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Friday, August 29, 2014

Canning marathon

It has been a busy past few weeks here on the homestead. With the lose of my mom, then 11 days later my uncle passed away unexpectedly. The garden has really done well this year. Although with all the chaos we did lose a good bit of our sweet corn. When dealing with a lose its really hard to pick and put up garden stuff too. I think we probably lost about 1/3 total as it got too hard before we could get to it. The green beans also went a little too long. Lots of them as of last picking had turned yellow, ripe and had to be shelled out to can with the rest. This tells the plant "mission accomplished" as in it has produced seed and is done living so they stop flowering and start to turn yellow and lose leaves. End of the bean patch for the most part. Same thing is happening with our tomatoes. Not being able to pick them as they ripen creates big loses with them rotting on the vine. But not much can be done about all that. Am very thankful for what we do have and have canned. We are still picking tomatoes but its sad to see all those rotted ones in the patch. Last week we canned 21 quarts of green beans, 22 quarts of bean soup, and 21 quarts of veggie soup with venison in it. So we make progress. Rodger and I went to the garden last evening and picked tomatoes and bell peppers. I am guessing about a bushel of tomatoes and close to that many big bell peppers. All still need to be worked up. Not sure what the hell I did to my back but when I rolled, and I do mean "rolled" out of bed this morning I could not stand up straight. Bending over is just out of the question. I went out to let the chickens out for the day and did as Rodger told me and took my cell phone with me. All was good till on the way back in the house I dropped the phone in the grass. Not able to bend over to pick it up, I had to kick it over near the out building so I could have something to hold onto and bend down and pick up my phone. So back in the house I took muscle relaxers, Advil and anti-inflammatory meds and went back to my bed. I was a tad bit better this afternoon when I got up but a totally wasted unproductive day in my book. So I still have tomatoes, bell peppers and hog plums to get taken care of tomorrow. They cant wait any longer. Of course Rodger will be here to help tomorrow so I think we can get it done.

It is time to get my order in for Cornish cross chickens so we have some meat in the freezer to last till the spring batch. But before I have a place to put them I will need to get my older laying hens in the jars. We plan to butcher at least 12 of them this weekend while the men folk are off work for the Labor day weekend. And labor we will. I still have 31 young birds to get raised up and butchered off as well. Something tells me I will be in the winter butchering chickens, again.

I must say thank you to all my kind sweet readers who sent prayers and their condolence on moms passing. So nice to know that total strangers, or friends I have not met in person is a better term are so thoughtful. From all of us here, A heart felt thank you.

Not much else happening here on the farm, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Garden in full production, Moms passing

Our garden is in full production right now. Although I did lose the last of my sweet corn. It was just not important last week. We had other sad things to endure. My mom passed away suddenly August 8th. She had been doing really well after her stroke in April and up till about 2 hours before she passed. I find comfort in the fact that she did not suffer at all. My suspicion is she had another stroke or threw a clot. We buried her beside daddy on Tuesday. The week prior we were planning on Amoy and Liam visiting for a week and were scheduled to pick them up on Saturday at the airport. Rob was not gonna be able to come home with them due to trying to save his vacation time for when our lil Zachary gets here. But as it happened mom passed on Friday night and when we let them know Rob got a flight out of Phoenix for Sunday morning an got home Sunday evening. I was sure happy to get to spend some time with the kids and especially that sweet lil Liam. He just melts our heart.

He just had a hard time getting thru the flowers to get to his momma. He would eventually make a good lil country boy. There is truly nothing greater than grand kids. He did get to walk barefoot in the grass, step in his share of chicken poop, play in a creek, and pick and eat maters right off the vine.

Liam and daddy picking and eating Blueberry tomatoes that I planted in the herb bed. My good friend Deb sent me the seed for the tomatoes. That is the odd thing I grew this year. They are blue to purple in color and get red if they are in the sun. Liam liked em.  Love that precious lil boy. And his momma and daddy too of course.

Our tomatoes in the garden have done great this year. Rob and Rodger picked about 2 1/2 bushels on Sunday and I finally got them worked up on Tuesday. It will be hot for several days then rain for several days and this is hell on tomatoes. It will make them split and crack. Then they rot before they get totally ripe. But we are still having a lot  I made about 15 pints of salsa, and about 8 quarts of mater juice. When I wash and prep the tomatoes to run thru the Squeezo strainer to make juice I squeeze the seed pockets out of them. When they are run thru the strainer the juice comes out almost as thick as tomato sauce. Next project is to make spaghetti sauce to can. Probably this weekend. We had planned on picking green beans and tomatoes this evening but it poured rain till nearly dark. So maybe Rodger can do that tomorrow evening for me. Jason should be able to help him.

 I have to be out of town for visitation Thursday evening and the funeral on Friday for my Uncle Charlie. He was mom's sister Carla(deceased) widower. He had surgery on Monday to remove a tumor in his lung and passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday morning. My cousins are just devastated as to be expected. Two of those cousins were here last week as pall bearers for my mom's funeral. Love them dearly and loved uncle Charlie to pieces. It has sure been a rough couple weeks here on the homestead. Life can change in the blink of an eye. So tell your loved ones you love them today, tomorrow may never come.

In the past month since my last post, I did manage to get all my carrots processed. Some sliced and frozen, chunked and frozen, others shredded and dried. So they are all done. Now if it will just stop raining long enough to get the potatoes dug before they start to sprout with all this rain. I will most likely can most of them this year. We can keep them in the cellar but they do tend to sprout and thus ya lose a lot to sprouting. So if they are in a jar they are good till you decide to use them. So far I have only had time to make one canning of veggie soup and can it. Need to do lots more. Its also time to get the venison we have left out of the freezer and used up before the hunting season starting in October. We don't have much left but its still good and will use it in veggie soup and chili. What ever roast are left I will just can for barbecue or venison and gravy. Nothing goes to waste around here. When I took Rob, Amoy and Liam to the airport Monday I made a run to Sam's club and picked up another 50 lbs of onions to dry and use in soup as I can it. I got more pinto beans too for canning bean soup. We eat lots of soups in winter especially. Just glad Josh was in town that day to go with me to Sam's and help load the car. He is such a good friend to Jason and all of us. It was nice to get to spend some time with him even though it was during moms funeral. Dana and Dalton were taking care of his parents while he was here with us. Just wonderful folks, all of them, that we love like family.

I had planned several weeks ago to get my herbs cut and dried and still don't have it done. They have grown like crazy with all the rain. Maybe next week. God willing it will happen. If not, oh well. We will make do with what we have on hand. We have been more than blessed with our garden this year so I wont complain.

Not much else happening here on the farm. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.