Canning

“I tried to be normal once.

Worst two minutes of my
life.”                             
-Unknown

I found this quote online the other day, and I thought it was pretty good.  Because I feel like I am pretty not normal.  🙂

I have been so busy the past few weeks, and this next week promises to be really busy, too.  The main cause of this is canning.  We’ve been canning peaches and tomatoes.  We purchased three bushels of peaches for ourselves two weeks ago (I think), and I have canned roughly 16 quarts and 2 pints over the past few weeks.  And that could increase.

Mom and I have been going to the farmer’s market and collecting tomatoes to can.  So far, we have 19 quarts and 2 pints.  And that could increase.

This morning Mom and I went up to a farm about 45 minutes north of us and purchased almost 50 lbs. of tomatoes, 7 lbs. of tomatillos, several pounds of potatoes, 9 melons (mostly yellow watermelons, but two were cantaloupes, and one was a snow leopard), and several sweet peppers.  Today we canned the vast majority of the tomatoes.  That made 12 quarts and 1 pint of the 19 quarts and 2 pints above.

I love canning.  But it is exhausting.

And so listed on my schedule this week:  wash dog, manage clothes, clean room, can chipotle peppers, can jalapenos, can tomatillos, can raspberry jam, work two afternoons, teach three piano lessons, and hopefully do some school.  Not on the schedule (but things that I’ll still have to do) practice piano and help with meals and other things at home.  It would be really nice if I could make my bed at least one day this week.  And it would be really nice if I could accomplish all this without dying.

Just kidding about the last part.

Things are a bit exciting around here.

Here are a few photos from canning peaches the other day.  Enjoy!

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Peaches being prepped for canning

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The canning/blanching set up:  the big black pot is the canner, the second pot is for blanching, the blue bowl is for iced water, the clear bowl is for the blanched and cooled peaches.

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Blanched, peeled peaches.  Aren’t they beautiful?

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Just look at those purty colors!

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Sliced and in the ascorbic acid solution

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In the jar in a light sugar solution

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I love how food looks in jars

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Practically ready to go into the canner (just have to put on one more lid)

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The Garden

As I was walking outside today, I realized that I hadn’t walked through the garden just to look for awhile.  So I went to take a look.

This year we have tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, asparagus, herbs, and some lettuce.  Everything seems to be doing very well!

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The garden

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We have some tomato blossoms…

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…and some tomatoes!

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Actually, quite a few tomatoes

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Asparagus

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Most of the asparagus looks like this

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Lots of butterflies!

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Busy bee in the thyme

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Thyme

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Cilantro

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Apple mint

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Butterfly!

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Lavender

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Our parsley is about two feet tall now!

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Orange mint

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Lettuce

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We have some cucumbers like this…

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…some like this…

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…and some with flowers!  Another butterfly

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I found this interesting cucumber blossom

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And had to take many photos of it!

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Look at all these little cucumbers!

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Climbing

A Few Questions (Ten, to be Exact)

 

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I am entering the blog party over at Bramblewood Fashions.  Here is the list of questions with my answers!

 

1. What word are you totally loving at the moment? Well, it seems to be tacky.  I have been using it more often.

2. Any tv shows/movies you are excited for this fall? Not really.

3. Anything that symbolizes something to you? Nope, not off the top of my head.

4. Two favorite songs at the moment? Hmm… “American Honey” by Lady Antebellum and “Lead me to the Cross” by Francesca Battistelli.

5. If there was suddenly a world taker over by an evil dictator what would you do? Join the resistance.

6. What is your favorite summer activity?  Canning.

7. What has been your favorite summer vacation? I am not sure.  Our last trip to Branson was quite nice.

8. If you received an unlimited shopping spree to any store, what store would it be for? This is really hard.  I really like Kohl’s.  I’m sure that Von Maur would be great, but I haven’t been there in so long to see what I do and don’t like of theirs, so I can’t say I love that store.  I do absolutely love Shabby Apple!  They have the cutest dresses!  Amazon would be great, also, as you can get just about anything.  So, to give you an *actual* answer, I would want to say Shabby Apple, but my smarter self would say Amazon (more options).

9. What is your favorite summertime food? Homegrown tomatoes. Lemonade.  Cucumbers fresh from the garden.  Peaches.  Blueberries.  And the list goes on.

10. What is your favorite summertime movie? I can’t really say that I have a favorite summertime movie.  I don’t exactly have a favorite movie right now, either, although “Avengers,” “Cranford,” and “Megamind” are on the top of the list.

 

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A Trip to Peaches

I have so much to post.  I have been doing quite a bit of cooking and canning.  I made another dessert today!  It turned out wonderfully.  So all this to say that I will hopefully be posting frequently this next week. 🙂

Before we get to the canning, I need to cover where we got the peaches first. 

Peaches are very important to us.  My mom counts down the days every year until we can get peaches.  We get peaches from one specific grower in Calhoun County, and they are wonderful.  After we get them, we will often eat several peaches at each meal, the sweet juice dripping down our chins and arms and dribbling all across the table.  We love peaches.

Last year we drove to the orchard for the first time to pick them up (previously someone else picked them up for us).  The drive is beautiful.  A winding country road through farmland.  As you crest the hills, on either side of the road the ground rolls away into lots of hills, divided by the different fields with trees between some of them.  Absolutely beautiful.  There are not a whole lot of places to pull off to take pictures, though.  This time Mom stopped twice so that I and a friend who was with us could step out and take a few pictures. 

We specifically went to get peaches, but Mom also wanted to stop at some of the other farms along the way.  We purchased some tomatoes, a yellow squash, and some zucchini.  I love getting local produce!

 

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Waiting for the ferry

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At the orchard – they also had tomatoes

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The Peaches

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The view

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Isn’t it lovely?

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My friend

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“Life is a highway…”

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All yellow!

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They were droopy, probably because it has been so dry

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Republican Senatorial Debate, a Trip to Fitz’s, and a Farmer’s Market

Last night was the Republican Senatorial debate, and we were able to attend!  We didn’t know until shortly before hand, but the event was videoed and broadcasted on TV.  Broadcasted LIVE!  It looked just like the debates always do on TV, but we were in the audience instead of staring at a screen.  I was glad that we got to be there.  It was interesting to hear the debate in person, especially when things started getting a bit heated.  I would have to say that my current favorite is Akin.  You can go here to read more about the debate.

After the debate was over, Dad took us to the Fitz’s restaurant for soda and snacks.  All my siblings and I chose to get bottomless mugs.  I ordered black cherry.  It was gooood!  Drake polished off his first pint of root beer in about 15 seconds after it arrived.  Dad commented that he should have told our server that Drake was going to keep him busy.  When we were finished, I had 3 pints, but Drake had finished four.

While Drake was downing root beer (either number 2 or 3),  Dad said, “Maybe we should ask what the record is.”

“I could probably beat it,”  Drake replied, “Unless it’s some crazy number.  But I could still probably beat it.”

We didn’t ask about the record, so he didn’t have to try.

This morning Mom and I went to a Farmers’ and Artists’ Market about a half hour from our home.  It was much better than the market we went to last Saturday that didn’t have any fresh produce.  This market had about 25-30 stalls, and at least half of them had fresh produce.  We purchased some tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, and beans.  I ate one of the tomatoes for lunch, and it was just perfect.  I sliced it up, drizzled it with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, sprinkled it with salt (and I put a little cheese on one slice), and gobbled it up.  It was sooo dee-lish-us.  Mmmm…  Don’t you just love summer’s bounty?  What is your favorite summer vegetable/fruit?  I love tomatoes, and fruit would have to be the amazing peaches we get.  We’ll be getting them in a week or so!

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At the debate

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At Fitz’s

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Meiling with a straw behind her ear (not quite sure where she got the straw, since she had it before our drinks came)

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Waiting for soda

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My black cherry soda

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Dad’s float

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Mmmm…

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Our empties (it’s a bit blurry)