Saturday, August 28, 2010

Winter Will Ask...

The time will come when winter will ask you what you were doing all summer. ~Henry Clay
And I can tell winter I was canning, canning, canning and more canning.  I was keeping track of how much I harvested from the garden until I started taking the wheelbarrel in to harvest.  The tomatoes continue to "go forth and multiply" in spectacular amounts. 

My alarm goes off at 5 and I just want to pull the covers over my head and ignore it.  But I blindly reach out and turn it off.  I wake up #2 son and have a cup of coffee while packing lunches.  I leave the man's sitting on the table, yell at son to move it and head on out.  Drive 20 miles to drop him off, drive 20 miles home and do chores, start harvesting/canning, leave at 2:30-2:45 to pick up son, dirve 20 miles, turn around drive 20 back home, can some more, make dinner (or a phone call) can some more, clean up, take shower, drop in bed. 

#1 daughter calls and all I keep saying is "I can't hold the phone and fill jars so I will talk to you later".  I did get a day off of sorts.  #2 son got hurt on Tuesday.  The trainer iced him up and said to see how it felt the next morning...8:15 I got the doctor on the phone and had a 9 AM appointment....4 PM we finally pulled back in the driveway.  Xrays and CT scans behind us, he wears a neck brace and no practice for two weeks.  He goes back Monday for a recheck.  Dreams of staying in bed until at least 6 flashed through my mind but NO he still has to be at the school at 6 AM.  Oh well so much for that idea.

I really don't mind the morning rides.  I actually prefer them as I generally see more wildlife than cars.  Once, I stopped to let a duck and her ducklings cross the road, another day it was geese.  The turkeys, deer and porcupine are frequent sightings.   The afternoon drive is cars and lots (by my estimation) of people.

Yesterday I canned some dill pickles using a friends recipe and then I am took the day off.  #2 daughter and I went shopping with friends.  I picked up some vodka while I was out.  When I came home I made a batch of peach schnapps.  Like the Baldwin sister's say "for medicinal purposes".

Today I made another batch of dill pickles using a packaged product.  Then using the second jar of vodka I made some kahlua.  Now I get the rest of the day off as we go to the man's family reunion.  I will probably fall asleep and they will find me snoring away with a plate on my lap.  I will be embarrassed but at least they will have something to talk about at the next one.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A little catch up or ketchup

"A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins."~ Laurie Colwin, 'Home Cooking'

Several years ago we had so many tomatoes that I pulled the plants because I couldn't handle any more. I piled the tomatoes all over the picnic table and then in boxes, called a friend to come get them.  As if to smite me for my disdain, that year was followed by years with below average tomato production...last year being the worst.

I must have done enough penitence for this year is a great tomato year despite the drought.  I will not make the same mistake and willy nilly get sick of them and pawn them off like zucchini ever again.  Thankfully my canning repertoire has grown extensively since then. 

I go into the garden and I am amazed at the amount of tomatoes still on the vines....some plants are still blooming.  I have picked over 150 pounds of tomatoes since August 5th.  Some have become salsa, BBQ sauce, roasted garlic pasta sauce, tomato soup and just plain old crushed tomatoes.  Today I will be trying for V8 and spaghetti sauce and if all goes well I would like to try ketchup before the tomatoes are done.

Yesterday while picking we found several of these...

the horned tomato worm.  I have only seen them in my garden once or twice before.  Then I only saw one....I picked four of them off this time!  Look at all the parasitic eggs of the Braconid Wasp.

And I am finally taking pictures so I remember what I knit.  Maybe I will even bring Ravelry up to date someday...
Two pair of Easy Holiday Mittens done in purple and white which are the school colors.  I had to have something to keep my hands warm while watching #2 son play football.  Of course #2 daughter gave the old guilt trip "I guess I will just sit and freeze" so I had to make her a pair.

Then there is the Dandy Neckerchief which still needs to be blocked. Picture does not do it any justice so I will have to take another after blocking and with better light.

Then there is the 3 Hour Cowl so easy I will probably make more and make them longer (top to bottom).
This is the last thing I finished, Little Shells a shawlette.  I did the bind off yesterday morning.  Still needs to be blocked.  On the second to last row I added beads and if I do it again I will probably add a bead at each sk2p.
Although I have no pictures, I also knit a feather and fan cowl and did a 1 foot tri-loom to which I added a crocheted edging.

And in between the canning and knitting I have painted the bathroom,  done this with #1 daughter (not the one picked)....
and gone to nephews football game
taken the kids to the county fair and hauled son to and from football practice.  Today we (yes we I have to get him up, pack his lunch, make sure he has everything and drive to and fro) two a day practices, 6 AM to 3 PM everyday.  Other than the fact I will miss them I can't wait for the kids to go back to school so I can rest! I am exhausted.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The harvest is plentiful

"The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few."  Matthew 9:37

#1 daughter called to tell me she enjoyed my blog post.  When I said I didn't post one, she replied that she knew that and was just being sarcastic.  She said my posting has gone down to every two weeks, a slight exaggeration on her part.

#2 daughter watches two girls at a craft class for two hours each week and has gone to Hershey for two days.  #2 son is doing a week at Conservation school and we have been doing  football.  Between all the running around with them, taking the chickens to the butcher and picking them up, feed store runs, weddings and the weather my time in the garden is limited.  I harvest when I am able and can when I am able.  #1 daughter has not been home for a couple of weeks and does not know that the basil is not going to wait

or the peppers 

 or the beans

or the tomatoes

They come before the blog posts.  Sometimes there is enough to can or freeze immediately, other times I have to wait until there is enough to do a batch of jam or load the canner full of beans.  The weeds continue to grow even if the vegetables don't.  Last night I was pulling peach jelly out of the canner at 9:45 PM.

I think the only one helping me in the garden right now is this guy.... 
Not my best bud by any means.  I hate spiders and snakes but I know they each have their job.  I stay away from them and hope they do the same!

Oh wait there is another helper also...
Mr. Humbe Bumble who makes more work for me...but I am not complaining!

And then, on top of this my mother's neighbors call asking when her grass is going to get mowed.  They are worried about the snakes and ticks.  The owners have yet to mow it this year and it does look like a hayfield.  The fish died in her pond and it has become a mosqito breeding ground.  My mother would be appalled but there is nothing I can do about it.  Thankfully the owners showed up this weekend, mowed the grass and have plans to take the pond out. 

And my plan is to enlist the help of #1 daughter and Sir T when they come up this weekend.  The elderberries are ripe.   
They said they are more than willing to help.  Who knows, I might just let them raid the pantry shelves...not that they ever needed consent before!

At some point in time I will get pictures of the knitting...I fit it in while watching the pressure gauge or waiting on a pot to boil.  But now I have to get back to canning.