I've canned about three cases (36 pint jars) of large diced tomatoes, 2 cases each of stewed tomatoes, 2 cases of tomato salsa. I'm still picking tomatoes. I've also 12-gallon bags of tomatoes in the freezer for making sauce later on. We are almost at the end of our tomato harvest. All of this is from 14 Roma, 2 Cherokee Purple, and 2 beefsteak tomato plants. Plus we've been able to have sliced, fresh tomatoes at every meal for the past month. I'll let some of each go to seed production for the rest of the season until frost.We are now self sufficient in tomatoes too. Yeah! For diced tomatoes $0.30, stewed tomatoes $0.50, for the salsa $0.70 a jar because I purchased other tomatoes and peppers to go into it.
We grew a heirloom bi-colored corn in the orchard this year. I didn't expect much, but I harvested 34 salvageable ears of plump corn. It was better than I expected. I've been shucking corn on the porch today and will be canning it up into pints jars. While a pint jar will hold two cups of corn and liquid, I normally will put only a cup of corn in each jar. That's about the most the two of us will eat in a serving.
I'll also be making 1/2 pint jars of my pickled corn relish about a case worth because Mel doesn't like it. Her loss is my gain. I have a few peppers leftover from putting up my tomato salsa that will go great in them. I ended up with 40 pint jars of corn. A little short for once a week eating. So almost self sufficient in corn. A Semi-Yeah! I'll buy half a case of corn this month to round out our needs, but that's better than buying two or three cases. A half case of corn is about $10 right now(about 15 ears). With the addition of the case of corn about $0.50 a jar.
The reason for bi-colored corn is Mel loves Silver Queen, a white corn. While I love yellow corn. What can I say, I hail from the plains of NE. I'm just a transplanted southerner. This compromise gives us both what we like to eat.
By gerry-rigging the corn cutter onto a bucket, I could easily take the kernels off the cob one-handed. The other side has slits in to to hold the sliding prongs. To substitute the hand pressure, I used rubber bands looped around the end of the cutter so all I had to do is push the cob through to take off the kernels. The hardest part was finding a bucket the cutter could stretch across. This 2-gallon bucket worked well. The next time I purchase a corn cutter, I'll get a longer one like the one pictured. They usually last about three seasons and become dull or break.
How do I figure our yearly intake? I calculate a meat and two vegetables for one meal a day. This is our big meal of the day. If I want to serve the vegetable once a week, then it's 52 jars. Twice a week is 104 jars needed. Leftover jarred vegetables go into a container and into the freezer. When the container is full, it's time to make a large batch of soup or Mulligan stew. I'll hold out enough for two meals and can the balance.
The idea of canning 52 jars of anything may seem pretty daunting. But I small batch can. One small canner load at a time (8 pint jars). It all adds up. Before my strokes, I thought it was nothing to can several cases of jarred produce in one day in my big pressure canner, 20 pints or 8 qts at a time. Now, all I can manage between prepping and canning is about 16 jars or one large canner load. A day's harvest equals a day or two days of canning and/or dehydrating. I don't have the energy to harvest and preserve that much a day. My foot sure won't let me especially this year with all the problems I've been having. So small batch canning it is. Perfect for harvest from a small garden.
It was far easier to do more before my stroke, but it's still doable even living post stroke. It takes more steps going to and from the breakfast nook table where I let my jars cool down and seal carrying one jar at a time. The same goes from cleaning the jars before they go into the food storage building. But I place all the cleaned jars back into the case the jars came in to carry case by case of filled jars into the store building. Little by little, it gets done.
I love going "shopping" into my storage building after the fresh eating season is done. I'll carry my market bag and pick the jars I need for the week. The same goes for my freezer. I'll "shop" and meal plan at the same time because I know what's available on the shelves. I stocked it, after all. Remember, I upcycled all my plastic bags into plarn and knitted or Mel crocheted the market bags. When I actually do go to the grocery store, I also love looking at the items and saying, "I don't need that." I'd bypass the vegetable aisle totally if the spices weren't on the same aisle. If it weren't for our dairy, cola addiction, and paper needs I could by pass the grocery store all together for the most part. I love the wide, long handle on this pattern. I can wear it across my body to distribute the weight better, and it doesn't cut into my hand.
Isn't that grand. I used to not mind shopping too much. But now, it's a chore. Stores are too large to navigate now, especially with a bum foot. I spend more time waiting on a parking spot or motorized cart than I do shopping. It seems that everything I need to purchase is in the back of the store or some distant corner. So I'd rather not shop and instead do my version of shopping. Yes, being a one-handed canner ain't easy, but it sure beats going to the regular grocery store.
We had just arrived. The whole downtown was full of people. We were walking down one side road full of vendors and a corn hole tournament was going on. In case you don't know, Corn hole is a game that you toss small bags of corn into a hole in a board. The boards themselves are elaborately painted with all sorts of designs and logos. Some boards are pieces of art. Believe it or not, it takes quite a bit of skill to get a bag into the hole and the surface is heavily varnished. I was admiring the skill of the contestants and the boards.
A young woman was standing across from me. I saw her look up at the sky and go tense. When I saw her eyes roll back in head, my brain immediately registered that she was having a seizure. I was close enough to grab her, but didn't. Between my foot and balance issues, we'd both end up on the pavement. I yelled at Mel behind me, but it was too late. The woman fell straight back to the ground.
All this happened in a matter of seconds. I stood by helpless, frustrated, and angry in those seconds. I
knew what to do. I wanted to act and/or direct the flow of action. I had the training. I'd spent 20 years as a first responder and RN/Paramedic on ambulances and a life flight chopper. And yet, I stood on the side lines unable to help because of the aftermath of my strokes. I couldn't talk or do what needed doing.
Soon other first responders and the police came. I saw the woman was well taken care of and breathed a sigh of relief. The woman stopped seizing and she opened her eyes. As with a post seizure events, she was confused and scared. Then, she closed her eyes again. Everyone thought she had lost conscientiousness. I responded, "No, postictal," quite clearly.
It's strange the way aphasia works on the brain. I can forget how to say simple words and phrases, but medical terms I can say and write correctly. They checked her pulse and breathing. They were fine and I was right. Mel having been relieved of her duties by others stood up. Her hand were covered in blood and dirt up to her elbows. Her shirt wore the stains of her battle of moments. She was shaking from the adrenaline release.
Finally, there was something I could do. I grabbed a towel and led her to a bench. She kept saying, "I gotta..." I simply uttered soothing sounds as I cleaned up the worse of the gore. She was shell shocked. She wasn't a professional, she was a bystander doing what needed to be done. Then she jumped up and ran to a water spigot. She was scrubbing at the stains on her shirt by the time I got to her. A vendor nearby came over with two cups of ice cold apple cider.
After downing the welcomed cold juice, we continued on to enjoy the festival. I got some great ideas for a booth when we got ready to be a vendor. Mel picked up some contacts also for her dog training business from the VFW and some veterinarian clinics in the surrounding area. We even found a vet that can treat rabbits. No free t-shirts nor candied apples this year, but a wealth of contacts and information.
As a result of the orthopedist's visit, I now have another appointment with my neurosurgeon for the rhizotomy of my arm. I'll schedule an appointment with another orthopedist closer to home following the healing of the rhizotomy.
Nothing is impossible.