Thursday, August 26, 2010

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled beets...

  And they were beauties. lol  One of my favorite things, and I have been out of the home canned ones in my pantry for a couple of years.This year I broke down and bought a 25 lb bag from a local gardener...for some reason I have not had good luck growing them in my garden here...yet. Probably need to work on the beds a couple more years and then they'll be grand. That's the thing about lasagna gardening...every year the beds get better and better, the compost gets richer and richer, and the garden gets magnificent.

   I'm only here blogging because  I'm stalling. I have a bushel of peaches in the kitchen screaming my name, a tub full of assorted peppers, tomatoes, green beans and okra that need tending, and a house that's too dirty for words.  My body hurts...I feel like a 90 year old woman...neck, shoulders, legs, ankles, knees...everything is stiff and sore from standing in front of my sink for hours on end. I'm on the lookout for one of those thick rubber restaurant mats to put there...too late to help much this year, but it will be a godsend next year. 

  My freezer is full.  My pantry shelves are nicely stocked.  After the peaches I am doing today and tomorrow, I will start making some chutneys and chow-chow relishes with all the green tomatoes. My friend Cathy has a recipe for green tomato pickles that uses the ones that are small and don't get the chance to ripen at the end of the year. I may try that.  I am going to make peach peel and pit  jelly with the remains from the peaches. I had this once and it is marvelous. And makes me feel better about throwing away all those juicy peels and peach pits!  Using them once  will make it easier to toss them into the compost/chicken coop. You just throw them into a big pan, cover with water and boil until it turns a light red color. Pectin, sugar and lemon and VOILA!  A beautiful and tasty jelly. I NEVER make jelly, because it's too much work...all that cooking and straining and yuck! I do make jams, mostly peach and strawberry and blackberry.  And apple butter every year. Once, years ago,  I scoured all the thrift shops, collected those little glasses that pimento spread comes in (clear glass, half pint (or less) with a cut star on the glass) and made assorted fruit juice jellies and put together Christmas baskets for all my friends that had a small tub of honey butter, jellies, and a loaf of bread.. I lined the baskets with festive Christmas dish towels, put a ribbon on the handle, and sent them off. Everyone loved them.  I always forget how many people do not get homemade things...

  I'm exhausted.  Yesterday I was shot and didn't do a thing. Today I will pay for that, lol.  I'd better get busy...those peaches aren't going to peel themselves.  They are gorgeous too...I may can some of them...I love the look of a canned peach, but I like the taste of them frozen. Freezing is much easier too.

  The Irishman is going on a camping outing this weekend. I'm not will be nice to have the house to myself. This is a local AA campout that happens every year and we always go for part of it and he always  camps. My busted up body doesn't allow me to do that anymore...and it's little cabins with horrid beds. I don't mind not going ...and will often go up for the Saturday evening bonfire and speaker. may not even do that this year.  We'll see...

  Okay.  Enough with the lollygagging!

  I'm off to commune with the peaches...


Thursday, August 19, 2010

A day in the life....


     Okay,  3 gallons of edamame in the freezer.  Tomatoes, bell peppers, okra and jalapenos picked this morning. Garden is winding down now, and the harvests are smaller.  There's still about a row and a half of edamame out there, and the Irishman will pick it when he comes home.

I have about 6 more gallons already picked, waiting to be blanched and shelled, but this is about all I can do in one day.  My legs hurt from standing at the sink, lol.  I have the beginnings of something pork-ish in the crock pot, with chopped onion and whole garlic (about 8 cloves), and a few spices. It will probably be carnitas, depending on how it looks before I have to leave the house at 2:30.  Cooking is a real adventure at this house

   As for me, I am tired. I have been sitting with MissB 7 days a week, even though it's only 4 hours a day, it breaks my day up and makes it a challenge to get things done. The house looks like a tornado hit it, especially the kitchen. The work counters are clean, and the floor gets swept every day, but the island is where all the jars, just picked produce,  canning supplies, etc., all get stacked. It's right in the center of the kitchen and so of course it's all I see. lol  There are some days when I do nothing but vacuum and dust and stuff, but then I get on a canning/freezing roll and let it go for 3-4 days and it's a nightmare again.  sigh...oh, well.  I have to remember there is light at the end of this tunnel and things are slowing down, at least in the garden. I have 25 lbs of garlic I need to get busy on, and have 25 pounds of beets coming any day, so I'll be pickling those too.  OH, yeah--and okra.  May not get a lot of jars of that though....but any little bit is good enough.  Pickling is a bit easier...a little less muss and fuss.  I'm debating about buying some more peaches before they are all gone...mine are all frozen, but I wouldn't mind having more in the freezer. I still have a lot of bell peppers in the garden...yellow, red, green and ivory...and am hoping the weather will hold up for them to grow a bit bigger and ripen nicely. I want to freeze some of them whole and stuffed with a rice mixture. We'll see. Might just have to freeze them whole and then take them out and stuff as needed.

   The potato beds haven't been harvested yet either. Red pontiacs, fingerlings and sweet potatoes. I think the sweet potatoes will be the very last thing to come out of the garden, since the plants are still lush and gorgeous.

  Re-reading this, I sound like a whirling dervish.

  I'm gonna go throw a steak on the grill and sit down for a nice lunch.

  I deserve it.  LOL


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Breezing through summer...

  Here are the first 11 jars of homemade salsa...turned out beautifully.  Fresh tomatoes, jalapenos, bell peppers, onions, garlic, cilantro--all from the garden. A bit of cumin seed and sea salt, and VOILA!  I will make one more batch before it's all done. That should get us through the winter, I hope.  It was a little labor intensive. For some reason, I didn't get out the food processor, simply loved the morning of peeling and chopping and cooking it until it was ready to can and go into the water bath canner.  I'm pretty happy with the results.

  The jalapenos were hotter than hell. I took a small bite to check and (without seeds) it nearly burned the skin off my tongue !!  (NOTE:  I love hot peppers and eat them all the time)  So, I put a minimal amount into the mix, and saved the rest for two jars that are marked HOT.  Someone in my life will talk about how things are never hot enough for them, and I will award them a jar of 5 alarm barnburning salsa. Then we'll see what they think. LOL

  The peppers are still coming like crazy, and I have already frozen 20 quarts of slices.  I am going to stuff and freeze some, with perhaps a wild rice mixture, or maybe a sausage and vegetable...I don't know. Any suggestions??

  I have canned tons of tomatoes and dried more. I have dried onions and Romas and fruits and okra. I have also frozen a lot of okra, and it is now producing enough fast enough that I will be pickling some young pods any minute now. I also have about 25 pounds of garlic that I am going to dehydrate some and pickle some whole cloves. It is winding down though, and I may not get much more green beans to can...maybe a few for some lovely dinner dishes...

  I have not been making it to many meetings..once a week, sometimes. I am working 4 hours every day of the week. And with the canning and all, I am running out of daylight. I know th9s is temporary...and then I will get back on  schedule.

  Alright. Time to post a few pics and then head out to the garden. I have one last load of laundry in the dryer to fold and then that is done for the day. I got bread made yesterday and some of the canned goods put away. I am going to have to enlist the help of my renter and get my pantries cleaned out and straightened up.  Maybe later this week, we can get that done.  Maybe....*grin.

  Here are a few pictures of the bounty...some may have been posted before, I can't think...


Monday, August 9, 2010

Time for a morning of rest and relaxation...

 I have jars of canned garden veggies sitting on the counters and island, needing put away. I have a fridge full of green beans needing snapped and canned. I have half a peck of apples awaiting saucedom. 

  I have a dirty house that needs cleaning.  I have porches and decks that need sweeping. I have hair that needs coloring.  (My renter just trimmed my hair for me.) I have litter boxes that need scooping.  

  I have tomatoes that need picking, and doubtless, okra too. I have a yard that needs mowing.  I have dishes that need washing and bathrooms that need some TLC.

  But mostly, I have a body and a spirit that needs some rest. SO....I am taking it easy this morning. (I just decided.)  lol  I may color the hair, as I have a full morning tomorrow. I may take the green beans with me to let my little lady help me with them.  She'll love that, as at 81, she doesn't garden anymore. But I am reading emails that are piling up and writing here, as I've not done so in a week. I am gouing slow and gonna have some breakfast in a minute. Oops.  Brunch, if I hurry.  :)

  I took care of the animals and fed and watered the chickens. That's really all the pressing matters at hand. 

  Learning how and when it's time to STOP and recharge has been a gift of sobriety. I was always that person who never stopped, no matter what. I went to work sick, I ignored my body's distress calls all the time.  I try not to do that anymore...and I have had a headache for over 2 days first I wrote it off to the heat, but I think it might be something else. I'm not getting to bed early enough either, and feel like I may be experiencing a vitamin deficiency...maybe D ???  Also probably need some calcium.

  Think I'll turn on some soothing music and take a break...meditate a bit and get on with taking care of me. I go to sit with Miss B from 3-7, and then I'll be home again. 

  Breathe in....breathe out.  Touch the pool of gratitude that shimmers within.  Experience the serenity that comes with quiet...]

  Have a great Monday....I know I will...


Sunday, August 1, 2010

A new month

Here we are...on the first day of the 8th month.  It's a Sunday.

 I made a breakfast of sausages and eggs and toasted homemade Italian herb bread.  I am home alone, and just finished tending my water bowls and putting food and fresh straw down. The newer chooks are getting ready to lay...I have to make some new arrangements inside that coop, as the Rhodies are still being territorial about the coop and nesting boxes, even though they aren't laying. in the

  I have been busy as a bee...canning and drying and freezing. I have a dehydrator filled with onions and tomatoes that needs to be emptied and more onions put in. The price of onions finally came down to halfway manageable, so I bought several bags to dry. The Irishman said he heard something about a frost in Florida that caused this problem, they were up over a dollar a pound, which is about 3 times the norm.  I have some onions in the garden too...

 This is my sweet potato's gone crazy. Can't wait to see how the harvest turns out. Everything looks good...I haven't dug around in there to look yet. Maybe this afternoon after I get back.

  Time for me to get a move on. Can't believe it's after 11 o'clock already, and I have to leave here by 12:15. Oh well. The vacuuming may NOT get done this morning.  lol