Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bread & Butter Pickle Recipe

For Tanya:

Approximately 2 gallons of sliced cucumbers and onions
Mix with 1/2 cup pickling salt and enough water to cover
Stand for 3 hours
Drain - do not rinse
Add: 5 cups sugar
         3 cups vinegar (5% acidity)
         1.5 tsp tumeric
         2 tsp ground mustard
         1 tsp celery seed
         1/2 tsp cloves
         2 cups water
Bring to a boil
Fill jars and place in water-bath canner for 10 minutes at a boil

Thanks to Lam and Kylie for sharing their recipe.

Busy days

 Yesterday I used up the last of my cucumbers (my own and gifted ones) and made another 9 pints of bread and butter pickles. This should keep my parents well stocked!

And keeping an eye on craigslist finally paid off with a treadle sewing machine for $100. I arranged for my nephew to pick it up and drop it at my place when passing. My original plan was to buy a new manual machine and put it in this cabinet, but I'm so intrigued by the history of the antique sewing machine that I'll have to try it out first.

This is a Singer model with the Lotus decal, made in 1909...yes, 1909!!!! Can you imagine buying a new machine and expecting it to still work after 100 years? Obviously, they hadn't caught on to built in obsolescence yet. I've found pictures of this style with the vibrant decals in full color and, while beautiful, I love how the worn paint testifies to the many hours of usage this machine has seen.

I have to salute Singer for making the information available online for their customers to find details about their past models and even instruction manuals.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Weekend over

Changing my weekend around: pickling on Sunday and dehydrating corn on Saturday.

A dozen ears of sweet corn...

reduced to a quart jar.

For the pickling I did 6 more pints of bread and butter pickles. Things always take longer than I expect, but preserving food is important.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Still here

Strange - it feels like I haven't posted in months, but it's only been a couple weeks.

Weather update: the heat wave broke and we've actually had some rain; not enough to revive the brown grass yet but very helpful for the crops and keeping the temperature down.

I took a few pictures of my garden jungle. Happily, the squash started setting fruit when the weather changed. It's even gone a bit mad and is trying for world domination (I always plant them too close together but they are so small at the beginning!). I've decided that curly kale is a super-crop; it flourishes in all weather and keeps going. Other successes this year are beets and cabbage. Peas and spinach did great at first but are long gone now. Dismal failure: potatoes. A full season of growth yielded a harvest smaller than seed potatoes.

It's raining this morning (not forecast) so more photos will have to wait.

My therapist told me yesterday that I probably won't regain full range of motion in my shoulder. That was disheartening, but I'm thankful the pain is gone.

The chickens are doing fine - here and at the farm. I'm not 100% certain that all I've brought over are hens, but will wait and see if any start crowing. :) If they do they will have to go back; Frodo is a fine rooster and won't be replaced this year.

Everything else is going pretty well. I think I'll make more pickles today.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Other drought lesson learned: dry potting soil can spontaneously ignite.

This all happened two doors down the street from our house. Luckily, nobody was hurt but at 102 degrees outside it wasn't much fun for the volunteer firefighters to kit up in full gear. Probably the saddest part was watching my neighbor cry - they were moving out and she had just finished cleaning the house yesterday.