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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dog Days

Sure is hot. What do you want to do? I don't know what do you want to do? I am going down the hill to see what she is going to do.

Manny was picking on me .Wanna pet me?
He's is making faces behind my back isn't he?
Sneak attack!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Getting Pickled

Thought I would share my recipe for making pickles. My mom used to make pickles but they always were salty. I have taken her recipe and modified it over the past few years. I like what I have come up with and so do my pickle eaters.
You start with about 8lbs of small pickling cucumbers.
We don't spray our gardens with anything but washing gets off the dirt, spines,and lets you check for bugs and bad spots. Nobody wants to eat a pickled bug.
I also use fresh dill heads that I grow in the garden.Ice down the cucumbers while you get everything together,sterilize the jars,and make the brine.
You need 8 quart jars. I use my dishwasher to sterilize them but you can use boiling water too. Large stainless steel pot. Don't use aluminum because it reacts to the acid in the vinegar. In the large pot mix 4cups white vinegar,12 cups water,2/3 cup pickling salt, and bring to a rolling boil.
In the sterilized jars place 1 or 2 dill heads,1 washed grape leaf,1 clove garlic or 1 tsp crushed garlic,1/4tsp red pepper flakes,and 1/4 tsp mustard seed.

Pack the jars with the washed cucumbers. Leave room at the top for brine to cover and still leave 1/2in head space.

Once the cucumbers are in the jars you fill to within 1/2in of the top with the boiling brine. Wipe the rim with clean paper towel and place the 2 piece lid on making sure to only tighten the ring slightly. Place in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
Remove jars and cool. Check seals then let sit for at least a month to let the flavors blend.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

2011 Garden

We had to make a smaller garden this year so I had my husband make 3 raised beds 2'x12'. So far they are doing nicely. I am beginning to see that they should have been placed a bit further apart.
This is how they looked mid may.

This is about 1wk ago. So far I have gotten several pounds of radish,lettuce,onion,zuchini,summer squash and herbs out of just one bed.
In another bed I planted cucumbers.They are just beginning to produce. So far I have 8qts and 4pints dill pickles. More to put up now. My family loves my homemade dills so I have trouble keeping enough around for me. Maybe this year. My other bed has green beans and tomatoes. I put up 9 pints of beans so far and another picking due maybe tommorrow. My tomatoes are coming along slowly I think it may be the heat I have quite a few green tomatoes on the vine but not what I expected.
My squirrel planted sunflowers are just beginning to bloom.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Making Hay

I really love this time of year. It is time to bring in the first cutting of hay. There is nothing like seeing the rows of hay bales lined up ready to go in the barn. Makes me feel secure in knowing if nothing else we will have hay to feed the animals through the winter.
We are a little late getting started cutting this year but hay is a crop thats harvest is dependent on the weather. With all of the storms we have had it was a wait for a stretch of dry weather.
Now that we have dry weather it has turned so hot I am afraid all of the grass is going to burn up and there will not be a second cutting. We should have enough with this first cutting though to feed all the animals and sell a bit. I love the smell of fresh cut hay still warm from the sun. Its the little things in life.