Sunday, June 24, 2012

First canning of the season

This weekend I did my first canning of the 2012 season.  Somewhere around 17 pint-sized jars, 3 half-pint jars and 4 one-quarter pint jars.  I should be set for the next year for strawberry jam.  

This year I was able to make strawberry-rhubarb jam.  Pretty exciting!  It's got a little bit more meaning for me since the rhubarb was picked for me by one of my SIL's. 

Saturday we decided head out to one of the local pick-your-own strawberry patches.  It was our first time heading to this particular one.  It started raining just as we got there.  It was decided to forge ahead and pick strawberries.  At some point my son stopped picking strawberries and was just standing there and eating them.  No one said anything. I think they were just impressed that we stuck around to pick berries.  I think we got around 16 pounds of strawberries.

It may just be me, but I get a lot of satisfaction from canning.  Yeah, it's a lot of work and it usually happens one the hotter days that I process, but I really enjoy it.  

I say this now, and in a few weeks or so I will be processing cucumbers and beans and peas and feeling totally overwhelmed, :-).  But it does make me happy. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

My first broccoli of the season

Picture was taken today, June 18, 2012.  I've been waiting for what feels like forever for this.  Last year we had purchased only a few broccoli plants and regretted it.  This year we bought 24, I think.  No regrets this year!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Forbidden Woolery yarn club June 2012 shipment

I signed up for the 3-month yarn club that was offered on  What can I say, I love her stuff and I've never been disappointed.

The June shipment was "Gum Drops" in the Pride base.  There are sparkles but just enough that they catch your eye.  I'm petting the skein right now.  It's very soft.  The yarn is 75% superwash Merino; 20 percent nylon and the stuff that makes the sparkles.  

I'm thinking it will either become a scarf or a hat.  I have the 101 patterns for sock yarns book.  I will be looking through that and maybe looking out on the internet.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Early June in my garden

This year we decided to start working in the garden early.  Last year I think we started working in the garden around Memorial Day.  This year, thanks to the mild winter in my area, the garden could be worked mid-April. We worked the soil in the big garden a couple of times and planted crops that could be planted as soon as the soil could be worked:  Lettuce, beets, snap peas and onions.

Last year we decided to put a strawberry patch in.  It was a losing battle unfortunately.  We didn't properly prep the area and the weeds were too much to keep in check.  Not to mention trying to keep the baby strawberry plants in some sort of order.  They went all over and were rooting where they weren't supposed to.  At the beginning of this year we decided that we were not going to keep the patch and plowed it under when we roto-tilled.  We felt really bad about tilling all those plants under after doing our best to nurture them last year.

Well, when we started working the garden soil a second time we found baby strawberry plants growing. We just could *not* turn under the plants after they made it through one roto-tilling.  It was decided that we were indeed meant to have a strawberry patch of sorts.

So we started looking through and picking out the plants and my hubby made me a 3 foot by 5 foot raised bed in the area I call the "grotto".   We saved 25 strawberry plants out of the original 50 that we purchased.

There are strawberries growing!  We may not get many this year, which is fine.  I think this is the beginning of something beautiful/

One of the other things we decided to plant again was potatoes.  Last year we didn't really plan to plant potatoes and when we got some seed taters I just kind of dug a whole and threw them in the ground and said "sink or swim". It was towards the end of the when I was planting stuff, already getting hot and I was feeling weary. I had pretty much tried to get everything done in one weekend and really burned myself out.

We did get some potatoes but certainly nothing to really brag about.  They were the size of peanuts.  Great for soup but not much else. In fact, my MIL made a fabulous soup last fall with all kinds of fresh veggies from the garden.

This year, hubby made a planter box for me in the grotto.  We cut up some taters that were starting to grow and we planted them.

This picture doesn't do the plants justice.  The plants really took off.  They are a very healthy green and are almost ready for their first hilling.

A true first for this year is grape vines.  We purchased four grape vines.  Three "King of the North" and one "Concord".  The picture below is one of the King of the North vines.  I'm super pumped.  The grape vines seem to really like it out there.  We purchased the vines at our local Menard's and they were grown in Wisconsin. 

A lot of the seedlings that we planted in mid-May have sprouted and are starting to grow.  I'm not done planted seeds yet.  I'm trying to do the successive planting so that I have a crops come at different times. I have a feeling that we aren't done finding places to plant stuff either.   At some point I'd like to pick out a spot for a little herb patch and get the area ready for next year if nothing else.

One thing I planted last year was Mesculan mix lettuce.  It's a quick growing lettuce, having a growing time of 28 days or so.  Last year it grew much faster than I was expecting it to and it flowered -- alot.  I now have that lettuce growing ALL OVER.  In my driveway, out by the main road, down the trail -- it's everywhere.  I never would have dreamed it would turn into a weed of sorts.