Archive for July, 2009

Plum Crazy….

Friday I headed up to my parents house for more free fruit…..this time it was plums.
17lbs of an unknown variety to be exact.
Chop ….Chop….. Chop
4lbs plums / 8 cups of sugar/ 1/2 cup water and a little pectin…..

Batch #1 produced 9 fancy square jars of yummy plum jam…..after which Big Mavis (my mom) declared that she was keeping all of them….to give away as gifts….so I took the rest of the plums home and whipped up 10 jars by myself….for us to eat or to give away….and plenty of plums leftover to snack on.

I was planning on dehydrating some of the plums but I think I will wait for her Italian plum tree to start dropping fruit…last year we harvested 25 lbs of Italian plums from her 30+ year old tree…this year I plan on dehydrating them all (I don’t need anymore plum jam) and using them to mix in with oatmeal cookies all winter long…yummarooo!

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The second planting of beans is coming in nicely…These should be ready to
harvest about early September….
4 happy hens doing well in the 95+degree heat….they are still laying eggs and don’t seem that stressed believe it or not…. I really thought one of them was going to keel over by now or something…..they may not be the brightest of creatures but they do know how to keep cool…..I’m impressed.
Yummy homegrown new potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes and a little asparagus
(obviously not home grown) on the grill…..

After a hard day at work the handsome husband still has enough energy to churn a little chocolate chip mint ice cream…..what a guy.

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That handsome husband of mine brought me home a bouquet of fresh dill last night….just in time too… today I whipped up 6 pints of dilly beans and 4 quarts of dill pickles….in one of the quarts I added 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes….I hope they turn out spicy……

Behold….the great….Red Zebra Tomato…..

I planted out 4 kinds of baking squash this year……butternut, acorn, long island cheese (pumpkin) and Hubbard squash…..in my reckless planting earlier this summer I forgot to label what I planted and where…. but I think this is Hubbard…..there are about 5 squash growing on this vine…is that too many? Should I be pinching some of them off?

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I had to move the Eglu and the hens under cover….so they wouldn’t become
baked chicken
in the 100 degree heat…
I thought about putting down a tarp for an easier clean up but I was afraid the hens would eat it….so I just layed down a big batch of straw for them and hosed it down with water.

Did you know chickens LOVE cottage cheese? Me neither until I read about it in my fancy chicken book…..These ladies are spoiled…later this afternoon I plan of giving them strawberries.

Up here in Seattle the weather for the next few days is suppose to be around 100 degrees….no joke….. I can’t imagine what it must be like to live in the south…no thanks…I’d rather have the rain…9 month’s out of the year.

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This morning I picked about 5lbs of beans from the garden…
And then I proceeded to can them…

Just look at those cute little jars…all snuggled next to each other…waiting to be boiled…

Today’s count: 13 pints of green beans… for a total of 24 pints… I still need 28 more pints of beans if I’m going to reach my goal of 52 pints (one pint a week for a year).

I’m still in awe that there are really people out there who can/grow/eat all there own food.

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Watering my crop of 18 heads of cabbage at the neighbors property…
Saturday morning backyard harvest…
Stupice tomatoes are stupendous…
Beets are beautiful…
Pickled beets are even better…


My second batch of zucchini relish….this stuff is AWESOME!!!!
I seriously don’t think 17 jars is going to be enough to last me thru winter… I may just have to whip up 1 more batch…

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Today I made apple butter with 15lbs of foraged apples from my parents backyard.

My parents are constantly trying to lure me up the their house….and being the wise people that they are….. they know one thing always works…… the promise of free fruit….. that is falling off their trees…

Who needs shiny objects when there is ripe fruit to be had…free for the pickin.

Apple Butter

5lbs free apples
5 cups apple cider
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice (what’s is allspice anyway?)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Step 1: Wash / Core and Quarter Apples

Step 2: In a 6 Quart (or so) Dutch Oven combine apples and cider. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the apples are nice and tender, stirring occasionally.

Step 3: Press apples and liquid thru a food mill. Return apple pulp back to dutch oven and add spices.

Step 4: Bring to a boil then simmer again stirring often until it cooks down and gets nice and semi thick… maybe 1/2 hour to an hour or so.

Step 5: Ladle hot apple butter into sterilized pint jars, leaving about 1/2″ head space. Wipe rims clean and process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Remove jars, place on a towel and let cool. Check to make sure the seals sealed and then store for winter…or until the next time you make pancakes…or until your little monkey boy finds it and eats 3 jars making himself full of fiber and you know what that means……

We eat this stuff right out of the jar….we mix it in with pancakes….I even pour it over chicken in the crock pot….it’s appledelicious…..
Granite Ware 11-1/2 Quart Covered Preserving Canner with Rack 

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