Winter is coming.. Pantry is loaded.. and I am planning for 2016

Yup, seems like a odd thing to be doing right..

I keep reading homesteading blogs that are all about hay for the winter, wood for the stoves and talking about how much snow they are going to get..

(I have my winter supply of hay, straw, plus hay banked at other barns, We are set for our heat and snow is snow.. we have the tools and we live in Canada, and I have barns for all my critters)

I am busy canning, busy still bringing in the last of garden less then 2 percent till to come, my freezers are full, going to need to turn on another one for the meat butchering and do a lot more canning for meat yet, the pantry and root cellar is full of hundred and hundreds of pounds of food.

All my garden seeds are done for the year, the last set was dried, bagged and labelled and put into storage for winter. The seed potatoes are set apart, the best sweets for slips are placed carefully, the things that are to be overwintered, are bedded down, and the garden is not put to bed yet but its a slow process to get all the plants laid down, and the loads of manure added for overwintering, but as the pens are finished out from around the farm, and then will start back up again in the deep pack method till spring cleanout.

We are working on topping up a couple areas and I intend to expand some areas as well.. plus as things die back, I am hoping to get the chance to run the mower over a few things yet before the snow comes.

Which currently leaves me on pantry patrol, Anything not used that was canned 2007 or later is being cleaned, looked at, feed to the pigs and the jars washed for reuse.. I figure if I have not eaten it in the last 7 years, its not something that we are using.. Then counts are being made of what we do have, and a combo of these counts and what I have saved for seed will be what and how I plan and figure out next years garden.

Some things are easy.. I have a very good idea of how many tomato plants I need, anything over 50 is golden.. anything less and hmmm, I might need to worry a touch on if I will get enough for the year..

But other things are a bit more touchy, example.. corn.. Now the length of the cob and the amount of corn per stalk can change depending on the type, so while I know how many pints I need to put up per year for us, I need to overplant between fresh eating and a little unknown data on production to make sure I can do up a one year supply.

Ah, and there is the catch.. depending on the pantry, some things still need to ideally be planted for a two year supply instead of a one, and on other things, I only need to plant enough to do fresh eating, with a half year supply for a top up in the panty..

My stats are slowly coming in for this tracking year, some things are very good and others are a touch lacking but its safe to say, that I will once again make the 2000 to 3000 pounds of food for the household use, and at least 2000 pounds plus for the critters use.

Side note, I did find it interesting that when we went though and emptied over 60 jars to date from 2007 and longer for the pig use, not a single jar was bad, not a single jar had popped its lid, not a single jar had anything wrong with the food in it, other then color and in a rare case as tiny amount of texture change.. it was all good. I had rust on the outside of the lids, but I had not lost a single inside part..

I am trying a new plan of dipping the lids in canning wax to prevent rusting of the lids in the damp cellar in summer, even with venting, the summers are bad here for dampness.

This is worth noting because so many folks talk about a 10 to 25 percent loss on many sites and they are talking about 1 to 2 year old canning. not seven to ten year old canning..  I often wonder why they get such loss, sometimes I think its storage issues, other times, I wonder if its a missing thing in the process, example, the books call for ripping the rim with water to check it, but I always use hot vinager when I do the rim.. I always leave more of a head space then a lot of other folks and I am old school in regards to sugar, salt and acid levels.

So tell me, are you doing a pantry count at your place, are you finishing up your seeds or do you have things all over, are you pretty much done your garden canning, are you gearing up for fall butcher, are you hunting to fill the freezer. Are you going to be figuring out your garden and seed order in the next few weeks like I will be..

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One Response to Winter is coming.. Pantry is loaded.. and I am planning for 2016

  1. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Yup, dipping the sealer tops in paraffin sounds like a great idea for keeping your lids rust free, alright (bet it’ll be a little interesting to get the wax off of the jar threads afterward though, hey?; )
    Speaking of old-time recipes, years ago, I made a REALLY big batch-size of Cucumber Relish that I sealed (inside the jar) with paraffin and it lasted 20+ years. As a matter of fact, I finally ate the last jar of it last January. (The top 1/2″ was a little discoloured, so it went in the mulch pail; )

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