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Thursday, September 30, 2010

I been thinkin....

I been trying to figure out why my compost tumbler didn't do well composting. The one I have is like a 35 gallon round poly barrel style that is on rollers so you can just roll it in the cradle to turn the compost. This is what I did. When I got the tumbler I cleaned out the chicken house which I had used to raise meat birds in and put a lot of the manure along with the bedding, which is straw into the tumbler. I added a couple shovels full of dirt and compost from the woods to get it started. Then I waited. I went a couple days later to turn the barrel and could not move it. It had compost tea dripping from the drain holes in the ends. I opened the lid and the ammonia smell would burn your eyes. I put the lid back and thought, ah heck I will get Rodger to help me turn it later this evening. Anybody that knows me knows I am scatterbrained at time, so I forgot. For about a week. When we finally did go back to turn the barrel the "stuff" was a wet soggy solid mass in the bottom of the tumbler. No way could we turn it. So all to do is leave it sit till it rots down. A couple weeks ago I went out to see if I could get the mess loosened up to turn. I used a fork and got the mass broke up and the barrel turns now.  Now looking back I know what I should not have done. Don't put chicken manure in a compost tumbler. I am thinking the ammonia from too much manure was so concentrated it killed off all the good bacteria that should have turned the whole mess into compost. Now next time I clean chicken houses the manure is going straight to the garden and get scattered raw. The bedding and a small amount of the manure will go in the tumbler. The things that go in a compost tumbler should also be layered in there. We mixed the material the first time around. Yep the older I get the more I learn.
I went to feed my baby chicks this morning and found one that had a dirty butt. This usually means the bird is sick. I alas try to keep a bottle of Sulmet (antibacterial) solution to mix with their water. But heck no, I didn't have any. I try to keep this stuff on hand as it is great to give lil chicks that have been stressed from shipping. And the nearest store that would have it is about 30 mile away. So off I went to Jackson to get Sulmet. While I was at the farm store I picked up a couple packs of vitamins to mix in the chicks water. When I found that I didn't have Sulmet this morning I just mixed about a tablespoon of peroxide in the water tank. I have used this in a pinch in place of Sulmet before. Although it seems to work better for bigger birds than for lil ones. But now I have the Sulmet for the lil babies and this should keep em nice an healthy till butchering time.
OK off to finish baking peanut butter cookies and finish the laundry. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Finished up pears

I had to be up early and moving this morning. I took my buddy Gene to the doc to get his labs drawn and we had a quick breakfast at the local DQ. Now I remember why I don't like to eat out. Tasteless food, greasy and the service was shabby at best. All the employees are very young people and I don't think kids these days have much of a work ethic. They think its an annoyance to stop their chit-chat and wait on customers. I will say they need to stay in fast food and not wait tables and depend on tips. Am thinking most of em would go home broke at the end of the day.
We ran a few errands for Gene while we were out and then I got him home. He still gets tired pretty easy but other wise is doing well. I came home to finish cooking my pear preserves and get the pear butter canned up. I usually try to cook the pear preserves about an hour at night then let them sit overnight and another hour the next day and then can. It just seems to make them taste better. I ended up with 8 pints of preserves and 7 pints of vanilla pear butter. I guess my next project will be to make pumpkin butter. As you know pumpkins, cushaws, and butternut squash are all in the squash family. So I use cushaw to make pumpkin butter. The pumpkin butter is a method I think and not so much a recipe.The first real step in any butter is to make the puree. But for the "method" rinse the cushaw to remove dirt. Slice in rounds and carefully peel off the rind, cut in 2 inch uniform cubes. Place in pressure cooker with about 2 inches of water and cook for about 20 minutes at 10 lb pressure. After pressure goes down, drain as much liquid off as possible. Use a stick blender or any method you choose to puree the vegetable. Now you have puree. To the puree, add 1 cup sugar for each 2 cups puree. This can now be added to a slow cooker or crock pot and let cook on low over night till thick. Add cinnamon, nutmeg and a touch of ground clove to taste. When the butter taste to your liking let cook another hour. Ladle into hot jars and put lids on and seal em up. I usually can mine in pint jars due to the fact we can eat a smaller jar before it gets moldy after opening. Here is another recipe you might enjoy and a good way to use some of the pumpkin butter.

Pumpkin dip

2 cups or 1 pint of pumpkin butter
8 oz pkg softened cream cheese
vanilla wafers or gingersnaps

Add softened cream cheese to punkin butter and beat well to combine. Serve in a pretty bowl with gingersnaps, vanilla wafers or even snicker doodles on the side. A nice addition to the holiday dinner table or to keep hungry guest happy till dinner is served.

I had a good laugh today at Luna's expense. She encountered what must have been her first tarpine. I heard her barking like she was serious about something, so I went to investigate. She was barking at the turtle shell. She would reach out an claw the ground near it shell but not touching it. Then she missed an flipped the shell over and she nearly knocked me down trying to get back from it. She would look at the shell and look at me, as if to say "I know there is a lil animal unner that lid, I seen em go unner there". She entertained herself for an hour with the tarpine. I think she finally gave and decided it was a lost cause and left him be. But she was totally befuddled.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pear preserves and vanilla pear butter

I finally had the energy today to get started on the pears and get them peeled. I decided to make pear preserves from some of them and vanilla pear butter from the rest. I posted the pear preserve recipe last year about this time. So here goes for the pear butter.

This is not really a recipe but a method in my opinion. Use peeled chopped pear and add half the amount of water as you have pears and simmer till they are tender. Drain the water from the kettle and use a stick blender or any method you choose to puree the fruit. Put back in kettle and add half as much sugar as you have pears. Add in roughly 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract (or to taste) for each gallon of pear puree. Keep in mind the vanilla will be a little more noticeable after the butter cooks down. It does concentrate the vanilla flavor. Put in crock pot with the lid ajar over night to cook down and thicken. In the morning ladle into hot jars and seal. You can water bath these for 10 minutes but I don't water bath. I good project for a cool fall day on the homestead.
It has been really nice and cool today. The highs this week are supposed to only be in the low 70's and upper 40's to low 50's at night. No A/C needed here this week. The leaves are changing too and you can feel fall in the air especially after the rain we had this weekend. So tomorrow morning I will finish up the pear butter and preserves and get those canned up. Then when I get another power surge maybe I can work on the cushaws and get those canned.
I have been going full throttle all summer and when I have a day with not much to do I get a feeling I'm forgetting to do something. Maybe I just work better under pressure.  As the old saying goes, "squeeze me hard, I'm good under pressure".
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fall clean up, planting wheat

It has been a busy day around here today. First off Rodger got our garden spot turned for next year. He also got the ground ready to plant the wheat Deb sent me some hard red winter wheat and we now have that sown. Hopefully we can harvest some about July of next year. The only thing left in our garden is the green beans that remain that I will pick when they dry for seed. And the sweet potatoes need to be dug. I finally got finished with all the apples. I did put several bags in the freezer to make fried apples. Really tasty with a hot biscuit and butter when the snow flys.
I did get my baby chicks last week and never got to post a pic because I had computer issues. So now ya can see my babies.

So far, healthy happy lil birds. Butcher will be the weekend of November 6th.
I gathered up all my used flower pots and took them to the greenhouse area. As you know the plastic did not last thru the summer on the green house. I am thinking about maybe getting some of the clear fiberglass green house panels to build with next year. But in the mean time all my pots are in one place. I will get a tarp and cover those for winter. The plastic I used this spring literally disintegrated. It has taken me all day to get most of the things picked up and put away that we have used all summer. I do still have some buckets that are scattered about to get later.
The weather today was wonderful to work outside. Temps in the 70's with a lil wind and leaves falling. It sure looks like fall out there.
Tomorrow I will get started on the pears and get those taken care of. I guess I need to find my recipe for pear butter with vanilla. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oh my lifes a cluster

First of all I have had a hard time logging into blogger to do my post. All to find out my computer has a virus and I am not sure where I got it. But don't panic, ya cant get sick from reading my blog or posting a comment. Its just my computer. But Jason is working on that as we speak and I am using his puter now. Oh well such is my life.
But with all that said, Rob was here for a couple days and he finally got his college diploma in the mail. So proud of him.
My lil boy is all grown up and now has a big boy job waiting for him in Nevada.
I got out today and checked on my cabbage plants to see if they were still living and gosh they look good. So sometime before winter  I should have more cabbage.
My friend Deb sent me some hard red winter wheat seed today so we can plant a lil patch of wheat for bread. After supper Rodger got the turning plows on the tractor and turned what will be our garden for next year and enough ground for the wheat. As soon as he can get it disced up and ready the wheat will get sown to come up an then go dormant over winter. Then it springs to life in spring and we harvest wheat about July next year. Pretty cool eh?
Today about noon my baby chicks called from the post office to let me know to come get em. The lady at the post office knows us personally and when she was calling to tell me the babies were there she just held the phone down to the chick box and if she hadn't said anything I would have just went up there knowing the chicks had arrived. Kinda cute, and the company had sent 52 chicks and only 1 had died in route. I always order from Marti poultry and have alas had really good results with their chicks. So I now have 51 healthy happy well fed lil chicks in the brooder house. So I will be butchering again the weekend of November 6.
Maybe I can get pictures of the lil birds and post them tomorrow so you all can see the lil babies.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Making apple sauce, apple butter

I still have the bushel and half of apples to work up in the next few day before they start to get soft. When I did my cellar inventory yesterday I found out I only had 4 quarts of apple sauce left. So I can use more of that in the cellar. I can get to the apple sauce point and then put some of the sauce in a crock pot to cook down over night into apple butter. Very easy and no constant stirring.
Not much else done today, just kind of chillin out and getting the house cleaned up and laundry caught up a bit. Rob is home this evening and am thinking the best plan is to just visit with him and lil Abby. Amoy had to work and didn't get to come up. I still also have pears to peel and make into pear butter and pear preserves or honey. Maybe I should just get busy instead of doing inside stuff.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Dried apples, doing inventory

I got out this morning and got the apples out of the dehydrator and got those bagged up, vacuum sealed and ready for storage. They were nice and dry, an good for snacking. Now I need to find a good fried apple pie recipe in one of my old cookbooks. I also have had some lil dried apple fritters at a state park lodge here in Kentucky and they were delicious. Just wish to heck I knew how they made those. I think I could figure it out if I had them again. They had cooked dried apples on the inside and a crunchy batter like coating on the outside. And deep fried, so good. Good project for this winter, figure out how they make those lil treats.
I did inventory in our cellar today and ended up with a total of 1015 jars of various canned stuffs. It did shed some light on our food supply as well. Of those 1000 or so jars, less than 100 are meats. My math came up with the fact that we could use 2.7 jars per day and have enough to last one full year. But my bunch are big meat eaters and with less than 100 jars of meats canned, we could only have meat about every 4 days or so. Now that don't take into account the amount of stuff in the freezer, nor the amount of the jars that are beans. But I do know I need to can juice, fruit,and more meats in order to have a well balanced diet. Just something else to ponder if you do a good deal of home canning to provide for the family.
When Rodger got in this evening he stopped to check on the pullets in the building and found 3 eggs. So I know I have at least 1 new pullet laying.

These are smaller than a normal egg due to the fact that it is the pullets first eggs. They will be normal size in a few weeks. These girls are only 5 months old, so they are doing good. It is also nice to say I have not bought eggs from the store in several years. We alas manage to have a laying flock.
Rodger took some pics of his drilling crew at work today. Jason (oldest son) is the one in the middle. It only takes them a few days in our area to drill an oil well in. This well will be in eye shot of the oil company office.
Around here oil field workers are called oil field trash, but not in a bad way. It is one of the better paying jobs in this area.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

In a hurry to get done

Seems we have been in a hurry this past week to get a lot done before fall and our rainy season sets in. The fence has been taken down from the garden and most of the post have been pulled. Still have all the corner post in and the braces. Those will come out a few at a time this week.
Once again I had trouble logging into blogger to do my post, so will try to catch you up a lil bit. Yesterday I got the tobacco worm beans canned that I picked the night before. The guys went off to a gun show and I was home alone an had all day to finish. I had 14 quarts and 8 pints of green beans when they were processed.

The tobacco worm beans were really pretty and nice an full. Be mighty tasty with some cornbread.
We harvested the rest of the cushaws and had 8 of those to put in the cellar and about 2 bushel of butternut squash as well. There were lots of watermelons in the garden and some still were not ripe. We did pick 11 that are ripe tho. Now what to do with 11 watermelons.
I guess we can eat a few and maybe make some watermelon puree and freeze it for watermelon ice later. Rodger had gotten a business associate to pick up some apples for us when he went to southern Kentucky to an Amish orchard. We went and got those today. Nice big apples, good flavor and a good cooking apple as well. we got less than a half bushel peeled and sliced and it filled both my dehydrators.

Even tho I treated with Fruit Fresh they do still darken some when they start to dry. I still have a bushel to work up and will store about a half bushel in the cellar. I still have the pears to make into preserves before long as they are starting to soften and get ripe. While we were in the garden I cleaned up the bell pepper plants and got all the peppers off the plants. Got those cleaned and sliced an in the freezer this evening as well. Now the garden can be turned except for the green beans that are left. Well and the sweet taters, not that there will be many of those.
I should have baby chicks arriving this week sometime, And the brooder house is cleaned out and bedding is in there just waiting for them. I think I might have gotten in too deep in the chickens this time with ordering 50 of them. Rob and Amoy wont be here to help use all the chicken and stuff so I think we have more than enough to do us till next summer. That is yet to be seen.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Planting and harvesting

Well I have tried to log into blogger to post for 3 days now and am just now able to log in. I think Google has some issues. But anyway I am up an going again.

First of all I got to let ya know that my youngest son Rob landed a job in Elko Nevada working for Barrick. This is where he did his internship this summer. Rodger, Jason an I are all really proud of him. And so thankful he was blessed enough to get a position that will pay him a good wage too especially in this crappy economy. But on the other hand I am sad at the same time knowing my lil boy is going to be living that far from home. But we can hope we have done an adequate job raising him and he does have a level head so he will be fine. But darn I am sure gonna miss him. Even tho he hasn't lived at home for several years it helped just knowing he was less than an hour away from home. I think I am gonna find out how a mother hen feels when her biddies get scattered. A total mess. He is planning on being moved to Nevada by mid October so he can start work by October 11th. I am sure you mothers can relate to the emotional highs and lows. Something great happens for you child and you are so thrilled and then the "oh shit" moment when you realize it will take them a long distance from you. So this momma has been on that roller coaster all week. I think I got my oars back in the water for now anyway.
I did get outside today and got several things done that got put on hold. My friend Deb sent me some cabbage plants and I got those planted out in the lower part of the onion bed so they wont be in the way of the tractor when Rodger gets ready to turn the garden this fall. Then I started getting some of the manure out of the brooder house and used it to fertilize the asparagus bed. The asparagus fronds are starting to die back and fall over so my friend Rosie tole me it would be fine to just put the manure straight on the bed and it would break down over the winter before the asparagus springs to life in spring. I still hope I can get time and have the energy this fall to build another strawberry bed and move the plants from the garden back over here to the house so I can keep them weeded an take better care of the plants.
After Rodger got home we went to his former co-workers house to pick up some sweet potatoes. He and his wife grow mostly heirloom varieties of veggies and save their own seed. The sweet taters are the variety O'Henry. An old favorite around here and they are white which is what we like best. We don't even bother growing the orange ones. We still have a few of our own to dig this fall too, maybe this weekend we can do that. I am hoping to get my butternut squash and cushaws brought in as well. Frost is not far off for us. And the sunflowers need to be cut and put in bags to dry. I am thinking that if the sunflower kernels are large enough I might try roasting some of those for snacks. Sunflower seeds are very nutritious. Rodger also told me this evening that another business associate was going somewhere to an Amish orchard to get apples and he ordered 2 bushel for us. Yep I reckin he thinks I'm bored or something. But in reality I would like to have some dried apples to store.
We had a late supper and then went to the garden to pick green beans. Goodness was I surprised. The tobacco worm beans are doing way better than I expected for this late in the season. I love the way they grow, in clusters on the vines. I now have about 3/4 of a bushel to string and can up tomorrow. I am pretty happy about that as I didn't have any green beans early this year to can. We also brought in 4 big watermelons from the garden as well while we were over there. Gosh there are prolly a dozen more that are almost ready. So I do have enough to do to keep my mind occupied right now. Might help me keep what lil is left of my sanity.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

One down, 2 to go

I am referring to chicken houses. Rob got the hen house cleaned out today and the manure spread on the new garden spot. Then after dark we moved all the pullets into the hen house along with their rooster. When trying to merge 2 groups of birds this is the best way to do it. Move them at night and move them all  to a building that is not home to either group. This helps all of them get along better and not be so harsh about picking order. So all the pullets are in a nice clean house with straw and plenty of feed to keep them happy. Rob is still home and I think he is going to finish cleaning out the other 2 chicken houses tomorrow and spread the manure on the garden. Then when I get home from my docs appointment I can put down straw and get the brooder house ready for the baby chicks that will be here on September 22. This will be my final round of chickens to butcher this fall. If they arrive September 22, they will be ready to butcher the weekend of November 6th. By then the weather is cooler and makes for nice working weather outside.
I promised as soon as I had more pics uploaded of my cross country road trip I would post a link here. They are on facebook and this is the link.
Enjoy! Till next time,blessings from the McGuire homestead.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Easy day of nothing

We had big plans for getting some thing done today but some how got side tracked. Normal for me tho.Rob was here last night and today with me. I had promised my friend Gene that I would come pick him up and take him to do errands and then home because he still don't drive in town or on main roads. Rob went with me, he wanted to see Gene for a bit and we got his errands all done and Rob and I went to the nursing home to visit mom for a bit. We took Abby along and of course she was the show stopper. The folks there love playing with friendly little dogs and Abby loves the attention. Mom actually enjoyed getting to pet her and wanted to keep her which surprised both Rob and me. We ended up getting home later than we planned this afternoon and got nothing of benefit done.
This evening after supper Rob helped Rodger pull the fence post up that were around the garden spot. We are moving our garden next year to the other end of the bottom. Tomorrow Rob and I are planning on cleaning out all 3 chicken houses and getting my pullets all in one house so they can get settled before they start to lay. All the chicken manure and bedding will get spread on what will be the new garden area for next year. It will get turned under this fall and will have all winter to compost and improve the soil even more. We are also on the prowl for some hard red winter wheat seed to plant a small plot for wheat for bread just for us.It is close to time to get that planted in our area. Although finding the seed may be a bit tricky because no one here that I know of grows wheat for flour. If wheat is planted in this area it is used for cover crop and green manure and not for flour for human consumption. This will be a first for us as well but I do know how to make good homemade bread with whole wheat flour. Looking forward to a new experience of growing wheat.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Butchering video

I thought this lil video might be of some help to someone out there if they are willing to try to butcher chickens for themselves. Keep in mind this is not for the faint at heart or squeamish. The first thing in our process is to have a large preferably Iron kettle of water hot, very hot. If you dip your pinky finger 3 times and it don't burn then the water is not hot enough. Add a few drops of dawn dish soap to the scalding water to help break down the oil on the chicken feathers and make them easier to get wet when they get dunked. Step 2 is catch the chicken, step 3 is to decapitate the chicken and do not let it go, hold the feet to prevent bruising the meat and possibly breaking bones. Just makes for some nasty looking meat. Once dead, dunk in the hot water and remove the feathers. Once this is done and the bird is clean, rinse with cool water. Now you are ready to start the cutting up and evisceration part of butchering. Hopefully this lil video will help you accomplish this task in short order.

Also later in the year when the cornish cross are ready I can do a short video on how to process a chicken whole for use on the rotisserie. Next video most likely will be ready around early November.
After chicken is cut up put in cool water to which you have added a good deal of salt. This helps remove some of the residual blood in the  meat and will keep any pesky fly away that might come out of hiding on butchering day. Rinse meat well in clear water and proceed with packaging for the freezer or canning.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

We got rain finally

We finally got rain last night and some more today. I am sure my garden appreciated it. Haven't done alot today other than get things cleaned up and ready to butcher tomorrow. I only have 8 birds to do and that wont take us too long. Kinda excited about making and canning more gumbo. I don't have Deb to help me this time around but she is a good teacher so I think I can wing it.
I piddled around in the summer kitchen today doing odd jobs while Rodger hauled water. Our well was getting low with no rain. No big deal tho, we just load the water tank and go to the old farm house and fill the tank and unload in our well. We are blessed to have a dug well that is rock from top to bottom and will hold the water like a cistern. Any way, I got the apples out of the dehydrator that I had put in last night to dry and added a light sprinkle of powdered sugar and vacuum sealed them in serving size packages for the guys to take hunting as a snack. I got the onions peeled and sliced for the gumbo making and dried some marjoram and chili pequin peppers. 
I have a gallon jug of wine in the making out in the summer kitchen that needed my attention. I finally got the bentonite put in the jug to clarify it. We let that settle till I get time to siphon the wine off and bottle it. It sure did smell good tho.
Our little Keiffer pear tree here in the yard had way too many pears on it and it broke out the main top limb of the lil tree. I picked the pears off today and put them in buckets in the kitchen so they can ripen. I am thinking I will make some vanilla pear butter from a recipe I found online today. I sure sounded good, and ya just cant go wrong with pears and vanilla in the same jar. I do need to make more pear preserves or pear honey as some people call it. I will post the recipe for the vanilla pear butter after I make it to make sure it is worth the effort.
So I'm off to enjoy my coffee and baileys Irish cream with caramel. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, September 10, 2010

Kicking around and doing very little

I think I got up today and should have just stayed in bed. I did get to sleep in a little bit. But seems the longer I lay in bed the more I hurt. I know that don't make a lot of sense but thas just how it is. Then I had my usual coffee, well several cups, and went to the store to get a few things I needed to make gumbo when I butcher the last of my standard breed chickens. As of now, that wont happen till Sunday as it is posed to rain tomorrow. But anyway, I didn't take my pain meds this morning and by noon I was hurting really bad. Just makes me miserable all day and the meds have a hard time catching up to the pain and getting it under control.
After the trip to the store I went to the summer kitchen and started cleaning the bell peppers to get them ready to slice and got the green tomatoes chopped into lil cubes to freeze for fried green tomatoes. My plan is to make a medium cornbread batter and add the green tomato cubes to fry like fritters. I am thinking this will be easier to do than trying to keep cornmeal on wimpy thawed tomatoes later. So got that all done and the peppers sliced and all of this in the freezer. While I was putting bags in the freezer, I remembered the beef fat and scraps that Rodger had brought home from the company picnic. I put those in my little pressure cooker and cooked those for Luna so she can have some good stuff when the weather gets colder. She don't eat much for a big dog and especially if it is hot outside. On the subject of dog food, most people you talk to think that dog food is better for the dogs than "people food". From what I have read on the net and other places that is just not the case. I do think God put animals here for us for a reason. So we are to care for them and make their life as good as possible. After all, my dog especially, does a lot for me. She is my guardian and the protector of the home front. And she does it very well I might add. So to me she is entitled to good quality food. I don't feed her garbage so why should I feed her just bagged dog food that has heaven knows what in it. So for this reason, when I make stock or we have leftovers that I think Luna would like, I give them to her. I know then for a fact that she has had food that is not loaded with salt and other preservatives.As matter of fact dogs require way more calcium than do humans and maybe with the cooked meats and bones she will get a good dose of calcium. Also great Pyrenees have a tendency to have problems with cartilage tears and joint problems.
After we had supper I had Rodger and Jason go pick me some apples off the tree behind the old home place. Rodger came back with only 1 -5 gallon bucket. He said there were not many on the tree and the ones he did get had some bad spots on them. He ran the apple peeler for me and I did the final trim and cutting them up and I now have 2 dehydrators loaded and a small bag left to fry. Maybe we can have fried apples and biscuits for breakfast in the morning. And a cup o coffee, yummy, breakfast of champions.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

The last of the tomatoes,peppers, beans are producing

I went to the garden this evening while Rodger was taking the fence down and getting it ready to mow over. I picked the very last of the tomatoes and more bell peppers. Our tomatoes were a bust this year. We barely had enough to can what we need to do us. I have maybe 2/3 of a 5 gallon bucket of green and ripe one to use up before they rot. The peppers are plentiful but smaller than they have been in years past.

I got to get a good look at my tobacco worm beans this evening too. Gosh the bugs had a field day while I was gone on vacation. I did get them sprayed and the top part of the vines are doing good and are loaded with beans. The beans on the lower part of the vines are bug bitten but I think I can salvage enough for a mess for supper tomorrow night. The beans would be so much nicer if we got a little bit of rain on them.
They look like they are dying but they are pretty and green toward the top where the bugs didn't make it too.

All 9 pints of my pickled chopped jalapenos sealed and are ready for the cellar. But thas tomorrows project. the cellar needs to be cleaned up and better organized too.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sadly the garden is ending

Fall has to be my all time favorite time of year. It brings cooler weather, a much appreciated relief from the dog days of summer. And with fall comes the end of the garden and its bounty. We still have a few things left in the garden that will produce up till frost most likely. The sweet potatoes will grow till closer to time for frost. The tomatoes are pretty much done producing. Some small ones still on the vine will try to ripen. Maybe they can be frozen for fried green tomatoes. I have some green beans that are just now starting to produce. I am going to try to at least pick a mess of those tomorrow. I planted several different kinds of dried beans. Those still need to be picked and shelled. I also still have several pepper plants with peppers on them that will ripen as the weather cools a bit more. The vines have started to die on the cushaws and those need to be harvested and put in the cellar for winter. When the weather is cold is the best time to make cushaw butter to can and for pies. Also have a LOT of butternut squash to put in the cellar. There are probably 20 huge watermelons in the garden that are not ripe yet. If we have more than we can use I think I will freeze some watermelon puree just for fun. I think it would make a nice treat when the snow is falling. A sweet reminder of summer time.
All I have done today is slice a 5 gallon bucket of sweet bell peppers for the freezer. I had 4 gallon zip top bags of those. Still more in the garden to slice to use in gumbo this weekend.
I did order more cornish cross chicks to raise for fryers this morning. They should be here by the end of the month. Then butchered 6 weeks later in really cool weather. I guess I need to save some canning jars for canning venison when the guys go hunting this fall. I do want to make and can some Hungarian Goulash. Some how I don't think I want the canning season to end this year. Maybe it is because I have such a nice place to work in with my summer kitchen. I has been a real pleasure to work out there this year.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

More pickled peppers

I finally got the jalapeno peppers taken care of this evening. I had a bright idea, or at least I thought it was bright. I had thought of making and canning chipotle in adobo sauce using the jalapenos. I got to checking and didn't have enough propane in my small tank that goes to the smoker to do them. Dang it!! and I was all happy thinking I would make chipotle and can it. Oh well such is my life. But instead I just chopped them in the food processor and used the banana pepper recipe to can them as chopped jalapenos. I do like to use those in scrambled eggs for breakfast when I decide to make breakfast. Only thing is I just hate having to chop just a few. So these jars will be a big convenience for me.
Rodger took the weed eater to the garden this evening and mowed the tall grass back from my tobacco worm beans and the remaining pepper plants. Maybe I wont get ticks and chiggers every time I get in the garden now. I hope to get some tobacco worm beans picked and canned the end of this week. If not then surely by the first of next week I should have some. Fall is fast approaching and we are trying to get things out of the garden so it can be plowed up and the chicken houses cleaned out and manure spread on the new garden spot. While Rodger was in the garden I had ask him to pick my bell peppers and bring them in while I was canning the jalapenos. So now I have a 5 gallon bucket of bell peppers to seed, slice and freeze tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow I can find time to do some house cleaning and laundry. Provided my knee don't act up like it has today. Some how I twisted my left knee last week and it is not really getting any better. Gosh I sure don't want to go to the doc for this. Sure glad my house is single level cause I sure cant do steps right now.
So til next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Picking more peppers, picked seed corn,canning peanuts

The day started on a sad note with my friend Deb leaving. She and her hubby Danny headed  back to Mississippi this morning around 7 am. Dang I miss her already, house seems empty. The kids have all gone home now too. We really had a nice weekend with Deb, Danny, Josh and our kids. I am waiting on a phone call from Deb to let me know they have arrived safely at their house. And sure looking forward to many more visits with them.
Later this evening I went to the garden and picked my jalapeno peppers and gathered my sweet corn that I want to save for seed. The jalapenos will be chopped and pickled. I like the peppers in scrambled eggs but just hate to make the mess chopping just a few. That prompted me to just chop them first and pickle the  chopped peppers to make it easier. I also think I will have some green beans to can after all this year. The tobacco worm beans that I planted after fathers day have beans on them and they should be ready to pick this coming week. I got a lot to do this week. The apples on the tree at the old farm house are ripe and ready to peel and dry, so those will need taken care of. And the bell peppers are getting ripe and I need to get those sliced and frozen and some dried. Then hopefully I can finish butchering chickens this coming weekend as well. I didn't get the roosters butchered from the young birds that I have when Deb was here. I am thinking I will make and can more gumbo.
Saturday evening after Danny got here, Deb and I started canning the peanuts that he brought up. I have learned that in the south boiled peanuts are much more common than roasted. But the boiled one must be green and still damp, not dried in the shell for roasting. The process is easy. You soak the peanuts in several changes of water to get out all the dirt and parboil them for 10 minutes in clean water. Then you make a brine of 1 cup of salt to each gallon of water and bring to a boil. Pack the peanuts into jars and pour the boiling brine over them, put on lids and process at 10 lb pressure for 50 minutes for quarts and 40 for pints. They are really good.

We also got some raw peanuts for roasting and I got those roasted last night. Just put in roasting pan in 350 degree oven for about 1 hour stirring often and check after about 45 minutes for doneness. Remove from oven and cool and store. Not hard to do and tasty.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Pickling peppers, making jelly

We got a few things done today that we wanted to accomplish without working ourselves to death. We had picked almost a bushel of peppers last evening and we planned to pickle some of them for Deb to take home. We had them in the salt water over night. For the 2 gallon of peppers you need 1 gallon of water and 1 1/2 cups salt.  This morning we drained and rinsed them and packed them into jars. While Deb packed the peppers I made the pickling solution. It consist of 10 cups vinegar, 2 cups water, 1/2 cup sugar and about 1 tablespoon chopped garlic if you like the garlic flavor. Heat to boiling and pour over peppers in the jars. Cap jars and they will seal. If you want you can water bath them to help with sealing, this would need 10 minutes for pint jars. I don't water bath.

We had picked wild plums earlier in the week to make jelly and I got as far as making the juice. We went back to the tree today and picked a few more plums to make a lil more juice as I didn't have quite enough. After straining the juice I had enough to make a batch of jelly and 1/2 cup left over. Plum jelly is one of Rodgers favorite jellies. It is a really pretty jelly once it is made.
Debs hubby Danny will be here tomorrow so I thought I might try to have some extra things cooked to feed everyone this weekend. So I have 2 pies in the oven, 1 apple and 1 cherry from the pie fillings I made and canned a couple years ago. They are sure smelling good. Am thinking they would be good with some ice cream.
Our weather is supposed to be really nice this weekend. Saturday day temps are posed to be mid 70's, and night time lows of high 40's. Just perfect for a get together with family and friends. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

More canning experiments

You remember yesterday I tole ya that Deb and I had went to visit Rosie and I always go to the Amish salvage store. Well we got several things to stock up on that we needed and when we were checking out we saw a sign on the counter that said "Free 10 lb jowl bacon with $10 order". Well Deb and I both got the free jowl bacon. Deb had canned some regular bacon before to use when they go camping in Mississippi but this was a new one for me. So today we skinned and sliced the jowl bacon and put it in pint jars for canning. You slice the bacon and place it in the jar till it is as full as you like without packing too tight and don't add any liquid, put the lid on the jar and process in pressure canner at 10 lb pressure 75 minutes for pints. When they were done there was a layer of grease in the bottom of the jar and the bacon strips were still strips. Deb said you simply take the bacon out of the jar and use the grease to fry as usual till crisp. No refrigeration or freezing needed. This way if the freezer goes out or we have a power outage my bacon will still be good. Pretty cool idea.
This evening we went to the garden to pick banana peppers to can for Deb to take home and ended up picking nearly a bushel. And no we are not pickling all those. (pickle recipe in previous post)We do have about 3 gallon in salt water over night and then we can those tomorrow. Now we need something new to can, or at least something one of us hasn't canned. While we were in the garden I sprayed my Tobacco worm beans for bugs. They do have little beans on the vines now and Idon't like the bugs leaving spots on my beans that I want to can. The tomatoes are all but done. We did harvest most of the winter squash and some cushaws for Deb to take home with her.
Our weather has been so nice this week. Sunny but not unbearably hot. This weekend is posed to be high in the mid 70's, just perfect for a cook out.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Home again

We are finally back home again. My friend Deb and I went to see another mutual friend yesterday and spent the night. So Deb got to meet Rosie and us girls went shopping today. Well it was shopping to us but actually we went to a flea market and stopped by a couple Amish stores. We had a good day and found some bargains along the way.
While we were at Rosies house we went with her to milk this morning. She raises goats and milks them. So Deb set out to help milk. The goats are so sweet and well mannered.

Above is Deb milking.
And Rosie finished up and we had fresh milk in our coffee this morning before we went off shopping. I always enjoy visiting with Rosie and her family. We got started home kinda later or at least later than I had planned. Home again and pretty tired. So its off the bed soon as we have some canning to do tomorrow. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.