SAL #1 Project Onions and Gourds

First off this update, I have to apologize that I missed the update 3 weeks ago. I was preparing for surgery that Tuesday and my mind just was not on stitching.

Everything turned out beautifully and I am feeling fine and almost completely healed and back to work. During my recovery I got some stitching and reading done which was relaxing and kept the pain at bay.

I did, however change my SAL project for this group. I just was not feeling my own charted project that I was working on so I have put that aside and have chosen to work on the gigantic Onions and Gourds Cross Stitch Project instead.

Here is a photo of what the project will look like when it is finished:

and here is my progress so far after three weeks:

Doesn’t look like much yet but maybe you will see it take shape in the next three weeks.

Please check out the other stitchers in the Stitch-a-Long and see what they are up to. There is some fantastic work going on with these folks that I am excited to catch up on.

Avis,ClaireGunCaroleLucyAnnKate,JessSueConstanzeDebbierose,ChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHelen,StephLindaCatherineMary Margaret,TimothyHeidiConnie

See you in three weeks!

-MM

 

 

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Food Preservation Goals and Garden Update September 13, 2017

The summer has flown by and we are now in the middle of September already!

I never got a second crop of anything in because I have been so busy with work now that the college workers are back in school. It has been a fabulous growing season mostly for us. The wet Spring damaged a lot of our fruit trees but the garden itself produced its heart out for us.

I am having surgery next Tuesday and will have a 10 lb. weight limit put on me for six whole weeks which will drive me nuts at work but will unfortunately cut my gardening season short this year as well.

It’s ok though, like I said our little garden out-performed itself this year and I actually kept up on it for once.

As far as the preserving of all of this lovely produce, here’s where I have been super busy!

  • Strawberry Jam
  • Grape Jelly
  • Peach Jam
  • Blackberry Jelly
  • Dandelion Jelly
  • Honeyed Yellow Tomato Butter
  • Basil Banana Pepper Jelly
  • Apple Sauce
  • Grape Juice
  • Pickled Beets
  • Canned Beets
  • Vegetable Stock
  • Vegetable Soup
  • Blackberry, Peach,  Cordials
  • Frozen Corn
  • Frozen Peppers
  • Frozen Beet Greens/Chard
  • Red Root Relish
  •  Crushed Tomatoes
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Frozen Winter Squash and some stored whole
  • Chili
  • Stuffed Sweet Peppers
  • Frozen summer/zucchini squash
  • Shredded zucchini
  • Strawberry Syrup
  • Blackberry Syrup
  • Dill Pickle Relish
  • Sweet Pickle Relish

With my surgery cutting my growing season short, it also cuts my preserving goals a little short too. I still plan on getting the grapes and the apples done but the beets might have to wait until next year.

I made a gigantic pot of chili using my tomatoes, peppers, onions and garlic and will get that in the freezer for easy meals today.

I have also been busy drying herbs. Basil and lemon balm so far. Chives will get frozen, parsley and sage will also get dried as well.

I’ll post one more update sometime in October to wrap up my season.

What have you been up to this summer with your garden and preserving? I would love to hear from you! -MM

 

Gardening and Preserving Goals Update June 5th 2017

It’s been a busy few weeks without a lot of time for updating. I did get my entire garden planted but of course I have run out of room. I thought my husband Scott would just shake his head at me but he surprised me instead by saying “where should we dig new beds?”

I am not sure I can handle more space to fill but I am thinking about it

Below is my goal list for preserving and gardening. Everything in bold is what I have accomplished so far. The only thing I have preserved is 2 batches of Dandelion Jelly and I see I forgot to add that to my goal list!

HERBS

  1. Garlic 
  2. Chives
  3. Aloe Vera
  4. Dill
  5. Artemisia
  6. Calendula
  7. Chamomile
  8. Cilantro
  9. Purple Cone Flower (Echinacea)
  10. Sweet Woodruff
  11. Lavender
  12. Lemon Balm
  13. Mint
  14. Catnip
  15. Basil
  16. Oregano
  17. Parsley
  18. Anise
  19. Rosemary
  20. Sage
  21. Dandelion
  22. Thyme
  23. Nasturtium
  24. Valerian

CROPS

  1. Asparagus
  2. Strawberries
  3. Raspberries
  4. Blackberries
  5. Cherries Sweet
  6. Cherries Sour
  7. Pears
  8. Peaches
  9. Grapes
  10. Rhubarb
  11. Sweet Peppers
  12. Banana Peppers
  13. Eggplant
  14. Onions
  15. Shallots
  16. Snap Bean Bush – Purple, yellow and green
  17. Snap Bean Pole
  18. Peas
  19. Spinach
  20. Lettuce
  21. Cabbage
  22. Swiss Chard
  23. Beets
  24. Radish
  25. Carrots
  26. Cucumbers
  27. Pumpkins
  28. Gourds
  29. Winter Squash
  30. Zucchini
  31. Yellow Squash
  32. Cantaloupes
  33. Water Melon
  34. Sunflowers
  35. Tomatoes
  36. Celery
  37. Broccoli
  38. Potatoes
  39. Yellow Tomatoes
  40. Paste Tomatoes

PRESERVES

  1. Strawberry Jam
  2. Grape Jelly
  3. Black Raspberry Jam
  4. Red Raspberry Jam
  5. Peach Jam
  6. Pear Jelly
  7. Apple Jelly
  8. Honeyed Yellow Tomato Butter
  9. Canned Cherries in Syrup
  10. Canned Cherry Pie Filling Sweet
  11. Canned Cherry Pie Filling Sour
  12. Basil Banana Pepper Jelly
  13. Apple Sauce
  14. Grape Juice
  15. Pear Juice
  16. Tart Cherry Juice
  17. Pickled Beets
  18. Canned Beets
  19. Vegetable Stock
  20. Vegetable Soup
  21. Tomato Sauce
  22. Blackberry, Red Raspberry, Peach, Cherry Cordials
  23. Chili Sauce (Two different kinds)
  24. Bread and Butter Pickles
  25. Frozen Corn
  26. Frozen Peppers
  27. Frozen Beet Greens/Chard
  28. Red Root Relish
  29. Lemon Sage Wine Mustard
  30.  Dilly Deans
  31. Pickled Hot Peppers
  32. Sweet Crisp Pickles
  33.  Crushed Tomatoes
  34. Whole Tomatoes Packed in Water
  35.  Canned Green Beans
  36. Frozen Peas
  37. Frozen Winter Squash and some stored whole
  38. Chili
  39. Stuffed Hot Peppers
  40. Stuffed Sweet Peppers

Garlic


Shallots




I named my rooster “Cluck” he guards the garden from vicious predators.

I guess that’s it for now. Have to wait for Mother Nature to work her magic!

See you next time. -MM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Gardening and Preserving Goals 2017


Each year I try to garden with a goal in mind. My goal is always to produce and preserve as much food as we need to get us through the winter and to help me spend as little as possible at the grocery store.

Last year I had some pretty lofty goals and fell completely flat on my face. It was a horrible growing season in 2016. Heat and drought took it’s toll on the garden and a late frost killed all of the blossoms on the fruit trees. I have never seen anything like it really.

I revisited my goals from last year and chopped some of the harder to reach goals out.

Here is a list of my family’s 2017 Gardening and Preserving Goals.

Herbs:

  1. Garlic
  2. Chives
  3. Aloe Vera
  4. Dill
  5. Artemisia
  6. Calendula
  7. Chamomile
  8. Cilantro
  9. Purple Cone Flower (Echinacea)
  10. Sweet Woodruff
  11. Lavender
  12. Lemon Balm
  13. Mint
  14. Catnip
  15. Basil
  16. Oregano
  17. Parsley
  18. Anise
  19. Rosemary
  20. Sage
  21. Dandelion
  22. Thyme
  23. Nasturtium
  24. Valerian

Crops:

  1. Asparagus
  2. Strawberries
  3. Raspberries
  4. Blackberries
  5. Cherries Sweet
  6. Cherries Sour
  7. Pears
  8. Peaches
  9. Grapes
  10. Rhubarb
  11. Sweet Peppers
  12. Banana Peppers
  13. Eggplant
  14. Onions
  15. Shallots
  16. Snap Bean Bush – Purple, yellow and green
  17. Snap Bean Pole
  18. Peas
  19. Spinach
  20. Lettuce
  21. Cabbage
  22. Swiss Chard
  23. Beets
  24. Radish
  25. Carrots
  26. Cucumbers
  27. Pumpkins
  28. Gourds
  29. Winter Squash
  30. Zucchini
  31. Yellow Squash
  32. Cantaloupes
  33. Water Melon
  34. Sunflowers
  35. Tomatoes
  36. Celery
  37. Broccoli
  38. Potatoes
  39. Yellow Tomatoes
  40. Paste Tomatoes

wp-image-1321768642jpg.jpeg

Preserving:

  1. Strawberry Jam
  2. Grape Jelly
  3. Black Raspberry Jam
  4. Red Raspberry Jam
  5. Peach Jam
  6. Pear Jelly
  7. Apple Jelly
  8. Honeyed Yellow Tomato Butter
  9. Canned Cherries in Syrup
  10. Canned Cherry Pie Filling Sweet
  11. Canned Cherry Pie Filling Sour
  12. Basil Banana Pepper Jelly
  13. Apple Sauce
  14. Grape Juice
  15. Pear Juice
  16. Tart Cherry Juice
  17. Pickled Beets
  18. Canned Beets
  19. Vegetable Stock
  20. Vegetable Soup
  21. Tomato Sauce
  22. Blackberry, Red Raspberry, Peach, Cherry Cordials
  23. Chili Sauce (Two different kinds)
  24. Bread and Butter Pickles
  25. Frozen Corn
  26. Frozen Peppers
  27. Frozen Beet Greens/Chard
  28. Red Root Relish
  29. Lemon Sage Wine Mustard
  30.  Dilly Deans
  31. Pickled Hot Peppers
  32. Sweet Crisp Pickles
  33.  Crushed Tomatoes
  34. Whole Tomatoes Packed in Water
  35.  Canned Green Beans
  36. Frozen Peas
  37. Frozen Winter Squash and some stored whole
  38. Chili
  39. Stuffed Hot Peppers
  40. Stuffed Sweet Peppers

 

So far, we are already doing mighty fine with our 2017 gardening goals and we have had plenty of rain too. Yippee!

This last weekend we added 3 more raised veggie beds which brings my planting area to about 200 sq. ft. of space to work with. Yippee! Thank you Mr. Ripley for working so hard. (He said it was my Mother’s Day present).

To date we have planted carrots, peas, radish, and lettuce but much more will be planted by the end of this week.


How will I keep track of all of this? My journal. And lists. LOTS of lists. Should be interesting! Wish me luck and I will keep you updated. -MM

 

 

 

Weeks 3 and 4 Pop Bottles Meet Disaster

Mr. Gray is in trouble. BIG trouble. We have 2 kittens we adopted in October of this last year. I was seriously worried about my seedlings getting damaged by the cats since it is an open space in our basement that I grow my plants in. Our beloved cat Bernie, who died suddenly this fall was completely trained to not go near the “kids”.

Oh yes, it happened in the middle of the night, a crash in the basement and a scampering of feet tearing down the hallway past our bedroom door. I knew what the sound was and I just sighed and fell back asleep. I would survey the damage in the morning.

Sure enough Mr. Gray, yes I know it was him, dumped the whole rack of shelves. Nine pop bottles were scattered across the floor in all sorts of disarray. I didn’t have time to do anything with them because I needed to get to the bakery. I would work on the mess when I got home.

Nothing, unfortunately was salvageable. The second set of shelving was still upright so I hadn’t lost everything, but the basil, lemon balm, cilantro, onions, catnip, and others were crushed.

Today I did get 28 pepper plants and 4 watermelon plants transplanted into their own, larger spaces. They are doing well and hopefully Mr. Gray will not get into any more mischief with these guys. Now if we could just get some sun here in Western NY that would really, really help. -MM

 

Project Peacock SAL Update 2

It’s been three weeks since my last post on my Peacock friend and also since I joined a lovely group of ladies (and gentleman :)) in their Stitch-A-Long Group (SAL).

I have gotten a lot done mostly on its tail feathers but also some on the side branches.

Here is a photo of the last time I posted:
peacock sal 1

And here is a photo of what I have completed as of yesterday:

 The top has not changed so I concentrated on showing you the bottom. I still don’t know if this peacock is a boy or girl. Aren’t the boys the pretty ones and the girls the plain ones so they don’t draw attention from predators? I need some help on this.

See you in three weeks!

Please check out the other SAL member’s blogs by clicking on the links below. They are doing some fantastic work! If you are interested in joining the group please contact Avis who is the very first link.


Avis
ClaireGunCaroleLucyAnnKateJessSueConstanzeDebbieroseChristinaSusanKathyMargaretCindyHelenStephLindaCatherineWendyMary MargaretTimothy

Dandelion Jelly-You Gotta Try It!

Last season I decided to try making dandelion jelly. I read people’s comments on how good it was and many of them said they would be making a double batch next year. So I figured, what the heck, why not?

I love trying things made from foraging. We don’t spray our yard (though my husband hates dandelions) and sitting in a grassy field of yellow flowers sounded heavenly.

 

Making the jelly is pretty simple. Certainly easier than making grape jelly.

What you need to do is go out and pick lots of dandelion flowers about 10 cups or so. Just the flowers. No stems or leaves and no flowers that have gone to seed. You need the yellow petals only which I used a pair of kitchen scissors to cut off from their green base. Just a straight cut right across. It’s ok if you have some green bits of leaf in there too but not too much. You will need 4 cups of petals.

Put the cut off petals in a large bowl and cover the petals with boiling water. Cover the bowl and let it sit overnight in the fridge. You are basically making a dandelion tea and while in the fridge the petals will steep and draw the color and flavor of the dandelion out. This tea is very nutrient rich and you can drink it if you like, but I prefer the strong taste be turned into a sweet, mild jelly.

The next day strain the petal “soup” through clean cheesecloth over another bowl and save the liquid and discard the dandelion petals. What you will have left is dandelion tea which is what is used to make the jelly. You will need 3 cups of the tea. If the liquid doesn’t measure 3 cups, add enough water to the tea to bring it up to the 3 cups needed.

Pour the tea into a heavy bottom pot and add one package of powdered pectin and 2 Tbsp of lemon juice to it. Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring frequently, then add 4-1/2 cups of granulated white sugar to it. Stir to dissolve the sugar and once again bring everything up to a full rolling boil that cannot be knocked down when stirring it. Skim off any foam. In the photo below you can see the pectin is setting up nicely in the jelly and it’s ready to can up.

Pour the hot jelly, leaving a 1/2 inch of head space, into hot sterilized jars and with hot sterilized lids, screw the bands on. I processed them for about 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

After the jars have cooled, label and store in a cool pantry. How pretty are these? I love the golden color!

You might ask what dandelion jelly tastes like? Honey. Seriously, I think it tastes like honey. It’s very mild and a tiny bit earthy but I love this jelly and the main ingredient, the dandelions are FREE! I will be making a double, maybe even a triple batch of this golden goodness this year.

It will be a couple of months before the weather in western, NY will be warm enough for dandelions to bloom, but when they do you will see me sitting out there in the yard collecting them. Hope you try it! -MM

Here are the ingredients in recipe form again.

3 Cups dandelion tea

4 1/2 Cups sugar

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 box powdered pectin

Combine dandelion tea, lemon juice and pectin into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil.  Add your sugar and bring back to a boil. Remove from heat and fill jars. Process 10 minutes in a boiling hot water bath. Cool, label and enjoy on a slice of homemade bread!