Sunday, August 25, 2013

Shades of Blue and Purple


Due to a bit of an injury here on the homestead, our plans to spend the day with friends at the lake fell through. So, we did the next best thing, and spent time enjoying our pond.  While we sat and relaxed, we readied a large basket of purple "green" beans for canning, and shelled a small basket of mixed beans.

This is a round of beans I canned a couple of days ago.  Our wet summer has meant there's been less canning to do, which has meant more time for other things.  I've been in major soapmaking mode, filling orders and getting ready for a show in October.  As the soap cures a minimum of three weeks before wrapping, and the wrapping itself takes a good bit of time, I have to always be thinking ahead.  

There's a touch of fall in the air.  Blooming now are Black-eyed Susans and obedient plant, and beautyberries have turned purple. 

I spied an unusual looking mushroom near the woodpile today, and learned it is a Lactarius indigo.

 The color is what caught my eye, as it has a definite blue tinge to it.

We learned it is edible, but did not cook it.  Even knowing the experts deem it safe, the color just didn't seem quite right for a foodstuff.  I am enjoying all the blue and purple shades of late summer, though.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Fruits of Summer

This year, Joseph was determined we would get to enjoy some of our Concord grapes.  So far, at the point just before we're ready to pick them, when they begin emitting a grapey fragrance, the critters come far and wide, and pick them clean.  He picked half of them yesterday, about 50 lbs. worth.  I took them off the stem and washed them, and he juiced them.  As we did add the softest of the green ones into the mix, and the rest are not fully ripe, the juice is quite tart.  It was simmered a bit, to concentrate the flavors.  Many things have less flavor this year, from all the rain we've gotten, I'm sure.  We were low on sugar, so the juice is in glass gallon jugs, in the fridge. We picked up sugar today, while we were out to attend a panel discussion based around this book, and will be canning grape jam and juice soon.

I did manage to can some blueberry jam yesterday.  Mark and Meredith allowed me to pick from their blueberry patch last week, and I brought home 4 lbs of blueberries.  I have been freezing some of our blueberries for winter use, but most of our fruits are still so young that we don't get very much of anything at a time.  I generally make a batch or two of mixed berry jams, which is nice, but I really wanted some pure blueberry for a change. There may be a cobbler in our near future too.  And a new recipe or two.  I hope you're enjoying the fruits of summer.

Friday, August 9, 2013

A New View

Those there are the first curtains I've ever sewn.  I figured the pantry would be a good place to wet my feet, it being somewhere we won't be living and looking at them everyday.  I made them from what I believe is linen fabric I found at the thrift store.  To be sure, they're far from perfect, but they serve the purpose.  We recently put our potato harvest in there.  I've covered the potatoes with burlap, but the less light the better, for them and for the jars of canned goods.

This week, I made the first tomato pie of the summer.  Along with it, I made these muffins.  I'll be making them again. I've also had my eye on a blueberry cornmeal muffin recipe, which uses fresh corn, in addition to the cornmeal.  I just need to buy some corn, and we'll give it a whirl.  Or wait a bit longer for our corn.  A good half of it was knocked down by a storm, but we have hopes of harvesting a few ears, if we can keep the critters from getting them first.