Soil and Cellar

Growing and preserving foods in Seattle

New Years Resolutions and 2014 Recap


OK, it’s been a really long time since I’ve written. Not just for the blog, but anything! I’ve been at my “new” job for 9 months now, so I guess it’s time for me to stop feeling like it’s a temporary schedule. My job (see this post here) is wonderful, but my commute is making it so that I have less time at home, and less energy, to do the things I enjoy. Things like cooking, canning, seeing friends, and writing.

Well, that needs to stop. So what if I’m in the car 3 hours a day? I have time on the ferry to write, and time on the weekends for cooking projects. I need to stop spending my weekends in non-stop “catch up on sleep” mode. The New Year is a classic time to make changes and recommit to the life I want to live. My resolution is to stop letting my commute rule my life. So this post is my first in months. Soon I’ll be starting projects again, but for now I’ll just catch up on what I’ve missed.

Canning Projects

I didn’t make nearly as many canning projects this year as the last – mostly due to time constraints. The recipes I took on were mostly repeats – things I know I like and will eat.

Leeks Vinaigrette, or oil-preserved leeks. Great as a side or on salads.

Leeks Vinaigrette, or oil-preserved leeks. Great as a side or on salads.

Oil preserved Leeks (called “Leeks Vinaigrette” but it is not salad dressing, which I would actually love to make sometime) with the Ladies Preservation Society

Strawberry Jam (here’s a post on this from a couple years ago)

Raspberry Jam

Raspberry jam (left) and strawberry jam (right). I made these a week apart in a very productive moment last summer.

Raspberry jam (left) and strawberry jam (right). I made these a week apart in a very productive moment last summer.

Apricot Jam (this one was new – made with my friends in the Ladies Preservation Society – and was really fun. The resulting jam is a little tart for my taste, but has great apricot flavor.)

Peach Jam – we took a field trip to the Yakima farmer’s market and bought peaches there. Yakima is about 2-3 hours east, and is the heart of farm country in WA. Their farmer’s market is basically heaven.

Bread and Butter Pickles (recipe here)

Concord Grape Jelly – my neighbors have a grape vine that produces more fruit than they can use, so they put out a call to the neighborhood to come take them. 1 hour later I was washing and stemming 9 lbs in my giant sink. I made juice, and the next week made it into jelly. Next year (they say I can use their grapes again next year!) I’d like to try grape jam. I think it’ll be a little more work, but jelly is still kind of weird to me. I think I have enough photos to make this one into its own post, actually. Maybe I’ll do that soon.

Concord grapes picked moments before. These were turned into jelly.

Concord grapes picked moments before. These were turned into jelly.

Geez – is that all I did? I’m sure there were a few others, but these are the bulky items. See what I mean? I’ve really got to get back into the swing of things. I had enough jam for Christmas and hostess gifts this year, but only just.

So, onward, upward, and into the garden! Next week I’ll write about the projects going on in our little garden. Happy New Year!

4 thoughts on “New Years Resolutions and 2014 Recap

  1. Good Morning and Happy New Year which I am calling “Year of the House.” Why, because 2015 is my house # & I am going to honor my house this year with a new roof, exterior paint job, landscape the front yard and add to the back yard then finish the paint job in the back of the house.

    I admire your attitude about your commute, something I never accomplished during my 13 years of traveling’ I5!

    Yesterday I bought a valencia orange tree for my back yard, also sweet peas and snap peas. I hope the critters will stay away! Haydin and I always squeeze OJ when she visits so I’m hoping that by this time next year she will also be able to pick a few oranges for our morning squeeze.

    Love, Hugs and Cheers,


    • Ooh that sounds wonderful Peggy! I hope ill get to try your orange juice sometime. I loved making lemonade and OJ off Mimi and Grandaddy’s trees, its one of my faborite memories! Love that you do that with your granddaughter. Hugs!

  2. Right on, I loved this post and am happy to see you all finding some time for the things you love! Hopefully I can make it down for one of the upcoming Preservation Society meetings, sounds like a blast!



  3. What a lovely post! And it’s so fun to read your notes, Peggy and Jason! 🙂 I think you did impressive projects, Cynthia, despite starting a new job with a crazy (but sounds like, beautiful) commute. I’d love more details on how you made grape juice and jelly! Do you need a special juicer for grapes? I think your canning and preserving is so way cool!

    Happy 2015! Love you much,


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