Tag Archives: gardening

Designing, fabric, and life…

21 Aug

First the fabric!  We got this Christmas fabric in from Moda.  It is more wintery which I like because it lasts the whole season, not just Christmas. We just allowed ourselves 5 coordinating prints.  Since we lived in Florida a year, I began to love aqua’s and other greens at the holiday season 🙂

 I’m looking forward to some jammy pants or lounge pants for my boys out of these snowmen.  It is hard to tell but there are sweet little red birds on this print too!  We are also planning some other girl things!!

Might seem a little early to be looking at winter fabrics, but I’ve got to think ahead!

Over this summer we have been preserving food for the winter

Here my daughter is blanching corn for her brothers…she has to do de-hair quality control on her smaller brothers who do shucking duty.. The older boys set up outside under a tent and cut the corn off the cobs after it cools in the cooler full of water…they have quite a system going, would you believe I just popped up now and then to make sure everyone was safe and toward the end I enjoyed shucking with the little ones… Just two or so weeks ago we did tomatoes…we do them as they come and we had a bad start this year.  My son planted a different variety for an experiment. They are called determinates.  They are in bush form and they don’t need to be staked up.  We got a variety for paste.  The first part of the crop would rot at the end.  After some research he found that there is something called blossom end rot.  He found that the plants needed calcium.  We have good soil because we sweeten it with our composted goat manure.  So he decided to get Epsom salts, which have magnesium in them.  He put this around the tomatoes to help them absorb the calcium that was in the soil!  And they began to do better!  We will get more tomatoes in a week or so.  And should be able to get a better yield.

 Here my oldest is putting up his broccoli harvest, the same night we were doing tomatoes.   He froze it in one l pound increments for me!

The baby (my baby) 🙂 is helping with dishes in preparation to do the tomatoes.  We chose to do paste, or juice with this batch.  We use it for tomato soup and in other soups.

Here is some of our yield on a shelf that my older boys made for me last year.  The difficulty we run into with a house that has no basement is where to put these cans???  This is just a portion of this years work.  I think it’s kind of pretty!

Just today my 5th born helped me to do green beans.

We’ve also done some jams and pie fillings and peaches.  But now that I’m writing this I’m realizing I need to think about some apple sauce!

Just a word for moms, do let the children help.  Do let them know how vital they are to your family!  It is a very good thing!!

So, I am thankful in August before many people may be thinking about harvest!

And I am thankful that the children are so helpful…and right now there is a little one upstairs who needs mama to talk to him!

Sweet Potatoes…

8 Oct

Harvest time! My son planted these sweet potatoes at the end of May.

This yield is incredible!  We had them for dinner the other night.  Fresh! Superb!

Thankfully there are more to come!

Butternut Squash a la Pumpkin Pie Filling…

30 Sep

Our friend who has a farm, and a HUGE garden, gave us this beautiful butternut squash!

She told us she uses it for pumpkin pie filling.  We didn’t get pumpkins in this summer so, I was excited!  We processed them like this…


Cut off top and cut open to clean seeds out like a pumpkin

Cut into chunks and steam… Don’t worry the stove isn’t on yet 🙂

Then we steamed them till soft.

We put them in the fridge overnight because we ran out of time.

This morning I peeled the peels off and mashed them a little and put them in the oven to heat, so the canner wouldn’t take so long to heat up.

Then I mashed them like potatoes with out any thing extra.

The above two steps could have been eliminated if you have a Victorio food strainer with a bigger screen.  We just have a tomato screen so I did the peeling and mashing method.

Put the mashed squash into quart jars and apply the lids.

One thing I was very careful about was getting the pumpkin packed as densely as possible.  We left 1″ head space.

We processed them at 10 pounds pressure in the pressure cooker for 100 minutes!

We yielded  7 quarts and can use it for pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, or muffins and cookies!

Looks like pumpkin!  Tastes sweeter than pumpkin! The darker spots are from my heating them up in the oven.  Thankfully, our family is not too picky about a lump or a darker spot.  They just enjoy the end product!!

Thank you Mrs. S. for all your help with canning questions and for the lovely butternut squash!

Tomato juice…

16 Sep

This week we put up tomato juice to use making creamy tomato soup and to add to our spaghetti, chili, vegetable soup, etc..

We grow Roma tomatoes for their quality meaty fruit, this year my son planted 80 plants!  He has a dream to be an organic gardener.

We picked early in the morning..

Roma’s are an egg or oval shaped meaty tomato, we had some volunteer tomatoes come up this year also.

We wash and top the tomatoes, put them in a stainless steel stock pot with about 2 cups of water and cook on high until the skin splits.  Then we run them through the Victorio strainer, a wonderful tool!  The tomatoes go in the hopper and you turn the crank, there is an auger with a metal sieve/screen attached, the juice and beautiful pulp is strained  through the screen and the auger pushes the skin and seeds out the end.

We then pour the juice and pulp into a bigger bowl to mix together, because when pouring the tomatoes into the hopper the hot juice and water comes out first with out cranking and the pulp has to be cranked out.  So the first part is mostly liquid and mixing the pulp in gives even consistency.  Beautiful, fresh and RED isn’t it?

The skins and seeds aka compost 🙂

The yield…

After mixing the pulp and juice we pour hot into clean jars and process in water bath for 15 minutes.  It will be delightful to have hot tomato soup this winter!

Our recipe for tomato soup:  This yields approximately 6 cups of soup.  You can do ratio, 1 part milk to 2 parts juice for more or less soup, and adjust your spices accordingly…

1 quart tomato juice

2 cups milk

small clove garlic crushed

pinch of cayenne pepper

dash of salt

1 bay leaf

1 tablespoon butter

2-3 tablespoons of flour

melt butter, mix in flour adding a little milk to make creamy

add remaining milk and heat through, then add tomato juice and spices, stir constantly to thicken, then simmer 30 minutes to blend flavors.  Remove bay leaf and serve hot!  Yummy!

Morning Song…

21 Jul

As I was walking this morning, I was struck with the mid summer heat and beauty!  The happy corn, the barns and silos rising above the fields in the distance.  A song from church was running through my heart, ” I will glory in my Redeemer, ” those  few words just kept going through, and the thought of my Creator, who created that corn, that sunshine, that heat!  I love it!  And I love Him that created and bought me.   When I got home, Olivia needed to pinch off her lilies.  And another passage went through my heart, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow, they neither toil nor spin … And it goes on to say that our Father will clothe us and take care of us.   I get to working and worrying about how to take care of this large family.  The Father is trying to teach me, don’t worry, I am taking care of you.  Don’t you see, I created all that you see and am sustaining it, don’t you think I can handle your family?

Humbly, I must admit, I don’t see what is before my face.  Thank you Father, please forgive my distrust and my blindness.  And thank you for opening my eyes this morning to your truth!    I can take no credit for understanding.  He is the whole reason I can do or understand anything!  And thank you for taking time to teach me.  Thank you for being a Father to the fatherless!

And thank you for the variety in the lilies you created!  Thank you that we all have our colors and our places!

Spring has come…

14 May

Oh how I enjoy seeing the new life!  I enjoy the Creator’s handywork

Hostas and lilac behind…

Hibiscus found at a greenhouse, a birthday gift.

A little kitchen garden with some herbs my son built the little wall to make them a nice height to harvest.

Our sweet woodruff and pink phlox, also a little viola.

A red geranium, grandma’s favorite, and lovely yellow iris.

And some little tomato sprouts my budding organic gardener has started in my sewing room 😦 .   He promises they will be out at the end of May!

Wow,  did you see the variety in God’s creation?  Who is like thee O Lord among the gods?