Wednesday, June 28, 2023

A Day Of Much Accomplishment

Well, I did it! I turned two and a half gallons of green beans into seven pints of canned beans for the winter. Boy! Do I feel thrifty. I'm thinking that if I accounted for the time I spent in canning those beans, plus the new pressure canner, plus the jars, they probably cost around fifteen dollars a pint. Of course that includes gardening and picking time too. 

But won't I be proud to open up those jars later on in the year? I sure hope they taste good. 

Pressure canning is different from boiling water bath canning. For things that have a highly acidic nature like pickles with vinegar or tomatoes which have their own acid, the water bath method will do fine. Same with jams and preserves. But for things like regular vegetables a pressure canner is needed. The temperature gets much hotter during that process, and thus, (theoretically at least), the bacteria and bad stuff is destroyed so that the food is safe to eat. The lids on canning jars, whether they are used in the water bath process or in pressure canning, seal completely, creating a vacuum that nasty things can't get in. But the thing to be sure of is that there are no nasty things in there to begin with. Thus- the pressure canner.

I know a lot of people are afraid of pressure cookers in general. I am not. I have been using them my whole life. There is nothing better to make a cheap cut of meat so tender that MeeMaw doesn't even have to put her teeth in to eat it. It cuts down the cooking time of dried beans dramatically. I think I used mine most when I was a vegetarian, depending on many meals of black beans, pinto beans, chick peas, and so forth for protein. Now I did have one very bad accident with a pressure cooker and it involved black soy beans. Soy beans create a froth when you cook them which does not go well with pressure cookers. I blew black soybeans all over my kitchen, from ceiling to behind the stove. 
It was a mess. 
I think the newer pressure cookers are designed not to do that though. If something interferes with the system, the food inside will just sort of ooze out instead of blowing itself through the steam vent. But I am not afraid of pressure cookers at all. The technology of them has been used for years and years and they are dependable and I would say, pretty darn safe if you just take a few precautions like using the correct amount of liquid and pay attention to the situation. 

So that was my little Home-Ec lesson for the day. Tomorrow perhaps we will be discussing the finer points of putting in a zipper. 
No. We will not. 

All right. Here's the coolest thing that happened today. 

See this? 

It is the lovely new coffee table that Mr. Moon just built that when you pull the top of it up and towards you it does this:

Mr. Moon is sticking his tongue out because he did not want me to take his picture. But the coffee table turns into a little dining table for us and now we can sit on the couch to eat instead of on pillows on the floor which has worked fine for almost twenty years but we are getting a little old for that. 
I am so proud of him. He figured out what he wanted to make and he designed it and built it- again from wood from our own tree. It even has little places, as you can see, where we can stash place mats and napkins and whatever. 
My grandfather would love this so much. He, too, was good at designing things that would be helpful and clever, and then building them. 

I think this was Mr. Moon's birthday present to himself. And to me. He always complained that when we ate at our old round coffee table, I wasn't sitting close enough to him. And now, we can sit right next to each other. 

And although there is no reason for me to explain this, I feel the need to tell you that all of that crumpled looking cloth over there on the shelf is part of my mending pile. That corner of the couch is where I sit and do needlework. 

And here's the prune cake.

Just out of the oven and I still haven't made the delicious frosting/glaze. That cake never fails. It is beautiful and it is so moist and so delicious, filled with all of the good spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, cloves, and ginger. 

It's been a good and busy day. We even went to the river for a quick dip although I was irritated there today. So many people, so much going on. Someone saw a snake in the water and there was a mass exodus out of the river and then everyone gathered on the dock to look down and study the poor snake. 

As if no one had ever seen a damn snake before. I mean- I don't want to swim in the immediate vicinity of a snake but it's a river. Which means that there are lots of creatures swimming about in it. It is their place. We're just a bunch of big old humans bumbling about and freaking out when a tiny bit of nature raises its head in our presence. And then, one of the guys pushed another of the guys into the river right on top of the snake which probably scared the snake to death and the guy who got pushed screamed, "You fucking bitch!" and I looked at Mr. Moon and said, "I am done."

And we came home. 

But I am cooler now. So there is that. 

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. You're going to be so happy when you open those cans of beans this winter! They look wonderful, and best of all nothing will go to waste.

    Mr. Moon is a treasure! That's a beautiful table he built. Not many people could do something like that, and you must be unbelievably proud of him!

  2. What a clever guy. I've heard of those rising tables and would love to see the mechanism. He's really earning his place on earth!

  3. that table is a work of art! Just beautiful AND functional! You have accomplished MUCH today.... all I've done is clean 2 bathrooms and that was it for me! Oh yes, and I do need to make dinner. Pressure childhood memory was Moms cooker.....which malfunctioned? or didn't have enough attention? mashed potatoes on ceiling, walls, everywhere........scared all of us half to death....which is a memory only one notch down from *dentist visit* for me. LOL
    Susan M

  4. PS.....and wishing Mr Moon the most wonderful Birthday tomorrow! May he enjoy a bounty of love, family, food, and Prune Cake!
    Susan M

  5. I think Mr. Moon needs to start another career as a custom woodworker. That table is beautiful, beyond beautiful really.
    You were a busy woman today. I cleaned the house, dog hair everywhere, and did all the laundry from holidays. It's still not all put away but it's done. Now I'm having a glass of bubbly wine with fruit juice and lots of icecubes.
    Hubby cut the grass today and did all the edges. We had a lot of rain while we were gone and it looked like a jungle in the backyard.

  6. There aren't words enough to praise and describe the table. Mr. Moon is a treasure, as you describe him to us over and over.
    You are a woman of abundant talents, too. We had a pressure cooker, but probably only because mom won it at a company picnic. It only made beautiful meals of tough beef; mom didn't can in one. Her canning was tomatoes, peaches, jams and jellies, grape juice.
    The air quality here in NE Ohio was past poor. It actually smelled like chemicals outside!

  7. The table is beautiful and the wood alone is doubly beautiful!
    I have never had nor used a pressure cooker only because I never felt like I needed one! However, one would have probably been quite useful when I had a husband and still had kids at home! Now it's just me so, you know ...!
    If any of the lids on those green beans bulge ... toss them cause you sure don't need botulism!! Of course, that goes for any canned goods!

  8. That table is a thing of beauty.

  9. We have one of those new fangled InstaPot pressure cookers that I'm looking forward to trying for canning. It makes the best ribs and stews already.

  10. And I love your table! Your man is some talented.

  11. Talented builder of talent table that can serve as more than just one thing- very good indeed! I love magic furniture and that certainly is!
    magic man!

  12. I showed this to Rob (we also eat our dinner on our couch) and he is quite jealous. The table is beautiful!

  13. That table is a work of art! Mr Moon has every right to be proud of it and you to be proud of him.
    I'd worry about a snake in the river, I've heard cottonmouths like to swim and what if it was one of those?

  14. Happy Birthday Mr. Moon, your table is most beautiful!
    I think that you will be eating beans every day for the next 10 winters!!

  15. It's ironic that you are using a pressure cooker when Florida is such a pressure cooker these days, right!? Between the heat and the politics...
    Anyway, Hope the talented Mr. Moon has a wonderful birthday and a year filled with everything he loves! (that table is outstanding!)

  16. That table is a marriage of beauty, function, and love.

  17. That coffee table is just beautiful and I am so impressed with it's function. Happy Birthday and well done Mr. Moon! I had a pressure cooker for many years until one day something went far wrong and sprayed beef stew and vegetables all over my kitchen. Yea, it was a many day clean-up to be sure. Never bought another, but you've inspired me to reconsider that situation Mary.

  18. Those beans are priceless whenever you get them out for a meal! As for what new table.. I’m beyond impressed- and jealous!! What a treasure of a husband you have! Wishing him the happiest of a happy birthday.. and he sure is lucky to have you! Xo, Rigmor (from my Norwegian home!)

  19. Thanks for explaining more about the canning process and the difference between the water bath and pressure canning. That seriously DID answer some questions for me!

    Mr. Moon's table is amazing. Seriously. I can't imagine making a piece of furniture and certainly not one that looks so fine and professional.

  20. Home Ec lessons and Shop projects. Good stuff!

  21. I had to laugh about your prospectus on what a Pint of your Beans probably cost you, but, I still think doing your own Harvesting and knowing the Journey of those Foods is Priceless and Healthier than Store Bought. As for people freaking out about Nature and reacting in ways that ruin the whole Nature Experience, this is why we always try to find more remote spots to enjoy Nature and it's splendor and Creatures, no pesky Humans.


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