Monday, August 31, 2009

Maybe they're smarter than we think...


...at least one of them anyway. Steve had just opened up the coop (still unfinished) to the chickies, and our little Red hopped into the nesting box and....


....Ta Da!

(of course I won't be bragging about the one I found in the compost bin later in the afternoon)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Look What We Found!


Yippee Yahoo!
Our girls are just a week past the 5-month mark and they are already laying....yea! Most of the books say 6 months is the average they start laying so we are thrilled. They had been making a lot of noise the last few days and we were actually starting to look around for a spot they might be readying. The new coop and laying boxes are not quite done so the nest is just a hole in the dirt for now. And once their new digs are open for business they may continue to use that area to lay, but we're hoping the boxes will be nice enough to entice them to change. If not, we may just have to lock them in for a few days to help them adjust.

Unfortunately, we can't eat these since we're not sure how long they been sitting around and it was 95 yesterday. But it looks like we'll be getting plenty of eggs for awhile, or at least until the cold weather slows them down.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Good Quote

"The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men…Men of prayer."

--E. M. Bounds

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Bedtime Story


Once upon a time there was a little country church, a small-town haven of worship and friendship and grace. The kindly pastor loved his flock of laborers, professionals, community leaders, homemakers and misfits. He spoke to them with love and humility. He listened to their problems and soothed their wounds and ministered to their concerns, many times at the expense of his own family. But he never complained or doubted that this was where he was called to be.

As the little church started to grow, some people began questioning the good pastor's leadership ability. He wasn't fiery enough, he seemed unsure of himself, he didn't tell enough stories, he told too many stories....he just didn't fit their picture of what a pastor should be. The kindly pastor didn't quite know what to make of these complaints. He prayed over and thoughtfully considered each and every suggestion. He knew in his heart that God had called him to pastor this lovely small-town congregation and it had always seemed the perfect place for him and his family. What mattered most was that he was doing God's work. But still the complaining continued.

Eventually the complaining became gossip, and the gossip became rumors, and the rumors became reality in the eyes of many in the small-town church. Some decided that the pastor's flaws needed embellishing to make them that much more persuasive. Stories were told and retold and gradually hearts were hardened against the pastor and his family. Honesty and grace were discarded for expediency and purpose. An agenda was forming that didn't seek the truth,
only an outcome.

The kindly pastor was no match for the army amassed against him. No match for the deceit and the innuendo and the cruelty. His small group of supporters were clearly outnumbered and outgunned. Equipped only with a truth that no one was willing to hear, and refusing to fight fire with fire, they quietly layed down their shields and walked away, saddened and defeated.

While the loss was grievous, the kindly pastor and his family knew that victory would ultimately be the Lord's.
They could rest in His loving arms, take comfort in His presence
and wait on His timing. Though they were weary, they were not without hope.

The End

Our Very Own Farmers Market

Just about every day Steve and I wonder over to our neighbors yard (hi Joyce) to pick the ripe produce for the day, most of it ending up on our dinner table, or in salsa, or in the freezer. Many nights we walk home laden with 3 or 4 full bags of veggies.....aint life grand?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Apple Crisp



What do you do when you are given a bag of deliciously tart apples?
Make dessert, of course.
And top it with home-made ice cream....yum :)

ps Thanks Jean!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Look What I Made!


Dill Pickles...sort of :)

I had the pickling cukes, I had the vinegar and the jars, I even had our own home-grown garlic. What I didn't have (and apparently needed) was dill seed. But I did have dill weed and an intense aversion to going to the grocery store for just one item.
After making pickles I googled the difference in the two items, which there is, and found out that they are not interchangable....oops!
Note to self: When you only live 1 mile from the market, go to the flippin store!

So...introducing Dill weed pickles!
Maybe I've invented a new taste treat (or maybe not).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Just Flowers


I love when flowers (in this case- rudbeckia, black-eyed Susan to us plain folks) manage to seed themselves amongst the veggies in the garden (in this case - zucchini).

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pickle Relish

This was actually one of my goals this summer,
to grow pickling cucumbers and make pickle relish.

Unfortunately, I only grew 6 pickling cukes
(3 were too shy for a photo)...


...and had to substitute standard cucumbers to make an entire recipe of relish. Does it matter? Probably. But I'm not sure how (mushy perhaps) and right now I don't care.


I chopped the cucumbers (8 cups total)...




...and added onion and green pepper.


Covered with vinegar and sugar solution and refrigerated for 24 hours.


Brought relish to a boil so that it turns this icky olive color.


Filled jars leaving 1/2" head space.


Then a nice hot water bath for 10minutes and we have 7 pints of pickle relish. Which should last us an entire year since Steve and I are pretty much the only ones who like it and only on hamburgers or hot dogs which we rarely eat (unless we're at a baseball game or Costco and I hardly ever bring my own condiments :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My View


I was getting ready make some more zucchini something the other day and slice up some peppers to freeze and dry more tomatoes and roast a few jalapenos for salsa and pickle the cucumbers.....and I just thought how lovely the cutting board looked with all the fresh produce from our garden. It made me smile :)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dinner

When I've spent the day working in the garden (or like yesterday, working in someone else's garden) I get home too tired and too hot (and too whiny) to fix an elaborate meal. So, I slice up some veggies, broil for a few minutes, toss onto leftover rice and top with feta cheese (which I could eat on dirt :) ... and Ta Da!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More Salsa


This time I actually made enuf salsa to can 9 pint jars plus 2 that I left uncooked (they're in the fridge as we speak). We don't really like the cooked salsa as much as the fresh, but it's the only way to keep the homemade stuff thru the winter.


ps. and technically, this is 'Pico de Gallo', the actual Mexican Salsa is blended, cooked and uses less tomatoes. But in order to can this I had to 'cook' it (or at least heat it to boiling) so its kind of a compliation of the two (confused...me too :)


...Oh and Salsa is also a dance

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pesto Day

I've been a bit remiss in doing much with our basil this year. Mostly I've just been drying it and putting it away so I can add it to various tomato sauces during the winter. But today it was overwhelming the garden and needed to be cut back, so I made pesto. I used my normal recipe but decided to freeze it in ice cube trays so I can take out just the amount I need to use. These will go into ziplock bags as soon as they are solid.




Perspective

The Ant and the Contact Lens

Brenda was almost halfway to the top of the tremendous granite cliff. She was standing on a ledge where she was taking a breather during this, her first rock climb. As she rested there, the safety rope snapped against her eye and knocked out her contact lens. "Great", she thought. "Here I am on a rock ledge, hundreds of feet from the bottom and hundreds of feet to the top of this cliff, and now my sight is blurry."
She looked and looked, hoping that somehow it had landed on the ledge. But it just wasn't there.
She felt the panic rising in her, so she began praying. She prayed for calm, and she prayed that she may find her contact lens. When she got to the top, a friend examined her eye and her clothing for the lens, but it was not to be found. Although she was calm now that she was at the top, she was saddened because she could not clearly see across the range of mountains. She thought of the bible verse "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth."
She thought, "Lord, You can see all these mountains. You know every stone and leaf, and You know exactly where my contact lens is. Please help me."
Later, when they had hiked down the trail to the bottom of the cliff they met another party of climbers just starting up the face of the cliff. One of them shouted out, "Hey, you guys! Anybody lose a contact lens?"

Well, that would be startling enough, but you know why the climber saw it? An ant was moving slowly across a twig on the face of the rock, carrying it!
The story doesn't end there. Brenda's father is a cartoonist. When she told him the incredible story of the ant, the prayer, and the contact lens, he drew a cartoon of an ant lugging that contact lens with the caption, "Lord, I don't know why You want me to carry this thing. I can't eat it, and it's awfully heavy. But if this is what You want me to do, I'll carry it for You."


I think it would do all of us some good to say, "God, I don't know why you want me to carry this load. I can see no good in it and it's awfully heavy. But, if you want me to carry it, I will."

God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

ps. thanks to my Uncle Al for sending me this email
just when I needed it (which I guess is about every day :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Good Movie



...but very sad.

Friday, August 7, 2009

And More Tomatoes


We had 50 lbs. of tomatoes sitting on the counter yesterday. Since it was a gorgeous (and highly unusual) 82degrees outside, I figured it was the perfect day to slave over a hot stove.
(hey, it could've been 105, we take what we can get)


Removed skin of tomatoes by dropping in boiling water for a minute...


...then into an ice bath.


The fruit slips right out of the skins (and kind of reminds me of the times when we were kids and used to skin grapes to make them feel like eyeballs....it's a long story)


I cooked the tomatoes for a couple hours....

....added sauteed onion, garlic, and green pepper....


... pureed the mixture in the food processor....


....and because I didn't want seeds in the sauce, put it thru a food mill.


Cooked the sauce some more....

...made a mess in the kitchen....


Ta da! .....12 quarts of organic tomato sauce.



And since I had a few tomatoes left over and my son bought a bag of tortilla chips, I made salsa.
Which we also love on green beans (fresh picked from the garden).


ps. I also made 2 gallons of
ice cream.....wasn't I industrious?
...and tired :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

What to do with all the Tomatoes


I found a recipe a couple years ago for chicken with sun-dried tomato sauce that has become one of our family favorites.
It seemed like a good idea to preserve some of our abundance of tomatoes by drying them.

Plus, I was anxious to try out our new Solar Food Dehydrator (Food Pantrie Dryer from Peddlers Wagon).


The process was simple, cut tomatoes into 1/8" slices and lay on trays. Hang dryer outside, out of direct sunlight (which ours was most of the day) and wait.

These took two days; the temperature was around 100 degrees for those days, with nighttime temps around 80 (not kidding). I suppose it would take longer under different weather conditions but the principle is pretty much the same.

We actually own an electric dehydrator and may still
use it in the winter, but this is perfect for our hot summers.

Since we keep our house on the warm side (ie. we're too cheap to use the AC) I figure it's safer to store them in a cold place, so into the freezer they go. I can't wait to take these out in the winter, soak them in olive oil and use them in our old favorites as well as finding some new recipes...yum:)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Good Quote

"I'm not sure that insecurity is a good enough excuse for that sort of behavior. We're all insecure, and I really think he's old enough to have discovered the reasons behind his insecurity, and do something about them."

— Lucy in 'Bookends' by Jane Green

Saturday, August 1, 2009

July Harvest Tally


Wow, I had no idea we had picked so many tomatoes...and all I've made with them so far is salsa!

Tomatoes...................62 lbs.
Beans .........................34 lbs.
Zucchini..................... 21 lbs.
Bell Peppers................7 lbs.
Jalapeno Peppers.......5 lbs.
Corn.............................5 lbs.
Cucumbers.....................5 lbs.
Grapes..........................3 lbs.

Total for July..........142 lbs.


ps.... tomorrow I'm making tomato sauce :)

edited 8/4/09 - I added 15lbs. to tomato total because I forgot to include the ones that were picked by Joyce in the shared garden. Thanks for reminding me!