Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Freezing Corn

We managed to pick 46 ears of corn the other day.
Out of the 46 there were about 5 that weren't good either because of bugs,
bad spots or not being developed enough.
So after eating some, 
I had 30 something ears of corn to do something with.
I opted to freeze it, not because of my canning phobia,
but because many recommend freezing as the best method.
First you husk the corn.
Remove as much silk as possible- using a brush if needed.
The Corn then needs to be blanched,
so start a pot of water boiling while you husk.
Place cobs in boiling water for 4 minutes.

Immediately place cobs in a bowl of ice water.
This stops the cooking process.
Leave in the ice water for about the same amount of time you blanched them
(4 minutes).
Next, cut the corn off the cob.
There were suggestions to use a bundt pan to hold the corn.
This would work great if you have fat cobs.

I didn't, so I found that just holding it on a plate was better
(the cob kept sliding further into the hole in the pan.

Your corn will look clumped, but don't worry, 
it will break apart into single kernels when you bag it.
The finished product- 2 quart bags of fresh corn ready for the freezer.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

There's An App For That

While checking out tips on canning
(because while I have obtained the tools, I'm still quite intimidated by the whole process)
I came across an app for my iPhone.
Seems Mother Earth News
has a free app for canning.
I of course downloaded it.
I'll let you know if it's helpful
(you know, once I get over my canning phobia).

Monday, July 29, 2013

Pickles in the Jar

 Sunday night I made 6 more quarts of refrigerator pickles.
My first batch was a success
with the exception of 1 pint of pickles that tasted totally of apple cider vinegar.
Despite that one issue, 
I went ahead with these 6 quarts. 
And as promised, here is the recipe:
Garlic Dill Refrigerator Pickles
Makes 3 pints- 2 pints=1 quart so double recipe makes 3 quarts
2 pounds cucumbers 
(I didn't really weigh any, I just cut up and used what would fit in the jar)
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups water
2 Tablespoons pickling salt
6 garlic cloves (2 per jar)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper per jar
1 teaspoon dill seed per jar
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns per jar

Wash and slice cucumbers
In large saucepan combine vinegar water and salt, bring to simmer
Dole out spices to each jar
Pack cucumbers firmly into jars- you want them packed tight without damaging them
Pour the brine into the jars leaving 1/2 inch head space
Tap jars gently on counter top to dislodge any air bubbles
Apply lids and let jars cool
When they've reached room temperature place in refrigerator
Let them sit for at least 48 hours before eating.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The State of the Garden

These are apparently Mexican Bean Beetle larvae.
We made the choice to pull up the bush bean plants
as a large majority are chewed up presumably by these critters.
We have pole beans growing now so we'll still have plenty of beans.
The broccoli is also gone.
Sadly, the pumpkin plants will also be pulled up
having been decimated by squash bugs
and powdery mildew.
The squash plants aren't looking so hot either,
but at least I can replant those.
The peas are pooping out.
Some of the pea plants got too wet and mushy.
On an up note, I'm going to be a canning fool
(provided I figure out how to can)
because we're going to have more tomatoes than we'll know what to do with.
And we've frozen 17 quarts of squash, 2 quarts of beans (with 3-4 quarts still to freeze), 2 quarts of chopped green bell pepper, a quart of chopped hot pepper
and a quart of peas.
The corn still looks great (knock on wood)
and we have a zillion peppers.
Now, I'm thinking along the lines of fall/winter gardening.
Kale maybe?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


With the garden producing copious amounts of veggies,
I needed to get going on the preserving otherwise all the time, 
effort and money but into the garden would be wasted. 
I started with pickles. 
I've never made pickles.
And because I have yet to gather all my canning needs,
I went with a recipe for refrigerator garlic dill pickles
(if they taste good, I'll share the recipe).

I ended up with 4 quart jars and 3 pint jars.
We get to taste them on Thursday,
hopefully they're good or I wasted a lot of cucumbers
(though there are plenty more where they came from).
I also cut enough zucchini and squash to fill 7 quart freezer bags.
There's still an entire basket of squash and more in the garden. 
I see zucchini bread in my future.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Back in the Day

 I discovered I'm not the only one in my family who takes pictures of my chickens.
Apparently it's genetic.


 If I had cows I'd take pictures of them too

Friday, July 12, 2013


This year, our corn is looking pretty good.
We used to try growing corn when we first moved here,
but every time there was a strong wind it blew over.
Eventually, we stopped bothering to grow it.
This year, however, my son was insistent that we try it again
(because corn is one of the few veggies he eats).
I researched some ideas and decided to make the rows of corn perpendicular 
to the other rows in the garden.
This would leave the widest opening facing the area of the prevailing winds
with the hope that the corn wouldn't blow over as the wind had less resistance. 
It worked until the day we had back to back storms
which blew over a large section of the corn.
But with some ingenuity,
we think we've overcome the problem.

I came up with the idea of creating a windbreak out of garden stakes and burlap.
We've had a couple of strong storms since then
and the corn is still growing tall.
Next year, I think I'll get thicker stakes
as the weight of wet burlap bows the ones I have now
and even snapped off one of them.
Still, I think we might actually managed some corn this year!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Chicken Strips

This is one of the new pullets.
She's a red sexlink or red star which is a hybrid between a Rhode Island Red Rooster
and either a White Rock, Silver Laced Wyandotte, Rhode Island White or Delaware hen.
They are prolific egg layers laying 300 eggs a year on average.
I immediately named her Blaze Starr.
For those who aren't in the know,
Blaze Starr was a famous stripper and Burlesque star in Baltimore in 1950's.
Later she sold handcrafted jewelry in a local mall
(I once owned a pair of her earrings)
and she owns and operates the Two O'Clock Club on the Block in Baltimore.
 So how did I go from red sexlink pullet to stripper?
Well sexlink-sex-stripper
Red Star- Blaze Starr
and they both have red "hair"
I think I'm probably the only person in the world
with a chicken named after a stripper.
(the chicken on the left is named Zombie, 
probably the only one to have a chicken named that too)