Gardening

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Canning Peaches

To me peaches in the frozen section of my grocery store NEVER yield the same taste as seasonally canned peaches.  Canning peaches is relatively easy!  I thought I would do a short blog post on my adventure last week.  You kinda have to view it as an adventure because when you have been on your feet all day long and you are pulling the last canner off at 11:45 p.m., your body is screaming sleep the only way I can reconcile it in my mind…is an adventure!

IMG_0365IMG_0369I let these bad boys ripen on the floor of my basement.  They came to me  a bit hard but ripened up beautifully, it took a couple of days for them to get soft and delicious.  I like to place them in warm water  for peeling, it seems they peel easier with warm water.  I rinse my canning jars out and start filling.  This year  I sweetened with 1/32 tsp of pure stevia, donked it into the jar and filled with cold water vs making a simple syrup to pour over them.

IMG_0355CANNING PEACHES

Box of canning peaches

Canning jars

Canning lids

Canner

Sweetener of your choice, I used pure stevia

Water

Wash peaches in warm water, fill jars.  You can fill your jars with peach halves, sliced peaches or diced peaches, it doesn’t matter how you cut them to can just don’t over fill your jars. I had 2 jars that didn’t seal because I had filled them too full.  It’s fine because I just refrigerated them and we have used the 1 quart on baked oatmeal this week.   I donked my 1/32 tsp of stevia into the jar and filled with tap water. I leave a good 1″ of head space, aka no water on the top.  If you are making a simple syrup you can cook 1 cup of sugar to 6 cups of water on the stove, once the sugar is dissolved pour over your full peach jars.  Never put a jar into your canner without liquid, it will explode in your canner.

IMG_0359IMG_0343Wipe the top of the jar off with a warm wash rag.  I put my lids in a little kettle of water and bring them to a boil.  Take them off the stove, drain water and place on top of jar.  Them secure the ring over top of your lid, tightly.  Place the jar in the canner.  Once your canner is full, fill it with water to the top of the necks, drop your jars all the way to the bottom of the canner.  Turn on high, once boiling set your timer for 8 minutes after the 8 minutes turn burner off, lift jars up with the device that is in your canner.  I put an old towel out and place my hot jars on the towel and wait for that magical ‘popping’ sound.  It is like music to my ears!

IMG_0378I don’t move them or touch them until they are fully cooled.  The next morning I am always running my finger on top of the lid to make sure they are all sealed.  You will know if one did not because that center bubble will give, even if it stays down after you touched it, it has not sealed.  You will want to refrigerate that jar because of you put it on your basement shelf, the peaches will spoil.  If run your finger over all the lids and they are all smooth on top you have just canned a perfect batch of peaches!

Cheers!

Dawn

 

Success! First for both flowers

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I have always wanted to play around with rooting my own flowers from a leaf cutting.  Last summer, I snipped a couple of clippings from my sisters gorgeous, old fashioned hydrangea and Viola this summer I have such gorgeous big flowers from one of the clippings!  Granted not all of them made it but I am so happy with the one!

IMG_2398 IMG_2395This is what I did.  At an angle, I  clipped a stock of hearty stem with several leaves on it and dipped it into a rooting hormone.  You should be able to buy this or a similar product at your local Lowe’s, Home Depot or garden center.   Dug a little hole in the ground and stuck it in.  Tucked dirt all around it and watered it occasionally. I would advise you that you find a somewhat relatively shady area if you are going to try to root things in the heat of the summer. You can always transplant later.

And then the other success this spring, last fall are these gorgeous stalks of larkspur. IMG_2531I have tried for years to get a crop going to of no avail. I am sure I have bought nearly 15 packets of seeds.  I would scatter in the fall and hope upon hope that they would come up.  Last fall I planted these pink seeds and this year they are in full bloom!!!  I am so excited. I also randomly planted some more lark spur  seeds this spring and had a bit more  success. I have lavenders, purples and whites just starting to bloom. I am so excited about this as well!!!  If you plant them in a good place they are supposed to re-seed themselves year after year.   IMG_2561So even though they are not a perennial , if the soil below it is fertile and loose the seeds will drop and next summer you will have another crop of these gorgeous spikes!!

For now we are all enjoying this little bit of summer in our home!

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Ramblies from my Path of Life

Life for me has been kind of random as of late.   Mentally and physically preparing for the birth of my 4th baby, which should arrive in 4 weeks. I am preparing room in my for heart for this little baby that just kicks and kicks and I can’t wait to hold that slimly little baby close to me.

Mother's Day 2014

Birthday weekend

I turned 40 last week.  We partied, thanks to my hubbs, mom and sister who were scheming behind my back.  My mom and sister prepared such a delightful brunch for the guests my husband carefully thought thru to invite; some really good girl friends and some older woman who have spoken into my life. I was so humbled by their presence and kind words!  They offered me life!

A gathering of Friends

A gathering of Friends

My mother and sister with me at the celebration

My mother, sister and I  at the celebration

The green beans are up and the 50 tomato plants look great.  This is all thanks to some dear folks from church who found out we were not going to do a garden this year and asked if they could share  our garden space.  Why “Yes please, we would be happy to share our garden plot and the work load.”  I am so thrilled about this opportunity.  It’s just a small way I am seeing Jesus care for us!

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I need these babies, last year I froze 55 qt bags and I have 2 left.

My deck which was barren and simple was transformed when my mother and sister showed up with presents to make it a lovely, oasis. They strung lights and what not.  A place where I want to go have my quiet time at.  My husband bought me a beautiful bistro table complete with red pillows and  umbrella.  We love to sit out there and enjoy the quiet and I have been fortunate to have a few friends over to sip coffee with me, it’s  just a respite from the daily

hold rums of living!

IMG_2388 All 100 blueberry and 45 black raspberry plants are in.  My hubbs, boys and I did it one day.  I hurt for days after wards and felt like I could sleep for a whole week post berry bush planting.  But they are in and we hope to produce a lot of healthy small berries out of that patch for years to come.

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CJ just happy to mix the peat moss, water and dirt!

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I have been crafting a bit, rare occurrence these days.  I forgot how wonderful a hot glue gun smells.  I used to use mine all the time, when free time was more plentiful.  Just that smell takes me back, it’s a smell of days gone by.  It was all so odd how it took me back.  Last week I also  finally took down a few remnants of Christmas, (red berries that were still pretty and Christmas cookie jars) whew was I ever behind this year!!!

IMG_2378Fire fly’s and little boys are such a wonder to me.  My boys loose all track of time when they set there hearts on catching fire fly’s.  They remind me to linger just a bit longer.  The other night, in the rain they are climbing on rails with nets and what not because they wanted to capture the firefly on the window all the while they had already been given orders to get there jammies on.  They really were not being defiant, they were just lost in the wonder of light.  When I stop and look at the world through their eyes, it causes me to want to slow down just a bit more!

Our special company!

Our special company!

We happened upon a local, reasonably priced U-Pick strawberry patch this summer and have picked well over 100 lbs of strawberries.  Let’ s just say my husband has passed his love of straws onto his boys!!

Angel food cake, whipped cream and fresh straws! Yummo!

Angel food cake, whipped cream and fresh straws! Yummo!

I am using lots of paper plates these days.  I have given myself permission.  Sometimes it’s in the giving of permission that you realize it really is ok.  That I am not lazy, but it is a coping mechanism to survival.  I want to live life well and not feel like I am constantly in a squeeze.  So part of that is using paper as I finish out this 3rd trimester pregnancy, and work on  umpteen freezer meals (will share a post in a week or 2 about freezer meals) for when baby #4, and homeschooler #1 need my attention and all of us need to eat!

I still dream about business, it’s amazing to me how it side wipes me every now and again.  I love it that ‘HOPE’ is kept alive by these little side swipes.  The Lord keeps bringing people into my life to remind that HE really did place that dream in my heart.  I will run into old customers, job opportunities (even though I am not willing to lay down these moments with my babies for those opportunities) and people who want to pick our brains and draw from our experience.  It all just happens in the oddest of places but out of that HOPE  is kept alive in my soul.  I wonder if there will ever be a ‘release’ in my heart to do another business or what it will look like? I have many dreams and many more questions but for now, we will plant 30-50 each of peonies and hydrangeas and see what kind of LIFE they will bring to us and just maybe a business opportunity?   Peonies have got to be the prettiest flowers there are.  This lovely bouquet came from my friend Sarah.  They have come and gone but I still wanted to share their beauty.

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And finally, as I prepare for baby #4, I am amazed at the growth in my soul. I remember being so overwhelmed about ‘all the stuff’ that was not getting done when I had  baby #1.   I have learned to let go of things that really weren’t quite as important as I deemed them to be.  Not that they didn’t have value in our home but I think that as I am preparing my heart for baby #4 and I see all the things that may not get done;  like my kitchen floor not getting swept every day or the house not perfectly picked up or a blog post that is 4 weeks past due, I realize that there is more of a settled peace in my heart today then there was 6 years ago when I was adjusting to baby #1.  Jesus is inviting me to press in, to walk this path with a new sense of rest.  I would never have thought this possible but I am learning that this life, our journey is not so much about our circumstances but it is about pressing in and embracing what may seem to be  schedule irritations.   I am finding this quote so amazingly true!!   “The More You Love Your Decisions, the Less You Need Others to Love Them.”

Whatever the hard is that your wanting to run from or fighting to press into, I trust that you can find the place deep in your soul to accept what you need to and  walk your journey with ‘grace!’

BLESSINGS!

Dawn

How To Bake A Pumpkin

it’s really quite simple but I realize if you have never done it you might not realize how simple it is.  We raised some heirloom pumpkins this year.  They were so pretty.  We sold all that our little patch produced.  We were thrilled.

IMG_9556Cut the joker in half.  Scoop out the seeds (if you want to roast the seeds just wash them up good, sprinkle with sea salt and olive oil and bake them on a cookie sheet until crisp.  Stirring occasionally) place cut side down on a cookie sheet.  I always line my cookie sheets with

IMG_9562tin foil so the mess isn’t baked on the pan.  I add 1/4 cup of water to the pan and bake at 400 degrees until the pumpkin is soft.  This one

IMG_9570weighted in at 20 lbs so it took about 2 1/2 hours.  When you can poke a knife thru it and it’s soft you know you have pumpkin that is ready to puree.

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IMG_9578Once the pumpkin is cool (I let mine cool over night in my oven) scoop out the gorgeous orange/yellow flesh and place it in your blender.  Let it blend until it gets a smooth consistency.  Once finished blending, I measure it out into 2 cup servings and place it in freezer bags.  The pumpkin is a bit more watery so sometimes I will drain off a bit of the liquid before using it or just reduce the amount of liquid a recipe calls for.

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Baking a pumpkin is super simple.  When I owned the Farmer’s Wife, I realized people just didn’t know how easy it was to do, so sometimes it’s just in the education of something  that we find out how simple something is.    Why not turn your fall decor into food for your family this winter?  Oh yeah, and we yielded 16 cups of pumpkin goodness from this pumpkin above.  We baked another one down earlier this fall and probably got about the same amount. Woot, woot!

Happy Fall! 

Dawn