Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Stlll here

Finding time to spend on the computer isn't happening much these days. It's just too busy around these parts. In previous years, summer meant long, hot days, iced tea and lemonade, sunburned skin, late night swims to cool off before bed, and lots of campfires in the backyard. This year? It means long hot days spent in the kitchen, feet and legs that ache from standing barefoot on a hard tile floor for 14+ hours most days of the week, canning jars, dehydrators, and freezer bags. It means baking all day long Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and trips to the farmers' market Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday to sell it all.

I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Hard work is satisfying. Painfully, even excruciatingly so.

Not that I haven't always worked hard, mind you, but I'm feeling such a sense of pride in preserving food for my family to enjoy during the cold winter months. Not an arrogant pride. It's just, I don't know... satisfying and comforting all at once. Grocery money has been spent on canning jars because our food bill goes way down when we're eating fresh from the garden. It's a wonderful trade.


I love learning new things, and this year it has been dehydrating. For a large family with no basement or garage to store canned goods, dehydrating is a dream. I'm able to take advantage of cheap, and even free produce, and preserve it with little effort for the coming months. The dehydrator runs for just pennies an hour, and doesn't heat the house up. I'm looking forward to cold mornings and making steel cut oats with apples and pears that I put up this summer.


As evidenced by my ever changing and growing Preparing for Winter list on my sidebar, I'm still canning many, many jars of foodstuffs, and enjoying every minute of it. It thrills me to know that we have enough green beans and corn to have them once a week until next year's harvest. I've never in my life worked this hard over the summer, but it's all good.



13 comments:

Terri said...

My little garden harvest list looks piddly next to yours Tracy. That is quite impressive! No wonder you are spending so much time in the kitchen. I know the feeling of satisfaction you are talking about though, and it's a good feeling.

Great job!

Rebecca said...

Dehydrating is my method of choice this summer too! I have been eating oatmeal with some strawberries I did up last year and let me just say..."yum".

Your dried foods are BEAUTIFUL, but then again, I have always found food to be beautiful.

One of my FAVORITE dehydrated bits are bananas. Super inexpensive food (all year round) but when sliced and dehydrated, they become a real TREAT for a snack. You CAN spritz them with lemon juice but I never do. They are divine. If you haven't already, you should try it. Maybe this WINTER when the canning and garden produce aren't overwhelming you and your fingers are itching to preserve again.

You think it wouldn't, but that actually happens. :-)

Mrs.Rabe said...

I never have done any dehydrating either...may have to give it a whirl...

Susan said...

I've never dehydrated. What does the machine cost to get started? Are the items listed on your side bar what is on your shelves for future or a total of that plus what you've sold at the Farmer's Market?

Susan said...

P.S. You are an amazing woman, Tracy!!!!!

Tracy said...

Susan, Everything on my sidebar is for our family. I've made HUNDREDS of jars of jam to sell, and baked goods, too.

My dehydrator is this one:
http://www.excaliburdehydrator.com/9-Tray-Large-Excalibur-with-26-hour-Timer-3926T-28-37-regular-prod.htm

You can get cheaper models, but having such a big family, I needed a workhorse!

Momma Roar said...

My heart's desire is so similar to you - its just that my time is limited with 3 young ones - in a few years I hope!!!!

I do can and freeze, but would love to have a bigger garden so that I don't have to buy my produce. someday....

Momma Roar said...

PS - You are amazing!!

Kay said...

I understand the satisfaction you are talking about.

Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage said...

What a pretty way to display your dried veggies. I'd not thought about drying my apples and pears for oatmeal. Thanks for the idea.

Blessings to you!

Laura

jAne said...

beautiful.
been curious about dehydrators
and got the full low-down from a
good friend while thrift shopping.
going to borrow hers next week to
try it out. have loads of tomatoes.

:o) jAne

Becky K. said...

Your produce is absolutely lovely. The peppers are so colorful!

We don't have a garden but are blessed to live where we can get loads of corn for a good price and freeze it.

We visit local farm stands and get gooood stuff all of the time.

Becky K.

John'aLee said...

I think you have such a fascinating blog. You are so inspirational!

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