Yep, I woke up to a full grown blizzard this morning! Snow was blowing straight sideways. I closed that one eye and turned over. Brrr. Bed looked oh so good right then. But David needed to get up and ready for school, so I scrapped that option. I knew he was tired because last night, he had loaded two huge loads of green ash logs onto the pickup and brought one home to unload by headlights. One of those logs was 18" in diameter and over six feet long! This is leftover scrap from a logging operation up by our carpenter friend, Tom’s, cabin. So they are both madly hauling this great hardwood for next winter.
But after fifteen minutes of intermittent calling, David finally groaned and got ready for school. In the meantime, I went out into the greenhouse to water and check out our little plants. Wow! I’m so impressed. The young pot cucumbers now have three sets of "real" leaves. Nearly all the 27 different varieties of tomatoes are up, as well as 25 different peppers. And now my three varieties of lupines and my five year old seeds from my very own "wild" Montana petunias that I collected from a reseeding bed on our old homestead hillside. These are smaller petunias than most folks are familiar with, but gorgeous, having many spots, stripes and wonderful colors. They are also very fragrant, which we loved, right outside the kitchen window. I’ll plant these now, here on our new homestead and it’ll seem a lot more like "home".
Yesterday I had to redo the greenhouse, to make room for the many flats of transplants. By Monday, I’ll have at least four trays of tomatoes transplanted into 3" styrofoam cups and they’ll quickly need lots more room. So I moved things around, asked David and Tom to move a steel table inside from the yard, took some things out of the greenhouse, and all of a sudden, I had oh so much more room. Now if spring would just get here….. (At least we still have unfrozen water lines!!!!)
Noodles, beans, a Jackie book
Can’t tell you enough how much I enjoy reading your ask Jackie, and how helpful you have been to so many. When my children were little I did a part time business selling our beef, pork, chicken and turkey to retail stores. We were fortunate to live within 10 miles of a state approved cannery…Later we added a line of noodles again fully state inspected. Indiana is particular on this issue. At one point we were thinking of adding noodles, to our product in the can. Our noodle maker at the time recommended using fresh, or fresh frozen noodle, pasta product versus the dried. Have you ever tried this? I had at this point gotten tired of being on the road so sold the business to another party without ever trying this. We also had neighbors at the time that canned beans by shelling them when the shell was still soft, the beans where still full and not dry, but they would shell them out at that stage and can as any green bean recipe? They did kidneys and any kind of bean that way. The pods would be yellow or white at that point. Have you ever thought of combining all of your terrific advice into a book??
Thanks for your kind words. I’d like to do a book, but so far I haven’t found a publisher who was interested in real-life gardening/food processing, let alone modern homesteading. But who knows?
I have tried using my own raw homemade egg noodles before drying them, and the chicken noodle soup turned out cloudy because the noodles had sort of come apart during canning. So I’ve since used only dry noodles…either my own or store bought "hard" noodles. It seems to work better.
Shell beans can up well, as your neighbor found out. Beans are so great; you can use them in so many different ways, all tasting unique. That’s why I have such a hard time deciding which ones to plant each year!!! — Jackie
I have been looking for canning instructions for canning home made corned beef hash and havn’t found much. Can you please help me with this?
I have had great luck canning hash. It’s easy. Grind your trimmed corned or roast beef in a meat grinder. Then grind several quartered RAW potatoes until the mixture is to your liking. In a large frying pan, add just a little oil and begin frying the hash, stirring well to mix the potatoes and meat. When the mixture is nice and hot….but not cooked, spoon out into hot wide mouthed pint jars to within an inch of the top. Don’t pack it down tightly. Add a tsp of salt, if you wish, to each pint jar. Wipe the rim clean of grease and food bits, then place a hot, previously simmered lid on the jar and screw down the ring firmly tight.
Process the pints at 10 pounds pressure for 75 minutes. If you live at an altitude above 1,000 feet, consult your canning manual for directions on adjusting your pressure to suit your altitude. — Jackie
Breaking a cow to milk
Love your adice and use most of it. My question is what is the best wy to break a cow to milk.We have some whave just had there second calves and altho they are not what most people would use as a milk cow.One has a very large milkbag and nice long treats so I would like to break her to milk but don’t know to break her.I do know to milk.and my mother in law use to have 2 jersy’s and this cow is from this family of cows but about 35years down the line.
Varnville, South Carolina
It isn’t easy to break an adult cow to milk by hand, but it can certainly be done. I’ve broken several milking shorthorn beef cows to milk. Most turned out very good, but one was a kicker like no other.
The best way is to first teach the cow to stand in a stanchion (very sturdy!) and eat her grain and hay. Then start handling her and standing next to her. Slowly rub down her belly and stroke the side of her bag….if she’ll let you while she’s eating grain. Don’t try to handle her teats; they’re ticklish and she won’t appreciate it.
When she’s standing to be handled well, just keep handling her, working at brushing down her sides and her bag. Then when she freshens, pen the calf as soon as it’s up and has nursed a few times. Put her in the stanchion and feed her. Then let the calf come out to suck. When he’s working on breakfast, see if you can squirt milk from the teats on the other side of her bag. This will usually work pretty well. If she tends to be kicky, run a figure 8 rope around her hocks, snug, but not overly tight. Tie the end off in a safety jerk knot so you can release her legs if she has a problem. When she is calm, again try to milk. This will usually take a few times, but she’ll settle down. Then milk her before you let the calf come to nurse. Just take half a gallon or so, so you aren’t monkeying around down there too long.
Above all, don’t get mad and yell or slap her. That only makes things worse. Just be kind and firm. I always shove my head into her flank pretty firmly. That balances me and helps keep her from dancing around while I milk.
Good luck and lots of sweet milk! — Jackie
High and dry canned meat
I pressure canned some stew meat as instructed by a cousin and was told it was not required to add any water to the jars as the meat(raw pack)would provide enough. Well, while it sort of worked and there is considerable liquid in the jars there are still some chunks sitting high and dry. Should I toss them or are they safe?
Prescott Valley, Arizona
Don’t toss your meat just because some of it is "high and dry". This is quite common in raw packed meat. As long as the meat was processed correctly, it will be safe to eat. The reason a lot of people have quit raw packing meat is that you should "exhaust" your open jars of meat in an open roasting pan partly filled with water; that is to heat the jars of meat well enough that they are hot throughout BEFORE you begin to process them in your canner. This is kind of a pain in the neck. Couple that with the fact that your meat tends to be more dry raw packed than when you pre-cook it and add broth and many people, including me, have pretty much quit raw packing. I’ve found that pre-cooked meat packed with broth is also more tender. The reason I raw packed in the past…and may at some time in the future…is that you can put up a whole lot of meat very quickly. When you have a whole elk or moose hanging in a tree and the weather may turn warm, you want to get it done as soon as humanly possible.
But, for myself, whenever possible, I’ll opt for pre-cooking the meat and adding broth. — Jackie