We are in the first week of June and the spring flowers are already beginning to lose their vitality. I will miss the happiness they bring in the backyard but then eventually the fall flowers will appear.
Charles and I have been working on a new gardening plan, one where we can manage better. This year has been very difficult crawling on the ground pulling weeds. Each year we transplant more flowers and less vegetables because of the work it requires to grow the vegetables.
So we converted our cattle trough into a carrot and onion bed and we are going to gradually add these if this one works well. We had purchased the cattle trough for the outdoor bath house but then decided it would waste water.
Our wood raised beds eventually decay and there is always the tree root issue so for us this seems to be a better option. Gardening in the city is always an evolving situation. Using this kind of container will help us to conserve water as we will get to know how much water is required. There is a drain in the bottom and Charles drilled out some bottom side holes.
The cucumbers are growing up the fence. We encourage the early feelers to grab the fence and once it gets several hooked on it just seems to know what to do.
Back inside this past weekend was spent preparing for guests. My first cousin and his wife were coming for a visit. I have missed them very much and have looked forward to their visit. They would arrive late Monday afternoon.
I picked some blueberries from the garden and made blueberry muffins..
And some banana bread...
I picked out the dishes that I would use on the first days supper.
Filled the reservoir in the lavabo and freshened up the guest room....
It was Monday and time to start the stew...
I was making beef stew...
With parsnips, carrots, turnips, potatoes, celery, parsley, a little bell pepper and thyme.
It is a very hearty stew served with homemade crackers..
Then the phone call that they were going to be delayed one day. My cousin had eaten something the day before that did not agree. They would not unpack the car and leave the next morning..
So I needed to do something about all of this stew. So I decided I would freeze it in serving sizes for Charles and I and save enough out for Charles lunch the next day to take to work.
So I spent the afternoon filling the other lavabos, this one is on the back porch...
This is one that was not working because we could not fix the faucet but then we found a way to repair it and it works wonderful right on the back porch where we have our camp stoves and where we come in from the garden.
I washed the doggy bedding and hung it out in the sunshine to dry. I had been putting it off due to rain and or high humidity but yesterday was a lovely day.
I also washed one of the quilts.
So where does the goose come in? Well each morning for the last two weeks I hear a goose somewhere behind the woods behind our house. I had gone out yesterday to cut some parsley for the stew and I heard the goose.
I snipped some fresh thyme for the stew... And I kept hearing this goose. It seems to honk every morning about the same time...
I normally go out late in the day or early in the morning and take out the food scraps to the compost bin and each morning to see if anything needs water.
So visiting the compost bin each day and using herbs from the garden, taking care of the plants gets me outdoors even if it is hot or rainy...
And I was thinking I would never hear the goose or see the hummingbirds or watch the wrens build their nests if I did not have something to draw me outdoors. A goose is something I never hear unless a flock is flying over during migration. This leads me to wondering if someone has a goose. :) I love hearing the goose and there is no real story about the goose other than life is full of small things that makes us happy if we take the time to listen.
So I redid the meal plan for the next day and considered Kens stomach and decided on Chicken, carrots and rice....
So I got up this morning .....
Did regular morning chores, took the doggies out, fed them, changed the bird cage papers, gave Bell fresh water.... Swept off the front walk, picked some more blueberries, knitted a little, pruned some plants, ironed 4 pieces of laundry......
And in my mind estimating what time to start cooking the chicken. Then the phone call. Ken was still sick :( The trip was being canceled, it was more than what he had eaten but most likely what the Grandchildren had one week ago, the stomach flu. Ken must have caught the stomach flu from the Grandchildren.
So I had to decide what to do with all this chicken because I was cooking extra to make chicken salad for the next day... So I decided I would can the chicken.
So I got out the water bath canner to use for heating the jars.. My canning book says for raw packed chicken to pack chicken into hot jars.
Some people take shortcuts in canning but I never chance it....
Here on our city home front we do as our generations before us did as much as we can so canning it will be.
While pressure canning, I never leave the kitchen. I have respect for that pressure canner so I constantly keep an eye on it. I keep a chair in the kitchen so I sit and knit while the pressure canner is active. For our area, pressure canning chicken takes an hour and 15 minutes.
The water from the water bath canner that I used can be used for other purposes. Watering plants or washing dishes or most anything but never pour it down the drain and waste it.
It can also be used to wash the pressure canner.
I have made use of the day and the pantry has seven pints of chicken added to the shelf. I told Ken that Charles always tells me that when we have plans that have been disrupted that it was not meant to be. Charles feels that when we are rushing about in our life and we hit a snag, or something delays us, we are not suppose to be impatient because maybe we were not suppose to be on that road for some reason. Maybe we would have been in an accident. Maybe there would be a robbery or a storm, anything that we are being diverted for a reason.
We don't know why things happen like they do and one day we will know the answers but for now we don't question those things that change "our" plans and find a way to make the best of the situation.