Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas comes early at SGF

That's right. Christmas came early for me this year. Knowing I would be leaving town soon, my Dad presented us with an early gift this year, and WOW! is it a whopper!

I don't usually ask for gifts as it's rare that I need or want anything. We've pretty much convinced most of our family to forgo the gift-giving and just enjoy time together. But with at least one side of our family insisting on giving us something, it gets a little awkward this time of year when the inevitable question comes: What do you want for Christmas? But as my little square foot garden is growing so beautifully, I have been eager to expand into additional raised beds. So this year, I had a perfect suggestion... cedar for more raised beds.

It was a month ago that I mentioned it I hadn't heard much more about the cedar until last weekend when my dad called to let me know the delivery was coming. And as scheduled, Monday it came. All 20 boards of it. 

Wait... Twenty boards? Did I get that right? Just sec and I'll count again... But that would be enough wood for anywhere from 6-11 raised beds (depending on whether I built shallow or deep beds - will probably do some of each). Well, for goodness sake, I could cover the better part of the backyard with that many beds. Sweet!

Of course, as I should have suspected. Daddy has more planned, the second phase of which is supposed to arrive today. I can only imagine. All I know is that so far, it is a VERY happy holiday. Anybody wondering what I'll be doing when I get back from our California holiday? Veggie heaven, here we come!

23 comments:

Seraphim said...

Hello :)

I don't usually comment, just read, but I wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas.... though it seems like your already having one ;)

I wish my family were as considerate/generous! They always mean well, but they totally ignore my wishes for gifts to be useful and come either not-packed or packed in something recyclable. Therefore I guess I'll spend another year ironing wrapping paper!

Sera x

Jen G said...

WOO HOO... You must be very excited. I love this kind of present. It's useful and something that you will look at everyday and remember this Christmas. You must have a wonderful family who cares for you deeply. Have a great Christmas!

Abbie said...

Merry Christmas!

Totally unrelated question for you: I'm making chicken stock today (snow day!!!). Do you know how long I need to process it in my pressure canner and at what pressure? I'm guessing it would probably be the same as other soups, so I thought of you! Thanks :)

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

What a great Christmas present! Pretty soon you'll be able to dedicate your whole yard to gardening. Who knows, maybe one day you'll be a purveyor at your local farmer's market? How cool would that be?

I wonder what other surprise he has up his sleeves for you all!

Merry Christmas Heather!

Heather @ SGF said...

Seraphim - Glad you commented! It gives me a great chance to check out other blogs as well as get to know people who read mine. Thanks!

This really was a fabulous present. Perfect actually. It's exactly what I both wanted and needed and the wood is the biggest expense to the beds so this makes growing my own veggies that much more economical. Yeah!

Jen G. - Absolutely. Not to mention that with all that fresh wood in the garage (my dad said it was a tree last friday) the garage smells fabulous. I love going in there and getting a nice big whiff of cedar. Now I know why they make hope chests out of that stuff.

Abbie - Hi! I did a little research for you and I have just one question: Are you pressure cooking or pressure canning? Here are directions to both:

Pressure COOKING - Place all ingredients in canner. Close cover securely. Place pressure regulator on vent pipe and cook 10 min at 15 lbs pressure. Let pressure drop of its own accord. Strain stock.

Pressure CANNING - Make your stock as you usually would, and prep your jars for processing. When you are ready, process jars at 11 lbs pressure for 75 minutes (pints) or 90 minutes (quarts).

Does that help. Feel free to email me if you have more questions.

Jennifer - I'd love to cover the backyard in gardens (less mowing!). Wouldn't it be amazing to go from eating from the grocery, to eating from the farmers market, to actually selling excess at the farmers market! What a change!

I have an ulterior motive for a couple new beds though. A good friend of mine is having trouble growing veggies in her yard (too shaded). If I let her use a couple of mine, she'd get veggies, and I'd get to see her more.

That still leaves me plenty of space. I got to thinking... I can do an entire bed of cabbage or carrots or onions, or... the possibilities are endless there will be so much growing space. Yeah!!!!

Merry Christmas everyone!!!!!!

Heather @ SGF said...

Sera - Just one more thought I forgot to mention. Don't expect your family to change all at once. Work on them little by little, set an example of what you'd like to change and in a few years they might come around. It took Dave a few years with his parents and my Dad is slowly coming around too with less presents, but more meaningful ones.

Abbie said...

Pressure Canning...

Thanks for all the info. I'm glad I asked you. I did some research and found for pints 10 pounds of pressure and 20 minutes... I wonder why that's so much less than your number. I may just freeze this batch since we got a new freezer and take some more time to figure out canning it.

Merry Christmas!

Heather @ SGF said...

Abbie - the info came right out of my pressure canning manual. I did find this page though:

http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/how/can_05/stock_broth.html

That's more in line to what you were saying. You might can some to see if the 20 minutes does it. Maybe because it's all liquid (not chucky) that makes the difference. I'm not sure.

Anyway, I would can some at 20 minutes (just to see if it works) and freeze the rest. Let me know how it goes.

Heather @ SGF said...

Abbie - as I'm looking around the net, I'm sure your 20 minutes at 11 pressure is right. That seems to be what everyone is saying. Thanks for bringing that up. I would never have guessed it was so short. It must have something to do with the density.

Theresa said...

Wow - what a terrifically thoughtful and useful present! :)

Beany said...

Goodness! That is an excellent present. I am all about practicality, and this takes the cake.

P.S. Unfortunately I'm not going to be able to meet up with you this time (again we miss). I'll do it one of these days. Perhaps I will even have canning notes to compare then. Ralph's grocery store here carries canning jars.

Abbie said...

Thanks for all your help! I actually just popped the cooled stock in the freezer. I got enthralled in other projects today and never got around to canning it. Next time I will, though!!!

Thanks for all your research :)

Heather @ SGF said...

Theresa - it really was. I'm looking forward to getting back from vacation and filling the backyard with veggies. Mmm. Veggie heaven!

Beany - I'm bummed that we'll miss each other again, but it WILL happen. We're in CA about once a year so maybe next time. How's the job front looking?

Abbie - I'm really glad you asked. I learned something too :)

Update: I just got home from dinner with my dad and step-mom. When we came back to the house, they gave me phase II of this year's xmas present - an AeroGarden: http://www.aerogrow.com/

Now we'll have an indoor garden and an outdoor garden. Sweet!

Glenda said...

Cool . . . what a sweet pops!!

Beany said...

Well I got an offer and am planning on taking it. Wasn't the job I wanted, but money is running low...

ttammylynn said...

Awesome...my parents don't do so much for me for Christmas(which is fine, I want them to spend their money on themselves should they ever get excess anyway). My in-laws just give us a check and then we usually make dinner for them. This year we bought them a nice coffeemaker. We are getting another turkey from the Cranks. The Cranks had a restaurant cancel an order for twenty five turkeys and I decided that turkey for Christmas would be really nice...esp since my FIL was given only five years to live by his doctor, alzheimer's is taking his brain. I want to spend a few more holidays as a family because that is all that matters when it really comes down to it anyway.
I'm going after work to Hempstead, I will hit the market but I have so much more to do before I am ready for Christmas. Lorrie and I are baking cookies tomorrow, Sunday, and going to Cathy's to finish the bags and stuff, the ornaments are cute but I think Cathy needs most of them because she hasn't done anything toward her own Christmas yet. I still need to do some other baking and I might do some shopping, not much though because times are a bit tight living within a recession. I made a couple of potholders and we might do a few other things, too.
I may not get a chance to come over before Christmas, so I may come over afterward. At any rate, if I don't see you or get another chance, I want to wish you and Dave a wonderful Christmas and I hope you have a safe and fun trip to California.

Heather @ SGF said...

Glenda - my dad is the coolest ever :) I'm not biased on anything...

Beany - I'm sorry that it wasn't your top choice, but who knows... because of it, wonderful things could come that wouldn't have been possible with the other. I'm looking forward to hearing more about it.

Tammy - Congratulations on snagging that turkey! Dave and I are heading out in a matter of minutes, so I definitely won't see you before the holidays. Hope you guys have a wonderful, safe holiday! And enjoy that cookie baking! :)

Green Resolutions said...

That is an exciting present! Your dad sounds so sweet!

Heather @ SGF said...

Green Resolutions - He really is. And what I keep forgetting to mention is that the wood is local too :)

Alice (in Veganland) said...

That's such a great gift! my boyfriend's family asked him what to give me and I had the perfect answer: bed linen! And I think I'm gonna ask for a PJ at home. Practical gifts are the best!
But if I had a garden I know what I would be asking for...
I wish you a merry Christmas and lots of fun with your family!

Heather @ SGF said...

Alice - I'm all about the practical. Bed linens and PJs sound just perfect. You can make a nice fresh bed, get into those pjs, have a nice cup of tea or cocoa and snuggle up with a good book. Sounds fabulous to me! Have a great holiday!

Lisa Sharp said...

Awesome!!! Only fellow greenies will understand the joy that comes from gifts like this. :) I got one of my gifts early yesterday. My composter!!!

Heather @ SGF said...

Lisa - Oh yeah! You finally got it! I'm anxious to hear how you like it!