Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What a Corny Day !

I got the BEST corn seed from my nearby RT 42 Market! Such perfect white corn! So sugary sweet and don't even need to cook it.Ed said,"Want help strippin' corn?" (?????)~~~~ (Do cats love mice?? Do cops love to give tickets?? Ho YEAA!! I love this man!!)

Sooooo anyway, 8 thousand ears later we were briefly stopped by Angus the cat.Look at HIM!! Whoa !! He decimated that ear of corn in minutes.Back & forth like an old Underwriter Typewriter carriage.It brought out the lion in him ....and tears of joy to my eyes!(sniff)
One thing I noticed was that I never dusted my corn with killer insect powders..neither did local fruit producers.But whereas the tips of some of my corn had some caterpillars,over the years I've noticed that a large portion of ears of corn were affected by corn caterpillars by local producers we bought from that were'nt sprayed. I think the difference was that my chickens & turkeys were on daily patrol throughout my fields , whereas no birds protected the other guys.

Monday, September 13, 2010

New generation of egg layers

Oh yes, this buddy of mine knows that there's something wonderful inside.Whatever can it be ???
Ash sits waiting patiently.His tail switching back & forth.

After 5 years of egg laying chickens & incubating their eggs, I'm starting to see puny eggs competing with the nicer large & jumbo eggs.The culprit is a very active Bandy Rooster.While I thought I was incubating beautiful large eggs, the sire was a midget.Therefore, the hen that would hatch would be crossed with a bandy roo.In other words~~~~ itty bitty eggs 7 mos later when she grew to adulthood.Sooooo, I hit the hatchery catalogues & bought some more egg laying peeps. One day old & they are $2.47 a piece (!!) Heck!! But, I need a fresh start , so I gave in.I bought 25 new peeps.12 Barred Rocks (outstanding large egg layers & great tolerance for cold weather), 12 Australorpes ( black with green sheen) and also great daily egg layers & great tolerance for cold weather.And ONE surprise little peep bonus~ who knows what? He's red feathered & marked like a chipmunk- probably an Auracauna (green egg layer) and a rooster.I don't cull(destroy) old hens that become poor producers.They have served me faithfully for many years, gone into LABOR everyday of their lives and produced an egg. For me.They serve out their days munching on garden bugs and caterpillars that would otherwise destroy my corn, etc.,

Sunday, September 12, 2010

La Tomatino !

Good ol' tomatoes!! Nothing tastes better than a fresh picked tomato from the vine, then popped into your mouth. The fresh smell of a tomato vine is intoxicating.It is one of the earliest childhood memories I have of my parents in our yard in the early 1950's ,Bayonne.My dad tying vines onto stakes and my mom picking tomatoes in the evening shade. I am so sad this beautiful scent only lasts a few weeks of the year. If I was a Parisian perfumer, I would invent "La Tomatina". But I fear actual bites to young maidens' necks would outlaw this wonderful perfume as the result.

I am pretty overwhelmed in September with 'things to do'. Most of it relates to canning. So much produce reaches fruition in September! I understand why the Pilgrims chose November to give 'Thanks" for the harvest. By that month, they were utterly exhausted and glad to be done with it!.Anyway, probably the most time consuming of my canning fruits/vegetables is tomato sauce.I try to put up enough for the year (52 weeks worth) at 2 Qts a week. Well, you do the multiplying.
I can fully understand why the Spanierd's have the festival "La Tomatina" every August where they have a great tomato fight in the streets.It's because you can only take so much!! After that, you just start throwing the dang things!!

Chicken Soup 101

Back when I was a maid in nursing school, we learned proper and essential skills at curing the sick and dying.Chicken Soup 101 was of course at the top of the list of Nursing Fundamentals.In fact, I was SOOOOO impressed with this course that I started my own pharmacy of chickens in my own backyard.Let me clue you in on a secret ingredient in making perfect chicken broth (without adding boullion cubes~~~~CHEATER!! (:<
Get a pot of water,toss a bunch of necks in,a chicken carcass (left from a roasting chicken),some giblets and chicken feet. The secret ingredient is the FEET!!! Don't let your butcher cheat you out of them!!Demand that he toss them in the shopping bag.If you shop at world class supermarkets you will be outta luck.They don't believe in them.Toss in salt to taste & parsley and simmer at a soft roll for 2-3 hours.DON'T LET IT BOIL!! (It will cloud & lose clarity) .Put it in the refig overnight to cool.This lets the fat float to the top & harden. Scoop it off (don't let it find its way to your coronary arteries!)& toss it in the burn barrel ( or save it for greasing creaky hinges ).Reheat the broth & ladle it through a strainer to remove scrappy particles.Then can it at 10 lbs pressure for 80 min for Qts.or just plain freeze it in containers. This may sound complicated & too much, but it's not.No, not at all.It is one of life's pleasantries! (:>

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Corn Pickin'

These little boys are getting lost in the corn (:> They have to climb over pumpkins & vines to get to the cobs that are ready for pickin'.I hear the yellow pumpkin flowers make good soup.(I saw it in a Keanu Reaves movie know,the grape vineyard movie where he returns from WWII? I forget the name).

This little farmer buddy informed me that, "When we drive to NJ it takes a long LONG time! My dad brings stuff for us to eat and drink to keep us alive ! He don't want us to die." (!!) (:< "Yep",I said, "You sure got a good dad" (:>

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Making your own grapejuice recipe

2-3 handsful of Concord grapes . Place in Qt canning jar
boiling water Fill half way in jar.Stir well to mix sugar (otherwise it will settle to bottom of jar & crystalize like a rock during processing).Then finish filling jars with boiling water.Set your lids on and process according to canning books.I use Ball Blue Book. I pressure can it on 5 lbs pressure. They will be ready to drink by November.Then just get a strainer,set it atop a juice jug & pour juice through it.Press remaining juice from grapes .Toss the grape remains to chickens & turkeys and Whallah!!(:>


It is such a great time of year! The grape vines are 4 yrs old and produced 60 lbs of Concords.Enough for grapejuice for the year & wonderful jelly. My neighbor said he could smell them across the street! One of my favorite memories of my Grandmother's house was the grapevines in the backyard & my mom making jelly with my Aunt Annie (Actually we all pronounced her name 'Ann-Annie'.Haha)

But I HATED picking them off the vines because I just loved looking at them dangling beautiful & deep blue purple in the hot sun.Japanese beetles were merciful this year and didn't set out to destroy the grape leaves.Last year they looked like green lace.I slapped them off the leaves into a bucket of water & fed them to the fish off the dock.I hate using pesticide spray on fruit & vegetables. Turkeys & chickens cluck ,scratch & peck their way through my garden.I lose a few tomatoes here & there & some corn, but you have to feed your soldiers.

I haven't made my jam/jelly yet.That will be this coming week.This is the first year I haven't had to buy any grapes at all. (:>