Sunday, July 31, 2011

Garden Photos

Over head view.

Peas grew up the trellis nicely this year.
Sunflower wall
Bring in the bees!
The Halpern Homestead Forest
Kelsi has a lot of nice flowers mixed in with the veggies. Makes for a very pretty garden.

The squash are taking to the little trellis we made for them.
Giant sunflower.
The cucumbers are climbing the trellis we made for them as well. Hope they make it to the top!
Beans are finally starting to come along.
Sweet Pickle

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Preserving Food: Canning Cherries

Kelsi and I have a large cherry tree in our backyard. It has to be 40 or 50 years old. We haven't ever seen it really produce anything worth climbing the tree for.

Well, not this year!
We ended up picking 5gallons in about an hour.
This is about half of them.

We decided to make jelly out of them. We had some success last year with grape jelly, but I was a little worried about how much sugar the pectin required. It came out pretty sweet when we tried them, but still good.
So, this year we used a new pectin. There is a recipe card inside with all sorts of different ways to sweeten the recipe. We tried them all!

Since we were experimenting with different recipes we opted to use the smaller water bath shown above. Im not sure if that is what it is for, but it holds 5 half-pint jars perfectly! We made a small test batch of several recipes, each of which produced 4-6 half pints. So the smaller water bath worked well!
I had to bring out the big water bath and the big pot for the next recipe. We made cherry pie filling with the remaining 10lbs of cherries we had. It is from the Ball Canning Book and it is delicious! We ended up with an extra half quart which I have been snacking on! Yumm.

Cherry Pie filling- 6quarts
Cherry Jelly sweetened with 1c honey- 5 half pints
Cherry Jelly sweetened with 1c sugar- 5 half-pints
Cherry Jelly sweetened with 2c sugar- 5 half-pints
This was a cherry recipe my mom used to make when I was a kid. We made it because I used to love it! We used our pectin, so we halved the sugar. Family Cherry Jelly sweetened with 2c sugar- 6 half-pints

Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Something Disturbing in Las Vegas

Last month Kelsi and I went to Las Vegas for a relative's graduation. It was good, we had fun.
A friend of my father-in-law showed us around one night. He took us to a really nice restaurant/shopping center that must have cost a fortune to build.

He walked us through this fish market style area within a restaurant in order to get to a balcony with a nice view.
It was a nice concept. Pick your fish.
Pick the vegetables to go with it (from the Hollywood Farmer's Market I was told)

What a great idea!
Until this lady came by with a spray bottle.
When she sprayed the lobsters they would start moving their tentacles and flailing about. This was pretty disturbing to us.
Kelsi and I treat the things we eat with respect, especially when it comes to something that is living. Seems pretty cruel to keep these live lobsters on ice until someone chooses them for dinner. We believe in treating the living food you eat as you wish to be treated. Imagine being kept on ice for days on end waiting for someone to eat you.

Sorry for the rant, was just disgusted by this practice and wanted to share.

Thanks for reading 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Donald Duck

We recently adopted a new duck. His owner was headed off to the military, so we took him in.
His name is Donald and he is pretty cool! He is so tame, he doesn't mind being held and he usually doesn't freak out when you get close to him.
He is little, and has a small voice. So no noise from him
He tried to say hi to the webbed footed flock on arrival. The put their noses up at him.
Then pretended to be busy and not notice him standing there.
When that failed, they all ran!
All alone for the first day.

That didn't last long. Took a couple day, but now donald is a happy member of the webbed flock. Welcome to the homestead Donald!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I work in a pretty busy place. I run a lot and I am usually hungry.
So I pack a big lunch. It's a good time of year for my lunch. Lots of fresh fruits and veggies from our garden or the farmer's market. My coworkers are always interested in what I pack for lunch since it is usually healthy and has a great deal of variety. They also love to make fun of me because I always have my food in glass bowls. Lots of bowls. Oh well, it's good to be different.
Sprouts, mushrooms, and jalepeno sandwich
I have been eating two cups of these a day, all week at work. We picked a huge bowl of peas earlier this week and they sure are good eating!
This recipe is a must try. It is a spaghetti with grilled ratatouille. We have had it twice in the past week and it sure is good! Since we have made it twice, there have been plenty of leftovers to take to work. Pretty healthy too, a little oil and a little cheese, so not too much fat. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

What To Do With a Lettuce Tree?

We grow a lot of lettuce and sometimes they get away from us.

Like this one that Kelsi is holding. The only problem is that when lettuce gets this big, it gets really bitter.
So we give it to the chickens!
And ducks, and geese.

Big party! Everyone's invited!

They love lettuce! Even though it's bitter.