Saturday, August 28, 2010

Do-Dad-Dilly of a Day!

Made up 2 Quarts of our Dilly Bean recipe,  then canned 4 quarts and 3 pints Dill Pickles Kosher Style Short Method (recipe from page 28, Ball Blue Book as follows.) using cucumbers from our garden!

Dill Pickles Kosher Style Short Method

6 ½# fresh picked Green Bin Farm cucumbers, sliced on the diagonal
¾ cup sugar
½ cup canning salt
1 qt apple cider vinegar
1 qt water
3 tbl mixed pickling spices
2 heads dill per jar
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic
2 pieces dried red hot pepper
½ teas. mustard seed
Combine sugar, salt vinegar and water in a large saucepan. Tie pickling spices in a spice bag, add to vinegar mixture, simmer 15 minutes. Pack cucumbers into hot jars, leaving ¼” head space. Add dill, bay leaf, garlic, peppers and mustard seed to jar. Bring vinegar and water to a boil. Pour hot liquid over cucumbers leaving ¼” head space. Adjust caps. Process pints and quarts for 25 minutes (at Rio Rancho altitude) in hot water bath canner. Makes 4 qts and 3 pints.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How Our Garden Grows!

John and I have been very fortunate with our garden this year.  We have a huge collection of amazing heirloom tomatoes!  I have never enjoyed such an delicious variety of tomato flavors - each variety has a flavor unto itself.  We are picking approximately a pint of Cherry tomatoes and 3-5 full sized tomatoes every other day.  We're quite literally eating tomatoes 3 meals a day!  I'm partial to the yellow variety (whose name escapes me) and the Brandywines, but I have been caught eating fistfuls of Cherry tomatoes right off the plant.

Last year we lost all of the cucumbers.  This year we have cucumbers and are eager to attempt pickles again this year.

We did suffer some losses - the zucchini failed all together after a squash bug attack, the broccoli just never got a stable start, and about half of the peppers died in an early heat wave.  Our potato boxes produced a couple of small potatoes before failing.  We believe this was a irrigation issue, and look to attempt again in the fall. 

We have plans to build a cold box and start lettuces for the winter months.  We may also re-attempt brocolli.  There are several vegetables that grow over the winter here and we are game to give them a try.

Projects in Progress

I'm editing several other patterns to make available for sale.  If you are interested in test knitting any of them, please contact me.  I have an adorable Blueberry kid's hat.  There is also the unnamed hat you see to the right.

Test knitters get a copy of the pattern for free!

"Gracie" PDF Pattern

"Gracie" has been posted to my Etsy store, and for sale.  Both MyKnits and Ravelry provide automatic delivery / download of the PDF file upon receipt of payment.  Etsy sales will receive an email containing the PDF file directly from me.

I'm considering offering the actual print version by mail as well.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Processing Day & Evil Oil

Purchased 1 bag and 1 bushel from Wagner’s Farm in Corrales.  Processed into 13 freezer quart (4 cup) Ziplocs and 2 ½ - 1 cup Ziploc freezer cups for a total of 54 ½ cups total. Took approximately 4 ½ hours – breaks not included.

We've discovered that dicing the peppers now makes future recipes a whole lot quicker to assemble.

Evil Oil:  Boil to reduce remaining wash bowl water with seeds. Pour into jar through sieve. Cork and refrigerate.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sam's Visit 2010

It's been a very busy summer.  Sam flew in alone from PA on July 9th.  Chris and I were both very anxious about him flying alone, but financially it was the best option, and he did great. 

His first week here I was on vacation from work.  We had tons of fun together.  We went to the Museum of Natural History and Science and saw huge dinosaur bone displayes.  Many of the bone displays were from the area.

We spent one day at Cliff's Amusement Park.  I chose to surprise him. I packed a lunch and towels, snuck them into the car before Sam woke that morning.  We had breakfast while he quizzed me about our "Surprise" trip.  On the drive over, Sam read, so he didn't even see the rollercoasters when we pulled in.  He had no idea where we were until we walked in the main gates and straight on to the rollercoaster.  We both had a ball, but for the motion sickness I suffered due to the "Tilt-a-Whirl".  We road on two different rollercoasters, the log flume, each of the water tube slides, bumper cars, and spent a couple hours in the splash pool park gaining the sumburn of our lives.  Sam even went on the big scarey rollercoaster all by himself.

We all went out to the movies and saw "Despicable Me", had our family portraits taken, and visited my friend Jessica's art studio where Sam got to experiement with a couple of different mediums.  We went shopping for books, and in the end, Sam flew home with several new reads.

Sam and I made soap.  He picked out the scent and colors and designed some really cool looking bars.  Sam also created a t-shirt for himself with a hand drawn design on both the front and back.

Sam spent his 2nd and 3rd weeks here attending day camp at the Albuquerque Zoo and Aquarium respectively.  He had a great time and learned a lot at each.  At aquarium camp, Sam's group put on a puppet show.  I tried to record it, but light and sound were an issue.  He made a brilliant jellyfish puppet and had the clever idea of taping it to his hat.  Unfortunately, he was shorter than the scenery while on his knees performing his multiple rolls, and no one really enjoyed it until the show was over. 

Josh and Molly came for a weekend visit. It was great spending time with them and sharing photos.  We made an unexpected trip to Santa Fe, had a lovely lunch and visited the plaza.   We visited the capital building and saw some of the amazing art on display there.  Sam got a private tour of the govenor's offices. 

Sam, John and I went for a motorcycle ride one afternoon.  Sam had grown so much, and I've had so few opportunities to ride this year that we decided to put Sam on with John this time.  It was a great ride, complete with a biker joint burger!

Sam flew home August 3rd.  It was really hard to put him on the plane and watch him fly away alone, but like Sam said..."It's no big deal, Mom."