Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New Experiences Had and To Come

Being from Florida, Larry and I haven't spent a lot of time contemplating firewood, particularly since the first attempts to use the fireplace here in our house were fiascos. But like many people around the country, the desire to save on oil/fuel has driven us to look into alternatives. We know that burning firewood has its own negative consequences, but right now it is the lesser of two evils. We put a fireplace insert into the fireplace so that the previous billowing-smoke-in-the-living-room problem could be alleviated, and because friends of ours said that their's works wonders for heating. Next step: firewood.

We bought a half-cord of firewood this week, figuring that it's possible the cost will only go up once the weather cools down, and the company dumped it in our driveway. I spent Monday stacking most of it. I say "Monday" because the pile collapsed twice before I figured out how to arrange it properly. I must say, for my first woodpile it looks pretty good! :) Now if we could keep Montana from chewing on it...

The new experience to come: pressure canning. I put by a fair amount of tomatoes in the freezer last year, but I'm hoping to put even more by this year, and we don't have enough freezer space. Particularly because I want to put by blanched greens and squashes, and whatever else I can get in there. So, I spent Tuesday night agonizing over the purchase of a pressure canner. I have to say, it's a little anxiety inducing.

The reading I've been doing seems to spend a lot of time warning of impending botulistic doom if things are not PRECISELY right in the canning. This doesn't instill a lot of confidence in the newbie. Then, online reviews of the less expensive canners I looked at all seemed to have at least one reviewer saying, "First use, the thing exploded." Now, I don't know about you, but that sounds like a nightmare. So I doubled the purchase price and bought one that had absolutely no reviews about explosions. In fact, the only negative review said this canner takes too long to cool down and is heavy. I can live with that.

Now if the tomatoes would only ripen...

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