Sunday 17 May 2020

Feeling frustrated

I love to preserve food for the darker months, a jar of strawberry jam brings back the memory of hot days, the air heavy with the scent of warm fruit. A jar of tomatoes for pasta sauce opened and I can smell the plants and feel the almost tropical warmth.

I have a deep water canner for my fruit and tomatoes but would love a pressure canner.

I can buy one from the US but delivery, vat and sundry charges would be almost as much as air travel ( if it was possible). I have searched the web but haven't come up with any joy.
There's opposing views on the Hawkins Big Boy, some say that it is fine for canning but the manufacturers say that it is not safe.

If anyone out there has any help or advice I would be very grateful to receive it. I have the freezer but, hopefully, it will not be large enough. There is always the possibility of a power cut or of it just up and dying. Should that be down and dying?

If I was still in Lincolnshire I would enquire at the US Air bases, but it's a long haul from here.

Oh well, perhaps one day.

I had a very lazy evening yesterday, just Herbie, me and my knitting on the sofa. I didn't actually touch the knitting but it was there.
We had a late dinner, 7 is late for us, of Pasta Puttanesca. Cleared the kitchen and put a contaner of the sauce in the freezer. We like it so I always make enough to freeze, I separate it before adding the anchovies.

After some chewing gum for the brain TV I walked Herbie and set the washing machine on timer, I was in bed by 10 and asleep in seconds.

It,s a bit dull and cool this morning but I plan on getting outside. We will have a good walk after breakfast and then I have some pots to move around. 
The fleece covers need to be folded or rolled up tidily and stashed away till the autumn, I use them to cover late salads. 
It won't be long before the seed catalogues start popping through the letter box. I don't open them till we have a rainy day, otherwise I would lose a day just browsing and indulging in fantasies of planting a jungle of food.

I have not grown main crop potatoes for several years, they were so reasonable to buy that it did not seem a good use of the ground.
Some time ago I watched a video of someone growing them in tall black planters. He had amazing results and I thought, yes I'll try that. Of course I let it slide and forgot all about it. 
Last week the same chap popped up on YouTube and included a link to buy the pots. I have ordered some, they are not cheap but not eyewateringly pricey. I figure that I can get 2 crops a year by starting the potatoes off early in the greenhouse and then after "lifting" them I will back fill the compost adding a little fish, blood and bone and get a crop of something in. Leeks perhaps, they would be small but very welcome, I will give it some thought and perhaps try a few different things for the first year.

I had a look at my pantry shelves and am pretty pleased with the new look. But, there's always a but somewhere, they could be better. One shelf is full of cookbooks, I use each and every one, that are the remainder after my clear out some time ago.

That shelf could be put to better use.
I like having my books close to hand.
There is nowhere else in the kitchen to have them.
The vast majority of our books live in the sewing room.
Those shelves are full.
I don't want to add more furniture to the living room. ( I would prefer to lose some)
What to do.
Perhaps repurpose some of the existing storage in there?
That sounds like a repeat of yesterday.

Maybe I should empty my units and assess what's in there, I know that one unit is in dire need of a sort out, and then put the books in and sift through the rest.
It would definitely be a good thing to empty the yarn stash out and go through that.

I have just noticed both the time and how wordy this post is. I will publish and then head for the shower.

Enjoy your Sunday and stay safe wherever you are.

                                  TTFN                        Pam


  1. I have not bothered with maincrop spuds before either, but Tam has covered the entire spud season this year.

    I hope you can find a new home for your cookery books - a new shelf over a window perhaps?

    1. the tops of my windows are too near the ceiling but I do have 2 doorways that would house a shlef each. That's a job for Michael next weekend. I just need to fine some decent wood.

  2. The sun shining always gets me going with the sorting, we have a tidy house, so it's just a case of look at what I have and do I need it. This has been ongoing for years, so I don't have as much stuff as I did. We have books in most rooms of the house, it's a need. As for my workbox, I do like to have it close when I am sat down, not always to use, sometimes just to know it there. TV was dire yesterday, we had a few recorded programs, watched Monty for an hour.

    1. I have hardly wathched anything other than Gardeners Worls, Jimmy,s farm and Countryfile for a few weeks now. It,s on in the evening once we come indoors but I am usually pottering around.

  3. Some blog posts always turn out a bit wordier than we expect don't they but sometimes we have more to say than in others. I call it decluttering of my brain all that stuff in there needs to go somewhere and why not in a blog post you'll always know where to find it should you need to.


    1. Hello Mx, pleased to make your aquaintance. I popped over for a quick visit and will be back for a good look later.

  4. Would live to see the potato planters you've bought. I have a much smaller garden now and looking for inspiration.

    1. I will put the details in my next post, I have a hopeless memory but I have the site bookmarked.

  5. Our greenhouse is filling up nicely with gtowing seedlings.

    1. It gives me a warm glow to see them all growing away.

  6. Have you seen this post Pam? It might give you some info. Lots of comments at the end.

    1. Thank you Janice, I first read this a couple of years ago. The manufacturers advice that it should not be used for canning. the pressure is not sufficient for non acid foods. I think that i will see if I can source one from the US at some point.


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