Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Comment on Comments

My last post brought several comments from readers.  I have been blessed with a readership who leave kind, encouraging and often funny comments.  I suppose that is due to the fact that I tend to shy away from political commentary, although I will confess to going on a bit of a rant now and then when I have read about something that is so incredibly stupid that I just have to write about it to keep my head from exploding.

This time the comments included some suggestions for future posts.  The suggestions were very good ones and I will be addressing those in posts just as soon as I deal with the canning and dehydrating coming up this week.  If you read my last post, you know that I have about 15 pounds of beef roast ordered.  Sometimes the grocery delivery service gets it right and sometimes...not so much.  Regardless, I know that Oldest Son is bringing me 25 pounds of beef either this evening or tomorrow.  As freezer space is minimal at best just now, I will be canning up the beef right away.

I also ordered 24 pounds of fresh carrots that are on sale at 99 cents per two pound package.  I have plenty of carrots canned, but need to add to my dehydrated stash, so that will also keep me busy for a day or so.  I thought that canning/dehydrating season was over for the year, but at the rate grocery prices are increasing, it seems foolish not to take advantage of good sales.

When I first started this blog in 2009, I was convinced that my only readers were maybe one or two of my kids.  And the grands who liked it when I wrote about them.   It still is amazing to me that others find my writings interesting.  I have been lucky in that the trolls have been very few.  For a time I was flooded with those badly worded comments telling me what a wonderful writer I am, that I have such an impressive blog with important information found nowhere else and always ended with an invitation to visit their website.  They didn't know who they were dealing with.  This granny didn't fall off the turnip truck just yesterday!  My "delete" button took care of the problem.

I appreciate very much all of you who take time to visit here and those who comment.  It is fun for me to see what you all have to say.  Thank you.


  1. Vicki - I think everyone goes through blogging "blocks". I know I do... ;)

    As long as you write about what interests you, is pertinent for your kids / grandkids - then don't concern yourself about anyone else. I reckon that your "potential" bucket gardening could be a wonderful reminder for your green fingers - why not do some research on SiP (self-watering pots)?

    I have found that my blog is a wonderful source of historical info of what I was doing when, and which recipe haven't I tried for a while, or how should my garden is behaving now compared to previous seasons. Write about what you'd like to be reminded of - in the future... ;)

  2. I truly do enjoy your blog. I find your resourcefulness and desire to be prepared as best as possible even with limited space and resources very inspiring and there are many that could learn a lot from your activities.

    I think I have finally finished my canning for the season or hopefully I am. Although I enjoy it, it does sometime get to be quite the chore and I'm ready to put the supplies up for the year.

    Looking forward to those many upcoming posts over the next few months.

  3. Dani...You are right about the blog being a good way to keep track of things. I have gone back to see, for instance, when the tomatoes or cranberries would appear at the Farmer's Market, based on when I have gotten them in other years. It is also handy for checking back to see how many pounds of a particular product translated into how many jars of canned food. And sometimes it is just fun to go back on a memory lane trip through past events or posts about ancestors. I will take your good advice and do some research over our winter for ideas on container gardening that might work well on the deck. Even if I could just have a few fresh tomatoes or salad greens in the summer, it would be worth it.

  4. Thank you, Jim...I do have to admit that sometimes it is a real challenge to find space to store everything I feel is necessary to be as prepared as possible. Now that my son lives next door in the same building, it has removed some of the pressure to get even more creative. I just send a case or two of canned food home with him if the shelves are too overloaded. :)

    I should have known better than to think canning season was over here. About the time I think I am finished, something goes on sale that makes a good addition to my stores. And I eat what I store, so something always needs to be replenished. I won't complain. There may come a time when much of this food will not be so readily available and I will be glad I have as much as I do!

  5. Vicki, the shear volume of food you process, either frozen, canned or dehydrated is incredible. What an example you are! I wish I had process only a smidgen of the food you have in the last few months. My hat is off to you. Blessings.


  6. Thank you, Fern...I have great motivation. There are 14 of us in my immediate family. Only one, (possibly two) other than myself is showing any interest in preparing. When the time comes, and it will, the adults can fend for themselves if necessary. But there is no way on this God's green earth that I will allow one of my grands to go hungry.

  7. Vicki - I can so relate to your comment about being creative in how we create storage. In my apartment, I had two doors leading into my 'living room' area. I blocked off one doorway with a shelving unit and curtain. From the LR side, you only see the curtain. From the kitchen side you see the bookshelf and farther back is the curtain. But between the drape and book shelf are 10- 5 gallon buckets. Like you said, we have to be creative. It's a little less convenient but I'd rather have my preps.
    About growing in buckets, I also have a few things growing by my front door, mostly herbs. I have been fortunate and not had any theft. I'd have a hard time making the investment if I thought things would grow legs and be stolen.
    Cheers, SJ in Vancouver BC Canada

  8. SJ...What a great way to store buckets! It is amazing what we can hide, isn't it. You are right. Many of our solutions aren't convenient, but to me, the preps are more important than convenience.

    My bedroom has become my main storage area, with two 4 ft. wide x 7 ft. tall shelving units that hold all my home canned food. The shelves hold 5 jars deep and pints and half pints can be stacked.

    I have two closets - a small one for clothes and assorted stuff. The other is a typical two bi-fold doors apartment type closet that I have fitted with small stacking shelves for store bought canned food, peanut butter, soy sauce, mayo jars, etc. Next to that is space for 10 buckets of flour and sugar. The existing shelf above the clothes rod holds bottles of veg. oil, large cans of shortening, etc.

    Behind the bedroom door is one of those heavy plastic snap-together shelving units that holds 15 cardboard bankers boxes filled with sealed bags of my dehydrated foods.

    I had a choice. I could go for a pretty bedroom or I could put by food for my family. I will never have a pretty bedroom. :)

    I think I will start out small with the container garden. I am not worried about other residents of this building, but there are two bars in this block, one next door and one behind my building. Alcohol sometimes causes people to do dumb things. So if my garden doesn't walk off next summer, I will add to it. I would love to grow herbs as well.

  9. vicki,
    could you drop a few words of advice for someone who has never used a pressure canner? got myself one for Christmas.
    want to can meat but am leery.
    probably all those botulism stories heard in childhood.
    friend told me go ahead and i would wonder what i was afraid of when i got the hang of it. she cans meat raw.
    there have been some good meat sales and i have no room in the freezer, so if i want to get meat before the price is through the roof i have to learn to can it.
    i got the all american gasketless.

  10. Deb...Be happy to. There is nothing to fear. I can lots and lots of different meats. There are so many uses for canned meat and it is really a time saver to have fully cooked meat in a jar. And it keeps on the shelf for years. The botulism scare comes from a time when our grandmothers didn't use pressure canners, but water bathed everything. You can boil food in jars all day long and the inside of the jars won't get hot enough. The temperature inside a pressure canner is hot enough to kill off anything you may worry about. I have never had a problem in over 50 years of canning.

    When I can beef or pork, I usually can it raw, cutting it into large chunks if I want to use it as a roast, or about one inch cubes for soups, stews, sandwiches, etc. Chicken/turkey I boil to the "falling off the bone" stage because I need to remove the bones. With cooked meat I add water or broth to each jar. With raw meat I do not - it forms its own juices.

    There are exceptions to that. When canning hamburger, bulk sausage and bacon bits, I brown the meat first, pack it into jars but add no liquid. I should just do a post about this, but won't have time for a few days. I'm canning 40 lbs. of beef tomorrow and dehydrating carrots as well.

    If you have specific questions you need answers for right away, feel free to email me:

    Even when I am busy, I check my email often.

    I don't claim to be an expert at anything. I just know what works for me. Each kind of meat is treated just a bit differently, and answering via email will enable me to help with whatever questions you have.

    Don't be afraid. Just do it. You won't regret it. :)

  11. Thanks for the encouragement about pressure canning. I just bought a pressure canner last month but have not used it yet. Need to get my courage up as well.
    RE: growing in buckets and nearby bar patrons. It reminded me of a bird bath that kept 'moving' in my front yard at my house. Never figured out if it was the neighbor lady or neighborhood kids playing with it. But, a few cinder blocks and a bike cable did wonders to make sure it stayed where I wanted it in the yard. You could cable your buckets together, just a thought. Cheers, SJ in Vancouver BC Canada

  12. SJ...Go ahead. Give it a try. There is nothing to fear. Most of the horror stories we hear about botulism come from the improper methods used to can vegetables and meat years ago. Everything was water bath canned then and now we use pressure canners for those foods. I have also heard stories about pressure canners blowing up. There has been only one time that has happened in my family. My aunt was using her pressure canner as a pot to make a huge batch of vegetable soup to later can. She set the lid on it a bit off center and the lid slid down to where it sealed to the pot. The pressure built up and blew the lid off. She spent a couple of days, grumbling the whole time, scrubbing tomato vegetable soup off of her stove, floor, cupboards, windows, walls, ceiling, ... :) There are safety valves built into canners so that won't happen while canning.

    I like your solution to things growing legs and walking off. The deck here is rather large and has a railing running on two sides. Wouldn't be too hard to cable the buckets together and run the cable through a couple of posts in the railing. People aren't as apt to steal if they have to work at it. Great idea!

  13. vicki,
    deb here. many thanks. aldi's here had whole pork loin 1.18 $ per lb. was only able to get one, cooked, bagged and froze. using the end of it this week and next. at 1.18 i would have liked about 5 of them but no where to store.
    friend broke up hskpg and i got all her jars!

    also all prices are going to ridiculous heights and now is the time to buy. hope for pre-Christmas sales to fill all those jars with ham. no one here likes turkey so i will use money for ham--lots less bones, too! local store has chicken quarters 6$ for ten pound bag. 60 cents per lb, even with bones, is good. probably the spring roosters met their fate and are in these bags!

  14. Deb...That's a really good price on pork loin. I have canned loin before, either cubed or in large chunks, with good results. It has been a year or two since they were that price here. I just canned six hams this fall and would like to do more. Same as the loin, part was cubed to use in scalloped potatoes and the rest in chunks. It is really good tasting. The bones made ham and bean soup that I canned, too.

    I haven't seen those 10 lb. bags of chicken quarters here for a while. 99 cents a pound is the cheapest I have found them. The meat is really good canned and I love the broth, too. That's kind of like a bonus!! Sure wish someone would gift me some jars! Good for you!

  15. I've always enjoyed your posts. They are a connection with a down to earth lifestyle in a very different environment from my own.

  16. Thanks, Harry...Guess that's just how I am wired. People can have similar lifestyles and attitudes - just different scenery. Glad you are doing better. I was beginning to worry...

  17. vicki,
    since the hams are precooked, did you add liquid when you canned them?

  18. Deb...I have canned ham both ways. I think the ham canned without liquid tastes nearly like ham that you would bake in the oven. The ham canned with liquid was good, but the ham canned without adding liquid was better.