Sarah Soleil

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since Nov 29, 2022
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Slowly learning what to do with just under 2 acres of forest and overgrown, old fruit trees
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Western WA
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Recent posts by Sarah Soleil

Alt title:
These Ikea tree instructions suck .

Alt-alt title:
My Firewood is too long for my woodstove.

I got a load of firewood for only the 2nd time. We moved in in January, used up wood that was left behind and got a half cord to make it through the coldest days. I just had 2 cords delivered and they are just a bit too long for the fireplace.

Is chainsawing them the only option?
Is it common for fireplace inserts to be too small?  

I don't know how we lucked out and got short wood last time!  I do eventually want to redo the fireplace but it seems like all inserts have about the same specs?  

4 months ago

Jay Angler wrote:

When I was trying to leave the peels in, I painstakingly squished the insides out of the peel, cooked and de-seeded the insides, and then added the peel back in. When I realized I could use my ricer to deseed and squish as much goodness out of the peel as possible, I decided my time was worth it!

So some peel gets ground up into the jam, and a bunch ends up going to the chickens along with all the seeds! The jam tastes good, so that's "good enough" - perfection is for people who are fussier than I am!

I think I'll sttick to somethin like this next time. A ricer, grater or a sieve would be so much simpler compared to the mess the other thing made.

I'd adjust my texture a little more too and chop up the peels a little more. Some of them managed to stay almost wholly intact or in one very long spiral, it's like finding a slimy hair on my toast.
4 months ago

Jeremy VanGelder wrote: I don't know if there is a way to run grape juice through a food mill. But that wasn't it.

Just the little bit I did for jam was absolute chaos. The seeds got jammed into the drill part, juice was leaking out of EVERYTHING, I was not thrilled with how much of the peel ended up as discard, and the SPLASHING.... at least I am more confident than ever that I need to paint my kitchen something other than white. (Oops)
5 months ago
I made a batch of jam and it was pretty good.
It's the recipe from Ball. Peel half of 8 cups of grapes, cook the peeled + remaining unpeeled,  food mill (the seeds got choked in the drill and were quite the event to pry out), then cook all together with the peels and sugar.    
I'm not totally sure I love that much chunky peel but the taste and color are ammmmmmmmmmazing. I'm getting more half pint jars and trying that again.  
5 months ago
I was gifted about 20-25 pounds of grapes. Mostly concord and another unknown, but seeded variety. (Sweeter and more red but not as grapey tasting.)  The same lovely person has also lent me a ton of tools for canning including a steamer for juicing.

I *thought* I was going to just be happy making juice but then I heard about making jam or jelly from the leftover pulp. Is that a thing? Some sources say grapes are the one thing you can't use like that but without explanation. IS there a way?

I also have a food mill. Is it better to make juice through that?  
5 months ago
Have you tried the non pressure water bath ones like this? I've read that they say not to use them with glass tops because they don't heat up enough???
5 months ago
I moved in under a year ago and this massive apple was overgrown with blackberries. It took some time to even get in to realize that it had fallen over some time in the past. I'd guess 6+ years ago based on some of the branches growing straight up from limbs that were previously not parallel to the ground.  (And what I know about previous residents.)

It blossomed in patches this spring and only set fruit on one side. The apples are absolutely amazing. (Paradise if my plant ID app is to be believed.) Huge, fragrant, sweet. The tree is decades old.

While I hate the idea of getting rid of such a conceptually wonderful tree, it IS in a prime gardening location. If it's going to be a lost cause, I'd rather clear it off soon.
My inclination is to, at the very least, cut away the side that isn't producing fruit and see how the rest goes next year.

I'd love a miracle that would keep it producing though!  
5 months ago
That thread is EXACTLY what I was hoping for. Thank you!
5 months ago
I want to start putting kitchen scraps in a compost pit, but I'm nervous a obout attracting pests. I'm at the edge of forest and creek, no neighbors to worry about, but lots of deer. I'm probably safe in assuming all the usual suspects are just beyond the treeline.
I currently have in mind to make a pit/bin out of cinder blocks with a scrap wood lid but I'm trigger shy when it comes to actually doing it.

Can I see photos of yours? Hype me up about it being okay!

My current, tentatively placed pit in the midst of branches that need to be cut up for firewood.
5 months ago
I do mean to pressure can as well. I can barely fit more than 2 regular pans on my stove :/
5 months ago