Usually by the time the weekend arrives, at least in the winter, I am drooping with exhaustion, especially when the weather is gloomy and cold. This weekend started out no differently – but this time, I got to take Monday as an extra day off! That meant I could get more than the bare minimum of chores done.

Sometimes during the week, I don’t feel like cooking. On those days I often end putting a frozen pizza in the oven for dinner. I recently commented, “I need to can some soup, so I have some better no-effort meal options.” With my extra day off, I put thought into action.

I pulled a bunch of chicken out of the freezer and put it in the crockpot Sunday. Monday, I pulled the meat off the bones, chopped up carrots, celery, and onions, and added seasoning and water to make a massive pot of soup. After putting the jars of soup into my electric canner, I cooked down the bones, skin, etc. for broth.

I ended up canning four quarts of soup and ten pints of broth:

This was the first time I processed quarts in my electric canner. I don’t normally can in quart jars simply because of household size. One thing to be mindful of when using an electric canner is that canning jars from different manufacturers come in various sizes. The volume they hold is correct, but they can have varying height and width. When canning with quarts, I needed to use shorter quart jars. The regular mouth quart jars are too tall as were some wide mouth jars. The electric canner can handle 4 wide mouth quarts, 5 regular mouth pints, 4 wide mouth pints, or 16 – 4 oz jelly jars (in two layers) in a load. The other thing to be aware of with an electric canner is that quart jars cannot be used with the Water Bath function, only for Pressure Canning.

After a full and tiring day, what did we have for dinner? Sigh: frozen pizza.

Oscar also had a bit of a productive day off.

Last Spring, to create a space for the Three Sister’s Garden, I put down a layer of cardboard and topped it with two truckloads of garden soil. I’m expanding the garden area this year and, while a repeat of that method would be preferred, I don’t think the truck will be ready to use in time to do that (it’s currently getting some engine work done).

We removed the tarps we’d placed over the old and new spaces this fall to kill off unwanted plant material and Oscar ran the rototiller over both sections. He will need to do a couple more passes with the tiller another weekend, but he’s definitely made a solid start.

Look how much richer last year’s section (top of picture) is compared to the native soil in the new section (bottom of picture)!


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