Saturdays are full of food

It’s Farmer’s Market *and* CSA day.  Granted, I pick up my CSA at the market, but still.  Regardless, it works out nicely.
This is my entire haul from the market.  Most of it *is* from my CSA, but some other stuff wasn’t (the two loaves of garlic parmesan bread, shallots, garlic, small bag of cherry tomatoes, two bags of broccoli).  We shall be doing a lot of prep and eating this week.  It’s nice knowing my stands at the market…  the folks know me, we chit chat a little, and yeah.  Those two big bags of broccoli?  $5.  No joke.  I’m kind of allergic to mornings, so I tend to hit the market later, a bit before closing so some things are selling out or other things people desperately need to get rid of (deal time!).  The tomato lady had a ton of broccoli that she hadn’t sold yet, and needed to get it gone.  So she waves me over, asks if I need broccoli to put in the freezer (except this much broccoli is like two meals, not even worth trying to freeze for me) and she’ll cut me a deal.  Um, sure, twist my arm.  😀  I forsee some Hollandaise sauce in our future.

Yup, canning, cleaning, putting away.   Was still putting away my market finds.  And washing the jars from the last few days, and getting things labeled.  Sure, the tomatoes look like tomatoes, but putting that *and* the date on them is just plain helpful.  Especially when rotating goodies.  It doesn’t look like a whole lot of jars, but trust me, it is.  Apparently my kitchen photographs better than I do – it seems to actually almost look nice and big in photos, when in reality and during the brunt of cooking/canning it feels quite small.

Canning season has begun with a vengeance

Farmer’s Market basket last weekend.  That’s a hefty sized basket, too.

Finally got photos printed up.  These colorful ones are up in the kids’ room.  They’re so cute, I may put up another photo shelf above this one to get more photos of them up there.

And the living room photos.  I’m pleased.  Might add a few more small ones if I find a decent deal on some smaller frames, but until then.  I finally got photos up on the wall!  That in itself is pretty awesome for non-decorator me.

We haven’t eaten at the table in two days.  ‘Tis the season.

My poor kitchen.  All kinds of busy and messy.  The floor’s already sticky, but I’m not going to make the kids clean/mop it until we’re done with all those peaches and tomatoes and nectarines.

In the midst of peaches.  Lots of peaches.  With tomatoes simmering on the stove.  All kinds of smells coming from my house.  😉

I actually got it tidied up at the end of last night.  Dirty jars still sealing over there in the far corner by the stove, giant Le Creuset pot simmering with tomato goo.  Cleaned out the sink, yay!  In the foreground is all the cleaned off jars (I scrub them all after they seal so there’s no sticky gunk in the pantry/basement), and the *giant* compost bowl from the day.  The 9yo gets to take it out in the morning for me.

We’ve been playing around with veggies lately because, well, we have a glut of them.  So from perusing Pinterest, this happened.
That’s right, bacon wrapped green beans.  They are super yummy, and aside from the slight difficulty of wrapping them, not too hard.  Hubby grilled them out on our new grill, so as to not heat up the house.  I’m pulling out all kinds of grill recipes as of late, only thing I turn the stove on for is canning.

Grilled zucchini, again, on the grill.  Again, lots of veggies all over the house.

Last minute farm visit

Not too many folks know this, but I grew up around farming.  One side of the family was/is wheat farmers.  My grandfather started (officially)  farming wheat in the 40’s when his dad died when he was 19yo.  Someone had to take over the family business.  He was good at what he did.  Smart, calculating (in a good way, not a creepy Wall Street kind of way), and did well for himself over the years. 
My other side of the family had more of a hobby/subsistence farm (only way to have milk and beef and chickens was to grow them yourself!), along with timber acreage and a good old-fashioned lumber mill.  So I grew up knowing the lovely smell of fresh sawdust in the air and how to pick the perfect blueberry and riding combines/wheat trucks and helping with harvest dinners and packing lunches and sending/helping to take snacks out to the hot fields.  It was a lovely experience for me, I know more about some things than other folks my age, plus those were my fond times spent with my amazing grandparents.  My parents would drop my sister and I off with a grandma, we’d spend a week or so there, maybe spend another few days to a week with an aunt, then be driven off to the other grandma to spend another week – those were our constants during summer, and while I can’t speak for my sister, I couldn’t wait to head out to those places.  They were safe, fun, loving havens for us.

So this week, for the first time in *many* years, the kids and I went out to the wheat farm.  Only two of my uncles are still farming (the rest have retired or sold things off), but they’re my favorite uncles anyhow.  😀 
I didn’t get as many photos as I wanted to, boo.  Since the kids outnumber me, I had to get them out in the machinery in shifts, deal with tantrums (the 5yo didn’t want to go out the first day, the 3yo melted down the second day), and all that.  Next time I plan to get a photo of us all in front of a combine or something, at least that’s my goal.   The kids had fun, and I was told after the fact that they were little angels.  I did a double take with that – they apparently save all the good behavior for other folks, so I’m utterly shocked when I hear stuff like that. 

When it was mine and the 3yo’s turn to ride, I asked my uncle that they rode with how my older two were that first day, and aside from the 9yo playing with the a/c vents in the combine, they were really good.  My uncle seemed a little, uh, puzzled.  The 9yo and 7yo were apparently making observations – like “oh, there’s where the header connects!” and “there’s the auger!” and so on.  They knew all the terms and what most things were, it might’ve thrown him for a loop at first.  Yes, we’ve watched Modern Marvels on the History Channel or Netflix, I’ve explained some of the basic things to the kids that I know (like I’ve told people, I’m not an expert, but I do know just enough on most things to be dangerous!), and yeah. 

I had fun because out there in the wheat field, you can chat about stuff and no one will ever know or hear you.  🙂  I learned a few more things about the farm and other family matters, which is nice.  I was sheltered from a lot of stuff growing up, or not told things, and even in my 30’s I’m still discovering random (sometimes salacious!) tidbits.  Plus my uncles are just really nice folks.

So despite me scrambling to get everything ready to go late one night (I had to put away the CSA stuff along with the pounds of blueberries I’d also gotten!) and packing us up, and the long drives, the kids had a blast.  Before we even left my aunt and uncle’s driveway, they were asking me when we’d get to come back.  Bonus, one aunt and uncle bought my grandparents’ house, so my kids even get to experience the same house to boot.  It’s a bit cleaner and spiffied up courtesy of my aunt over the last few years, but it’s still got the same bones and lack of air flow I grew up with.  I wish we could’ve stayed longer, it’s on my to-do list for at least next year, not sure if I can swing it again this year.  Having my own household to run makes things a smidge trickier at this point in time.  But I think I’ll try if my relatives are okay with it, it was so nice to just go out and see them.  ❤

Another groovy thing about this lovely aunt and uncle buying Grandma’s old house is that they’ve been going through all the stuff/crap leftover.  And giving it to folks that may want/need it.  Like this.  I was offered this giant hulk of a sewing machine.  I really, really do want it just because (it’s old! it’s heavy duty! supposedly it works!).  But I don’t have a spot for it right now.  We still have a fairly stuffed storage unit.  I’d need to have a home for this sucker before bringing it home.  Which I don’t have right now as we’re still rearranging stuff.  So I’m still undecided.  Need to get a sewing friend’s opinion of it – if it’s a crappy machine, I’ll let it find a new home where it’ll be appreciated.
sewingmachine sewingmachine02

Then while the kids and I were off having our very dusty adventure, hubby was off on a work trip.  Which also went by our yearly haunt for goodies to can up.  He got boxes of tomatoes, a box of nectarines, and boxes of peaches – white and yellow.  We haven’t canned white peaches before, but hey, life’s an adventure.  We shall see how it works out, and this is only the first round of peaches anyhow.

This is what my children will do, left to their own devices.  People are constantly shocked at things like this, when in my house?  Just means it’s Tuesday and mommy forgot to hide the tape.  All this is is toilet paper or paper towel tubes, lots of tape, some paper, and a few small pieces of cardboard (or light cardboard boxes).  They made their own marble run along our stair banister.  This is what you see walking into my house from the front door, exactly what you see.  You can tell kids live in my house.

Finally, I made it over to my elderly neighbor’s house.  He’s the sweet man who lost his wife last year (boo).  But he lets me have all the elderflowers and elderberries I want, and let us plant the little raised garden bed by his porch since his wife wasn’t here to plant it, and my own yard is all kinds of disaster.  The elderberry trees are *loaded* so I’m excited.  I never got a chance to get out and harvest a ton of elderflowers before it was too late, I figure there’s next year that I can load up on those.  This year, I shall load up on elderberries.  There shall be a ton of dehydrating going on.