Friday, September 22, 2017

Sour grapes...make good jelly

A dear friend of ours, Carol, gave us a grape plant that she had an extra of. We had previously planted grapes but between the deer and possibly too-wet soil, they all died off with nothing to show for our efforts.

This new plant did surprisingly well this year. They were so cute on the vine:
All 3 pounds of it picked:
 The messy juicing process...the is the remainder that we fed to the chickens:
I forgot to take a photo of the juice before popping it into the freezer...to wait until cooler weather to make jelly.
So far this year, I've made many jars of marmalade, one batch of strawberry jam, and one batch of Autumn Olive jelly. I'm waiting until late fall to make grape and blackberry jellies. What is your favorite jam or jelly?

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Love takes time

Did I give you an ear worm?

Sometimes falling in love with something takes a while. I'd seen this bowl that my dad had for several years now. He tried to have me take it home with me, but I while I liked it well enough, I never thought I loved it. So, I always made the excuse that it'd be hard to take home on the plane. I said it might break, even though it was packaged in a padded box.

Well, as my sister and I went through Dad's junky basement this last visit, I saw the bowl again. This time, I decided to take it with me.

Fish is a common motif.

Sadly, I only recognize the words "fish" and "longevity." Not sure what the other words are. Do you know?

You can see the outside design from the inside!

I set up up on the bookcase behind my standing desk and I pick it up to marvel at its beauty daily...the art and calligraphy on it, the translucency of the porcelain...and I am glad that I finally fell in love with it and brought it home.

What about you? Have you ever resisted something and then finally falling for it after many years?

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Winter pursuits

In the winter when there is no garden to tend to (and nothing to process and can, thank goodness!), I like to do other things, like make jewelry. Here are some I made when my sister visited this past Christmas holiday.




















"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

No salt but lots of peppah!

These are the 4 types of peppers we're growing this year.
And they make for a beautiful dinner!

Another dinner made with all of our own vegetables...

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The green bean scene

Canning 7 quart jars of the beans.
Hubby has grown green beans (and yellow beans) as well as long beans again this year. They are incredibly prolific. We must pick about 10 pounds every couple of days (thank goodness hubby and Son2 do all the picking). And then there is the processing on top of that.
The remainder to be frozen.
It takes me about an hour to wash 10 pounds of beans and another hour or so for us to snap them. Then hubby freezes or cans them, which can take another 1-2 hours.

Time consuming, but come winter, we forget the hard work and savor the flavor with satisfaction. :)

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Tomato season...hunting the trophy fruit

Once upon a time, the arrival of fall* was heralded by the imminence of school. These days, I know fall is coming when we start to get the full onslaught of ripe tomatoes.

And so it begins once again: the tomato processing cycle:

Son2 used to have to kneel on a stool to reach the strainer; now he towers over it.
The juice cooking down into sauce.

One batch done; the other still in the steam-canner.

Beauties.

Then, there are the smaller tomatoes...cherry, grape...that we dehydrate.
Exhausting work but worth it come winter.

* meteorological fall which starts September 1st

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Peach-y keen

I have a special fondness of peaches. Not only do they taste amazing (especially the ones from Pearson Farms in Georgia), but they have a long, symbolic history in Chinese myth and lore (think Quan Yin and the Monkey King!).
 Most years, we don't get enough peaches to have any after the wildlife have had their fill, the danged freeloaders. But this year, we got a bumper crop.
I picked 5 basketfuls on my own. Egg carton placed there for scale.
So pretty, even butterflies want to be near them! Okay, it just wants the juice.
And when you have that many peaches, you spend a lot of time processing
 to come up with pies (I always have to make a pecan pie whenever I whip up pie crusts...I never make just one pie crust either)...
 and canned the rest for later use.
2 solid hours of work for me and hubby just to get 3 lousy quarts of canned peaches. No wonder people just go to the store to buy their food.
We'd also frozen some peaches from this picking. When cold weather comes, I'll make more pies and maybe peach butter.

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Garden glory

Because it takes an extra step for me to share photos on this blog versus sharing straight to Facebook, I'd not posted here in a long time. But, since I'm in town with wifi and nothing better to do (a complete lie), I thought I'd share some gardening pictures because even though I haven't posted in a year and a half, we are still mostly small-scale homesteading.

Hubby among the okras.

Our grapes finally did something this year! It's because, for some strange reason, the vermin you call deer haven't mowed it to the ground like they usually do.

Peek-a-book, winter squash!

Some sunny summer squash.

Corn! I get so excited about corn.

The requisite zucchini

We have had really nice potatoes this year so far. No vole or insect damage.

A typical harvest: mostly grown, some scavenged (chanterelles).
Dinner is served!

And where you find zucchinis, you can find zucchini products. This was a particularly tasty muffin recipe. Very moist. I didn't need to smother them with butter like I usually do with muffins (because, IMO, the only good muffin is one that has been thoroughly killed by butter). 
Most things have been growing well for us this summer...except maybe tomatoes...even the peaches, which is the next post.

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams