Friday, September 10, 2010

Farmville For Real or 100 1/4 Pounds Of Veggies And Growing

   I have been very busy lately with everything from the garden. I know, people that have bigger gardens, maybe even smaller gardens, could be busier than I have been. So far, since August until now, we have harvested 100 1/4 pounds of produce. That doesn't include the odd tomato, ears of corn, few pea pods.
This is my second year of canning. So far, so good. I made cherry preserves, that turned out kind of thin, but they are good on my granola and waffles. I think I have that problem figured out. My big stainless steel pot isn't quite big enough, so I didn't let the cherries boil long enough after I added the liquid pectin. It was about ready to boil over, and that would have been a big mess that I didn't want to clean up, so, it's good, but thin, preserves.
   I'm pretty sure we don't need to plant any onions next spring. We still have some in the garden. I have a gallon bag full of small onions that the deer said we needed to harvest early. I have 1 quart jar of chopped dehydrated onions and 5 quarts of dehydrated onion rings. I have figured out the best way to slice the onions to dehydrate. I peel the onions and leave them whole with the root end still on. I use my handy dandy slicer and hold the root end when it gets to the part I usually toss anyway. My slices are nice and even this way.
To chop them, I put the dried rings in a stainless steel bowl and use my pastry cutter to chop them up. This method works great.
   We thought we were coming to an end with the zucchini, but they keep on coming. We haven't had very many patty pan squash, because the deer, or the porcupine that's around, find them quite good.
We have been harvesting some of the potatoes. They are very good. We had 2 big potatoes ( they are the more expensive white potatoes you get from the grocery store), that had brown spots in the middle. We read that was because they had too much water. They were very juicy potatoes. I used the good parts. They were good potatoes.
   I've dehydrated some the way you are suppose to, according to dehydrating sites and my dehydrating book, and the potatoes still turned brown. Good still, just not pretty. I ran across several sites the other day that said cook them whole until a bamboo skewer pushes through easily, yet the potato doesn't fall apart. Cool the in the fridge over night because you want the firm to slice or shred. Peel them and then slice or shred for hash browns. You can freeze them or dehydrate them this way and they aren't suppose to turn brown or black. If they do, you didn't cook them long enough. Anyway, this is the way I will try next.
The carrots are ready to harvest. It's odd that some of the ones Tim has pulled up are red and others are orange. The seeds came from the seed package. I guess next year, I should save the seed packets after I plant the seeds. I've just been tossing them when I used all the seeds. I figured I didn't need them.
The deer, or porcupine, are eating the tomatoes now, as well as eating the plants again. We still hope the weather stays warm enough for them. The tomatoes, not the critters.
   We have had 28 ears of corn. We cut most of the corn off of the cob and froze it in bags in 2 serving size portions.
   The watermelon has melons. Way more than we need.
   Our cucumbers just keep on coming. They are not pickling cucumbers, but, I made sweet pickles yesterday using them. 9 pints of them. It was the first time I've made them. I used a mix. I thought I did a pretty good job for a first attempt, but Tim came home from work and ask if I put too much juice in them. I packed the jars with the cucumber slices like the spice package said. When I got the out of the boiling water bath, the were floating, with a lot more room for slices. 9 seems to be the amount that I end up with. I always have one jar that doesn't seal, or is iffy. Tim tried a SWEET pickle this morning and said it tasted just like a DILL pickle. They had crunch to them. I have no idea what we are going to do with all these pickles since I don't like pickles. Next, I guess we ( I ) are making Kosher Dill Pickles with a mix. I wonder how many people we can pawn pickles onto?
   We have a porcupine. We kept finding these droppings, but didn't know from what kind of animal. I found, and bought, a book called Scats and Tracks of the Rocky Mountains. When I was looking at the book before I bought it I found a picture of the porcupine, droppings and track. Good reason to buy it. Tim saw a huge porcupine here last year. Now, we really have to keep an eye on Chip if he goes out without his leash on. He'd decide he'd need to play with the porcupine. We think Jake is smart enough to stay away. He stops chasing things when he's told to. I hear some dogs don't learn about porcupines, even after more than one run in with them.
   I finally finished the last afghan my friend Terry hired me to make. Now, she has paid me to crochet animal slippers. She has another friend who is having a baby in January and says she wants me to make one for this one, also. Now, I am working on one of 2 hat, scarf, and mitten set for one of my sisters-in-law.
   As usual, I have clothes in the basket by the dryer to fold, and towels in the dryer waiting their turn.

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