Saturday, August 17, 2013

More Canning

Another busy week of canning.  It's that time of year when every day there are new tomatoes and cucumbers ready to be picked. I was canning the other day when I heard a tapping on the front door. I figured it was one of the neighborhood kids but instead...
It was my ladies, looking for some attention

This is the sink full of tomatoes that I started with on Friday morning.

The pepper plants are slowly but surely coming on

Time to make some pasta sauce!  I just throw everything in the stock pot and let is cook for a few hours.  Then I use my submersible blender (LOVE that gadget!) to blend it all together.  I add a bunch of spices, let it cook for another hour or so and then jar it up!

Pop it in the pressure canner for 15 minutes and viola...

Homemade pasta sauce-this will taste AWESOME on a cold January day

Matt's dad, Dan, wanted to help out today so Matt busted him out of the rehab center (where he has been recovering since being discharged from the hospital) for a few hours, a field trip which he greatly enjoyed.  We made a batch of salsa and tried something new too.

A fb friend gave me a bunch of jalepeƱo and hot banana peppers.  My kids love hot peppers on their sandwiches and burgers so I thought, why not try canning our own.  I'll have to let you know how they turn out once the kids have a chance to try them.  I am not the pepper-belly of the family so you will not be hearing my opinion on them.  My fingers are still burning just from touching them today. 

Ready for the canner

We ended up with 12 half-pints of peppers, 5 quarts of salsa, and 15 quarts of tomato sauce. Whew...I'm exhausted. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

AJ - Three Years Home

Today is AJ's third anniversary of the day he arrived in Kentucky.  Three years ago today he was getting off the plane, not speaking a word of English; today he started the 4th Grade.  He is still a soccer phenom, loves Kentucky basketball and football, and enjoys watching movies and listening to Dad read stories.  He is very talented with his hands and quite good at building and fixing all kinds of things.  In the last year he has had an unbelievable growth spurt - we can hardly keep him in clothes!

Here is our little guy getting off the plane in Kentucky and meeting Mom for the first time. Just to give you an idea of how much he has grown, Amy is 5' 7".  Today, AJ measured in at 5' 3.5"

Amsalu in Ethiopia the day before flying to America

It's hard to believe how tiny he was in that first week home.

Just to give you an idea how much AJ has grown this year - take a look at this picture from one year ago at Gettysburg.

AJ's first Sunday in Kentucky - 2010 / Sunday, August 11, 2013

Hard to believe this is the same kid!

Odds & Ends

Here are a few odds and ends that have nothing to do with gardening to wrap up the summer:

Essie really wanted to have her picture taken with her new zebra shower cap.

Essie was also very pumped to find one of Dad's old Kentucky t-shirts from when he was a kid that now fits her.  Pitino's Bombinos - now that's a throwback for a 7-year-old.

Matt's dad has been in the hospital since having a heart attack last November.  After 9 months, he was finally well enough to go out on the town to celebrate his 36th wedding anniversary.  Though a long road of rehab still awaits, we are so happy to have him feeling better.

There are three folks in our house that can rock neon colors.  They are all under the age of 12.

Sunday duds

Someone gave us free passes to our local movie theater, so we celebrated (commemorated? mourned?) the end of summer by going to see Despicable Me 2.  Dad loves the minions.

On the night before school began, Matt's dad was able to join us for a last bash of the summer at his favorite restaurant - Fiesta Mexico.  He also got to see his new house for the first time, since we moved Matt's mom in next door to us this summer.

Garden Update

A few fb friend have asked about the size of my garden, etc. Here's a little update.

Friday, August 9, 2013

What A Week

The garden is in full swing thanks to 80+ degree days and frequent thunderstorms.  I have been canning my little tail off (much to the chagrin of my kids who have to help me). A FB friend asked the other day how big my garden is and its about 20 x 60 ft.  Its totally enclosed by a fence and I grew the tomatoes and cucumbers up the fence to save on space this year. I'll try to take a video of it soon to give you a better idea.  I tried the other day but my phone blitzed out.
This is pretty much what I'm picking every day.  Two ice cream pails of tomatoes and 6-8 cucumbers.  I will be so disappointed if I don't get cucumbers like this next year because they are my favorite vegetable!

Love it when you grow the perfect tomato! This variety is known as Mountain Pride and I've really enjoyed growing them this year.  Nice, round fruit.  I don't have as many Romas as I would have liked because of the frost that got most of my plants, but a friend gave me a bunch of his leftover seedlings of Early Girl, Beefsteak and some that lost their label so not exactly sure what else.

Grandma joined us for a bean snapping party last Saturday.

Finished beans

Our neighbor grew this giant cabbage. Why???  I'm not sure because they just let it rot, but my ducks surely enjoyed it.

We also processed the 2nd five gallon bucket of pears that we picked at my parents' house.
The top jars are pearsauce.

Finally...Amy's Backyard Eggs went official today.  I've been selling my duck eggs through a friend at the local farmer's market for the last few weeks.  They are increasing in popularity and my friend suggested I start labeling them so people know exactly where they come from.  Matt and I thought about calling them Amy's Backyard Chicken & Duck Eggs just so we could call it ABCDE for short but kept it simple in the end. Oh! If I just had more land, think of all the eggs...oh well, I'm super stoked with having enough to sell so I'll just have to keep dreaming for now. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ducks Foraging

Too busy to write but wanted to share these videos of the ducks and new hens.