Friday, August 31, 2012

I Beat Isaac and Got the Yard Work Done

Up and out by 7:00 this morning so I could get the yard work done before we get the rain from hurricane Isaac.  First thing I did was to set up a table in the shed so Renee and I can start sorting jars to see exactly what we have.  Then did the horrible weed whacking, the weed eater just kills my arms and shoulders but I did it any way.  By the time I finished the weeds the grass was dry from the dew.  Did the grass, added some stakes and wires for my fall peas, picked the garden, and spray painted some garden signs.  Finally came in and took a much needed shower at 1:30.  The only thing I need to do is collect eggs, I was going to do it while I was out but 2 girls were on the nest and I didn't want to disturb them.  We have been getting about 15 eggs a day from the 19 hens which is excellent.
I have pears that need canned but I am just too darn tired to do anything else today.  I will try and get them done tomorrow morning.  Ron usually helps me can on the weekends and that helps out.
Later, take care.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Part III of The Adventures of Paula and Renee

Pretty calm day.  Up early and canned 4 quarts of white peaches, hung 2 loads of wash out and then on to pick up Renee.  Got the book on canning jars and then to Big R to get some more canning seals and vinegar.  Big R is a farm store that is in Ill and Indiana.  They have the cheapest canning seals and have a variety of other items.  Then took Renee back home and I came home and canned 6 qts of pears.  I still have pears left, lots of pears left.  My peaches are finally done and when the pears get done I have lots of apples for applesauce.
I saved the best for last, guess what Renee and I got today?  Hint, we were in the small town that has a Libby pumpkin canning plant and this town has a pumpkin festival every year.  If you said pumpkins you are correct.  After the apples looks like Renee and I will be canning pumpkin.
The "adventures" series will be on hold for a little while.  I HAVE to do yard work tomorrow before the big rain hits our area Friday night.  I will also pick the garden and then a trip to deliver eggs to Gina at the hospital.  I think I have 8 dozen of eggs and am totally out of egg cartons.  I have 2 bowls of over 3 dozen of eggs in them.  Gina will have to meet me and I will have to fill the egg cartons that she has.  I will not buy cartons and have never been totally out.  Usually the people who get the eggs recycle the cartons, I'm not sure what has happened.
Later, take care.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Part II of The Adventures of Paula and Renee

After canning 6 quarts of pears Renee and I went to pick a few more pears and to see about getting the rest of the canning jars.  We picked a 5 gallon bucket of pears, the guys gave us his recipe to can banana peppers and we bought the rest of the jars and lids.  We brought the stuff home and put it in the garage for the time.  We will then set up some tables in the shed where we will sort them out.  Renee is so scared that the cat is going to break one.  The cat is an outside cat that stays in the garage at night and when its cold.  The cat doesn't get in the shed and we will be able to leave the tables up and everything spread out.  We got about 160 OLD jars, lots of extra zinc lids and lots of the glass liner lids all for $180.  I can't say we won't sell any as we probably will sell some to get some of our invested money back.  A couple of the jars we looked up go for over $25 each.  I plan on storing all my dried food items in some, they are simply beautiful. I can hardly believe we were able to get them so cheap.  When we get them sorted I will add some more pictures.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Adventures of Paula and Renee

Renee and I had to go somewhere this morning and she came a little early.  We went to one of the houses where we gleaned white peaches and picked a few more white peaches and visited with the lady who lives there.  From there we headed to our appointment and of course we saw several apple trees and a huge pear tree.  We stopped at the house with the pear tree and Renee went up to the house and asked about gleaning the tree.  His front yard was covered with pears so it was real evident that he didn't pick them.  Renee hardly got the question out and he said we could have all we wanted and he even had a fruit picker we could use so we could get them out of the higher branches.  We said we would pick them off of the ground first and we always ask if they want the bad fruit that is on the ground picked up and put somewhere.  Some people have us put them by the tree trunk and most say to just leave them.  There had to be 400 pears on the ground and he said that was not necessary that he was going to mow the yard today and the lawn mower would chop them up nicely.  We picked a lot from the ground and then used his tree picker (got to get one of those) and we picked some from the tree.  We would have picked more but we had to get to our appointment.  While we were picking he was talking to us about different things and he told us he was retired and he used to can and we talked about canning different things.  I asked if he had any canning jars that he wanted to sell and he said he did.  After picking he took us to his garage where he showed us all his canning stuff.  He had lots of jars with the most being old blue Ball jars.  We picked out the non vintage ones and settled on a price and we ended up with 30 quarts and 60 pints and we will divide them between us.  He tried to sell us the old ones but the price was more than we wanted to pay.  He tried to sell us other things and was a very friendly guy.  He told us to come back to get more pears when we had time and if we had a truck we could just drive it in the yard and pick from it.  We told him we would and also to think about selling some of the old jars at a lower price.  It was fun visiting with him and I told him he was a character and I enjoyed the visit while picking.  His wife still works and he is retired and I think he is a little lonely.

He mentioned that he liked peaches when we were talking so when we came home I canned a pint of white peaches and a pint of yellow peaches to take to him tomorrow along with a pint of peach jam.   I enjoy sharing the things I can with others.  Renee and I have met a lot of nice people gleaning and everyone of them are happy that someone can use the fruit.  When I worked, I worked in a one person office where I talked to people on the phone but rarely in person and am enjoying the interaction with others.

A down side for me to the day was Renee had a job interview and got the job.  My fellow picker and canning helper has to work.  Derek is in kindergarten this year so she said it was time she got back to the working world.  She has 2 boys, 1 in kindergarten and 1 a freshman in high school.   Tomorrow we are going back to the pear house and driving our truck so we can pick from the higher branches and if we are lucky he will sell us some of his old jars.  I would like some of them to put the items I dehydrate in and display them.
Later, take care.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Pie Day

I am caught up on things that need canned and got 2 loads of wash hung out so I decided to make some pies today.  I wanted to get a peach pie made and took up to the people who let me pick their trees.  The gentleman who lives there asked me the day I asked about picking the trees if I knew how to make a peach pie.  So I need to live up to my part of the bargain for picking the trees.  I've already taken him up some jelly, jam and some zucchini bread.  So later today I am taking him up a peach pie and a little apple pie.  I made 1 peach, 1 blackberry and 3 small apple pies this morning.  I had a little bit of dough left so I got a pear, peeled and cored it and sprinkled the inside of it with a little vanilla sugar. I then rolled the dough into a circle, put the pear in the middle of it and brought the sides up to enclose the pear.  I then sprinkled a little more vanilla sugar on it and baked it.  It looks like an apple dumpling.  I'll let you know how it tastes, my husband likes pears so he will be the taste tester.  The blackberry pie is my husbands favorite and it is a thank you or bribe, depending on how you look at it for helping me with the canning this weekend.
I also redid the 2 batches of the green grape jelly that did not set that Renee and I made last week.  I can already tell that it is going to jell just perfect this time.  Not sure what happened but all is well now.  I will only keep a jar of it, take a jar of it to the people who I am taking the pies to and give the rest to Renee.

L to R, pear dumpling, 3 small apple pies, blackberry pie and peach pie.  The peach  and 1 apple pie are a thank you  to the people who let us glean their threes.

Pickled Carrots and Apple Pie Filling

On Sunday I canned the 10 lbs of carrots that I got on sale this week for 49 cents a pound.  I used them to make pickled carrots and got 16 pints.  After the carrots Ron helped and we made 15 quarts of apple pie filling.  We used an apple peeler that cores, peels and slices the apple.  Ron did that part and I cut out any bad spots and put them in the huge pot of water with lemon juice in it.   Having the apple peeler made things so much easier and it went real fast.  Next thing using the apples Renee and I will be making applesauce.  We can get some peaches and make apple peach sauce and if we find some more pears we can make apple pear sauce.  I want to pick some more apples to make some dehydrated apple chips.  Last year I made apple chips and sprinkled a little cinnamon on them and they were delicious.  This year I hope to make a lot more than I did last year.  They are nice to snack on and very healthy.
Spices in the jars for the pickled carrots.

Pickled carrots with the brine.

16 pints of pickled carrots.

Apple Pie filling.

Some of the 15 quarts of Apple Pie filling that I did today.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Using an Electric Roaster While Canning

When I can the boiling water bath or pressure caner and whatever I am canning take up the stove space so I use my roaster to keep the jars hot.  I fill the jars with water and add some water to the roaster and keep it on low.  If I need to add more water to the water bath to cover the jars I have nice hot water to use and at the end of my day I recycle the water and use it to wash the dishes.  Being on a well in the middle of a drought I need to save water whenever I can.
I have also used the roasters to prepare the food for canning.  I used it when I was doing the huge amount of tomatoes and plan on using it to cook the apples in to make applesauce.  I have 2 roasters and both hold 18 quarts and are really nice to boil stuff down (reduce) in because of the huge amount of surface space.  If you have a roaster give it a try.

Using the roaster to keep jars hot.

Using the roaster to reduce the tomatoes.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Lazy Day Saturday

No canning done today.  I did break down and mopped the kitchen floor and cleaned the rest of the house.  Went to the store today and picked up 10 lbs of mini carrots for 49 cents a pound.  I will can some pickled carrots tomorrow and will check the pears to see if any need canned.  Right now I have apples that I will make applesauce with, finish the pears and do the carrots.  I will pick some apples in the next couple of days that I will use for pie filling and if the girls want more peaches I will get them picked.  The 2 apples trees and the one peach tree are at the first place I gleaned.  I still need to make a fresh peach pie to give to the owner.  I took him some brown eggs, raspberry jam, peach jam and grape jelly the day we picked the first time.  The owners are always out working on their yard and have a very nice piece of land that they have done a lot of work to in the last couple of years.
We saw some farmers out picking corn already.  After the farmer that has the fields in front of us and behind us get his corn picked I go out and glean his field and use the corn for the chickens.  Last year his son who lives 2 houses from ours made sure I found a pile of corn that had spilled off of the wagon.  I was able to get a couple 5 gallon buckets of corn and gave it to the girls as a nice treat.
I sure hope we get the rain that is in the forecast for tomorrow.  We need the rain, my fall peas and green beans need the rain and most important the well needs the rain.  The other day when Renee was here we had to stop using water for a hour.  When I can I have been using a lot of extra water washing the fruit off and washing all the jars.  I try to keep a couple dozen jars washed and ready to go all the time.
Later, take care.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Peaches and Pears

Finished the white peaches today; I got 4 quarts and 1 pint and will give 2 quarts to Renee.  After the peaches I canned 3 quarts of pears.  I still have enough pears to can about 8 more quarts.  I am done with peaches, I think about all the peaches on the trees that the owners said we could pick going to waste and it makes me sick.  I have enough peaches, and now will work on canning more pears, making applesauce and hopefully some apple pie filling.  There are a couple apricot trees that are not ready yet and I hope to can some of them.  That should be all the fruit I will do and we will have plenty of it.
Aldi has carrots on sale this week for 49 cent for a pound and I want to pick some up to make pickled carrots.  I made 1 pint in July and they are already gone; they were very good and make a nice addition to a meal.
Later, take care.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


I am exhausted, plum tired, worn out, beat, drained and have no strength left in this old body.  Didn't sleep real well last night because my legs kept cramping and I had to get up and walk around to walk the cramps off.  Then up and out by 6:45 to do the yard work.  I started with the weed eater because it was so early and didn't want to annoy my neighbors with the mower.  I didn't finish until 11:00; 4 long back breaking hours doing the yard.  It always looks so nice when it's done.  Came in and took a shower and went into town and got Renee and we picked some grapes, apples and pears at 2 of her neighbors.  The pears are very nice and should be ready in a couple of days to can.  Came back home and picked tomatoes and zucchini, watered the gardens and am now just sitting here.  For supper tonight we are going to have omelets with some eggs just laid today.
Tomorrow first thing I need to can the rest of the white peaches and go through my pears to pick out the ones that need canned first.  The apples will wait until we get all the peaches and pears canned.  Apples won't rot fast like the other fruit.  When you are canning you go on the fruit and vegetable's schedule not yours.
Got the 2 canners today that I ordered for the girls and took Renee hers and Gina is stopping tonight to get hers along with a lot of zucchini, 2 boxes of peaches and 9 dozen of eggs.  Both the girls have started canning and wanted a canner so I bought one for them so they can put up food for their families.  Now I need to go to some more auctions and see if I can find them some jars.  They said they would pay me for them but they are not the auction type and I love to go to them sometimes.
Ordered a bigger food tray for my KitchenAid a couple of days ago and it also came today.  When I use the attachment to grind meats or have the strainer attachment on it the food tray is so small and needed the larger one so I got it.  I also got the rotor slicer/shredder; and now have almost all the attachments.  I LOVE my KitchenAid stand mixer.  
Later, take care.

My stuff, apples in the white buckets and pears in the crates.

Renee's stuff; concord grapes, pears and apples.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Green Grape Jelly, Grape Juice, White Peaches and Tomato Preserves

Started my day out by juicing the green grapes which took a couple of hours, Renee arrived in time to help finish straining the juice.  Making the jelly took forever and it has not set yet.  It looks like I will need to take it all out of the jars, add more pectin and process it again.  I've never had jelly or jam not set before.  We got 11 pints and 2 quarter pints of jelly, 13 quarts of grape juice and 10 quarts of white peaches.  We still have some white peaches that should be ready Friday.  I will do them for us and will need to do some of my pears.  Before I do much more I will need to buy some regular mouth seals.  After Renee went home I made 6 pints and 2 quarter pints of tomato preserves and put 3 trays of chopped peppers and 2 trays of cherry tomatoes in the dehydrator.
First thing tomorrow I will do the yard work and then will go into Renee's house where we will be picking apples and pears at one of her neighbor's house.  I am amazed at the amount of people who have fruit trees and don't use any of it.  We've asked 5 people so far about picking their left over fruit when they're done picking and all 5 have said they don't use any of the fruit and we could have all we want.   My wish list yet to can would be apples sauce, apple pie filling, pear slices, pear sauce, more yellow peaches, pumpkin and some squash.   When it cools down I want to can some chili beans, black beans, white beans, lima beans, bacon and some broths.  I have dehydrated and canned a lot of food this year.  Making things yourself is so rewarding.  I thought I would end up having a lot of empty jars at the end of the season but if I keep getting things they will all be filled which will be wonderful.  :)
Later, take care.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Wonderful Day of Gleaning

Our (mine and Renee's) day started out with making 19 pints and 2 quarter pints of concord grape jelly from the grapes we picked on Monday.  After the jelly we went up town and picked peaches, pears and a few apples at one house.  We then picked huge beautiful white peaches and some yellow peaches at the second house.  While we were at the second house the man from the first house drove by and said that the grapes were ready and we should come back and pick them.  We finished and then went and picked the white grapes.  So far we have barely made a dent in the amount of peaches there is.  We did pick all the white peaches and they are ready to be canned tomorrow.  We will start out with the grapes that have all been removed from the stems and washed.  I will get up early and get them juiced and we will make some jelly and make white grape juice with the rest.  After the grapes we will can the white peaches.  The pears should be ready at the end of the week.  Renee will can her pears and I will can mine.  The apples can wait until the first of next week and we will use them to make applesauce and we will do them at my house.   Renee will can yellow peaches at her house, we are giving some yellow peaches to Gina and when the girls get what they want I will can some more yellow peaches.  If we had not picked the stuff it would have just sat and rotted.  
Top to bottom; yellow peaches, white grapes, white peaches, white grapes, white peaches, pears, yellow peaches.  All this stuff was gleaned Tuesday August 21st.

Yellow peaches gleaned Tuesday August 21st.

Apples, concord grapes, pears; gleaned Monday August 20th.

Yellow peaches gleaned Monday August 20th.

Monday, August 20, 2012


When we went into town last night we didn't see anyone home at the house where I am going to glean the fruit trees so we went for a nice short ride.  Took the granddaughter to the eye doctor today and on my way back home I went into town.  Didn't see anyone out so I rode past another house that has several fruit trees.  The man who lives there was out so I stopped and asked if when he was done picking could I come and glean the trees.  He said he does not want any of the peaches this year and he has about 6 trees that I could have all the peaches from.  His pears didn't do very good and his apples are going to be picked by his daughters. He also has some grapes that he doesn't want.  I went ahead and picked some peaches (about a bushel) from a tree that had the branch broke in the storm last week.  I was able to get almost a bushel from one branch.  I can't even guess how many bushels are on all the trees.  Renee and I are going over tomorrow and pick some more peaches and then will go back every few days to get more.  He said he was glad to see someone use them.  He doesn't keep up his property and is always fighting with the village over his rights.  There isn't anyone in the area who doesn't know him, a colorful fellow know for his lifestyle.  I offered him some fresh eggs from my girls but he said he didn't need any.  I am going to take a loaf of zucchini bread up to him from all those I baked last week and froze.
When I got home I got a call from Renee and she had been to one of her neighbors and they had several trees and some grapes that they were just letting the birds eat that we could have.  I went to her house, took he the peaches and we went and picked some pears, apples and grapes.  I brought the grapes home and have them juiced and ready to make grape jelly tomorrow when Renee comes over.  At the end of the week we will use the apples and make applesauce here at my house for us to share.  We split the pears and we will can them when they are ready.
There is another neighbor next to the one we picked the stuff at today that has some beautiful apples, pears, grapes and peaches that wasn't home but the gentleman where we gleaned today said he doesn't pick his stuff either and he was going to ask him for us about picking his trees.
I can't believe I am doing this.  If you knew me personally you would understand.  I am a person who doesn't like crowds, stays at home most of the time, not a people person.  I'm sure that like 3 of my grandchildren I have Asperger's Syndrome and most people know I am OCD.  But hey, we are all different.  :)
Later, take care

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Beautiful Sunday

I love days like this, in the 70's, sun is out and a little breeze.  If I could "can" this day and can 365 days I would.  I was able to hang out a load of wash this morning and was able to take it down a couple hours later.  I put a small piece of beef brisket on the grill this morning, cooked 2 ears of corn in the microwave and had some cucumbers for lunch.  A little piece of heaven on earth, the brisket was delicious.  Just enough left for the grandson when he gets home from  going to Indiana with some friends for several days.
Ron and I are going to take a dozen of brown eggs up to the people in town and see how the fruit is doing.   We took a short ride last night and I was in envy at all the fruit trees we saw.  I wonder how much of it will not be used and left to waste?
Later, take care.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Closet Done

The closet project (installing closet organizer shelves) went very smoothly.  It only took a couple of hours from the time I took everything out to the last item being put back in.  After I was finished doing the closet I straightened up the rest of the house and then went out back to enjoy the beautiful weather.  I love not having to run the AC and to be able to sit out.  Since it has cooled off a bit we see the deer a lot more right behind the chicken coop.  Haven't seen any bucks yet but have seen a lot of does with their fawns.  The yard needs to be cut the first of the week.  The cool weather and the rain we got has perked it up nicely.  Monday I need to take the oldest granddaughter to the eye doctor because her mom has to work.  If I get back home earlier enough I will do the yard work on Monday, if not it will have to wait until Wednesday.
Later, take care.

Friday, August 17, 2012

I Need to Stop Making Plans

Yesterday I made plans to make apple pectin and to clean the grandson's closet; well I did neither.  Got a call from Gina this morning and she needed a ride back home after dropping her vehicle off so I didn't start anything because I needed to wait for her call.  When I was dropping her off my son Ronnie called and said he would be by in the afternoon to pick up his bacon we got last week for him.  When I left Gina's house I stopped at Renee's and her and I went to Kroger's to get some briskets that were on sale.  After dropping her off I went to the bank, returned some library books and came home.  Ron came home from work, my ex daughter in law brought the granddaughter to our house because this is where Ronnie was meeting her.  Visited with her for a while, Ronnie came, visited with him and the granddaughter for a couple of hours, they left, we went out to eat, came home and now going to bed.
Tomorrow for SURE we have to get the closet done.  I picked some zucchini when Ronnie was here and he took some home but left the giant ones so I need to grate them tomorrow and freeze them so they don't go to waste.  I think I'll also cook some for supper tomorrow to go with the corn on the cob and make it a vegetable day.  In the summer we have days where we don't have meat and eat what is fresh and dictated by what is ready in the garden.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Crab Apples

Got a late start working on the crab apples today.  We had a storm come through and lost our electric for a couple of hours.  We did get 1 1/4" of rain and that was most welcomed.  I used about half the crab apples I got yesterday and made 4 pints and 2 quarter pints of crab apple jelly and 16 pints and 2 quarter pints of crab apple butter.  The crab apples that are left are going to be used to make some pectin.  My plan is to work on that in the morning and then I need to get the grandson's closet emptied so we can put some closet organizer shelves in while is is gone.  He will be back late Sunday so we will be working on it this weekend.

Crab apple butter and crab apple jelly.

This Is A Must Read

Please take a few minutes and click on the above and read this.  This is something most of us think about and so few of us do, including myself.  I've been trying but have not achieved all I would like to.  A real eye opener.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Lucky Day

On Wednesday's I take eggs into the hospital where Gina works to sell.  Gina started selling my eggs to her fellow coworkers last year when we were on vacation and has kept it up.  I stopped at Renee's house first to pick up 2 dozen of eggs she had to sell.  Gina has more customers than eggs and Renee just started raising chickens this year and when she has extra eggs Gina will sell hers also.  On my way home I stopped at the store to pick up a couple of things and then headed home.  On my way home I pass a large cemetery and noticed that on the road there were lots of some type of fruit.  I pulled over and drove through the cemetery and saw that the fruit was crab apples.  There were at least 50 crab apple trees of various sizes and colors throughout the cemetery.  Someone was cutting the grass there so I went up and asked if it was alright to pick some and he said I could have as many as I wanted and that across the street at the other part of the cemetery the crab apples were larger.  He said people had already picked some and wasn't sure how many were left.  I went over and found 2 huge trees of the larger crab apples and filled a pot that Renee had borrowed and gave me back today and also a paper bag that I had in the Escape.
On my way home I went through the little village by our house because I saw a sign that said "Garage Sale".  I didn't find the sale but as I was going through the village I noticed a peach tree and apple tree and someone was out cutting the grass.  I've read on blogs where people will stop when they see gardens or fruit trees that look like the owner is done picking the fruit and has asked to glean it.  I am not the type of person who would stop and ask a total stranger if I could glean their garden or orchard BUT today for some strange reason I pulled over and the lady who was cutting the grass came over and I asked her if I could glean the trees when they were done and she said they don't even pick the stuff and I could have it all.  I think at that point I was in total shock; first that I asked and second her answer.  I got out of the vehicle and she said she wasn't sure when the stuff would be ready so we went over to look at the trees.  I saw 1 pear tree, 1 green apple tree, 1 red apple tree, 1 huge peach tree.  I picked a pear and both kinds of apples to try and looked at the peaches.  They need more time and she said I should come back next week to check the fruit to see if it was ready.  As we were talking her husband drove up and she proceeded to tell him about me getting the fruit and he said he had 1 question for me and it was "can I bake a peach pie"?  Of course I said you bet I can.  One thing lead to another and I said something about having chickens and he asked if I had brown egg layers and I said yes.  He wants to start buying some.  We talked more and he asked me what I would do with grapes and I said I would make jelly.  He said on the far side of his yard he had green and black grapes I could have.  I was then telling him about picking wild blackberries and he said he also had blackberries and they were huge.  He said he picked a 5 gallon bucket of them and gave them to a lady this year.
Next week I plan on baking a peach pie, a raspberry pie and taking both up to them along with a dozen of brown eggs.
I almost forgot, when I was there she gave me 10 large tomatoes and 2 cucumbers from her garden.   Here are some good people who have stuff they don't want or are tired of and are glad to see someone use it.  After I asked her about gleaning the trees I told her I can't believe I just asked this.  God works in such mysterious ways.

Apples and pear from a house about a mile from our house where I am going to glean.

Crab apples from the cemetery, ping pong ball so you can see how big they are; I will be making some crab apple jelly tomorrow.

Crab apples from the cemetery, ping pong ball so you can see how big they are; I will be making some crab apple jelly tomorrow.

I guess these are crab apples; I always thought crab apples were smaller.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

House Cleaning Day

It took me 5 1/2 hours but the house is clean, the wash is caught up and everything I canned is put up.  Canning all day for 3 days put a big strain on the amount of work I was able to accomplish around the house.  After cleaning I was able to sit out back and enjoy the nice day out.  I sat out back and looked at some cookbooks and gardening books on my Kindle.  I also picked some eggplant that I cooked for supper to go with the BLTs.  I have a couple zucchini that will need picked tomorrow along with some tomatoes and by the end of the week I will have some peppers that need picked.  My fall peas are up and so are my green beans.  The extended forecast looks pretty nice and there is also a chance of rain.  The cooler weather is a welcomed relief after the horribly hot summer.
Later, take care.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Tomatoes are Finally Done

The tomatoes are done and I am so happy.  I got a late start because I had to go to the dentist because of the tooth that broke off last week.  When the dentist was filling my tooth I was thinking of all the things I could buy for what this was costing me.  I had 2 choices, fill it or cap it.  Filling it $200, capping $700; of course I chose filling.
My daughter Renee came by this morning and bought 3 boxes of tomatoes from me so I didn't have as many as I thought I was going to have to do.  I got 26 quarts of very thick crushed tomatoes and 7 quarts and 5 pints of tomato juice done today.  Now tomorrow I have to deep clean the kitchen and put the stuff I canned    today and yesterday away.  In a couple of days I will need to dehydrate some peppers and some more herbs.  No rest at this time of year, got to get things done as they get ripe.   
Recap of the 3 days of tomatoes, 14 boxes, or about 350 lbs of tomatoes
14 pints of salsa
26 pints of chili sauce
15 quarts and 1 pint of pasta sauce
7 quarts and 5 pints of tomato juice
57 quarts of crushed tomatoes

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Tomatoes, Tomatoes and More Tomatoes

Ron and I canned 31 quarts of crushed tomatoes today.  We also have one 5 gallon bucket and two 3 1/2 buckets in the spare fridge ready to be simmered down.  I have several nice food grade buckets that I got for free at a local bakery; they are so nice to store things in.  We are down to 3 boxes and I will start them after I come home from the dentist tomorrow and then will do what is in the buckets.  My goal is to have the rest of them at least ready to be canned by tomorrow night.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

4 Boxes Done 13 More to Go

Ron and I worked really hard today making salsa, chili sauce and pasta sauce.  We got 14 pints of salsa, 26 pints of chili sauce and 15 quarts and 1 pint of pasta sauce.  We used all the peppers that we got and half the onions to make everything.  We only used 4 boxes of tomatoes and have 13 more to go.  Next thing we will do will be chopped tomatoes in quart jars then tomato sauce in pints and then I'm not sure.  Thinking about trying  tomato jam since I have soooooooooo many tomatoes.  Long hot day in the kitchen; I'm sure I'll sleep good tonight.
I used my 2 roasters today; in one roaster I put jars and water and this is how I got my jars hot and the second roaster I simmered the pasta sauce.  With so many things going at the same time I did not have enough room on the stove.  I plan on using the roasters tomorrow to simmer down the chopped tomatoes.  It sure helps cut down on the heat in the kitchen.

By using a baby spoon it makes it easy to remove the seeds and white membrane  from jalapenos. 

Spice bags ready for the chili sauce.

The roasters; one for the jars to get them hot and the other is full of pasta sauce.

Friday, August 10, 2012

No More One Jar at a Time

Today Ron, Gina and I went down to Arthur to the Amish Produce Auction.  We came away with lots of bargains and had lots of fun.  The first place we went to was the auction.  There were several hundred 25 # boxes of home grown tomatoes of various sizes.  They also had various other home grown produce and some went very cheap and some things were a little out of my price range.  I brought home 2 pints of jalapeno peppers for $1.10 ea, 2 bags of Candy Onions (12 # ea) for $5 a bag, 2 boxes of very beautiful heirloom peppers of various colors for $4 a box, 1 huge cantaloupe and 17 boxes (25 # ea) of tomatoes.  These tomatoes are beautiful, various sizes and all are in perfect condition and were $3.00 a box, that is 12 cents a pound, yes a whole 12 cents a pound.
The first thing we will do with the tomatoes will be to make chili sauce.  Next will be some quarts of chopped tomatoes and then I'm not sure.  Ron has already cleaned the peppers and I have several dozen jars washed.  We will cut the peppers up first thing tomorrow and then go from there.
While in Arthur we went to the bulk food store and also a salvage store.  I picked up bacon for $1.34 a pound and got 2 cases (24 #s each case).  Our son wanted some so that is why we bought a lot.  I will can most of mine.  We eat bacon and eggs for supper a lot, use it in quiche and make potato soup with it; so for $1.34 that is a cheap meal.
We also stopped in an Amish shop that had ground Black Angus Beef, 81/19 for $2.19 #.  It came in 10 # rolls and you had to buy 4 rolls for that price.  We will be going down to the auction one last time this season sometime in September and will stop by and see about getting some of the beef then.

Amish Produce Auction, Arthur IL

Thank goodness we took the truck.

Ron looking over the stuff.

Back seat of the truck, Gina had just enough room to sit.

My bargains.

Some of the beautiful peppers.

The beautiful colors in these peppers were amazing.

Look at those tomatoes, all in perfect shape and very solid.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

One Jar at a Time

Like the Johnny Cash song "One Piece at a Time" I am building up my stock of tomatoes one jar at a time.  I canned 3 pints this morning and brings my total to 10 pints.  Next year I will plant a lot more tomatoes so I will have more to can and can a variety of tomato things.  I found the recipe for chili sauce that my grandmother made and I really loved it.  Chili sauce will be on the list of things I want to can when I get a bunch of tomatoes.  Maybe I will find a bargain tomorrow at the Amish Produce Auction.
Later, take care.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Zucchini/Potato Pancakes

For supper to go with the BBQ pork we were having I made up something new for us.  I grated 1 medium zucchini, 2 small Yukon gold potatoes, added 1 small chopped red onion, 1 egg, salt, pepper, garlic and about 1/2 c of flour.  Mixed it up and dropped by spoonful into hot olive oil.  These were wonderful and Ron even liked them and ate several.  I used the zucchini, onion and potato from my garden and the egg from the "girls".  I love when I can use so many items from the garden in 1 meal.
Now I need to think what else I can put with grated zucchini.  If you have any favorite zucchini recipes please share.

Zucchini/Potato Pancakes

Yard Work Day

Up and outside by 7:15 to start the yard work.  Before Brandon came out to cut the grass it had started to rain.  I kept weed whacking and he cut the grass.  The rain stopped for a while and we got everything done. When I was out front cutting the weeds in the ditch I found the below, nice size snake skin over 4 1/2 feet.  It is raining again and that is wonderful, every little bit of rain helps the garden.  When we were out back we saw some deer out in the field.  The deer were out there for a while; Brandon took some nice pictures of them.  I worked on the yard for 5 long hours and my arms and shoulders are hurting big time.  Bedtime will be early for me tonight.
Last night while eating some popcorn 1/2 of one of my back teeth broke off at the gum line.  It is not painful but the edge is sharp and I'm afraid that more of it might break off.  I called the dentist and am waiting for a call back.  A visit to the dentist is NOT one of my favorite things.

Deer out back.

Snake skin that I found in the front ditch.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tomato Powder and Vegetable Powder

After the tomatoes finished drying today I put them through the food processor and made them into tomato powder.  I will be able to use this in soups, stews and anywhere I want a little extra tomato flavoring.  I then took some dehydrated onions, mushrooms, peppers, carrots and celery and made some vegetable powder,  I will use this in soups,  Both jars of the powder look so nice and they take up so little room.  Hopefully I will make some more of both.  When I look at the things I make I am so proud.
We are going down to the Amish Produce Auction this Friday and to a couple of bulk food stores.  I will be getting several boxes of bacon and will can it.  I hope to get some more potatoes, beets and some tomatoes.  This fall I will start watching the ads for meat, the stuff in the freezer will be running out in a couple months.  I am determined that I will not buy any more meat or make any cheese until what is in the freezer is gone.  When turkeys go on sale in November we will get several and will make ground turkey again.  I prefer ground turkey over ground beef and it is better for you, we will also grid some chicken this year.  When we get the turkeys and chickens I will use the bones to make stock for canning some soups.

Pint jars with vegetable powder and tomato powder.

Zucchini and Banana Bread Day

I had several zucchini and bananas that needed something done to them so I made breads all day today.  I ended up with 4 loaves of banana bread, 4 loaves of zucchini oatmeal bread and 12 loaves of zucchini bread and 5 small loaves of zucchini that Brandon added chocolate chips and pineapple to.  He will take them with him when he goes home tomorrow.  All the rest of the bread went into the freezer.  I was able to use all the zucchini I had and then I went out to the garden a little while ago and picked 4 more with several that will need picked by the end of the week.  I am going to use one tomorrow for supper and use it to make zucchini/potato pancakes.
Ron brought home several tomatoes that will need to be canned tomorrow, it will be enough for 2 pints.   They will have to wait until I get the yard work done.  Brandon will cut the grass while I do the weed whacking.  With both of us working on the yard it won't take long.  There is a chance of rain tomorrow afternoon so will get up early just in case we get the rain.

All the bread we made today.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Canning Split Pea and Ham Soup and Dehydrating Tomatoes

I had a long busy day today in the kitchen.  I canned 15 quarts and 1 pint of Split Pea with Ham Soup, have 3 trays of cherry tomatoes drying to make into tomato powder and baked 2 loaves of Banana Bread.  It was another nice day out with the sun shinning and a nice breeze.  I have just one load of clothes hung out today and love to watch them blow in the breeze.
For the soup, I cooked the beans with added seasonings in one pot and the cut up ham, onion and ham broth in another pot.  I added 1 ladle of the ham into each jar and then filled the jars with the split peas.  It smells so yummy in the house right now.  The soup will be a nice welcome to a cold day this winter.  When we have ham again I will use the left over ham and can some Pinto Bean and Ham Soup.
I have a lot of zucchini in the fridge and need to come up with something to use it in tomorrow.  I'm thinking of making several loaves of Zucchini Bread and then freeze it.  I made 2 loaves of Banana Bread today to use up some past their prime bananas.  I left one loaf out to eat now and froze the other for later.  I have several frozen bananas that I put in the freezer when they were past their prime earlier this year so maybe I'll take them out and use them up also.
Brandon is here for a couple of days, I picked him up when I went in to town.  When he is here he is the one who takes the pictures for the blog; he likes photography and is planning to take some classes in high school.   I was going through some old recipes and came across the Banana Bread recipe that I used today.  I have not used this recipe in at least 25 years.  Here is the recipe I used:

Banana Bread
1/2 c butter
1 cup of sugar
1 egg
2 large bananas smashed
pinch of salt
2 TBS milk
1 tsp baking soda
2 c flour

Cream together the butter and sugar, add the egg, smashed bananas and milk and mix well.  Mix the dry ingredients together and then add to the wet mixture.  Pour into a greased bread pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until a tooth pick stuck in the middle comes out clean.

Banana Bread

Tomatoes ready to go into the dehydrator.

First I added a scoop of ham and onions to the jar.

Then I filled the jar with the split peas.

15 qts and 1 pt of Split Pea with Ham Soup.