Thursday, August 16, 2012

Preserving and Organizing

I was going to preserve my rhubarb in the morning, but I kept getting distracted. The first problem was finding my Ball Blue Book. I hate that book. It is so thin and doesn't have any writing on the end so you can't tell what it is. If it were just BLUE like the title suggests I'd be fine. Instead it is very nondescript. So I was tearing out my bookshelf to try to find it. I made a pile of books to go upstairs in the attic room. I never use them so they don't need to be very accessible anymore. I cleaned out my whole bookshelf.

One of the things I found was my old exercise sheets. Since January Caroline (townhousemate) and I have been exercising together. Lifting weights is hard for both of us. Neither of us like it, but it really does help you age with less aches and pains. Doing it together makes it easier. Sadly for me, but good for her, she starts a new job next week and won't have time to do that with me. We talked about it and decided that we would do it by ourselves, but do it six days a week, but just ten minutes a day. It ought to be easy to make yourself do ten minute workouts. It is what I used to do years ago. And hence my sheets that I found. So I spent the next block of time redoing my exercise routine plan. I've got four exercises each day. I even typed up a different one for Caroline as I'm really hoping she keeps it up.

I talked with my husband about getting it set up. I told him I wanted to keep it up because I had a good role model. My MIL. She is the epitome of aging gracefully. My husband thought about it and has decided to try to join me. My husband has never lifted weights in his life as far as I know. So I'll believe it when I see it, but I hope we both keep it up.

Anyway that bit of organizing was done. Then I had my Blue Book in hand and went to look in the spice draw to see if I wanted to add any spices to my preserves. I decided not to, but the spice draws have annoyed me since I moved in. I put the spices in drawers because there are so many little tiny drawers in this kitchen. Little tiny drawers aren't really useful for much. Spice jars are thin so easy to fit in them. The jars were just tossed in. There was no way to keep the jars in their spots and they always got mixed up. Ick.

So again my preserving was put on hold. I went into the basement to look for something that I could tack to the bottom of the drawer to keep them contained. I found some old balsa wood. I cut it in one foot sections and tacked it to the bottom of the drawers with tape to see how it would work. I liked it a lot, but I needed smaller wood.

The next day I got out to the craft store and picked up some 3/16" bass wood and glued it down. Now at least the bottom part is all tacked down. The left side has my "sweet" spices and some random things. My right drawer has my savory spices.

As you can see my savory spices are mostly from my garden. But they weren't so pretty earlier. They used to have the old labels on them that had been relabeled and relabeled. I went on a label cleaning kick. Dang those sticky labels were hard to get off. Used scouring powder and a scrubby to do it. And lots of elbow grease. But they are much prettier. I wish I had the pretty oval labels for all of them, but they came with my most recent canning jar purchase and only had twelve.

You see the powdered garlic? Well that was done that morning too. I had the dried garlic slices from previously. I hadn't processed them. So of course they had to be done right then.

And I don't even know why my upstairs freezer got cleaned out, but I'm sure there was some minor distraction that made me do it. I'm not sure what came over me that day. Really I'm a messy person and not usually obsessive compulsive. I leave that for the rest of the family. It must be catching.

Those preserves were finally made. One jar didn't seal. That is the first jar all year that didn't. I really wish I had a pan that could process one jar. Then I could just try it again, but no way am I going to heat the whole huge canning pot up to process just one jar. I don't like the green of the rhubarb. Shouldn't rhubarb be red and pretty? I'm going to have to replace the one I tore out with another. Anyone know a good red variety? The one I bought was supposed to be red, but of course it wasn't.

Head on over to Robin's place at The Gardener of Eden for other Thursday's Kitchen Cupboard posts and link up to let others see what you've been using or preserving from your garden and pantry.


  1. HA! That sounds way too familiar... start out to do one task and accomplish five PLUS the one you intended. :D My of my what a productive day you had. The spice drawers look great. I grow "Valentine" rhubarb and really am pretty happy with it. It has a beautiful red core and skin with only a bit of greening throughout.

  2. Sounds like something I would do. I get the itch to do something (not today, lol) and everywhere I turn there is something else to do.

  3. Oh does that sound familiar here also.

    My Rhubarb is an old root that came from the family 50-60 years ago. Have no idea what it is but it is red.

    I am a nut on alphabetizing things like spices and God help anyone that messes them up. My kitchen is set up with savory cooking in one area and sweet etc. in another area so have to separate areas for my spices and herbs.

  4. Sure can relate to your post! I've been dilly-dallying all morning even though I plan to can tomatoes and process beans for the freezer. Arg. Although you didn't dilly-dally, you at least have been productive! And like you, I really wish there was a canner fit for one or two jars max for those stubborn ones that refuse to seal.

  5. You got a lot done in a round about way :) I lose my Ball Blue Book all the time. Usually it is stacked with the gardening magazines, but sometimes it is on the shelf with my cookbooks but seems invisible.

  6. It sounds like you got a lot done! Everything looks great. I think we all do the same thing from time to time.

    My one Blue Ball Book is actually blue! I leave it on the kitchen table this time of year and still can't find it on occasion!

  7. I wish I had a tidy gene or at very least a member of my family with one but no here I am surrounded by chaos - perhaps I'll ignore it once again and go to bed...