Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Very Crafty Autumn

Surprise! I canned more carrots! I have a fridge drawer full more of carrots that I may or may not can this Saturday. I haven't decided.

This little sugar pumpkin, I forget its official name, made an amazing pan of pumpkin brownies.

LilG is the only one who can pet Fred like this.

LilG and I are pretending we are having fun working on his homework. Believe us?

A year after we got him, Charlie suddenly decided he was interested in squeaky toys after some gentle prodding from LilG. My son is an animal whisperer.

Here Charlie is fresh from the groomers.

This is my latest finished cross-stitch project. It took me several months to complete and I am so happy with how vibrant it is.

Ta da! Here is the 100 block City Sampler quilt in all her finished glory! I started it in February and pieced all 100 blocks in April. I'm not good at finishing things right away and I don't really know how to quilt much beyond stitch-in-the ditch so I had it professionally quilted in August. Then I finally hand-binded it last week. It is at a quilt show this weekend.

I think it's 68"x68" if I remember correctly. Every block has at least one piece of Tula Pink fabric in it which was part of the challenge from my Local Quilt Shop. They gave me four pieces of fabric to work with. I wasn't a fan of the four pieces which made it extra challenging but I think I did a fine job blending them in.

And finally I am starting on a new cross-stitch project. This one will go fast. It is very Seussical. A pattern I found on Etsy. I love the colors.

Monday, September 29, 2014

I should be canning carrots right now...

I should be canning carrots right now but I just remembered that I forgot to blog last week so I thought I would get caught up. 

The animal shelter asked for a foster home for kittens that needed someone to feed them every four hours. I jokingly asked my husband if we could be that home knowing he would say "NO!" Here is our text conversation which I found hilarious. He didn't.

I love putting together dinners from the vegetables that we get from our farmshare boxes. Here is an example of a before:

and was delicious.

Sometimes I have a difficult time with people on Facebook gushing over their babies. We tried for a few years to get pregnant to no avail and then I got cancer in my uterus before we could try anything fancy. So when a Facebook college friend recently was proclaiming that her baby was "THE CUTEST" I posted a picture of Fred as "THE CUTEST" in the comments. Silly. Silly.

My future garden is coming along! The gate is working! All that is left is tilling and reinforcing the bottom to keep out the bunnies. Soon we will be ready for next year. I have big plans. Big plans.

We went to the Renaissance Festival the other weekend. LilG LOVED it. Jousting, flame jugglers, musical acts, lots of foods, dressed up people, fun shops. We had a great time

 Don't mess with me when I'm wearing my medieval hat!

And finally, my cross-stitch project is coming right along. I am over half done. I absolutely love it. It is so colorful and fun to work on. No quilting is going to get done until I am finished with it. I even got The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt book!!! But that will have to be a winter project.

I am off to can more carrots. This is definitely the year of the carrot. And the potato. Uff da!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Still At It

 I'm still busy canning and loving it. In between, LilG and I make other things like homemade salsa. This was an enormous tomato that we got from our farmshare. It's beautiful in its own way.

My husband traded a little work for all these vegetables. What a deal! There's cucumbers, yellow squash, wax beans, an acorn squash, carrots, onions, rutabaga and a few zucchini.

 In that box, was an experimental mini  watermelon. We have yet to try it.

We made chicken soup for the pressure canner. For some reason these didn't process properly so we are just eating them.

LilG and Fred have a special relationship. Fred just loves him like no one else. It's nice to see.

I made pickled squash out of the yellow squash. Seven pints. Whatever didn't fit in the jars I fried up for lunches.

I think vegetables look beautiful in jars.

Our cupboards are getting full. Don't worry, they're not stacked anymore. I found out you are not supposed to stack them because it breaks the seals. I'm looking forward to this winter when we get to eat all this. Not that I want to rush the seasons, but I just know it's going to be tasty.

Charlie eats all the ends of the veggies. It doesn't matter what it is.

These are the vegetables for the Hot Pickle Mix I made especially for LilG. A jalapeno goes into each jar. He likes things spicy. I hope it gets spicy enough for him!

The obligatory food in jars shot.

I've been busy cross-stitching. Finally making progress on this project.

With the rutabaga that we got, I made fries. I expected them to taste like an armpit but they were delicious!

Here's LilG and I working on homework. It's been a good schoolyear so far. LilG is volunteering for the school patrol. He starts flag football soon. His grades are pretty good which is hard for him.I'm proud of him.

Monday, September 8, 2014

I'm Falling in Love

With Canning! I just can't get enough! I was so scared of the pressure canner before I got one. But ohmygosh do I love my new Presto pressure canner!!

These are the finished potatoes that LilG and I did first.

The next day I started on carrots right away. I made myself an assembly line.

I filled six pints with the carrots that we had left in the fridge from our farmshare. As you can see, I cut them into large chunks. I read that if you cut them too small, they get mushy.

While I was canning carrots, my husband and son were planning our future garden. Look closely. It's going to be a circle. Fence is going up soon.

Then my husband and LilG took off for a 33.8 mile bike ride. Woo!

Meanwhile, at home I continued canning the carrots. There's six pints completed. Didn't they turn out beautiful?

I was hooked. The next day I decided to do more potatoes. Remember, we have a fifty pound bag of these suckers.

You have to watch the pressure canner carefully and make sure it stays right at 10 for forty minutes. AAAA Then, when it's done you take it off the heat and just let it sit until everything has cooled off.

This is what they looked like the next day. I love food in jars.

Friday, September 5, 2014

It's canning season!

It's wild plum time! We didn't do any major picking this year. Just sampled and ate a few. LilG more than me. Wild plums are sweet and with tart skins. In years past I have canned them. With two trees, I can only get two half-pints of jam. And it's not very good either. We use it to dress up our roasted chicken, which is quite tasty but not really worth all the work, I've decided.

My bee balm garden came back in full force this year. It was breezy on the day I took the picture so that's why it's a little blurry.

LilG is trying to teach Fred how to blow it up. Fred's not really interested.

My mom gave me her old pressure canner and we got a 50lb bag of potatoes in a community farm offering event. Put two and two together...LilG and I decided we were canning potatoes!

It took a lot of potatoes to fill five quarts! We got the pressure canner bubbling then everything started to go wrong. I was following directions from a website and getting help from a Twitter friend and realized that half the parts were missing from the canner and the noises it was making were SCARY. After twenty minutes or so I had to shut it down.

I was forced (haha) to go buy myself this beautiful new Presto Canner. It didn't make any screaming noises or shoot water at me and the lid easily came on and off. It worked like a dream. I re-processed the potatoes the next day and voila! I have learned a new skill and it wasn't as scary or as intimidating as I thought. We will be canning carrots next. I can't wait!