Vacation Becomes Food Preservation

So I had a vacation scheduled beginning Friday.  I had asked for this time off probably close to 1 year ago to go to my mother’s family cabin and go to the Pioneer Power show in Union Gap.  But then the fires happened and threatened our cabin.  Here is a map of the Schneider Springs Fire blowing up on Thursday.


But by Friday morning it had slowed down some.


So a back up plan was created to go to our Boles trailer and go to the show from there.  But then it was terribly smokey there.  So we decided to stay home.  Here is Tom doing  our daily dog obedience.


I started focusing one using the garden’s bounty.  The “chicks” enjoyed a pumpkin.

chicks and pumpkin

I made some Canlis French Dressing using our mint and oregano,


and a bunch of salads with it.  The lettuce, greens, tomatoes, and cucumbers are from our garden, just the cheese is purchased.


I had noticed that the peaches had become quite ripe.  So Saturday I proceeded to can them.  Here is part of my assembly line.

peach canning assembly

I canned 22 quarts of peaches.  And there was a lot that was given to the pigs as well plus another box of peaches not quite ripe yet.  If we had gone on our vacation the peaches would have rotted so I guess it is good that we stayed home.

22 quarts of peaches

I was still trying to make a vacation of my time off.  So we headed out to dinner at the Chuckanut Manor to the west of us.  We were able to sit on the outside balcony and watch the sunset over the San Juan Islands.


It was a truly wonderful dinner.  I was so happy there.  Plus we had a great waitress which was fun.

Sunday I started to ferment some cucumbers and put them next to the crock of fermenting cauliflower.

crocks of cauliflower and cucumbers

It kept trying to rain over the weekend, but this is all we had to show for it.  But any moisture is good.


We decided to try some winter gardening this year.  In the past it has been a failure due to flooding, but our drainage is a little better now.  So I started some onion seeds (and noticed that the seed covers had melted in our heat wave).  We also planted carrots, peas, radishes and beets.

melted seed covers

Then we took a break and went to the Alger Farmers Market.  There were a lot of the vendors form the Bow market that we used to sell at.  It was nice to catch up with everyone again.


We took Ryeleigh with us, and she was a big hit.  She totally fell in love with this girl.


This is an accidental photo, but I thought it was kind of interesting.


Then we went to Tom’s sister’s house to pick plums.  Their dog Ruby wanted to play with Ryeleigh, but she was being nervous.  They finally did get some playing in though.


After picking the plums we headed toward Acme to check on some fruit trees.  Here is one of Tom’s favorite trees, but it is not quite ripe yet.


Here are some abandoned plum trees that we pick each year.  They also aren’t quite ready.


And finally this really old abandoned tree, also not ready.  But very soon we will have our work cut out for us.


So Tammy’s plums were the only fruit we brought home.


But I did have my loot from the market:  handspun yarn, coffee, dog treat jar, dog treats, watermelon and green beans


When we came home, we noticed a dinosaur in our yard.  It is supposed to be a house toy.


I then proceeded to process the plums for wine.  It was a long evening.


Monday started with the chores, like always.

peacocks on roof

But I did get some zucchini slices in the dehydrator to chips.

zucchini on dehydrator

Then in the afternoon I went to get my third coronavirus shot.  I qualified as being immunocompromised.  It was a chore to get an appointment, but I was able to get one in La Conner.  Here is the vaccination waiting area with a cool display of old pharmacy paraphernalia.


And here I am after my shot.  I was so relieved to be able to get it.


I did some shopping after the shot and then went home to do more wine work.

plum wine started

But then we drove to Whidbey Island,


to go to a drive in movie theater.


It is the Blue Fox Theater and it is one of 5 left in the state.  They have a new bar there which we checked out.


Then we watched the movie.  They had a Quick Draw McGraw cartoon on which was fun.


The movie was Free Guy.  Sadly both Tom and I fell asleep before it was over.  But we still had a great time.


Today I dehydrated some of our herbs.  It was tarragon, sage, parsley and thyme.

thyme parsley sage and tarragon in dehydrator

I also made some beef bone broth which I will freeze.

beef bone broth

I have been freezing our abundance of cherry tomatoes, hopefully to be able to use later.


For dinner I made a tart (without the crust) with our chard and green onions.

img_4290Tomorrow it is back to work, and my “vacation” is over.  But we were able to do some fun summery things in amongst all of the farm work.  And I used the preservation techniques of canning, feeding, dehydrating and fermenting.  So all in all it was OK.

But I would have preferred to go to the cabin and the show.  Our cabin is still intact, and they have dropped us to a Level 2 evacuation.  In fact this mornings update stated “The uncontained fire perimeter in the area of Bumping River Road and the Naches River corridor is a focus for structure protection efforts although the fire is only minimally active in those areas at this time” so that is great news!

P.S.  We are listening to a marathon of Rolling Stones songs.  One of our favorite radio stations is playing all Stones through Labor Day in tribute to Charlie Watts.  I must say that they are my band.  I learned to love them as a child, mostly thanks to my step-dad.  They helped him through the Vietnam War so just for that reason they are impressive.  We would drive to the same cabin singing to their songs on tape.  I have seen them in concern three times.  The first when I was a teenager at the KingDome.  The second time was at the Key Arena with Tom.  And the last time was at Desert Trip.  Each time they were amazing.  I just don’t think it will be the same without Charlie.  R.I.P.

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10 Responses to Vacation Becomes Food Preservation

  1. Juanita says:

    The Stones have been relentless in performing through the years. Charles’ passing plays a deep “bong” in my heart. Your peaches look magnificent. Soooooglad you got your booster vaccine! Hope to actually see you soon, on a zoom, or in a room. In the meantime, take care of yourself and enjoy life!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Juanita! Sorry about the bong. It’s the end of an era. I hope to see you as well. I believe I am in the list for the spring retreat. So we shall see if it happens.

  2. mcfwriter says:

    You’ve been BUSY! I’m so impressed! I’ve kind of given up on preserving here – my kitchen is so tiny and it’s just not fun. Before my chest freezer died i used to do more, but even just blanching the vegetables was so tedious in such a tiny space. My previous kitchen is the only thing I miss about living in Sammamish! Glad you got your booster shot! ~Maureen

  3. You’ve done a LOT of preserving! I traded my round plastic dehydrator to someone for their stainless steel one, but I am not happy so far with the stainless steel model. I might have to trade back.

  4. Jeanne says:

    Well ratzenphooies! My comment disappeared! It was long and probably boring!

    I’m so glad you got that booster! I keep wondering if my 1st #1 daughter would qualify for one. We will ask our PCP.

    More in an email.

  5. grosbeak57 says:

    I am going to try making plum wine this year. Would you have advice or a yeast you would recommend (or not recommend)? Thanks, Lorrie

    • Donna says:

      I use a recipe from a fruit wine book called Making Wild Wines and Meads. I use Lalvin EC-1118 yeast. For our plum wines I am using half the sugar they recommend to be better able to ferment to dry. Have fun!

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