A poem by J.F. Conant

He who loves an old house never loves in vain. How can an old house used to sun and rain, to lilac and to larkspur and an elm above-ever fail to answer the heart that gives it love?

Monday, August 29, 2011

For Joe.....

Happy Tasha Tudor Day...a little late

I am late with this post and I'm sorry. But, I felt it was important to mention was Tasha Tudor (who's birthday was yesterday) is an important role model in my life. 

As many of you know Tasha, was an artist and illustrator and her talent in those areas alone would be enough to warrant admiration. Her real talent, though was at living life on her own terms. Tasha lived as though it was still the early 19th century. She sewed her own clothes and grew her own vegetables. She kept goats and chickens (and corgi dogs, of course! LOL).  She was considered odd by many, but she didn't mind. She was happy in the life she created for herself.

Now, I have no intention of giving up electric lights or cooking on a wood stove and giving up my nice gas stove or even of dressing like it was 150 years in the past. But I do intend to live in a manner that not only makes my heart happy, it's sooths my soul. Just like Tasha did.

So thank you, ma'am for being brave enough to live your life the way you saw fit. Who would have guessed such a tiny little woman could live such a big life! Rest in peace...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

It's that time of year again: Football season!!

Yesterday was the Blue and Gold Scrimmage at Marcus Whitman High School. They divided up the football team (Varsity and J.V.) to make 2 teams and they played a game of football.

 Jim is first string Varsity tackle this year. He's HUGE and that stint on the track team last spring has increased his speed and endurance. Yep. This fall he is a force to be reckoned with on the field!
 The short guy in this photo with Jim, is not so short coach. Jim is now 6 foot 3 and probably 225. That's my baby boy! LOL  It's really hard for me to fathom, even when I see him everyday. You know those car commercials where the dad is loaning the car to his daughter and he is leaning in the window giving last minute instructions and the girl behind the wheel is maybe 6?  That's exactly how I feel about my children!
Here's to a successful Wild Cat season!  Goooooo Jimmy!!! Goooooo Cats!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

It's that time of year again!

what type of beans?After insisting that the forced labor brigade get outside and work in the garden, I was forced to get busy canning!
Normally, I would have been at it for a couple of weeks at least, but due to late planting, I am only just now getting enough produce in to be worth bothering about getting the canner and jars out!

I've been doing this for nearly 30 years on and off and I still check all my canning books to make sure I got it all right. 

If you would like to try putting up green beans the following article should help you get the job done! You are going to love how good you feel in the winter serving your family wholesome vegetables from your own garden. I promise!

What Type of Green Beans are Best For Canning?

You can use any type of green bean you prefer. Make sure that those you are canning are mature and crisp. Make sure that they're the freshest green beans you can find.

how many beans?

How Many Green Beans Should I Can?

For each 1/2 pound of raw green beans you are canning you will need one quart jar. One bushel of un-prepared green beans will produce between 14-20 quart jars.

preparing jars for canning

Preparing Jars for the Canning Process

The first thing to do is get your jars and lids ready. Make sure the jars have no cracks or chips in the rim. More importantly check the jar lids. Do not use metal screw bands that are rusted or dented. You should use new flat lids every time you can. Sterilize the jars and lids. This can be done in boiling water for ten minutes or in the dishwasher using the sterilize cycle.

preparing green beans for canning

Preparing Green Beans for Canning

Wash the beans, trim the ends and cut the beans. Cut the beans to whatever length you prefer. Most people cut their beans 1 to 1 1/2 inches in length, some leave them longer, 3 to 4 inches. I like to put up green beans of different lengths.

Put the raw green beans into a jar leaving one inch of space at the top for expansion during cooking. This is the time to add salt if you like, about 1/2 teaspoon.

Slowly and carefully pour boiling water into the jar just covering the green beans. Use a plastic spatula to remove any noticeable air bubbles. Wipe the rim and place the flat lid and screw band tightly onto the jar. Don't twist the lid on with all your might, just snug them making sure they're tight.

Don't twist the lids after the beans are cooked, this could break the seal.

cooking green beansFinally the beans are starting to come in! Normally, I would have been canning for at least a couple of weeks before now, but with the wet spring....well, things just didn't get planted as early as they normally might.  Anyway

Cooking Green Beans in the Pressure Cooker

Fill your pressure cooker with 3-4 inches of water always follow the manufacturer instructions. It saves time if you have already warmed up the water in the pressure cooker. Carefully place the jars into the pressure cooker. Once the pressure cooker has reached the proper pressure (usually 11 pounds) cook the green beans for 25 minutes adjusting temperature to keep the pressure at the proper pounds.

Carefully take the hot jars out of the pressure cooker and place them on a cooling rack. Let them thoroughly cool, undisturbed.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The 19th annual Fox Run Garlic Festival

Yesterday afternoon my family and I ventured out to Fox Run Vineyards to enjoy this year's garlic festival.  It's always a lot of fun...even in the rain! LOL
Joe and I belong to the wine club, so we got to enjoy a special tasting that include an as yet unnamed white port that was absolutely fabulous! Peter,the head winemaker at Fox Run was kind enough to tell us all about the latest and greatest Fox Run Vintages.

 A couple of years ago, I made the foolish mistake of doing a couple of winetasting and then splitting a bottle of  a lovely white with Joe all on an empty stomach.  It was not a pretty thing. This year I made sure to eat a nice lunch before splitting a bottle of a lovely red with Joe! LOL

Music was provided by an accordian player. He was terrific and the music really enhanced the festival  atmosphere.I did not, however, polka, even after Joe begged me to.I only had split one bottle remember!
There were lots of venders there. Spices, shirts, jewelry, pottery, Corning Glass and, of course, garlic. All kinds of garlic! It this festival is always very, shall we say, aeromatic? LOL

As usual, we had a marvelous time! And came home with some very lovely wines to enjoy at home, with or without all the garlic! LOL

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Today we joined the rod and gun club!

When I was very young my father taught me to shoot. He used to take me hunting with him too. When I got good enough to hit animals, I pretty much quit. Until I met Joe. He was on a target pistol team and we would sometimes go out and shoot at the pistol range. It was fun.  Years later when he had the farm, we would do some target practice from time to time.But since then, it's been pretty slim pickings as far as shooting goes.
 We joined the local conservation club, but they never seem to do much anymore except hold pancake breakfasts. Mind you they are great breakfasts, but not what I really had in mind.
 So today we went out to the rod and gun club in nearby Shortsville They were having a skeet competition. There a leagues and contests and it's really a lot of fun!
I had stopped by the other day, but I wanted to bring Joe by before I wrote a check to join. He was tickled (Gillian, not so much evidently! LOL).

Shooting is sort of a country thing, I guess. I know folks who wouldn't ever even consider firing a weapon, but we enjoy it!

And did you know there are company's that design hunting/shooting clothes especially for women???  http://proishunting.com/index.php
I mean, just because you play with the boys, doesn't mean you have to dress like them too!

So, I hope to get back to my roots a little bit and enjoy some skeet shooting very soon. Anyone else game?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Another musical interlude

Holy Smokes! Where did the time go?

The last few weeks have been a jumble!  I feel as though I have been turning in circles for such a long time I' dizzy! (Well, dizzier then usual. LOL)
Max is my Father-in-law's dog and a recent addition to our family
We had company from Baltimore and then, the following weekend, we drove to Baltimore to visit.  Let me tell you, it was HOT!!! You couldn't breath outside. Airconditioners were struggling to do their job.  Just awful! I believe we saw temps of 114 while we were there.  Way too hot to go to D.C. for site seeing.

Ben, however, did get the tour of a lifetime. His dream is to be a photographer for National Geographic. Our dear friend Lisa, arranged for him to get a tour of the National Geographic building and to meet the editor. Wonderful Ron drove Ben to D.C. (I had to go pick up Joe from BWI) and took pictures for us. Ben was absolutely over the moon! How blessed are we??

My FIL gave us a gift...his not so little Dachshund, Max.  The kids are thrilled!  I have to admit, I've always kinda wanted one...and he's such a sweet guy!
Lisa and her mom, Sandy, and her daughter, Cara came down so that Lisa could participate in another ironman competition
Lisa also inspired me to sign up for another 5K. This time Joe went with. Note to self:  For Pete's sake do not sit on your butt for 2 months and then try to beat your best time on a nasty hot July day!!  I was in pain...I mean real pain for 3 days afterwards! And I didn't even break my personal record! Sigh.
We have been scraping the old paint off the house and repainting piece by piece.
Work on the house is going slowly...but at least it's going. I received 2 nice gift cards for Home Depot (I love that store. Everyone is so nice!) so we went last weekend and bought more paint as well as tile to do the hot tub room and kitchen.  One of these days this old place is going to be a showplace! Just you wait and see!
Jim found a job working at a local corn stand.
We have Ben leaving for the Army in less then 2 weeks. Jimmy went last week and took his ASVAB and physical.  He got the MOS he was hoping for, so signed up for the delayed entry program. He is very excited.

The garden has exploded. I am currently battling cucumber beetles. It is so hard with out using poisons, but I am determined to be as organic as possible. I figure we are exposed to enough poisons everywhere else, I don't need to feed it to my family too.

Joe is still traveling a lot. Currently he is gone 5 days and home 2. Not much time to get anything done and still  have a chance to unwind. Poor fella.

My computer broke. It's working again, but there are issues. Now I need to decide whether to fix it or just get a new one. Sigh.

So between chores, and the garden and trips and visits and hauling the kids around, it's been a crazy busy few weeks.  I hope I can keep up a little better with the blog from here on...

How's you're summer going so far?