Day 9: Chaos in the Kitchen

The chaos in my kitchen this morning

The chaos in my kitchen this morning

We took a day off school to process apples and grapes. I am glad for the abundance but also have decided that when I am an old lady I will not can. Might even be happy skipping the garden, though that may just be my September brain talking. Kind of like a woman in labor swearing she’ll never do this again, you know? Then she forgets and does it again. But this time of year is just exhausting, it really is. The sticky floors. The endless huge pots to wash. The heaps of produce still needing attention, with more ripening in the garden. Ugh. However, the new rows of jars cooling on my counter right now ARE extremely satisfying. And will be so for months, most likely. So it definitely is short term pain for long term gain.

After the chaos

After the chaos

I’ve also decided that if I ever do the 30 Days of Nothing Project again, I’ll do it in March or something. The garden adds so much to our pantry at this time of year, it hardly seems fair. Along with making lots of jelly and apple pie filling, I made 4 pumpkin pies.

Then I got tired and threw the other half of the pumpkin to the cow. Which might sound like a waste except for the fact that we have — conservative estimate — at least 20 more pumpkins in our garden. And I’ve always liked pumpkin-fed beef.

Breakfast: Hash brown combo, grits and grapes.
Lunch: Frozen burritos and grapes
Dinner: Homemade mac and cheese, leftover stewed pumpkin, apples, and pumpkin pie for dessert. Yum!

While working today, the kids and I fantasized about our dream kitchen. Huge counters. Two ovens. BIG stove. And at least two sinks, though one kid suggested that we really need one sink per person so that we could each wash our own dishes. The 16 year old suggested that at the very least we should get our hopefully soon-to-be-repaired dishwasher back. There is now a gaping hole in the cabinets, and between his dinnertime kitchen duty and helping out with the dishes after canning, he is in danger of getting dishpan hands. Poor guy.

As far as expenses, today my daughter bought me 6 packets of fruit pectin for jelly-making. Another $10, which leaves us with less than $150 for the rest of the month. I’m too tired to calculate it exactly. I must go fall into bed now. Yawn…..


  1. This is going to sound pathetic to the canning gurus about, but how do you do your pie filling jars? As in, how long do you cook the apples for and what do you put in with them? I have a tree laden at the moment, and have made apple sauce and frozen it so far, but those pie fillings look wonderful!

  2. Gosh, you guys have a real machine going on over there, looks like fun and looks uber yummy!


  3. You have my respect for handling all that produce! It must be exhausting.
    Hey, you’re a third of the way through the month, and you’ve only used up a quarter of your money. Way to go!

  4. My family used to be like yours with the amount of produce processed. My mom has stopped gardening and canning. I thought it would never happen. First it got smaller and smaller. Now she helps my sister who lives nearby.

    For myself, I don’t have a garden or can anything. I can’t believe that it has come to this!

    PS: A question concerning the applesauce. Do you feel that peeling the apples first is less time consuming than cooking them with the skins on and them putting them through a foley mill (or some such thing)? The red of the skins makes a pretty pink color of applesauce.

    Maybe I’ll make some applesauce this year! If we can find apples at a good price. I hate bought applesauce!

  5. Haven’t I introduced you to the calcium activated universal pectin that I buy in bulk? It is much more cost effective and versatile in recipes. You can experiment with it! I’ve used it for 3-4 years exclusively now. (Well, not this year.) I’ve gotten it from Azure Standard or ordered it right from the company. If you are interested, Beth might be able to find it at my house; or I can look it up on the web for you.

  6. Wow! I cannot even begin to imagine. My mother never gardened or canned or anything growing up. Each year I learn a bit more myself but we are NO WHERE NEAR your production level! I love reading about all of your homemaking! I hope you had a great night’s sleep!!

  7. We’ve been blessed with 50 lbs (20kg) of black plums, a gift to my family from a charity org that had received too many.

    We canned half of it, then my mother started to contemplate throwing the rest away. I reminded her how this is a blessing and we should take advantage of it! And those jars would make great Christmas gifts!

    We spent another 4 hours canning and now have 20 something jar of black plums puree. They are delicious and my mother already started to give some away to family members. We’re blessed!

    You might not realize the influence you have on your readers. I want to take the time to thank you for all you do. Thank you for being an inspiration for us all! Have a great Day 10! 🙂

  8. I had to laugh at the part about your kids talking about their dream kitchen. One day after tripping over each other in our kitchen, my kids decided we really needed a house with 5 kitchens. One for dairy and one for meat (we keep kosher and do not mix dairy and meat); one for Passover (again, kosher); one for my son, the culinary student, to make a mess that we did not have to look at; and one for my husband–because as my kids said, it’s Dad, so…well y’know. Me, I would settle for one large kitchen– that cleaned itself.

  9. Sunddenly the Italian homes with two kitchens make so much sense.

    You picture of all the cans and the pies makes me think of the fair.

    All the backbreaking work is worth it in the end. Although I must admit, I have moved more toward freezing where I can as opposed to canning.

  10. So, do you have the cow for milk or are you raising it for the beef? Do you have chickens too? Boy, aren’t I nosey today? LOL!
    Frugal Carol

  11. Jeanne,

    I don’t have a Foley mill, or I would do it that way, I think. In fact, my MIL has one, and I keep meaning to run over and borrow it, but I keep forgetting. however, I still have several bushels of apples to deal with, so I ought to get my act in gear and do it. In the meantime, however, I have no shortage of hands to help with the peeling. Dawn, I freeze corn, zucchini, and peppers, but am trying to save most of my freezer space for the cow that we will be butchering in a couple months. So Carol, that answers your question too! 🙂 Oh, except, no, we don’t have chickens. We did a few years ago, but chicken feed is expensive, and the frozen water in the winter is a pain….


  12. You guys rock! It’s amazing to see what you can get done in a day!!!

    I too think “nothing” experiment might be fun another time of year, since this time is so busy and I seem to be in the kitchen all day long…not as much as you however!


  13. Mary, I grew up with my mom canning a lot. I remember getting to “go pick dessert” which meant go to the cupboard and choose which kind of canned fruit we wanted to eat that night. My yard now has 4 apple trees. My mom came down a few years ago to help me make applesauce and can it. We spent the day hard at work and at the end she said “Okay, now you know how to do it. I’m never doing this again! “

  14. Yes, a remodeled kitchen would make total sense for you. You never cease to amaze me!

  15. You began your post with writing “a day off school” –the teacher in me wants you to know that there was plenty of schooling and learning going on. When children help with canning and processing food they are learning all about estimating, and measuring, and temperatures, and spacial relationships, and sizes and shapes, and ordinal numbers, and time, and lots and lots of literacy (literacy begins with talking), not to mention working together. And probably a lot more than I can think of off the top of my head.

  16. What could I do with oodles of sweet one hundred tomatoes? Any ideas for long term storage would be greatly appreciated!
    Love your blog- you’re one heck of a mom!

  17. Sandi,
    I would cut those tomatoes in halves, put them on cookie sheets and dry them in a warm oven or under a bedsheet in the sun. A little labor-intensive, I know, but they would make a delicious, colorful addition to pasta in the wintertime.


  18. Mary,
    I too am interested in how you do apple pie filling in jars? Also what kind of apples do best for this or does it matter?
    Dawn in OR

  19. I have a question can i use the apple peeling to make apple juice?If so how much water to how much peelings.Pamela

  20. It sounds exciting and yet entirely overwhelming to a newbie gardener like myself. (Newbie in the sense of – going to have a garden this year, not ever had one before!)
    I don’t know if I’ve ever known exactly where you live, and I am curious, for gardening reasons. Perhaps merely a growth zone number? I live in high-desert Arizona, this is why I wonder… hoping maybe grapes would grow here too! 🙂

  21. I love to see all the stuff your doing in the kitchen. Do you have your apple pie recipe for canning on your site?


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