Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Sam!

Here's what our son will be doing for his birthday...
(or at least this week sometime)

These are the jump towers where the Airborne guys
get acquainted with falling...
...and landing.

I think this would make a great ride at Magic Mountain!
(more pics here)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The General

After Sam and Cris's 'Turning blue' ceremony, which was actually the day before the official graduation at Fort Benning, they got some time off to spend with families and friends. We took the afternoon to visit the Infantry Museum on base (pics to follow) and then went out to lunch. As we were leaving the Museum, the Commanding General of the base, Major General Michael Ferriter (the entire base people!) was leaving and noticed us standing outside with our young men. He walked over and introduced himself (after our boys smartly saluted), congratulated the brand new soldiers and allowed us to take a photograph of the three of them.

Pretty darn impressive!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Back to Work

Our first 2 days home we've been very busy playing catch-up.

I picked 11lbs. of green beans and pressure canned them...

...ended up with 14 pints and 4 quarts!

There were also 17lbs. of tomatoes waiting for us... I made salsa,

...put some in the dehydrator, and froze the rest for future sauces.

Cooked a few of the smaller butternut squash (they were getting soft)...


...and into the freezer for soups and pies this winter.

Lastly, we visited with our girls who were quite productive while we were in Georgia. We (and our house-sitter) collected 2 dozen eggs for the 'almost week' we were gone. So we gave some away (hi Mom!) and with the rest, I made quiche (which I failed to photograph:)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

We're Home....Sam's not.

Alternate title - We didn't die.

Ok, the plane ride wasn't too terrible, and actually by the time we took off in Dallas yesterday (a day late, more on that later) I was fairly calm and anxious only to get home, not about the flight. We had a good trip; it was wonderful to see Sam (he's staying at Benning for jump school) and we had some interesting insights. Georgia is muggy. Muggy is not comfortable. Muggy and 85degrees is less comfortable than dry and 105degrees. In Georgia it's hot even when it rains. It rains a lot. The freeway from Atlanta to Columbus is beautiful but kind of boring. Getting to your hotel and putting stuff away feels really good. Coming home feels even better. be continued.

ps. more pics of Sam and family at our other blog.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bon Voyage...or some such crap

It's 8:20pm and tormorrow is D-day. Georgia or bust. The big trip.
Tonight we relaxed over Seinfeld and a delicious pizza dinner (delivered - I'm not messing up my kitchen) and now we're all working on those last-minute chores (which for our 18-yr. old includes packing....boys!). I'm finishing up the washing, packing things we needed to use today, freezing leftover veggies and cleaning up the house. We have a van picking us up at 4am tomorrow morning (eek!) to take us to the airport in Fresno. Boarding passes are printed, itinerary double-checked....ready to go. Sort of.
For the last few days (months) I've tried to keep my mind off the fact that we will soon be traveling thousands of feet above the ground in a huge ROCK! Despite the number of years man has been flying though the air, not to mention in space, I remain skeptical as to the physics behind lift versus airspeed of a vehicle with that is 150ft. long with a take-off weight of 140,000 lbs. (don't you love Wikipedia?). Things this big just shouldn't be able to stay in the air, and of course that's my fear, that it won't.

My dad was a pilot in the Navy, used to take-off and land on aircraft carriers in the middle of the ocean. After he retired he had the use of a friends prop plane and I remember sitting in the co-pilots seat on more than one occasion. With my dad at the controls I was perfectly relaxed......sort of. When we would run into a bit of turbulence that felt like driving over a tickle hill, putting my stomach pretty much into my mouth, I tensed up. But I could ask questions. I could wonder what the heck was going on and Dad would calmly explain what had caused the sudden 'bounce' of the aircraft. I do not have that luxury on a McDonnell Douglas Super MD-80 (formerly DC-9). I don't know who the guy flying it is (odds are it's not Capt. 'Sully' ) and I won't have any say if/when things start to go south (like I would know what to do anyway). I do not like to fly, and I'm fairly certain this trip will not change that. Bye all!

Monday, September 14, 2009


Trying to get as much produce as possible out of the garden and into jars or the freezer before we leave for Georgia.

Roasted the last of our Anaheim peppers, these are a mild chili pepper that I use in enchiladas. After a few minutes under the broiler to blacken the skin, they were placed in paper bag to sweat a bit ... the skins would peel right off.

Then into 1/2 pint jars and the pressure canner for 30 minutes...

...and 5 more jars of peppers go onto the pantry shelf.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Cantaloupe Man

For several weeks last month, as our 'mystery' plant (aka cantaloupe) expanded in girth and weight in our front yard garden, I valiantly covered it with ivy leaves and rearranged the peanut plants so neighborhood hooligans wouldn't steal it. Though I hadn't planted it, I was oddly possessive now that it threatened to actually ripen and become edible.

After piling up leaves to camouflage the melon, I would walk by on the sidewalk attempting to see any remnants thru the foliage....our very own parkway 'Where's Waldo'. Can you find him?

Notice the dying ivy leaf.

Ready to pick....finally!

This guy was our entire melon tally for the month of August.

And he was delicious :)

Friday, September 11, 2009


Wednesday of next week we leave for Georgia to see our son Sam graduate from Army basic training at Fort Benning, Columbus, GA. We are excited to see him again and looking forward to visiting a part of the country none of us has been to. Got tickets to a Braves game (playing the Phillies) plans for dinner at a local Brew Pub (fun for us and the teens) and reservations at the Marriot (you only live once....who needs to eat the rest of the month?)

So for the next few days I will be cleaning, packing, stocking up on treats for our teen-age house-sitter (filling the freezer with frozen pizzas and Eggo waffles). Also I need to make up schedules for watering the garden and feeding our zoo. This why we never travel.....such a lot of work just to be able to leave home for a few days.

ps. the reason we never travel is that it is EXPENSIVE!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hey...that's MY egg!

Well, we definitely have an egg lover in the family....and the chickens can definitely not be let out in the morning (that's usually when they lay). Our little hound-dog found the nest the birds had been using as an alternate to the nesting boxes, and promptly ate the egg.
Well, not quite so promptly, first he brought it into the house and then he ate it...fiend!

We've since learned that the secret is letting them out later in the day after they've layed their eggs. It's also much easier to 'round them up' as they naturally go back to roost in the coop at dusk (pics to follow). The good news is that they are now consistently laying in the boxes....the bad news is that since we've contained them, they haven't been laying as often (we read that might happen; they need to get used to the new set-up...some sort of 'chicken stress').

Here was my dinner the other night (kids were gone).....scrambled 'from our very own chicken' eggs with zucchini, green pepper, tomato and onion, topped with home-made salsa....Yum :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Peach Jam

One of our families favorite chicken dinners (which is pretty much all we eat anymore) is something we call 'red chicken'. We're not very creative in the Garver house, most of my recipes get renamed according to their color or main chicken, cheese chicken, mustard get the idea.

Anyway, this particular recipe has 3 ingredients (besides chicken) - apricot/pineapple jam, Lipton soup mix, and Russian dressing. To continue with my Pantry Replacement resolution I want to replace all 3 with home-made versions. On this day I made peach/pineapple jam, which contains peaches, nectarines and well as pineapple .

Every time we bought peaches, usually at the fruit stand near our house, there would inevitably be a few that didn't get eaten and started to soften more than we care for (Wilson likes his rock-hard) so I would put them in the freezer. By the end of August, we had quite a bit of fruit in there. Same with the pineapple. Usually the fruit is used in smoothies but with warmer weather starting to wind down (we don't do smoothies in winter) it was time to use up the fruit. Ignore the Dibbs in the background....those were purchased in a moment of weakness....I was actually looking for Bonbons :)

Peeled the fruit, cooked it up, added sugar and pectin and canned in a water-bath for 15 minutes.

I ended up with 7 pints and 3 half-pints of peach/pineapple jam. At the rate we eat 'red chicken' this should get us thru Christmas!

...Plus I made a seperate batch of peach jam and got 7 more pints and 5 half-pints.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Pledge

Thanks to Kim at The Inadvertent Farmer for the following pledge -

(oh, and go read her blog, she's funny, a good writer and a very talented photographer....go now...

...but come back:)

I pledge to keep my land free from chemicals.

I pledge that my animals will be treated humanely, with the dignity they deserve.

I pledge to support local organic farmers, never factory farms...ever.

I pledge to keep genetically modified seeds out of my soil and their products out of my body.

I pledge to support those businesses that try to be good stewards of our planet

I pledge to be a responsible citizen and contact my elected Representative when I believe that their policies are harming our earth, our health, our children. I will cast my vote accordingly.

I pledge

To do my small part

....Me too!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

August Garden Talley

Tomatoes ........................... 181 lbs.
Zucchini ........................... 33 lbs.
Green Beans ........................ 15 lbs.
Butternut squash ................ 11 lbs.
Cucumbers .......................... 5 1/2 lbs.
Grapes ................................. 5 lbs.
Cantaloupe ............................ 5 lbs.

Peppers -
Sweet Bell ......................... 10 lbs.
Jalapeno ............................ 5 lbs.
Anaheim .............................. 3 lbs.

Dried Beans -
Kidney ................................ 2 1/2 lbs.
Black Turtle ......................... 3 lbs.

Total for August ................ 279 lbs.

(photo is zucchini drying in our solar dehydrator)