Simplicity by Choice

Off-Grid Living & Self-Reliance

Autumn Canning & Crafting November 7, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — ourprairiehome @ 8:30 pm

I had a wonderful, albeit short, weekend with my husband. He was home from the road for 2 days. We make the most of his time home. I will admit though that I miss him terribly when he is gone. I stay busy and get through the time we are apart, but it isn’t always easy.

Autumn is in full force now. Leaves are getting colorful on the trees and the temperatures are becoming cooler. We already have had a freeze one night. I have been canning more meals for the pantry. A store in the city north of us had their bi-annual truckload meat sale. I traveled up there to get as much as we were able. Not having a freezer, this meant needing to home can the entire amount. I bought a lot of beef cut up into chunks for stew meat and a large amount of ground beef. I roasted the stew meat in a deep roasting pan until nearly done. I then packed the jars and divided up the beef broth between all of the jars. I added a small amount of water to finish filling them. This made a nice broth to be used with the meat later on. For the ground beef, I made into meatballs and baked them. I packed them into jars without any liquid. A few of the smaller jars of meatballs were canned with spaghetti sauce. I made shepherd pie one night for our dinner. We had enough left after the meal to can the extra in pint sized jars. These will make a nice quick lunch later on.

Canning left overs is a big part of our winter pantry stocking. Most of the meals in the cold months are soups or stews of some sort. I always make extra, sometimes a large stock pot full. We always end up with enough left to jar up for the pantry. I do this with any soup or stew that does not contain rice or dairy. I can up some in pints for my husband to take on the truck with him and some in quarts for use at home. Either way, it makes for some good quick meals.

In my crafting I have been working on holiday gifts. It is fun to make all the gifts instead of buying. Hard part is making the gifts without anyone guessing what you are making and who it is for. With so many of us, it is difficult to have the privacy needed to keep it completely secret. So, I just work on the projects and say nothing. Some are quicker than others to make. I don’t think I have a favorite though. I enjoy making all types of things. If I did have a favorite, it would be the practical gifts more than the fanciful ones. I love giving gifts that will get a lot of use. Maybe that is why I like to make blankets and clothing more than anything else. I know that they will get a lot of use.

I found a pattern for Christmas stockings a few years ago and am working on making them. That is my “secret project” this year. I am trying to make one for each family member that will be here for the holiday. The pattern can be put together like a pieced quilt or using a single fabric. I am making some from fleece and others are quilted. Each will have fabric patterns or a quilt block design that makes the stocking personal to the individual receiving it. Whether it is a sports team or other interests, I am hoping to choose themes for each person’s stocking that they will enjoy. I am loving the process of finding that theme for each person.

One craft that I am greatly wanting to learn is to knit. This craft has eluded me for years now. I try it, but to no avail. I am determined to figure it out. I like the various projects that knitting will allow me to make. One project being hand knitted socks. I am wanting to increase my crafting horizons. I have had someone recommend that I learn using larger needles. I may give that a go and see what comes of it.

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