Every year I get excited about planting a garden. I dream of a big harvest, shelves full of home canned vegetables, a freezer filled with frozen fruits and veggies, and abundant herbs dehydrated ready to be used. The thing is five years ago I did not know how to garden, can, or dehydrate food. It has been a process with more failures than successes. This year I am having more success than any year so far. Another thing I have also dreamed of in my garden has been the boys really enjoying it with me. So this year I had some goals in mind. I bought them a little shovel and a hoe. Caleb dug potato holes and made rows for our fall crop seeds. Simeon helped put green bean seeds in the ground. There is one area that has some weeds that I did not pull and I have found Simeon using those tall weeds to play with his action figures. This year we also added a scarecrow to our garden. This was Simeon's suggestion. It was a good idea that will be repeated. Other ideas that did not succeed this year, but there is always next year. I tried to plant pole beans to grow into teepees and we were going to make a sunflower archway. I hope this winter for Caleb and I to build a bench to put where we hope to plant a butterfly spot. We will see. For now though we are just happy to have a garden that is more successful than gardens in the past.
At first when I started to can foods I was not able to get them to seal correctly, but then I finally figured it out. This year is the first year I have been able to can the harvest confidently. So far I have canned sweet corn, tomatoes, and dill pickels. I will can more of those but am also looking forward to canning green beans, mint jelly, grape jelly, pears, pear honey, pumpkin, apples, and applesauce. We were given an additional freezer so I look forward to freezing more as well. Two years ago I found a good deal at Aldis on a food dehydrator. This year it is being used more than ever. My herbs have turned out so well that I keep filling it. My husband also likes dehydrated tomatoes and I found a recipe to make my own veggie chips. Our income goes down in the winter so I hope to have a good store of food put away for that time. There are many areas of my homemaking journey I do not feel like I have been successful at, but this one has steady progress that I am proud of.
While the above picture is not a picture is not a picture of my pantry I do hope to one day be able to have a good variety like that. I am proud of my growing supply. It is a journey and one that I am seeing progress.