Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Makin' Jam

I lucked out and found a big box of peaches (seconds, so a little bruised and battered) at the farmer's market for cheap this past week. Of course that meant in the middle of a busy week I had to find time to process 25 lbs of peaches but I made the time first thing the next morning. First item of business was to fill the crockpot full with the worst ones (or what was left of them after cutting out the bruises etc) and make peach butter. While that cooked I began the process of sorting the rest for making jam. After peeling mashing cooking, and adding a little sugar and pectin of course I had 18 jars of jam ready for the canner. YUM!! and FUN!! I feel like an accomplished farmgirl. The peach butter was ready after dinner and I got 6 half pints of that so of course a loaf of homemade bread was in order so we could eat fresh bread and jam. Heaven on a napkin and great memories of making jam in the summers with my mom. Now if only those peaches weren't quite so juicy and the jam was a little thicker all would be perfect.

We've been trying to keep cool during this heat wave and really there is no way to do that but sit inside with the AC on. That of course simply will not do for this farmgirl so next best thing is the swimming pool. It feels more like a bathtub or jacuzzi these days but it has been fun to have the neighbors over in the afternoon for a little cool down party. Last weekend we enjoyed the antics of my nephews who came to visit for the weekend. Always entertaining!

little brothers gang up on big brother - my favorite!

Wonder what's going on down at the farm? With two weeks of vacation followed by this extreme heat we haven't gotten down to check out our projects. We assumed that we couldn't do anything to rescue the garden at this point so it will be what it will be - hope those taters' are keeping cool under ground. The weeds are probably sky high since they seem to thrive rain or shine but farmboy will head down this weekend and check out the situation. If it is not broiling perhaps he will even pick the survivors - from the garden that is, not the weeds - haha.

I will be hosting a lovely little tea for my soon-to-be daughter-in-law this weekend so maybe the following week I will head back down to the farm after a month's leave. I so miss it, but meanwhile I water and water and water some more my little garden in the back yard and send good thoughts to my neglected garden at the farm. The beans here at home have given up and next week I will plant them again for the fall. The tomatoes are going strong, as are the very strong jalepenos (seriously why would you label these mild?) And I have gotten eggplant #3 off the vine. And the weeds are thriving here too!

That's the report from the homefront for this week and last. Fingers crossed that next time I will have something to report from the farm or the craft closet.

my homegrown potpourri

Friday, July 15, 2011

Vacation Part 2

Aunt Judy and Baby "T"
and Kayla and Baby "T"
sense a common theme?

After the family reunion husband and I wandered our way through Kentucky and into West Virginia. These two states look amazingly alike in scenery and there are many beautiful turns and twists through the mountains. We arrived at one of our favorite places on Wednesday, 5 days into our trek. This is the home of friends who are more like family or family that just happen to be friends. The line is blurred over the years but we do love this place and the memories of special times here are many. John loves to mow - apparently on any tractor - and had a date with a very overgrown meadow while my friend Judy and I set off to explore a nearby town's antique and arts shops. (perhaps you remember the story of the broken antique root beer canteen last summer? Now we go to neighboring towns where we are yet unknown (haha). Happy to report no incidents this time around and a few fun things found in the exploration. The kids joined us for the weekend along with other friends and we spent time doing what comes naturally in West VA - relaxing, game playing, shooting, and ATV-ing. We did not indulge in river activity this time around but that is usually a "must" as well. The weekend went all too quickly and by Sunday evening we were back home after 10 days on the road. Now we need a vacation to rest from our vacation!

Her first ride on the atv

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Halfway across the country and back

Crossroads of America...I don't know if this is a central point or just a weird "sculpture" in the middle of a busy travel exit but it intrigued me enough to take a picture. Sort of a sign of the modes and methods of travel which i found interesting in the middle of my journey to the heartlands for a family reunion.

4 generations of descendants from Johnnie and Elizabeth Hansen
Lake of the Ozarks, MO

and our families contribution to the above

All 9 of my husbands siblings made it to the reunion and that doesn't happen too often. Unfortunately his dad wasn't feeling well enough to come from his room for the picture and we are actually missing at least 12 more family members but here we are in all our vacation glory.