Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Labor Day Means No Labor Right?

Labor Day weekend, which to most people would mean a trip to their cabin up north, the last camping trip of the year, a day at the beach? 

At our house it means that we need to get some things done!

Canning tomatoes is a labor intensive fete!  I had picked several gallon bags of tomatoes and just washed and froze them whole.  Remember I mentioned that we ended up with those pear looking grape tomatoes instead of Romas which we wanted.  I also purchased a box of tomatoes.  With the heat and humidity the past few days as fast as I was blanching the tomatoes they were actually rotting.  The ones I froze, because I didn't blanch them I would cut off the end and squeeze and they would pop right out!  Oh yeah!

Anyway I cooked them down, then put them through the Victorio! 

Yep she is old, she is heavy and some parts are a bit rusty.  Did I mention that I own 3?  Well I gave one to my mom last year so I am down to 2.  This girl will remove the tomato seeds, and any peel or pithy stuff quickly after you cook your tomatoes down for a while.  She is not a joy to clean but the difference she makes far outweighs the cleaning challenges.  Also works great for making tomato soup, apple sauce or even jellies.  I hear there is another strainer which is smaller that you can make strawberry jelly with instead of cheese cloth straining. 

So for a time reference this was a whole day for me just getting that part accomplished.

Sunday was the oldest grandson's birthday party!  He turned 7!  I cannot believe how much he has grown and how quickly.  Nope no pictures, too much commotion with all the people who attended.  On the way home the MIL spotted a stand that was selling White Half Runner Beans so we stopped and bought a bushel for her.  Now those beans you have to actually "string" which is snap the end and pull the string at the seam down one side, then snap off the other end and pull the string off the other side.  By the time we drove home I had probably manged to string about 1/5 th of the bushel to help her.

Monday was sauce day...start the sauce cooking, throw in onions, garlic, basil, oregano, pepper, and some parsley and cook the tomatoes down until they are a nice thick sauce which takes about 8 hours.  Then you can !

Fourteen quarts and three pints later tomato sauce.  I ran out of quart jars, so I guess I am thankful for the tomatoes that rotted while I was blanching which I threw away. 

While I was doing this....DH was mowing, and digging holes. 

The girls have a big waterer.  Too big for me to carry far.  Plus when the cold weather hits no more water from the spigots on the side of the house.  I wanted water closer to the gardens and had been asking about what they call hydrants.  For those who don't know a hydrant is a water line that does not leave water in the line, but drains it out which prevents it from freezing.  You install them much like you do faucets outside  and away from the house but there is rock and gravel at the bottom of the hole about 2-3 feet further down that when the hydrant is shut off it drains out of the pipe into that rock and gravel.  We decided if we ran the line with the lines that feed the boiler we should not have problems with it freezing so DH was digging holes trying to find where the lines ran out to the boiler and intersect them.  Once he found those he started stringing the line from the  basement out to where the new hydrant would be.  The original lines for the boiler were run in a corrugated  pipe and there was enough room to run the new line through that pipe too!  So at least no trench digging! But then DH needed help.

 I was sent to the dragon cave.  This is only about 4 foot high.  It is where the old cellar doors used to go into the basement but someone had the brilliant idea that they needed a sun porch instead so the cellar doors were removed.  Um yeah not a well planned out move especially since there is an old rotting oil tank in the basement, a huge old freezer, and a couple of washers that don't work that have no way of ever being removed since  the narrow stairway  is only about 24 inches wide. 
So DH was outside laying on his stomach with his head in the hole about  100 feet from the house.  I was sitting on my bum in the dragon cave pushing and pulling that blue pipe you see into the hole and we were talking on the cell phone.  Didn't take us long and we had it in place.  We make a great team!


So Labor Day weekend was for us just that a weekend full of labor, but we spent some time with family and we got things accomplished which is always a great day!


  1. I can see why it's called Labour Day now!

  2. Our weekend was full of chores too :) Looks like you have been more productive with your tomatoes than I though! I have been canning some pizza sauce with them the last couple of days :) We use a bucket to fill our waterer, a hydrant would be nice but they really aren't too far from the house spigot as they remind me when they escape into my flower beds. distance is relative though because it is certainly far enough in the snow!

  3. Wow, you were busy! My labor day was spent writing lesson plans, grading papers and etc., Saturday was spent in Springfield getting new glasses which they did not have in stock. Since I live an hour away, they have to mail them to me. :(

  4. That was a lot of work. Quite an accomplishment. I am tending newly neutered dog. At least I know what he weighs, 75 pounds, 9 months old. Ms. Vet doesn`t know what he`s mixed with cause he is so big.. Lab mixed with /unknown critter. Goody.

  5. I love those kind of hydrants, what we had when I was a kid.


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