Thursday, November 6, 2008

Update: Safe Home Air Fresheners

I love it when people comment on my posts! It reminds me to provide updates for my ongoing experiments.

In my earlier post about making your own oil diffusers I suggested using...
"Porous wood to use for the reeds- bamboo, skewers, dowels, even interesting twigs or branches from your garden (I plan to try this later this year!)"
...but as I found out, (and a comment pointed out and reminded me) bamboo skewers don't work very well to draw up the oil.

The reeds that they sell in the stores do work really well, if you can find some on sale. However, I am always looking for the natural and cheap options, so I stuck with twigs from plants in my yard. They cost nothing and I like the natural look. I found that the best ones were from a Hydrangea, but you can use any light, porous wood.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Fall Gleaning for Apples

A couple weeks ago, we spent a lovely fall afternoon picking apples, and came home with a big bushel full of the fresh crisp fruits for practically nothing.

It was the Annual Gleaning Day our local orchard. Every year, at the end of the season, they allow people to "glean" all the apples that are left on the tree. There were also pumpkins, squash and gourds, but we had our hands full with apples. All they ask is that you donate something to local food pantries (You are also limited to one bushel of apples and you have to purchase a basket for $3, but I can think of a million uses for a nice bushel basket!).

The apples that were left were not "perfect" like you see in the grocery store, there were some spots and knobs and misshapen fruit, but the taste is amazing. A cool crisp apple freshly picked from the tree is pure heaven. We have been eating them fresh for weeks, and I also made applesauce and canned some slices for pie.
I will be marking the calendar for next year's fall gleaning. It's a great way to get inexpensive healthy food, support your community, and it's a great way to spend an afternoon outdoors!

Where Have I Been?

I know, I haven't posted in a while, actually a really long while.

What have I been doing that could possibly be more important than this? Well, I'll spare everyone the personal, but I will tell you how I spent most my free time for the better part of two months.


When the the garden is at its peak, and fall is around the corner, putting up food is almost a full-time job! I spent my nights and weekends slicing, dicing, stewing, boiling, pickling, mashing, straining, and watching and waiting for the canners to finish processing. It's a lot of work, but I find it fun, and definitely rewarding to see the colorful jars fill the shelves in the basement.

I managed to put up about 100 jars, which will supplement our winter diet and cut down on the grocery bills, but it would not be enough to live on. I've heard of people canning several hundred jars of food, and I imagine that would surely be a full-time job!

Now it is November, and the urgency is gone. The garden is done, save for a few late fall crops of turnips, beets, and kale. There are a few boxes of green tomatoes and winter squash that could be processed, but they can sit a little longer while I spend some time writing posts again.

We plan to expand the garden for next year though... I'll need to find more jars, and maybe a team of helpers!