Canning With Grandma

Tuesday, my sister and I strung and snapped beans all afternoon, we made it through half of them. Honestly, that was not something I considered when I planted a garden, but the beans are done for the year. When I got home from work yesterday, the first set of 7 quarts were already in the canner. Grandma had started without me.

I helped finish those 7, and prepare the second batch of 7 along with 9 pints. The last few beans were then placed in the slowcooker by my sister for dinner last night. While the second batch of quarts were going, Grandma taught me how to blanch and prepare corn for freezing. We worked together. My sister picked a row of  corn, only the ears that were ready, while Grandma and I got the last few beans when I got home. Grandma and I cut the kernels off the cob, then Grandma showed me how to blanch it. We got 9 quart bags in the freezer yesterday.

We had not planned for tomatoes yesterday, but they were ripe, and unfortunately when it comes to these things, the clock does not say when you are done, but the work. Grandma showed me how to chunk the tomatoes and cook them before juicing them. We had half a five gallon bucket that were ripe, and got just over 4 quarts of juice.

Very productive day, but by the time we were done, I was ready to be done. I tried to absorb more information than I think my brain could process at once. Next time I am going to take notes so that I can repeat the process.

I have told you all of this, not to tell you what I did yesterday, but hopefully show you that there is great value in spending time with your family, especially your grandparents. There is much to be learned and appreciated about their knowledge of life and life skills, family history and heritage, and fun stories apart from fun itself. I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with my grandmother yesterday. While we were productive, that was just a good excuse for me to put aside other things to spend time with her. I want to learn how to can because not many people, especially my age, know much if anything about it. Grandma has always done it for our family, but it is too much for her and Grandpa now. I made sure to put out a garden big enough to share from. I have gladly given her corn and squash to take home and have with Grandpa.

Love your family, hold them tight and dear. Spend the time that you have with them because you never know what tomorrow is going to bring. Open your heart, let them in, learn from them and carry them with you wherever you go. Family is so important, and everyday I see people take advantage of it. Enjoy your time with your family as much as you can!

Preparing for Canning

Those of you that have followed my journey this past spring into summer have faithfully watched an dlistened to my learning experiences with gardening. Now that the veggies are beginning to come in, I have to make preparations for their storage. This is a whole new experience for me, and I am so grateful to have my Grandma to hold my hand and show me the ropes! Canning with Grandma has been a special privilage and I expect tomorrow to be another day of learning and enjoying special time together.

Last night my sister was kind enough to help me pick 10 gallons of beans, 2 buckets full. Today we worked together stringing and snapping them for when Grandma comes tomorrow. Picking out bad ones, even as we picked them off the bushes, was entertaining as we began throwing them to the chickens. The chickens and turkeys now see me heading to the garden and they follow me and wait patiently on the other side of the fence. All of the buggy veggies or the ones not suitable for eating, go directly over the fence for the birds to devour. My flock eagerly waits on the other side of the fence. Last night, they had so many beans as we picked, I let them go a little longer than I meant to and I had several that were over ripe, they eventually tired of eating the beans and moved on to other chicken activities. I had to laugh at them.

Sure enough though, today when I went to check the tomatoes…. here came the chickens! And they were thrown 2-3 buggy tomatoes which they excitedly started on. It is a two fold, I get rid of the bad veggies and the chickens enjoy them! I do not feel bad at all if the chickens enjoy them!

Tomorrow Grandma is going to come and help with some canning, and in preparation in addition to snapping and stringing the beans, I have picked tomatoes and checked religiously on the corn. The corn will have to wait for Grandma to ok that is ready for picking and preparation for freezing. I am so excited for tomorrow, just to learn as I spend time with my Grandma.

Several people have asked why I want to learn to garden and can, as I am fairly young to be interested in such things. I want to learn so that in a few years I can continue the trade. Grandma used to put out a big garden every year and supply us all with green beans, corn, squash etc etc. This year she was not up for it, so I put the garden out under her watchful eye and careful instruction as I learned to space my rows and plant them straightly. I have enjoyed learning about this process and cannot wait to continue tomorrow!

Enjoying My Evenings

It is no secret that the days are indeed getting shorter. I mentioned that in my post yesterday, and I sit here tonight, thinking about what I should be doing instead of sitting here writing, the sun has begun to set. The sky is starting to change colors and they day is drawing to a close.

In a few minutes, after I have posted this, I will make my way outside to begin evening feeding and chores. Last night I took a few extra minutes and just took in the sights and sounds as I started chores.

The turkeys greeted me and followed me around talking with me as I started chores, the Guineas were up in the front yard churping, the chickens were here and there talking, fluttering, running around. Pete brayed when he heard the door close because he knew dinner was only  a few minutes away. The horses began moseying up through the pasture field toward the gate, even the ducks started quacking in anticiaption of feed time.

The past few days and weeks, I have been messing with the turkeys, learning to mimick their sounds and clucks, and I can actually get them to follow me and answer me back. Earlier this afternoon, when I went outside, they came right to where I was and started chirping and clucking. Their best friends are the youngest hens, and I must say it is quite a sight to see Brahma hens hanging out with 4 large white turkeys.

A couple days ago, I brought home 2 ducklings, and I thoroughly enjoyed spending a few minutes with them this afternoon. My Americana hen ‘Noodle’ was sitting on eggs in the one nest box, but other than her it was just me and the baby ducks in the henhouse. They were not real excited when I picked them up, but I want them to get used to hunmans, and once I lifted them from the brood box, they were content for me to hold them for a couple miuntes at a time. They are the cutest things! I have actually tarted to reonsider hatching my own chicks next season, in part due to being around these adorable ducklings.

I enjoy so many of the aspcts of the farm, the turkeys and baby ducks have been a greatly enjoyed bonus this week! I look forward to watching the babies grow and being with the turkeys for the last weeks until they finish out. Hopefully I have encouraged you to look around you this evening, at the sunset, at your surrounds and enjoy them, even if it is only for a few minutes. Tomorrow is another day, and the beauty of today will have faded away to the beauty of a new day, but along with today passing, so have memories and moments that you may never get another chance to eperience. Enjoy it!

Summer Ending

The days are starting to shorten, the sun is taking longer to rise in the mornings and the darkness settles in a tad sooner as the final days of summer approach. I like this time of year almost as much as spring when everything is budding and waking from winter.

Many people around here have cut hay the past couple days, I am relieved to say that for the moment, my hay is taken care of. Hay has been a challenge and a bit of a struggl this year. We made it on several farms, and getting weather to make it has been rough. The older equipment we run does the job, but sometimes we have breakdowns that take a day or so to get needed parts orderded and in. We have been blessed enough to slowly begin to upgrade, and each year we make improvements, and I learn a little more about how to talk to the machines that provide for my herd over the winter.

The past few weeks, the project horses I have been lucky enough to work with this season, have improved enough to go home or impress their owners, or both! Girlie went home riding nicely undersaddle, Miss Attitude in town surprised the socks off me today when she rode further down the rail than she has yet, and she got right on the trailer! These horses have come so far, and tried so hard. Not only have they taught me to work with other kinds of horses and have helped me grow as a rider and as a horseman. I am finally mastering feeling the horse under me, and not just that its there, but feeling the way it moves,  deepening my contact and communcation. Understanding how the horse moves and feels under you allows you to be in constant communication with them, knowing what they are going to do before they do it jsut by tension in their muscles or a change in their stride.

Horses give to pressure and can be worked with just by rewading them with the removal of pressure when the desired result is obtained. Miss Attitude has not wanted to load, but by using more patience than I ever thought I had, and working with her on getting over her fear of smacking her head on the trailer, she learned to give to the slightest pressure when getting on the trailer. By keeping her head lower, when she gave to pressure verses raising her head in refusal, she decided the trailer was not nearly as scary as she originally thought. Which was a gigantic victory!!

Any aspiring horsemen or women out there, I encourage you to enjoy the individual traits in each horse you get to work with. They are all idifferent, and they all have something new to teach us.  Take your time and nd take it one day at a time. The end result witll be worth it!