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8/28/17

Off Grid Prefab House Dispenses Life Advice And Canning Tips Over A Solar Eclipse. With Hawks!

In August, canning is part of my daily routine as we ready for the upcoming winter, living off grid in the modern prefab house.
I start the day with breakfast, start a sauce, salsa, or jam, get the Pips on school, pour cooked whatever into jars, pressure can it, turn it off, fix lunch, and then we head out for the rest of the day filled with adventure!
But believe it or not, (it's hard to believe) soon it will be winter.
All that summer canning will come in handy!
(Especially when we're snowed in!)

Living off grid in a modern prefab house, it is practical to have as many canned goods as possible because our off grid refrigerator is tiny, and traditionally our off grid freezer is used primarily for meat, with any extra room for vegetables that freeze well that aren't as fresh when canned, like corn or sometimes when you just want fresh berries vs. jam.
Canning is great in a small foot print home as well, because I can store flats of tomato sauce and jam and vegetables in every nook and cranny, under beds, in the back of closets... tidy, accessible, but making use of every inch of space in the prefab house without needing ginormous energy hog appliances to keep food safely.
I have been working on pasta sauces and salsas. This week I moved into jams.

I've been musing on life as I can...
This is not just for spouses, but family and friends.
It is Copeland's Life Philosophy As If We Were All Off Grid Solar Battery Banks.
So here you go:

Love Is Like A Battery Bank
Each time you surge a use of energy, that level drops. 100%. 87%. 62%. 43%... 0.
Even with the sun shining, it takes a LOT of sunshine to get it back up... Even then, regularly, YOU NEED TO EQUALIZE- which means not only up to 100%, but to give MORE, as things balance out to EQUAL happy energy.

When you use up energy and life is an average mix of sun and clouds, the battery bank remains at the level your power usage left it. And then to deplete that storage again...using energy instead of charging, the bank drops.

If you go below 50%, it's hard to recover.
Don't let it go below where there is less than more stored love, ok?

WHILE I'M AT IT, here is also some more life advice:
You Are Not Allowed To Scold, MUCH LESS TRAP WITH YOUR BARE HANDS, Furious Hawks.
Yes, you heard me right: you are not allowed to bare-handedly catch a full grown angry hawk after it kills your chicken, toss it on its back, jab a tree branch over it so its talons grip that instead of your head, pin its wings to the ground and yell, "BUT SHE WAS MYYYYYY CHICKEN FIRST!"
Jest sayin'.
There are things I thought I would never have to say to my child, but we do now have a rule that you're not allowed to catch raptors with your bare hands and yell at them.

With all these musings, we solar eclipsed, back on the bay.
No pictures did it justice. Plus I had the photo settings all wrong. It was awesome.
Who needs fancy-schmancy solar glasses
when you have boxes and boxes
of canning tomatoes
from which to make
pinhole cameras?
We made a bunch!
Plenty for everyone!

Sharing the solar view.

Solar leaf patterns from our favorite tree.

Recipes:
Copeland's Corn Pie Inspired By Trinidad 
Make pie crust with lots of herbs in it like thyme and oregano, line the pie tin. In a large pan, sautee diced onion & sausage (we use turkey sausage to make it alpha gal friendly) until onions are soft, then add corn, diced red and green peppers, minced hot pepper.

Once that's all hot and cooked to your liking (I like to let the corn sit then stir so it chars a little) add in some lime, chili powder, and milk. Once the milk is steaming you can turn off the heat and stir in salt &  pepper. Let that mess completely cool, then stir in cheddar cheese, beaten eggs, some fresh parsley if you like, and pour into the pie pan.
Cook at 350.

Fig Canary Jam 
Pick figs, quarter. Add in equal amount of diced canary melon, then lime zest, lemon juice, sugar and cook while mushing up everything (or cheat: get a hand held blender and have at it when no one's looking! Pulse it and try to leave a lot of pieces so it's not just puree.).
Pressure can at 11lbs 10 min.

(This would be AWESOME alone or with added minced poblanos or another hot pepper over a cheese as an app, or to glaze seafood like scallops!)

Peach Canary Jam
Same idea, just with white peaches (blanched and skin slipped off) and lime juice, no zest.

Note on jams:
I don't use pectin because our 14 year old likes to dig a spoon into a jam jar and remove the jam as if a popsicle and eat it. NO SIR, for that you get NO PECTIN so that my "jam" is a thick syrup so that instead of a JAMSICLE, your momma drizzles the jam over yer toast since you can't be trusted.

ALSO making syrupy jam means we can use it super easily for many other purposes- often in meat roasts, to glaze seafood, over blocks of cheese... YUM!

Momma's Mussels
Get fresh, fresh mussels.
In a pot saute in olive oil (I'd use butter but am not due to our alpha gal girl) loads of sliced garlic, minced onion, perfectly ripe tomatoes. Pull out seafood stock you made from the freezer (Hint: whenever you pick crabs or shell shrimp, put the remnants, excluding anything you'd discard, in a bowl in the freezer until full. Then simmer everything in water for at least an hour with vegetables in the fridge until reduced and you have a broth, and freeze. Taaaa daaaaa!). Melt it in the veggies, and when it's all smelling delicious add at the last minute the mussels, some fresh minced garlic, salt and pepper, and any fresh herbs like parsley you have on hand. Cook until mussels open and serve, preferably with fresh bread made by Papi!
Hope y'all have a great week.

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