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Good Grief!!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Today started off like most of my Thursdays. Make coffee, start the laundry, feed and let out the chickens, walk the garden and harvest whatever is ready.....I collected two beautiful heads of broccoli for tonight's supper, and a huge basket of collards. I figured I'd go to the grocery store when the washer stopped. Get in the car - Won't start. Bugger!

Now, mind you, I this happened in December, and I had the alternator replaced. Then, around New Years, it happened again.....I had the car towed back to my mechanic - Bad alternator, but under warranty, but needed two serpentine belts replaced. Today, I almost lost it! I called my mechanic, and he said it has to be the battery. The battery that I had AAA replace less than a year ago. I told him I'd call AAA and get the battery replaced. Thank God it was still under warranty!!

So - finally off to the store and home again. I'd put the collards on to soak before I left for the store, so they were ready to process when I got back home. I had enough to can 6 pints, not enough for a full canner load, so I pulled out a package of kidney beans from the pantry and jarred them up. You can process different things in the same canning batch so long as they require the same processing time. Dried beans, meat, sweet potatoes and greens all require 75 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts.

Today was a lovely, partly cloudy, hot day - 81 degrees. Last year was unseasonably cold. This year, it's been unseasonably warm! Go figure! I try to get my gardening in first thing while it's cool, just like I do in the late Spring and Fall. Harvest in the morning, weed in late morning when the dew has dried a bit, and water late in the evening. I'd be hesitant to overhead water late - that promotes disease and fungus here in humid Central Florida, but using buried drip tape, the water is at the roots and doesn't get on the leaves. I'm amazed at the difference it makes in plant growth and development.

I was also graced with another calendula blossom, with several more to follow.

Tomorrow this one will be ready to pick.

I let them dry for a couple of days in the house, and then finish them off in the dehydrator. Calendula is very medicinal. Very soothing to the skin, too. The dried petals can be used in soap, lotions and creams. I'll most likely use them to infuse olive or coconut oil and use them in my next batch of soap.

Tomorrow morning, I'll be making bread, so I've got to get started first thing.


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