Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Happy Hump Day


Well last night I finally got around to making my first salsa batch of the year! I turned out pretty darn good. I think I may have needed a bit more cumin and maybe more salt, but it always tastes different after it’s processed so I left it as is.

 This was the first year that I think I blanched, peeled and cored my tomatoes properly! It made the whole salsa making procedure a whole lot easier. Next time I will have to take pictures. However, I am sure everyone else already knew how to do it..Lol 

To make things even easier I also used my food processor to chop up the onions, peppers and garlic. SOOOO EASY!! I then tried to chop the tomatoes in the food processor and didn't like how they turned out. Too mushy for my liking so I processed 20 tomatoes and chopped 25 more by hand. I think it gave it the consistency that I was looking for and it did make it a little easier too. Got to Love that!!

I still would like to make another batch of salsa, but I have cauliflower and crab apples that are demanding they are next in line.

I still need to make a lot of stuff this week and as of last night I am out of jars!
Crab apple Jelly
Crab apple butter
Pickled cauliflower
Whole tomatoes
Tomato Sauce
Pizza Sauce
One lucky veggie/fruit will be processed tonight after I get home from the dreaded doctor’s appointment! Last week’s appointment with a different specialist led to him sending a letter to our provincial DMV recommending revoking my licence. Today’s appointment we have been forewarned is bad news...so exciting afternoon ahead...lol Nothing life threatening though....but life altering maybe. Hopefully too altering though!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Preserving Tuesday


I had very lofty preserving goals this past week. Not because I just wanted to can and freeze as much as I could, but due to the fact that everything is ready and the fridge ran out of room awhile ago.

We have two freezers.  The large freezer down stairs is full and the medium freezer is outside in the garage. I don’t really want to take things out to the freezer in the garage, because I will forget about them. And who wants to go and get frozen veggies in -40C weather! However, I don’t think I am going to have much of a choice. So better stop the whining...buttttt I’m realllly good at it...lol

So what did I preserve this week?
Let me see

I froze 8 cups of Broccoli. Which equalled 2 little bags And then another 1.5lbs of broccoli for soup last night as well as well as 16.5cups of cauliflower for eating whenever and 2 1.5lbs bag for making soup.


That takes me back to Saturday night when I took care of the beans. I was able to make 12cups of cut green beans plus another 8cups not pictured that I was going to use right away (still in the freezer..lol)

I also for some reason thought that I could run the green beans through the slicer option on my food processor. Although nothing stopped me from doing that, the end product is strange and may never get used. However, I have 8cups of the whatevers in the freezer
2 rows of purple beans on the left and green beans on the right

Moving on to purple beans. I left all of them whole which made it hard to measure out in cup for. So I just used the scale and made 8 8oz bags and 5 1 lb bags.

 I got a whopping 24 cups of Kohlrabi. Not sure how that will turn out once unfrozen, but worth the try.


I didn’t get as much canning done as I had wanted. The salsa that was supposed to get made is still waiting, maybe tonight!

I was able to make 11 jars of Zesty Bread N Butter Pickles. This was a first for me. Not sure if I liked them though.

As well as 5 jars of Red root relish.  This is another first. It tasted like pickled beets, but diced. I like pickled beets so this one is a keeper. I had my first canning mishap of the year with this though. The 5 jars pictured below are the old glass tops and rubber rings. However, I did have one newer snap lid Mason jar too. When I opened the water bath the water was red and there were beets everywhere. At first I thought crappy old jars and then I noticed the lid and band for the new jar floating. Not sure what happened there. The jar is fine, but I threw out its contents.

And that was my preserving story for the week
Weekly totals
Broccoli- 8cups and 1.5 lbs
Cauliflower 16.5 cups and 3lbs
Kohlrabi 24cups
Beans, Green 28cups
Beans, Purple 9lbs
11 jars of Pickles
5 jars of Beet root relish

Monday, 29 August 2011

Harvest Monday August 29th

I think this might be my last big harvest of the summer. With the beans pulled out and most of the broccoli and cauliflower too It’s now just a matter of time before the frost comes and the garden is done for the year.  However, the weather channel is saying that the next week should be in the mid 20’s and only going down to 11C at night so for now everything is good.

This week brought in some pretty good numbers for tomatoes. A whole 9.8lbs of Roma

And 1 lbs of Cherry
I pulled to hard and took a few green babies too...oops

The beans that consumed my Saturday evening are now officially done for the year.
I was able to get 12lbs of purple beans
don't worry I took out the bug spay before I weighed them....lol

And 10lbs of green beans

The zucchini slowed down in the past week and I was only able to harvest 3 little guys. However, like I said yesterday there are a lot more that should be ready for next week.

The crab apples are starting to turn. So far I have brought in 7.5lbs.

The broccoli are all but done for the year. There are a few more little ones out there and a few shoots. I was still able to harvest 3.3lbs

Cauliflowers have taken over the kitchen today! There are still 4 little ones in the garden, but I brought in all of these! Have you even seen so many...well probably but I haven’t seen this many outside of a grocery store!

I made beet root relish last night and only needed a few more beets. So I only harvested 2lbs

Cucumbers that I wished would have stayed out side.....17.8

The onions that I pulled out on Wednesday are still drying in the porch. I won’t be adding them to my totals until they are cured.

Weekly totals for August 29th
Tomato, Roma 9.8lbs/4.44kg
Tomato, Hot 100’s 1lbs/.453g
Beans, Green 10lbs/4.53kg
Beans, Purple 12lbs/5.44kg
Zucchini 3.6lbs/1.63kg
Beets 2lbs/.907g
Crab apples 7.5/3.40kg
Broccoli 3.3lbs/1.49kg
Cauliflower 25lbs/11.33kg
Cucumbers 17.8/8.07kg

Weekly grand total 92lbs/41.73kg

Grand total to date 375.11/170.147kg

I would like to thank Daphne from Daphne’s Dandelions for hosting Harvest Mondays. Please stop by her site and visit some other great blogs as well.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Too much to do part 2


Well I survived my list of things to do yesterday. However, I didn’t quite get as much done as I would have liked. Isn’t that just the way it always works out!

I cleaned up the mess from Friday only to make a bigger mess last night that now needs to be dealt with...lol

The weather was overcast yesterday afternoon so I was able to get a lot of work done in the garden.

At least one cob of corn is ready. I think I might eat it for lunch today.

 The zucchini had thankfully not mutated and were a nice size to pick. There are about 10 more 5inch ones out there, but only an inch in diameter so I left them.

I decided that since I didn’t know what to do with the cucumbers that I would just leave them. However, Mr. Pickles went out and picked a kitchen size garbage bag this morning. Like I didn’t have enough other things to do today...lol Oh well he thought he was doing me a favour...lol

I picked both rows of beans yesterday. I just pulled the suckers up by the roots and picked away. I think I left more than half of the green beans in the garden though. They were just too yellow and I wasn’t sure if I could shell them or not. Oh well almost all the purple beans were good so there wasn’t much of a chance that I wouldn’t have enough.

I will leave the bean totals for tomorrow and the preserving totals till Tuesday....but
Blanched Beans minus another 2lbs still in the sink

All that took me 3 hours to wash and blanch and then another hour later to vacuum seal. Needless to say I was very tired after all of that.

So with 4 hours on the beans and of course I had to have a nap it didn’t leave time to

Harvest broccoli and cauliflower...wash...blanch
Make beet root relish
Make pizza and tart dough
Make cabbage soup

Today was going to be a salsa making day though...so we shall see what gets done!

On a side note........
Onions in the porch.....STINKY!!!! Mr. Pickles thought the sewer had backed up when he got home...lol

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Too much to do :)


Today I have a very long list of things that need to get done...but here I am sitting at the lap top and have not done one darn thing yet. Well that is a lie. I made up my mind to bring the onions into the house and leave them in the porch. They don’t take up too much space and then I have the option to open the front door to help circulate air. I  actually moved them too...lol

The plan for today is something like this.

Clean up the mess I made in the kitchen from pickling last night.
Harvest all the beans in the garden...wash them...cut them...and then blanch them
Harvest broccoli and cauliflower...wash...blanch. Not sure, but I may try to make pickled cauliflower too.
Harvest Zucchini and cucumbers.....noooooooooooo there are going to be soooo many!!
Check corn (easiest part of the day)
Make beet root relish
Make pizza and tart dough
Make cabbage soup

And what will actually get done... Well my post for the blog will get done and then we will just have to see....lol Mr. Pickles is out in the field again today so he won’t be home to help. It should be an interesting day. Come back tomorrow for the post Mrs. Pickles gets nothing done or Mrs. Pickles has overdone it....lol
Good luck to all in Irene’s path! I hope that she weakens before she hits the coast and that rain and rainbows are the only gifts she leaves!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Its onion time!


Over the past 4 years that I have been gardening my onions are always a little reluctant to be ready come September. I say that because they are usually grapefruit size and not showing any sign of toppling over and it’s getting below zero at nights. So I give them a little incentive with the ole rake. Take that you unruly onions I would say and within a few days I would be back out to collect my victims. 

However, year after year I wouldn't cure them properly and then would go rotten before I could use them. I didn't realize until finding my amazing blog friends that you can freeze onions! Now that would have both saved and caused a few tears!

This year following the great information I have been reading online I am going to try and cure my onions the right way.

I pulled up a few on Wednesday and have been letting them dry out in the sun.

Today I am going to have to move them inside or to some places where it is shady and breezy. However, that may be hard to find. I don’t want to put them in the main garage since the cats are in there and it of course stinks like cat pee. The other double garage i think has mice in it so not willing to chance that. Finally I have the little garage out back, but it there is no ventilation in there...so I am thinking that the basement might be where they are going to end up..lol The other option is to put them in the porch, but I am not too sure I want to be smelling onions every time I walk into the house for the next 2 weeks!

I still have another 10 or so onions left in the garden too. I think I may just pull them out, chop and freeze. 

I am also going to attempt to try and braid the onions...so stay tuned for that in the next week or two!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Week 15


Well the garden is in its end stages now. It’s sad to see everything getting harvested since it means that winter is just around the corner.

Here is a picture of the garden. There are so many weeds that I won’t be showing too many close ups of anything. It seems by this point of the year I stop caring about weeds..Lol

The flowers in the garden are really taking off now. Check out yesterday’s post for pictures. I think I will include flowers in next year’s garden as well. Maybe not in the same location, but I do like the colour they add for sure!

As for the garden what can I say? So much needs to come in that it is overwhelming. I still have cucumbers and kohlrabi out from Monday’s harvest. So I must do something with them before I go and harvest anything else.

Usually the beans are only ready in September so I wasn’t really in any rush to get them in. Now I think they are all over ripened or rotten. That is a big disappointment. I am not going to leave the bushes in. I plan on just pulling them up and taking what is usable and letting the rest go to waste.

This week marked the end of the pea season. I had my last big fill on Monday and enjoyed every last one! I didn’t save any to freeze this year. Next year I may plant a row that I will only freeze what I harvest from it, but we shall see!

The carrots can start being harvested any day now. I haven’t taken up a purple one yet so I may have to go out after I post this and take a look!

The cucumbers, zucchini and corn are all doing well. The cukes and zukes are never ending and the corn might be ready in a few more days!
the cucumber are taking over everything!
The Lettuce is flowering. There was just too much for me to keep up with this year. I will also admit that we were not eating as much of it as we should have either. I will leave it in though for another week or too just to help with weeds.

Tomatoes are still ripening as I type! The tomatoes that I brought in last week at slowly starting to turn. I might just be making salsa this week-end!

Beets are still in. I am going to make borsch one more time and then I am going to try my hand at beet root relish. It looks interesting and I love beets so it should be a marriage made in heaven!

Broccoli/cauliflower are still growing. I should be able to harvest the rest next week as long as this weather stays nice!

I started pulling out onions last night. Right now they are drying on a palate in the yard. Not sure where I am going to put them in the house to cure though. I will post pictures tomorrow since this post is kind of long!

Leeks and garlic are still not doing much. I don’t see either producing much of anything in the next few weeks. But you never know

Potatoes are getting ready to be harvested as well. The hubby is going to be chopping silage over the next week so they will have to wait a bit longer to get in my tummy!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Flowers!!

Wow we are now officially in the last week of August. How depressing!

Tomorrow is going to mark week 15 in the garden. I am surprised daily that everything is growing so quickly. I think the dry hot weather we had this year may have had something to do with it!

Today I just thought I would post about some of the flowers around the yard. Some I have planted and most are perennials that were likely planted many years ago. I don’t even know the names of some of them. If you do please let me know!


First we head out to the island flower bed in front of the yard. There we have
These...no idea

Nicotina I think and one little daisy

This is my lone brown eye Susan (I think that is what it is) I usually have about a hundred. I think the giant tree that fell into the flowed bed might have something to do with them not blooming.

These are the second cut prairie lilies. The first ones of the year bloom upright in July and then upside down in August

Then we move onto the garden.
My lovely sunflowers

Bachelor buttons

Not sure

Zinnias

Marigolds

These next pictures are from the “wild flower” seeds I planted. I have no idea what they are.




Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Preserving Tuesday


With all the cucumbers I have been harvesting I am sure that you can all guess what I have been doing....Pickling my ass off.

Last week I attempted to make cucumber relish for the first time. It looks okay, but it says that I cannot open it for two weeks. I hope it tastes good since I made another batch last night. I sampled some leftovers in the pot...tasted pretty darn good to me. However, this time I added more cucumbers and still only ended up with 5 500ml jars. I guess when they say about 6 they mean we really don’t know..lol
1st attempt at cucumber relish Aug 19th

Last night I also made some dill slices. This is another first for me. I could never find cheesecloth so I was very happy to make my first ever spice bag!

I tasted the brine when I was done filling the jar. It was pretty strong. Not sure how they are going to end up, but still worth a try.

Dill slices on the left and cucumber relish on the right. Made august 22nd
Tomorrow night I think I might try Zesty bread n butter pickles. I also want to try to make crab apple jelly and butter this week. However, we’ll see if that happens or not.


Monday, 22 August 2011

Harvest Monday August 22nd


This past week had a lot of great harvests. I was also able to do a lot of canning and freezing so it made for a busy week. Warning there are A LOT of pictures!

I had my first carrots of the year. They didn’t taste great, but should be good enough for soups and maybe even pickling

Purple Beans are growing beyond my control. Once again I am not sure why I planted so many beans. This was just from 4 bushes!!

The green beans are so bountiful that most of them are going rotten before I can pick them.  I picked these ones this morning and they are getting yellow. Not sure if I should still freeze them or not?

I broke down and brought in some beets on Tuesday. I wanted to make my father borsch for his birthday last Wednesday. There were some big suckers out there, however they were very sweet!

I picked two huge broccoli. I am so excited that they are actually growing. When I planted the seed back in May the package said to start indoors before planting in garden. So I figured they didn’t stand a chance. I was wrong! The smaller one has a bit more yellow in it...but it should still be okay

I also had my first ever cauliflower harvests. I brought in this little beauty on Tuesday and then 2 more of her lovely sisters on Wednesday.


As I already posted I had some monster Zucchini this week. The little one in the picture (down in the tomato blurb) still weighs a pound, but it is dwarfed by its older brothers. I was able to get 16cups of shredded zucchini out of those suckers. I froze it for use later in cakes and what have ya.

Once again I am up to my armpits in cucumbers. I have to start going out every day and picking or you end up with pickling cukes like this!! Yeah that reads 1+ lb....lol



The shame from too many cucumbers is alleviated by the fact that I was able to bring in 3.8lbs of Roma tomatoes on Thursday! Some are a little under ripe, but I was afraid that they would crack or fall off so I brought them in. I need 3 more lbs to make salsa which is about 45 tomatoes. I think I will get my salsa and whole canned tomatoes....not for sure...but fingers crossed.

I was able to pick a few hot 100’s today. There were a lot that were split. The plants are just too big that I cannot see them and then it is too late. I was still able to get a bit though. I also picked 3 more Roma...getting closer to 7lbs...!

The kohlrabi are just about done for the year. I harvested another 16.8. I may just pull the rest out.

Today signalled the end of the pea season. So sad, but the mosquitoes in the peas gave me a few little keepsakes...lol

I would like to thank Daphne from Daphne’s Dandelions for hosting Harvest Mondays. Please stop by her site and visit some other great blogs as well.

Weekly harvest totals for August 22nd
Carrots 12.5oz/566g
Beans, Purple 8lbs/3.62kg
Beans, Green 2.8lbs/997g
broccoli 2lbs/907g
Cauliflower 6.25/2.83kg
Zucchini 8.7lbs/3.94kg
Cucumbers 45.4lbs/20.59kg
Tomato, Roma 4.5lbs/2.04kg
Tomato, Hot 100's 7.8oz/353g
Peas 1.8lbs/816g
Kohlrabi 16.8lbs/7.62kg

Weekly Total 93.12lbs/42.239kg

Grand total 283.11lbs/ 128.416kg