PEAR APPLE JAM for a Delicious Combo Spread

Gathering the fruit for the pear apple jam was easy. Our local market had some delicious looking pears and I had been wanting to make a pear jam. I purchased five pounds of the fruit, but I am not sure how much was left when I went to make the jam! Fortunately I did have enough for two cups of finely chopped pears called for in the recipe.

I searched for a pear jam recipe and came across this one for PEAR  APPLE JAM. It is from Recipe4Living.com. Great! I still had apples too!

 

pear apple jam
PEAR-APPLE JAM

Ingredients

2 cups peeled cored and finely chopped pears
1 cup peeled cored and finely chopped apples
6 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup bottled lemon juice
6 ounces liquid pectin (2 pouches)

Directions

Crush the apples and pears in a large heavy  bottom saucepan. and stir in the cinnamon. Thoroughly mix sugar and lemon juice with the fruits and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly.
Immediately stir in pectin. Bring to a full rolling boil and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat, quickly skim off foam and fill hot sterile jars leaving 1 inch of headspace.
Wipe jar rims, and cap the jars.
Process for 5 minutes for 4 ounce jar,  10 minutes for 8 ounce jars in a hot water bath canner. **

Yield: 7 – 8 half pint (8 ounce) jars

pear apple jam

 Note-  I was able to fill 8 half pints and 1 four ounce jar. I usually have an extra jar or two ready to go, just in case.
** I amended the directions to include the canning times I use.

More on Safe Canning

When learning to can food for storage, fruits, jams and jellies are a good place to start. Canning the acidic fruits requires a couple hours of prep time and a short processing time in the hot water bath canner. The high sugar content in many jam and jelly recipes can be slightly adjusted to taste once you get a feel for making jam and jelly. 

Vegetables require the use of a pressure canner in most cases. The lower acid content in most vegetables means that a higher temperature and longer processing time is necessary to kill any potentially dangerous bacteria. Use the canning methods outlined on the USDA website or the Ball Canning Guide for best results.

Canning Green Beans

How to Pressure Can Root Vegetables

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pear apple jam




Should You Raise Chickens?

should you raise chickensShould you raise chickens once you have a place of your own? If the homesteading journey has begun for your family, you may be ready to add livestock. One of the easiest and most common ways to begin raising animals is to begin with chickens. The initial expenses are moderate, and within a few months of deciding on should you raise chickens, you will receive that first farm fresh egg. Or maybe you are choosing chickens as a source for meat for the family.

Is chicken keeping the right homestead choice for your family?

All chicken breeds can provide both meat and eggs for your family. Traditionally, the hens were kept for egg production until the hen was older. A rooster or two may have been kept for fertilizing the eggs and to protect the flock from predators. Excess roosters were harvested for food when full grown. Both roosters and hens are excellent at providing insect control, and making good use of kitchen scraps. (read here to find out which kitchen scraps are not good for chickens). In addition, keeping a rooster with your hens can provide a sustainable source of new chicks, if you allow the hen to brood some fertilized eggs. Fertilized eggs can also be placed in an incubator.

should you raise chickens

 

Meat breeds such as the Cornish Cross, or Freedom Ranger are a short term involvement in chicken raising. Meat breeds gain weight very quickly. They reach market size in approximately 12 weeks. Because of their rapid weight gain, it is usually not recommended to keep these hens as egg producers or as pets.

Egg laying breeds such as the White Leghorn, (white egg), Australorp, (brown egg) Marans, (dark brown egg) and Ameraucana, (shades of blue eggs) are good choices. There are many heritage breeds of chickens that are also kept for both meat and egg production. Some breeds to consider are Brahmas, Buckeyes, Sussex and Wyandotte. Many heritage breeds of chickens can be kept for both egg production and then used as meat. 

should you raise chickens

First steps when considering should you raise chickens  

Before going too far in the planning phase, make sure that the local zoning and neighborhood restrictions are in favor of raising poultry. Often, county zoning differs from nearby city ordinances and neighborhood covenants or restrictions can further regulate the keeping of chickens. Before spending money on a coop, chicken run and fencing, make sure you won’t have to overcome these hurdles. The time and cost of fighting local laws can mount quickly.

It’s a good idea to check with adjoining property owners and neighbors before bringing home chickens. Even if chicken keeping is legal, it can be a headache if your neighbor is extremely opposed to chickens joining the neighborhood. If you find that your neighbor is actually in favor of the idea, sometimes a neighborhood co-op situation can be worked out. This has some benefits to it. The loss of privacy and solitude can be offset by having a neighbor that can take care of the flock if you go away on vacation. Sharing the costs of feed and maintaining the flock would be another benefit to co-owning a flock of chickens.

should you raise chickens

Where to Build the Coop?

Should you raise chickens also comes with the decision on how to house the hens. Some factors should be decided before shopping for a chicken coop. How many hens do you plan to keep? While chickens are not hard to keep, having more does lead to more cleanup and more mouths to feed if you cannot free range them safely. A good number for eggs for a family is provided by 3 to 7 laying hens. This may even provide enough extra eggs for occasional gifts to family, co-workers and neighbors. Of course the size of the flock will need to be determined by the size of the family and how many eggs you are accustomed to eating. 

should you raise chickens

A chicken coop should allow 3 to 4 square feet per chicken. If the chickens will need to stay in the coop for long periods of time you might consider upping the square foot per chicken to 7 or 8.

There are many styles of chicken coops available. Choose a sturdy coop to begin with and you will be glad you did. Often the less expensive models are easy for predators to break into, leading to a sad situation. Choosing a well made sturdy coop, surrounding it with a fenced chicken run will deter many predators. Using hardware cloth instead of chicken wire for the fencing, makes a sturdier more resistant pen. For more on building a predator resistant chicken run, read here.  

If you have natural shade, that is a great place to set up the coop. Chickens are not very heat tolerant. Providing them with natural cooling shade will help them better deal with hot humid weather. Always provide plenty of cool water, too. If you don’t have natural shade, provide some shade in the run using a tarp, or umbrella to provide a shady area.

Should you raise chickens

In addition to providing a structure that is big enough for the chickens, the coop should have two doors. One for you to use when cleaning the coop, or tending to the chickens. The smaller pop door allows the chickens easy access to the coop if danger or weather is a threat. Egg nesting boxes, roost bars, strong durable door latches and good ventilation are also necessary in a good coop. Adding a fan for hot weather is a great addition.

Other coop styles are available for smaller flocks of 3 or 4 chickens. Some people choose to use a structure called a tractor. Tractors are often moved around using wheels on one end. This allows the chickens to free range safely and keeps one area of ground from becoming overly scratched up.

Do you have time to take care of chickens?

This is an important question. Should you raise chickens may depend on how much time you have to spend on them. If you are rarely home to feed, water and check on them, I would say, no. If you are only gone for work and occasional vacations, then raising chickens can still work for you. The chickens will need someone to check on them and make sure they have food and water and some minor cleanup while you are away.

 

Deciding on the question of should you raise chickens can be the start of a healthy lifestyle and diet change for you and your family. Raising fresh healthy chickens and collecting backyard fresh eggs is a great start to eating fresh food. The move towards backyard chicken keeping can be a rewarding choice. Asking yourself the question, Should you raise chickens is a great place to start.

 

should you raise chickens




Turkeys and Ducks. The rest of the story

?(during the holiday season, I was asked to update the story of Gus and Greta.? It seems my good friend Judy, was so enchanted? by the story that she used it for a sermon at her church.? I do not attend her church so I did not have the pleasure of hearing the sermon but I did think it was pretty cool that my little blog was the inspiration.? So here you go Judy and all other followers of Gus and Greta.? The rest of the story.)
? Here’s the beginning of the story, if you missed it.

Ducks live with abandon.

Happily Ever After… Not so fast.? Just when you think you’ve set up a wonderful idyllic habitat for your animals to live in and Bam!? Something goes wrong.? In this case, after only two weeks of cohabiting, my husband found two ducks in not so great shape.? One had a wound on her wing but otherwise no major damage.? The other ducky was found soaking wet, covered in mud and unable to move.? Our first thought, after drying them off and taking inventory of symptoms and wounds, was that they got in a fight with each other.? At the time neither one had? been laying eggs yet, so we thought they were boy ducks.? We dried off the wet duck, set up a crate with a? heat lamp and lots of dry straw and made (him) comfortable.? (S)he drank some water and we thought He (she) had just lost the fight.? As the day? went on (she) recovered? a bit and we closed them up at night with high hopes for a full recovery.??

Poor beat up ducky.? She couldn’t even hold her head up.

Early the next morning, I let everyone, including the injured duck, out in the yard while I cleaned up and filled feed bowls.? I turned around and noticed that the turkey hen was quietly attacking the injured duck.? What a bully!? I grabbed up the victim and proceeded to separate the turkeys and the ducks.? While cleaning up the crate, I found an egg!? Apparently, I did not guess the sex of the Pekins correctly.? Out of the three Pekins we were raising, all three are hens.?? At least with the Rouens the males and females look different.??

Look at how Greta looks at Gus with devotion!


Anyway, back to the story of the living arrangements and what to do now.? I mentioned this to a few poultry raising friends and found out that turkey hens can be quite aggressive.? Space is not as much of a problem as time for us.? We had just added on the duck pen and duck house, and then added another pen to give them more room.? It looked fantastic.? How would we find time to build a suitable turkey area right away.

?I was disappointed that our beautiful plan had to be altered. The whole incident stepped on my vision of the animals peacefully living together in harmony.? And the strange thing is, I think the turkeys missed interacting with the ducks.? Animals react on instinct and whatever it was that made Greta attack the ducks we will never know.? The thing is though, these animals are mine to care for and protect.? We had to come up with a plan.? After a few days of trying different arrangements, we even considered re evaluating the decision not to cook the turkeys.? But then inspiration struck.

The duck house had two pens and two doors.? What if we put a fence down the middle of the house.? The turkeys can use one door and one pen.? The ducks can use the other door and other pen.? Eureka!? We even made the inside fence removable for easy cleaning.??



So far, it is working out beautifully.? The turkeys can still see the ducks who they are attached to in some weird way.? Peace reigns again.? Who knows for how long.? One thing I have learned from raising children and animals is this.? Just when you think you have it all under control…..

Our initial disappointment at the squabbling led to an even better arrangement.? Life is crazy, uncertain and ever changing.? Enjoy the peaceful moments and be flexible because challenges will come.?? and in the words of the famous Paul Harvey – that my friends is the rest of the story.

The End!