15 August 2010

The Outdoor Canning Kitchen

Our favorite Asian pears

The-Man-of-the-Place has been working harder than he did at his job the past week or so,
putting up the produce that grows on our current property.
At present this consists of tomatoes, pears, a few peaches,
and hopefully a few apples. Mainly pears.
We have 2 Asian pear trees, and one Bartlett,
and another tree that was tagged "Alberta Peach" when we bought it
but several years later produced Bartlett shaped pears.
(No wonder we got it for such a good price.)

Another type of Asian pear
The trees are just loaded with fruit this year.
We are so grateful, since last year we didn't have any due to late spring freezes.

Seasoned pine branches support groaning fruit-laden boughs

The trees are groaning under the weight of the fruit,
so The-Man has supported them using limbs from a pine tree that blew over
in a storm with 84-mile-per-hour straight line winds.

The tree needs to be cleaned up,
and the Man is thriftily putting it to good use!
When the-Man started canning, he did it indoors, and at the end of the first day,
we were all hot and sticky and grumpy (in spite of having central air)
with no place to really cool off.
(Spoiled rotten, aren't we?!)
So he decided to move his operation outdoors.

Next day or two he fired up his propane camping stove,
and that helped keep the home much cooler.
Then he ran out of propane.
He mentioned needing to go to town to buy propane,
so I showed it to the-Man,
and you should have seen his eyes light up!
My Man loves to cook over a wood fire!

Here is the first version of the canning kitchen.
Simple, and all items we already owned,put to good use.
(The fire-pit is what our family uses on cool evenings
for outdoor bonfires.)
Note the evolving complexity...the shop-vac on the left
is used to "turn the burner on high!" :):):)
I love the way he utilizes stuff found lying around...
(note: "stuff lying around" is a nicer term
for what I usually call "the poor white trash pile!")
The fire pit can now be rolled out from under
the cooking rack,which makes it easier to load the wood
than when he had to take the kettle and grate off to do it.

And here is the current version...
note the windbreak, it helps the pot boil more quickly,
and the wood pile to the right?
You guessed it---the remains of the toppled pine tree!
So now the-Man cuts and prepares the fruit inside,
then takes it outdoors for the jar processing.
His goal is 100 quarts of pears put by for winter...
I think he's over halfway there...

Pears and tomatoes

...but he's only just finished with the Asian pears.
Look what is just beginning to ripen up now!

The Bartlett is sagging under the load...

For the bounty of the earth...
We Give Thanks.

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