More tomatoes

My brother asked if I wanted some more tomatoes and seriously can someone ever have too many tomatoes? 

So of course I said yes, I would take them and I soon had a couple of plastic bags of tomatoes on my kitchen cupboard. 

Well because it’s getting very close to the busy time on the farm with the fall harvest, I knew that I had a lot to do tonight and canning wasn’t really on my ‘to do’ list. 

These tomatoes were going to be skinned, quartered, and then frozen. A much easier way to put them away for the winter if you ask me. 

With a big kettle of water boiling, and all the tomatoes washed and scored,

dscn9144into the pot they go for just a few minutes or until you see the skin starting to curl up. If you leave them in too long you’ll end up with a very mushy tomato. They are still good, but a little over cooked. Been there – done that before! 

Next into the sink that was filled with ice water to help cool them down and to make peeling them much easier. 

Finally I cut them up and vacuum packed them for the freezer. I LOVE my vacuum sealer and if you don’t have one in your kitchen – well I don’t know how you can survive. I’ve worn out one already and the one that I have now has done it’s share also. Just saying – if you have a freezer… you need a vacuum sealer for meat, vegetables, fruit, soups, and leftovers. (Can you tell I use mine a lot?) 

Now that the tomatoes are all safely stored for the upcoming winter in the freezer, I headed outside to do the chores. Daryl was going to be late getting home tonight, so I quick gave some cherry tomatoes to the chickens and the peacocks, and found some apples for the cows to go with their hay and corn for the night. 

The dogs are in the house watching the TV show “Chopped’ and all is well on the farm for the night. 

 

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Leftover tomato stuff

If you remember, earlier I did a couple of batches of tomato juice and what that means in my kitchen is that I’ll have quite a bit of extra ‘stuff’ leftover when I pressed it into juice.

And this year was that same. Now I suppose just throwing this tomato puree out would be so much easier, but instead I wanted to dehydrate it and then grind it down into a powder. I mean there is tomato, peppers, celery, onions, basil, and tons of other good stuff in it so why not?

Well I really have a mess when I’m trying to get all the moisture out of this concoction . I usually have to take it into my hands like a big wad and then squeeze with all my might to get as much moisture out as I can.

What I’m left with it this sticky ball that honestly doesn’t look too good.

Then into the dehydrator it goes for about 14 hours and Shazam! It’s dry.

I’ve been storing it in the fridge because.. well kinda because I just haven’t gotten around to grinding it down to make a smaller powder of it. But it’s really getting in my way in the fridge and making me kind of annoyed to be quite honest. It was only one big bad, but every time I needed something from that shelf, it always seemed to be in the way. Isn’t that how it usually goes?

So I decided to bite the bullet and just get it into the food processor and packaged away once and for all. I mean honestly it is only going to probably take me only 15 minutes tops to do it. dscn9145

And guess what? It did only take 15 minutes or less to get it done.

dscn9146But the bad news is that when I washed up the food processor and was storing it away, I dropped the plastic food processor lid. I saw it going and I swear it was like I was watching a movie or something. I saw it leaning off the top and then slowly making it’s way to the floor. At first I thought that maybe it really didn’t break and that the lid can be made in two pieces. Yea, good try.

Well I’m going to go with duct tape the next time I use it and see if I can patch it together.  Otherwise I guess I’ll be on the look out for a new one.

I sure hope I use this tomato powder a lot this winter!

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The rest of the Holiday Weekend

The rest of the long holiday weekend was kind of a mixture of quite a few things. 

First of all it started out by me helping with lining up the bean head with the combine. Now you would think that this is an easy task, but let me just say that we’ve never got it hooked up on the first try. 

And this year? This year Daryl asked me to help out by going inside the cab and raising and lowering the head of the combine. To say I was excited about working on this new task was very much an understatement! I was scared to death and seriously not excited at ALL! 

But I guess it was one of those times you just put your big girl panties on and do it. 

And guess what? I think I did an OK job. Oh yea!! Even though we still didn’t get the bean head on perfect – that’s why Daryl said that you do this a couple of weeks before you actually need it. Just so you can get all the equipment ready. He was showing me some hoses that he thought might need to be replaced, but all I was thinking about was trying to get out of there!  20160904_110542_resized

I just hope that this was the first (and the last!) time that I’m helping out while inside the cab of the combine! I’m so much better off helping with making sure that everything is lined up just where it needs to be .. while standing on the ground. 

This weekend we also had a chance to visit with some friends at an anniversary party. It’s funny that even though you might not see each other very often, you can feel so comfortable hanging out with each other when you are together. Kinda cool.

Wth the weather perfect, the night ended up with a camp fire and a couple of hands of cards with the kids. 20160904_185634_resized

What a great weekend we had! Now to face reality tomorrow and head back to work :(

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Minnesota Zoo – Saturday

Because we stayed overnight in Minneapolis last night we decided today that we were going to visit the zoo. It’s been more years than I can count since we’ve been to a zoo – so it sounded like the perfect choice for today. 

So after finding directions on our phone on how to get there, we didn’t have any trouble with traffic or directions. 

But we did see some trouble once we got there. Do you know what that was? There was a huge line to get into the zoo. Obviously we haven’t been to the zoo for sometime and maybe lines were common now? Whatever the case is, we were literally the only one without kids crawling all over us. Now did we feel weird because of that? No, we kind of felt relieved. 

We had a great time, the sun was shining and we saw a bunch of all different animals. The zoo has tons of different animals and with the couple of hours that we were there, we definitely didn’t see everything. But we did see quite a few animals, we saw 

Monkeys … 20160903_112941_resized20160903_120115_resized

Buffalo roaming on the grassland 20160903_133846_resized

It looks like this one camel is kind of dead doesn’t it? Well it was just sleeping – whew! 20160903_134444_resized20160903_121927_resized

And we also learned tons of stuff too. Not all good stuff though I have to say. 

First thing that we learned is that Minnesota originally did not have any earthworms in the state. They found that the forest beds have changed with the introduction of people bringing in earthworms. Crazy isn’t it? 

The next thing that we leaned is that Amur Leopard in Russia only has 30 animals left in the natural environment and the species will eventually collapse on itself and will be extinct. 

We also learned that with the zika virus being a very big deal for many people, that in South Carolina they sprayed for them and they accidentally killed 2.5 million bees. So not cool! 

And on a lighter note, we also learned that all kids are the same. We laughed when we saw this one kid who was yelling at his mom that he found a short cut and she was supposed to follow him. Well when we looked around and saw this kid we just died laughing. He literally went off road and was climbing up this one tree embankment. The mom was trying to coax the kid down and then we heard this little boy say ‘Oh no, I’m stuck” Too funny! And again we felt relieved that it wasn’t us. 

We got home not too late and with all the chores done and the car unpacked,  we found ourselves getting ready for the next couple of days of this long weekend. Yea for holidays!! 

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Friday – Date Night at the Twins game

We decided last night that we were going to head to Minneapolis for a couple of days and we were going to leave after work on Friday. 

Sounds like Fun! 

So it was kind of a late night getting everything ready and to be packed, so after work I could literally switch clothes and be ready in just minutes. See we bought Twins baseball tickets last night and the game was for Friday night. We didn’t have much time to waste if we wanted to get there on time, so that’s where I needed to be organized! 

Well I got out of work on time and beat it home just in time for Daryl to be standing all cleaned up in the kitchen and ready to go. It didn’t take me long and soon we had our sunglasses on and heading North to the cities. We met so many people on the road we weren’t sure if it was because it was a holiday weekend or if everyone was so excited that we’ve actually had some nice weather and was ready to get out and enjoy it. Whatever the case, the roads were crowded. 

Once we got checked into our hotel, we made it to the stadium in perfect time. We had a couple of minutes to grab something to eat and drink and to find our seats. It was an absolutely perfect night for a ball game.

20160902_190829_resized The weather was nice and we were ready for a cooler night with our jackets that we grabbed as we left our house. 

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The game didn’t turn out so well and with the Twins losing, so we headed out a little early from the game and went downtown to see what was going on there. And for a night time snack? Check this out – Grilled hotdog covered in Mac and Cheese. Yea, not really on anyones diet plan now is it? Now it might look kinda gross, but honestly it was awesome! 

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As we were walking around downtown we saw quite a few people standing outside this one theater. Check out who was performing – it is Prince’s original band!!!!

20160902_224515_resizedAnd when we stopped to find out more, the guard said something like this ‘We have a lot of security tonight’ Now not like I’d try to sneak in or something! :)

It was a great date night and with us staying overnight in the cities, I’m sure we’ll find something fun also to tomorrow too! 

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Tomato, Tomatoes

I love canning.

I love everything about it.

I really enjoy getting the canning jars all cleaned and then seeing how many canning rings that I have to have. Will I need all small jar lids or maybe a couple of the wide mouth lids? I love to get whatever I’m canning (usually tomatoes) ready on the countertop and then the excitement that I get when you start the process. 

OK, if you’ve never canned before well it’s really hard to explain the thrill that you get when you hear the ping of the jars sealing. I swear I can be way in the other part of the house or even upstairs and all of a sudden you stop (not sure why, you can’t hear any better if you stop and listen can you?) well anyway I stop and once I hear the ping I smile to myself and then get on to whatever I’m doing. OK, maybe kinda dorky but it’s what I do. 

So once I again I’ve been canning tomato juice and I sure wished I knew what recipe I used last year because I was really struggling to figure out how I was going to put this whole thing together this year. So I was lucky to have the onions, basil, peppers, celery, parsley, chives from my garden, and after they were all process in my handy dandy food processor, I then I added some carrots to the whole mixture. I put in some sugar and some salt and pepper to taste.IMG_20160831_201542 I left it cook for about an hour to let the ingredients all mix and then I used the strainer thing to get all the juice out of it. And guess what? It’s not bad. Maybe not repeatable again because it was just a guess on how much to add, but not a bad juice! 

Now to start on to the second kettle. I sure wished I wrote down what I used in the first one. 

And once all the jars are sealed and have been washed, for some odd reason I just can’t store them away in the basement right away. I keep them out for a day or two just to look at them. It’s kind of like looking at a prize or something that you get for doing a job well done. DSCN9143

Well I finally moved them to the basement and on to my next kitchen activity :)

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Update on the peacocks

I found out one thing these past few days. 

And what is it? It is that Sally the peahen who has now 3 new little babies is very, and I mean VERY,  protective! 

Now this is a good thing right? I mean with the peacock murderer still at large, she needs to do everything that she can to help protect them. 

But tonight my Mom came over and I wanted to show her just how cute they are and with a little prodding, there was absolutely no way she was going to get up and let me get by her little chicks. 

I mean with the hissing and funny noises that she was making along with some pretty evil looks. heck she even scared me! 

So it was a no go for my Mom to actually see them. 

But I was able to snap a couple of pictures earlier of her and of her babies and I can just tell you that they are adorable! 

We’ve been having discussions on the farm just how long they were going to stay in the chicken condo, and my thoughts is that we’ll keep them safe for a very long time in there. I mean they are getting ‘treats’ quite often. The treats are fresh bread and some cherry tomatoes out of the garden. It’s like Chicken Coop Room Service! And seriously how can you beat that? 

Sally's regular spot in the coop

Sally’s regular spot in the coop in the corner with her babies underneath her

The 3 Amigos

The 3 Amigos

Very Protective Mama! Can you see her hissing at me?

Very Protective Mama! Can you see her hissing at me?

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Spending time in my craft room

I decided to spend time these past few days in my scrapbook room making some way overdue cards. I still even have a few more to make, and hopefully I’ll get them done in the next week or so. 

So I don’t know if you get into cards or not… but here are the latest and greatest cards that I’ve made DSCN9108DSCN914220160809_203912_resized20160824_191839_resized

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Happy Birthday Kyle!

On Sunday was Kyle’s birthday and we had a chance tonight to get together to celebrate it. Now when I say ‘get together’ it might not be the same way that other families get together, but nevertheless, we did get together. 

With Kyle on the East Coast and even though William is only in Ames, Skype continues to be one of our best family friends! 

So with a birthday pan of brownies and some candles lit, we all were able to see each other and sang a round of Happy Birthday to him! 

And after the cards were opened and his birthday box opened, we spent the rest of the night catching up with each other from the past week. Sometimes our calls are 45 minutes to an hour, sometimes they are only 20 minutes.

But either way, I love it! 

Happy Birthday Kyle! 

And yes you’ll notice that I once again forgot to buy the ‘3’ candle. Seriously, the other candles are so old that I know we had a 3 when the kids were like 3 and 13. But since then? No 3’s have officially been on our cakes. I end up usually make one with paper to replace the official candle. I know it doesn’t look as good, but it does the trick. I’m determined to buy one tomorrow for the next ‘3’ birthday :)DSCN9140

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Sunday update

Today I was busy with doing laundry, working on canning tomatoes, and checking on the peacocks.

I wasn’t sure how many peacocks that hatched yesterday until my nephew and niece stopped in. They love to pick eggs, so after they picked the eggs for the day, we went to check on the little peacock. And to our surprise, there were three little babies running right beside Sally.  

I tried to take a picture of them later, but there was no way that the peahen was moving and the babies were right underneath her. She even kind of hissed at me when I got close to her. I guess I got the hint. 

There is still one egg that’s not hatched, so I put the heat lamp closer to it to see if there is a baby chick inside. Who knows right? But I’m guessing that there isn’t because the mom moved to the other corner of the building with the babies. And all most all the time, they know what’s going on even if we don’t. 

So while I was busy doing things in the house today, Daryl spent some time working on the combine. That season will come fast!DSCN9113

For dinner today I wanted to do something with our campfire. With all the rain that we’ve had lately, there hasn’t been too many campfires on the farm. So I lit one this morning and cooked some chicken over the fire. 20160828_123052_resizedWith the grilled chicken, and the sweetcorn and watermelon that I got from the farmers stand a couple of days ago, it was a great dinner!

And I learned something today. I saw this crazy bug by the laundry line and when I picked it up, it made a terrible noise. It turned out that we’ve got cicadas and now that I stopped to listen, I could sure hear them off in the grove. So part of this learning experience is that I need to make sure to shake off the clothes before I bring them in the house.

 

 

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