I was asked for the salsa recipe I use. Here it is:
Tomato Salsa (using paste tomatoes)
from: Salsa Recipes for Canning (A PNW Extension publication)
7 quarts peeled, cored, chopped tomatoes (I pour boiling water over a big bowl of tomatoes, drain it off, cover with cold water, peel and pulse in a food processor, then measure it out)
4 cups seeded, chopped long green chilies (Anaheim mostly, some Ancho in this batch–again, clean them, then pulse in food processor, then measure–it’s whatever grew for me. None of these have heat in my garden, but they do have a good flavor. The heat comes from the other peppers.)
Jalepeno or Hungarian Wax (hot) peppers–I used 8, but you have to taste as you go–add 4, then taste, then add more if needed. The temperature varies so much in my home-grown peppers. I’ve added a Serrano in the past if I needed more heat.
5 cups chopped onions
6 cloves garlic, pulsed with a batch of the tomatoes, onions or peppers
2 cups bottled lemon juice
2 Tablespoons salt
1 Tablespoon black pepper
2 Tablespoons cumin
3 Tablespoons dried oregano leaves
2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro
Combine all ingredients except spices and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. I actually use 2 pots if I make the full batch, 1 if I do 1/2 batch. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add spices and simmer 20 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle hot into hot pint jars. Leave 1/2 inch headspace. Adjust lids and process in hot water bath for 15 minutes at 0-1,000 feet altitude, 20 minutes at 1,001-6,000 feet, 25 minutes above 6,000 feet.
Yield: 13 pints
This works best with Roma tomatoes. If you have to use a lot of the more juicy ones, there is another recipe that suggests using a little tomato paste to thicken or to cook it down for quite a bit longer to thicken it up. I use this in cooking sometimes, but mostly it is eaten right out of the jar on chips, tacos, taco salad as dressing, etc. Jar after jar after jar after jar:). They love it!
My garden looks like a complete mess! Still, on Sunday after church when I went out to pick a few things, I got all this and another huge bowl of beans. They were the surprise, since I found the bulk of them on the 3 short rows of bushes I just haven’t gotten time to pull out. They obviously bloomed again and reset more beans. So, among the dried-up, too-old beans was another batch of beautiful, just-right beans.
I cooked a pan full for eating. I gave a bag to my sister and one to my aunt. Then, I froze 4 bags. We don’t eat that many frozen beans, but always use a few each winter. I had only frozen about 4-6 previously this way, so these will be used with no problem. The pole beans should continue to give us enough for fresh eating for a few more weeks.
With my freezers groaning with all of this summer’s bounty, I need room! I pulled a turkey I purchased last fall when they were very inexpensive and Rob cooked it on the bbq. Then, I de-boned it, made broth and canned most of it. The rest was eaten fresh and some is for turkey enchiladas.
I used the boxes and bowls of tomatoes and finished up the salsa. I believe I have enough for these salsa-crazy people around here. With the few that were left over and what I made, I now have 72 jars of assorted sizes–everything from 1/2 pint to quart. Salsa is one of the more time-consuming things I can, so I’m glad to have that project finished.
I also got one canner load of tomato juice and one of crushed tomatoes. I need to do a few more whole tomatoes, but those are easy.
There are still tomatoes on the bushes, but they are winding down. There will be plenty for us and the extended family to eat for several more weeks, until frost.
I froze jalapeño peppers and Hungarian Wax peppers together, as they have about the same level of heat. It was very easy to pick and food-process them while I was making salsa. We don’t use very many of those in a winter, but it’s nice to have some. I package them very thin and flat in a quart-sized ziplock bag so I can break off little chunks when I want to throw just a few into a recipe.
Even though I’m still canning, and school is going full-force, meals need to be cooked. I made this breakfast “egg pie” with a frozen hash brown crust and eggs, a little ham, some leftover garlic cream cheese, spinach, ham and cheddar cheese. It came out great.
I’ve used all the chicken, meat and baked goods from the camper freezer, and am concentrating on using things from the house fridge freezer. It seems to cause an avalanche every time we open it, so it’s time:). Past time. Since we crack out our ice from ice cube trays and fill a Ziplock in the door, AND use a lot of ice daily, this can happen multiple of times each day. It’s getting annoying, to say the least. I can see why housewives of years gone by did fall cleaning. After all the food preservation and gardening, there are just too many areas that have been left to themselves around here.
The grocery money that was spent this week was for basics such as turmeric, salt, milk, eggs……you get the idea. As with most spices we buy, Rob was able to get the turmeric in bulk so it was not expensive. I don’t use much, but it was depleted in some of my pickles recently. It was nice to not need much else so I could fill those things up (and more) with my regular grocery budget. I did get a Coke Zero and some riced cauliflower for free from my Safeway card. The Coke Zero is long gone. The riced cauliflower—-hmmmmm. I’m going to try it soon so it doesn’t linger longer and make that freezer problem worse.
I was asked how to make sand candles. I’m sure there are many ways, but this is what Rob helped the kids do.
Rob and the kids collected clean sand from the beach and poured it into boxes and other containers. They made depressions in the sand the size they wanted their candles. In the bottom of the hole, they poked their fingers down into the sand so the candles would have legs to stand on.
Rob bought shells at the Dollar Store, but kids could sure collect some if there were any. The ones we found on the beach were pretty broken this time, so we were glad to have the whole ones. They put them around the edge of the mold.
Rob got wicks off of Amazon. They were wrapped around sticks and balanced across the top of the candle hole. We did this before the wax was poured in, but I have to say they needed a lot of adjusting after the wax went in–it moved them a lot! Some chose to put in more than one wick.
The wax was from old candles Rob gathered from friends and family. He melted it all in a 50c pot from a garage sale and used a dipper, also very cheap from a garage sale. That way he didn’t have to mess with my stuff!
We let them cool all night and removed them from their sand “nests” the next day.
As you can see, you can barely see the shells.
Once we got home, we experimented with rubbing the sand off of the shells so we could see them better. It took a lot of rubbing to get the shells to show, and we lost a lot of sand. If we kept rubbing, the candles might not remain covered with sand, so it would be a balancing act, and would all depend on how much sand you wanted, and how much time you had. It will be interesting to see if the shells show up better as then candles burn.
I think it might be fun to burn them outside on the picnic table the next time we go camping. Of course, I will get a foil pie pan or old plate to burn them on, as I don’t know how quickly they would burn through.
It was a fun project and the kids and Rob and I all enjoyed doing it. As you can tell, it’s a very inexpensive activity, especially if you use old candles for wax, but makes a nice finished product. It really worked out as an activity that seemed special to the kids for our outdoor school week. I wouldn’t even consider doing it inside the house. It’s pretty messy and while it’s not hard, it does take a chunk of time. I’m glad Rob thought of it for the week.
This past week, we went camping down at the coast. Although we have been doing homeschool for the past couple of weeks, this was our outdoor school. We did regular schoolwork with the kids in the mornings and then did fun, outdoor activities in the afternoons.
One day, I read a book about a silly, fantastic sand castle contest and then we went down to a beach and the kids built their own.
We read fall-themed books and decorated fall-shaped sugar cookies.
We read about sea creatures, then went to the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
Rob organized this project. He melted old candles he collected from friends and family and some shells from the Dollar Store to make sand candles. He took the kids to the beach to collect the sand, and got the wicks from Amazon.
I thought they looked great.
There were lots of trips to the playground at the campground, and many, many times where the kids rode their bikes and I trotted along behind as fast as my short legs would trot:). We took a couple of drives down the coastline, and stopped at a candy store and for French fries. I read aloud for hours. The kids are enjoying Trixie Belden books right now. Of course Patsy has encountered them before, but they are all new to Jake and he’s loving them.
It was a very busy week, but a fun one. The weather was perfect and I’m so glad we got one last camping trip in before the fall rains come.
Once we got home, the garden needed attention. I picked tomatoes, we picked and chopped peppers to freeze. Just tonight, I canned 9 pints of crushed tomatoes. Rob’s been doing load after load of laundry and we’ve all been folding like crazy. There was more than usual because since this is our last camping trip for a while, there was extra bedding and such that needed washing.
We’ve been eating the leftover camping food for the past couple of days. I also unloaded the camper freezer, and we’ve been using the items that were in there. I always keep some chicken, hamburger, bread products, etc. in there for the entire summer, replacing as we use them on camping trips. So, I didn’t need to shop except for some milk, 1/2 and 1/2 and bananas.
Last evening, I dug up my old strawberry raised bed, put in some bags of steer manure, compost, coffee grounds and worm castings, and planted a few fall veggies. It may be too late to get much of anything, but it was worth a try and I simply couldn’t get it done before we went, as I was spending every minute canning. Those berries were done. They only last 3 years. I have some different berries in other places for next summer. So it feels good to have that mentally-daunting job done, whether I get any fall veggies or not.
Once again, we concentrated on food preservation during this last week. The last of the pears went into the dryer.
I made German red cabbage and apples today, and one other time. Now, I have a lot! The last of the Gravenstein apples we bought went into that and they are officially gone as well. There is one more red cabbage in the garden, but the others were splitting and cracking and really needed to be used without delay–2 weeks ago! But, I did the best I could and got to them when I could. Rob specially grew the red cabbage for this purpose. I made this last year for the first time with the one red cabbage we grew and he loved it.
I pulled up all remaining beets and turned them into pickled beets. It was a great beet crop and we got around 20 pints. Some are for my Mom, and some for us. We had quite a few left over from last year, but the crop was outstanding, so I canned them up. We also ate quite a few fresh beets.
I’ve started on the salsa. I will do more in a couple of weeks as I didn’t get nearly enough, but it’s a start. (It is not in the picture) Peach pie filling used up the rest of the Elberta peaches we had picked at my sister’s. I’ve been making dilly beans with the extras from the pole beans. I’ve just mixed the purple and green ones. The red tomato product pictured here is pizza/pasta sauce.
Rob even froze some peppers. He uses them throughout the year, mostly for breakfast.
More dill pickles were made, as was another batch of Bread and Butter Pickles. Most of those will end up as gifts, likely around Christmas time. What I choose to give away at the holidays usually depends on what has grown prolifically during the summer, and, boy, are the cucumbers out-doing themselves this year.
Preserving food wasn’t all we did last week, though. I used some carrots that were starting to look bedraggled. Rob picked up a Costco chicken and I used the last of it to make this casserole.
I boiled the bones and made a huge pot of chicken-rice soup. I froze several meals worth in addition to what we have out for fresh eating. The rest of the chicken was eaten right away for meals, or put on salads. I also made a vegetable soup another day. It’s finally cooled down enough here for us to feel like both cooking and eating soup.
We watched our grandsons several times. One time, I wanted Baby Z to go to sleep, and he woke up the minute Patsy and I laid him in the crib, so I told Rob to lay down on the bed and I tucked baby up in his arm. Baby slept. Rob didn’t, but boy did he have fun watching Z sleep. Malcolm, on the other hand, would not go to sleep no matter what we did. He was having too much fun. So we just played with him.
Our daughter got a temporary job at the fair, working in a booth. Her older sister did the bulk of the babysitting, but we pitched in when we could with one boy or the other. Thursday evening, it was both, for quite a while. It took all 3 of us to keep up with him, but the boys were bathed, fed and happy by the time their Mama came for them. We, were exhausted, but happy, too. The fair is over tomorrow. I’m just glad she was able to work some extra hours and we were able to fit in time with the grandsons.. They are a joy to be with.
We had a slow start to school a few weeks ago. That just means I didn’t do all the subjects each day at first.. I homeschool Jake 3 days per week, and Patsy, of course, all the days. Each week, I’ve added a little more. That way works best with Jake, especially. We are doing “outdoor school” this coming week, so I have lots of fun activities planned. I spent quite a bit of time preparing this past weekend, but I’m ready now. Because our library is closed down again, due to the Delta variant, I was disappointed in not being able to get some materials I wanted. Thankfully, I have some books from the one time we were able to go in the short time it was open. I hit the motherlode at a garage sale this summer and got some books and teaching materials that I can use, so I organized all that along with the crafts and extra activities. At one place, I got a whole grocery sack full of books for $2. At other places, books were a quarter. I ended up with quite a few.
Rob got a few baby clothes at the Union Gospel Thrift Store. He found a Foley Food Mill in a “free” pile on the side of the road. A spare will come in handy.
All-in-all, it was a pretty good week+. My 4-page, double-sided list did not get all the way done. But, the wood is stacked and the canning that had to be done right away is done! I think the list served its purpose, but its time to generate a new one.
This past week, we were blessed with so much produce! My sister had already frozen a lot of corn from her garden, so offered us the extra. We happily accepted. (The pan of meatballs was something I made early Tuesday morning. Our mantra soon became, “At least we have meatballs,” as the week got busier and busier and my cooking got less and less!).
It was more than any of us thought. We ended up with 2 coolers full! She added some pears she was given, the Gravestein apples she had purchased for us at our request (she got everybody’s at once), some tomatoes from her garden, and lots of peaches. (The tomatoes on the chair are only part of what I got from my own garden!)
But wait….there’s more! The same day we were making plans to pick all the produce from my sister’s house, Rob’s cousin offered him two rows of corn they did not need. So, we went on Monday night to pick from my sister’s and he and Patsy went the next morning to get the additional corn. It was also more than anyone thought! It ended up being 3 rows. He got 3 coolers full of shucked corn! I cannot tell you how much corn that is. There are no words. And then, she gave him 3 boxes of tomatoes, which we were not expecting!
We canned 14 quarts and 36 pints of corn. We froze a bunch of corn. I made peach salsa and peach pie filling. I’ve made pizza/pasta sauce, canned whole tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce so far. I still have a large bowl of Roma tomatoes to made salsa from. Thankfully, they hold well.
Little Z is obviously too little to enjoy corn like his brother does, but he sure grew in the short time that passed between visits.
I made 14 jars of dill pickles and 4 small jars of dilly beans from the produce from my garden. I canned 7 quarts of pears and we dried several dryers full. I also dried some zucchini.
So it’s a Very. Good. Thing. that we spent a few days down at the beach last week. We went camping at Ft. Stevens State Park. We spent some time with Jake and Michaela, and we spent some time completely alone since Patsy went to spend a couple of nights with their family at the condo they had in a nearby town. We had planned all along to swap kids back and forth a bit. Rob and I haven’t gotten away alone together for so long, I can’t remember. It was amazing and I got a LOT of sleep. I knew I was going to be busy when I got back, so I made a 4 page, both-sided list. Then all that produce showed up……Needless to say, I’ve only got a few items done from my list, but I’m thrilled to have all that canning done. Things are ripening early and so prolific this year. My October is going to be so much easier!
My sister and brother-in-law took us out for dinner. It was so awesome to eat at a restaurant. We ate outdoors and were delighted to feel mist coming down as we ate. At least Rob and I were. We’ve been so hot. It felt great, mostly because it didn’t last long. We’ve had a little rain here, too. It wasn’t much, but it’s not hot and miserable here anymore. Whew! What a great week for canning.
As always, we ate at the camper most of the time. I had pre-made food, as usual, and kept it very simple. I realized I had forgotten some things in my haste to take care of the garden produce before we left, but we made out just fine. I did send Rob to the Safeway for the 99c/lb turkey burger, along with new toothbrushes. There was a little mix-up. Someone used mine a couple of times before I figured out what was going on. I cooked with one turkey burger there, and saved the other one I was allowed for next time. I did not save the new toothbrushes for later. 🙂
We walked on the beach a lot, and on the trails. We didn’t crab, clam or fish this time. Instead, I read and napped. One day, I played games with Jake all morning. That day, Rob took Patsy and Micheala on a drive across the bridge from Oregon to Washington. It’s becoming a tradition since Michaela loves doing that.
We visited the Ft. Stevens Military museum, which includes a small indoor museum and a large outdoor compound of bunkers and ruins from the past. Even thought the kids got behind bars, they soon showed that they could “break out” from a different window. They had fun crawling out of the “jail.” We found a nearby playground and let them swing and play. It’s the simple things that go over the best with our crew.
We saw lots of wildlife including elk, deer, baby fawns, birds of many kinds and even whales! It was an amazing week on a lot of levels and I’m glad we could go.
Before we left, I did slip away one day to the 4-H fair where we used to live and judge the food preservation for the 4-H. I haven’t been able to do that for a couple of years, and it’s so fun to do. As a bonus, I also got paid, but it’s so fun I’d probably do it for free. Shhh….don’t tell them. I’ve already got plans for that little bit of extra money.
I’ve got 2 big boxes of apples to preserve in the next few days. There is salsa to make. I’m ignoring the fact that I can see red tomatoes appearing on the bushes again. I’m also ignoring all the weeds. After ignoring the house cleaning all week, Patsy and I got busy with that for a while this morning and at least there is a place to sit down in peace between canning. And, there’s hope that a person could actually sit at the table to eat in a day or two. Thank goodness, Rob did not ignore the laundry and has washed and folded it all. I don’t have to can wearing my Sunday clothes. Whew!
I plan to get back to regular posting, hopefully early in the week as is my habit, but I make no promises until this pile of produce is safely in jars and the freezer. It’s that time of year. So, I may be spotty for a little while longer before I can bask in the glory of full cupboards and freezers.
Every other day, I’m getting this huge Tupperware bowl full or half full of cucumbers. On Saturday, there were 7 full quarts in there. Some days, it works out to several pints and a few quarts. That’s a lot of pickles, folks! I’ve been making jalapeño dills this week, plain dills, and today, Rob plans to try some sweet-hot pickles. I hope they turn out. I’ve got all the Bread and Butter pickles, sweet pickles, and relish I can eat or give away. I’ve also made a fresh pickle salad with cucumbers, onions, salt, pepper, a little sugar and a little rice wine vinegar and water sauce. Rob loves it and eats it by the bowl full. What a year for cucumbers! It’s the most I have ever grown.
We used the bowlful of tomatoes and all the cherry tomatoes we could find and made 9 pints of tomato sauce on Saturday. My tomatoes are coming on slowly, but it was nice to get started when we had too many to eat.
We’ve had all the garden produce we care to eat, except for lettuce. The heat is not it’s friend. Fall is going to be better for that, and I have some baby lettuce up in a row out in the garden.
We haven’t just canned this week. We spent a couple of days with our grandson. He loves the peaches his auntie grows. Patsy cut this up for him and he ate it all!
One day, Jake and I took the baby to the park. We walk there quite frequently. It’s been super hot around here, so we went early in the morning.
We took the kids to the library. I has only recently re-opened–like in the last month, then will close again for 2 weeks to move back to it’s original location. It’s been rough getting any books from there for the past 2 years. The kids were super excited and hauled home tons of books. There’s no better deal on earth for books than the library…if it would just stay open long enough for us to get some of them. Once you get books from our library, you can basically keep them forever…..since even the drop box is usually closed. No fines are charged, so that’s nice. I’m hoping once they get re-opened, back in their renovated building, things will improve greatly. I’ve got books that have been on hold for a year, books I really need for school that I can’t get….you get the idea. Hopefully, it will get better in September.
I have canned so much in the past 2 weeks, I haven’t had time to post. I’m feeling really good about how much Rob and I have accomplished.
Last night, I picked the green bowl and the yellow one full of strawberries. (This picture just shows the bowls, this time they were full). I’m getting so many berries. The problem is that they seem very sour this year. That’s kind of frustrating as it’s been one of the hottest summers I can ever remember. They should be sweet. I’ve frozen quite a few and today, I decided to make a batch of jam. I did that this afternoon. When I’ve been freezing them, I’ve started adding a little sugar. They will be great in smoothies this winter, regardless of their sour flavor, as we can add sugar when we blend the smoothie. Oddly enough, Jake likes them sour, so he’s been picking and eating them cut up with sugar sprinkled on top. I’m glad someone likes them this way.
My sister gave us so many peaches from her farm. These are New Havens. This picture only shows part of them. We canned 70 quarts. Some are for me, some my mother graciously agreed to take, even though she wanted to can another kind, when I realized how many I was going to end up with. They are really, really good, so I know she will enjoy them, and we will as well.
They came out beautifully.
We dried several gallons of peaches. I also dried zucchini for soups. I froze broccoli a couple of times. Then, I pulled the bushes. All they were producing anymore were side shoots that were getting smaller and smaller each time. The last picking was about 1/2 cup, so that was the end for me. In the place where the broccoli was, I planted lettuce, kale, snow peas and spinach for a fall crop. They have not come up yet.
While up at the farm, Rob picked a lot of wild blackberries. We made jam from those. I froze several baggies as well, with what was left over from the jam making.
We have canned green/yellow beans every-other-day and I’ve done many, many pickles. These bowls are the first step for sweet pickles. I finished them Thursday. They involve a process where you pour boiling water, then syrup/brine over them each morning and night for 4 days. I canned 18–1/2 pints when I was done following all the steps.
I’ve made many dill pickles which were a mixture of plain (with garlic) and zippy (with jalapeños) and a batch of Bread-and-Butter Pickles.
I pulled all the carrots in the garden and we canned 7 pints, plus put some in the fridge in bags. I could fit the jars of carrots, in the pressure canner with the pints of green beans, so I did. My big one holds a double layer of pints.
I was able to can a few pints of crushed tomatoes on a different day.
I froze quite a few peaches, strawberries, and blueberries as well as the broccoli I mentioned above.
When I wasn’t preserving food, I was working on the garden and yard or working with the kids. I’ve pulled several old bushes up and composted them in the garden.. I’ve weeded there and in a couple of flowerbeds. After picking beans today, I’m all geared up to pull the bean bushes in a couple of places. They seem to be finished. I have a few more bush beans that still have some life left in them and all of the pole beans. They haven’t got any large beans on them, but small ones are starting to form so we will eat those fresh until frost.
My garden is large, and is yielding well this year. I’m very thankful to have so much to work with, along with what we got from my sister’s farm. There are still a few items to can later in the summer/fall, but I made huge strides on the project this past couple of weeks. We are also eating daily from the fruits and veggies we are picking.
We ate so much garden produce and things from the pantry and freezers that I didn’t shop for most of 2 weeks. When I did, I used the $10 off $50 at Safeway. I bought some things to stock up the camper for our next excursion and some items I don’t normally buy, such as first aid items. I also got some things at Grocery Outlet. It felt good to be able to stock up on things with the extra money I had left over from last month’s grocery budget due to eating so much garden produce.
Rob and I inventoried our canning shelves. I like to keep a detailed record of my food preservation, recording what was left over of each item and what new jars have been added this year. Last year, I was out of so many items that I over-canned on purpose. I like to have a little carry-over in case of a poor crop, an item being hard to get for some reason, etc. There’s not as much left over as I thought there would be. So, I’m taking care of that!
Although canning has taken up a huge portion of my time this past 2 weeks, that’s not all. we did.
Jake and I made cinnamon sugar toast cut-outs one day. This is a birdhouse, in case you didn’t know. All we did is toast bread, spread with butter and cinnamon sugar and cut out shapes with cookie cutters, but he had a wonderful time doing it and eating his concoction.
Rob filled the kiddie pools for the kids one day and watched both the pressure canner and the kids at the same time, as we do all of our canning outside in an enclosed porch area.
I started science with Patsy this week and she and Jake did an experiment. We’ve been reading aloud for hours and I’ve received Jake’s science from his Mom so we will start that this week. I like to do some school in August, to ease into the process. We will go full-bore in September.
We had a family gathering potluck for Rob’s side of the family one evening and had a nice time. We had an aunt and uncle from Idaho visiting our aunt who lives here and spent some time over at her house visiting, which was also nice. Of course, the babies have been through the house a few times, and we have seen some other relatives from time to time. We aren’t bored, but will admit to being quite tired once night comes! It’s a busy time of year:)
We are spent much of our time with babies this past week, with Jake 5 days in a row, and watching the Olympics.
Our daughter has a friend from out of state visiting with her little 8-month-old daughter. So, this week, we enjoyed between 1 and 3 babies on several occasions. We watched our older grandson a couple of times and had the whole group over for a couple of visits and meals.
We all went to the park one morning. We walked down there, pushing Malcolm in his stroller and the girls and younger babies drove to join us. Jake enjoyed riding his new “bike” there and back 3 times this past week. His new toy has 3 wheels, is very low to the ground, is pedaled like a bike but in the recumbent position, and he holds handles on the sides to steer and brake. I should have taken a picture of it, so I could describe it better, but lets just say it looks very, very fun and he loves it because he can manage it and it’s really, really cool.
Rob and I took great pleasure in giving our grandson a spaghetti dinner.
He really, really liked it. Afterwards, I gave him a bath and gave Rob his clothes to wash. It was worth the extra effort to see him having so much fun. My sister suggested we feed him his spaghetti IN the bathtub next time:)
Even though kids and babies were the most fun activity we did this past week, we did some more mundane things, as well, such as go to the dentist. It’s so nice to have dental insurance. We didn’t have any for so many years.
I weeded several times. Rob planted some fall crops. So far, he has a few types of lettuce, some broccoli, cabbage, and a little kale that have sprouted. My next planting of lettuce is up in a raised bed, along with some snow peas.
Two times, I picked cucumbers and made dill pickles. Although the batches were both just a few jars, it’s nice to get that process going. I started counting and recording how many jars of different items are left out on the shelves. That way, after I look at last year’s records, I know how many jars I want to can of each item.
I did 6 quarts of pickles and just 3 pints this week because I had good pickings of cucumbers. It saves jar lids when I do that as long as it’s something we can eat a quart of. Rob can definitely eat a quart of dill pickles. We all love them, but it’s nice to have a mixture of sizes for different occasions.
I’ve picked tomatoes, zucchinis galore, cabbage, lettuce, snow peas, a few assorted peppers, cucumbers and lemon cucumbers, and a very few beans this week. I’ve been able to get a few raspberries and a couple bowls of blueberries as well.
Patsy helped with a Science Camp at church 4 days this past week. It was basically a Vacation Bible School. She had a really good time and we were able to go down to the church last evening to watch the kids sing a few songs, hear about the week, and watch them shoot off a candy cannon. Like Rob said, “it was either going to be the coolest thing ever, or a big mistake…” Thank goodness it was a rousing success and all the kids were kept away from the flying candy until it had been shot into a field. Then, they could run and pick it up. What fun!
The weather has remained hot, but manageable. Rob has been making jar after jar of sun tea so he always has a cool drink.
The garden keeps pumping out the produce.
This morning, I got 2 small bowls of cucumbers, so I will make pickles later today. I noticed a few dill heads beginning to form, so they will be dill this time.
I picked all this broccoli this morning, as well, and it is soaking in salt water while I do some other things. That gets rid of any critters that might try to hide in the florets. Then, I will put it with what I got the other day and blanch and freeze it. Last time, we ate a bunch fresh, but I’m not sure we can eat all the veggies we are picking right now, so I’m happy to freeze some for later.
We froze several baggies of blueberries and ate raspberries and blueberries fresh. The June-bearing raspberries are winding down, but there are still a few every couple of days.
We are spending as much time as possible with the babies. So cute, and so much fun:). This one gained a pound in the last week. Go, baby!!
We took a drive on Saturday and hit a community garage sale. We found a man who was selling grocery bags of kids books for $2. We filled a bag. Since I’m going to be working with my nephew this fall, doing part of his schooling, I grabbed several educational books for the whopping price of 25c each. Even if I only use one idea from each, it’s worth it. We also scored a few fall flannel shirts and pants for $1 each for our older grandson. The baby has plenty for now and there’s a huge bag of the next couple of sizes up Rob got at a yard sale a while back, plus the outgrown clothes of his brother. So, right now, we look for the bigger sizes.
Yesterday, Rob cooked a small turkey we got last fall for a very low price. He put it on the BBQ, so it didn’t heat up the house, and we will use a lot and share some.
I’m off to Safeway to get a couple of things. 74c ice cream tops my list. I can have 2, so I will get them if there are any left. I don’t need much, actually, as we are eating mainly from the garden and freezers. It’s a good time of year for my grocery budget!