Summer in Oregon

It has been a busy summer here in Oregon.  Last week I canned 21 quarts of peaches and baked a peach pie.

The garden isn’t doing as well as last summer but it still nice to have.  The spaghetti squash alone has been wonderful!

Last week I picked a gallon of blackberries.  The blackberries grow wild and are everywhere!  I am going to try to find a recipe for blackberry salsa.  I had it on salmon once when I was visiting the coast.  Oh. My. Goodness.  Talk about delicious!

I’ve been doing some crafty things, as usual.  It is just fun to lose myself in some creative endeavor.

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Missing In Action

Boy!  I just realized how long it has been since I blogged.  I have been so busy lately.  I have been up to creative endeavors, as well as spending 6 weeks with bronchitis.  I coughed so hard that I broke my own ribs.  They are still healing, but  let me tell you… OUCH!  LOL!

I’ve also read a number of books.  I am reading the Richard Paul Evans series “The Walk”.  Number four in the series came out and I had pre-ordered it for my Kindle.  I had them read in two days.  I love this series!  I actually thought it would end with this book, but no, there is still one more to come.  It reminds me of when we rented “The Hobbit”.  I had no idea it was going to be more than one movie.  Then I talked to my son and he said the it was going to be THREE movies.  Anyhow, I digress… “The Walk” has been a great read!  I can’t imagine taking a walk from Seattle to Key West, as the main character does, but I enjoy reading about his adventures both good and bad.  Evans is such an accomplished author.  He makes you fall in love with the characters.

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In a Jam!

We have been canning since July!  This last week I did 21 quarts of pear-apple sauce.  Yesterday we made tomato jam!  If you have never had it, you are missing out!  I have to say that it is my favorite jam we have made so far.  I like it because it isn’t as sweet as some of the berry jams.  So good!

We planted different kinds of tomatoes this year.  One is a yellow tomato.  It is so good!  I would take one of those tomatoes over a red tomato any day.  I love roma tomatoes but these are even better!

I’ve decided that Oregon has two seasons… wet and dry.  It has been dry for months now.  The lawn is brown.  We have to hand water the garden because it costs too much to just let the sprinkler go.

It has been a good summer though.  I have really enjoyed canning and watching the shelves fill up with food.

So I’m going to show just how yummy the tomato jam looks and our delicious yellow tomatoes.  Too bad you can’t taste it.

This is the recipe we used:

Red Tomato Jam

6 Cups tomato pulp

2 pkgs pectin

2 tsp lemon peel grated

1 tsp salt

4 tsp lemon juice

7 Cups sugar

Combine tomato pulp, pectin, lemon peel and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.  Add sugar stirring until dissolved.  Return to a boil.  Boil hard for  one minute stirring constantly. Remove from heat.  Skim foam if necessary.  (We didn’t have any.)  Ladle hot jam into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Place two piece caps on.  Process 10 minutes in boiling water canner.

Yield 5 pints

There’s a chameleon in my garden!

Did you know that there is a chameleon in your garden?  I have found the most versatile vegetable.  It is zucchini!  I know it’s a squash which scares some people, but it is amazing!

A few weeks ago I made zucchini pickles.  They taste just like sweet pickles.  Yesterday I made zucchini pineapple.  It is really good!

It has been years since I canned, but this summer has been really fun!  We have done 60 quarts of green beans, 27 pints of relish, 7.5 pints of pickled figs, 9 pints of zucchini pickles, 24 pints of jam, 3 quarts (and two pints so technically 4 quarts) of sandwich pickles, and 10 pints of zucchini pineapple.

The tomatoes are coming on now but a bunch of them have blossom end rot.  Does anyone know how to stop that?

We have a yellow variety that is as big as the beefsteak variety.  They are absolutely delicious!  I slice them up and eat them plain.

When I was a kid I hated tomatoes!  I remember my parents taking me to a family around the block to babysit me.  Their son hated lettuce.  So when they fed us salad I would give him my tomatoes and he gave me his lettuce.

When I was a kid, and mom fed us tomatoes, my dad always told us the same joke.  “There was a family long ago who had never seen tomatoes and didn’t know if they were good or not. The parents told their children to never eat them.  Little Billy had a stuttering problem whenever he got excited. One day Tommy decided to eat one of these red fruit.  Billy ran crying in to his mother, and all he could spit out was, “Mommy, Mommy, Tom ate O.”  And that is how the tomato got it’s name.”  We always laughed and groaned and shook our heads at that one.

Parents are like that we love to tell our corny jokes and make our children groan!

What jokes or stories do you remember your parents telling?

Garden vs Landscaping

We have these delightful little neighbors that live across the road, Jack and his wife Pat.  They are total sweethearts.  Pat has been so concerned that we don’t have a well groomed yard out front.  (Nate planted new grass this year and it was slow in filling in.)

So sweet little Pat came tootling over from their place with a wheelbarrow full of Iris bulbs.  She explained how the bulbs are dormant, and they need to be separated etc.  I love irises so I was pretty excited!

The funny part was as Pat left she said to me, “Get gardening girl!”  For a second I thought, “What was that supposed to mean?”

Now I am an Idaho girl, born and raised.  A garden to me has something to do with raising fruits and vegetables that we can eat, not flowers.  I’ve had flower beds, and I’ve heard of flower gardens, but that isn’t what comes to my mind first.

Below is a picture of our garden:  peppers, then tomatoes, then cucumbers and zucchini, green beans, peas, grapes and marion berries.  The pumpkins, and squash are not in the picture.

So do you consider this a garden or do you consider planting flowers gardening?  I call it landscaping.

21012 garden

Can you do the can can?

We are growing a garden.  Something I haven’t done in quite a few years now.  It is so fun to watch the hard work start to develop into something.

This week the green beans have come on in a big way!  So we are canning beans.

I love watching the shelves fill up with canned foods!

My hubby is one of the few men I have met who cans food.  He even did it when he was a single dad.  So he is great at working together with me to get all of this done.

Beans are one of the simplest items to can.  Make sure you wash them well.  Trim off the stem.  Just add a teaspoon of canning salt, some water, and green beans.  Then cook in the pressure cooker.  Keeping at 10 pounds of pressure for 25 minutes.

Our goal is 50 quarts of green beans.  We got 28 quarts from the first picking.  So we are well on our way.

We have cucumbers, peas and zucchini that are also ready to pick and use.  In fact we had some zucchini for dinner last night.  I love fresh from the garden vegetables for dinner.

Next we are on to making relish!  Yum yum!

What are you growing in your garden?