Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dehydrating Green Beans

I've tried dehydrating green beans once before using frozen green beans.  They were ok but I wasn't super crazy about the way they re-hydrated. They are fine in soups or stews but not really to my liking for use as a side dish.  OK, having said that I thought that I'd try once more and see if my results from fresh green beans would come out any better.

I "snapped" the green beans and washed them well.  Then I blanched them in smallish portions for 5 or 6 minutes and drained out the water.  Then I put them onto my drying trays, careful not to crowd them in the trays.  I set the temperature to my "veggie" setting and let them dry.  About 5 hours later I checked the beans and rotated my trays.  At this point they were drying well but still needed more time in the dryer.  I let them go another 4 hours and they were done.  I let them cool on the trays and then put them in a jar.  I let them set for 24 hours and checked them again to make sure they were completely dry. I took out a small portion for my experiment and then I vacuum sealed the rest in a quart jar.

I boiled a small pan of water and tossed the handful of green beans in it to let it rehydrate.  I was really hoping that this time my results would be different than the frozen beans.  Unfortunately they weren't.  They seem to be kind of  tough.  Maybe it's something I'm doing wrong but I've got a feeling that's just the way they are when re-hydrated.  So now I have a nice batch of dried green beans to use in soups or stews but I don't think I'll be drying many more of them this year. 

I've really got to get to work on an outdoor canning area.  It's already getting way to hot to do in the house and the canning season is just now heading into full gear.  I have a feeling I'm getting ready to have fresh beans coming out of my ears.   The bush green beans have already yielded 14 quarts and the pole beans are getting ready to start producing too.  Not to mention the "magic" beans, Dragon beans and the Cherokee Trail of Tears.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Preservitis- A New Disorder Identified?

(Re-post from 2010)

There is a newly recognized disorder that has come to the attention of folks across the country.  Although this disorder has been around for many years, it now has an identifiable name. That name is Preservitis. Symptoms include, but are not limited to the uncontrollable urge to can, dehydrate, freeze or otherwise preserve every fruit and vegetable that come across the path of the affected individual.  This disorder may become more intense as the summer season winds to a close.  Person's with this affliction have also been known to try unconventional recipes so as to save every known part of said fruits and vegetables.

   There is no known cure for this disorder at this time.  The prescribed treatment is to let the symptoms run their course.  To alleviate symptoms, it is recommended to allow the affected individuals to pursue their urges to can, dehydrate freeze foods until the symptoms have dissipated.  It appears that once they have found that all fruits and vegetables have been attended to, the affected individuals return to a semi-normal state of mind. Studies have shown that symptoms will usually ease off as the summer winds to a close.  

WARNING-  In most patients these urges WILL return year after year. Researchers believe that Preservitis will become more prevalent as society begins to sense a growing need for self-sustained living.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Stuff Happens!

I realize that I haven't been here in several days... Stuff happens. It's that time of year where everyone is running at full speed out in their gardens.  We wait for this all winter and then when it gets here its like OMG!!!!   This is the largest garden we have ever grown and as slowly as I move these days it's becoming a full time occupation.  I've learned though that much work can be done while sitting on a 5 gallon bucket!  LOL!!!!

The garden is taking off like gang-busters (even with the bugs)  and I've got my canner sitting at the ready.  If I thought things were ramping up before out there then I sure didn't have a clue! Everything is blooming and I'm starting to harvest more than just lettuce.  Spinach, green beans, squash, fresh onions, Swiss chard and green peas have all had a place on the dinner table lately.  The dang sweet peas didn't really do well this year. I planted about 100 ft of them and they just didn't produce well.  And then the bugs got to them.  I've never planted them before so I'm not sure what I did wrong. I guess I'll have to study up some on it before planting time next year. 

 This past month I've been trying to "re-adjust" my schedule.   As a few of you know, I'm not a morning person.  Not like I didn't try to be but it's never seemed to work out.  The problem I find every year about this time is that there's more to be done IN a day than there is daylight to do it in.  Blogging has kind of been put on the back burner.  I didn't ever mean for this to become a garden update place but it kind of looks like that's whats happening.
 I've been thinking about something a fellow blogger was talking about the other day.  He was talking about prepping and bloggers.  How he would like to see more things about new ideas and things that work for other folks.  I have to agree that it's great to find and learn new things. The problem I have here lately is that I feel like I've probably written about most everything I know at one time or another. There is only so much one can say about things like dehydrating or canning or any other thing really.  Sometimes you'll come up with a new tip or trick but more often than not once you know how to do something, you just do it.  I've gotten to where I just don't even know "what" to write about anymore.  And it shows....

  Am I just getting the dreaded Blogger Burnout?  

Friday, May 11, 2012

Picture Heavy

I cannot believe how fast the days are going by right now. It seems there is so much to be done every single day and not nearly enough hours to get it all done. The weeding alone in the garden is enough to make a person scream......
And just to make it a tad more interesting.... We planted three more 85 foot rows today just behind the clothesline.
  I think I'm going to have to sabotage the tiller!  Mars just keeps plowing up dirt.  Today the watermelon, cantaloupe, three kinds of squash, sweet potato's and pinto beans went in.  All this stuff is on the "upper" part of  the garden. We had two extra rows that he just HAD to till for next year so those were the ones with the beans planted.  Beans = Nitrogen in the soil.  
I didn't get pictures of it but I will later.
The baby chicks are starting to look like chickens now and are eating regular food. Thank goodness for that.  It pains me to feed that expensive chick feed to all of them.
Here's a shot of the little short beds we started last year.There's carrots, lettuce, broccoli and onions in those beds. On the right hand side up there is the compost bin that Mars made from pallets.

The corn patch is looking pretty good so far. 
Here's a shot of what used to be beautiful turnip greens.... Dang bugs!  We are trying to get them under control with a garlic pepper spray... It seems to be working but it wasn't done in time to help these poor guys.

The amaranth is coming up now.  There is definitely a learning curve with planting it.  Some places came up like gangbusters and others are pretty sparse. I can't wait to see what they will look like when they start putting out color! The sunflowers here are kicking some butt though!
Black-eyed peas in the front, lettuce, onions and butter cream peas next, spinach in that kinda bare looking spot, Cherokee Trail of Tears beans and pepper plants next to that.. and Kentucky wonder Pole beans behind that.  What you don't see here are the "magic beans" and the dragon beans. They are looking good too.

The okra is just starting to come up in the front row.  There's also borage planted in between the okra.  (Don't ask me... ask Mars on the far end are tomato plants  as well as tomato's and peppers in the second row.

Random shot of the yucca in bloom. (Just cause I think its cool!)

 There are several of these planted around the property.

 Ok .... time to get back to my weeding.....

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Yet Another Garden/Animal Update!

Wow!!! It seems that this time of year the days seem to rush by and before you know it an entire week has been spent.  I've been spending most mornings out in the garden. I'm trying to catch up with all the weeding that needs to be done, but that is a never ending chore.  I let it go for about a week right after the wreck and am still playing catch up.  For the most part though the garden is looking good and everything seems to be growing fine. Too bad they don't grow as fast as the danged weeds though!  

 Squash, beans, peas, peppers and a couple of tomato plants are showing their blooms.  The amaranth is starting to take off now after a fairly slow start.  I can't wait to see how it works out.  I've never grown it before and am really excited about it. 
Everything planted so far is coming up.  We have been picking lettuce daily and some spinach and Swiss Chard as well.   Now if we can just keep the bugs out.....  I saw my first squash bug yesterday. I hoped somehow they might have forgotten about me this year but I'm afraid that's just not meant to be.  Already the bugs have become a problem.  I've been alternately spraying with the garlic pepper soap and dusting with D.E.  for the past week so I'm hoping that will help some.  Dang bugs ate my turnip greens down n two days to where they look like lace they have so many holes!  This HAS to stop.  LOL!   

We still haven't finished up the last garden area we are planning on using.  This is in the same area that we had the first garden in last year but it's been extended a bit.   There are still two more rows to "hill up" and the drip line to lay.  I keep telling Mars we are running out of time.  Tick tock... tick tock...   I still want to get the watermelon, cantaloupe, more squash and the sweet potato's planted.  What room is left we will plant with beans or field peas to help with the nitrogen in the soil for next year.  This building up of the soil for the future will take time but hopefully in a couple of years we will start seeing the benefits.  

The baby chicks are all doing great.  The first five that hatched are now able to get all the way up to the top branch of the roost at night and are actually starting to look more like chickens than chicks.  The other four are right behind them.  I'm finally starting to get some eggs each day again from the hens.  They all decided to take a break at the same time and stop laying.  Of course that is probably due to the fact that they all decided they liked the chick starter rather than their regular food.  I don't have anything set up to separate the babies from the adults right now so there's no way to "make" the big guys stop eating baby food so I'm thinking the diet change messed with the egg production. Live and learn, right? 

Oh, the picture of the kitty up there?  That's our newest addition to the homestead. Meet Coco... Coco meet my friends!
                 ~~~~~~   Hey ... I'm Just Sayin' ... ~~~~~~~

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Please bear with me, we are trying to get the dust to settle around here and things are definitely much better than they were just two weeks ago.  Thanks to all of you who sent prayers and hit that button down there I think we will be ok.  It's all a matter of regrouping I suppose.
  The truck is pretty much going to be one of those "project" things now.  It is going to take more to fix it than we actually paid for it.  The motor seems to be sound though so we'll see.  I promise I'll get my blogging mojo back together soon.

 We found a "beater car" that seems to be in decent enough shape to get us back and forth to town for awhile.  '90 Dodge Spirit which now has tags and insurance.  More to come on that later as well. I just didn't want to keep you all hanging to badly.  It's been a rough month.... and I owe you all so much.