Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Even Tomat-Ho's Need Clean Sheets

First and foremost, THANK YOU all for offering up such sage advice on how to deal with my Tomat-Ho's!  I have been telling anyone and everyone who will listen, to beat the snot out of those things and to let the dirty little Ho's lie!

So like y'all said, I gave my Ho's some nice new bedding and then let them be:
Before below...

And After...

I had extra straw, so I put some around the peppers too...

Speaking of Peppers...has someone jinxed me?  WTF is this?  And I don't mean "What's The Fixin's" this time either!

Hmmm?  Hmmm?  What is THAT!?  It's not smushy, it's actually very brittle.  I almost poked a hole in it when curiosity got the best of me.

Oh well!  Watch'ya gonna do?  I will say one thing, you guys are fun!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Headless Chicken

Ahhh...a cushy chair, finally!  If only for a moment to sit and post! 

Yesterday was brutal!  Not complaining, because it means the gardens are coming into full swing and that feeds us throughout the year.  It's a blessing of busy, right?

The peaches were first to hit the hot water! This recipe turned out pretty good!  In all, I had 8 Qt jars of Peach Pie Filling and 10 C frozen Peaches for whatever tickles my fancy later.

Peach Pie Filling - as seen on

6 Qts Peaches
7 C Sugar
2 C plus 3 T Clear Jell
5 1/4 C Cold Water
1 t Cinnamon
1 3/4 C Lemon Juice
Combine Water, Clear Jell, Cinnamon and Sugar and heat till bubbly thick.
Add Lemon Juice and boil exactly 1 Minute
Add Peaches and stir for 3 Minutes (it's a real workout!)
Jar and Hot Water Bath for 30 Minutes

Here's my Mom making up some cukes for dinner!  I think they walked in uninvited...Who ordered the cukes??
Up next, more corn!  I had a few more hands to help for this and Ohhhh, I was so thankful!

So I searched all over and wasn't sure which recipe to use for Creamed Corn and finally just consulted my Ball Book.  I thought I had done what it said, but who weighs their ears of corn???  So this is what I ended up doing and it turned out great!  I made 16 pint jars, so it better be good!

Creamed Corn

10 C Kernel Corn from cob, scrape cob for milk
6 C Water
1/2 t Salt
Bring to a boil and continue to boil for 3 minutes.
Jar and Pressure can for 85 minutes at 10 lbs of pressure.  Makes 8 Qts.

One thing I just didn't quite get to was the rest of the onions.  They are drying at least, but I wanted to get some more cut up and frozen.  Good thing they keep for a while, so no rush!  Our total onion harvest came in at 174 onions!  Whew!

Now, time to relax and recharge!!  For Andrea, at least!

But before I go, I wanted to share a funny little clip of an email my MIL sent me:

"What are you doing today? Making your own toilet paper? Just kidding!!!!! Love you though! :-)"

I wonder if I gave her homemade toilet paper if she would eat that too?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Awe, Shucks!

Well, it seems like when it rains, it pours!  But thankfully I've got an Apple Dumplin' with me this week!

My niece, Andrea...can you tell she's thrilled???  She loaded at least 4 carts full of fall out from the storm and there are still more to go.  I had to hunt for an elusive smile from her...

Got it!  Found one in the peach tree!

I picked enough peaches earlier in the week to make a cobbler.  We went back out to the tree last night and got a bit more.  The tree is fairly old and the skins are blemished, but the peaches are good!

So I am doing my best to learn her up and corrupt her this week too...I love to corrupt the Apple Dumplin's!  Mothers everwhere, Beware!

We picked corn and enter -Awe, Shucks!  I managed to get one batch of Freezer Corn put up last night, but I will be busy with the rest of it today...

And the onions...(and more corn!)

And the Peach Pie Filling...

And the Peas...I hope I can find time to put the Peas up -to my mouth, that is!  Whew!!  That one-sided row is kickin' my Dunce's BUTT!  :)  I dressed it up a little for ya even!

Freezer Corn Recipe

24 C Fresh Corn Cut from the Cob
1/2 C Sugar
2 T Salt

Let stand for 30 Minutes.  Stir every 10 minutes.  Bag and Freeze.

Calling all Canners:  I admit, I love store bought Creamed Corn!  If any one has a recipe they would like to share, I would LOVE to try it out!!  Thank You!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I've Got Tomat-Ho's

It's a tragedy really...

A huge storm ripped thru our area Friday night with winds around 60-70 mph.  You know that sinking feeling you get when you know it's gonna be bad?  Well, you can't see my garden from the house at all, but I just knew it wasn't gonna be pretty.  So as soon as the rain and winds stopped, Pig Pen and I went to check on things.
Main Garden

Melon Patch

Not good!  Of the 28 tomato plants, 11 of them were laying down!  And the others are Loose!  Those Damn Tomat-Ho's!  How dare they lay down on me!  So that's what I'm callin' em.  Tomat-Ho's.

If you have any survival stories from your Tomat-Ho's, I'd love to hear about how you cured the Ho's and set them 'straight' again.

Friday, July 23, 2010

There's a Skunk in My Garden!

...And it's ME!

Katidids recently posted about the Sweltering Heat which lead to some fun banter on her comments as well as on mine and MamaPeas too about how we look and worse, how we err....smell. 

So it got me all curious.  When you are working the yard/garden, what do ya wear and how scarey like are ya? 

I have my usual flip-flop feet, tank top and light cotton shorts generally.  And no day goes by that my hair isn't out of my face.  Bandanna's work great for this!  Last year I was the mini-clip queen.  But my scalp kept getting burnt and then it just looked like dandruff.  Eww!

Do you wear Fish Net stockings??  Or do you reserve the hose for securing your plants?  I use knee highs for my fruit trees.  Either hang the hair from your hair brush or a spring clean bar of soap.  It helps keep the munching deer at bay.

I really should use that spring clean soap more on my pits and less on the trees!  Ugh!  It is so hot out there and I sweat like a pig!  I don't mind the sweat at all actually, but Whew doggies!  Things can get as ripe as my tomatoes!

So I am currently using this and have found that it works pretty well, albeit a bit pricey.  And I apply frequently. 

I am not opposed to forgoing the anti-perspirant at all and I know that is the best way to go anyway.  I have tried several deodorant only sticks, crystals/rocks, but none so far that ward of "the stank"!!!   I refuse to give up my search however!  I just got a new "deodorant only" this week and...I'll let ya know how it stands up to the heat! 

So here are the haggish are you in the garden and what is your product of success for the pits?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

For a Good Laugh, Rely on Family

My Mother-In-Law, Jan from Quilt...Knit...Sew...Repeat, is terrified of Chickens.  In good form however, she is being a sport and trying to sound interested, excited and so on. 

I think she's full of CRAP!

Our conversation went something like this:

MIL:   So now, do I really have to worry about snakes too?
TAPG:  No, Pig Pen says we don't have those kind of snakes.  I told him it's because we don't have chickens yet.
MIL:  I think I would run more from a snake than a chicken.
TAPG:  We are getting them as peeps.
MIL:  What's a peep?
TAPG:  It's a baby chicken.  Then I will have everyone over and we can bond with them while they are young and cute.
MIL:  Didn't we used to dye their hair?
TAPG:  (Stunned)  What?
MIL:  Yeah, I think we used to dye their hair.  I don't know where that thought would come from, so I think we must have.
TAPG:  (Mortified, Humored and Laughing Out Loud!)  WHAT KIND OF MONSTER ARE YOU???

And for once....I did not show MY age, SHE did!  
But I did find THIS!!
Don't worry...
I won't let HER near my Chickens, just the Snakes!  :)  


What's The Fixin's???

I know what ya thought...

My basil is coming on strong, so besides a batch of homemade pesto which I hope to do later today, last night I whipped up a little something.

There really is no right or wrong or measurements as far as this goes, just give it a try!

Heat some EVOO in a large skillet.  I used an organic Garlic Infused that I had purchased at a Farmer's Market earlier in the day.  Yummy...
Season your chicken with Salt, Pepper then make it pretty with a little Parsley.  You can add a little Paprika to make it all nice and golden.  Then just give it a nice sear.  Mine looked like this:

Pop it in a covered casserole.  I like to use stones, but you can use whatever you have on hand.
Place just a smidge of Chicken Broth or water on the bottom.  Just enough to cover the bottom is all.
Chop a handful of cherry tomatoes in half.  Thinly slice a few garlic cloves.  I used 3.  Slicing garlic will give it a milder taste.  Pressing garlic will be stronger.  So do what you like.
Chop some fresh basil and sprinkle all over.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
I drizzled a little regular EVOO on top too.

Cover and bake at 350 for about a half an hour.  (I'm not good with cook standard response when people ask me this is "Til it's done"...ornery snot that I am!)

Meanwhile, cook up your favorite noodles.
Wipe out your skillet and drizzle a little EVOO and melt a stick of butter.  Press a garlic clove.  Just give it a heat thru.  Don't brown the garlic, which I accidentally did!  Add parsley to make it pretty. 
Toss your cooked noodles in!
Serve with Fresh Grated Parmesan if desired.

In the great words of Paula Deen, "I'm not your doctor, I'm your cook".  That is what I tell people when they question my love of Butter...I will also add EVOO on my own accord.  And of course I always add, "I ain't killed no one yet"  :)

So hey...check THIS out...
Can you guess what Pig Pen has been up to???

It's our Chicken Coop Construction Project!  WooHoo!!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pickles, Peppers, Pots, and Peace...

Yesterday was one of those days that you can't help but feel all good inside.  It was relatively cool out, maybe a bit gray at times, but it reminded me of summers at Grama's house.  I would wake up to a box fan in the window, Grama's pure white chenille bed spread, embroidered pillow cases and peace.  I miss those times.

The chorus of Edwin McCain's "These are the Moments" kept rolling thru my head.

"And these are the moments,
I thank God that I'm alive.
And these are the moments,
I'll remember all my life.
I've got all I've Waited for,
And I could not ask for more."
And I couldn't agree more!  So I really enjoyed leaving the TV off most the day and padding around all happy like as I took my own sweet time making Bread and Butter Pickles and Pepperoncini Peppers.  Grama would have loved it too!

Bread and Butter Pickles

3 Qts sliced Cucumbers
2 Onions, sliced
1/2 C Canning Salt
Let these three ingredients stand in cold water for 3 hours.
Then drain and set aside.
In large stock pot, combine the following:
2 C Sugar
3 t Celery Seed
2 t Mustard Seed
Pinch of Turmeric
1 Qt Vinegar
Heat mixture and add drained cukes/onions and bring to a boil.
Ladle into hot jars, rims and seals.  Process in Hot Water Bath for 10 minutes.

Pepperoncini Peppers

3 Qts Pepperoncini Peppers, with stems left on and slits cut thru each pepper
3 C Vinegar
3 C Water
3 t Canning Salt

This is an easy to adjust recipe.  Just keep the amount the same for each unit of measure and you are good to go!

Heat the vinegar, water and salt to a boil.  Pack hot jars firmly with peppers.  Ladle mixture into jars and with a good and bendy spatula, firmly press out air bubbles.  There will be alot as the vinegar mixture soaks into and thru the slits in peppers.  Add more peppers as needed.  Pack them good!  Place rims and lids and then process in Hot Water Bath for 10 minutes.

Hope you all find a little peace today.  But if you can't, find a memory that takes you there. 

Love and Hugs!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Good Things Comin'!

We have been like a watch pot waiting to boil over.  Blogging has been great...watching every one else's crops come in, wondering when our time would finally come.  Wishing that 'crazy' would finally hit!  Yesterday was the first harvest worth more than a onsey-twosy picking!

I pulled 64 of the nearly 300 onions we planted! 

And, today I will finally get to make some pickles!  Last year was not a good year for cukes or any type of melon.  Other than the zukes of course...they are always over-abundant!  So I can finally add some pickles back to the pantry shelf! 

Here are the onions hanging around now:

Even more Great News...Pig Pen checked the bee hives and reports that we will have alot more honey than he anticipated! 

He said there are a couple hundred pounds in each hive!  Of course we have to leave 100 for over wintering...but try and put that into perspective!  For all the 'canners' out there you may remember Grama saying, "A pint is a pound the world around."  If each hive is at roughly 200 pounds so far, imagine 200 pint jars of honey lining my shelves!!  And he says they are still busy little bees and he needs to order more supplies for them to keep on going!

He takes off the parts that they over build, here is what that looks like on the hive:
See the wax on top?
And out!
But they are capping off!  See all the 'white' stuff?  That's wax! 

Sing some Carly Simon with me pals!  "Anticipation..."

Monday, July 19, 2010

Welcome to The Bean Pot Cafe...

Well, at least that's what the sign in my kitchen says anyway!

We love Baked Beans!  I put them in my Chili even!  Along with Butter Beans and Chili beans as well! 

This post is actually going to be part "Dear John" letter, with one little twist on name:

To My Dearest JANE,

     As requested, I am reporting back to you on the Baked Bean making session.  Now I was so very proud of you for having cracked out your Pressure Canner for the first time!  I too, brought mine out for the season's first round.
     After spending at least a half an hour reading and re-reading the directions, because I too am always terrified at first, I managed to get everything in place.
    Now you had indicated that you had an R-Rated day.  My hope for you, was that your next round would be at best, PG or PG-13.  Clearly you are a far more disciplined 'canner' than I am.  My day was entirely X-Rated.  I am not proud!  My mouth was like a trucker and I am fairly confident that I scorched poor Jenny-Girl's ears along the way.  Ooops!
    Pig Pen arrived home just in time for my tirade and was immediately put to work.  I am forever grateful that he does not take my "Bossy" self to heart. did you manage an R rating???

The Apple Pie Gal aka Mouth Like a Truckers Wife (yesterday anyway)

So, as you can tell, things went a bit wrong.  The Baked Beans themselves turned out.  But, I dumped hot bean juice all over the counter and onto the floor.  Then while filling the Pressure Canner, I dumped hot boiling water down the cabinets, onto the floor and thusly splashing up my unprotected legs and flip flop feet.  Errrr....

In any case, here is the recipe I used:

4 C Dried Navy Beans
1/2 Lbs Bacon or Salt Pork
4 t Canning Salt
4 T Molasses
6 T Brown Sugar
2 Cup Onion
3 t Dry Mustard
1 Qt Tomato Juice
3/4 C Broth from Cooked Beans (reserved)

Clean, sort out the ookey ones, soak them overnight. 
Have jars, rims and lids hot and ready to go.
Prepare your Canner as per instructions in Canner manual.
Boil the beans in the same soaked water until they begin to crack.  (About 1/2 and hour or slightly longer) 
While beans are boiling: Chop Onion, Cut Bacon/Salt Pork into small pieces and measure all other ingredients.
When beans are cooked, drain and reserve the broth/cooking liquid!  Have slop towels ready or enter X-Rated...
Add all ingredients listed above into your stock pot and mix well.  Return to heat and keep warm.
Once you have yourself pulled back together, ladle into hot jars and place into canner as per manual and try not to scorch ears, feet or other objects or persons.
Process at 10 lbs of pressure for 75 minutes.
Makes 8 Pints

Now I will make a few adjustments next time.  I used a very stout Molasses and dark, dark brown sugar.  I will just use regular varieties next time.  I kept one pint out for dinner last night.  I think it needs a bit more tomato too.  Either that or the less stout darks might make the differnece.  But I will make it again.

So to release a little pressure from something other than that dern canner, we went for a little ride!

Caitlin was able to come check out the new toy and break it in a bit!

She found a flower!  She was so excited...we are still girls after all!
We took turns:

Then of course, Long and Lanky Loren and Pig Pen went "Down River" and didn't come back for a bit.  Did they get washed away?  Stuck?  No, just went in over their heads and bogged it out!

Good thing they know what they are doing!

I am sure there will be many more of the Boys Breaking the Toys!