Win a copy of Pressure Canning for Beginners and Beyond
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Jay Angler

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since Sep 12, 2012
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I live on a small acreage near the ocean and amidst tall cedars, fir and other trees.
I'm a female "Jay" - just to avoid confusion.
Pacific Wet Coast
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Recent posts by Jay Angler

John F Dean wrote:I grew up with pursuer canning. That said, if you are very uncomfortable with pressure canning, why do it?

Because like any other skill, it takes time, education and practice to get efficient and comfortable with a new "sport". Why learn something new? Because if you're starting with home-grown, quality ingredients, the results are miles better than what's available in the store!

Jenny, do you have access to a pressure canner? One approach might be to find someone local who is comfortable with doing it and team up to do some together? If there's something you tend to get a bumper crop of (home canned apple pie filling anyone?), you might be able to use word of mouth or a free-cycle ad to get someone to come and help in return for taking some home for personal use or Birthday gifts!
12 hours ago

Nick Williams wrote:I wonder how dehydrated puree would rehydrate...

Pumpkin is low sugar and low acid and as a puree, it's fully processed. If you dry it to a powder, I'd suggest you still make sure it's stored cool, dark and in glass containers to preserve as much as nutrition as possible.
If you dry it to "leather" I'd suggest you store it in the fridge. If you normally add sugar to your pie, I might consider adding it to the puree - sugar is a preservative.

You could maybe do a test with a small quantity, but it's a lot of work to have it go bad!
12 hours ago
Pearl, do you have a rack or a tray in the bottom of your pressure cooker? That might make a difference. The rack doesn't need to hold the jars much off the bottom - in one cooker I use, I bought a pizza pan that had holes in it and put it in upside down so the lip holds the jars up about 3/8th inch. Your jars wouldn't be displacing any water below the rack, which might ensure you've got enough of a reservoir that you don't have to worry about it running dry.

I think ugly things might happen if it ran dry!
14 hours ago
My friend has a bunch of antique apple trees and a juicer. She's had the juice turn into cider all on it's own with no fancy intervention because the apples themselves have suitable yeasts living on them. That's sort of the same thing they say about sauer kraut and cabbages!

I've made homemade wine using a commercial yeast and excess fruit from my property (blackberry is awesome, but it's hard to get volunteers to pick enough to be worth it). Last fall I hoped to make some apple cider vinegar using my friend's juicer, but the only apples I had were Spartans. The juice was so delicious, that it ended up being consumed! I've got a couple more late producing trees planted now, so maybe in a couple of years?
15 hours ago
This site has some good info about botulism:

The Center for Disease Control had this guideline: "Heating to an internal temperature of 85°C for at least 5 minutes will decontaminate affected food or drink."  (185F) So if you want cheap insurance and have a food thermometer, that's what I would do. Skandi pretty well covered it with "boil for 10 min".

Botulism is an interesting critter and is certainly one to watch out for. I had heard that packing in oil increased the risk. I tend to pack veggies in acid, and I've been doing so for decades without being "perfect" with either the recipe or the methodology (I try, but perfection isn't my strong suit!) and I've not had anyone get sick. Cleanliness, and having a system that works for your environment is as critical as anything.
15 hours ago
You tucked them in by *leaving* those sunken leaves - too often the pond experts here tell you to clear the leaves out of the pond in the fall, and then there's no insulation for the critters that need it! Less "working" makes for a healthier pond.
15 hours ago
There's a book promotion this week in the Food Preservation forum. Hopefully lots of people will learn some more techniques that will help with this challenge! We do need to be thinking about a well-rounded diet from local resources.
19 hours ago
Thank you for tucking in your frogs for the cold snap!

We've had atypical cold and snow here, followed shortly after by a day that was +10C. I couldn't believe it, but I hear a frog calling! They're just waiting for spring.
19 hours ago

Heather Sharpe wrote:Thank you for the idea, Jen! I have considered making them a separate coop. I worry a little that they would crow a lot more if I did that, as they get very upset when they can't see or be near the girls. We're still working out if/how they can be integrated into the flock and even though it's not ideal, the current setup seems like the best we can figure out for now.

The girls seem more able to put themselves to bed lately. I do still like visiting them in the evening. The ones who want cuddles are beyond adorable. They always want to hide their little faces in my coat hood. Sometimes there'll be one on either shoulder and one that I'm holding in front of me, so my whole face is surrounded in fluffy feathers. I'm not sure if they've mellowed out or if I've just gotten better at dissuading them from jumping at my face. But it's seeming more manageable.

"Chickens are simple, not stupid," according to #2 Son - they do learn human body language and voice intonation, even if they don't understand high level discussions. So I'm not surprised that they're learning that you don't mind shoulder perching, but you do mind them jumping right at your face. If chickens can distinguish between, "good to eat" and "not good to eat" in the bug department, given patience and training, they can learn to work with you.

So far as the separate coop is concerned, I'm always in favor of "back-up" infrastructure if you've got the time to build one. Since you've got roosters, having an area you can subdivide for broody hens could be very useful. Similarly, if you end up with a sick or injured bird, they may need to be where they can see the flock, but be safe from being pecked while they heal.

It is hard when roosters grow up with a flock and don't have adult role models. You will have to watch them carefully, as some will figure out how to behave as they grow, but I've seen others who just didn't learn manners and were too rough with the girls. You may have to be "Papa" rooster for a while as well as "Mama" chicken. Stare the boys down so they know you're boss, reward good behaviors verbally, and don't forget to give them the odd cuddle as well!
19 hours ago
Thanks for the update, Jan!

One thing I really like about your system, is the cover you've made for the bin - most places/people who described using something like this, describe having to dig down just to get to the bin, and I know I'd find that annoying just to get a half-dozen potatoes, and my gang aren't big potato eaters!

A couple of questions:
1. Are you willing to give us some ideas of how many below freezing nights you get and what sort of extreme weather you coped with?
2. Was there any sign of critters moving into your cover area for housing?
3. Have you considered expanding your operation? Several bins for different foods?

The big item I'd like to store better, are apples. I really need to consider if this would work for them. I'm in a very high humidity, high winter rain location, so the ground will be much wetter.
19 hours ago