Thursday, August 26

Taking a break for fun

These past few weeks have been crazy busy around here with all the projects and canning going on. So I decided a day of fun was in order. Although being my very practical self I combined it in with a trip to the grocery store. We headed out to Amish county to grocery shop and play in the creek and the park. 013 Here they all are before getting dirty.020Love this one of my girls.027 It so so peaceful and pretty at this park. We love going there as much as we can. It's not very deep and the boys love to catch crayfish. The girls collect rocks and everyone gets dirty. We then stopped for ice cream on the way home.088058057 026     064 073066Miles was determined to catch at least one crayfish before we left. He worked hard at it the whole time.  I gave a 5 minute warning and he still hadn't caught one. Then just as I was getting the girls out and toweled off he caught a big one. He was so excited!!095097 It's always nice to take a break when working hard. It makes it seem more special. It's back to work for me now. My parents are coming tomorrow and the tomatoes are filling up the counters again.

Wednesday, August 25

Compost Buckets

110 You know it's canning season when you trade your pretty compost pail for a 5 gallon bucket. 109

Thursday, August 19

Little Bo Peep and her sheep

In our house Little Bo Peep cares for her sheep in lace gloves and a mop cap  while still in pajamas at 3:00 in the afternoon.009006Then falls asleep while singing her sheep to sleep.005

Tuesday, August 17

Fruit Leather

Here is a quick and easy way to save some money.
This is peach leather I just finished up. First I washed, peeled, and diced the fruit into manageable pieces. I did sprinkle a bit of fruit fresh over the top because I was making a few other things at the same time.001Next, puree it in a food processor or a blender. You will need two cups of fruit puree.  003Add 1 Tablespoon of bottled lemon juice, it is more acidic than fresh lemon and it helps the shelf life.
Add 3 Tablespoons of honey and mix well. 004  Carefully pour two cups of the fruit mixture in your plastic tray. I have a dehydrator I picked up at a yard sale for six dollars. I think if you can get your oven to about 140 degrees you can dry your fruit on a cookie sheet, Or if you live where its really hot you can dry it outside or in your car. 001  It took about 18 hours to get it the way I wanted. I did put a bit of olive oil on the tray to help it not stick.002  Cut up the fruit into 8 pieces and layer on wax paper or parchment paper to keep from sticking. Store in an airtight jar in a cool dry place. 003 Ingredients:
2 cups fruit puree
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
3 Tablespoons honey


027 Out of the garden this morning

Monday, August 16


This weekend I sliced, chopped, diced, pureed, and mashed my way through two and a half bushels of peaches. I made, jam, fruit leather,  butter, honey and canned 54 quarts of peaches. That should do us for the year. 001 It helps to have little helpers, which was a first this year.

Of course this made for more of this, despite my efforts to contain the stickiness on towels. 019Or this, finding toys in my newly clean and sterilized jars. 012And thank goodness for husbands who think you are crazy for working so hard and bring you dinner form one of your favorite places. 022It's all worth it in the end when you see this when you wake up in the morning and hear your children say they can't wait for next year to



Wednesday, August 11

My two front teeth

It's round three of the toothless grins around here! Fiona lost both of her front bottom teeth at the same time! She was quite excited to start her collection of gold dollars and drink out of a straw without opening her mouth. She's heard enough about it from her brothers! Unfortunately she got my genes and is missing two or three permanent teeth so this is the start of a lot of dental work. We haven't told her that yet, we're just letting her be excited about this stage of growing up.042 Please note the black eye. I waited a few days to take this photo. This is a good reminder of why one should never throw rocks and especially not through freshly hung sheets when you can't see where they are going!

Tuesday, August 10


Two weeks ago I froze 100 ears of corn. It was then that I realized if I kept going with all of my plans and my husband does bring home a deer I will have So when I got my second batch of 100 ears I decided to can it. Corn requires the use of a pressure canner. I have had a pressure canner, um rather 3 of them for many years. My husband grew up helping his mom can and is the expert around here. He taught me all I know about pressure canners. To me they seemed a bit scary with all that pressure built up inside! But they are really very simple to use. I just make sure to be careful and follow the directions.

So, to start shuck, wash and remove all the silk from the ears. This is a great job for children and all of mine do this for me. It goes so fast with all of those hands working  together.  001 Next you will want to cut all of the kernels off of the ears. I use my husband's fillet knife and it makes short work of each ear.008I learned this trick from my friend Sharmin, set your ear up in a Bundt pan, then all the kernels will fall into the pan and there is less mess and it's easier to hold the ear and get a close cut.010Here is all of my corn cut.006 Next you will want to fill your warm clean jars with corn. Do not shake or press down! Then fill with boiling water leaving about 1 inch of space.018Wipe rims to ensure a good seal then secure lids and rings. I forgot to take picture of some of the steps, I got so into my project! 024hile I get the jars ready I fill the pressure canner with a couple of inches of water and start it to simmer. Then I slowly lover the jars into the hot water. I would recommend reading and following the directions on your own canner to be safe!  026I wrap a towel around the jars to keep them from clanking together. I don't know if this is necessary or not but my husband's mother did it so I do it too.  028Then tighten the lid and wait for the valve to pop up as you can see in the picture below. Corn needs 10 pounds pressure so I wait for it to reach that, then I start timing for 85 minutes. when it is done turn off the burner and wait until the valve goes back down. You can now take out your jars of corn.044It take about three hours for batch and I ran four. It takes time but I was able to do things like clean the kitchen, prep some furniture for painting, and read a book while waiting so it seemed so much easer than blanching and freezing. 033It looks so pretty sitting on the shelf and I don't have to worry about loosing it if my freezer decides to quit.

Friday, August 6

Evening entertainment

My sweet angels, so kindly letting me take some evening photos. 003006One must always make the warrior pose at some point.002And not to be outdone boy two makes sure to add another level of silliness. Doesn't everyone put grass in their toes!? 005Then suddenly we moved into live wrestling competitions on the front lawn. Free for all who wish to view. 010Now it's a battle to the death. With boy one in the lead018Wait what is this. A secret weapon? 013 I will help you, He's pinned!014Oooo! let me pose for a minute for the camera, glamour shots are so fun.012Then in a split second boy two is declared the winner of the round. 019  Repeats are tomorrow evening same time same place. :)


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