not being acidic enough??

I need to get out when Hubs gets home today and pick maters again. We've had a good crop so far compared to last year's late blight which gave us

And I like the before/after pics too... ;-)

Annie Jones said...

Jill: Our fruit flies finally flew the coop about a month ago. They were driving me crazy before that, though.

Frances: I don't can salsa. It goes so quickly here that there's no point. Hope you get to make some this year. :)

Sluggy: I hadn't even considered pressure canning tomatoes until I read about it earlier this summer on another blog. I decided to try it because I felt like I needed to become more comfortable using the pressure canner (I'd only done it in an extension class before).

Now that I've done it twice, I probably won't use the water bath canner for tomatoes anymore. I think the pressure canner is easier, and even with the time it takes to pressurize and depressurize, it seems to be quicker.

SonyaAnn said...

YAY pictures!!! I'm sure I was front and center in your mind when you were taking them. You were probably thinking she is such a pain in the @**! :)
You two never stop working! And when you are done you can head over here and get us moving. LOL But I've been pretty good lately. I cut down the entire row of peonies.Hate those things!

McVal said...

I love your catching rain water idea for watering the garden! Clever!
You are a busy beaver! I'm jealous...

Lisa B. said...

Everything here is slowing down including me! lol I have no energy this week at all.

Love you guys' "rain barrels/tanks" they are awesome!

slugmama said...

ie--pressure canning. My mom never used one she did WB can(and she's the one who taught me to can), so I've never pressure canned nor been around anyone who has.
Now you have me considering getting a pressure canner....thanks!lol

Shelli said...

Wow! I bet my brother would trade some of his catches from hunting/fishing for some canned goods. Of course, I don't think that we've ever figured out how far away you actually live from him.