I took advantage of being on my second round of prednisone in a month and it has coincided with one heck of a meat sale at Fred Meyer this sale's flyer cycle. They had chuck roast on for $3.97/lb, a price I thought was long behind us, but was secretly hoping we'd see again. DH went and got some on Saturday and I spent a few hours cutting up seven large roasts and this moring I canned them. We used the double decker canner and got 13 quarts. I would have needed another roast to get a full canner at 14 jars.
When using the double decker canner, it takes around 2 hours and 40 minutes to can and up to 3 hours if you are starting with meat that you pulled out of the fridge and not stuff that has been sitting out while you cut it all up the same day. No more than 90 minutes set out, but that does take a lot of the chill off.
Once I had the canner full, I sent DH to the other Fred Meyer and he was able to get 12 roasts there. 8 for canning and 1 for dinner tomorrow and 3 for the freezer. He also got us 2 value packs of sirloin steaks for the same price per pound and some nice grapes. I don't know if I will go back for anymore on Tuesday, but I'd like a total of 8 in the freezer, because that is how long it took this sale to come around again and we like to have chuck roast once a week.
I'll have to check how much money is left in the grocery envelope, but I think I have enough for 5 more roasts and I don't have to buy anything else between now and Friday, which is payday and refills the grocery envelope. My mother got 12 for her freezer, but she got smaller ones that she could cut in half and then repackage and freeze.
After that was done, it's the first day it's been comfortable to go outside in a couple of weeks, first because of the Chilliwack fires giving us the worst smoke I can remember, it was like walking through fog, and then it rained for a few days and washed it out of the air. Everything started drying out around four p.m. yesterday and was nice today. So at 4:00 p.m. today we went out and worked for 2 hours.
My son and I were able to get the green beans picked, about 3 meals' worth and there won't be much more than that. Then we harvested the the basil. I still can't believe the basil was still going. We had one night at 37, but most are in low 40's and with the beds two feet off the ground it makes a difference. I got one of those fancy biodegradable grocery bags full of basil and then pulled the plants. I'll be dehydrating overnight and tomorrow and maybe even some more. It's a lot of basil, but should be enough for the year.
After that we picked all of the tomatoes off the plants, colored ones and green ones, cut up the plants to take to the green dump and then pulled out the base and roots. They were still flowering, and there were still green branches and leaves, but there was a lot of dead branches and mildew all over many of the branches and there was no time for anything to grow. No blossom end rot.
I picked the last of the cayennes, which was the last of the peppers. Several of the plants are still alive and some even have flowers, but they have seen better days. Between what I harvested and dried a week ago and this week, I will have enough to make my own cayenne powder for the year. Maybe two years, so I might not have to grow it next year and can save that space for a different type of pepper plant. My pepper production has sucked two years running. I blame it on no bunny poop. I still need to contact that rabbit rescue about getting some.
I've still got cucumbers and zucchini growing. I don't know what the heck is going on there. By all rights they should be dead. They've slowed their growth down, but they are still going. I've got several zucchini and two cucumbers that should be big enough to eat by the end of the week.
Once I finish with the basil, I am going to harvest and dry sage and then do some oregano. No thyme, this year. The thyme hasn't recovered very well yet from not getting watered like it should have this summer. It is coming back though. I can pick a sprig here or there as needed, but no big harvest. I will also dehydrate all of the tarragon, parsley, and oregano, then pull the plants.
They are still pretty small and I will just plant new ones in the spring. Normally I would either transplant them or leave them, but the are in the way of where I want to plant garlic and I am not sure a transplant would take before the first frost or the first hard frost hits. It usually hits on Halloween or the first week of November.
While I was doing that DH was going over the second half of the potato plot for a second time. Between the two sides we found several more potatoes. Around 40 pounds more. Total potato harvest this year was 143 pounds and 9 ounces, not counting the 2 potatoes tossed for some kind of bug damage. We saw no slug damage and no mouse damage this year, but we didn't use mulch, either. Just kept mounding up soil.
I brought in all of the sweet onions from the garage. I will spend time tomorrow peeling and chopping onions for the freezer in a couple of days and either tomorrow evening or the next day cutting up more roasts to can.
My focus after that will be waiting on a good chicken thigh sale. Right now .99/lb is still doable. It is easy enough to skin and debone chicken thighs. Then I throw the bones and the skins and herbs in the Instant Pot with some salt and pepper to make bone broth with lots of gelatin. Once the broth has set overnight, I'll scrape off the fat and use it to cook with. Eggs taste really good cooked in it and herbs don't matter if they get trapped in the fat. I like using it in stir-fried rice, too.
Anyway, I am completely out of canned chicken, so need to get a lot of that done. I'd like to get 14 quarts and 21 pints on the shelf for starters. The pints are good for making chicken salad and the quarts are good for making chicken pasta alfredo for tv dinner freezer meals. The double decker canner will take 21 pints if I steal the rack for the single level canner. Then I will wait for the next sale and try to get 28 quarts done.
Somewhere along the way I need to can carrots, parsnips, celery, and potatoes. I'll need to save out the potatoes I want to keep as next year's seed potatoes and properly store them, and those will be ones with several eyes and about the size of an egg. Then I will pick out all the large easy to peel ones for canning. The rest will be eaten over the next several months. I have burlap sacks coming to store them in and we will keep them in the coolest part of the house not in the basement in the cold season, the back entry way.
DS will be helping with all the peeling and cutting up. We will soak the potatoes overnight to remove some of the starch and then process the next day. So, so much to do, but we've got time and my pantry shelves will be full again. I'll be on prednisone through the 2nd, but we have to go down to Seattle on the 31st for medical things for both kids and won't come back until the evening of the 2nd, so basically just until the 30th, really, because we'll want to come home to empty counters so I'll need to be washing, labelling and putting away full jars on the morning or afternoon of the 31st, not canning on the 31st. So I have six days, which I have to work around a couple of appointments. I think I can do that.
I'll prioritize the meat and the carrots. I'm not sure what I'll do with all the green tomatoes. I know I will lay out the big and medium sized ones to ripen, but there were a lot of smaller ones, too. Maybe I will see if my chiropractor wants them. I have no idea if the little ones will ripen at all, but he might like fried green ones, which we don't.
Anyway that what I've been up to and what I'll be up to, assuming my hands actually work tomorrow.