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Friday, July 25, 2014

Organic Blueberry Picking At Rubicon Farms, OH MY!!

 Yesterday was the perfect summer day. Sunny, not too hot, and breezy. An excellent day for a drive to pick blueberries.  Tucked just over the tracks in Avonmore, Ontario is Rubicon Farms. It's a beautifully appointed spot with a lovingly tended blueberry garden, or field, or orchard. Whatever you call it, it was a wonderful experience.  The picking was great too. The season officially opened the day before.
                              It was easy work too. The bushes were loaded with fruit.

     Aaron was the one for getting all those berries tucked at the bottom of the bush.

                             We each had a four quart basket. They filled up quickly.

                           No sprays, organically grown. Delicious right off the plant!

 You can also buy, ready-picked, black raspberries- the best I have ever tasted, as well as black and red currants.  Jam time!
Here are our berries. They all got tucked into the freezer for now. I'll make some jam later, as well as tea cake, muffins and whatever else strikes my fancy. They will be a most welcome sight during the winter months!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Birthdays, Rainy Days, BBQs, and Fresh Fruit

 It was hubby's birthday on Monday. It was a very busy day, with lots of appointments to get to on time and it started far too early and ended far too late. We have recovered from all that and have settled into a nice "holiday" routine.
Marty, above, sits with Odelia in his birthday gift, a funky chair from Goodwill. They are keeping me company while I was baking in the kitchen, last Friday night.  We were listening to a lecture online.

 Marty got a great deal on a rotisserie for the BBQ and he tried it out today. The chicken was the smallest of our little meat flock. It's traditional to cook that one fresh when all the rest head to the freezer. Grilled veggies to go with it and a lemon tarragon sauce to baste it.  YUM!

                          It turned out great. A lovely mid day meal on a rainy day.

While Marty manned the BBQ, I spent the morning making jam.  This time it was organic lemon pear with cardamom and a wonderful apricot lime jam to go with the cherry I made last week.  They will be great on ice cream or stirred into yogurt too.

Monday, July 21, 2014

PotAto Potato SEEDS!

             Our gardens efforts are having mixed results. This patch was dug up and we just tucked in all manner of seeds and seedlings.  The beets and radishes are doing great, the tomatoes are full of blossoms and little fruits, and my beans should be producing any day now. The potatoes are thriving too!

                                             Lots of blossoms.  Nice full plants.

 And wee little green "tomatoes" have developed on some of them.  They aren't really "tomatoes." After doing a little research I did learn that the potato is, like the tomato, from the nightshade family.  These little green things are actually true seeds on the potato plants.  I also read that you ought to remove them and let the energy be put wholly into the tuber development.
They are poisonous so you mustn't eat them but here is one cut in half. Lots of little "true" potato seeds inside.
Here are two places I found interesting information, HERE and HERE.

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Fun Transferware Find

 I like transfer ware, but not all. I like brown transfer ware, and any of the more unusual forms of it.
This is a fun little pudding bowl. It comes with very clear instructions as to how to use it.  No paperwork to keep track of.

                                                 It's obviously been well-used.

                                         Great illustrations and clear instructions.

                                             A lovely piece of old kitchenware.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Great Scapes & Fermented Radishes

 I think we are all familiar with the fist of garlic. Those lovely little cloves add so much to our food.

 At the market Roots Down Organics has been offering garlic scapes. There are those who are thrilled to find them and happily buy several bundles and have plans for them. There are others who stop and look and wonder what they are. They sure are neat to look at!

 The scape is actually the top of the garlic plant. In the fall you plant the garlic, in the spring the garlic plant shoots up its curly top and if left alone, it will flower and set seed.  If your plan was to harvest great fists of garlic later in the summer, you need to cut off the curly top of the plant so that all the energy goes back into growing a bigger and better bulb of garlic.

Scapes can be used the way you use regular garlic, cooked, grilled, sauteed, on pizza, etc.  It is a little like asparagus in texture and not quite as strong as the bulb of garlic.

 I did can some scapes, pickled with a little dill and red pepper flakes.  they are ready to be opened this week so I hope Marty likes them.

            I also brought home some radishes. I thought I would try my hand at fermenting them.

                                                     Sliced with brine added.

                                            Five days later, rosy and tangy radishes.
Both recipes are from Marissa McClellan's great books, Food in Jars and Preserving By the Pint.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Cloud Gazing

 Over the past week the sky has put on an interesting show.  Just the other day there were weather warnings for a rainstorm but we never go the extreme conditions predicted. It passed by north of here.

 Tuesday evening, the sky out front was glowing pink, so naturally I checked out back only to find a different picture.

 Black clouds rolled by north of us while the sky in the west was streaked with orange.

                                   Just to the east it was shot with bright pink.

 Last night, this is what greeted us when we went out to tuck the chickens in for the night.

                           No rain, just a boiling mass of gray passing overhead.

                              Once passed, the sky cleared, and then the rain began.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

First Canning Of The Season

 Well, at this point summer is well under way and it is already July!   The time is just flying by.  Last week began with a basket full of organic lemons.

 A leisurely afternoon was spent grating the rind from fifty lemons and then they all got juiced.
It was good to get that done ahead of time as there was more work ahead.

             Marty brought home 14 quarts of organic strawberries from Wiseacres Farm.
                Delicious!  Then it was time to get to work.

Friday was spent canning up some Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate.  I made ten quarts.  It is a lovely way to quench your thirst on a hot summer day. We also enjoyed some strawberry shortcake and I made 10 half pint jars of freezer jam.

                         This is the recipe. It is from an old issue of Taste of Home. What is your favourite summer beverage?

Friday, June 27, 2014

A special Birthday Outing

 A few weeks ago it was my birthday.  As I didn't have to be at the market that day and Joshua was home for the weekend we spent the day together, checking out a few yard sales and just enjoying the countryside.  We did drop into the market and I was gifted a lovely bouquet of flowers.
 We went to a few yard sales in Brockville and one out near Mallorytown that we went to.  At a large barn sale I found a little box of old celluloid pieces.

 I also found some lovely doilies in an unusual shape, a wee coin purse, compact and neat little applique lace piece.

 Of course there were a few practical things picked up as well: good sturdy cooling racks and a box of canning jars.

                                                A neat set of old hand drills.

                                      A nice tabletop tinsel tree in its original box.

              An old enamel bowl- with red trim- and some lovely Christmas decorations.

 I really liked this unusual garland with long glass beads, crushed foil balls, and silver stars. Amazing it has survived this long! There are also little papier mache bells hanging from it.

 Another box of coffin nails and tin decorations. I found a box similar to this one years ago at another yard sale.

                                             A school picture from the 1920s.

                                    A little doll-sized ironing board, obviously hand made.

 You can never have too many old linen tea towels!  They are so very soft and absorbent, and strong too!

 I used to have one of these roly poly clowns by Reliable toys. It makes "music" as it rolls about.  It was nice to find another one.

                                   This old Currier & Ives print is still nice and bright.

                                                         A pair of vintage suitcases.

 And yes, more drawers. I so love drawers! You can fill them with such fun little things. I see the postcards being tucked in these and well organized too.

                                          A funny little Tootsie Toy pull toy from the 60s.

I also found this lovely collection of old wooden kitchen tools.  Sauerkraut pounder anyone?

And, of course, the aforementioned rooster, Mr Mister. Perfect weather, great company. It was a lovely day out.  We finished it off with a lovely meal at the Tandoori Mint in Brockville.


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