Gardening/Farmers Markets

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Wishing

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

I am wishing like crazy for Spring!  A bunch of the blogs I read are posting pictures of pretty spring bulbs blooming.  There are even discussions of gardens already.  We’re like 3 months away from gardening time.  And spring bulbs are at least 3+ weeks away.  Late February and March always finds me pinning for color and vegetation.

“Hunting”

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

Well, Dave and I went “hunting” today.  Actually, we did the modern equivalent and went to the butcher shop.  There is a butcher shop near here that has great meat for great prices.  We stocked up on at least an entire month’s worth of meat this morning for a pretty low sum.  I repacked everything and used my handy vacuum sealer.  And I promptly put everything into our brand new freezer!

I’ve been stashing veggies away all summer so our freezer is looking pretty well stocked.  After the butcher shop, we went to the grocery store where I bought all the extra items we’ll need for the entire week for a whopping $20!!!!!  I was very impressed.  Stock piling summer veggies and buying at the local butcher shop is really saving us money.  It has really helped that at each of the Farmer’s Markets I’ve been working this summer there is at least one produce seller who has “extras” at the end of the day which they give me.

Very Nice and Pretty Quiet Weekend

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

Dave and I had a really nice weekend.  Friday evening we went for a nice walk.  Then, we packed 5 gallons of maple syrup into smaller quantities for the Farmer’s Markets while we also made maple candy.  Saturday we had the Somers market from 9-12, then we went to a local shop that is going to carry our maple products.   We spent 2 hours at Lowe’s pricing items for our new sugarhouse which we begin construction on in October (I’m sure we’ll post photos).

Today we went to church and to the Knights of Columbus pancake breakfast (we supply the maple syrup, of course).  Our church is doing several fundraisers this year for a Franciscan mission in Jamaica.  There is a pasta dinner next week and there will be four more dinners throughout the year.  Since there are some fantastically large maple trees on the church property, we thought of another fundraiser.  Dave is going to tap the trees, we’ll pack the syrup in pint containers and the church can sell “church syrup”.

The rest of today has been nice and quiet.  I made a big pot of very healthy and yummy vegetable beef stew for dinner.  We even took a nap and watched a football game, our team lost though.

Ah, the life of small business owners!

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Good golly, it has been a long while since I’ve been able to blog.  Actually, it’s been a long while since I’ve even had time to look at blogs I enjoy reading.  Dave & I have been busy with our maple syrup business.  Busy in a good way!  Two of our three farmer’s market will be ending at this end of this month.  The market here in our town will continue through mid-November (unless it snows).

It is really starting to feel like autumn here this week.  It was a perfect blue sky today.  We’ve noticed some of the trees are beginning to show signs of the season change too.  I’m ready for autumn because this summer just was long.  It was more humid here than last year and for someone who hates heat, having to sit outside at farmer’s markets was punishing.   I’m really hopeful next summer isn’t as warm as this one was here.  It only actually reached 90 once here (and that was barely 90, I think technically it was 89.9), but heat and me don’t mix.

I’ve got a small mountain of phone calls to make today so I had better get busy.  I thought I’d just stop by and let everyone know we are still alive and doing well.

Been Gone From Blogging World

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

I’ve been a bit busy with Farmer’s Markets, helping Dave make syrup sales and fertility stuff. While speaking to one of my sister-in-laws recently she said (because she’s also dealing with infertility) that it is okay for fertility to become an encompassing mission/passion for a time. We’ve got this short window in time to have children so use it wisely. So I’m letting myself think about it often and not getting to wrapped up in much else.

This cycle I started a low dose of clomid and a low dose of synthroid and reduced the glucophage. I am praying like anything that ye olde ovaries decide to start popping out viable eggs soon!

I’m just going to stomp my online feet for a moment… this infertility business just isn’t fair. It really, really stinks. And I hate it. I hate even having to be in a position where I have to contemplate the possibility of not having children. I’m thankful for the fact that there is hope, but I’m sad/mad about that too because it is kind of makes me feel pathetic.

Oh well, I guess everyone’s lives have hurdles and everyone’s hurdles are different. Too bad there isn’t a “life’s hurdles” market, but I guess all the easy to jump ones would sell first since no one ever wants the ones that are hard to jump.

Ultimate “Betty Crocker”

Monday, August 11th, 2008

I got a funny compliment from a gal at the Farmer’s Market in Somers on Saturday. We were discussing preserving the summer’s produce bounty. She doesn’t do any preserving (be it canning or freezing) so when I told her of my latest endeavors she called me the “Ultimate Betty Crocker”, hehehe. I explained that this is my first attempt at most of the stuff I’m trying this year, but she still thought it was pretty amazing. So all you gals out there, like my Aunt, who actually can do this preserving stuff for real…you are the “Ultimate Betty Crockers”.

It is funny to think that women have been preserving foods for their family’s future use since pretty much the beginning of time, yet it is considered almost an awesome lost art now. In the 80 years or so since processed foods arrived on the scene and feminism took women from the home, hardly anyone seems to preserve produce. I hope to preserve lots and lots more fruits and vegetables in the coming years. I think it is a great way to know exactly what we are putting in the bellies of our family and a great money saver. Dave & I aren’t trying to live in a world long gone, but just trying to be healthier and good stewards of our monetary blessings.

First Night Away from Dave

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

Since we’ve been married, we’ve never spent a night away from each other.  This morning I am traveling with my mother-in-law to NYC to baby-sit my nephew while my brother-in-law & sister-in-law go away for their anniversary.   Dave & I have been married now almost 21 months and never a night apart.  I’m only going to be gone over night so we can still say we’ve never had a day apart since I’ll see him tomorrow evening.  But it is going to be strange sleeping alone.

Thankfully, my cat, Bailey, who is not known for being kind to others has actually gotten to a point with Dave that he’ll tolerate him.  Bailey will even let Dave pet him, albeit briefly!  (This is a huge improvement in personality!!)  So I’m not too worried about Bailey eating him without me here.

I made enchiladas for Dave and his father to eat tonight since the gals will be gone.

I’m going to miss today’s farmer’s market.  I kind of enjoy seeing how much extra income I can bring in for us so I’m actually kind of bummed I can’t attend today.  But I did line up at least one sale for today.  Before I go to my mother-in-law’s to pick her up, I’ll drop syrup off at the market for my neighbor to sell for me.  She’s really nice!

Freezing Summer’s Bounty

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

Yesterday I finally tackled all the produce I’d accumulated over the past several days. There were loads corn, about 4 pounds of fresh from the garden green beans, several zucchini, a few summer squash and 1 full quart of jalapeño peppers.

My neighbor at the Stafford Springs Farmer’s Market (JoAnn) is a font of information about preserving things/gardening etc. So JoAnn told me the easiest way to figure out blanching produce for freezing. She said to bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, drop in the produce, as soon as it comes back to a full boil, remove the produce and immediately put it in ice cold water. That is so much more simple than the stuff I was reading online.

I prepared all the ears of corn and then I used my Bunt pan to cut the corn off the ears. I held the ear upright by putting the end of it in the Bunt pan flute hole. then proceeded to slice the corn off and it dropped right into the pan. No mess all over to clean up! We use corn pretty frequently here, but I’d say we’ve got about 4 months worth of corn stashed in the freezer now. Not only is it all fresh from the field and really sweet, but it cost me a whopping $5. Four months worth of frozen corn from the store would have cost me WAY more.

The green beans were also blanched, iced down, dried off a bit and placed in freezer bags too. And for the cost of a seed packet back in spring, I’ve got about three months of beans in the freezer. The zucchini was grated and placed in freezer bags for later use in zucchini breads (I’ve got a great recipe!). Now the summer squash, I did something a little crazy. I really, really don’t like squash. But I have discovered that I can sneak it into some things and never know it is there. I put half of a small summer squash in our spaghetti the other day and never tasted it! So I diced the summer squash into bits and into the freezer bags it went. Later, it will be used in soups, stews, chili, and spaghetti. We get the nutrients and I don’t have to taste it!!

Now we come to what I did with the jalapeños. We use them frequently in this house. They go in taco, dip, meat for tacos, chili, and a few other recipes. I can’t however use a full quart of the things before they’d go bad. So I diced them up into tiny bits and stuffed an ice cube tray full of the diced peppers. I know peppers don’t freeze well, but here is my hopefully ingenious thought; I finished filling each ice cube compartment with water. So I’ll have little cubes of peppers that I can pull out of the freezer and drop into the pan, the water is minimal and necessary in the recipes I’d use the pepper in anyway. Now, let’s hope it works.

It was a lot of work, but in the long run it will save us money and since everything was frozen within a very short time of it being picked, we should get all the nutritional benefits of fabulous summer produce. Oh, yeah and it was all purchased locally or grown in our backyard garden!

Leftovers from Yesterday

Friday, August 1st, 2008

Well, the Farmer’s market yesterday was excellent. Lots of people and lots of sales!! After the market, I went to the grocery store for the ingredients of the homemade laundry soap I was going to make. They were out of one of the key ingredients. Bummer. I knew I had to do laundry today so I ended up purchasing laundry soap again. I was so excited to try the homemade stuff, too. Another day , I suppose.

I am entertaining the idea of going to get a haircut. My hair is down to my waist now and it is just a bit too long. Dave likes my hair long, but as long as it is below my shoulder blades he won’t mind me getting it cut at all.

Besides laundry, I am going to finish freezing fresh green beans for later use, make seasoned bread crumbs from some stale bread and mash & freeze some really rip bananas to make banana bread on a day when it isn’t so hot outside. There is also some fruit in the fridge that needs to be used soon so I might make a fruit salad for dessert! YUM!

This year, I am bound and determined to be more organized about the holidays. I want to have my Christmas cards finished and ready to send out the day after Thanksgiving. And I want to give some homemade gifts to a few people. So as not to be rushed later on, maybe I’ll do some thinking about cards designs or just general holiday plans today.

I LOVE being a homemaker. (I can’t say that often enough!)

Kind of a Busy Day Today

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

My usual agenda isn’t too jam packed, but today I’ve got rather a lot to do. I’ve got about 75 freshly packed maple syrup containers to label and tag. The farmer’s market is from 11-2 and it is supposed to rain pretty much that whole time…yuck. I am also going to be making my first batch of homemade laundry soap. Then I’ve got tons of green beans from our garden to blanch and freeze for use this coming fall/winter.

If I like the recipe I’ve chosen for my first batch of laundry soap, I’ll post it later. I’ve chosen a powdered version instead of some of the gel/liquid recipes out there. We have an HE front load washer so finding a recipe for a no suds detergent was a little more tricky.

The rain should be ended by 2PM so maybe if the soap making project gets finished early a load of experimental laundry can be hung out to dry!! Dave is always game for me trying these homemade and/or natural options.

Speaking of being game for trying natural options, my CNM (certified nurse midwife) I had an appointment with yesterday said she does NOT advocate natural/herbal options. I was bummed. I wanted to get her opinion of this herbal/vitamin I’ve been recommended called Fertilaid. She said if I want to try it go ahead, but she doesn’t believe in that stuff…just modern medicine. And she acknowledged that being a CNM that was a strange opinion. I really like this gal’s bedside manner, thus far and I’m hopeful that once I do get pregnant I can use her for the delivery. But I really would like to try more natural options. In my opinion, sometimes the things modern medicine does while “intervening” in the birth process is way overboard and harmful. I don’t think this gal goes to some of those extremes though. Her c-section rate is far lower than her MD ob/gyn counterparts at the hospital where she aids in deliveries. And I could still use her, but maybe find a good doula. We’ll see. Gotta get pregnant first (actually I need to ovulate first!!).