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Friday, August 28, 2015

The "Putting-By" Moon

I am trying to get back in the habit of blogging each week on Frigga's day.

This week I have been quite busy dealing with food abundance. As the moon turned a couple of weeks ago with the new moon, I declared this "month" to be the time of the "putting-by" moon, as the garden has begun in earnest to give us lots of things not only to eat fresh or freshly cooked, but also to "put by" in the freezers.

Doing so, though, has meant that I needed to get some of That Pig, the 700 pound boar that I helped OUT of the freezer and into jars. The Flow was with me and I was able to get my pressure canners tested to determine that, indeed, they did both need replacement gauges, as well as being able to find and afford the replacements immediately. When they arrived, Tractor Guy did the installation and I immediately set about cutting one of the large pieces of pig meat to fit into my new extra large crock pot. Big pig = big pieces, especially when the entire 3-person butcher crew was totally worn out by the time the quarters hit the cutting table!
"That Pig" in BBQ (left and center) and plain (right) versions
friends butcher this spring,

I know most folks raw-pack meat, but this fellow was just SO fatty that I really needed to cook him down some in order to most efficiently separate meat from fat, which is being saved for soap making later in the year.

I started the process a bit over a week ago, with a wonderful feeling of being connected to both my own past experience canning meat, but with a thread going much farther back. I completed the round of canning recently, filling two of the jars with chunks of pork and a friend's home made BBQ sauce. I am delighted to be able to say that all of my jars kept most of their liquid, which was a problem I constantly fought in the past. This means that "end of the garden" will likely involve several batches of vegetable soup to be pressure canned! Hard to can soup when most of your jars loose half of their liquid contents!  I also want to can some beets, but my beet crop this year consists of 2 (yes, I did count them) plants, so I will have to hit a farm stand or farmers market soon.

I have been freezing green beans and both freezing and drying lots of herbs. This has been a bumper year for marjoram and basil, and I need to pick dill as well. The cucumber harvest has consisted, to date, of three cukes; the picklers' vines are full of blossoms but, as yet, no fruit. The tomatoes are, finally, starting to turn and I will likely have a good crop by the time I need to worry about killing frost and the peppers are also setting fruit.

Pea vines have been pulled and the dry pods removed, to be processed for seed and I just got the trellis and posts brought out of the garden. I am trying to be more organzed, going forward, so I am stowing the trellis mesh and the posts I used in recycled feed sacks. It will take 2, and I will label both as "100' pea trellis" for re-use next year.

11 "pullet surprises," one turkey egg
and the rest of a day's production
Our new pullets, a RI Red/White cross, have started laying and this week I found where they had been stashing some of their eggs. I "float-tested" and all are good.

Lady Grey, our hen turkey, has begun laying again. We do not want her to go broody again (this year, at least) and it appears she shares our sentiment, as she has been dropping eggs randomly in the turkey yard instead of in the house, in the nest she used for the previous broods. The first one must have surprised her while she was roosting on one of the supports for the poult enclosure, as I found it laying on the ground, inside of the closed baby pen!
The 6 youngest turkeys outside finally!

Young chickens, hatched by Lady Grey
had just landed in their outside pen.
We also are now free of "house-fowl" as the last of the living room brooder crew went outside today. As I was preparing to take the photo of the young turkeys, two of them slipped through the fence and into the chicken yard! I netted them and HOPE I have repaired their exit.

After a week's hiatus, I am finally back to spinning again. I missed the evening's end task and working meditation on Frigga, not to mention progress in working through the Jacob's sheep fleece. The last of it is washed ("scoured") and hopefully will dry during the coming heat spell.

And I have another of the "Pennsylvania Dutch" hex signs in process... this one is a custom job based on the "swirling swastika." (In case you do not know, this symbol is not the same as the one appropriated by the "nazis"  from much older spiritual traditions.)  I am also working on a digital model of a old hex sign, with the intention of recreating it for a potential client. DutchHexSign.com not only paints and sells a line of hex signs both based on the traditional and of my own creation, but also is happy to recreate older signs that were painted on masonite and other less durable media, but which still have special meaning for their owners.