Spooky Action Ranch Report: Week Eight 2015

River
canning spinach

A shot of the canning process. More pics of the whole spinach process from field to shelf coming soon.

I Eats Me Spinach

There is no end to the spinach harvest in site, and this week we collected a giant bucket of the fresh leaves for canning.  It won’t be the same as a nice fresh spinach salad, but this summer we will have healthy dark green spinach leaves stored away.  I am not quite sure that the ROI on spinach canning is very good, but it does feel good, and I know where the spinach in my cans has been.

Harvesting the spinach for canning is the same as usual.  In this case I picked one of our growing beds and thoroughly thinned it, trimming away every other plant to the base.  The end result filled a five gallon bucket to overflowing, but hardly made a dent in the vegetation.

Then I bring it inside and soak the leaves in cold clean water, followed by a full rinse.  We can using a pressure canner, so we heat up the spinach by steaming before stuffing into freshly sterilized jars.  The whole process took about three hours of active time and another couple of hours minding the canner.  In all, I would estimate that there was about six hours of work for this week’s cans.  End product: 4 quarts of spinach.  I have to confess, that is some pretty expensive spinach.

I have more pictures, and I will work on putting together a more detailed blog on how to can spinach.

lobby day

Veteran Brandon Cowart was interviewed regarding his activism this week at the Capital. Brandon, also in Senator Campbell’s district, speaks out in favor of a comprehensive medicinal marijuana bill to support his fellow servicemen.

Lobby Day

I took a day away from the ranch this week to participate in a lobby day at the Texas State Capital.  It is the first time I have ever visited the offices of my representatives in the Texas legislature, and it was an eye opening experience.  I was there with Texans for Responsible Marijuana Policy to lobby for HB 507, a bill that would move possession of small amounts of marijuana out of the criminal court system and move it into a civil penalty and also to encourage my representatives to consider comprehensive legislation creating safe legal access to medicinal marijuana.

My Texas senator, Dr. Donna Campbell, is the chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee in the Texas Senate, and I hope that she will seriously look at the issue of medicinal marijuana.  I believe that our veterans, many of whom suffer grave physical and mental injuries from their service, deserve access to all options for treatment of their ailments.  I believe that medicinal marijuana is a safer alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals, especially in the treatment of PTSD, where the pharmaceutical options frequently come with devastating side effects.  If we had safe access for patients, I believe that many lives would be saved.

My Texas House representative is Jason Isaac.  Mr. Isaac is currently looking into supporting HB 507 which was introduced by Rep. Joe Moody out of El Paso.  I think the bill is a step in the right direction.  It is time that Texas show its true liberty colors and stop putting men and women in jail for what they choose to do with their own bodies.  If there is no victim, there has been no crime.  Marijuana prohibition is a failed policy, and its time that we stop throwing men and women in jail and saddling them with a criminal record.

Seedlings

turnips

The turnips loved the warm sunny weather earlier in the week, I just hope these little babies made it through the freeze.

Most of the beds in the garden are already filled with winter crops, but last week I went ahead and filled the last open bed with a seeding of turnips.  They are sprouting well, and I only hope they made it through the freezing weather at the end of the week.

The Closet Project

I have taken on my first major construction project, a total remodel of my clothing closet.  That closet also contains the only access point for our attic, which can be a real frustration whenever we need to access anything that lives up there, like our heating and cooling system.  We decided that we needed to create easier access that did not require removing my entire wardrobe each time we needed to take a peak ‘up stairs.’  Once this project is complete, we also plan to finish out parts of the attic space for storage.  I like to think of it now as a two story closet, or closet with loft!

closet

Here is a little peak at the closet project in process. I learned to use a miter saw for this baby!

The project is almost finished, and I will put together a full report on it once I have the whole thing wrapped.  We will even be installing a pair of double doors to replace the terrible old sliding doors that used to be there, and since we don’t even have them ordered yet, that last step is likely to be an update to construction post.

I am looking forward to showing off the before and afters.

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