Tag Archives: Homesteading

Fresh Off The Vine

We are thankful for a decent grape harvest this year, especially since we had no grapes last year.

We grown both Niagara and Concord grapes. My husband harvested them as they ripened. Since not all of the grapes on the same bunch ripen at the same rate some may have been a little under- ripe and thus more tart than the riper ones.

He ended up harvesting them in three separate batches – each about the size of the one in the above picture. I didn’t weight them but would guess each batch was between two and three pounds.

In the past I have used homegrown grapes to make jelly and wine, but the thing we enjoy the most is drinking grape juice with our breakfast. :)The juice is naturally tart so I add raw honey as a sweetener.

From the three batches I produced 11 pints of juice.

We currently have eight pints in the freezer. Yes, we have enjoyed this juice three times so far with our breakfast and I really don’t think the other 8 pints are going to last very long.

You’ll notice that I did freeze the juice in jars, so I thought I should mention that not all glass jars are suitable for freezing liquids. Jars, like the ones I have used, where the sides are straight and the opening is the same size, or maybe a little larger, than the jar are suitable for freezing. Jars that have a curved sides that form a neck and a smaller opening at the top should not be used for freezing. The following article explains in more detail https://www.gardenbetty.com/how-to-safely-freeze-liquids-in-mason-jars/. The other thing that is necessary when freezing liquids in jars, or other containers for that matter, is to allow plenty of head space in the jar. You can tell in my photo that the jars are not filled all the way to the top – that is what I mean by head space.

Thanks for visiting.

Now tell me do you prefer juice, jelly or wine?

Garden Meals – Eating Well

Despite not following some of the gardening strategies that I had mentioned earlier this year, like planting by the moon and companion planting, our gardens have produced abundant crops. For the last several weeks we have been blessed to be enjoying meals prepared with fresh home grown vegetables. We are thankful to be eating well.

Some of the meals we’ve enjoyed include:

Yesterday’s DinnerBeef Stew (with home grown potatoes, swiss chard, celery, tomatoes and garlic)

Thursday’s Dinner Pepper Steak over White Rice (with home grown bell peppers, tomato and garlic)

Wednesday’s Dinner T-bone Steak, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Acorn Squash and Sautéed Swiss Chard. (with home grown potatoes, garlic, squash, and Swiss chard)

Eggplant Parmesan

Stuffed Cabbage

Spaghetti – with home made/ home grown sauce

Corn on the Cob

Green Beans with Garlic Butter

Swiss Chard

Cucumber Salad

Tomato Sandwich

Banana Pepper Poppers

All this, my friends, is why we do what we do.

The Banana Pepper Poppers are one of our favorite side dishes. They are easy to make so I decided to share the recipe. (Please note that I am one of those cooks who does “a little of this and a little of that” so the amounts do not need to be exact. Feel free to put the word “about” in front of each ingredient listed.)

Banana Pepper Popper Recipe

6 – 3 to 4 inch banana peppers

4 ounces cream cheese softened

1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

three strips of bacon cooked and cut into bits

a few shakes of crushed red pepper (optional)

bread crumbs (optional)

Slice peppers in half lengthwise and remove stem and seeds. Place in baking dish. Mix together the cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, bacon bits and crushed red pepper. Fill each pepper half with cheese mixture. Sprinkle each pepper with bread crumbs (optional). Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 30 minutes (until peppers have softened). Enjoy! 🙂

Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator they are even good eaten cold.

Are you eating any in season vegetables?

Do you have a favorite seasonal recipe you would like to share?

Canning Season

Eating our own homegrown produce throughout the year is one of the benefits of having a large garden but in order to do so it must be preserved. As the tomatoes are ripening I am turning whatever we don’t eat fresh into juice. I will then cook it down into tomato sauce as needed. I did 10 quarts of juice this past week and will be doing more tomorrow.

I also discovered that we had way more cucumbers than we could eat before they went bad, so I decided to make a batch of bread and butter pickles. I haven’t made these in a few years so they will be a nice treat.

Do you do any home canning?

What is your favorite kind of pickle?

Duck Tales

Those of you who were around last summer might remember that in July we had a duck who spend a few weeks visiting our pond.

Well it seems she enjoyed her visit so much that she decided to return this year (at least I am assuming it is the same duck). This year she decided to bring her family.

It was around the first of August that my husband came home from the farm and told me that there was a mother duck with four babies swimming in the pond. “No daddy,” he added.

For the past two plus weeks I have been trying with little success to get some good photos of them. Each time I approach the pond Momma directs her young to quickly swim away, so all of my pictures are taken from a great distance using the zoom feature of my camera. Their colors also blend in with the environment. It may be to their advantage in nature to be somewhat camouflaged, but it is not a recipe for clear photos.

It has been amusing watching the family.

Sometimes they will be calmly swimming along and suddenly one from the rear will zip past the others and take the lead. So cute! 🙂

Other times they will be feeding and all I can see is a mound, or several mounds, of tail feathers sticking up out of the water. Too Funny!

Last weekend they had disappeared. We thought that they had probably moved on. Then on Wednesday, while I was working in the prayer garden, I heard the unmistakable quacking of a duck followed by a splash. When I turned to look I saw the duck family had just entered the water and were being followed by Ranger. He apparently had come across them while sniffing around in the woods but they didn’t want to play. He followed them into the water and even though he is a very good swimmer he lost sight of them because he cannot turn his head to look around while he is swimming. Ranger enjoyed his swim across the pond then went on searching for other adventures, and the duck family spent the rest of the evening paddling around in the pond.

At the time of this posting it has been a few days since I have seen the Duck family. Perhaps they have now moved on for the season but I’m not yet ready to assume that is the case.

Thanks for visiting and until next time Be Well. 🙂

Childs Play

It’s been a busy week around here (with lovely summer weather I might add) and thus left little time for reading or writing. I did however manage to put together this fun little post from some pictures I had previously taken.

Before we get to the fun and games I will mention our two big accomplishments this week. The first was getting the other three hives of honey harvested. We were blessed with a wonderful harvest this year with the four hives yielding more than 40 quarts of beautiful, delicious honey.

The second was getting the garlic cleaned and sorted. You may remember that we had a small crop this year (somewhere around 400 bulbs) so cleaning and sorting went much quicker than in years past. I spent about 2 hours on each of two consecutive evenings clipping and cleaning. As I worked I sorted the larger bulbs that we will use for seed from the smaller ones. When all was done we ended up with about 160 seed bulbs that we will plant this fall. I expect they will yield between 1000 and 1200 plants. Perfect!

Let The Games Begin

While looking at some of the photos I have taken recently a couple of childhood games came to mind.

Hide and Seek

It seems we often find ourselves searching for fruits and vegetables amongst the foliage.

The grapes are only visible by pushing the leaves aside.

Likewise with pumpkins and squash

And melons.

Peek-a-Boo

The other game we play a lot is peek-a-boo.

This sunflower was peeking at me between the corn stalks

And the Black-eyed Susan’s were peeking out from under the spruce tree.

Frogs love to play peek-a-boo!

and even the full moon this month was peeking out from behind the clouds.

Thanks for playing and have a great weekend!

Now tell me do you have a favorite childhood game?