Tuesday, August 31, 2010

When Things Get Sloppy...

I just finished wiping the jars from this weekend and putting them in the pantry...

Think I'm in trouble???

Now you know how much I like to call myself idiot...Today I get a capital I...

I had three layers of towels underneath my jars and it still happened!  I did the same thing two years ago on a smaller scale.  Which is why I now have a piece of countertop that I place on my table.  But for big jobs, it isn't enough.  Last year we brought in an old table and set it up in the kitchen.   With the addition of the pantry however, there was no room for the table this year and I don't have more countertop pieces to lay around...Sloppy Canner = Idiot!

Speaking of Sloppy, we cracked open a jar of the Sloppy Joe that my girlfriend Heather and I schemed up.  It got the thumbs up from Pig Pen and LLL.  I pulled a fast one on my brother Donnie and let him try it with just the notion that it was homemade, not homemade and canned.  He said it was "excellent"!  So I thought I would share it with you!

Sloppy Joe

6 Qts Tomato Sauce (I used mine straight from the Garden) Set Sauce aside for now.

Start off with:
4 Green Peppers
8 Celery Stalks
4 Onions

Chop and Saute w/ a smidgen of EVOO till crisp tender then add:

2 C Brown Sugar
1 C Apple Cider Vinegar

Once it Carmelizes, add:
3 T of Ground Mustard
4 Dash of Worcestershire

Cook down a bit and allow to incorporate, it sort of looked thicker at this point.

Add mixture to your Tomato Sauce and cook down to desired consistency.

Yielded 6.5 pints which would also of course depend on how long you cooked it down.
Jar it up with hot lids and rims, HWB for 15 Minutes
When I cooked it last night, I used 1.5 lbs of burger seasoned to taste and browned, added the sauce and then simmered it for about a half an hour.
Funny thing, before I jarred it the other day, I let my Mom taste test it to see if it was missing anything.  She said,"Yes...Hamburger!"  I thought it could use a bit more brown sugar, but of course that is to your own liking.
Ok, back to putting my kitchen in order...Harvesting the Honey tonight!  The Coop Pictures will wait for another day I suppose!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Hard Pressed...

These days, we've been hard pressed for time, sleep, rain, time...did I already say that?  My bad.

The other day, when I picked 53 lbs of tomatoes along with LLL's 4 lbs, it took up alot of 'time'...but we ended up with this:

16 Qts and 1 Pint of various Spaghetti Sauce, Tomato Sauce, Tomato Juice
6.5 Pints of Sloppy Joe Sauce
4 Half Pints of Relish

That was Thursday...Friday was a whole other story.  Need.More.Time

We have been anxiously awaiting the Hard Cider making process.  Got Apples?

Well, we had some fun with the folks at least.

We cleaned.  Then we decided to cut.  All hands on deck...or paws where applicable.  Emma, she's got to be in everything!  Leave a chair pulled out and she is the Cookie Monster!

Press was set and ready to go...

Apples in...

Juice out!

And......... Stop


Ahhh....one PINT of juice, all that work...ONE PINT.  For Pete's Sake!  What the heck am I gonna do with all these damn apples?  It just goes against every fiber of my being to let anything go to waste.  There are more than what are in these pics, by the way...idiot that I am.  Yeah, Yeah...and we now know we went about it all wrong too.  Shoulda had the fancy schmancy grinder type and all...Dunce Hat Securely ON!

So we're peeling and chopping and canning and OH-MY-GOSH...haven't made a DENT!

At least my girlfriend, Sue and I have had fun!  We made quick of our annual apple day on Sunday.  We did the same last year, this year we just have a few more apples.

Oh, and the garden gave me this:

8 Pints of Green Beans and the rest can wait till I get to it at least...

Did I mention Sue and I do grapes together every year too?

And I think Pig Pen felt so bad and sorry for me that the press broke, he got me a little present:

Seems to work really well!  I had already cooked the grapes down, but we ran them thru anyway!  What the heck?  The next batch that comes in will go straight into the hopper though!  If it doesn't meet my juicing standards, I can always go back to these:

I can't stand wearing gloves!  Pig Pen told me last night that I have Farm Hands.

Here is what yesterday's canning project turned up:

4 Jelly sized jars, 24 half pints, 1 pint of Grape Jelly
17 Qts and 1 Pint of Apple Pie Filling
3 Qts and 9 Pints of Apple Sauce

I have 2 large roaster pans cooking down into apple butter now.  And lots more to go...

Chicken Coop pics tomorrow if I have the energy to walk out there, Oh, and the time...

Settle something for me if you would!  Sue said she 'read somewhere' that after you open your jelly, it can only be kept in the fridge for 3 weeks.  Is she smokin' crack?  That's alot of wasted 'wisdom' if you ask me.  So I asked her how long she keeps her store bought stuff...she said, oh this was rich..."Yeah but that's got preservatives in it." 

Like that's a good thing?  She showed her "City" if you ask me.  

What say you?

Also, don't forget to enter my GiveAway...$40.00 on whatever you want!!!

If you are more interested in a shape ball and workout DVD, you can check out my SILs give away too!

Since I know y'all are hard pressed too...better luck!

Friday, August 27, 2010


It's about time for another Give Away...wouldn't ya say?

I thought so too! 

So the generous folks at CSN Stores have graciously offered to sponsor a $40.00 one-time gift certificate for a shopping spree at any of their over 200+ stores!!  WooHoo!  Yes, you heard me...ANY THING you want!  From Gardening Tools and Canning Kits to Dehydrators and Food Mills or maybe you need some new Corelle Dinnerware or a super cute My Baby Sam clothes hamper...they pretty well have it all!

Who wants to go shopping???

Here are the Entry Rules:

1.  Check Out CSN Stores.com and tell me what you would choose and why = 1 Entry
2.  Follow Me = 1 Entry
3.  Mention this Give Away and Link to it on your Blog = 1 Entry
US and Canada Residents Only

You must Leave A Comment on my Blog for each entry item that you complete to make it count!  If you already Follow Me, simply comment that and move on to the next entry item!  Easy Peasy, right?

I will announce the Give Away Winner one week from today, on Friday, September 3rd. 

OK boys and girls...Shop till you drop and have some fun!!

Have an AWESOME weekend!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Concrete for the Critters

With all the prep for the Bang Up Birthday party we had here over the weekend, can you believe I didn't even walk out to the garden for an entire day and a half??

57 pounds of Tomat-ho's greeted me!  Well, really 53.  Long and Lanky Loren told me he had 'a ton!' of tomatoes.  I told him that if he brought them over, I would can up some spaghetti sauce for him.  Do the math...and then giggle just a little like I did when he showed up all proud like!  It was really cute!

Grannie...I weighed them just for you :)  This is our 4th picking and there is another ready. 

So back to what I have been waiting to show you guys!

Last Friday, Pig Pen called in the troops!  When I say troops, I mean Pops and LLL.  Folks, we have Concrete for the Critters!  Well, for the Chicken Coop that is!

Now the Coop wont be as big as the pad.  Part of it will be opened up for his garage.  The Coop will be the furthest entrance.

And ya know, this all met with my approval until I saw the devastation that chickens can do to a tomato crop at MamaTea's homestead!  Oh my!  I will have to be very diligent with those little buggers!  They will have a fenced area and the entire garden and fruit tree grove will be fenced separately.

We had a little extra concrete, so Missy got a new floor also.  She autographed it too.

The last two nights, the walls have been going up!  It's pretty darn exciting! 

The old siding on his shop is coming down and will be replaced to match the house.  I suppose we are trying to clean the place up a bit...not shame the neighbors and all!
Actually, that is the old-old siding...
It will match...finally!
And this is Pig Pen's mobile garage...sorta "Piggy" isn't it?  I told him so too! 

So he cleaned it...

What, you can't tell???

I really want to thank Pops and LLL for always helping out around here with those big projects!  You guys are the best and we most certainly appreciate everything you do...also, we love you both!

OK, back to my bumper crop of maters!  Wait till ya see everything in the works!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

To The Happy Couple!

Happy Anniversary to Jenny and Eric!

Today marks 4 great years as a married couple!  It wasn't always this sweet...

And don't let this demure little girl fool ya...
She packs a real wallop! 
Eric better never step out of line, or if he does...
 At least not in front of a softball the week before the wedding! 
She didn't hit him!  Really, it was a softball...he just wanted to look tough!
So after Four Years, a new house, new jobs and promotions, their fair share of poopy diapers from my Apple Dumplin's, Addison and Blake...

Thru all that...this is still my favorite photo of all time...

Happy Anniversary!  May you have many, many great belly laughs together!

You knew I was waiting for this, right??
We Love You Both!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Jan-nie Get Your Gun!

Today was my Mother-In-Law, Jan's Birthday!  Happy Birthday, Jan!

In celebration of the big day, we had us a Rootin', Tootin'... Shootin' Good Time!

Note:  No animals or persons were hurt in this experiment.

Now y'all might know Jan just a smidge thru some comments here and there, or even tales in my posts...she's "City", she's only ever dropped her drawers to pee in the great outdoors once and well... She's a Monster! Remember the peeps, may they RIP. 

Seriously though...would you be afraid of this:

Jan got to shoot her first and last handgun today!  Now I gotta say, the camera went off at just the perfect time to capture this crazy kick!  What the heck is that?  I don't know which cracked us up more, the legs, the hands or the face!  Oh, we had us a very good laugh at her expense!  She took it like a true sport! 

She even tried her aim with a shot gun and rifle.  This is Pops, Pig Pen's Dad, giving her instruction.  Pops likes his 22.  Although he says it's not sighted in right.  Not.So.Sure.About.That.  HA!  Now on my break away 20 gauge, Jan couldn't quite master the discharge after the shot, so I had to put it in terms she could relate to, "Needle Up, or Needle Down".  :)  She's a master at the sewing machine, so I was speaking her language!

The guys really made some noise too!  This is my BIL, Eric with his 22-250 high powered rifle.  Now that's a biggin'!  He is an excellent shot!  Either with his scope or just shootin' trap, he seldom misses and usually nails the one everyone else couldn't get.  He's great back up!  Unfortunately, my SIL Jen, Pig Pen's big Sister, had to fly the coop early as the kids were getting restless :( so she didn't get to light anything up.  But I can attest that she does do a fine job!  Sorry Sis, next time!  And I will get pictures to prove it!

Pig Pen's Aunt Kathy got some action!  She's fearless and tried them all too!  I think her and Uncle Darrell had fun and we sure enjoyed hanging out with them!  Their laughter is very contagious, so who wouldn't want more of that? 

This is my SIL(ly) Meagan.  She is married to Pig Pen's brother...let's call him Rancid Ryan of the Long and Lanky's.  Yeah, there's a story to that one...I think I had known Ryan about 5 hours, when he plopped his stinky butt next to me on the couch and lifted a butt cheek towards me.  Gross!  Funny thing just occurred to me, Meagan was just saying tonight that her sniffer doesn't work all that well!  Ahhh, a match made in heaven!

Around here, we do what we can to corrupt to country, as you know!  I believe (I could be wrong) that this was Jan's first time shooting.  Meg's first and second here also.  (She still 'talks' with her hands and sort of makes motions while holding a loaded gun...but we are working on that!) 

And some four wheel fun firsts too!  Meagan hates the kiddie wheeler, but she got on this one for a fine first with Rancid Ryan on back.  Oh, I think she went fishing with us for the first time too. ??

Speaking of 4wheel fun...Jan whizzed by us and I could barely catch her with her hair flying thru the air!  (Mmmhmm, forehead jab!) 

And I want to know...What the heck is this???  Look closely...Now, I know they are sisters and all, and I am sure Aunt Kathy said "Hold On!" (or not), but, but, but...THERE???

As for the day, it just goes to show, we all got a little hillbilly in us just trying to get out!  Even ole Jan-nie, who today...got her gun!  Happy Birthday!