Shades of Ireland

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Summer Work

It is hot and dry and I must be a bit crazy----- actually alot crazy! I have been busy with my garden and canning. Somehow, even though I may be sweating like a race horse, working in the garden isn't the same kind of work as folding clothes or mopping floors-- or heaven forbid--- washing dishes.
I often think of my paternal grandmother when I garden. We lived over 1200 miles away from her and I rarely saw her but she made a great impact on me. She was remarkable in many ways...... I remember as a teenager helping weed and thin out something she had just gotten started in her garden. She had a garden that people dream of..... long, straight, weed free rows. Her garden had to produce or she didn't have much to eat....... I realize now just how tough life was for her. Even so, gardening was her passion. I can remember her telling me that she was a farmer. As we trudged down those rows, she explained in her plain Okie language that it was in her blood. She just couldn't help it...... I am begining to understand just what she meant.

It seems as if I have been doing this for a long time. I realized today that I started canning green beans when my Charlie was about a year old....... nearly half my life! It is second nature to me to handle a pressure canner. I think that I own 6-7 of various sizes and models. I know there have been times when I have had three on the stove at one time. I probably would have added the fourth but there was just not room!

Today, I managed to get a little marinara sauce canned up.

While these were boiling away, I shelled the peas that I picked earlier this morning.

I know that it doesn't look very impressive but they are delicious! Southerners call these "peas" and they are a staple of southern diets but here in Kansas people think that I am talking about English peas........ Ummmm--NO! Out here, the locals call these "cowpeas"......... They also look at me funny when I try to buy seed.

Anyway, I should have enough of these to can in the next day or so. My family always blanches and freezes them but I generally have my freezer full of other stuff --- like milk and meat. Besides, I am not real good at planning ahead for meals so it is really nice just to open a quart jar and heat them up in a hurry.

I have lost count of how many jars of green beans I've done so far..... we have eaten a bunch straight from the garden but I still think I managed to get about 30 quarts done. Plus a few pints for Salena to to back to school this fall.

I picked a small batch of these this morning while I was pulling up the plants. It is so dry and they are pretty much done producing beans. This makes way for something else to be planted in their space plus I will plant a second crop of green beans in another spot.

Day before yesterday, late in the afternoon, I went berry picking! I found a few nice bushes that have not completely dried up. This is another pleasant chore that brings back all kinds of good childhood memories for me. I intended to make a big cobbler out of these but I could not get to it right away. Today, when I went back to start on it, there were considerably fewer berries in the pan! The boys just could not resist so there will only be a small cobbler for dessert tonight!

I am hoping that there are still a few to be picked this evening. I would really like to make some blackberry jelly. We have already eaten all the strawberry jam I made earlier this year.

Planning another trip this weekend. I will be going to Loveland Colorado for almost a whole week. The American Dairy Goat Association is having their national show. My friend, Paul Hamby, owner of Hamby Dairy Supply, has hired me again this year to help out at his traveling store. I love to do this! I get to visit with many of my goat buddies and see hundreds of beautiful dairy goats. A working vacation!!

All this is to warn you that the entries on this blog may be few and far behind again......

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