Friday, February 26, 2010

A Favorite Milestone

There are so many fun milestones that occur during a year around here- birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, first smile, first tooth, first tooth lost, first time riding a bike, getting back to pre-baby weight (Yep, I did it...and I said "weight", not "shape"), potty training success, etc.  All very memorable and treasured.

I have a few other favorite milestones that aren't quite as sentimental but get me excited nonetheless...

~ the late fall day when I put my canner away.
~ the first day warm enough to warrant opening the windows wide.
~ the day that first egg begins to crack under it's broody mama.
~ our first cutting of asparagus.
~ our first bowl full of strawberries.
~ the first ripe tomato.

Just to name a few.  There is one more that really tickles my fancy.  Why?  I'm not really sure.  It's the day I can consolidate all our frozen produce into one freezer from two.  Go figure.  Maybe I get all giddy because it's less electricity used.  Maybe it's because I have this secret fear that after all that hard work putting up produce, we won't eat it all.  One freezer is a great indication that we're moving (or eating) in the right direction.  Maybe it's because I have to handle each bag and container, thus getting a really good picture of what we'll soon run out of and what we need to eat more of.

For example, we put up way too much rhubarb this past year.  And chopped peaches.  We can start eating applesauce more often- we have plenty of that.  We're almost out of green beans and broccoli.  We have plenty of chopped bell peppers, roasted tomatoes and corn.  We're getting low on strawberries and only have about 6 more quarts of frozen blueberries (out of 40).

In an attempt to share my excitement with you (you really don't have to act excited if you're not), I'm going to share some photos with you.  First off, this is what our freezers looked like late fall 2009.

Here is what they look like now.

Drum roll, please...

Can you hear the Hallelujah chorus?  

Hm.  I guess it's just me.
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  1. We'll listen to that in your honor this morning! How cool. I love moments like that!
    Have a great day, wonderful weekend!

  2. I love moving the food through, too. Every time I run down to the basement and return with several bags and jars, I feel immensely proud of myself, like all those sweaty hours are finally being put to good use, like my life has meaning...

  3. Can I just say that I have major freezer envy??

  4. Just found your little world the other day...very inspiring. I'm hoping to figure out a garden this year...without putting one in the middle of the yard. Our perimeter is very shady. Would love to freeze like this!

  5. I am SO envious of your incredible ability to grow and then perfectly use your crops! Forget about the money you are saving, that's a's the health problems you are saving that touches me. You are an amazing inspiration to everyone! Because I ran upon your blog, I have been impressed to research how to garden in my area and am amazed at how much I have already learned. I can't wait until Spring when I can start tilling up the earth. A HUGE thanks to you!!

  6. Hmmm... how come your freezer is so neat and organized and mine is, well, a bit messy? I keep making the excuse that it's because it is a chest type, not an upright. I have upright freezer envy. Have had it about 2 years now. But I went three times last year to Sears to buy an upright and walked out every time without making a purchase. I just was not sure I'd really like it. So tell me.... Does the upright hold enough stuff? Seems like you get a lot in yours. But I have a HUGE chest freezer. Biggest they make. And I use a lot of the space, but it's like digging every time I need something. Hate that. (Sorry, I didn't get much sleep last night; I sound a bit whiney!)

  7. A milestone for me to hearing the birds chirping in the late winter.
    And just the other day I had the strange experience of smelling the rain coming down when there was still snow on the ground. My senses did not know quite what to do with that one!

  8. i have been following you for a few days now and this little space is quickly becoming a favorite of mine!! we are clumsily starting our first garden this year (we do have successful gardening parents, though...lots of help!) and i am hugely inspired seeing your freezers!!

  9. Way to go! I totally get your excitement. It's funny, as I looked at the pictures I was getting anxious and thinking, "Close the freezer door ... it's all going to thaw." :)

    So, can I ask where you're located-ish? It's clear your growing season is MUCH longer than ours in Southeastern Wisconsin. Just curious.

    Also, if it's not recommended to plant outdoors until mid-May in our area, when would you suggest starting our seeds?

  10. Jennifer J, Your life OOZES meaning:-).

    Amy, I love my upright freezer. When I have both the upright and my chest freezer full, I put all my applesauce, chickens and just a couple other things in there. All my smaller bags and odds and ends go into my upright. This way I know what's in the chest(each thing is stacked high)so there is no digging involved. The upright makes it easier to SEE the little stuff and as you can tell, we stuff it pretty full so we're using all it's space.

    Kari, Jamey said the same thing about closing the doors when he saw my pictures! I promise- they weren't open long:-).

    We live near the middle of the country on the east coast. Regarding when to start seeds, we will be posting something next week that should help everyone figure out the answer to that gardening question and many more:-).

  11. Can I ask about the non-canning jars you freeze with? I have tried freezing items in jars from storebought jam, etc and have had a couple of them crack on me. But I see you use them. Is there a particular kind that doesn't crack? Or am I doing something wrong? I'd love to know because keeping myself in jars can be expensive, even though I garage sale for them.


  12. Rebecca, I use non-canning jars for strawberry freezer jam, semi-dried nectarines and roasted tomatoes. For the jam, I just make sure to leave plenty of head space. I use Sure Jell and follow their instructions on freezing the jam. Head space is crucial if you are going to freeze something fluid or fluid-ish (in the case of jam).

    For things like the roasted tomatoes and nectarines, there isn't much concern with the jars breaking since there is plenty or air space inside.

    The jars I use are ones people have given me- smucker-type jam jars for the jam and Dole peach slices-type for the others. Old mayo jars also work for freezing things that are not liquid.

    I hope this is helpful!

  13. This is one of our milestones as well, I love it when we can let one of the freezers "cool off" for the season.:) What is wrapped up in the tinfoil? We put up way to much rhubarb too, thanks I feel better about it now that I see I'm not the only one.

  14. Mr. H, the foil contains pumpkin zucchini bread- an easy addition to dinner.

  15. I, for the life of me find it nearly impossible to be that organized. There are so many much more interesting things to do than organize the freezers. The resulting chaos is enough to drive me crazy but only when I go to retrieve something. As soon as I close the lid I forget all about it. You would think that I'd do something about it seeing that I'm rooting in the freezers several times a day at this time of year. It's a constant thorn in the flesh. You put me to shame.

    Aunt V.

  16. FABULOUS!! I DO feel your joy! I am one of those people that likes to be organized...and this whole freezer thing is right up my alley! I am so impressed that you put up SO MUCH FOOD!! It still amazes me. Imagine living in "Little House on the Prairie" days when they didn't keep their stuff in freezers at all ~ mind boggling, isn't it? :)

    Have a great day!

  17. That is VERY helpful. I think I was lax about the headspace. It was a few jars of chicken broth that burst on me and I'll bet I overfilled them. Oh, you've just made me a very happy lady to know I CAN freeze those jars. Thanks!

  18. Wooo Hooo... we unplugged freezer #2 about 2 months ago... and it felt good! Good Job thyhand :)


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