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Jackie Clay

Velvet’s triplet does are getting big now

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

It’s amazing how fast little goats get big. Our triplet does from our best milker, Velvet, are now nearly as big as their mom and as fat as little piglets. Of course, feeding them armfuls of oats and clover from the orchard planting has something to do with it, along with nursing on Velvet, who produces nearly 2 gallons of milk a day.

The littlest doeling, Sparkle, has always been spunky and something of a pet. There’s a small opening in the inside part of the goat pen, and when I call Buffy, our new doe, out to milk her, it isn’t two seconds before Sparkle dives up on the milk stand to help her eat her grain. But that’s okay; Buffy doesn’t mind and it gives me a few minutes to handle her to get her tamer.

Today, Sparkle beat Buffy to the stanchion, firmly wedging her head in below Buffy’s. So when I shut the stanchion, she was held in place just like Buffy. She wiggled around a little, trying to get out. But when she found she couldn’t she just kept eating. Good girl!

I pet her and rubbed her neck while she ate. After milking, I turned both goats out of the stanchion. Sparkle made a bee line for the pen, but I’ll bet she’s first in line tomorrow morning. She’s learning to be a big goat.

Readers’ Questions:

Stacking full canning jars

I have been canning everything I can get my hands on but have limited space so I have triple stacked my full jars. Is this ok?

Beverly Crussemeyer
Bristol, Indiana

You’re really not supposed to stack your canned goods, but I’ve had to do it, too. It’s really best if you put a piece of OSB, plywood or other board between the layers, to distribute the load well on the rims of the lower jars so you aren’t putting too much weight on the center of the jar lids, which could affect the seal sometime down the road. — Jackie

Hurricane Gustav

I have been watching the Hurricane Gustav news and hearing about mandatory evacuations. Got me trying to visualize if my husband and I could actually leave our home behind. We have some age on us now and have so much love, blood, sweat, and tears in our little place. We have approximately 60 chickens and I can’t imagine that I’d leave “my girls” behind. We’re not homesteaders and most people would describe our house a little more than a shack, but our life is here, no matter the circumstances. Whenever they show the old people saying they are going to stick it out, I’m starting to comprehend that mentality now.

Joanna Wilcox
Boone, North Carolina

I sure understand where you’re coming from. Once, in New Mexico, a real bad grass fire tore 26 miles in half an hour, right toward our little ranch. Mom, Dad, and David hooked up Dad’s little travel trailer which was outfitted for a grab and git rig, complete with bedding, water, food, etc. onto their station wagon, complete with my son, David and our dogs and cats. My late husband, Bob, was a volunteer fireman and was out fighting the fire. I chose to stay home to fight the fire, the best I could, knowing I could take some shelter in the trampled center of our barnyard, where we had a 2,000 gallon stock tank filled with water. But I also know that I would also evacuate if need be, with my loved ones because stuff is stuff and you can usually replace what you’ve lost, at least to some extent. When you or your loved ones are killed because you should have evacuated, that’s something you can never replace. In Montana, we lived in a little valley up in the mountains. It was gorgeous, but in a dry summer, we were very concerned about forest fires sweeping down on us. So we packed our big travel trailer with enough survival stuff to live out of for quite awhile. The stock trailer was parked in the pasture, ready to hook up and go at a moment’s notice. We knew our chances of defending our home were slim, and had made the decision to go if necessary. Of course, once our rigs were in a safe area, we’d have returned without the trailers to fight the fire right along the firefighters and our neighbors. We don’t give up. — Jackie

Canning meat

I may have made a canning blunder. Yesterday I making a meat sauce, following the basic recipe in the ball book. I had about 15 lbs of tomatoes, 3 small cans of tomato paste, 4 medium onions, two big green peppers and 3 jalepenos and about 6 cloves of garlic. I also added some fresh herbs from the garden and salt and sugar. Instead of using the 5 lbs of beef I used two pounds of turkey. I forgot the added acid. I pressure canned them at 1 hour and 15 minutes which is what it says for quarts. I got 8 quarts and 3 pints. I used the same time for the pints.

So now the big questions is: is this recipe safe to eat? Do I need to re-do it? Freeze it, or chuck it out?

I don’t understand how people can if they have to follow the exact recipes in the book. What if we don’t like the recipes? How do you substitute ingredients safely?

Mary J. Bolin
Elk River, Minnesota

Yes, your meat sauce is safe to eat. If you had used beef instead of turkey, you would have needed to can your quarts for 90 minutes instead of 75. The meat (or poultry) requires the longest time, processing. When you make up your own recipe, all you have to do to be safe is to check through the ingredients to see which take the longest time in the canner, then process the whole batch for that time, which is what you did. You didn’t need to add vinegar or lemon juice when you pressure canned your sauce for that length of time.

Your pints only needed 65 minutes processing time, but over processing them did no harm at all. The more you can your mixed recipes, the more confident you’ll become. It’s like anything else, the more you do it, the better you’ll become. Good luck! — Jackie

Canning little potatoes

I have some small Yukon Gold potatoes, smaller than golf balls. Is it absolutely necessary to peel them before canning or would a really good scrubbing be adequate?

Michele Zipf
Amelia, Ohio

You can just scrub the little potatoes. I use a green scrubby and most of the peel just rubs right off. They make excellent new potatoes, creamed or boiled. The processing time is the same as if you had left the skins on. — Jackie

4 Responses to “Velvet’s triplet does are getting big now”

  1. LisaAlso Says:

    That is too funny!! Training them early… I like that!

    Love your blog (love the mag too) I think you are terrific building your homestead, taking care of your son and mother… you are an inspiration! But then, you knew that already!! LOL

    Your house looks fabulous and I know you will enjoy the new living room. I would love to see pictures of your pantry with all your canned goods. It always looks so beautiful and colorful. I find that very motivational, don’t you? (oops, that was a question!)

  2. Howard Tuckey Says:

    I saw the question on stacking jars and thought I’d comment. Every year when the college kids start heading off to school, many of the discount stores offer stacking file crates at reasonable prices. They’re light and strong, and cost anywhere from $1.50-$3.00 apiece. The regular ones hold 9 quart jars each, or you can stack 18 pints in them. I cut squares from leftover 1/4 inch siding backer board to line the bottoms, and also to cover the quarts and put between the stacked pints.
    We buy a few each year, and they’re great for keeping full jars, and for storing the empties. No more damp, musty, and mouldy cardboard boxes for us!

  3. jackie clay Says:

    Very good idea, Howard! I can think of tons of other uses for those crates, too. I’ll check out the stores when we go to town next time.


  4. Elly Phillips Says:

    The goats are adorable, Jackie! Little Sparkle is clearly a self-starter.

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