Wednesday, September 8, 2010

First post...Pears or Chickens?

Well, here I am in blog-land...I don't know who really is that interested in the daily life around here on Dew Thyme Farm, but for those of you who are, here you go! For my first post I was torn; write about the preserving pear project or the massive chicken coop cleaning, both which got accomplished today. (yes, life around here is BUSY! and I love it that way. "Don't put off for tomorrow what you can get done today" has been my motto as of late.)  I've decided on the preserving project because 1) Sadly, today is the last big day of preserving our food. I have been canning and freezing like crazy for the last few weeks, but it is slowly coming to an end. Too bad for you, I started this blog so late in the season! Don't worry though, there's always next year's posts....And 2) I know there will be plenty chicken posts to come, that's a given.  

Pears were never in my radar for preserving this year. I just happened to stumble upon them. Well, actually I was at the local fruit market, Johnston's (which I love!), picking up a bushel of apples to preserve my applesauce for the year and Logan wanted me to buy him a quart of fresh Asian pears. I did, of course, then as I was heading home I realized, "Hey, I love canned pears. I like em even more then fresh!" (I got really excited at the thought of canning pears, haha! Woo Hoo!) And there you have it, as soon as I got home I called Johnston's and ordered a 1/2 bushel of pears. That was on Thursday, I picked up the pears yesterday (Tuesday) and today they are all preserved...16 quarts of sliced pears, 5 jelly jars of pear honey and two quarts and a pint of pear juice. I know, I know, who drinks pear juice!?!?!? Well, evidently we are going to, I just hate seeing anything usable go to waste!
So this morning, I decided that since James was home and able to watch the children, I would start preserving the pears first thing after breakfast....I should have know though, I'd have at least one helper! At first I was leery, as any experienced preserver knows, it was going to be a long morning cutting, peeling and coring pears, and I didn't want Logan in the way, slowing the down process. After all, that is why I decided to do this when James was here to entertain the kids.  Don't get me wrong, I love cooking and baking with Logan as my sidekick but there were a lot of pears and I wanted to get this done before bedtime! To my surprise though, it worked out great. Logan cut the pears in half then I peeled and cored them. We laughed as we got squirted in the face with pear juice and really enjoyed such a special bonding time. Who knew!?!?!? Mama lesson #211 learned, just be in the moment! A wonderfully awesome time was had together and special memories were made. I love the way that works, when you let go of your expectations and ride the wave of the moment.
16 quarts of preserved Asian pears

Now any other mother of two children, under three years old, and who's husband had a meeting he conveniently had to jet off to in the middle of my preserving project, would think that 16 quarts was plenty of preserving for the day. But no, not me! I want nothing to go to waste. And, if you recall from the description of the picture with Logan, I had to peel all of those pears. I surely can do something with all those peelings! (again I'm super excited, this time to make something from the "waste" haha!) And I did put those peelings to good use; pear honey!
peelings simmering
pressing out the juice from the peelings

I have to admit that I am a novice when it comes to fruit-honey making. This is the third batch of fruit honey I have attempted to make and still, it is not the correct consistency. My first batch was over cooked; I burned it...long story...nuff said. The second batch wasn't boiled long enough and turned out thin and runny. This batch, although cooked longer then the last but shorter then the first, is still too thin. For us to use it's okay, I use it in tea or spoon it to the kids when they have soar throats, but I am disappointed. I wouldn't want to use it to barter for straw, for instance. I will say though, it does look pretty in the jelly jars.
As a last minute whim, I decided to preserve pear juice as well, because again, nothing can go to waste. When I made the pear honey, I squeezed way more juice out of those peelings (goodness, I sure press them! I guess it's good therapy. Rivaling kneading bread, haha!) then the recipe called for. So, logically, I went ahead and canned that too and now have two quarts and one pint of canned pear juice. Waste not, want not...right? 

So, overall, this day on the farm was one of many with lessons to be learned. First, don't ever underestimate the help and awesome company a three year old can give you, even when the task seems too great for someone of that age. God knows what He is doing when He sets us up in certain situations. JUST GO WITH THE FLOW! =) Secondly, from this day, I once again have learned to make the most of what I have and don't be lazy about it. By doing this, I learn to be grateful for what I have. I could have canned my 16 quarts of pears and called it a day, throwing the rest away as trash. But instead I got 5 jelly jars of pear honey, which I use as medicine when my children are sick, and juice for my family to drink. It was all right there for me, waiting for me to utilize it. All I had to do was keep the possibilities open.

And for all of you hoping to see a chicken post, that was a story in itself! Maybe next time it will make the blog, but here is a glimpse...
bantam laying a tiny egg
red star showing sign of submission to Lillian
our silky rooster


  1. I need to learn from you how to do fruit honeys...

    I just need to say that lots of people drink pear juice, including me! In EVERY country I have been to it has been as common a juice drink as apple or orange. And need a juicer!

  2. I have a juicer!!! I need to just dust it off! Thanks for posting =) <3 <3

  3. Jeanette, it is super duper easy. You take the juice from your pears or peaches or whatever fruit you are going to use and boil it. about 4 cups. once it is boiling, add 2 cups of honey or 1 cup of honey and 1 cup of sugar. Let it boil down until it is the right consistency. That is the hard part for me because I know that once it cools it will thicken so I tend to under simmer it evidently. Then pour it into jars, plop in water bath for about 7 minutes and there you have it =)