Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mostly Canning

August is almost over, somehow, but the harvest continues to come in. I tried some pickled okra. I didn't pack the jars as tightly as I should have. I am learning something new every time I do this. All my new supplies came in this week and, surprise surprise, I had an enameled metal canner in my basement, that I forgot I owned.

Yesterday I made pickled green beans. I think my MIL loves these (or is it okra?), either way I'll be gifting some of these. Supposedly the green beans are wonderful as a replacement for the celery garnish in a Bloody Mary.

Moon vines on my front porch. They bloom at night, right behind my porch swing, but it's usually too buggy out for me to spend much time there. The idea of it is nice.

Parsley worms on my parsley. These will turn into Swallowtail Butterflies, so I allow them to feast all they want. Ds is loving watching them eat, there are about 6 big ones and a tiny one. Hope to be able to watch them make their cocoons, they camouflage them very well.

He was sitting like a statue. So hard to take a good picture of a black cat inside my dark house.

It's been a tough week, with a family emergency and other things going on. Dd was very good during the crisis and babysat her brother, taking care of all the details at home for me while I was gone. She's a good kid.

I'm getting ready to start a little embroidery project if I can ever make it out to the store for floss. I am IN LOVE with the new
Ottobre Woman. I have no suitable fabric, so I'm going to have to do a little shopping if I'm going to make anything at all. Darn it.


Friday, August 21, 2009

All I have to Show for Myself

School started two weeks ago, so you would think I would be luxuriating in all my extra free time. Instead, it's been parties.

We had dd's 13 birthday party at a painting studio. They had fun and I really didn't have much to do in way of prep, etc. so it was pretty easy. After that I had a book club meeting at my house, which means a lot of cleaning and cat fur removal, since the cats sleep in the living room, where the party was held. We had back to school parties (exhausting evenings out in the heat), more book club, curriculum night at school, etc. I am tired.

Of course, by the calendar, and my garden, it's still summer. I finally made some Pepper Jelly. I made this a couple of summers ago, and the tartness of the cider vinegar works some kind of magic on the peppers. Much better than blandly sweet store bought jelly. Wish I could figure out how to keep the peppers from floating to the top.

Also, I made a pepper relish, which is not sweet. Not sure if I'm going to like this, and I had problems with the jars leaking during processing, so I'm a little unsure about it.

I finally decided to break down and buy some Serious Canning Supplies along with the Famous Blue Book and this newer book. Of course now that I've ordered them I'm pining away. . .

I'm planning to make pickled okra next week. The okra's coming in at last and I had to throw a bag out because I didn't get around to it -- hate that. Still freezing green beans, but tomatoes and peppers are slowing down. Summer isn't over for me yet.


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Harvest Time

This is my fruit bowl in the kitchen. The tomatoes are here and they came all at once. Needless to say, I've been spending a lot of my time in the garden or putting away things from the garden.

Green beans, white half runners. I really don't tire of these. I snap them while I watch TV and they freeze easily. I've been trying to cook them in the pressure cooker (like my Mom does) but I keep letting them dry out and burn. Maybe I should start measuring the water more exactly.

Next year, plant only one jalapeno plant. I plan on making jelly from these. I've used them in quacamole and salsa and I want to make some poppers too.

Tomato ripening spot. I had an attack of ants, so I had to move everything to the other side.

Varieties: Green Zebra, Celebrity, Mortgage Lifter, Cherokee Purple. The Celebrity is a hybrid, the rest heirloom. I'm finding the Celebrity bears more fruit, but it's not as tasty. Cherokee Purple is least prolific.

If you have read Crazy Aunt Purl lately, she's been making salads from Marc Bittman's 101 Summer Salads article. Here is a picture of #2, peach and tomato salad. I've also made #1, watermelon and tomato, #21 avocado cucumber, and #54 roasted red peppers and mozzarella. These are fun and easy and things I mostly have around anyway. Wish I wasn't the only at my house who eats them! I think today I'll make a tuna salad for lunch (#59) and eat it with tomatoes.

We have back-to-school open houses today and tomorrow. I am ready. We're taking it easy this week before we have to submit to the routine on Monday. I'm having dd's 13th birthday party at an art place on Saturday, so not a whole lot for me to do on that. I'm very much between projects when it comes to knitting/crochet/sewing, but I did finish a crochet project which I'll try to post tomorrow.


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

No Pattern Brown Skirt

I bought this brown cotton gauze at JoAnn's the other day. I searched through my patterns for a skirt pattern, wanting basically a straight skirt with a ruffle at the bottom. Couldn't find anything, so I made it without a pattern. It fits just fine, think I'm going to like it.

I measured the widest point of my hips (saddlebag area for me) and added two inches for ease, plus seam allowance. The fabric was thin, so I doubled the upper section, basically making two skirts and sewing them together at the top and bottom.

I doubled the ruffle too, cutting a 12" strip, 1 and 1/2 times the width of the skirt, folded it in half lengthways and pressed it. Then gathered it and sewed it on. I didn't want to make a narrow hem on the ruffle and I had enough fabric double it. It's much easier and I think it hangs nicely with the extra weight.

I cut the front waist two inches lower than the back, for tilted waist. I used 1/2" elastic for the waist. Very comfy. I love these fast and easy projects. I have an almost identical skirt I made a couple of years ago, but the brown fabric has sequins on it and my kids make fun of me for wearing it. I guess sequins are not a look I can pull off, imagine. . .


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