Thursday, June 18, 2009

Ooh, a SAD day!


We got home late last night. Michael went out to do chores and came in doing his best not to cry.

Yes, it had given way while we were gone. :-(

Gratefully, I had prayed, when we had our first and only swim together before the rains came, that when it gave way, it would be when Michael was not in it. That prayer was answered with a yes. :) Also, the filtering system was not damaged either, so that's a plus.

But we are very sad. This has been such a blessing to us and a highlight to our days of work. We work all day long, but look forward to dipping into that cool water and relaxing as we enjoy the afternoons and evenings of rest after a long, hot, sweaty day of work.

You can see where it gave way first, right where the biggest duct-taped hole had been.

A chair blew in. Looks like someone was cooling their feet.

I hope the grass does not die. We had just superchlorinated it two days prior. You can see how far down the water carried the chlorine dispenser.


But, before all that took place...

After trying to can more here, we packed up to head to my folks' house, just as another gully washer was coming.

And I had thought we were going over to use my mom and dad's kitchen, but dad had been working on a plan.

He bought a range top at the thrift store, rewired it, put it on a base and we canned outside. Til dark. In the rain. Using the van as a prep area...

I don't think I will do it that way again. LOL But with my mom's alzheimer's, it is upsetting for her to have her kitchen messed around in. Dad says I can borrow the stove top any time. It has a broken and tilted large burner that adds a challenge, but it worked OK.

I am confused on several aspects of jelly making/canning. This has turned into quite an ordeal. Still, I am glad I am learning, and looking forward to being able to share with others what I have learned, when I get there. LOL

It was good to visit with my dad. He's always got great ideas. The rain just made it a bit tedious, and not having counter tops.

I've got jelly left to make, from the frozen berries from last year. I'm going to do small batches today, I hope. That and figure out how to clean up the pool mess.

Life remains an adventure!




  1. Oh dear. What a terrible disappointment. I am so sorry.
    As for making jams and jellies, I have had some experience. I just made rose petal jam a couple days ago, but will actually need to pour it back in a pan and add another pectin just is not setting up...too syrupy. On the same afternoon I did a lemon balm jelly, and that set up perfectly. The directions I had for the jellies were to pour hot jelly into a hot jar, then seal. But, my Ball book has you water bath can jellies for 10 minutes. So that is what I did.
    What a blessing your dad was, to go to all that trouble so you could can!

  2. Cyn,

    Rose petal and lemon balm jellies! Sounds positively romantic. :) I've got to try that. I had some lavender soda a friend let me try a few months ago and I really liked the idea of it. It was expensive stuff, but fun to drink.

    I think I will have to buy some Sure-Jell. I know that if you do that you don't have to bring the temperature up so high to get it to jell, which seems to be part of my undoing. I will probably made a run to the store for some this morning.

    I was told this morning that my little pressure cooker does not qualify as a canner and so the pie filling is not safe. I was also told that cornstarch recipes don't work either, so it is doubly not safe..... :/

    This is more complicated than I had hoped it would be. I pressure canned the first batch for 30 minutes. Might have overdone that, but I didn't know how long and I'd seen that length of time on something. The second batch I water bath processed for 15 minutes.

    Boy do I wish I had a canning party scheduled.

  3. Sorry about your pool. :( But what an AWESOME Dad!!!!! Give him a hug for me! That is just wonderful! And what a trooper! Your son reallt is the MAN of the house! He will make a wonderful husband some day.

    ABout jelly. It is not hard... well, I make jam. It's easier, no straining involved. You just crush berries add pectin... bring to full rolling boil, boil 1 min... add sugar.. bring to full rolling boil again for 1 min. then ladel into jars. I don't even water bath mine. WHen my jam is just about done I put on the lids I will need. most of my recipes make about 10 1/2 pints. I boil them, then when the jam is in the jars... you wipe the rim clean, place a lid on. WHen all of the lids are on I tighten the rings and flip the jars over. Let them sit upside down for about 1-3 minutes, then flip them back. They will seal...I swear. You might have a few that don't... but you can try putting them in the fridge after a while. Sometimes the coolnes creates a suction, sometimes not. Keep it in the fridge and use first. No biggie. ANyway, there are some recipes that are more acidic that call for the sugar first then ad pectin at the end...those are more difficult and I have had les success with them. It is all trial and error. If you want to practice....
    go to the store and buy 3 lb. of frozen berries. Put them in your kettle frozen, let it warm up, while crushing with a potato masher... then add pectin, boil, add sugar(usually 4 cups)..boil... and put in jars, boil lids, tighten down...flip, flip and your done.

    Anyway...that was a mouthful..LOL. Try to have a great day!

    PS: where are you located? I think we are having the same storm fronts! it was a down pour 2 nights ago here in SE Ohio.

  4. Oh no, that's terrible!!! :(

    At least I can assure you that the grass won't die....

  5. Oh, Faith! I am so sorry for you and your son!


  6. What a shame, and you both worked so hard to get it all up and going. The Lord knows what you NEED and will provide.

    I've never pressure canned any jam or jellies. This is why the recipes call for lemon juice, to bring the acidity level up. The small pressure canner jelly should be fine as long as the lids sealed. I use cornstarch in my apple pie filling, here's what happens the cornstarch thickness tends to settle out to the bottom, you simply mix it up when you open the jar and your good to go. If in doubt freeze or refrigerate the first batch(es)

    Again sorry about your pool.

  7. Well, you are probably about 200 miles north of us here in east TN.

    You know I made gobs of strawberry jam years ago when I had 1000 plants. I think I got 40 gallons that year and I made jam just the way you described.

    I love hot jam, so I made some of that along with regular, and I also made some spiced strawberry jams. They came out perfectly and delicious.

    Problem was, after we opened them and enjoyed the first contents, each of them turned gray across the top. No one has been able to tell me what that was. So I've been trying to follow the book recipes that I am seeing. And it's just not as easy.

    Maybe I need to be walked through a batch by those who know how to do it..... man, I need a webcam in the kitchen! LOL

    Yup, having a great day. What would I be doing if not meeting challenges? Just doing boring things like resting or watching a movie, right? ;)


  8. Walter,

    I sure hope you're right. :) We drained a pool one time and the apple tree below it died. I always assumed it was from the chlorine.


  9. Kelle,

    Yeah, it seems logical. I never know how much of what canning information is sheer over-reaction, or necessary.

    Same with something like raw milk, which I love. You'd think the stuff was poison the way the government talks about it, but they've twisted information and hyper-inflated the scare factor and no one will hardly drink it any longer.


  10. I am sorry about the pool! That sucks. The stove your dad rigged is really neat! I keep thinking it would be neat to have some kind of an outdoor kitchen.

  11. Jennifer,

    I allowed my mind some fantasy time yesterday as I was waiting for the jelly to process and drew myself up an outdoor kitchen.

    Stone and stainless steel, low maintenance, huge gas burners for big pots and, if our power grid goes out, a huge old wood burning stove to go with the BBQ and grills pits and the brick bread oven. LOL

    Oh, and lots of work/prep area with sinks. And, of course, plenty of room for people to mill about and help and visit...

    Yeah, my brain had some fun. LOL


  12. Oh Faith. I am so sorry for both of you. You guys work so hard together!!


I always enjoy hearing from others. If you become a regular commenter, I'll assume you are being friendly and pretty much comment regularly right back. :o) God bless and have a terrific day!