Thursday, September 22, 2016

Great Idea's That Weren't So Great

We thought we were on to the greatest idea this year. We wanted to have a second crop of cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli. We were so busy with veggies when the first crop was ready, we just didn't get to enjoy them the way we wanted to. It was just a matter of getting everything prepped and frozen for the winter months.

Since we started everything from seed over the winter, we would just do it again, right? We loved the idea. We had talked about this previous years, but you can not find any veggie plants for sale after mid-June. So, off we were. Truckin' Man got the seeds started and those little buggers were just growing right along. 

We had some perfect weather days, so he even moved them outside to get them some natural sun. It was about that time, I had to take over their care, because the 18 wheels were calling. The day I went into our makeshift greenhouse room and found this, I could have cried!

I immediately assumed one of the cats snuck past us, and got in there and chewed up our beautiful plants.

Nope... Then I found these.... In the end, I picked off 27 cabbage worms from 8 plants! 
Apparently in the plants short time outdoors, the cabbage moth found them, and laid some eggs.

I guess there is a reason you don't have second crop cabbage plants around here. Well, without sprinkling them with protection dust anyways!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Fancy Ketchup (AKA Tomato Jam)

I am loving the fact that I am officially a "Canner" now. Just a novice, or beginner, but I can vegetables that are coming out of our garden. Such a sense of accomplishment when I look at what is in the pantry that we get to enjoy during the cold winter months. 

I follow a couple of canning blogs, am friends with some amazing ladies on facebook that share their canning expertise and recipes, and am part of a canning group on facebook.  Between these media's I kept hearing the ladies mention Tomato Jam. Tomato Jam? Eh. Not interested. But then one day, one of the ladies referred to it as "Fancy Ketchup". Now that got my attention! I was sold on trying this.

And, the rest is history. I am in love. It's sweet, tangy, jammy, ketchupy goodness. We have used it in several different dishes, and even used it to dip tater tots in. Today, I was dipping Bread Cheese in it. Sooooo good. Give it a try with most any thing you would use ketchup for, or just as a new dipping sauce. 

I debated not sharing this recipe, as I can not answer any questions about the canning process. I simply am to much of a novice to do that, but I can not risk losing this recipe.  And I really think if you have tomatoes and like to can, you should try this recipe too!

Fancy Ketchup

5 pounds tomatoes, finely chopped
3 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup lime juice
2 tsp grated ginger (fresh)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 Tbsp salt
1/2 Tbsp red chili flakes

In a large non-reactive pot, combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, stirring frequently, until jam has reduced. Once you have reached the consistency of thick jam, remove from heat.  

Fill jars with jam, leaving 1/4 inch of head space.  Wipe rims, cover jars with lids and rings. Process in boiling water bath for 20 minutes.  Remove jars from canner, and let set on towel on counter top for 24 hours undisturbed. 

Store jars in pantry up to 1 year.

Source:  Food In Jars

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Monday, September 5, 2016

Around the Farm


The season is starting to change.

Corn is starting to turn, here on the farm.

With that change, we have to start getting firewood ready for the cold months.

It looks as though some of the hens will be starting to molt.

Meanwhile, the Morning Glories are doing well.

I love the colors of the blooms.

There is a bit of a story behind the Morning Glories. Truckin' Man did not want me to plant them. He is highly opposed to ANY type of vine because of how thick and dense they grow here. I convinced him it was fine. It's only a Morning Glory. 
They don't get that out of control.

Guess who was right? He was. 
As the vines are starting to pull the fence of the chicken run down, he just shakes his and and says 
"I told you so".

So, until the vines die back and he can repair the fence, Queen of the Farm will have to do her best to protect the ladies.

As much as she just posed pretty for this, and isn't much of a flock guardian, she has stepped up on occasion and saved them when a predator was near.

Hope you all had a great Labor Day, and are as excited for the change of seasons as I am!