Thursday, January 19, 2023

Mid-Winter Blahs?

No, it's not the typical mid-winter blahs.  I'm not tired of this time of year when others feel house-bound or yearn for warm weather.  Mine stems more from still working on getting caught up on all things that were pushed to the wayside since last spring, summer and fall.  This, so far, hasn't allowed me the down time I've wanted for these quiet, slow (ha!) winter months.
I think I mentioned before that I will never let any preserving or jam making from our summer's bounty go until the winter months again.
Recently I've been concentrating on making jam from berries frozen last summer.  Our supply of haskap jam is done and on the pantry shelves.  

Yesterday I worked on strawberry jam.  Gotta admit the smell of simmering strawberries fills the house with an oh-so-delicious aroma!

It was a big double batch from which I got eleven pints of ruby red jam.  My husband is very happy, strawberry jam being his very favorite.
After not wanting to even think about the gardening for this coming season for a few months, I've starting to dream of having my fingers in the soil again.  
Hard to believe but I had several minutes (about twenty) yesterday of not being able to find my garden book.  My book that holds plans for this next garden and past plans and notes of my gardens going back to 2007.
You see, last fall in conjunction with my cleaning, sorting and reorganizing, I put this tome in a "more convenient" spot.  Yesterday I could not remember where that new spot was.  Oh, come on now.  There are only so many book shelves where it could possibly be!  

Needless to say, I did locate it.  Now it's back on my desk where it was previously before I put it where it wouldn't be "so much in the way."  Sigh.
During these winter months when it has seemed to be so much darker morning and night than ever before (has anyone else noticed this?), we caved and put a light in the chicken house.  The hens were being very stingy in the meager amount of eggs we'd been getting since before Christmas.

Turns out we should have done this long before we did.  Seems chickens need a certain amount of light to continue laying during the winter months.  Who knew?  (Well, we certainly did.  But didn't do what should have been done earlier.)
I've been pushing myself too much on things other than those that feed my soul (too dramatic?) so starting tomorrow, Friday, I'm planning on taking a 3-day mental health break for myself.  Sure hope there are enough pre-made meals in the freezer to sustain us until next Monday. 


coffeeontheporchwithme said...

That's a nice lot of strawberry jam! My three, yes, three hens have a constant light in their coop, but it's a red heat bulb. I get one egg every couple of days or so! Haha, not enough to keep us in eggs. Yes, take a mental health break for sure! -Jenn

Mama Pea said...

Jenn - Methinks a serious talk with your three hens is in order. Not only a light, but a HEAT lamp! Such pampering. They could give you at least one egg every other day from each hen. I would say how many a week that would be but I've never been good at story problems.

Sparkless said...

I'm making jelly from grape juice I extracted earlier this year and froze because I didn't have the energy or time to make grape jelly with it like I wanted to. We'll probably drink some grape juice too but I determined my grape jelly will set this time because the last two times I've attempted it it's been runny. And yes I do use pectin so no idea what the problem could be. I'll let you know if it's a success or we have grape sauce for pancakes and ice cream again this year.

Michelle said...

I don't know about you, but my 'mental schedule' always runs a tighter ship than my reality does. Good for you for the mental health vacation. But the smell of homemade jam in midwinter does sound heavenly!

gz said...

You do need a break to refresh!
Making preserves from frozen fruit does save losses during the picking season when you are too busy. I have done that. But added redcurrant juice to red jams, as freezing breaks down cell walls and so reduces pectin.
It affects oranges too. But I can't remember offhand by how much one increases the orange to sugar ratio.

Leigh said...

". . . with my cleaning, sorting and reorganizing, I put this tome in a "more convenient" spot. Yesterday I could not remember where that new spot was."

LOL! I'm so glad I'm not the only one who does this!

I really need to get on with my own winter jam and jelly making, but have to confess that I'm spending most of my time on knitting and sewing. In the past I've used up all my energy on other things and neglected that, so this winter I'm catching up! Makes me feel terribly lazy! Maybe we all need better balance in our lives(???)

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

I definitely do not have the winter blahs. I have been fighting off a sickness for now, and trying to get the house back in order. The living room floor was finished finally. I do have some jellies to make, but first the house needs order. I am trying to balance rest with organizing/purging, but I would just love for the sickness to leave this house. Our chickens have completely stopped laying. We have no electric to the coop until we build the new one (sigh).

NanaDiana said...

I don't have the winter blahs but I have way too much to do before spring arrives. I am glad you found your gardening 'bible'. I hate when we put things in a more convenient place and then can't remember where that place can be found. lol. Have a wonderful weekend- xo Diana

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - I've made fruit "juice" or "syrup" instead of jam more than once! Hope your grape jelly turns out for you. Growing up we had a large Concord grape arbor in our backyard and my mom made grape jelly every year. So good!

Michelle - I have this list of inside tasks I need to get done this winter and it's been so frustrating to carry over the same items week after week. Why haven't I been successful at getting them done? Ever noticed how no matter how well planned your day is the things that keep coming up (everyday things, everyday) during the day's hours manage to eat up the whole day? Ah yes, the business of living!

gz - Yes, I have definitely noticed that my strawberry jam isn't quite as thick (stand up and salute!) made from the frozen berries. Fortunately, my main strawberry jam eater (Papa Pea) doesn't like a thick jam but would rather have it on the "loose" side. So all is well!

Leigh - So good to hear (and see!) that you're getting in some knitting and sewing time this winter. Yay for that balance! I can fully understand why you like to put off making jams and some of your preserving until winter time. Your climate is too hot to do it in the heat of summer if you don't have to. As far as feeling "lazy" when we're not on our feet going like crazy all day, every day . . . yep, that's something we have to really work on if we are to maintain any kind of a balance!

Kristina - Getting rid of this sickness you've been fighting has to be the most important thing you can do right now. Too many new viruses out there to take a chnace with. Plus, you've been living with your house in an upheaval for too long now. That, alone, is extremely wearing on a homemaker who is home all day trying maintain normalcy while dealing with the disorganization. Be good to yourself!

NanaDiana - Good to hear I'm not the only one getting a slight bit panicky about spring arriving before I'm ready! I think rearranging some things to a more convenient spot (haha) and then forgetting where that spot is may be because our brains are overloaded with too much data to remember these days. Technology has made our lives simpler, right? Not in my book!

Goatldi said...

Feed your soul and it will feed you! I too have made a space for my fiber projects. I know it changed my mind into one to feed the passion and it will grow. Spinning time almost every day! The lambs are still in the oven. But they will arrive in late Spring early Summer. Applesauce is still my go-to and I finally found a Apple Master which will make the process much faster. And lastly yes ! The light change has been different this year. Remember our wise ???? educated ??? Senators and Assembly people have voted in year round daylight saving time as our "new" and "improved" system. We never were given a chance to express our opinion or vote.

Mama Pea said...

Goatldi - Good to see you're using your talent with fiber to "feed your soul!" Feels good, doesn't it? I made so much applesauce in 2021 that I skipped that one task this past fall which was just fine. I wonder just how this "new" and "improved" year 'round daylight saving time system will work? There are LOTS of things we, the public, are never given a chance to make the decisions on. Hrumpf. Eager to hear of all your lambies due this year!