Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
- Italian Christmas cookies (with ricotta cheese and icing)
- lemon stars
- ginger snaps
- apricot turnovers
- nut tarts
- pinwheels (with dates)
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Our next project will be bottling some more of last year's wine to empty out some of the carboys and get them ready for our currently fermenting batch of apple wine. So bottle washing it is for now...in between Christmas preparations.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Also started doing serious research into current cover crop recommendations to get the 3 acre field ready for grapes. Found a lot of very useful articles online, also got a number of articles on winery equipment and overall setup. During the last few weeks we also worked on the online course offered by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) called the Wine Industry Compliance Seminar.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
It was a little challenge finding juniper berries in the local grocery stores. In one of the stores, the lady I asked about juniper berries first asked me to repeat the word 3 times, then asked me what I needed them for. When I told her it was for making sauerkraut, she looked at me, in a pitying sort of way, and told me, honey - we don't do it that way here. (luckily there is Wegmans)
Monday, September 6, 2010
Here is what we ended up with by Sunday night:
- 20 gallons of apple wine (30 pounds of sugar added)
- 38 quarts of canned apple cider
- 10 gallons of cider in gallon jugs in refrigerator
- 18 half pints of "Smokin Salsa"
- 15 half pints of "Mild Salsa"
- 20 quarts of Spaghetti Sauce
- 31 pints of apple/nectarine sauce
- 6 quarts of plain apple sauce
- 7 quarts of peaches
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
- 20 cups skinned, chopped tomatoes (we left seeds in, but may want to seed them)
- 10 cups seeded and chopped sweet bell peppers (we used red and green ones)
- 10 cups chopped sweet onions
- 4 cups chopped jalapeno peppers
- 9 cloves garlic - minced
- 4 Tablespoons dried cilantro
- 6 Tablespoons salt
- 2.5 cups cider vinegar
- optional teaspoon or so hot pepper sauce (we did not use any for this batch)
Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then fill hot salsa into pint jars - adjust lids and process in boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
Our cup measures were generous - and this batch made 14 pints. The salsa is bursting with flavor - not very hot, but slightly tart from the vinegar, may want to add some sugar to the next batch to reduce the tartness somewhat. This is the kind of salsa that you would add to melted cheese, or to mashed avocados for a dip (avocado, sour cream and salsa) or add to your chili.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Jeff helped a friend butcher a beef - and came home with one of the hind quarters. He cut a lot of it into cubes for stew, had some ground into hamburg and used the bones and left over meat to make about 5 gallons of vegetable beef soup. Froze all the meat and canned the soup.
Continued working on tomatoes at the same time - made more spaghetti sauce, canned 12 quarts of plain tomato juice and made a batch (20 pints) of black bean-corn-tomato salsa. No end in sight yet for the tomato harvest - currently have two 5 gallon buckets of roma tomatoes in the refrigerator, ready to be processed.
Last week we also pulled out all the irrigation lines - (except those that are permanent in the blackberries) - and used the tractor with the bush hog to mow the corn stalks and the fields around the garden and corn patch - which made everything look a lot better.
The weather continues to be hot and dry and the water level in the pond is rather low. Lars started Middle School on Wednesday and we dropped Samantha off in Brooklyn on Friday for her senior year at Pratt. Midget football started a few weeks ago, and with Sam off in college we've got to drive Lars to practice three evenings a week (which kind of cuts into the weeding time). Zach and Rachel closed on their house in Ohio today, so they will be moving in a month.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Also got some blackberries (from our old house), froze some, and made pies and tarts.
Here is my favorite Blackberry Pie recipe:
For the 10" double crust:
- 2 cups flour
- scant 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1.5 sticks of butter
- 1 tablespoon of crisco
- approximately 1/4 cup cold water - enough to form a pie dough
- roll out two circles, place one in pie plate, use second to cover
For the filling:
- 6 cups freshly picked blackberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- mix above ingredients and pour into pie plate
- Cut 1 tablespoon butter into small pieces, dot on top of the mixed filling before covering with second half of dough, make slits into top crust
- make egg wash (I just use egg white, whipped) and brush it on top of the dough
Bake at 425 degree F for 40 minutes (really good with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream)
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Bread and Butter Pickles (sweet)
4 lbs cucumbers, cut into slices (use food processor slicing blade)
2 lbs thinly sliced onions
1/2 cup canning salt (do NOT use regular salt)
2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. mustard seed
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons celery seed
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 teaspoon ginger
3 cups apple cider vinegar
- Place cucumbers and onions in a large bowl, layering with salt. Cover with ice cubes and let stand for about 1.5 hours, then drain and rinse twice.
- Combine spices with vinegar in a large pot and bring to a boil, add drained cucumbers and onions and return to a boil.
- Pack hot pickles and liquid into pint jars, remove air bubbles, adjust lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Monday, July 19, 2010
We also picked 3 buckets (the 5 gallon size) of cucumbers, and loads of zucchini as well - shared much of this weekend's harvest with friends. Luckily Rachel and Zach had kept up with the zucchini while the rest of us were at the beach - Rachel baked 12 loaves of zucchini bread that week.
On Monday evening, after a spice shopping spree, we made our first batch of "bread and butter" pickles and canned 7 pints. We have not made pickles for a long time, and our plan is to experiment with different recipes and methods, from fermenting, to fresh pack (like the batch we just did) to refrigerator pickles. We'll have to wait and see which ones turn out best. Even the fresh pack pickles take about 4 weeks in the jar in order to develop their flavor. Here is hoping that they stay crunchy after being canned :)
Monday, July 5, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
- planted 4 Carolina Gold tomatoes
- planted 4 Better Boy tomatoes
- 50 sweet potato vines
- 1 pack of watermelon seeds
- 1 pack of cantaloupe seeds
- various varieties of sunflowers and cosmos to fill in the rest of the row
Today we pulled one of the flowering potato plants out and it had 6 nice sized red potatoes on it (already). We also pulled out 3 rather puny red beets - they need some more time to grow! Lars rototilled most of the garden - he was very careful between the rows of plants and did a great job!
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Also got more garden planted this morning:
- 42 bell pepper plants
- finished the pepper row and tomato row with cucumbers (marketfare)
- row next to the peppers starts with 1 pack of yellow straight neck zucchini
- about 4 oz of black zucchini
- 1 packet spaghetti squash
- about 1 teaspoon of acorn squash (saving the rest for late summer planting)
- next 1.5 rows = green beans: .5 lbs of Tema, .5 lbs of Slenderette
Worked a little on the herb garden, added mariegolds to the border, hoed and watered
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Went to the Cumberland County Master Gardener annual Plant Sale and found some nice additions for the flower beds and more:
- 6 evergrees (3 blue spruce and 3 scotch pine)
- black eyed susan
- blue bell flower
- shasta daisy
- bee balm
- lilly of the valley
- 1 flat of cabbage plants
Friday, May 14, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Jeff sawed off a lot of the willow trees - which not only grow around the edge, but also grow in the water. He cut the larger pieces into firewood (which Anja and Duff carted away and stacked), and we made yet another burning pile for all the smaller branches.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
- 2 Chipewa
- 4 Bluecrop
- 2 Misty
- 4 Liberty
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Transplanted our two flats of Roma tomato seedlings during the last two evenings - not sure what we are going to do with 166 plants yet :)
We used 8oz clear plastic drinking cups, Jeff made holes in the bottom by heating a nail on a torch, then added regular potting soil around each seedling.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Then we had to move the base ( the deck portion of the playhouse which used to be anchored between the trees) - Jeff did this with the tractor. Once the base was where we wanted the playhouse to be, we backed the trailer to it and tilted it (again with the help of the tractor) and slid the playhouse onto the base. After the playhouse was positioned on the base, Jeff used the tines of the tractor's front bucket to lift first the front, then the back - while Zach stacked cement blocks under the base to make it level.