Saturday, August 30, 2008

New Bunnies

We have been busy canning for the last 2 weeks; Aunt Bob's Hot Pickles, sweet(bread & butter) pickles, dill pickles, pickled beets, tomatoes and Dillon's Salsa.

Lynn is getting about 10-15 eggs a day now from her hens and we will soon put up a sign and start selling eggs. Right now they are still small to medium in size with just a few large size starting up and we have been giving them away to family members and friends just to get rid of them all.

Our garden has done poorly again this year so all we have canned has been purchased from the local Amish farmers. To help build the soil we have just purchased 6 bunnies,
hoping that their droppings will accumulate enough over winter to help boost our poor garden soil next year. That and of course our chicken manure and bedding in the compost pile, hopefully will be enough. We are trying to stay away from chemical fertilizers.

This year I had tried 2 new crops, one failed miserably and the other was a failed success. I was trying to grow buckwheat for my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, both who suffer from celiac disease. I planted a large patch out by our old orchard and it grew, however, the deer kept it well mowed down so I have nothing to harvest. But I am hoping to be able to harvest one of the mowers during deer season. Since our apple crop was destroyed by our late frosts this spring, my buckwheat patch is all I have to attract them. The crop that failed completely, surprisingly, was dandelions. The ones that grow in our yard do not produce large enough leaves to harvest before they flower and become bitter. I purchased seed of a large broad leaf variety for eating purpose and not a one grew out of 250 seeds! The ones that grow in our lawn did very well though. Just goes to show you that the ones you plant are NOT weeds!

I can't believe that summer is all but gone already. And I have gotten so little done of what I had wanted to accomplish. Now I will have to get busy preparing for winter.
Here is a photo of the sunset after our last rainfall, but the photo doesn't do it justice.

Well I guess it's bedtime already, we just finished cleaning up after canning our last bushel of tomatoes and are now done canning for the year! Whew!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ethan's 3rd Birthday

Today is Ethan's birthday, however we celebrated it on Sunday. We had a fabulous meal that included homemade potato soup, I understand why Ethan hunt down all those potatos in the garden now, it was GREAT! Angie makes the best homemade dinner rolls I have ever tasted, surpassing both of my favorite cooks, my Great-Aunt Julia and my Mother. She has become the third great cook in my family. She has come a very long way from the girl who couldn't even boil water without burning it and who absolutly refused to peel an onion no matter what punishment she was threatened with! She even concocted a very good spicy veggie dip, which she refused to write down for me. Aden picked flowers and made the table setting.

After dinner we went outside. After a moments rest
poor Ethan was put to work. Herding turkeys,
instructing the truculent chickens on proper behavior,

and then he was forced to eradicate garden pests and feed them to the fowl.
Finally the poor boy had to resort to hiding behind the yard swing cusion.
He was finally coerced out by Aunt Sarah for a photo op.

And Aden too!

Then Dad brought out his old jalopy and gave rides around the farm.

Then it was back to work again. Putting the flock away for the night. There's my Chicken Chasers!!!
And helping dad with a few strays.

Finally it was time to go in and the party to start.
But first some semi-nude balloon volleyball.

Finally Presents!!!

Then Cake and Ice Cream!!! Did I say Cake? OH NO, it's a tomato worm!!!
And he had to exterminate this one too!

And since no one offered her any cake and ice cream, while everone else was busy, Ginger decided to clean up the table!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Salsa Recipe

One day I decided to try to can some salsa. I couldn’t find a decent recipe so I called
Mom to see if she had one. She didn’t so together we worked this one out over the phone.
Well that year we had very watery tomatoes and after cooking them “forever” without getting
the consistency I was looking for and with the vegetables getting tender I decided to add the
tomato paste and “Viola”. After allowing it to age a WHOLE week I finally opened a jar.
It had turned out perfect. With just the right consistency and tender-crisp veggies and just enough bite (about mild to medium). I have been using this recipe since 1990 and it has always turned out great. Remember that if you use a low acid tomato to use more vinegar. I usually use a mix of tomatoes from beefsteaks to cherry. The cherry tomatoes give it a naturally sweet flavor. Around our house an open jar is an empty jar, so try a batch and see how long it lasts.

10 Quarts chopped peeled tomatoes
3 Cups diced green peppers
1 1/2 Cups diced red or yellow sweet peppers
1 Bunch of celery diced
4 Cups of onion diced
1 Head of garlic chopped fine
2 Cups of yellow hot banana peppers diced or vary amount or type of hot pepper to your taste.
2 ½ Tablespoons of salt
2 Cups of vinegar
1 Cup of sugar
2 Tablespoons of chili powder or more to taste
4 Tablespoons of paprika
3 – 6 oz. cans of tomato paste (or more or less as needed)

Cook down tomatoes until moderately thickened. Adjust seasonings to taste.
Then add all other ingredients, except tomato paste.
Cook until vegetables are almost tender.
Add enough tomato paste to thicken.
Pour into hot sterile jars and seal.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Welcome Kane

A few days ago I went with my son Eric to check out a German Shepherd at a local dog shelter. After a few simple tests, I told him that I thought that if he takes the time to train it right, that this approximately 1 year old male would make him a great dog. But I think that his mind was made up from the second he saw it. He has wanted a German Shephard for a long time. So here are some photo's of my my son and my newest Granddog Kane.

Kane's new playmate will be a beautiful female St. Bernard that Eric and Andea acquired a couple of months ago, her name is Katie.