Friday, August 30, 2013

Sad day on the homestead

We had a rather sad day today. We don't raise animals for food (not enough room), but we do have a cat and a rabbit for pets. Today was their vet appointments for check ups and shots.

Max's went fine. Tubby cat gained a lb and now is 11 lbs. He also has ear mites, but easy to treat. No biggie.

Allegra on the other hand, did not go well. First off, I found out she is in fact a he, but I will still call him a her. She has been acting off since Monday. She was unbalanced and kept falling over. She seemed to be blind or not seeing well out of one eye and she has hardly eaten anything since Monday. I think Max knew something was wrong because he has not left Allegra's cage side.

After being examined, the vet said that she more than likely has E. Cuniculi, which is a parasite that lives in a rabbit's cells. Sadly it is not a good ending. Treatment is aggressive but not curable and we would have to do several treatments over time. Because of her age, she's 10, we decided the best thing to do would be to put her down.

She lived a long, spoiled life and was very loved. She will be missed. Max is currently next to her cage and keeps looking in it and meowing at me. I've told him what was wrong and what happened like he was a human kid.

Busy week

This week has been a busy week. This is what has been going on.

Sunday night Matt had his board of review to move up to Tenderfoot in scouts. After scouts, I cut his hair. I let him have longer hair all summer. Something that drove me nuts, but he wanted me to leave it alone.

Before shots. Look at that long hair! I was teasing him that I was going to put little pony tails in all over his head.

Lots of hair gone. Looks like a hair piece on the floor. hehe

After shots. Much better. Looks like a different person. I can't believe he is almost 13!

 Monday was the first day of school. Matt is in the 7th grade this year. His favorite color right now is purple, so he wore a purple polo on the first day. He is also wearing a purple shirt today too. He looks pretty good in purple.

It was a rainy kinda chilly morning. Good thing the bus stop is at the end of our street.

I have also been busy in the garden with more tomatoes, corn, and beans (finally). Our butternut squash needs to be picked and put up too.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Weekly Goals

I ment to put this up on Monday, but I have been super tired and busy anyway. Let's see, I did get most of my goals from last week done.

I got all the corn shucked and canned. At least all the corn that I was given.

I have not finished decluttering the nook area. it is now full of canning things needing to be put away.

I did get an inventory of the chest freezer. I have so much stuff in there that I didn't know I did. I have 12 packages of hamburger. I usually have like 2. I am going to be "shopping" in my freezer for a few weeks. I need to make room for the deer meat that the hubby will be bringing home from hunting. I have a feeling that we will be buying another chest freezer too. I also organized it a little bit better, but I still need to find a way to organize it much better.

I did finish painting the bathroom, for the most part. I have a few touch up areas to do then it will be all done.

For this week, these are my goals:

1. Harvest and can pole beans. They are finally coming in and there are a bunch on the trellis. I am happy to finally have beans coming in. Never grew pole beans before, only bush beans. These beans are flatter than bush beans, but are much longer.

2. Harvest the rest of our corn. I need to blanch and freeze this corn on the cob and off the cob. It looks so yummy!

3. Begin to harvest the butternut squash. We have been giving some of it away already, but I need to get ours picked and put up. I also need to look up different ways to preserve it other than canning and freezing it in halves and pureeing it.

4. Work on Matt's birthday party things. I need to make the goody bags, the pinata, and the games. His party is in a week and a half, but his birthday is Monday. I am going to have two teenagers soon. Ack!

5. Take the cat and rabbit to the vet. Max is just going for a check up and to get his shots up to date. Allegra on the other hand, is not doing so well. She isn't moving right, seems to have loss of balance. She keeps toppling over whenever she moves (and she doesn't move much anymore). Her head is tilted a bit and I think she is going blind in one eye. She also has lost weight. She has been one spoiled bunny and kinda fat. She is almost 10 years old and has lived a good life. To think that someone threw her out with the trash all those years ago.

So, these are my goals this week. Lots of harvesting and putting up this week. Such is the life this time of year though.

What are your goals this week?  Share them at Our Heart & Home.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dinner Plans 8/25 - 8/31

Sunday ~ Teriyaki Chicken Breasts, Potato Salad, Corn on the Cob

Monday ~ Barbecue Chicken, Potato Salad, Corn on the Cob

Tuesday ~ Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Crescent Braid

Wednesday ~ Spaghetti and Meatballs, Garlic Bread

Thursday ~ Take Out

Friday ~ Tuna Noodle Casserole

Saturday ~ Left Overs

Linked to Meal Plan Mondays @

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Putting up corn

 A few of days ago I was given like 4 dozen ears of corn. Even though we have our own corn growing, I can never turn down free food. I spent all day yesterday shucking the corn, not an easy task with my RA, but it was easier than last year. I couldn't do anything then. I am thinking that this new medication I am on is working.

Here is some of the shucked corn. It was starting to get a little dry. I blanched all the corn and then cut all the kernels off. I filled one of those disposable chafing dishes full of the kernels. Today, I canned it all. I got 8 pints. It smelled soooo good while in the pressure canner. Both my hubby and son asked what I was cooking. They love corn something fierce.

Looking yummy. Just need to wait for the jars to cool off, then wash them up and put them away.

Oh and look what decided to be ready today. Guess I will be putting up more corn tomorrow too. Oh well, it's all good.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Grr, Not another one!

After my early summer problems with the ground hog and catching 3 of them, I thought we were done.

We put up a fence around the whole garden and reinforced this one section. Nothing has got in and my garden looks great. I have tons of pole beans growing. Yippy! But the other day, when I was making my daily rounds in the garden, I happened to look at where my fall garden of lettuce was growing. This is what it looked like.

This was my romaine lettuce. It was still small, but it would be ready by the middle/end of September. Not so much anymore.

This was my butter head lettuce. Such a sad sight. The little bugger also nibbled on my snap peas and carrot tops.

The interesting thing is when I turned the corner to the lettuce area, the ground hog was right there. I scared it and I got soo excited. I ran to close the gate and it kept banging his head on the fence until he was able to move it enough to slip under. That was not how he got into the garden though. He had dug a tunnel under the shed into the garden. That part has since been fixed.

The hubby set up the trap again and late in the afternoon the next day, there he was, sitting in the cage watching us.

He's kinda cute. Look at those long nails and teeth. This one was not like the momma ground hog who kept hissing and snapping at us. This one was rather curious. Matt bent down to look at him and the ground hog moved so that he could look at Matt.

It was kinda funny watching him check us out while we were checking him out. We drove him to a nice spot, but not in the same area as the other 3 went. I know, we are not suppose to relocate them, but the only other option is to kill them and we can't shoot our guns off in our yard. To close to our neighbors. I rather let them go anyway.

I have since replanted more of the lettuce with hopes that it will be ready to eat before it gets very cold out. If not, then I have plenty of seeds to grow in the spring.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

How I store and save my seeds

Everyone has a different way to store their seeds for the following planting year. I have seen all sorts of fancy little envelope systems, filing systems and even a picture album with the packets of each different kind of seed in where the pictures go. I thought that one was interesting, but it would not work for me.

Between the many medications I am on and the few my hubby are on, we end up with a bunch of pill bottles from the pharmacy every month. We have been saving them, mostly for my hubby's fishing tackle boxes. We have a bunch sitting on our kitchen table and I thought they were perfect to hold my left over seeds and any seeds I save.

I put the remaining seeds (if I have any) in a bottle. The packets I save to put in my garden journal that I am using (but am very bad at keeping up). The lids have a little clicky lock part so they won't open and spill. Not quite child proof, but my arthritic hands can open it easily.

Once the seeds are in the bottle, I write on them with a Sharpy marker what is in the bottle. Because I save the packets in my journal, I just write what kind of seeds they are an don't go into detail. I can always look in the journal for that info. I also keep any receipts for my seeds and where they were bought in the journal.

Instead of having a bunch of bottles with my seeds in them all over the place, I put them in a big bucket. We have a few of these around the house. Again we tend to save anything we might be able to use later, at least when it comes to containers. This happens to be a ice cream bucket.

Yum fudge ice cream. hehe. I just wrote seeds on it so the hubby and son don't think it is something else. We also have one of these buckets in the chest freezer full of ice cubes.

What do you use to store your seeds?

Monday, August 19, 2013

My Weekly Goals

Okay, so the last time I did this was back in the middle of July. between have a RA and Fibro flare for a couple of weeks and a busy time freezing and canning, I haven't made any goals other than my normal every day ones. Now that I am feeling better, it is time to get back to making my goals.

My weekly goals are:

 1. Shuck and remove the kernels from the corn cobs. I was given a few dozen ears of corn and my own corn is coming in, so it is time to get canning and freezing my corn. This is not RA friendly, but I am stubborn and this will not stop me.

2. De-clutter the kitchen nook area. We don't use the kitchen table other than holding my canning stuff at the moment. The table is one of those corner bench deals that was in the place when we moved in. It is too small for us and we tend to eat in front of the tv. I know we are bad, but when your hubby works till late at night and your son doesn't want to eat when you do, it makes no sense to eat at the table. So we are getting rid of it and giving it to my brother. 

3. Get an inventory of everything that is in both freezers and the cabinets. With all my veggies coming in from our garden, we are canning and freezing most of it so we have food for the winter. Because of this, I honestly have no clue what we have for food in the house. I need a list of what we have so that I can see what is going out and what I need when making my menu and grocery lists. 

4. Organize the chest freezer. I have a love hate relationship with my chest freezer. It holds a ton of food, but because it is a chest freezer, if I want something on the bottom of it, I have to take everything on top of it out.  I also don't know what is where. I want to make it easier to get what I need without defrosting the darn thing every time I get something.

5. Finish painting the bathroom. Yes, this was on my list from last month, but I never got around to doing it. I need to finish it up. I hate having unfinished projects going on. So, the cabinets and mirror frame will get a couple of coats of white paint.

What goals do you have planned this week? Share them with others at Our Heart & Home

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Dinner Plans 8/18 - 8/24

Sunday ~ Had a late lunch, so a get your own dinner

Monday ~ Pork Loin Chops, Mashed Potatoes, Corn

Tuesday ~ Grilled Chicken Salads

Wednesday ~ Crock Pot Chicken Parmesan, Garlic bread (cooked on the grill)

Thursday ~ Crock Pot Sloppy Joe Casserole, Salad

Friday ~ Grilled Smoked Sausage, Corn, Roasted Potatoes

Saturday ~ Take Out

Linked to Meal Plan Monday @

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Busy canning and freezing

It seems like lots of my veggies have started to ripen all at once.  So I have been busy canning and freezing it all up.

My tomatoes are finally showing color. I take them off the bushes when they start to turn then let them finish up in the house. One reason why I do this is because we have lots of birds in the yard and they will go after the tomatoes. Another reason is blight has taken most of the leaves away so I don't want the tomatoes to get sun scorched. I don't want to loose any tomatoes.

So far I have canned 7 pints of tomatoes sauce. I also have 2 pints in the fridge (I ran out of lids oops) and we had pasta the night I made the sauce.

I also have 5 pints of green beans. These are the beans that I bought. Mine are still growing, but I was afraid of not having any. I had some water leave the jars because I was tired and it was early morning (midnight - 1 am) when I was canning and wasn't thinking. I took the lid off the pressure canner a little bit before I was suppose to.

I also have 6 pints of dill pickles. The hubby and son love dill pickles. I love dill relish, but don't have enough cucumbers left to make any.

I had a bunch of potatoes that I bought from the store that were about to go, so I decided to can them. First time doing it. Lots of siphoning with these. Again it was a combination of a late night of canning and maybe over packing. This was a test so if I get any potatoes from my crop, then I can do it again and do it right and not at midnight.

This is the canning "bible" that I use. It is put out by Ball, so I trust it. Love this book more than the Blue Ball book, which I have passed on to my dad who wants to try canning.

There was a grocery store going out of business near me and everything was 50% off. So what do I grab? All the canning lids and some fresh preserve. I waited in line for 2 1/2 hours to get all this LOL. I know, I am stupid, but so were hundreds of other people. I spend 30.00 on this. I needed them and they will not go to waste.

I still have lots of peppers coming in. It seems like I pick 8 or so every few days. The last bunch I gave to my sister for my nephew who loves them. I froze up all of the first picking. I put them on cookie sheets and put the whole thing in the chest freezer over night. Then I use the foodsaver to bag them up.

I still have zucchini coming in. Just when I think the plants are done, 5 more pop up over night. I gave 3 to my sister and I sliced and froze 3 more. I still have one big one left that I am going to shred and use to make zucchini bread. The house will smell great, but it will be hot. Either that or it will be another late night baking. Thinking the later so the house isn't so hot during the day.

I have a ton more tomatoes coming in daily and a ton in my kitchen already. I have a bunch of more sauce coming up soon. Never ending, but I look forward to this every year.

A friend up the street gave us a huge mesh bag full of corn on the cob. I gave my sister a dozen ears and it barely dented the bag. Guess what I am going to spend Sunday doing? Shucking  corn with my arthritic hands, then blanching, cutting the corn off the cob and then canning and freezing it up. Fun times!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Finally my harvests are coming in

Yesterday, I didn't go out to the garden at all. I had my first Actemra infusion and it totally wiped me out. You can read about it here.

Today, however, I went out into the garden between rain showers. I was able to get a bunch of things. One more zucchini was ready. Those plants are pretty much done, but I seem to keep getting one or two a couple of times a week. I also picked a couple of big cucumbers and 4 pickling cucumbers.

 Oh and I got one lonely green bean off what was left of the bush beans that the groundhog ate. I did plant more for a small fall harvest though. I also have my pole beans, which are looking super good now. Woot!

My green peppers are growing like mad, and I pulled 8 of the biggest ones off my plants so that the others have the chance and room to grow. These plants seem to be making up for the bad pepper year last year.

My tomatoes are starting to come in finally. I picked a bunch of romas today and one big beef. Some of the romas are not fully red, well most of them. I have a lot of birds in the yard and the last thing I want is them munching on them when they are bright red. So I have been picking them when they show a little color and let them finish ripening up inside. My cherry tomatoes are so packed in with both leaves and fruit that I almost happened to miss seeing the 4 that were very ripe. Two of them had split so they went into my compost. But we have two little guys. There are tons more on the plants.

The butternut squash is producing tons and tons of fruit. As of yesterday, I have counted 42 fruits growing. I have already let my neighbors know to expect some and this little restaurant that the hubby goes to for lunch everyday is going to take a bunch as well. The hubby loves butternut squash, but he doesn't need this many. LOL. I planted 13 plants with the expectation that not all will produce. Ya right. They all grew and are going nuts.

The pumpkin plants are growing really well too. They have started to go up the pole bean trellis and even up the sunflowers. LOL. Next year I will be planting these somewhere else in the garden so the vines have someplace better to go. I even have a baby pumpkin growing now. I planted these kinda late, so not sure if I will have pumpkins in time for fall carving.

Aren't the pole beans looking super? I am soooo happy that they made a comeback after Mrs. groundhog ate them. And look, I even have little beans growing!! There are a bunch of flowers all over the plants too. My sunflowers are still growing tall. I planted these late as well, so if I can get seeds out of them, I will be happy, if not, I will plant them early next year. I still have plenty of seeds left. I have them right next to my pole beans. You can see them in the second pole bean picture above.

My fall garden is growing nice. I have snap peas, romaine lettuce, butter head lettuce and carrots growing in one bed. My bush beans are growing in another bed. The bed that the other bush beans were in.  It has been really cool and fall like this whole month so far. I think we had one kinda hot day when it was mid 80's, but the rest of the time it has been in the 70's with lows of the 50's. So the fall garden has been loving this weather, my tomatoes, not so much. Oh well. Can't please everyone.

Shared with these blog hops:
Homeacre Hop
Home and Garden Thursday

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Dinner Plans 8/11 - 8/18

Sunday ~ American Chop Suey

Monday ~ Left Overs

Tuesday ~ Hot Dogs, Mac & Cheese

Wednesday ~ Ramen Skillet Supper

Thursday ~ Ground Beef Stroganoff 

Friday ~ Cheeseburgers, Homemade Fries

Saturday ~ Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Linked to Meal Plan Monday at

Friday, August 9, 2013

Snippin' n Snappin'

That's what my grandmother use to call it when we were putting up green beans. We would snip off the stem end and snap the bean in half.

I have some very fond memories of the huge garden my grandparents use to have. I remember sitting in the three season porch with a big bowl in my lap filled with green beans for me to snip n snap. I remember the tomato plants. I would go out and pluck the cherry tomatoes off the bush and just pop them in my mouth. I would go into the corn field and husk a cob and eat it raw. They were soo sweet and yummy. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

I remember having my first lessons on canning and freezing the harvest from my grandmother. She always used those rectangular and square freezer containers. I remember the huge (well it was huge to a little girl anyway) up right freezer that I swear had been in her family for years. It had one of those pull out handles. You can't find freezers like those anymore.

It is memories like this that pop into my mind a lot this time of year. Even more so now since my grandmother passed. I still miss her terribly, but I have so many wonderful, happy memories of her.

Today, I broke down and bought some green beans from the farm up the street from my house. I don't know how much I grabbed, but I wanted (or needed) to put up some beans. We love them here and I spent the evening snippin' n snappin'. I ended up with 5 pints. A good start, just hoping the pole beans produce something soon. The bush beans never came back after Mrs. groundhog ate them.

While my green beans were in the pressure canner, I curled up with one of the books my grandmother use to use when putting up her harvests. She said most of what she learned came from her mom and grandmother, so it was all memory, but she still had this book. It is from the early 80's. I know the rules for canning have changed since then, so these recipes may not be able to be used. I tend to stick with the basics that I know anyway.

Wow! I just found some hand written recipes and clippings from the news paper for canning recipes. I have no idea what one of the recipes is that my grandmother wrote out. The others are piccalilli and pepper jam. I have never had either of those. I am going to cherish these little notes.

Following the directions in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, this is how to can green beans. I do the raw pack.

Wash beans and drain. Trim and cut or break into 2 inch pieces (snippin' n snappin').
Tightly pack beans into hot jars. Add canning salt, if using any, I don't.
Ladle boiling water into jar to cover beans, leaving a 1 inch head space.
Remove air bubbles and adjust head space, if you need to,by adding more hot water.
Wipe rim, add lid and screw band. to finger tight.
Process in pressure canner at 10 lbs for 20 minutes for pints and 25 for quarts.

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