Wednesday, October 03, 2007

It never rains but it pours...

When it comes to crises, that is. The main 'stead wagon, Pearl the 99 Outback, went in for a routine oil change and a check-up on some ongoing issues. Well....a hefty chunk of change later, and she should be good for another 5 or more years. Brakes, a bevy of assorted gaskets & seals, and the tensioner and idler that the timing belt spins around. Amazing how much car repairs cost, but still much cheaper than a new car. And our main 'stead dog, Stew, went to the vet today, as he's been feeling poorly and limping the past few days. Turns out he may have torn some ligaments in his knee. He & Fergus have some vicious roughhousing sessions, and it looks like the Corgi has scored some hit points on mighty Stew. So now he has to be sedentary for 3 weeks, plus take assorted medications, to see if he heals on his own. If not, we're looking at surgery for the big guy.
In the meantime, we are starting to put the garden to bed. Not much left but chard, lettuce, spinach, beets, carrots, potatoes and the last peppers under their little plastic tent. Some of the peppers went into a batch of chili, which I canned the other night. I've never canned chili before, and it went great.
The pressure canner we have was a yard sale find from our neighbor. He tested it out and even showed me how to use it. It's a '70's Presto brand, but still works like a champ.

Can you see why we want to build a canning kitchen? Not much elbow room or counter space here, and heaven forbid both of us want to work in the kitchen at the same time.
Here's the impromptu bean processing area - the hearth. Usually dry beans are ready to harvest when it's hot & dry, so we put them in the greenhouse to finish drying. This makes the pods crack open so shelling them is easy. Bit this time around it stayed cold & wet and we had to pick them greener and set them next to the fire to dry. So now we shell a few every night and let the beans finish shrinking up in the cardboard trays. Not so fun in our tiny house, but that's farm life. We're planning a taste test between the 2 varieties soon.
We also went to the county planning office today, to see what our options are for the new garage. Turns out we straight up can't put in a mother-in-law apartment with our garage. Just plain can't. Our house was the original homestead for the 40 acres behind us, but as our title paperwork shows, the land was chopped up and sold off over time. Now we have a tiny percentage of the 'stead, and it's too small to allow a separate apartment according to the county. We have some ideas for workarounds that will suit our needs, and we're having fun plowing through plans before we go talk to the bank.

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