Monday, October 25, 2010

"Of Course I Can!"

Poster printed by the US Government Printing Office in 1944 as part of the war effort.

I don't can to be patriotic.  I grew up on home canned foods and ate meat that was raised by my family.  Until the death of my father we even drank raw milk and made homemade butter.  My mother's one book states that my aunt and her canned 176 pints of green beans in 1973.  So when it comes to canning I will quote Hank Williams Jr and say "I'm just carryin' on an old family tradition".

I joined a Yahoo Group dedicated to canning this year… LOTS of inspiration there! I learned a lot more about pressure canning and proceeded to can up more soup and products with meat. This allows for quick meals when we are busy. If the kids want soup in their lunch I can open a jar and not have to make a full pot. I would still like to can some split pea soup for #1 daughter to take home but that has to wait until I get ham.

In the garden the cucumbers weren’t much but provided enough to make pickles. I had to declare war on the cabbage worms and potato beetles. Zucchini which usually grows rampant gave a couple early then died. My Brussel Sprouts never got much bigger than a shooter marble and if they did they were open and not compact. But then there was the green beans that I had a friend come over and pick several times because the tomatoes were unbelievable. I still have some tomatoes sitting on the counter and green ones in the basement.

I was trying to keep track how much produce my seeds produced but when I got busy that was not a priority. I did however write down at the end of the night what I canned. The Blueberry’s were given to #2 daughter for helping pick for a friend. The Strawberry’s were either frozen from last year or bought at Wal-Mart for $1 per quart(?) container. A case of peaches, some grapes and a container of cherries followed me home from the farmers market. The pears and apples I get free from a friend and the pumpkins I bought from a Pumpkinfest. All the rest came from the farm or garden…

Product                             Quart    Pint    ½ Pint    ¼ Pint

Canned Turkey                   6
Vegetable Broth                              16
Currant Jam                                      3          1
Blackberry Jam                                 4          3
Blueberry Jam                                   1          4
Apple Blackberry Jelly                      8
Green Beans                                   43
Zucchini Relish                                13
Strawberry Jam                                2          4
Currant/Apple/Blkberry Jelly            3          4
Zucchini Lemon Crème                     6          7        1
Grape Juice                          7           6
Dill Pickle Slices                              13
Peach Jam                                         4        3
Peach Pit Jelly                                   3         1
Hot Pepper Butter (Mustard)          46         2
Cherry Almond Jam                          2         2
Salsa                                              47          3
Salsa Juice                             5        6
Tomatoes Crushed              21         8
BBQ Sauce                                   12          1
Elderberry Jelly                                6          2
Tomato Soup                                16
Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce 8        16          1
Green Tomato Relish                     16
Chili Sauce                                    14
V8                                    16          4
Peaches                             11         3
Peach Pie Fill w/Almond      7
Bread & Butter Pickles                   7
Peach Pie Fill w/Cinnamon 5           2
Mary’s Dill Pickles                          7
Whole Dill Pickles            6
Low Sugar Peach Jelly                    2          1
Low Sugar Peach Jelly w/Cinn        2          1
Tomato Sauce                21           19
Vegetable Soup               3            16
Strawberry/Jalapeno Jelly                            9
Straw/Apple/Jalapeno Jelly                        10
Orange Rhubarb Butter                               9           1
Cabbage Soup                              11
Pepper Relish                                              4            3
Apple Butter                                 15          2
Onion Soup                                  11
Applesauce                                  10           3
Spaghetti Sauce            9
Orange Jelly                                                 3           5
Orange Rhubarb Jam                                   6
Bacon Jam                                     1
Apple/Quince Jelly                                        3          3
Rhubarb/Pineapple Jam                  1             4          4
Apple Pie Filling        10
Beef Stew 7
Strawberry Balsamic Blk pepper      3           2           2
Strawberry/Rhubarb Jam                 4            1           2
Pumpkin Butter                                5            5
Apple Cider             14                    7
Cowboy Candy (hot Peppers)          3
Corn Beef Hash                                3          12
Sloppy Joe                                       7
Sweet & Sour Chicken 3                  6
Amaretto Pears                                6
Pear Butter                                      5            4

Froze 50# Broccoli and 14 pints Corn, 8 pints peas, 7 bags Asparagus, 8 pints brussel sprouts and 6 pints kohlrabi

Dehydrated Pears, Peaches and Apples

Made Kahlua, Peach Schnapps, Strawberry liquor and Currant Liquor

Storing Potatoes, 5 Pumpkin, 2 LI Cheese Squash, 3 Cushaw Squash, 8 heads of cabbage and a bread tray of green tomatoes

Had butchered 42 Chickens, 3 Turkeys and 3 Pigs going in 2 weeks

Of course, I am always out of sync. On a week when the temperatures are to be above normal I am ready to sit by a woodstove and await the snow.  Guess I will go cut down those blackberry canes after all.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Leaves and Thrift

"How silently they tumble down
And come to rest upon the ground
To lay a carpet, rich and rare,
Beneath the trees without a care,
Content to sleep, their work well done,
Colors gleaming in the sun.

At other times, they wildly fly
Until they nearly reach the sky.
Twisting, turning through the air
Till all the trees stand stark and bare.
Exhausted, drop to earth below
To wait, like children, for the snow."
- Elsie N. Brady, Leaves

We had a killing frost last night.  Looking up into the woods today, you will see showers of leaves with each little breeze.  I sat enjoying my morning coffee watching them blanket the ground.  I was warm tucked in the house which had a fire going last night.  I threw one log on it this morning and it has now warmed significantly to no longer warrant it's heat. 

The man worked today and #2 daughter and I have been in the kitchen since shortly after he left.  My German thriftiness finds me listening to that nostrum "Waste not, want not"  See these little babies - oh so sweet and delicious....
Well they have friends, lots of them that appeared on my doorstep....

So far we have each consumed a couple, made seven pints of amaretto pears

and sliced up 8 trays that are now dehydrating.  There are still lots more which will shortly become pear butter and maybe a pear cake. 

Although I would love to be spinning or knitting the fact that these were sitting there going bad would eat away at me.  I would be unable to enjoy myself.  I can still hear my mother telling me "don't look a gift horse in the mouth" and also about all the starving children in Africa.   Why did my mother never tell me to be more like the grasshopper and less like the ant?  I guess because soon the snow will fly and we will be enjoying the ant's larder and not freezing my butt off like the grasshopper.  I guess Mother did know best.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


“Hobbies of any kind are boring except to people who have the same hobby. ~ Dave Barry

And this weekend was one big party for all people who spin, knit, crochet, weave, felt or hook rugs.  It was the weekend of NY Sheep & Wool at Rhinebeck, NY.

I went on Saturday.  (Reminder to self, leave home earlier to arrive earlier or buy tickets on line)  And how did it go you ask? this....

1.  Park in BFE (in case you don't know what that is the E stands for Egypt)
2.  Hiked from there to within view of the gate
3.  Stood in line while body adjusted from car temps to outside windy temps
4.  Took $ out so I would be ready so others wouldn't have to wait as long to attend their addiction
5.  Wind blew $20 from hand
6.  Caught up with $20 and fellow addicts let me resume place in line
7.  Paid and entered the grounds
8.  Found bathroom and once needs were attended to it was onward

It is a big fair ground so suffice it to say...walk...ogle...smell....touch....walk...ogle....smell....touch
...spend....walk....ogle....smell.....touch and repeat. 

Walk - to move about in visible form.  Walking is not quite the right word while inside buildings it is more of a shuffle, stop, shuffle, move out of the flow to ogle, touch or spend.

Ogle- to look at especially with greedy or interested attention.  Ogling was not just of the products offered by vendors or the animals,  it was also what everyone was wearing.  It is a people watching paradise...the finest lace to someone's first attempts at spinning...all worn proudly. 

Touch - permit a part of the body, especially the hand or fingers, to come in contact with so as to feel.  If the vendors got a penny for every touch they would be obscenely rich by.  The feel of the different fibers, the difference between roving and a fleece, to tightness of a hooked rug and the yarns. OH my!!!

Spend- to pay out or expend money....the man LOVES me going to sheep and wool festivals!

Smell- To perceive the scent of (something) by means of the olfactory nerves.  The smells were not just from animals but also from foods being offered which before long sent your stomach on a quest to eat it's self it not attended to immediately

The line for the pot pies was insane so I settled on a hot dog and fries.   The stomach was satisfied but I have a feeling we will be having a pot pie for dinner this week. 

...walk...ogle...spend...smell.  But then some people were getting obnoxious and it was time to leave.  There is no award for who spends the most, makes the most trips to their vehicle or dies with the most yarn.  We are all there because of our love of this hobby so there is no need for the nasty "can YOU move?" or being shoved.  I guess it is naive to think that our hobby could bring us closer as it does take all kinds to make the world go it was exit stage left before I got to the point of giving them a piece of my mind since I still need to use it for a while.

I left with some Shetland roving, some light and dark gray alpaca roving and an 8 inch #2 circular needle.

close ups.....

I arrived home to #2 son cooking dinner for the newly weds, his beloved A, #2 son and daughter, the man and I.  Steak, potatoes, broccoli casserole and corn.  #2 daughter did the dishes and I sat and relaxed.  It was a damn near perfect day.  Repeat next year.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I am a Mother In Law!!

Marriage--a book of which the first chapter is written in poetry and the remaining chapters written in prose. ~ Beverly Nichols

#1 daughter and Sir T eloped on 10/10/10!!!  We would have loved to have been there but this worked out best for them.  Planning a wedding and getting everyone on the same page can be so stressful.  You think it is your day but it really isn't.  By eloping it was truly their day.  They didn't miss out on anything other than the big party which would have cost a small fortune.  She had a gorgeous gown and he was sporting a tux.  They had the big bouquet, the photographer, their dinner and the cake completely dictated to their own specifications.  It was all done at a beautiful B&B in PA.

I knew the where and when's of it and watched the clock throughout the day.  That evening she tried sending some pictures but the WiFi on her end was not cooperating.

These are just some pics they took.  Hopefully the professional photo's will come up with them this weekend.  They are going to Rhinebeck with the man and I!

He is the half part of a blessed man
Left to be finished by such as she:
And she a fair divided excellence
Whose fulness of perfection lies in him.
- William Shakespeare

I don't know who is luckier, her or Sir T.  She lends a playfulness to his life whch tends to be more serious.  She helped him with his studies and then researching companies when he was applying for a job.  She tries to get him to eat healtier but he is like the man...meat, meat, meat. 

He trys to motivate her procrastinating side.  He stands behind anything that she wants to do, helping where he can.  Where they may pick on each other they don't let anyone else do so in anything but a playful manner.  They complete each other.  They discuss everything.  As a mother, it is fascinating to watch.

The man and I are very lucky to have them in our lives and wish them the very best where ever their future together takes them.

Are you ready for some football?

“Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it's much more serious than that.” ~ Bill Shankly

Football is a weird thing.  I love the game but I have a hard time watching it.  I scream at them when I want them to do something but then that same amount of energy makes me cringe when they hit.  #2 son plays football.  His decision.  I am ambiguous.  On one hand it makes him maintain his grades and is great exercise.  On the other, he injured his rotator cuff last year and this year he had a shoulder injury and twisted his wrist.  Each game I wonder what else is going to get hurt.

Like the big leagues, his team has Monday Night Football.  Varsity has Friday nights.  My SIL was late getting home because of an accident blocking traffic so I was watching the nephews.  This made me late for son's game. 

We got there at the beginning of the second quarter.  The score was 6-22...not good.  I look for #2 son and find him on the field with a bandage on his leg. 

What happened now?  #2 daughter reminds me he had a cut on his leg from climbing on a stone wall and they probably made him cover it.  OK attention back on field. 

Our guys have the ball, they pushed down the field, scored and got the extra 2 points. 

Score: 14-22 

I think half time came then along with some sprinkles.  When things resumed, the opposing team got the ball and was unsuccessful.  We got the ball back. 

We pushed down the field, scored and got the extra 2 points. 

Score:  22-22

By this time things were darkening and the field lights came on.  From the bleachers you could see llightning flash on the other side of the lake but the ref's couldn't see it down on the field with the lights on. 

The rain got harder but we persevered because it was a tied score in the third.   The opposing team had the ball.  After a couple of plays they decided to pass the ball to get more yardage.  They threw it and we intercepted. 

Pandemonium erupts!!

We get all set up on our 35 yard line, people are stomping and clapping.  Anticipation is running rampant.

The guys bend over to start the play and lightning flashes pretty close by.  The thunder is drowned out by the stomping feet on the bleachers.
The whistle blows and the game is called.  The kids are out there trying to tell the ref's it was the flash from their camera so they could keep playing!

It was such an awesome game and then it was left hanging.  #2 son came running out of the locker rooms, through the rain, tossed his bag in the back and was so animated the entire ride home.  Me, I was nervous the whole ride with lightning turning the night into day and the wipers barely keeping up with the rain.

It was good to be home...only four more games left this season.  I don't know if I can take this!!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

First Frost

"Autumn begins with a subtle change in the light, with skies a deeper blue, and nights that become suddenly clear and chilled. The season comes full with the first frost, the disappearance of migrant birds, and the harvesting of the season's last crops."- Glenn Wolff and Jerry Dennis

Saturday dawned with fog hovering in the valley.  
The flowers were blooming

 and it was a wonderful day.

Sunday dawned like car
the Brussel sprouts...
and the beans....
which were still producing. 
The tomatoes, basil and peppers look okay so I might continue to harvest small amounts from them until I finally get out there to clean out the garden.

The man and I had some errands to run, one stop was to the cider mill.  Years ago we had hauled our own apples up here to have them pressed but they don't allow that any more.  You are still allowed to purchase unpasteurized cider from apples they bought.  #1 daughter had requested some homemade apple cider but I don't have enough apples to warrant pulling out our small press so I went to get her the next best thing.  The quilt hanging proclaims the virtues of cider and who am I to disagree. 
I would like at least that many more years.  We stood and watched the press
and the scraps getting dumped
and then I bought eight gallons so we can can some for her to take home. 

Back out on the roads my knitting was ignored while I admired the scenery.  

Then we stopped to see #1 son.  He was at the house A is having built.  He had some more trees to cut down.   It is a big house, the front...
and the back...
glad I don't have their heating bill!  Can't wait to see the finished product and neither can they.  They hope to move in next April or May.

Then it was home to cook up a pot of chili for dinner.  Afterwards I rested as today I have a list a mile long.
I bought some big pumpkins for $3 each!!  I have pumpkin butter on cooking now.  Then I have to can the cider, make some hot pepper mustard or cowboy candied jalapenos to use up the rest of the peppers.  When that's all done and cleaned up I have to make an early dinner because #2 son has a home football game tonight. 

Of course it has dawned on me if I didn't buy the cider or pumpkins my work load would have been significantly smaller...I must have been high on autumn!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010


"Then summer fades and passes and October comes. We'll smell smoke then,

and feel an unexpected sharpness, a thrill of nervousness, swift elation, a
sense of sadness and departure."- Thomas Wolfe

While out last night I smelled someones wood smoke for the first time this season.  Today's high  is only going to be in the 50's so I am sure they will keep it going.  So far I have abstained from using my heat as it is still comfortable in here with the canning/cooking/baking, but the comfy-ness of a fire sounds wonderful.

There is so much clean up still to do in the garden.  The green beans are still producing.  I grabbed some basil this morning and plan to make basil ice cubes for winter's use.  I also filled a basket with hot peppers.  I have cherry tomato plants which are still in blossom.   I have thought about covering them and seeing how far they will go.  They are in a raised bed out of the main area so won't hinder my clean up.  The blackberry canes need to be cut down...and the list goes on.

The weatherman said we had snow on October 15th last year.  That sent me into a tizzy wondering if I was ready for it this year.  I hate to drive in the snow and avoid it as much as possible so I want to be well stocked so I don't have to go out.  Doing a quick check, I will need more sugar, flour and onions.  The screens have to come down and windows washed.  Those darn ladybugs haven't had their last hurrah yet so I have left the screens on.  Farmwise...The turkeys will be leaving on the 17th, the pigs will be leaving soon after that. The sheep will need more hay but I have a reliable source so I am not too worried about that.  The chicken coop should be cleaned out once more.  The firewood is split, stacked and covered but the chimney didn't get cleaned in the Spring so still needs to be done.  Little nephew has been collecting pine cones for me to use as fire starters so I am good there.

That is the minimum that has to be done.  I would say we are 80% ready but the 20% side somehow grows when you add one more pass of the lawnmower, raking leaves, making sure all the summer tools are cleaned up/put away, get the snowblower ready, double check the vehicles......

If I think too much about it I will go nuts so it is best to just keep busy and attack the list piece by piece and hope for the best.  Guess I will start by cooking the chicken for tonights Spicy Chicken Soup....and then laundry...and vacuuming...and cleaning the fridge...dishes...