Saturday, July 31, 2010

So how much is a bushel and a peck.....

According to this...and notice it is NOT takes 4 pecks to make a bushel.  A peck and bushel are volume measurements and not weight.  So a bushel of wheat is a different weight than say a bushel of corn.  A bushel is 8 dry gallons...making a peck 2 gallons....then there is the barrel measurement...3 bushels.

Now why am I discussing this....well because I thought it would be brilliant to put up not 1, no, not 2 but 3 bushels of corn this weekend.   According to the article above...if you were going by weight, a bushel of corn is 70 pounds....yes, so I shucked, blanched, cut, froze, canned, or dehydrated 210 pounds of sweet corn.  Yes, I did a whole "barrel" of corn.  Man & Boy helped with the first bushel....all processing pictures are of ONE bushel only.
Yes, brilliant!

The bag is 1/2 of a bushel....there were SIX bags!!!

And more importantly.....

"I love you a bushel and peck
A bushel and peck and a hug around the neck
A hug around the neck and a barrel and a heap
A barrel and a heap and I'm talking in my sleep
About you, about you

Cause I love you a bushel and a peck
You bet your pretty neck, I do
Doodle, oodle, oodle, doodle, oodle, oodle, doodle, oodle, oodle oo

I love you a bushel and peck
A bushel and peck though you make my heart a wreck
Make my heart a wreck and you make my life a mess
Make my life a mess, yes
A mess of happiness
About you, about you

Cause I love you a bushel and a peck
You bet your pretty neck, I do
Doodle, oodle, oodle, doodle, oodle, oodle, doodle, oodle, oodle oo
I love you a bushel and peck
A bushel and peck and it beats me all to heck
Beats me all to heck and I'll never tend the farm
Never tend the farm when I wanna keep my arm
About you, about you

Cause I love you a bushel and a peck
You bet your pretty neck, I do
Doodle, oodle, oodle, doodle, oodle, oodle, doodle, oodle, oodle oo"

Sunday, July 25, 2010

My Grandma

What do I grandma was so beloved to our whole family.  She was the quiet backbone.  Everyone went to Grandma.  She knew everything.  She has a special talent of making each of her grandkids (and great-grands) think that they were the absolute favorite.  (Even though, I know >>I<< was her favorite--grin!)  She brought out the best in each of us.

She was a breast cancer survivor before there really were survivors. She saw so much in her 92 years. She raised 4 sons with grace and humor. She told me that she loved the Lord and had accepted Jesus as her Savior.

In my life, she stayed with me while I had chicken pox.  I spent a week with my cousin at her house doing crafts every summer, and went to the fireworks with her and Grandpa at the main post office.  I walked to her house after school.  She and I rode the bus downtown to Lazarus to pick out my birthday present...a pink Minnie Mouse watch.  She and my mom and I would go "get lost" and explore different parts of the city.  She was at every milestone...Confirmation, Graduation, Wedding, Baby Shower.  She gave me wings.  She gave me the opportunity to drive to Baltimore for my Cousin/BFFs graduation....then gave me permission to go with my cousin and her friends on an unsupervised trip to Ocean City.  Something my parents were too protective to do.  When I "ran" off to Arizona, she gave me her blessing.

My darling son, as a preschooler, gave her a new name "Great-Grandma Big Clock" because she sat in the living room with her big grandfather clock.  The name stuck.  Every card he has from her has Great-Gma Big Clock as the signature.  (Or G-Gma and a drawn clock face)

She was so wise, so wonderful...I could go on for pages and pages with my memories.

I have been so blessed.  She went out to dinner with us just a few weeks ago for Father's Day.

Grandma went home to be with her Savior this morning. 

I did get to spend about 2 hours with her last night.  Despite everyone warning me that she was not very lucid and wasn't remembering who people were, she opened her eyes and called me by name.  She called Boy by name and asked him about his rabbits.

We sang Amazing Grace to her, and she tried so hard to sing along.  After falling asleep for a bit, she awoke and said "More Grace".  So we sang it a few more times.

She will be SOOO missed by everyone in our family.

I love you, Grandma!  I'll see you when I get there.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


It's Blueberry season! 
This is my first year picking and canning blueberries.  I found a great blueberry U-pick only about 10 miles from our farm.  I went out with a good friend and her brother, wife and his daughter.
It was hot!!
After picking one bucket worth...they were done, so they took me home and headed back to the city.  I got in my car and headed back to the blueberry patch to pick another bucket full.
While I was picking the second bucket, my mom called to tell me that my Grandma went home to heaven.  I finished picking with a heavy heart.  I had spent the day before with Grandma and was hoping to take her some fresh berries to cheer her.  But she was already somewhere infinitely blueberries could match that kind of joy.

To keep busy, I got the blueberries processed.  I have a few pictures, but I don't really remember doing the work.
I dehydrated 1/2 a bucket, I froze 1/2 bucket.
I made blueberry jam with a bucket and a small batch of blueberry syrup. (I don't like how that turned out so I will be reprocessing that when I find a different recipe.)

Boy is helping!!! He is stirring the pot.

12 jars of Jam,
3 jars of syrup
1 gallon of frozen berries
1quart of dehydrated berries

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Queen Anne's Lace Jelly

When you set yourself a lofty goal to can or preserve something everyday for a week and nothing is ready in the garden....nothing is picking at the "u-picks"....What to do...I got it...make jelly out of weeds!

Queen Anne’s Lace Jelly

18 large Queen Anne’s lace flower heads
4 Cups water
1/4 Cup lemon juice
1 pkg. powdered pectin
3 1/2 Cups + 2 Tbsp. sugar

Bring water to a boil. Remove from heat. Add flower heads (push them down into the water). Cover and
steep 30 minutes. Strain.

Measure 3 Cups liquid into 4-6 quart pan. Add lemon juice and pectin. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring
constantly. Add sugar and stir constantly. Cook and stir until mixture comes to a rolling boil. Boil 1
minute longer, then remove from heat. Skim.

Pour into jars leaving 1/4” head space. Process in hot water bath for 5 minutes.

Makes about 6 jars.

Thank you, PixieLou, for the recipe!

My camera is not cooperating so check back on Monday for finished pictures..the verdict by the way...I think it tastes a bit like sweet pink grapefruit jelly.  Boy says "medicine".  Man says "It's acquired taste...but good."

Monday, July 19, 2010

Green Beans

We spent a really fun day as a family today...and with family friends.  First thing in the morning, off to a few garage sales...I was able to get some blue ball jars with zinc lids (very old) and 2 cast iron frying pans.

Then our friends came over...the two husbands, and 3 kids rode their bikes into our little town for "Fun Day".  It wasn't a big fair or anything but it was neat.  A few booths, a yard sale or two, a hotdog stand.  Then back to the house and onto a somewhat (not really) bigger festival 11 miles up the road.  The sweet corn was outstanding. (It was afterall, a sweet corn festival).  Not very much to really look at.  There was one vendor selling Amish produce. 

We got some delicious tomatoes...I can't wait til ours are ready, and a "candy onion."  Finally the beans looked so good.  I was just going to get enough for dinner, but the guy said he'd make me a great home we went with 1/2 bushel of beans.

I didn't get them canned until Monday, but ended up with 4 quarts and 14 pints of beans.  (I make more pints as we are a small family and usually I don't need a big jar all at once.)  I'd like to put a bit more up, but wait until a little later in the season.

I've started a "Can something every week/day" challenge.  Come along and let's see how much we can can this season!  List on the sideboard!

This was a big accomplishment. I have always done jelly and jam....water bath method.  I am scared of the pressure canner.  Today I used the pressure canner for the first time! WooHoo!! And it didn't explode.  One jar of beans in the last batch did break and go into the water, but there must have been a crack in the jar...clean shards or anything explosive in the water..Whew!

You can see the new cast iron skillets in the back.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ready for Camp!

Boy went to "sleep away" camp for the first time this summer!
It's a Christian Camp that is so close that we could hear the kids singing during chapel from the farm.
Off to camp....

Here he is at his cabin, by his bunk.

After camp, we learned that one of his cabin mates didn't have a rail on his bed and fell out during the night. Fell onto the concrete floor and the fire department had to come.  Firemen, EMT, ambulance, and his friend left camp to get stitches.  Boy slept through it all...just a few beds away.

He made some new friends and is already looking forward to going back to camp next summer.

Monday, July 12, 2010


So I told you in the middle of making Raspberry Jelly, you have to take a break.  Our choice, being in the middle of the midwest...of course...the beach.
OK, so it's a man made beach on one of our local reservoirs, but it does the trick on a hot day.
We met a few other homeschool families from our group. 
The boys made some impressive sand castles, and roadways.
Then after a few hours....back home to the Raspberries!


We love Danny. 
 But he has an issue....he is a chewer. 
It takes 3 seconds flat for him to find the most important item in the room, and destroy it. 
I woke up from my nap to see that he had a snack of my badge...I thought about bringing him to work to swipe on the card reader...but I was pretty sure that wouldn't work.  I did feel silly saying, "my dog ate my badge"..but at least I had proof.

Danny has eaten:

  • a roll of electrical tape

  • 2 of Kristl's stuffed toys (her cow and her baby)

  • Boy's New shoes

  • My Badge

  • Man's sandpaper

  • Ugly Bunny (stuffed toy)

  • Corner of my angel picture

  • Jewler's box

  • Corner of a pad of watercolor paper

  • 7 pens/pencils
It takes about 14.2 seconds from the time you leave him inside, until he has found SOMETHING he shouldn't have to eat.
So....this week....I was able to get him a cage from someone on freecycle.

He does NOT like it.  Boy is trying to convince him it's OK.  Think he is convinced?
Please don't call CPS on me...I didn't keep the kid in the cage!!
I promise!!

Blackie the Muscovy

The topflight has gotten knocked off the top of our chicken/duck run.  Most of the chickens don't even try to get out anymore.    But the ducks...that's a whole different story!

This is Blackie, one of the female Muscovy ducks sitting on the gate into the chicken yard.  All of our ducks are VERY docile.
Isn't she pretty (well, for a Muscovy at least)?
All of the pictures on this entry taken by Boy.


Boy found a Monarch Butterfly on the farm and brought it in to meet me!

He put it on the porch and it decided to stay around for the whole day.  Boy is looking so grown up this summer. 
Where did my baby go?

Uncle comes to visit

Man has an older brother.  He is a very busy guy with all his job(s).  The last time we were able to see him was when Boy was about 4 days old.  Here is Boy...definitely a bit bigger than before!!
Here's Uncle hanging out on the top of the playset.  We've been seeing deer (big ole bucks) in the wheat fields so they are watching for them.

We had such a wonderful visit with Uncle.  Man FINALLY  took a few days off.  The three of them went fishing, bicycling, and Uncle took Boy down to the local campground pool for some swimming.  He even helped with the Choring!! 

Come back, Uncle, when you can spend more time!  We loved having you here!

Canning Sour / Tart Cherries

On the way back from the beach, Boy and I stopped at my favorite farm market.  They have a permenant store and they sell Amish cheese from up North. 

I was feeling pretty good about the progress from the Black Raspberry canning so when I saw that they were offering 10 pounds of cherries, already pitted for a really reasonable amount, I order some.

Two weeks later, they called and my cherries were today was all about canning cherries.
I did pints of whole cherries for cobblers & crisps, and also Cherry Jam!  YUM!!

Cherry jam with black raspberry in the background.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Boy on National Radio

My boy made us very proud...he was on National can listen to it here.  There is one caller before him, Troy...who is only on for about 1 minute and 23 seconds...Then is our boy...and stay on for at least the first 20 seconds of the 3rd caller...BC as he mentioned our boy's comments!

He was not coached at all, in fact he was in the house and Man and I were out in the shop waiting to hear him.  Unfortunately, there was a storm coming through and most of what he said was blocked out by the weather warning.  We had to wait until it was posted online to hear all of it.

Click the link:
Nothing but the Truth

Proud Mommy Moment!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Garage / Yard Sale-ing!!

Man took me and the Boy out yard saling today!  We had a blast and found all sorts of things perfect for our homesteading.  I took pictures of all the cool stuff below.
Sewing box filled with cross-stitch stuff

Cool Maple Syrup Jars

Meat Grinder and Apple Peeler / Corer / Slicer

The COOLEST chicken plate and bowl

Organizing bins, sandpaper (that Danny ended up eating) cordless screwdriver and light

Really cool tins, glass canisters, glass mixing bowls and a cool retro sheep sign

Books for Boy, ribbons & buttons for scrapbooking and a tag book

Wood 4ft peg rack, more tins, and the sheep sign again

What I didn't get a picture of (what is WRONG with me!) is Boy got a NEW TRICK BIKE and they threw in the helmet for free.  I'll try to remember to get a picture and post it!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Black Raspberry Jelly Tutorial

So...I've been told I need to do a tutorial on here is it.  My favorite jelly is black raspberry, but it is labor intensive.

First pick the berries fresh from a local farm (but not so local that you don't get lost for at least an hour.)

Fill your helper up with fresh berries (notice the blue lips)

Assemble your supplies....

Premeasure your sugar according to your pectin because when it comes time to use it, you have to move fast.

Now, if you are like me, you rather not have the hard little seeds (thus jelly not jam)  This is the labor intensive part.  First mash up the berries with a potato masher and warm on the stove to release the juice. 

Call your mom to make sure you are doing it right.
"Hi Mom!  Thanks for the cheerleading!!"

Put the crushed berries into cheesecloth about 1 cup at a time and squeeze out the juice into a bowl.  Empty the seeds and pulp into another bowl...Repeat...
Use gloves unless you are planning on painting your fingernails later to cover up the black stain. Seriously, ask me how I know.....I KNOW!

Seeds & pulp on left, juice on the right.

Good job...take a break.
We took our break at the Alum Creek Beach.

More on that in another post!!

Back to work...

Stir the package of pectin into the measured juice...
And a pat of butter to keep it from foaming over.
Get your canner boiling as it takes awhile. Also boil water, and turn off before putting in your rings and lids.

After your juice and pectin comes to a rolling boil (cannot be stirred down), dump in ALL of your measured sugar.  Stir constantly and bring back to a rolling boil. 
Once it starts to boil and cannot be stirred down start timing.  You want it to boil for exactly 1 minute.

Ladle into warm glass jelly jars. 
We prefer the 8 oz size, but you could use 16 oz.
Work quickly, it sets up quick.

Pardon the mess all around.
The pepsi bottle is actually for the rabbits.
(Frozen water keeps em cool on hot days.)

Load your jars into the canner.

Process for 5-10 minutes
(as stated on your pectin recipe-for us it was 5 minutes after it came back up to a boil).

Unload your jars onto a dishcloth.  Make sure they are not touching each other. 
Enjoy the *PING* and the seal sets. 
The quart basket on the right will make two batches or about 17 jars of jelly.

Then have "quality control" check the taste and consistancy!

YUM!  Enjoy!