I have been a planting and harvesting fool this week. The garlic and potato onions are all in, although I do want to order more of the onions. They produced well and seem to be storing just fine. I have the number for the Seed Saver’s Exchange and I’ll be able to get them there. I find that my garlic looks better each year as it adapts to the soil in my garden I planted some huge cloves. For the money, garlic, which has so many medicinal and culinary uses can’t be beat. Another big winner is my kale. The plants are gorgeous and this is one nutritional powerhouse. I have dried three Excalibur loads so far. It will keep well in the garden for several more months anyway but I love the convenience of dried kale. Last night I made pizza. While I was simmering the sauce I added a handful of dried Italian spices and then, at the request of my DIL, powdered up a cup of the dried kale. You could not see or taste it but the vitamins were there. Most people can grow kale. It looks great as a border planting so even HOA’s that refuse to let you grow food will probably be none the wiser if you have a few kale plants as ornamentals.

The sink was installed in my summer kitchen last night. Bruce will finish the grey water collection system in the next day or two and then install an on-demand hot water heater. I pine for a solar hot water system but it’s not in the cards right now. The counter looks great. I’ve been canning up a storm out there already but running water will make it so much easier.

I have a new favorite canning book. I picked up a copy of Better Homes and Gardens Can It! yesterday at Lowes. Any book with recipes for jam that calls for port deserves a place on my bookshelf. I went to Lowes to get canning jars for 1/2 price. They had no jars and give no rain checks. If you plan on making a trip for this deal, call first. A friend (thank Michelle) is going to the Lowes in West Springfield to look. I hope she can get a couple of cases for me.

My kids are moving into their new home next week and it goes back to being just the four of us around here. I’ll miss them dreadfully but we all need our own space again. I started the big clean out already. That means spending some time making up my all natural, non-toxic cleaners. I am looking for a product called Lemmi (I think that’s the name). Have any of you ever heard of it. I think it’s a citric acid type of product. I’ll check the ingredient label and maybe I can just substitute plain citric acid for it. Do any of you have any favorite cleaning tips or recipes? I’m looking to expand my cleaning pantry.

The economic and political news continues to look worrisome. I hope that you are all doing what you can to reduce expenses and have some food put aside. If you find yourself out of work, even for a few weeks, a deep pantry will really help you over the hump. It could well be a long winter. Food prices are crazy around here. Learning to make do with less and to cook form scratch are your best inflation hedges.

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