I thought that would get your attention. Actually, David helped his two friends, Zak and Patrick, with firewood splitting and roofing for several days, then they came over to help him with our wood. Wow, with three young, strong men, does the firewood pile ever shrink fast!
They chopped and hauled two truckloads, tossing it in to me to stack on our enclosed porch. Of course I couldn’t keep up, but that was fine…I got it done when they were hauling more wood. With winter roaring down on us like a freight train out of control, I’m real glad to have our wood for the kitchen stove stacked and indoors.
Taking a breather tonight, I went down to open the horse pasture gate for David, who was hauling two big round bales in for the horses and donkeys. Ladyhawk thought that huge blue tractor was a great excuse to spook and run around with her tail up in the air. Although we have good grass on the pastures, we still keep a round bale of hay in there so they won’t eat the grass down too far, damaging the plants before winter. We want a great stand of pasture grass and clover down there next summer. And from the way it looks now, we’ll get it.
Thanks again for all your advice – that was a LOT of questions in your last blog entry!
Hopefully Will can be there with you full-time soon
My question is about canned goods storage temperatures – I’ve read that a max of 75F is best, is there a minimum? I’d guess below 32F is bad.
I’m getting ready to build a very large pantry out of Dad’s old house; it’s decently insulated, I just need to know what temperature ranges I need to keep it in. Active air conditioning in the summer is a given here in Texas, how warm do I need to keep it in winter?
Fort Worth, Texas
Yes, sometimes there ARE a lot of questions. But that’s a good thing, I think. Will will be here permanently in January. His flight is already booked for January 9th. And YES! I’m excited! The ideal temperatures for your storage pantry range from about 40-60 degrees. Cooler is fine unless you are also storing vegetables. Potatoes will be okay at mid thirties, but will get black spots near freezing. Your jars will be fine, just above freezing. But if they freeze, pickles, fruits, potatoes and some other vegetables will get very soft; mushy. — Jackie
I made chokecherry jelly for the first time and am concerned because it has been over 4 hours and it is very runny. My jars sealed without boiling the filled jars in water. Is there a trick to getting the jelly to set up? Please help! I made 24 jars and am afraid I may have a lot of syrup.
Alta Loma, California
Sometimes chokecherry jelly can be a bugger for setting. Sometimes it takes several weeks to set; sometimes it just won’t. If you are stuck with tons of syrup and would rather have jelly, get some boxes of SureJel. In the jelly making directions are directions on reclaiming jelly that doesn’t jell. This process will work; you’ll only be out new lids and maybe a little high blood pressure. It’s also a good idea to water bath process all jams and jellies, to ensure a good seal. Some jars seem to seal without processing in a water bath, but then, later, the seals fail. Better safe than sorry! — Jackie
Not a question, but a comment. It would appear you are in love. I saw your post about CHAMPVA. Make sure if you tie the knot that your coverage won’t be cancelled. My MIL was married to a pilot killed in WWII, remarried to my wife’s father, lost her benefits until my wife’s father died, and then they were re-instated. She also has CHAMPVA.
Thanks for the concern. Of course, this was a concern of mine, too. According to ChampVA, if a surviving spouse over the age of 57 remarries, she doesn’t lose her benefits or ChampVa coverage any more. This is a big improvement over the past. — Jackie
I was wondering if canning homemade chili beans would require a pressure cooker. With or with out meat. Also homemade stews and soups if the meats are already cooked?
YES! All vegetables and meat products and recipes MUST be pressure canned to be safe to eat. It does not matter whether the stew or other meat has been cooked already or not. Meat, poultry and vegetables are all low acid foods and require a higher than boiling temperature during processing to make safe eating. — Jackie
Dairy goat book
I have enjoyed your column as long as I’ve know of BHM. At the end of the most recent video on your blog, it shows three books of yours: the Chicken book, Starting Over, and a book on Dairy Goats. Where can I find the Dairy Goat book? At the BHM general store the only Dairy Goat book I find is Storey’s. Can you point me in the right direction?
The Dairy Goat Handbook has just now been printed and will be available very soon through BHM. Drop them an e-mail for more information. The cover brings me a huge smile; it’s David, age 11, with his wether, Oreo. We still have Oreo, and he’s a huge ham and such a funny goat. And David was sooooo young! — Jackie
Storing potatoes where it’s hot and humid
I have read numerous articles on how to store potatoes, but I live in South Carolina. What would be the best method for storing potatoes after harvest to make them last more than a few weeks? The climate here is quite hot and humid in the summer, somewhat hot and humid in the fall and winter finally hits us around the latter part of November. Our winters are fairly mild, rarely dropping below 20 degrees. Help! I really would like to plant far more potatoes than I currently do, but not if I can’t use them!
Pelion, South Carolina
Unless you have a cool basement, in which you can partition off a corner and insulate it against warmth, your best bet might be to dig a barrel into the ground at an angle, add a tight cover, then when you put sound potatoes in it, shut it up and cover the whole thing with bales of straw for extra insulation. This works great for many people; kind of a mini-root cellar. — Jackie