This week I finally got my garden planted. Shayne built me a raised bed from some ancient lumber my mom had up in her garage rafters, and we filled it with organic soil and compost (total cost = $20). I bought some broccoli and two types of tomato plants from the greenhouse, plus started my own broccoli, carrot, and tomato seeds. The carrots didn't make it, but everything else is in the ground and starting to grow. When the seedlings are a little bigger I should mulch to help keep the moisture in, but I'm happy for now.
Since I plan to continue to grow my produce or buy it in-season from the farmer's market, I've had to learn new and different ways of storing food. Last year was something of an experiment; I had never frozen or canned a fruit or veggie in my life. I had mixed success with the freezing. The broccoli turned soggy, and the carrots were kind of... spongy. The corn, peas, and beans were great. After talking to people who know much more than me, I learned what I had probably done wrong. First, the veggies weren't dry when I bagged and froze them. Second, since I just sucked the air out of the baggies with a straw, they got freezer burn.
A vacuum sealer was recommended to me to keep my frozen produce from getting freezer burn. Since I don't yet know if it will really work and I don't have a lot of spare money to spend, I picked up a Reynolds HandiVac. Using special zip-top baggies, this little contraption sucks all the air out of the bag and supposedly keeps food fresher, longer. I used it to suck the air out of bags of sausages and peppers, then tossed them in the freezer. After a week, both packages looked fine. There didn't appear to be any leaks, which was the main complaint on the reviews. When I pulled out the peppers to use them, I did notice a bit of frost on the areas where the bag hadn't been sucked in enough to touch the food. The places were there were no air pockets (98% of the whole), looked fine. The peppers are still in there, 3 weeks later, and there is no freezer burn on them at all. I intentionally ran my trial in the upstairs freezer, since it seems to burn food faster than the one downstairs, possibly because it's opened more often...? So, for a $10 investment, I'm pretty happy! It might not be as powerful or versatile as a "real" vacuum sealer, but it seems to do what I need it to do.
As for the work on the house... It's still coming along. I can't decide if it's nice or frustrating to have someone else doing the work for us. On one hand, I can just sit back and watch it all happen. On the other hand, I'm relying on other people and working around their schedules. Although... Considering the speed at which we normally operate (S-L-O-W), this is probably an improvement! Currently, the office walls are pretty much done and just need to be sanded. The ceiling is in the process of being patched. We're almost there...!
The electrician showed up and found that the knob-and-tube is live and powers half of the upstairs, including the ceiling fan in our bedroom. The good news is that she didn't think it would be all that difficult to run a new line up from the breaker. She's coming back tomorrow to get started on that, as well as installing the wiring for a ceiling fan.
I'm thinking that within 2 weeks, we'll be tearing apart the master bedroom closet to install drywall and frame the "new" divider between it and the office closet. As quickly as Tony works when it's just taping and hanging, it'll probably only be another week after that before we're ready to paint and refinish the floors.
Which is good, since I'll be giving birth in about 3 and a half months... Yeek!