Things that keep us busy

Despite the wretched, no-relief heat, utter lack of rain and a well that’s on the fritz, the garden is faring decently.

The squash and melon and cucumber plants all look so wilted and pathetic during the day, but they perk right back up once the sun starts going down.

Ignore the brown, crispy peas…I need to get them outta there. The Swiss Chard is non-stop!

Sweet potatoes in the foreground, peppers (sweet, habanero, jalapeno and chili) and tomatoes.

The peas are kaput, they don’t tolerate heat at all, and the spinach and the broccoli have bolted, but the tomatoes, scallop squash and beans? Oh, boy, they are producing like mad.

The good stuff.

The Yukon Gold cherry tomatoes and Sweet 100 cherries have been so productive I was starting to wonder how many I could tolerate eating before I was just plumb sick of ’em. So, what’s a girl do with pounds and pounds and pounds of cherry tomatoes?

Well, can them of course!

Preparing to make good stuff.

I decided to make pickled cherry tomatoes. It’s a quick and easy recipe from the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving and requires only water bath processing.

Eisley Wax Hot Peppers, from my sister’s garden.

The man requested a bit of hot added to a couple of the jars, so, we inserted a whole dried Eisley Wax Hot Pepper into a couple of the jars next to the fresh rosemary and garlic. The peppers were gifted to me from my sister’s garden, and they are SPICY HOT! I won’t be tasting those particular jars. They are all his.

The first jars are packed and in the canner for 10 minutes.

Ever notice how waiting for a pot to boil can take FOREVER? Especially when you have to do it a few times.

Such pretty jars.

We ended up with 12 pints and 4 quarts of pickled rosemary/garlic cherry tomatoes. And I still had plenty of cherry tomatoes left, I was just done with canning at that point. And I ran out of pint jars and I’m saving the quart jars for more beans.

Here’s the recipe I used.

Pickled Grape Tomatoes

Yield: 4 pints

2 quarts grape tomatoes

1 teaspoon canning salt

1 cup white wine vinegar

1 cup white vinegar

1 quart water

4 cloves garlic

3 sprigs fresh rosemary

Wash and drain tomatoes. Combine salt, the vinegars and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Pack grape tomatoes into hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Add 1 clove garlic and 1 sprig rosemary to each jar. Ladle hot liquid over tomatoes, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

Oh! I love getting a call from the post office at 6 a.m…. “Hey, you have a box here, and it’s peeping!” We got 31 broilers and 12 more laying hens in this batch: 2 Ancona, 3 Black Jersey Giants, 4 Americaunas and 3 Rhode Island Reds.

Oh, such tired babies! It was a long trip.

A few more weeks and the two latest litters of bunnies will be ready to head to freezer camp. Bunnies have got to be among some of the cutest babies ever. Kayleigh has already claimed one to keep, a little rust-colored doe who is fairly large. She’ll be a good addition to the breeding stock.

Well, hello there little bunnies, all clustered in front of the fan and waiting for their bottles of ice.

It’s hard to keep them comfortable in this heat, but we do what we can with fans and 2 liter bottles of ice. They eagerly await their ice bottles every day and lay next to them all day long.

Seriously, where are the ice bottles! Soon, little bunnies, soon.

Kayleigh has been really on top of the bottles during this heat. We did, unfortunately, lose one litter during the hottest part of this horrible heat. Ten 100+ days in a row were too hard on the week old kits. We won’t breed any of the does again until late August.

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