The 20/10 Challenge – the jam shelf

Today’s 20/10 challenge actually required 3 rounds (and I still need to find homes for the extra odds and ends).  The jam shelf is above the desk in the laundry room and right next to the door that the construction guys used to go in and out of the house to fix the dry rot.  Needless to say it was a dusty mess.  I also picked up some new jam jars recently (I love Weck jars) that needed a home after they were filled with Wild Blackberry jam and Fig & Ginger jam.  I took everything down, dumped the unidentified jams, labeled the new jams, wiped everything down and reorganized the lost of them.  Now the shelf is organized and sparkly and ready for the dreary winter ahead.

Posted in August 2017, Putting up, Spring Cleaning | Leave a comment

Seedless Wild Blackberry Jam

I cooked down about 12 cups of blackberries with a bit of water and strained them to remove the seeds.  The pulp went into some vodka to make a Wild Blackberry Tincture to help treat sore throats, mouth ulcers, and gum inflammations.
The juice was used in our family favorite – Seedless Wild Blackberry Jam.


  • 3.5 cups juice from Wild Blackberries
  • 2 T lemon juice (cider vinegar??)
  • 5 T all purpose pectin
  • 1 t butter
  • 5 cups white sugar


  1. Combine the blackberry, lemon juices pectin and butter in a tick walled saucepan
  2. Bring to a boil that cannot be stirred down – boil 1 minute
  3. Add the sugar and return to a boil – boil 1 minute
  4. Ladle into jars and can.
Posted in August 2017, Putting up | Leave a comment

The 20/10 Challenge – drawers and cabinets

I’m trying to get everything back in order after a summer of fun. I found a site, UfYH, that suggested lots of ways to make this more palatable.  Last night I tried “Clearing a Surface”.  Today, I decided to set a timer and try “20/10” – – 20 minutes of work followed by a 10 minute break.  I was surprised to find how quickly I was able to get the chores done when I knew there was an end in sight.

Today’s 20/10 focused on kitchen drawers and cabinets……

Posted in August 2017, Spring Cleaning, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Salt Fermented Dill Pickles


  • 1-3/4 cups filtered water
  • 1.25 Tablespoons (15 – 30 ml) high-quality sea salt
  • cucumbers 1-2 in chunks or slices (I had a big, overgrown one)
  • 2-4 sprigs fresh dill
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tablespoon pickling spice
  • 5 – 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon black tea leaves
  • 2 clean grape leaves


1. Dissolve the salt in the water
2. Slice the cucumbers and soak 30 minutes minutes ice water.
3. Place the dill, bay leaf, mustard seeds, onion, garlic, and tea leaves into a quart-size, wide-mouth mason jar and pack in the cucumbers.
4. Cover the contents with the grape leaves and then pour in the brine until it reaches about 1/2 inch above the top.
5. Place an air lock onto the jar. Allow to ferment for 7 – 10 days in a cool spot, away from direct sunlight.
6. Check every few days and when ready, transfer to the refrigerator.





Posted in August 2017, Putting up | Leave a comment

Flat Surface Challenge Continued

I woke up this morning to a nice, neat, organized bed side table (flat surface challenge part one).  It was lovely.  I decided to complete the challenge this morning in the kitchen/dining areas.

I had done a deep clean-up on the dining room two days ago and the table was already cluttered – it is a dining table, a work desk, a card table, a snack area, a drop-off for groceries and generally the place everyone throws everything when they come in the house.  The hardest part is avoiding the temptation to just move the stray items into an area where they don’t belong either.  Lesson learned – – – I have too many things and need to start a gradual reduction so everything has a home.

The other area in our home that acts as a landing pad is our kitchen island.  I love this island – a four foot square of Eastern Hard Rock Maple with a bar sink – – so useful.  Except when it’s covered with junk, which it is most of the time.  It’s located just as we come in the down from the garage, just across from the dining room table, so what doesn’t land on the table land here.  It took only a few minutes to find homes for everything (well sort of) and make it into a useful space once again.

Posted in August 2017, Spring Cleaning | Leave a comment

Quick Bread and Butter Pickle


  • 2 pounds sliced cucumbers
  • 1/2 sliced yellow onion
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt


  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 sliced cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon pickling spices
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves


  • Place the cucumbers and onions in a bowl, adding the salt to coat the vegetables completely.
  • Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 4 hours.
  • Rinse the cucumbers under cold water 4-5 minutes to wash the excess salt away, Drain thoroughly.
  • Combine the  vinegar, sugar, water, garlic, pickling spice, turmeric, and clove together in a saucepan to a simmer 2-3 minutes.
  • Add cucumber and heat until just boiling.
  • Remove from heat, and transfer to jars and store in the refrigerator.
Posted in August 2017, Putting up | Leave a comment

Flat Surface Challenge

I bumped into an interesting website yesterday, UfYH (the long name is a tad unsavory).  I really liked their idea of “taking care of your physical surroundings”.  The site has a bunch of challenges, mini challenges and ideas for organizing your surroundings.

I chose to start with the challenge – “Pick three flat surfaces (counter, desk, table, dresser top, etc.) and clear them off, moving all items to where they belong. If any items don’t have a permanent home, find or make one! Check in here with your progress.”  It was getting late so I only managed one surface tonight.


Posted in August 2017 | Leave a comment

Summer’s coming to an End…..Preserving the Harvest

Today was a “get stuff done day” run awry.  I was going to finish the blackberry jelly and the fig & ginger jam I started last night, make a batch of fig honey, brine the salmon fillets, clean up the living room, add cabbage to the sauerkraut jug, make another batch of zucchini bread and a couple of types of pickles.

It went off course when I discovered we had run out of honey – no honey, no jam. So I knew I needed to run to the market.  DH came with but he wanted to stop for bagels (coupon) and return some shoes to REI (I love them – so nice and helpful).  We went to four markets before we finally found some fresh dill for the pickles and finally got back home at about 2:00 – so much for cleaning the living room.

We had to stop back at the house to pick up DS18’s french horn for its annual chemical cleaning and I made the mistake of hopping on Craigslist to look for Weck Jars (my obsession).  I found a vintage Weck electric canning/sterilizing pot for only $70.00.  It was old, but had been a display in a shop years ago and then put into storage and never used.  We made the detour to pick up the canner – only problem, we had driven the Electric car thinking we were only running to drop off the horn.

Long story short (not really) we had to find a charging station to get home – the three we found were all broken, the Blink help line was not helpful, we finally found a station in the next town, had to goof around in the store for 30 minutes waiting to charge and finally arrive back home (still with the horn) at 5:00.  Aghhhhhhh.  I had wasted the entire day.

I did manage to clean out the refrigerator that DS23 had stuffed while we were on vacation and get a few things started:

  • the salmon is in the brine
    • 1 quart water
    • 1/3 cup kosher salt
    • 1 cup brown sugar





  • another cabbage has been added to the sauerkraut jug
  • the fig honey (actually a thick syrup) is cooked down and draining
    • 1 large pot of very ripe figs – cleaned and quartered
    • water to cover
      • cook for about 1.5 hours and drain
      • reduce the liquid to a syrup





  • two pork tenderlion and on pork loin are in the Canadian Bacon Brine
    • 1 quarts water
    • 2 cups Morton Tender Quick (cure)
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 spring sage
    • 2 sprigs thyme
    • 5 smashed cloves of garlic
Posted in August 2017, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Back from Vacation – Sauerkraut

The cabbages aren’t huge, but this is the first year I’ve had any success with cabbages in my garden.  I’m going to try my hand at making some fermented sauerkraut in one of the crocks we  picked up at Rowe Pottery Works in Wisconsin while on vacation.

  • 850 g shredded cabbage
  • 1.5 T pink salt
  • 1 t juniper berries
  • 1/2 t caraway seeds


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Vacation Photos – The road to PEI: Niagra Falls

On the fifth day of our Vacation, we drove from London, Ontario to Montreal, Quebec. Along the way we stopped at the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. The town was lovely and the views along the view walkway were incredible. We didn’t get into Montreal until almost midnight, but the stop was definitely worth the time.

Posted in July 2017 | Leave a comment