Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #172 and a WINNER!

apron

Happy Fall! My calendar tells me it is fall, but this week finds me still in the middle of my summer harvest.  I am NOT complaining about that. I am thrilled to still be gathering veggies and to have the challenge to use it and preserve it all! Fall gardens will go in over the next week, but I will certainly be overlapping the gardens I am working on for the next couple weeks.

AND WE HAVE A WINNER from last week’s contest.  Remember the great wall art from Sarah Hudock of Lighthearted Art? Well our lucky winner is June McConkey of the adorable blog The Heart of Junebug! Thank you to everyone who entered! We had 30 entries total.

Be sure to visit Sarah and thank her for the giveaway. While you are there take a look at the colorful, whimsical artwork that is available.

Time to link up your weekly fix of farmgirl soul! We have all been so busy with seasons overlapping. I can’t wait to see what you have been up to.

Be sure to visit Deb over at Dandelion HouseShe is always up to something colorful!

Thank you for joining us!

AND thanks for your understanding in our lack of thumbnails this week. Sometimes you get so excited you just miss a final checkbox!

Roasted Tomato Sauce- Canning Recipe

San MarzanoI love, love, love tomatoes in the summertime and like I have said lately, I am still in summer. I have so many tomatoes to eat and preserve, I am in heaven. The apples and pumpkins are just going to have to wait on me to catch up!

I have canned a lot of tomatoes as of late and this week I decided to can tomato sauce instead. I have not canned sauce before so I was excited to give this a whirl.

I love roasted tomatoes and thought instead of blanching and peeling the tomatoes to prep them I would roast them.  I had read you can do this and I went about taking this for a run. I had a full Homer bucket of San Marzanos and thought they would make the perfect sauce. I washed them, halved them and popped them on large cookie sheets with the skin side up. No oil or seasonings; just red tomatoes.

I had 3 full size trays and 2 half trays in the oven. Let the roasting begin!

cookie sheet

In Oven

They roasted so beautifully.  I decided not to peel them but to simply remove them from the tray and get them in the Vitamix. The tomatoes right off the sheets were good enough to eat. I had to restrain myself!

Off the sheet

Roasted

Blend

After the Vitamix I had this…

after blender

The skins were taken care of by the Vitamix, but I had seeds.  I wanted to remove them for this sauce. That is optional, but I put this sauce through a sieve to remove the seeds and then brought it to a boil.

Sauch

I used my Ball book for processing instructions and started canning the sauce and ended up with the most lovely product ever. I am looking forward to opening these during the cold days of winter!

out of the canner

I am also going to make some more! Six jars will not last I can guarantee!

Are you still harvesting and preserving summer?

Happy Unleashing,

FGU

 

It is Fall, But I am Stuck in Summer

pumpkinsTomorrow is the first day of fall- 9/23. Fall seems to be in the air. With evening temps hitting the 40’s and daytime highs being in the 70’s it feels more and more like it every day. Driving over the weekend I saw tree leaves turning beautiful colors and pumpkins and mums sitting on front porches. I see scarecrows outside and feel the breezes outside and pouring in through our windows. I love fall and the change of seasons here in Indiana.

As much as I love fall, I confess that I am not quite there yet. I still have summer in my blood and tomatoes, cucumbers, summer squash, peppers and green beans on the vines.

IMG_20140903_120157745

IMG_20140903_113820072

I really need to harvest my basil and get it dried, frozen and whipped into pesto before too many cool nights take it away. I have so much summer squash still to pick and feast on AND I am NOT tired of it yet. We have so many green beans that we are eating them daily, BUT I am NOT tired of them yet. I have canned over 100 lbs of tomatoes and still have double that left to do AND I am NOT tired of it yet. So it is summer still in my garden and soul but it is fall on my thermometer.

I am planning my fall garden and I have my green babies ready to go into the ground. I have cover crop seed ready to go. I am about ready to pick our pumpkins. I have a list with tons of fall gardening activities on it, but I am still in summer. I still am grilling out dinner, I am still basking in the sunshine on my deck and I am still savoring every bite of tomato that I pick and turn into a sandwich. But the clock is ticking for fall activities. I will soon lose my precious 10 hours of daylight each day that my green babies need as the days are getting shorter. I know that I need to kick into fall but I am stuck in summer still.

I think I will allow myself to bask in summer for the rest of the month.  I will enjoy my summer gardens to the last precious thing that I pick in the next 10 days or so. I will begin to work the ground that my fall crops will go into, but I will still enjoy my summertime moments that remain. On October 1 I think I will transition over. My scarecrows will come out, I will get some mums to decorate the front porch, place my pumpkins out for decor and will take down my “Summertime is here” signs. But for today, it is 58 degrees, BUT the sun is out and I am going to go pick some green beans and tomatoes.

Happy Unleashing your Season (whatever it may be!)

FGU

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #171 & a Giveaway!

Hello to all and welcome. Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop seems to always be a little more exciting when there is a giveaway! Wouldn’t you agree?? Deb and I really love the wonderful artwork of Sarah Hudock of Lighthearted Art. AND Sarah is also a farmgirl sister! She is obviously talented, but also is a chicken keeper, gardener and more.

Her artwork is hand-painted in watercolor, gouache, and sometimes acrylic paint, and she loves to digitally play with her work as well. Her paintings are sometimes wholly hand-painted, and sometimes done with a combination of digital effects and scans of odd materials she finds visually interesting. She’s a girl living her dream, sharing her HEART and her ART with the world and us!  ” I am the luckiest person in the world “, says Sarah.

This week,Sarah is generously giving away one of her darling tin signs, titled:  Blessings ( see top photo ) This sign is beautiful enough to hang inside your home and yet durable enough to weather the elements and hang outdoors on your chicken coop or next to your front door. Sign measures 11.25″ x 11.25″. The corners are rounded and holes are already drilled for easy hanging.

See Deb’s blog this week for more on Sarah and also keep you eyes open for an article in MaryJanesFarm Magazine where we will learn more about here. And visit Sarah’s website to see more of her whimsical chicken art.

Do you want to know how to enter? It is easy:

1. Simply leave a comment here on my blog or over at Dandelion House.

2. Head over to Sarah’s Facebook page and give her a new like.

I know you will enter this contest right away.  When you are done, don’t forget to come back for Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop!

apron

We would love to see what you are up to this week. Visit Deb also over at Dandelion House. I never tire at looking at her gorgeous photos-right now so many of colorful blooms! While Deb has been making eye popping with color bouquets, I have been bringing in the harvest and have been sharing lots of photos and recipes. So stop by and say hi to both of us!

What are you up to farmgirl??? Share on our hop so we can be inspired. We thank you for joining in!

Farmgirl is a Condition of the Heart- MaryJane Butters

Indulging (and preserving) the Harvest Part 2

The harvest continues to come in. I am by no means an expert at canning. This is only my 3rd year doing this, but I do love it. Last weekend we canned 60 pounds of San Marzanos and Granderos (both Roma tomatoes). We also had some tomatillos that I used for salsa.

My kitchen corner was a busy place. It is a little crowded in that space for this task, but I made it work. I am excited about our kitchen remodel which will gain me about 80 inches of counter space! I will be in heaven.

Busy Kitchen

Tools of the trade:

Canning Tools

I was super excited to use the Weck Jars that Rachael gifted me at Christmas. They were the first to go in the water bath!

Four Jars

Making the salsa was delightful and colorful. Look at that.

Salsa

I have not grown tomatillas before but we love them. I am really excited to be canning some Salsa Verde for future use!

Tomatillo Salsa

All in all for my first day canning of the season the takeaway was pretty and much larger than last year. Tomatoes, tomato jam, two kinds of salsa and dried tomatoes all await a winter day for opening and eating.

Jars of Tomatoes

The big news is that although this is the most I have ever canned before there is so much more waiting. I have been with my mom since 9/10 as she had surgery (she is recouping nicely) and hubby has been sending me pictures. Our green beans are so full and heavy that they totally took out the trellis from weight! He rebuilt it for the little guys. Our cucumbers I understand are waiting to be pickled and we have “1000’s of tomatoes” waiting for a canning jar. He told me that he went and bought several flats of ball jars that are waiting in the kitchen for me!

Can you say Christmas presents???

How’s your harvest and preserving coming along? Done or in the middle like me?

Happy Unleashing!

FGU

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #170

apron

Welcome to the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop! I am nothing but a “red head” this week– a little pun meaning that I have only tomatoes on my brain! They are everywhere and I am so excited. A weekend of canning starts today.IMG_20140903_111032462

I am learning continually about gardening and I make a lot of mistakes along the way.  The biggest lesson I am learning however is that my garden is forgiving. If I miss something, they just keep at it. They don’t hold a grudge when I neglect them due to travel or work for a few days. Just like our dog, they are welcoming and show me much in the way of growth and color and even smiles when I return. I may have messes to clean up along the way, but they continue to show me love. Check out my post on the harvest I received this week after a week of beating myself up over my absence in the garden.

I cannot let this week’s hop go by without acknowledging our farmgirl sister Heidi’s pain in loosing her beloved doe Lily last week. So many of us were on the journey with her in “cyberspace” and felt and shared her pain. Our sisterhood is really remarkable that way. We share highs with each other here, but also the lows and challenges. Let’s continue to send Heidi hugs across the miles and also share those hugs with others that need them.

What about you? What are you up to this week? This life is a continual set of lessons learned. What are you learning this week?

OK let’s get hopping and sharing! Be sure to visit Deb too over at Dandelion House!! They are celebrating a birthday this week at her house (and such cute pictures of the birthday boy!)

Thanks for joining us and sharing.

 

Indulging in the Harvest

After I shared my harvest with you last week, it was time to start indulging in it. Yes, I mean EATING it! One of the things I love about gardening is the harvest and the taste of freshly picked veggies. When you grow your own you can grow your favorites so everything you pick is your favorite! With 52 pounds of tomatoes, 20+ pounds of summer squash, green beans and more, we have been feasting.

The first thing I had to do was do something with all those lovely tomatoes. We were heading over to my mom’s in Ohio and I had promised dinner. It seemed a “no brainer” to do tomato something with pasta. I made a slow cooker sauce based on this recipe from Food Renegade.

Sauce in Crockpot

I took liberty and made a few tweaks of my own. I added a tsp. of fennel, deleted the tarragon and used a bunch of thyme tied up with string (that I discarded). The sauce was so lovely that I did not blend it with my immersion blender and instead left it in its final state. We tossed over pasta added fresh, ribbon cut basil from the garden and it was heaven! It was so great that when I came home and made some more.  I froze 4 pints in ziploc bags for future feasting in cooler days.

Next came the squash. I have lots of squash and I am thrilled about that. I love it and will keep on loving it.  This recipe is for yellow summer squash but you really could make it with whatever is your favorite.

Squash Quiche

For the crust, I asked hubby to make me a crust since he is the baker. He added fresh thyme to the crust since thyme is used in the filling.  You could also use a store bought crust (that is a crime in our house according to my hubby so I won’t) or make your own favorite crust to use. We pre-baked the crust about 15 minutes and let it cool.

The recipe is easy!

  • Melt 1 Tbl of butter and 1 Tbl of olive oil in a pan to medium heat
  • Add 1.5 lbs of squash cut into 1/4 in. rounds. Add fresh thyme (I added a lot; you can add to taste) and let everything saute until squash softens.
  • In the meantime, whisk 6 eggs, 1 C of 1/2 and 1/2 (or cream), 3/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper and 1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce (of your choosing).
  • By now the squash should be done.  Remove from heat and cool a bit.  You don’t want it to cook the eggs on contact.
  • Arrange squash over the bottom of crust. Add sliced fresh mozzarella (about 6 oz) or grated mozzarella if you prefer.  I prefer sliced fresh, but that is a personal choice. Pour the egg mixture over (you may have a bit left). Put the quiche dish on a cookie sheeet (in case of run over) and bake until golden- about 35 minutes at 350. Let it cool for 15 minutes.

OK this is so good, that I am making it again this week.

Another over the top meal was our Heirloom Tomato Pie from Food Network and a side of Green Beans. We used slicers and freshly picked green beans (these were the first of the season and there are tons more to follow).

green beans

slicers

 

When hubby made the crust for the quiche, it made two, so I did not follow the crust on this recipe, but used his instead. I also substituted the manchego cheese for asiago (only because that is what I had).  I also added fresh basil– one because we have ALOT of it and two because I love it.

It was fun to prepare and the bottom layer filling makes it stand out over any other tomato tart I have made.

Tomato Tart Prep

We simply steamed the green beans and oh it was great!

Tart and Beans

Tomato Tart

 

Now you probably have guessed that this did not use all of our first harvest, but it was a start and nightly we are cooking it. We stuffed the greens into a swordfish steak along with some tomatoes and feta and that was supreme. (I forgot to take a picture in my excitement).

Next up was a day of canning and drying.  That is another blog for another day.

Happy unleashing your harvest!

FGU

 

 

My Green Babies are BURSTING with Color!

It is so good to be “back.” I have been away from my personal computer and away from my garden :-( for a couple of weeks.  Travels to see the grandbaby were SO fun, but my garden was ignored during that time. When we returned our life was full of hustle and bustle since we are in the midst of a remodel. By 7 a.m. the crew is at the house, banging away and looking for direction from us so that keeps me up at the house rather than back in the gardens. AND rain has stopped me in my tracks when I have been able to carve a bit of time out.

Confession– I had not done anything in my gardens since 8/17.  Confession– I was in a panic over that! I KNEW that everything would be eaten (remember those army worms I discovered on my last outing?). If not eaten then strangled from the crab grass! If not eaten or strangled then slumped over from too much rain or not enough. My mind was a terrible place to visit. I was sad about my neglect, worried about what I would find and pretty much paralyzed to hop in Ms. Tupelo and have a discovery run up there.

BUT as I loaded up Ms. Tupelo yesterday morning I felt my spirit lifting.  AND yes the grass was out of control and super long. But as we made it up our hill to the gardens, a wonderful sight was before me. The gardens were BURSTING!

IMG_20140826_194218767

IMG_20140903_113511599

There were beets, green beans, squash, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, cucumbers, peas, chard and basil. I could not believe it! WOW! They did just fine without me (lesson learned).

IMG_20140903_120313205

The beans had broken the trellis from their weight. The squash had grown over my rope so I had to reset it.

IMG_20140903_120316358

IMG_20140826_194240552

There were so many tomatoes, that even after I filled a homer bucket with 30 pounds of them it appeared that I had not picked anything!

IMG_20140903_111032462

IMG_20140903_120157745

After I picked the goodness, I sat in the back of Ms. Tupelo and wrote my thoughts for a bit. One thought is that no matter how long it has been since I have been outside gardening, the joy of being out there and seeing the goodness that is happening, far outweighs the stuff that is negative. And yes, along with all the goodness, I discovered that my cucumbers have mosaic virus. I filled a homer bucket with that also!

IMG_20140903_113824397

IMG_20140903_112913074

The grass may be long, but that is a sign of good things–we are still getting rain, the ground is fertile and I found myself thinking of all the nitrogen my plants must be getting with all that green between rows. I want to add an under cover crop in my gardens next spring, but nature has just done it for me this year. The beets, soybeans and green beans do not seem to mind at all to share their turf.

IMG_20140903_120250168

So, what did I harvest yesterday you may ask? (Even if you are not asking, I am DYING to show you!)

IMG_20140903_111006765

IMG_20140903_111029560

IMG_20140903_112353266

IMG_20140903_112356075

IMG_20140903_112400183

IMG_20140903_112840681

Isn’t that the best ever?????? All this I grew from seed.  Sorry to be busting with pride but this is my first time starting stuff from seed and not buying starter plants.  I am such the proud mama here! Look at the smile and blue skies…

IMG_20140903_113805881_HDR

And my little flower bed gave me some love yesterday also.

IMG_20140903_113438441

IMG_20140903_113449742(1)

IMG_20140903_113502280When I came in, I made me a great big tomato and basil sandwich! Oh my goodness, can you just taste this? It was so good, I even skipped the cheese!

IMG_20140903_123923678

Today, I am heading over to visit my mom and dad.  I will be sharing the goodness with them in the form of bags of produce and a crock pot of fresh tomato sauce that cooked overnight in the crock pot.

IMG_20140903_210334355_HDR

 So my garden is bursting and so am I! I hope you simply burst with delight over something today too!

Happy Unleashing (and bursting!)

FGU

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop #169

apron

Welcome to our Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop! Deb is up to here eyeballs in gorgeous flowers!  You must head over to see her beautiful arrangements and for ideas on DIY Flower Arranging!

I am going to be canning this weekend! I am very excited about that. It is the first of the season. It has been hot here and we have hundreds of tomatoes just screaming to be used. It seems that while we were gone they just took off.  A few are struggling, but most are very happy! Our beans are climbing, our squash is out of control (in a good way) and we have a lot of green action.

IMG_20140826_194218767

IMG_20140826_194226747_HDR

IMG_20140826_194240552

 

Last week’s share from The Red Feedsack, had a yummy looking salsa recipe for canning.  I am suspecting that some of my tomatoes will end up in that! And she uses yellow pear tomatoes also, which I love and we have thousands of them.  Those little critters really go at it!

Salsa from The Red Feedsack

What are you up to? Wrapping up your garden and canning? Starting a fall garden? Just beginning to reap your harvest? Flower arranging like Deb? Or maybe you have some fun happenings in your kitchen or barn. Whatever you are up to we invite you to share!

Have a happy Labor Day weekend in your neck of the woods!

Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop # 168

Welcome to Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop!  I am a wee bit late this week!  Travels for me and computer glitches for Deb delayed us but our farmgirl spirit never wavered, just curves in life kept us from blogging.  Deb’s flowers are so gorgeous; be sure to hop over to see her bloomin’ colors!

I have been in heaven this week as we are visiting the grandbabies.  Mimi and Papa are having an awesome time with Arlo-he is smiling, cooing and loves playing peek a boo- we played for an hour on Friday night while we babysat! Heaven is definitely spending time with your grandbaby!

Papa and Arlo

 

Mimi bottle

 

Seeing Laura and Adam settling into being a mommy and daddy is shear joy. Another bonus of our trip was celebrating Laura’s birthday last night with a great meal and of course Arlo. AND today we are heading further south to visit our youngest!  We are actually in the car as I am writing this blog–the ease of technology when it is working right!

BUT Arlo is not the only grandbaby getting attention.  We have several puppies that are “grand doggies” and we are doggy sitting for daughter Rachael and hubby while they are on an awesome vacation in Oregon. This is Lilly, representing all three pups that we are enjoying as well.

Lilly in door

 

In my blogging absence, I have still been reading your updates on FB and blogs.  We hope you join in the blog hop this weekend and during the upcoming week and share what you are up to.  I will be traveling back home next week and will get back into “normal” (whatever that means!).

So, join in and visit Deb too and say hi! Have a wonderful weekend and week!

apron

You don’t have to live on a farm to join this hop!

 Farmgirl is a Condition of the Heart~ MaryJaneButters

 This is a blog hop!