Oh Beautiful Day!

Friday evening before I had to work...we thought we'd take a quick peek at what needed to be harvested and we were in for quite a surprise. Especially since I did a major harvest just three days ago.    Overwhelmed is a good word you could use to describe us while we harvested all the kale and swiss chard.
 During the last storm, our Jerusalem Artichokes fell over, so we decided to dig up a few of these puppies...
 Beets and Turnips! Such pretty colors!
 ...you guessed it! More peppers! Yay.
A large bowl full of Tomatoes! Every shape, size and color.  So pretty!

Tuesday Morning Haul....

 Lately I've been seeing all the negative in the world, and it's had me a little down. Not going to lie.  It's everywhere around us. Evil is everywhere. Television, the news, all over the internet, on the radio, it seems everywhere I look, I'm weighed down by the negative in the world and one of the places that I'm able to "get away" from all of this negativity is in my garden. 

Today I knew there was a decent harvest that needed to be picked so while Noahh was napping, I made my way down to the gardens.  I talk to my plants, no really I do.  I know it's silly and my neighbors probably think I've gone completely loony but it's all just part of my routine.  Judging by the amount of food my gardens have provided us with, I don't think I've talked their ears off quite yet. 

And that's a wrap on my harvest for the day.  I've got most of it cleaned up and put away. I'm trying to put off most of this week's canning until this weekend when I have Erick home to help me.  I'm kind of "pickled out", so I'm looking for some new recipes of what I can make with all the cucumbers and peppers.  

Tomatoes and Peppers Anyone?

 Another good harvest this morning. Pasta sauce? Salsa? I haven't quite decided yet....

 I love the different variety of tomatoes growing... every time I snack on a handful of the smaller ones...it's fun having all the different flavors! 
Well, I guess I better figure out what today's canning project is going to be! 

Pickling Extravaganza!

 It was a busy morning for me as I prepared all of yesterday's harvest for a huge pickling extravaganza.  Pickled cucumbers, pickled yellow squash, pickled zucchini squash, pickled beets and pickled peppers! 

Aren't they pretty? 

Tuesday Morning Harvest

Today was a good day in the garden. I have a feeling the house will smell like vinager for the next 48 hrs. or so... pickled beets, pickled peppers, pepper jelly, pickled zucchini relish...
 I'm wanting to try some different recipes with this harvest of goodies...
Beets are so beautiful. Messy but beautiful.  These are going to end up either pickled or juiced. Haven't quite decided yet....
 Meet "big daddy" here.  Literally bigger than my hand. 
Most of the tomatoes I picked today are nice and ripe, but there's a few that could use a day or two of ripening up on the counter.  I'm loving, loving, loving the pineapple tomato plants this year. They are so much fun. Pretty AND delicious. Beat that!

Sunday Canning Festivities! Pumpkins, Onions and Kale!

 Just when I think I'm caught up outside in the gardens, something happens. I feel like I've been totally lied to, because there's always something that needs harvesting EVERY time I walk down there. This morning it was the pumpkins! We had three beautiful little sweet pumpkins ready for picking! How fun!  We brought them in, peeled, seeded and cut into cubes for canning.
 We decided we wanted to roast the seeds, so we placed the guts of the pumpkins in large bowls with cold water and waited for the seeds to float.
Meanwhile, Erick got on me about how there was bushels of kale that needed to be harvested so he surprised me with an astonishing amount of freshly picked kale. Perfect for.... um.... we had no clue. We washed, trimmed, and decided to make a sausage and kale soup.
With our very own tomatoes, carrots, onions, potatoes and the freshly picked kale, I made up a delicious soup recipe.  I pulled some mushroom stock from one of my other canning projects and we were off to a great start with the soup.  We had about a lb. of leftover kale so we just stored that away in the fridge for our protein smoothies we drink like every other hour. (not really that often, although it feels like it sometimes)
 While the pumpkin was in the pressure canner doing it's thing, the soup slowly cooked down on the stove top indoors.  Mind you today, we were doing all of the canning outside on the bbq to keep the house cool. We had a warm, sunny afternoon today and while it looks like rain clouds are finally moving in, it was nice to keep the house at a cooler temp. through the day.
We also had three crockpots making caramelized onions throughout the day.  20 lbs. of Walla Walla Sweets simmering away making a delicious French onion soup.  I added some of our homemade canned butter to each crockpot, put in sliced onions, and put them on low for 10 hours before putting them into the pressure canner with the other ingredients.  
Oh what a DAY IT HAS BEEN!

Rabbit Hutch/Chicken Coop Project, Day 1

So for the last 2 years, we've been talking about how we were going to build the bunny a rabbit cage outside. Well today we accomplished that.  It's amazing how the list of projects just keep growing and it feels like the time we have to complete them gets shorter...

So the plan was, to construct a unit that would house the bunny on top, and the bottom portion, we could use as part of the chicken coop.

 The good news is, that the bunny portion of the project was completed today!
 ...and Bieb. ("Bieber" the bunny) is more than happy with his new "crib".

So now that the top portion is done, we can work on the bottom once we get a little further along with the chicken plan.  We also still need to put up the roof on this bad boy.  (we ran out of usable lumber today) We are getting there! Promise! ...but first, tomorrow we are installing the glass windows and building a farmhouse door to the playhouse.  Chickens are next on the list!

Greenhouse Update, & Tomato-Basil Jam

 This is happening on a DAILY basis now at our house. More peppers, and tomatoes than know what to do with.  I pray each day as I walk down to the greenhouse a neighbor of ours will be outside in her yard, or nearby the fence so I can hand off a couple lbs. of freshly picked produce.
 Sauces, jams, pickles... anything and everything you can imagine.  We don't discriminate against any method of preserving.  Even dehydrating them.
 This morning I made some amazingly delicious "Tomato-Basil" jam.  I just know this winter, I will really enjoy slathering this on something.
...I think it turned out just beautiful...
 Ah habaneros. Finally.  Apparently these buggers take longer to mature than the other peppers we are growing, but I'll admit right here and now that I am beyond nervous about these.  There are SOOOO MANY on each plant, and I feel like it doubles everyday when I take my walk down to the greenhouse.
 I have a feeling we'll be making some VERY, spicy recipes here in a few weeks.
...and this my friends, is a peek into the greenhouse.  Tomatoes line the perimeter, and all of the peppers are in the row down the center. Everything has been strung up for stability, and the tomato plants, some, are 8 feet tall.  EVERYDAY, we come back with a bucket full of ripe tomatoes and peppers.  This greenhouse was the best investment we made as far as gardening supplies and structures.  I am delighted at how wonderful it's worked for us up here in the pacific northwest. Sometimes it boggles my mind when I walk in and realize every one of these plants were started by a tiny seed way back in January.  Oh happy day!

More Freaking Pickles! ...amoungst other fine things...

This morning we started early on a large harvest of pickles!  We made several different varieties including these above. "Cowboy Candy" as they call it. It's an amazing brine that is sweet and spicy.  Any of the pictures you see with red cayenne's thrown into the jars indicate that they are the "hot" flavored ones.  Per Erick's liking of course.
Sweet Relish and Spicy Relish...
Sweet Baby Pickles, my personal favorite.
 Pickled Peperoncini's...
 Sweet and Spicy Pickle Slices...
 ...and another one of my favorites. Lemon Cucumber Pickle Slices! They are so pretty in the jars!
 Also, pictured above are some green beans, green peppers, and jalapeno peppers pickled in the leftover "Cowboy Candy" brine we had. No way would we ever dream of letting that deliciousness go to waste. Not a bad pickling day at all if you ask me.
We also managed to somehow knock out 8 half pints of Peach Salsa, and 8 half pints of Plum-Jalapeno Pepper Jelly.  We were lucky enough to have one jar of the salsa not seal after processing so we enjoyed it on top of a steak for dinner tonight. It was heavenly. 

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