Last Week On The Homestead: Food Preservation, What's In The Garden + An Emergency Vet Visit


September 5 - 11, 2022

Hello friends!
We've received rain!  A couple of days of non-stop drizzle, to be exact, but we'll take it.  Additional good news is that we are seeing bits of proof that fall is coming.  We were even lucky recipients of a couple of nights of crisp cool temps!  That's one of my favorite things about fall's arrival.

The leaves are just starting to change on some of the trees which is surprising because our temps, for the most part, have remained summer-like.  I've jumped into soup season, even though the weather hasn't changed yet.  I adore soup.  It's usually an easy meal, uses up a lot of the garden harvest, freezes nicely, and tastes delicious.  

I tried a new-to-me soup called Burden Soup.  The link was shared by my friend Laurie and it uses a good amount of zucchini and a handful of basil (in addition to onion, potato, and garlic).  I am still harvesting zucchini and basil right now and we have potatoes from the garden in storage.  I was able to use all our own produce except for the garlic.  I've made 3 batches (so far) and put almost 2 full batches in the freezer for enjoying later in fall.  It's a versatile recipe, which is quite handy.  I omit the parmesan and use veggie stock as the base.  I've also been adding red lentils in the last 20 minutes of cooking to add protein and iron.

Food Preservation:

We've been busy!

I was able to roast and freeze 8 pints of cherry tomatoes.  I love to make a simple pasta sauce with them or add them to soups.

We are swimming in basil (not a bad thing) so I processed more pesto for the freezer.

I also added more basil and cilantro to the freezer.

I roasted all of the poblano peppers I harvested last week and froze them on trays before transferring them to freezer bags.  They will be stuffed with a rice mixture for dinners throughout the winter as well as diced/sliced and added to soups, fajitas, bean dishes, etc.

I added 8 additional gallon freezer bags full of ripe tomatoes to the freezer for processing later.  Later will need to come soon though as I'm quickly running out of room...

I was able to harvest just over a dozen extra (in addition to fresh eating) bell peppers from our garden for freezing.  All of the red and orange ones were roasted and then put in the freezer.  The green, yellow, and purple peppers were sliced and put on trays to freeze.  Once frozen they were transferred to gallon freezer bags.

Last Saturday we went to a local farm and picked a bushel of bell peppers. We were able to get them all washed, sliced, and frozen.  I have quite a few bell peppers just about ripe in the garden, so I didn't keep any out for fresh eating.  We'll continue to eat from our garden instead.  I'll also roast more from our garden for the freezer in the coming weeks.

Also on Saturday, we stopped at a local apple orchard and purchased bulk apples.  We made apple pie/crisp/galette filling with most of them and then stored that in the freezer. (I used these instructions from King Arthur Baking and their apple pie filling recipe here)  Some were sliced and dehydrated as treats for us and Oliver.  We may purchase more to make into applesauce and either can or freeze.

Last Sunday I purchased 8 lbs of green beans from a farm vendor at our farmer's market.  As noted in last week's update, we are running a little short on the green beans this year, so I purchased some because I wanted to ensure we had enough in the freezer to get us through the winter.  I snipped the ends, cut them into bite-size pieces, and placed them in freezer bags and stored in the freezer.

We found a good deal on organic strawberries and made more strawberry jam.  It is canned and lined up in the cupboard. (I used the pectin-free recipe in the Canning For A New Generation Cookbook - it's delicious!)

We also processed quite a few jalapeno peppers.  We roasted a bunch of them then filled them with a cream cheese mixture and put them in the freezer.  These will be oven-baked stuffed jalapenos for my husband to enjoy this winter.  With the rest of the jalapenos, we processed 3 pints of pickled jalapeno rings.  We still have some growing in the garden so we'll either eat them fresh or continue to stuff and freeze them.

I've not added this because we stockpile them regularly, but we've increased our egg stockpile to 9 dozen.  What we found last year, after reading about different egg preservation techniques, was that refrigerating unwashed eggs immediately (and keeping them refrigerated), allowed us to use eggs for up to 4-5 months after they were laid (he's eating eggs gathered in June currently).  Because our flock is older, and we can't count on eggs, we've been keeping a small stockpile.  As it gets closer to October (molt season), we increase the stockpile.  Our new girls won't lay until the end of December or beginning of January, so this will help get my husband through until then.  

pie pumpkins
Chinese red noodle beans

My pie pumpkins are almost all ripe.  I'll be roasting them in the next week or two.  I don't have a spot to keep them long-term so roasting and freezing works best for us.

I forgot to update you on the potatoes grown in the 5-gallon bucket.  They did well except some of the potatoes rotted.  I'm going to say this had to be my error, even though I checked the holes in the bottom when determining whether or not they should be watered.  I must have overwatered, or we need to add more drainage holes.  I will definitely try it again next year.  I harvested 10 decent sized potatoes from the one bucket but lost 4 to rot.  I can't wait to check the 2 buckets I have sweet potatoes in.

The cucumbers have just about come to a complete end in the garden.  The plants began dying off about 2 weeks ago and I think I only have 1 vine left that's active.  I'm down to receiving 1-3 cucumbers a week.

Tomatoes are finally slowing, but we are still gratefully receiving them.  The beets and carrots are young, so I haven't pulled any for a while.  The remainder of the garden continues to do well.

The Chinese Red Noodle Beans are hanging on.  They do very well in heat and humidity, so they continue to produce without issue.  I have never tried preserving them so I'm not sure how they would do, but we do eat them fresh.

I forgot to mention that I did plant 1 eggplant seed, and it came up!  We don't eat a lot of eggplant, so I just threw a seed in the garden when I was planting and lo and behold it came up.  Much to my surprise it has eggplant on it that are just about ready to harvest!

A few of you let me know that you missed Jack photos in the previous check-in post, so I have promised not one, but two photos of the handsome pain-in-the-behind.  He had his annual check-up last week and is doing well!  He continues to stalk Felix (not our cat) from the windows, pick on Oliver (all day long), break any rule meant for him, and refuse to take his meds willingly.  So, all is well with him!

We've been making soap 2 full days every week as we begin the process of preparing for our last busy season of the year.  From the time we wake up until dinner time, soap is made on those days.  This week we barely fit in the second day but were able to do so.

We had planned to make soap Monday and Friday and do all of the food preservation listed above on the days in-between.  Saturdays are usually devoted to cleaning up around the house (cleaning, mowing, etc.) and prepping for Sunday's market.

Thursday night around 9p Ollie seemed like his right ear was bothering him.  He shook his head a bit.  He tried to get his back foot up to scratch his ear, but he's unable to do so now because of his spinal issues.  So I scratched it lightly for him.  I couldn't scratch it enough, it just kept bothering him.  Within an hour he was panting.  I thought there might be an ear infection or something going on, but we decided to wait it out (hoping to make it to Friday morning when his vet opened up) and see how he did.  It was my night to be up with him, so he panted, and I pet him and talked to him.  Around 11p he started screaming.  Frenchies do this for a number of reasons, but I knew it was because of pain.  I yelled up to my husband to come down and sit with him so I could call the emergency vet to see if they were accepting patients (in our area they are all full all of the time these days).  Luckily, they were.  

We scooped him up and drove him down, about 40 minutes, to the emergency vet.  We were there from just before midnight until 4a.m.  (we were told it was an unusually slow night and we were lucky to "only" have to be there for 4 hours!)  It was a LONG night.  It ended up being a ruptured ear canal/ear infection.  Apparently, this is common in Frenchies.  Who knew?  Needless to say, soap making did not happen on Friday.  We instead made soap on Saturday.  We were so confused on what day it was Friday and Saturday - lack of sleep and doing things on different days made it interesting.

He seems to be doing better, thankfully.

I did read a book!  I read That Summer: A Novel, by Jennifer Weiner.

This is not a light read and deals with a heavy topic.  I thought it was good, and the author handled the heavy topic in a very sensitive manner, but I thought a number of details kept this from being a great book.  I almost stopped reading after the first couple of chapters because it was much different than I'd expected but decided to push myself to keep going. 

It's a story about friendship, revenge, and overcoming trauma.  The tale of two Diana's is told in multiple timelines, which I thought would be confusing but ends up working.  It begins slow and the connection and storyline is revealed/alluded to early on, but the characters, for the most part, are relatable and likeable.  There are times you think to yourself, "what relevance does that comment have"?  Or "how in the world could that work"?  Or even "what is the purpose of that being in the story"?  But all-in-all, it was a good read.

That was last week on our homestead!  How about you?  Are you still harvesting produce?  Did you get any food preservation completed?  How was your week?


  1. I've not heard of roasted strawberry jam. That sounds delicious! Freezing Burden soup is a great idea. Thanks so much for the share. Though we're not growing noodle beans this year, I've canned them in the past, and they did well. And unlike purple podded pole beans, the red noodle beans don't turn green during canning, which is kind of neat. Have a great week! Hugs to sweet Ollie.

  2. Very interesting to hear that the eggs can still be good 4-5 months in the fridge. Looks like you have a nice stock pile of veggies on the go too. Have a good week.

  3. Thanks Laurie! I don't know why I continue to call that jam "roasted". It's not. I think because it's cooked down so much that it tastes roasted. I just changed it in the post - sorry about that! Thanks for the info about the noodle beans.

    Thanks Kathy - yes, it's been so helpful to be able to stockpile eggs!

    Wishing you both a wonderful week!

  4. You should be in good shape this winter. We don't do much preserving here, although it's something I'd like to try. We have gotten a drift of fall these last two mornings, with temps in the high 50's. I'll take it!

    I had no idea about the eggs staying fresh that long! I was thinking of freezing them, but since we have some younger girls this year, we may be okay. The Comets seem to lay almost every single day. What a blessing.

    Sorry poor Ollie (and y'all) had to go through that. Glad he is on the mend. He is so well taken care of.

    I am a soup lover too. It's just such a quick, easy meal and you can basically throw whatever you like in it to make it delicious.

    Enjoy the rest of your week!

  5. Daisy - we just received overnight temps like that last night. It was perfect! Regarding the eggs, yes, as long as they are refrigerated right away and not washed until you use them. You may lose a few but for the most part they are perfectly fine! Thanks for your kind thoughts regarding Ollie.
    Yes, he is certainly well taken care of. We made sure he had his bed to sleep in at the vet so at least one of us received some sleep! lol

    Wishing you a wonderful week as well!


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