Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Bulgar Gazpacho

I've been wanting to put together some meals that can stay in the fridge and be ready to eat when we're hungry. When I come in from working in the garden, I'm always too hot and lazy to actually cook for just myself. This week, I made this recipe from Alton Brown for our lunches. It's really flavorful, filling and yummy. And very healthy, with pretty few calories.

I'm loving this calorie counter site right now. Mostly because I've used it to justify apple pie for breakfast.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

An Invitation to Introduce Yourself

I'm going to try something a little different today, and write what I hope will be an interactive post.

I know from my stat counter that a lot of people who aren't followers or regular commenters are regular readers. I'd like to say that I appreciate them as well as my more visible guests, and I'd like everyone to leave a little comment saying hello. You don't really have to introduce yourself if you're reluctant, but I figured it would be fun to hear from lots of different readers, a handful of whom are international. And I think my old friend, Bree, might be out there too. Bree is that you?

I know some of my "invisible" readers, like my big sister and my Mother in Law, but I'd like to encourage everyone to comment, and let me know what's up with them today. Please, followers and regular commenters join in as well (in fact, I'm depending on you, since the un-commenters don't seem to be rushing to the chance, lol).

So, here's a question: What are your plans for the weekend?

Please, don't make me be like Pioneer Woman and give away a $300 prize to get greetings from my readers! I can't afford it till I get those sweet corporate sponsers. ;)

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

An Excellent Book

The other day, we went to the library, and (after paying my fines. You'd think I'd learn, but I never do.) I came home with far too many books in my bag. Yesterday I started browsing through them in the afternoon, and I started reading How to Cook a Wolf. I ended up going to further down my stack and just settled in to read this one straight through. I got most of the way through it, since Ben was home late last evening, and I'm very much looking forward to finishing it. It's a cookbook written in 1942 about dealing with war deprivations and living well anyway on much less money/resources. Completely recommended. It's one of those good cookbooks that's fun to read, because there's lots of talk of ideas and method, with some specific recipes thrown in.

I've decided I can do things like read library books all late afternoon because I've been so productive this week. Out in the garden I've been freeing the pepper and tomato plants from their weed locked prisons, and weeding all the squash mounds every day. I'm having the worst luck with grass in the garden this year. It's not weeds that bother me so much as it is having to pluck out all the tiny grasses that are growing all over everything. It's like trying to de-hair your legs with tweezers instead of a razor. Ridiculous and never-ending.

I've also kept right on track with my writing goal this week, writing two articles every day. I've got four more to go to accomplish my goal of ten in one week, but I'm running out of steam a bit on ideas. I'll have to see if I can't think of anything while I'm hoeing this morning. Maybe I could write about things to think about while you hoe. I'm sure that would be popular.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chicken Yard Flowers

The flowers in my chicken yard "cutting garden" are growing pretty well, and have started to bloom pretty heavily, so I decided to put together a bouquet for my neighbor since I was going over to deliver some eggs as well.

The greenery is just a few sprigs I trimmed off of a bush in my front landscaping where is needed to be pruned back from the porch anyway. And to make the recycled jar vase a bit more special, I dressed it up with a band of scrapbooking paper, and a "For You" label.

The paper just fit, and was easy to stick together with double sided tape, but the tape was wider than the overlap was. I covered the extra sticky and the seam with a scrap cut from the label on the front to tie it all together.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Canning Jars

I'd like to think that I wouldn't actually collect canning jars if I didn't can with them. I'd prefer to consider myself the kind of person who wouldn't take up so much space in her home with things that aren't completely useful to her. But sometimes I wonder about that, when I realize how much I enjoy just looking at the things.
This is my new favorite jar. I love the star! I had a quart jar with the star on it, but last summer when I put it into the boiling water to sanitize it, the bottom cracked right off, all the way around. I hated to throw it away, but I definately am not the sort of person who would keep broken jars just because of the design on them. Not sharp broken glass, anyway. (There's a whole collection of broken pottery and glass that I found in the field growing up that would contradict me, but that's all smooth and dull.)

This jar is a pint, and it's got that awesome star on it, and it's my new favorite jar. I'll have to can something special in it.

So, maybe you're not like me, and you're actually normal, and you don't have favorite canning jars. You still need to know how many jars you'll want to have around for the canning season that's fast approaching. Here's an article I wrote about stocking up on canning jars, and knowing what jars you'll need for what food you're planning to can. Enjoy!

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Great Videos!

I've been saving up for one of those super nice Excalibur food dehydrators, and I'm hoping to get to order it this summer. It seems slow going though, since I'm earning the money with my AC articles and my cafepress t-shirts, so I was feeling a bit discouraged yesterday afternoon. I went to their website to daydream about my new dehydrator and happened to see these awesome youtube videos about dehydrating and what you can do with the dehydrated food. Her information is just awesome, and it's so great that she'd put so much effort into videos to help out other people interested in learning. Anyway, I know some of you will love them too, so check them out!

We had a great weekend with Ben's parents. We played games and relaxed and got to visit a lot, so it was really nice that they could come and stay a bit. Ben's mom brought be a bunch of canning jars that she doesn't need anymore, and I can't wait to go through them and sort them out. There are some really original looking ones. I don't really know why I love jars so much, but I seriously do, and I suppose there are a lot less useful and more expensive things that I could collect instead.

Today is laundry day, and since it's going to be so hot as well, I think I'll stay as much by my fans as possible. (Not, like, my adoring public... my box fan and ceiling fan...) I've got some articles to write. I've set a big (for me, anyway) goal this week of ten articles. So I'll plan two a day to stay on track, but if I get on a roll today, maybe I can knock more out and get ahead on my goal. I also want to work on some more drawings for shirts. If I don't do my ten articles this week, plus, at least one t-shirt design and an advertising button, you can all publically mock me. That's pretty accountable, lol.

Here's one of the great dehydrated food videos. Enjoy!

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Great Vining Plant Resource

Remember the other day when I was wondering why my pea vines seem so anemic? Well, I went searching and found this great article about how different vining plants climb and what the best trellising is for each.

I used twine to give my peas some horizontals between the poles of their tripod, and they're looking much better already.

The other things that are going on today include lots and lots of cleaning. Ben's mom and dad are coming this evening to spend the weekend, so I'm just making sure that everything is nice and fresh for their visit, and doing some catching up on the outside work, after a lot of rain at the beginning of the week.

This weekend also marks the day that the little chickies get to move out of the garage and live in the backyard instead. I'm glad about that, because I was having to clean their box pretty often and they are smelling pretty ripe. I never notice the chicken smell with the big chickens, so I think it's just that these little ones are a bit too big to be living in a box in the garage.

I've been wilting in the heat the last couple of days, but the tomatoes and peppers are loving it, so I'm glad of it if that means good gardening. But I just do not like heat at all in any form. When the weather channel issues a heat advisory, I interpret that as, do not step a toe outside after noon, or you will melt and drop dead on the spot. I take that sort of warning seriously.

Well, I'm off to bake some crackers! I'd better keep moving or I'll seize up like the Tin Man.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip

This was my solution to something healthy, quick, and cool, yet still high on protein to send in Ben's lunch today. Peanut butter yogurt dip, with dippers. I included carrot and celery sticks, cucumber slices, and pear slices dipped in lemon juice (to keep them from browning). I also sent along some whole grain crackers.
To make the dip:
Mix together well, until fully combined,
1 C. Low-Fat Plain or Vanilla Yogurt
1/2 C. All-Natural Peanut Butter
1 Tbs. (or a bit less) of Honey
This makes four servings of a bit less than half a cup.
Not to blow my own horn, but this is super tasty. I think I'm allowed to compliment my own cooking in this case, since it's not exactly rocket science to put together yogurt and peanut butter.
I used this super cool site to check the nutritional information, and it gaves Ben's lunch a B grade for nutrition. That sort of surprised me, because this is about one of the healthiest lunches I can come up with. Well, I never claimed to be a nutritionist. Just a good cook.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Unexpected Pumpkins

When we moved the chicken coop from it's wintering place, there was, of course, a big patch of bare ground to work with. So I decided to make a cutting garden of sorts, and I tilled it up and raked it and spread a bunch of packets of different flowers around. I was pretty haphazard about it, just figuring that I might get some flowers to cut and give away and bring inside, but if I didn't, I wasn't out much.
And for the last number of weeks, I've been looking at the big plants on the east end of the patch, thinking that they looked like squash. And wasn't it weird to have flowers that look like squash. And I should get out those packets and see if I could remember which flowers I planted there.
Then, last week, I remembered. They are squash. Pie pumpkins, to be precise. See, we'd given the chickens all the pumpkin guts last November when I roasted and pureed all the pie pumpkins we'd been storing. So, I had planted squash there, I just didn't remember doing it. So, now I've got these pie pumpkins, sprawling all over and shading out the flowers. Oh well, we did enjoy having all that pumpkin in the freezer. Guess we get to do it again.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Rolling Along

A number of months ago, I made a pair of jeans for my cousin's little boy who is really hard to fit. They fit him fairly well, but there still wasn't enough room across the seat for him, and they tore in the back seam so my aunt had to re-sew and reinforce them. I still owe her another pair, but I didn't want to just use the same pattern and I couldn't find instructions for adjusting the seat. Well, in the most recent Threads magazine, there's an article about making the back crotch seam of pants longer. Good timing, I thought, just when I needed to do it. Plus, I'd like to try the same adjustment on a pattern for pants for me, so practicing on the smaller ones will be good.
I made a lot of progress on my sock yesterday, and I think I might be able to finish it today. It's funny, I feel like it's almost finished, so I'd like to just sit and finish it, but there's other things that have to get done. Not to mention, there's still a couple hours worth of knitting to finish them. So, almost finished by sock time, but not really sit down and do it all at once time.
I might get to work on them a lot this afternoon though, because I've got to go work at a blood drive today, and they say it will probably be fairly slow. I guess there have been a glut of blood drives in our little town, so it's not likely we'll get a full turn out.
I found out last night that you can watch Antiques Roadshow and History Detectives full episodes on PBS.org. And I've been having my own marathon.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Knitting, New Sewing Patterns, Shakespeare and Cleaning

Remember this sock? I started a matching one Saturday afternoon. I'm actually going to finish a pair of socks! It's quite an accomplishment to finish a project, since I don't seem to actually finish much anymore. I'm not sure why that is, but I'm feeling good about how well this sock is going. I got a ton done on it last night.

We went to the Shakespeare Festival in Forest Park last night, and there was lots of time to knit while we sat and waited and visited with our friends. It was an excellent show. Unfortunately, last night was the last performance for this season, but if anyone in the area is interested, I'd highly recommend attending next year if you get the chance. It was fun, and picnic-y, plus free Shakespeare. Pretty cool.

Most of the weekend we spent working outside and in the garden. I've weeded and mulched all the squash areas, and hilled up the potatoes thickly with straw. We planted a few tomato plants from the Farmers' market to replace the ones I started that didn't make it, and planted some cucumber and more butternut squash. The garden is starting to look established now, which is nice. For a while there, it just looked like a weedy bare patch in the yard. My peas aren't climbing their poles, and I'm pretty sure that's because the poles are too big around for their tendrils. More experienced gardeners, is this right? I'm thinking the solution would be to run strings or twine close along the poles to give them something they can grasp?

On the way to St. Louis yesterday, we stopped at Joann Fabrics. Simplicity patterns are on sale, and they make the patterns that have d-cup bust adjustments already built in, and they've come out with a number of new ones since I looked last, so I wanted to pick some up. I picked out about five new dress and blouse patterns. I'm looking forward to getting some sewing done, and since today is rainy and grey, it might be the perfect time to cut out a new project. But I also have some big cleaning projects to do, because Ben's parents are coming to visit this weekend, so I want to make sure that the guest areas are extra clean, and get the bedding and everything ready for them, of course. I guess I'll see how much getting ready I get finished, and go from there.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Berry Cobbler

I used this recipe. I did cut back the sugar in the sugar water mix to a cup and a third instead of two cups, and it was still pretty sweet. I think next time I'll go with a struesel topping or something, instead, because the butter and sugar in this recipe was way too much. But it's a tasty treat. And Ben was thrilled with it. All the pictures are pretty much just to tease you.

The straw guy delivered yesterday, so I'm off to finish mulching my squash beds and bury my potatoes today. I have to hoe and weed first, because there's grass growing and covering every place that's been bare. Stupid grass. Evil grass. I'm feeling bitter about it.
Next week: baking for company and unexpected pumpkins

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Stormy Weather

Sorry I didn't get to post yesterday, but it was a fairly busy day for me. The homemakers' club had it's meeting yesterday, and that seems to stretch for most of the day, so I wanted to be sure and have my housework done, and dinner set-up before I left.
I peeled the potatoes for mashing before I went, covered them in cold water, and put the whole pot in the fridge, so all I had to do when I got home was put the pot on the heat to boil. The meatballs had been frozen naked, so what I had to do for them was get the cream of mushroom soup and water mixed together in the slowcooker and stir in the mostly thawed meatballs to heat on low until dinner time, just before I left at 11am. For a veggie, we had steamed green beans from the freezer. They're really showing they're age, since they're from last summer's crop, and I'll be very glad when the new beans come in.
There was a very big storm that came through last night at ten or so. It was so loud (and I'll admit it, scary... I've gotten a bit wimpy about the storms because everyone says tornado alot down here) we ended up staying up until about eleven when it had quieted down a bit. I think it rained and stormed most of the night, but I didn't hear it. Staying up that bit extra had made me very tired.
Today I was thinking about baking something different. We have some frozen berries that I'd like to use, since they're a few months old. I think we bought them for smoothies, but we never remember them, and there seems like there's always plenty of other stuff to throw into the smoothies. I'm thinking some sort of berry crumble. A mixed berry pie might be good too, but I've never made a crumble before, and it seems like a fun new thing to try.

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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Merrily

See it on a shirt!

Here's my latest t-shirt design. I put this one on the kelly green shirt, and I love it! Unfortunately, the kelly green shirts run small, so I think the XL would be too tight on me. I put in on a couple of others as well, so I'd be able to buy one that fits me when the time comes.

I spent my morning outside today, which was nice, since it had stormed most of the day yesterday. I was glad to get out into the sun for a bit, especially since it wasn't too hot, since I'm pretty much deathly allergic to the heat.

I planted some Honeydew melon starts in the squash hills that never sprouted and a lavender plant in the top center of our herb bed. I found a place for the horseradish that we bought at the festival and planted basil in the herb bed as well, in the place of the poor dead one that the frost got.

After my planting, I weeded the squash beds. Maybe I'm lazy, but this is my new favorite garden chore, mostly because I can just sit in one spot at a time, picking out all the tiny weeds, soaking up the sun and enjoying my audiobooks. (I just finished listening to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle again, and now I'm listening to a dramatic presntation of At Home in Mitford.) We've got some kind of crazy grass being a weed this year. It's really bad, little blades of it covering ever bare spot in a crazy kind of moldy looking green. The garden looks like it's growing in hair plugs or something. Dad tells me that the longer I use the same spot as a garden, the easier it will be to keep weeded. He's never lied to me before, but it seems like a long shot.

Ben and I are trying something new. We've decided that a couple of days a week, we won't turn the television on at all. See, we don't have cable, so we never watch tv when it's on, but we do watch some shows on Fancast and watch lots of movies. We were thinking that we might waste a little too much time, even with that much tv, so no tv at all on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Maybe we'll increase that, if we end up liking it. I'm being strict about it too, and not allowing myself to turn the television on during the day. It shouldn't be too big a change, since I don't usually anyway. I think that we won't really miss it at all, and might end up leaving the tv off more often.

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Monday, June 08, 2009

Earning a Dehydrator (And, Horseradish What Now?)

I hope everyone had a fun weekend. We had a good, but busy, time. On Saturday, we did garden work and lawn mowing and visited the farmers' market in Edwardsville, and yesterday we went to mass, and grocery shopped, and attended the Internation Horseradish Festival with some friends. Ben was slightly dissappointed by the festival, because he was hoping for more horseradish themed food than was available. I was good with it, because tasting the horseradish ice cream was pretty much enough for me.

I picked up a horseradish plant so I can grow my own, along with a new basil plant. So I have those and a couple of melon starts and lavendar to plant. It's storming right now, so I think they might have to stay in their pots for a couple days longer.

Since I can't go out and work today, I'll have to keep busy with indoor things. But that's okay, because there's plenty to keep me busy. The laundry is going and there's always the weekend disaster that is my kitchen to clean up.
I've got some things other than housework going on too. Last week, I wrote a few articles for Associated Content, and brainstormed a lot more, so I want to get started on writing the ones I came up with ideas for.

And I designed some new Homemaker T-Shirts as well, but there's still a few more ideas that I want to draw and get loaded up on Cafepress.

I've been focusing a bit more on these this last week, first because I had some good ideas out of the blue that I really wanted to use, and secondly, because I'd really like to get a better, more roomy food dehydrator than the one I have, but that's not in the household budget right now, so I figured I'd earn the money to get one with my online sources. So, my new dehydrator fund started last week, and I'm hoping I can earn enough online money to be able to have it before the tomatoes start coming in. We'll see if that can work, I have a way to go, since the model I have my eye on is pretty expensive, but it'll save so much time and power over the one I have. (I found the one I use now at Goodwill for $3, so I took what I could get. Now I'm seeing how great the dried foods work for us, so I'd definately like to have one that could handle more at once.)

The t-shirt in the picture is one of the ideas that I had the other day. Sometimes I wonder if things are only funny to me, in my own head, and no one else would get it... So, you guys get it, right? :D

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Friday, June 05, 2009

Homemaking Inspiration

I've gotten into the habit of reading the Little House books when I'm not feeling well. So last week, when my neck hurt and I was under strict husband's orders not to move from the heating pad, I pulled out Little House in the Big Woods and started the series over again. (Last year, I read the series backwards, just for the novelty of seeing Laura get younger instead of older.)

Anyway, I love these books. I love them so much, it hurts. I even like Farmer Boy. I know a lot of people don't like that one, but I really enjoy it and its look at the seasons on a farm. Though a person could develop an eating disorder just reading that one.

I read them when I was young, and I did enjoy them at the time, but re-reading them now, as an adult, and a homemaker, they have much more relevance for me. I can't be the only homemaker/homesteader type who thinks to herself, "What would Ma Ingalls do?" Wash on Monday, that's what she'd do! And so I do.

She's an excellent example of how good homemakers must never "eat the bread of idleness," and inspiration for me.

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

First Fruits

Admitedly, these radishes weren't nearly ready to pull yet, but they got in the way of my carrot thinning, so I made examples of them. Tasty examples.
I had mashed up strawberries left from this past weekend's strawberry shortcake, so I decided to try my hand at fruit leather. A quart of applesauce and the same or slightly less of mashed strawberries yielded two sheets of roll-ups. I left them right on the parchment paper when they finished, and rolled them up like that for storage. I want to call it Strapple Leather, but Ben says that sounds too much like Scrapple, and is gross. Though AppleBerry would be better for marketing, I'm not in the marketing business, so Strapple it is.
Here's the embroidery I started the other day. It's the latest in the series of holiday and seasonal banners that I've been working through since last year. The green fabric is basted on to make the banner wide enough to fit into the hoop. I wanted to get a move on this one, because the "Spring" one that's hanging on the wall right now is looking slightly outdated against the sunshine outside and the June dates on the calendar.

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Awkward Adolescence

The chickies are looking hilarious lately. They're in that fuzz to feathers stage, and I can't help but laugh when I see them.
Poor little things are going to grow up with some sort of personality complex.

It's a rainy day today, and much cooler than it has been, so I'm feeling glad about that. It's a bit of a gift really, a whole day before me with no planting or hoeing or mowing that can be done. So I get to bake, or sew, or read, or even (don't tell on me, lol) take a nap. I have a pair of shorts in my sewing room that Ben tore a hole in, and he'd like back for working in, so I've got that bit of mending to take care of, other than that, all my regular housework is pretty much caught up, so I think I might do some weird cleaning, like dusting the door frames and pictures, and then I'll pretend to be responsiblity-free for a little while.

Yesterday I planted some dill and an eggplant and some stevia and some more loofa and hoed around the squash a little. I went to visit my elderly neighbor and she was trying to work up a patch of her garden to put her tomatoes in, but she needs a walker and it's very hard for her to do things like that, so I did it for her. Made me feel like a super hero, since it only took me about ten minutes to garden claw the area she wanted, and she was so happy to have it done.

Speaking of awkward adolescence, my high school graduating class is planning a reunion (class of '98... I guess no one wanted to bother last year), and I keep getting all these emails from people I went to high school with. Very interesting, if slightly surreal. It seems odd to learn that everyone has grown up, since in my mind most of my classmates are arrested at the moment in time that I last saw them. And I haven't seen or kept in touch with anyone but Ali and Julie, so it's like all of a sudden, all these people I still think of as kids have grown up and gotten married and had kids. Not that I'd really expect people to live in static, it's just the way my memory works. It's hard to imagine most of these people any way but in their cheerleading uniforms, or in Mr. Kelly's biology class, or sitting at the computer down from me every day. So weird.

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Sleeping In

I slept in today. I can hardly believe it myself.
Ben wasn't home, because our car is still in the shop till today, and he stayed at Ken's last night to make it slightly less inconvienent for Ken to take him into the office and to go get his car later.
Anyway, I got up at my regular time of about six, but I hadn't slept well, as I never do when Ben's gone, and I was still so sleepy. So I indulged and went back to sleep.
So I slept in till 8:30. And I'll admit it. It was delicious. But now I'm having a very hard time motivating myself. It's always that way with sleeping in, isn't it?

I don't really have all that much to report today. I did get my fridge all cleaned out and reorganized yesterday. The kitchen is all cleaned, and the canning supplies are put away till next time. The preserves are all stashed in the preserves cabinet. I mulched the new cherry trees with huge piles of grass clippings. Which makes me think we need to mow our lawn more often, if I can rake up three wheelbarrows full of grass clippings just from one side of the front lawn. I'd love one of those bagger things... free and easy mulch.

Today I'm on a mission to find someone who sells straw around here who would deliver some bales to us, because there's a heck of a lot of garden left to mulch, and the bare ground is getting weedy just sitting there. Also, I've got to visit the neighbor and bring her some eggs, and then hoe in the garden, and maybe plant another row of cucumbers or some more bean hills. After that, I'm hoping to get some crafting finished. There are some seasonal embroidered things around here that are sadly outdated, but I haven't finished the June and Summer and July versions, so need to get on that in order to change them out.

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Monday, June 01, 2009

Strawberry Fields Forever

On Saturday we went strawberry picking at the U-Pick place up the road about ten miles. I bribed our friend Ken into picking with us by promising him fresh strawberry shortcake that day and a share of the jam later on. He fell for it. :)

We picked 33lbs of strawberries among the three of us, and set to work sorting and processing them when we got home. We set up strawberry wine, and ate shortcake and froze berries and readied some for jam and set them up in the dehydrator as well.

The dehydrated berries that had dried to a brittle texture, I powdered in the coffee grinder. I'm thinking strawberry powder in milkshakes and cream cheese and cake mix and muffins.

I dried two batches, as many as the dehydrator would hold, each time, and ended up with about two cups of dried bits, and a cup and a half of powder.

Yesterday, we used the pre-measured smashed up portions and made a couple batches of jam. The one on the right is "low sugar" using lite powdered pectin I bought in bulk from the Amish store. I'm not sure if you can really call 40% sugar (6 cups smashed fruit, 4 cups sugar) a "low sugar" product, but I guess it is as far as jams and jellies go.
The one on the left is a Strawberries and Honey Spread, made with Pomona Pectin and honey. It's four cups of smashed fruit and one cup of honey. I used Waibel Honey. Waibel Honey: A delicious taste of sweet sunshine with every bite. (Do you think your dad will hire me for pr yet Julie?)
So we had a full weekend of berries. We also mowed the lawn and hoed the garden and planted a couple of black tartan cherry trees and cleaned out all the chickens housing, both baby box and big chickie coop. I planted a few more things in the garden too, filling in where the beans never sprouted. It was too muddy to be working it to much, but on the hills by the bean poles things had dried enough to weed and plant again.
Today I have a kitchen in serious need of cleaning after a weekend of my husband being in it, lol. And the fridge has gotten out of hand. Not gross, just so cluttered it's hard to find room for anything in there. I was also thinking about raking up the grass clippings and mulching the new trees and the bean hills with them. It depends how ambitious I am, I guess.
I'm grateful that my neck is better. By Saturday it was only slightly stiff, and now it's back to 100% better, so no more pain in my neck.

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