Day 4: Exhausted

Meals Today
Breakfast:scrambled eggs, grapes and toasted hamburger buns, since we’re out of bread and I haven’t found time to buy/make more.
Lunch: Tomato melts, fried zucchini, and fresh apple juice
Dinner: chicken enchiladas from the freezer, cucumber/tomato salad, and apples.

My kitchen counter

My kitchen counter

The garden is making me tired. This is how my kitchen counter looked this afternoon. Everything needs doing at once. This morning I read Idaho history and ‘On the Banks of Plum Creek’ to the kids while they chopped apples for applesauce. And chopped. And chopped. By lunchtime we had 11 quarts canned, plus a meal’s worth of apple juice made in the juicer. It takes a crazy number of apples to make a small amount of sauce– very labor-intensive. After lunch the kids plowed through their math before being released to the great outdoors to first pick 20 ears of corn each and then play for an hour.

While they played I went out the the garden and found myself a whole bunch more work. I picked two baskets full of peppers– every size and color, plus a laundry basket full of tomatoes and about 20 cucumbers. Plus a pumpkin. There was also the corn from the kids. And tons more apples need to come off the trees. Soon. Ack.

Tomato kids

Tomato kids

I bribed my 10 and 12 year olds with the promise of a movie if they first helped me with a batch of tomatoes. We got 25 quarts done in about an hour– sweet. Then they went off to watch ‘Dreamer’ while I tossed a frozen enchilada casserole (hooray!) into the oven and begged my teenage sons to help me make relish. At first we thought they’d be able to do the grating with the food processor, but then it broke, forcing them to grate the rest by hand. Just now, at 10 pm, we pulled the last of 11 pints out of the canner. Oh, and we dried a batch of apples, which I just now remembered and begged my 14 year old son to bring inside. Altogether a crazy day, and there is so much more to do.


Related Links

Chicken Enchiladas

Easy Applesauce


  1. Oh my goodness! No wonder you are exhausted! Do you have room for one more for dinner? : )


  2. Your work will pay off though! Think about all of the yummy food for your family this winter! Your posts make me want to have a garden… well, someday perhaps. Get some rest!

  3. No wonder you’re exhausted!
    Mary, when I make applesauce (and I try to make a lot every fall), I just cut my apples in half, remove the stem and the bud, and cook them like that. Then I run the cooked apples through a big potato ricer. I find it much, much quicker than coring, peeling and chopping all those apples first. Do you think that might work for you?

  4. WOW! It has been like that here also, but not with apples, with pears. It seems like everything ripens at once doesn’t it. I guess that’s why they call it the harvest. I wrote on my blog that I can’t wait to plant the garden in the spring and can’t wait to cut it all down in the fall!

  5. OH wow!!! As someone who is simply a wretched gardener: big dreams, no space for it, and truly NO talent for it either….I know that counter looks like a boatload of work. But it also just looks so bountiful and delicious that it inspires just a touch of envy. YUM!

  6. That sure looks like a productive garden! Not that me, my 7 tomatoes, 9 cucumbers, and 12 zucchini are jealous or anything…

    It is wonderful that the children are so involved in processing the food for winter. They can truly understand the Little House books, then.

  7. Wow, that’s a lot of work! I’d be tired too! But, it will be so nice this winter. 🙂

  8. sarah loten says:

    We live on a large farm (sheep and cash crop) in Canada and I know how you feel. Our seasons are so short here and everything always seems to happen all at once. Sometimes (sometimes!) I envy those folks who have 9-5 jobs. It is so invaluable to have the kids involved, though. I don’t know how many people have told me that my kids have a strong work ethic. I very convinced that it is because we really need them to do real work, that benefits the whole family. So, Mary, don’t worry about asking your kids to do yet another job…even though they may not thank you for it at the time!

  9. What beautiful bounty! Those peppers are beeee-U-ti-FUL!

  10. The thought of all the labor required to preserve your bounty makes me tired BUT it will be worth it when you’re eating FRESH foods this winter!

  11. People always say to me (as I am sure they do to you as well), “How do you handle having so many kids?!” (I only have six) They simply don’t understand how much the kids themselves help.

    I don’t always explain that to them though. I know a lot of people with two or three kids and most people seem to think that other than making their beds, kids should not be required to do housework. The theory is, Kids should be allowed to be kids. And to them, being a kid means having no real responsibilities.

    I am jealous of your harvest…but not of all the work!!

  12. WOW! A very busy day. What an amazing garden you have. One question. I’m getting a lot of tomatoes to from my garden this time of the year, how do you can them and process them?

  13. When/if you have time would love the enchilada receipe and applesauce!

  14. Yikes! Hang in there!

  15. Wow! Hard work but well worth it. Any tips on how to grow peppers? I just can’t get those to work, but they are so expensive to buy in the store.

  16. I’m with Chinamama4 when I make applesauce. I just cut and cook, then use my KitchenAid mixer with the strainer attachment to filter out the seeds, stems, and skin. I’ve done the same with tomatoes and pumpkins.

  17. LOVE these pics!! I’ll be so glad for our move and the ability to garden again …. the grocery bills are killing us! Yeah Owlhaven Team!!! This winter you’ll be SO happy you did all of this!

  18. Wow, you do so much! Homeschooling and all that canning and all! I enjoy canning and making my own baby food, but I only have one child- and he’s only 9 months old!

  19. What a beautiful kitchen you have. All those colors look so pretty. And all that canning. It all looks so nice. Your cabinets must look so pretty!
    Oh my, I sure do hope the math quiz human test doesn’t get any harder…

  20. Wow! I am tired just reading that post. What a blessing to have all of that food put up though.

  21. Yep – you beat me. I spent all day in my kitchen trying to crank out only 6 quarts and 9 pints of pears. The best part is at the end of the day – if you have time to clean the kitchen – and see the finished jars shining on the counter. Nothing is better.
    I Love Harvest Time!

  22. You are one productive momma.

  23. Holy gardening! That looks amazing and scrumptious!!!


  24. Wow you got a lot done!

    Two summers ago we invested in a Sauce Master. (I think it was around $35) What a handy tool. Tomatoes can be put through quartered raw for sauce and it removes the peels and seeds. Apples can be quarter and cooked till soft then put through and it again removes the peels and seeds. The kids can run it too. It was worth the investment for me.

    We’ve done a lot of sauce, about 75 quarts, and I thought I was done, but now I’m longing to do more apple butter. Time to go raid (with permission) an neighbors tree!

    (The rest of my garden is about done though, except the tomatoes tricklin’ in. Think I’m going to dry some tonight.)

  25. Wow! That is so great. I am ordering some boxes of apples (wish I had trees in my yard!) and my friend is going to let me use her vita-mix blender to make applesauce. She says you just throw the entire apple in (minus the stem) and mix it up good and then simmer it with whatever seasonings you want. Hopefully it works out because I like easy!

    The picture of all your produce on the counter makes me drool. I am determined to find a way to have a decent garden in my tiny yard next year. It will happen!

  26. Am I the only one who thinks those squash look like snakes????

    Way to go, Mary! I am so impressed with all your hard work!

  27. Holy Cow Woman! I was exhausted just reading this post. But I must admit quite envious, too. I want a farm/garden, but hubby not so much. It was fun scrolling through the pics.

    This “not buying” anything is hard work. Yesterday I found a video I wanted, an exercise video on African dance. I’d been looking and looking for this particular one and was so tempted to put it into my shopping cart. Instead, it went into the “wish list”.

    Tonight, daughter tried to talk me into Subway but I talked her into defrosting some frozen shrimp instead.

  28. Are those Granny Smith apples? Would those grow in

  29. I so miss our farm so much at times, and my 1 acre vegatable garden, I miss canning too….that counter of colorful jars singing thier song to me in the jar lids popping the afternoon away….As beautiful as your photos are of produce …today I am sort of happy I am not elbow deep at the sink peeling tomatoes. Kinda sorta still long for and miss it….but I am still tired even though you are the one putting up food! 🙂 Nowadays for us it is just # 10 big cans of vegables and fruit at Cash and Carry. I do glory in the few fruit trees we do have in town, and mayby once in awhile you might find me making up a batch of jam (freezer more sweatie hot kitchen) More power to you Mary! You’ll be the smiling one come winter with your stocked pantry of jars of food treasure!