Thursday, November 4, 2010

Canning and the first tour on the farm

First I want to reply about using the pressure Canner.

I am a novice. I did some pressure canning many years ago and inherited both of Mom's pressure canners. I was afraid to use them...they are the old fashioned kind with a pressure gauge on top.
I opted instead for a cheap Presto canner from Wal-mart. It is extremely simple to use. The pressure is regulated by the three weights on the regulator. You just follow directions on the book about how many to remove for what pressure is required.

I realize that many things have changed over the years about canning techniques so I also bought the Ball Blue Book (in inexpensive book) when I got the canner. I pretty much followed the directions for vegetable beef soup. It seemed all these soups with meat called for 1 hour 30 minutes for quart containers at l0 lbs. Pressure. That is what I did.

The most important steps to follow are to be sure the top of the jar is clean and don't tighten the lids beyond just feeling pressure. Steam must be allowed to escape. All of this is in the Ball Blue Book guide to preserving, l00th Anniversary Edition.

I have thought about getting a smaller one to use for cooking whole chickens quickly or whole roasts, but the good ones are very expensive and I really do have enough kitchen gadgets/tools! (except for a new Bosch mixer and a Nutrimill........then I am complete)

Another tip I think was from Ilene is don't boil the caps! I think I have done that before and I always seem to lose a jar or two of tomatoes....I think that is the reason. This time I just had them waiting in a pan of hot water (no fire) and had the clean jars filled with hot water that I dumped as I filled them. Everything is being sanitized in the pressure canner!

I still do some of my canning the old-fashioned way but I will not be sharing those techniques with anyone.....I still seal my jellies the old fashioned way. I do not recommend any do that......but I have been doing it for almost 50 years so probably won't change.

Wow, that was more long winded than I intended.
Farm Walk
This is just a tour of a very small portion of the farm. I hope to be able to do it all in small increments and share. It will be my enforced exercise program. I hate exercise when it is called that!

If you remember my old header picture where I am standing in the middle of the drive looking north to the old round topped barn that will help put you where we start the walk.

This is taken in the back of the barn looking north down the lane.
From Farm Tours
Turning to the left or west are what I call the sheds, each individual one is 12 feet wide by 24 feet deep.
From Farm Tours
The one with the sliding door is where we keep the small cattle trailer. Right next to it is where I store my/our bales of straw. I use these for bedding in my milking area and for the two calves bedding.....and, of course, garden mulch. Oh, I almost forgot I bed the chicken house down in the winter with it too. I have a dirt floored chicken house (for lots of reason, no. 1 being good health benefit for the chickens).

This is panning to the right toward the lane, our cattle working area. We haven't had this set up long and are amazed we farmed this long without it. I can load, vaccinate, fly treat or load the animals alone now, if need be and do it safely. It should have been our first farm purchase, but they aren't cheap so it wasn't.

From Farm Tours
This is the back side of the old barn. I milk in one of the front pens.
From Farm Tours

We have walked down the lane which turns to the right or east. The first thing that caught my eye was the skeleton of the old walnut tree. There used to be several growing here but they seem to attract lightening. Some loggers told us that and I believe it.
From Farm Tours
Now we are in a 20 acres (I think) field right in the middle of the farm. We call it the Mitchell Field because it adjoins his farm on the back. He is now decease and his farm has sold. I hate when changes like this happen....but they do.
Not much to see here.

From Farm Tours
We have lost several oaks to some kind of borer. This tree on the left is one of them.

The green field behind the row of trees on the right hand side is what we call the New Forty. We bought 40 more acres from the original owner of this farm several years ago.

At the foot of the hill in the Mitchell Field are the twin ponds, one is on the New Forty. I have seen what I think are muskrats jump in both these ponds but could never catch a picture.
From Farm Tours

Headed back home I spotted this beautiful old Oak tree. We still have several left.
From Farm Tours

I am cutting back to the barns through the field (called the East 20) which lies (or lays) to the right of the lane.

That concrete silo building with the bracing on the sides is where I have my new Orchard Garden and where the hot wire was down.
From Farm Tours

I noticed the cows had all gathered in the corner of the field to watch me and see what I was up to.

From Farm Tours

I hope the next walk is sunnier....I might even go today.


  1. Thank you for your post on pressure canners. I have the new Ball canning book and I may slip out to Walmart to check out the Presto canners they have this weekend. You are a gem for posting this, I feel I'm not so afraid of the canner now.
    Love your farm, and photos, looks beautiful and cozy and welcoming.

  2. Nice walk-about with you in pics, Glenda. You seem to have a pretty big place (well, by my standards anyway - don't know by real farm standards...). Do you ever run around in some kind of golf cart or ATV for these little jaunts? Taking care of all of that sure puts my acre+ gardens into perspective. LOL

    I, too, have considered getting a small pressure cooker for poultry, etc. but yikes the $s! So I have settled for oven braising in my cast iron dutch oven (especially in winter - makes the house smell wonderful). I enjoy all of your kitchen tips! :-D

  3. This was fun, loved seeing the farm. You have a lot to take care of and you manage it better than we do with 2 acres and no livestock! Looks like you had a good rain the other night, send some our way...but not snow! Too early for that...

  4. Thanks for posting about the pressure canner--I don't know why I'm so intimidated by them....I do own the BBB so I'll have to sit down with it and look over the section on pressure canning.

    You have a beautiful place Glenda :-)

  5. What a great place for daily adventures, Glenda! I bought my husband a pressure cooker about 18 months ago at the local hardware store...:)JP