Still a bit more Winter left…

While other people have tired of Winter, the cattle and I have not. It is the coziest time of year and gives me more time to focus on things inside the house. This includes some yearly attention to closet cleaning, clothing donations, basement organizing, tax preparations, and of course food preparation, and with Summer not that far off, it is time to reduce what’s in the freezer. This is always a hard thing to calculate, at the beginning of the Winter I am careful to not use our frozen fruit and veggies too fast, but at the end of the Winter I am trying to find ways to use it all and make room, it’s not a perfect science but the more years we do this, the more I learn about the rhythm of this cycle.

It’s been the craziest snowiest February we have had in a very long time. I visited family on the west coast, and returned in very early February. We had lost all our snow in my absence, due to a warm front and lots of rain. Upon my return the snow began and it’s been snowing on and off for the whole of February! The farm couldn’t look prettier. It has stalled our construction project, but to be expected in the Winter.

This particularly snowy day was one of our bigger snowstorms. The deer are doing more browsing now, as grazing is pretty much out of the question.

This is the pathway to the chicken’s coop and run. They don’t come out on these days. We open their door for ventilation, but they consider snow about as safe as hot lava, so when they come out and see the new layer of snow, they cluck a mouthful of complaining chatter and run straight back into the coop.

Despite the mountains of piled snow around the mini high tunnel, there is still spinach inside and it’s doing well too! When this plastic layer gets rolled back, it smells like Spring inside!

The green presents such a contrast to the brilliant white that is covering everything outside.

Crazy to think we are eating spinach salads while we are buried under snow. It is an amazing treat, there are even some surviving little dill volunteers amongst the spinach. It is all so appreciated!

I’ve been working down the freezers to make room for this Summer’s produce. This is cherry juice, (hubs enjoys mixing it with sparkling water), and next to it is chicken broth. Slowly but surely the freezer stock of veggies, fruits and soup bones is getting a bit lower.

I am really excited about being able to pressure can beans. We really didn’t used to eat that many beans, for a couple of reasons. I don’t prefer to buy food in cans, and because starting with dry beans takes a lot of planning ahead, since some have to soak as long as 8-12 hours! Now I can take these garbanzo beans off the shelf and put together a very quick batch of Hummus, and it is delicious!

Hummus and spicy refrigerator dill carrots, a great snack! The carrots are from our neighbor’s cold storage. He found himself with a broken tractor and no way to plow out his driveway to go on deliveries. Hubs went over and plowed him out and we got a big bag of carrots and some micro-greens as a trade. We have been using the carrots in salads, as well, and there are still plenty for fresh eating.

These pinto beans made perfect refried beans! Really happy to have convenient, “on the shelf” beans for adding to soups, stews, and the garbanzos, shown above, are great on a salad too!

Pickled hard boiled eggs (they are awesome) and onions, our neighbor’s micro-greens and carrots, some red pepper flakes I made last year from our Shishito peppers, and some local blue cheese.

People ask how we eat veggies this time of year if we are not buying them at the store. A visit to my freezer is all it took to make this veggie side dish. All of it is from last Summer, and it tasted fresh and delicious at dinner.

What would a post be without a picture of bread? This one was especially pretty!

The sides of the driveway are getting taller, if Spring doesn’t come soon, we may have our own luge run!

5 comments on “Still a bit more Winter left…

  1. tonytomeo says:

    I never canned beans before, just because they take up less space in the pantry while dry. I put dried beans in the same quart jars just so they would not attract rodents, although, there were no rodents there, and put used caps on them. I preferred to kink the caps just so that they would note seal completely. I tried to can as simply and efficiently as possible. I see all sorts of fancy recipes for canning foods that are already ‘assembled’, but I prefer to can everything separately, and then put it together when necessary. I never add water to fruit juices, just because I can do that later. I really liked grape juice with sparkling water. We lacked enough cherries to juice (and all the cherries were sweet cherries that are rather bland for juicing . . . although I would do it if there were too many.)

    • I’m fortunate to have a good sized pantry, so it works for me. Thinking about the long days in the garden this summer, and home prepared foods on the shelf will be nice for a quick meal when coming in late. Canning is great because you can focus on whatever works best for your family. Thx for reading my blog:-)

      • tonytomeo says:

        I actually do not cook. I just put the food away, and let someone else cook it later. On rare occasion, we can something that is already made, such as soup, although even the soup is concentrated, with less water than it should have in it. The grape juice that I can is just plain grape juice, so it gets mixed with water once opened.

  2. theuniversalgardener says:

    I like how you’re growing your spinach through your fierce winter. The snow scenes look awesome but very, very cold!

    • It is cold, but very beautiful too! The small high tunnel used to be a chicken run attached to a coop. Then we got the idea to set it on top of a hay bale wall. It works great! In the summer the plastic comes off and since there is chicken wire covering it all it helps keep the bunnies out of the salad garden!! Thanks for reading my blog:-)

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