Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hot Pepper Jelly

We've had an abundance of peppers so far this year so I've been trying all sorts of "new to me" recipes.  I've heard about hot pepper jelly for some time now but had never tried any.  I figured it was about time I did.  And man am I glad I did! That's some good stuff!  It doesn't hurt that it's really easy to do too.  You can make it as hot or mild as you want.  I love it because you can just toss the peppers  in the blender or food processor in big pieces with the vinegar and let the machine do the work!

                                      Hot Pepper Jelly

About  a cup of hot peppers
1 Big bell pepper
1 1/2 cups of white vinegar
6 cups of sugar
2 packets of liquid pectin (6 oz)


Chop the peppers  in the blender or food processor with one cup of vinegar until its smooth.  Pour it into a big pot.  Add sugar and vinegar and mix well.  Bring the mixture up to a rolling boil and boil for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Here's where you can remove it from the heat and strain thru a sieve if you want.  I skipped this because I wanted the pieces in the jelly. Don't forget to heat your lids too.

Add your pectin, stirring constantly and let boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim foam if you need to. Ladle jelly into your jars leaving 1/4" head space. Clean the rim and threads of the jar with a damp towel. Put on your lids and rings.
Place the jars into boiling water in a large boiler with a rack on the bottom and cover 1-2 inches. Boil for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the jars stand for 5 minutes.  Remove the jars to a towel or a rack to cool.

See there.... I told you it was easy!  Did I mention it's awfully good with cream cheese and crackers???  Yummy!!!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Slowing Down Just a Bit

The drought continues as do the 100* temperatures.  Much of the garden is done for.  The heat loving purple hull peas are done as well which surprises me. Yet the peppers, okra and melons continue to give it all they've got.  Even the tomato's are about done. To be honest I'm glad that part is over for now.  I was getting kind of tired of messing with tomato's. 

I've learned a lot from this spring garden.  Not having had a garden this large before there were many lessons to be learned. This I why I've always stressed the point that you have to learn, practice and hone any new skill.  Reading it from a book is one thing but actually doing it is a whole other thing. Not that I haven't grown gardens before but they were small compared to this one.  I wouldn't trade what I've learned this year for anything.  I will say one thing though, I'm really glad that the biggest part of it is over. I don't have the energy I used to have and have to take things at a slower pace, take more breaks.  That makes everything seem to take so much longer. There were times I wasn't sure I could keep up but I did!!   I'll be better prepared next year and ready for the onslaught of beans, peas, tomato's and all the other things that seem to come in all at once. 

I know that if it weren't for the drip line irrigation Mars installed none of this would have been possible. It's just been too hot and to try and hand water would have been impossible.  That was some of the best money we have spent in a long long time.  And for about $200 I can see it paying for itself by next spring.  Heck I think it's already paid for itself. All that watering I didn't have to spend all day doing.  

Other than drying some of the never-ending okra and canning peppers there isn't much to do right now in this heat.  We are going to put most of the garden to bed for the year.  I'd like to pick up some broccoli and cabbage plants since I neglected to start any for the fall.  And believe it or not I even want to pick up a couple of tomato plants just for fresh tomato's to go with the lettuce I'll be planting in a few weeks.  Mars has two 75' rows ready to plant in.  We'll see if that's big enough. I'm looking forward to a slower pace about right now! What's crazy is that the calendar calls for planting all sorts of things right now.  I've got the itch to go on and get things in the ground but I just worry that with all this heat it will end up frying the seed and/or sprouts before they have a chance. We are going to give it a couple more weeks at least before trying to plant the fall stuff. Maybe by then we'll get a break in the weather.

So, now all the sudden I find myself with some time on my hands during the day. What a change!  Of course it only means that I can get to some other things I've been neglecting. There are beans to be harvested for next years seeds, and my house has suffered terribly for the past six or eight weeks. I've got a list (of course) of tons of projects that need to be done but it's had to take a back seat to weeds, beans and tomato's for awhile.

I have to just say one thing...... I wouldn't trade it for anything. Man,  I love this life!!  Who would have thought even two years ago we would be here and doing this.  I might get hot and tired and dirty but I'm doing it for us and what a wonderful feeling that is. And in these troubled times I take moments every day to just stop and look around and realized just how blessed I am.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Sweet (and Spicy) Banana Peppers

I love those sandwich peppers that you can get at good sub shops. Sweet and just a hint of spicy.  So since I had a pretty good amount of peppers to play with I decided to try my hand at canning a few jars. It was really simple and easy to do, which rates high in my little world!  I ended up making a few jars of Sweet Banana Peppers, some Sweet and Spicy Banana peppers, and a Habanero Mix while I was at it.  

I promised I would share the recipe for the Sweet Banana Pepper Rings with ya'll so here we go.  

Sweet Pickled Banana Peppers (2 pints)

1 lb Banana peppers- seeded and sliced into rings
4 cups white vinegar
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon mustard seed

Sterilize your jars and warm your lids.  
Bring the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed and celery seed to a rolling boil. Pack pepper rings into your jars and pour mixture into jar leaving a 1/2" head space. Clean rim's of jar and put on your rings.  Process in a Water Bath for 10 minutes. Let sit for at least 2 weeks.
If you want to "spice" them up for a Sweet and Spicy Pickled Pepper, Just add a few jalapeno's or other hot pepper to the mix.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

DIY Tomato Powder"From Skins to Tomato Paste"

I came across an article on making tomato powder from tomato skins the other day and was instantly intrigued. After seeing how simple making tomato powder is, I'm sorry I didn't start doing it sooner. I'm also thinking about all those skins I tossed to the chickens before I found this idea. I'm betting that won't happen again. The chickens might be disappointed but I'm sure not!

Why would you want tomato powder?  It's got so many uses. Sprinkle it liberally on meals like soups, stews, pasta sauces,taco mix, pizza toppings. Put some "zip" in your omelet or eggs. Shake it on veggies to add a bit of flavor.  It livens up all kinds of dishes.

The thing I wanted to do the most to do though was to be able to make tomato paste and tomato sauce.  I figured if it worked I wouldn't have to buy it in the can anymore.  I figured what the heck, I'll give it a shot and see. The worst thing that could happen was that the chickens would loose a snack. I've tried making tomato paste  on the stove and I have to tell you... It ain't as easy as it sounds. All that cooking time and stirring and hoping the whole time it doesn't burn, I didn't enjoy it at all.  Besides, it's just to hot in the kitchen during tomato season to do it.  So I decided to try this idea of making it from tomato skins. Now that I've done it I sure wish I had known about it sooner. It's awesome!

First thing you do is peel your tomato's and save the skins.  Lay them out on your dehydrator trays and wait it until the skins are dry.It doesn't take very long at all. They will be like brittle paper when they are done. 

 I laid some  straight on the trays and some on trays with screens. (For the life of me I can't figure out what I did with the rest of my screens.)  They both work fine, it'd just easier to remove the skins using the screens.

I took some of the dried skins and ground them up in my little coffee/spice grinder. That was it!  Tomato powder!

 To make tomato paste from it, just add a tablespoon of water (more or less) to each tablespoon of powder until you get the consistency you are looking for. 
 To make tomato sauce start with one tablespoon of tomato powder to two parts water. (more or less)  For tomato juice just add one tablespoon to 4 tablespoons of water.(more or less)  It's kind of a "feel" thing and not exact measurements.  Just add water until you get the consistency you want for whatever you are making.  
You can also make a mean tomato soup using tomato powder.  I think this will be an awesome addition to any food storage pantry.
I am forever running out of tomato paste. Not any more!  This will be a great thing to have in my food storage. I know I'm going to stock up on it!  Of course I'm not sure yet just how long it will last but I'm testing that now.  I decided not to grind all the skins and store them in jars until I need them.  I figured with the moisture content it would end up being hard as a brick in no time if I ground it all. So I put the skins in mason jars and vacuum sealed them. I'll just grind them as needed.  I know I'll be drying tomato skins from here on out. 
 Hey! I just had another thought....I wonder if  I can make bouillon cubes with it? Hmmm....

Friday, July 20, 2012

Drought and Coming Food Shortages

I know you've heard about the drought which is currently and officially affecting 32 states. Wow! That is over 60% the United States unless you are Obama under drought conditions.  Folks this is bad news for everyone. And when you hear the MSM  (Main Street Media)  actually saying it's only going to get worse and that we need to be prepared for higher food and fuel prices, you know it must be bad. And it's coming... soon.

  So here's the deal.  The corn crops are in serious trouble. Some are saying there could be at least a 40% loss of corn crops this year and that that percentage could easily rise.  Most all gasoline these days contains ethanol. (Don't even get me started on that rant!)  Ethanol is a corn product. 

Most every processed food these days also contains corn products via high fructose corn syrup and other tasty concoctions. Most all processed foods contain corn.  What does that mean? It means that prices for most all things in the US are getting ready to go up. And not just a little bit either.

 It means you need to stock up as much as you can RIGHT NOW.  The time for sitting on your butt and thinking "Well, I'd like to have some food put up for hard times but I just can't do it right now"  is over.  Think of it this way.  If you know for an absolute fact that something you invest in today will be worth 30-40% higher in a couple of months, wouldn't you invest in it? 

  I've always harped on being prepared, on having food on hand to last for as long as it possibly can.  Things are going to start getting real bad real quick.   If you aren't already putting food back you need to get off the fence and start NOW.  Trust me on this.  What will you do when, for example, your morning cereal goes from $3.00 to $6.00 this year? 

For example, remember how high the  peanut butter prices jumped  the past year?  Different reason I know but the comparison is the same.  It went from around $1.50 a jar to $3.00 a jar in just a couple of months. That is a 100% increase. I took advantage of knowing that ahead of time, and stocked up a years worth of it for $1 a jar. If I hadn't done that I would be paying that $3 right now. Yeah I know that I'll run out of that in a year, but I'm also rotating in more as it goes on sale.  All our food prices are about to jump so high that it will be difficult to keep up.  As Lindsay Williams said almost two years ago, "There will be food on the shelves but people won't be able to afford it."

 And do you think it will ever go down now that they know they can get that much more for it?  Think about that increase in the cost of ALL your foods.  Can you afford to have your grocery bill come close to double what you are spending now?  I sure can't.  Most of us can't.  But what can we do about it?  That's a tough one.  And it's going to be devastating for many of us. I'm seriously thankful for having a garden now and having some preps put back.  I feel sorry for those who aren't so lucky. 

    But.... and its a big but... (shup Carolyn lol!)  You CAN do something about having food put by.  If you haven't started stocking up your pantry, please please please start now.  Get you a few weeks, months, years put in there as fast as you can.  What you buy today will soon be worth twice what it is now.

   If you are already prepping you need to do the same.  Step up your game.  The time is now to put everything you can into your food storage and your gasoline storage.  I've decided that I'm going to put every spare penny I have into mine for now.  Of course I don't have much money and 95% of it is spoken for before it comes but I'm going to use that 5% to try and fill in as many holes in my storage as I possibly can.  I would advise all of you to do the same.  Let your wallet bleed now and have something to show for it, or let it bleed out later and bear those consequences.

  Don't think the government is going to help you out either.  Did you know that many of the  single folks who make under $1000 a month and now receive food stamps get around $20 a month?  So everyone drawing those benefits are not having all their food paid for in food stamps. That is something that "they" want you to believe. (Another rant for another day)
 In any case it is a mere drop in the bucket when food prices are projected to rise  close to 50% in the next few months.  The government is NOT here to help you out on this one. 

Folks this drought is a serious problem and in the end will effect every single person in America. 

             ~~~~~ Hey ... I'm Just Sayin' ... ~``~~~

Thursday, July 19, 2012

What Zombies Don't See-

I recently found this draft and now wonder why I haven't posted it before. I remember getting permission to run with it and just never did. My bad.   Lots of folks don't think about what all it takes to live a prepper lifestyle.  They don't understand the time that goes into this lifestyle.  I think Cin summed it up nicely! I think she posted this on the APN forums but I honestly can't remember.  Anyway...  Thanks Cin!

What The Zombies Don't See

Posted by Cin

The husband and I just returned from a bulk shopping trip at the local warehouse store. We spent the next fifteen minutes unloading groceries. 150 pounds of staples (rice, beans, sugar and popcorn) came into the house. Knowing I had some used buckets and new lids, which stood empty, we intended to fill them with the purchases.

But first, he had to go to our storage area and get the buckets. I had to wash the buckets out, then pass them back to the husband, who hammered the gamma lids onto each one. Then, we opened the flimsy store containers and filled Mylar bags, inserting oxygen absorbers and diatomaceous earth for pest and moisture control. A quick seal with the iron, a twist of the lid, and we were done. 2 hours later.

I decided to make spaghetti and can it. I gathered the ingredients early in the morning, and put them together, allowing the spaghetti an hour of simmering to develop the flavors of the spices. In the meantime, I put water on the stove, and began boiling it to wash the jars, lids and rings. Next, I put the sauce in the jars, wiped the rims, capped with lids and placed in the pressure canner (meat was in spaghetti, pressure canning is best). My canner holds 7 quarts. I made 12 quarts of spaghetti. Two full runs of the canner, first a slow heat to the proper temperature, then simmering down to hold steady for 90 minutes each. Sounds simple. But from beginning to end, we spent almost 12 hours canning spaghetti.

The neighbor and I decided to can her apples – making applesauce and apple pie filling with the two or so bushels we gathered off her tree. From gathering, peeling, cutting, boiling to finished product/cleaning up (using a water bath canner in 10 minute increments for the 13 pints of applesauce and the 9 quarts of apple pie filling), it took us 14 hours over 2 days.

Repeat the canning process through late spring and early summer with tomatoes, green beans, blackberries, strawberries, peaches, chili, marinara, bacon bits, and several varieties of soups.

I routinely dehydrate chicken strips for dog treats and for human consumption in casseroles and soups. I dehydrate mushrooms, mixed veggies, zucchini, tomatoes, potatoes, and hamburger rocks. Give or take, from slicing and dicing, to preparation in marinades, salt water, or spices, to time in the dehydrator, this process takes from 6 to 15 hours. EACH. I’ve also made jerky and other things (including cake/biscuits) over an open fire, and our charcoal grill.

A lot of this work takes place on a weekly basis. As jars empty, I put together things to re-can in them. I usually wait until I have a dozen empties before I begin again. I dehydrate weekly, sometimes more than one day, if I find a sale on produce or meat.

In between food STORAGE preparation, I usually prepare food twice a day. I sometimes cook on the woodstove, just for practice.

My husband chops wood nearly every day in summer and fall, preparing for our winter needs with the wood burning stove. He doesn’t have a log splitter, yet. So it’s all done by chainsaw to chop, then axe to split.
Our shopping excursions are planned in conjunction with garage and yard sales, so I often bring home clothing that needs cleaning, altering or hemming. My sewing machine is set up permanently, because I also quilt and make things as gifts and to sell. I have a treadle machine that needs new belts, which I am planning to acquire soon, so I can start practicing on it. I used to sew a little bit on Grandma’s treadle, so I know the basics. I also sew by hand, practicing with crewel and cross-stitch in my younger years, before graduating to neatly sewn hems and hankies.

The husband waters our garden with hauled water from the creek or the lake nearby, thereby saving electricity and wear and tear on our electric well pump. We also catch rainwater to water the garden.
We are proficient with firearms and the husband also reloads his own ammunition, a time consuming chore that takes a few days for each single caliber.

What the Zombies see is row upon row of canned and bucketed goods, a sewing room full of fabric, tools and utensils neatly stacked on shelves. They see buckets placed to catch rain run-off, and think it’s a quaint, “green” thing we do. They see chopped wood and think we bought it from various wood sellers around here. They see the gun cabinet and the drawer of bullets and think we simply went down to the local sports store and bought it.

Right now, I have electricity, water on tap, and mindless plumbing to make life simpler for our needs. I can wash clothes in 30 minutes, have a tasty meal on the table in 20 minutes, and hem a pair of pants on the sewing machine in 5 minutes.

Should I lose the luxury of electricity, water on tap, and mindless plumbing, life will pretty much be the same around here. My husband and I already know how to take care of essentials, and are able to store, can, dehydrate, chop wood, and haul water.

I’ll have to incorporate washing clothes by hand, a situation I’ve not addressed yet, but plan to do so in the short-term future.

Another thing we’ve not addressed is hunting for food or keeping livestock. Our neighbors have supplied us with venison, and eggs from their chickens in exchange for things we do for them. For now, we are content with that arrangement.

What the Zombies don’t see is the sheer, hard work it takes to prepare and maintain all that food, clothing, water, ammunition, and chopped wood that are/will be the necessities of a reasonable life.

How ready are you to face life without electricity, running water, and your plumbing needs? Do you have the strength for the day-to-day chores of the past? Can you cook over an open fire, wash an entire load of clothes without a washer, hand sew bandages into usable sizes, and carry a five gallon bucket of water back and forth to a garden or the toilet 10 times? You don’t have the time right now…but the learning curve when a disaster strikes is steep, and can result in a life or death situation in a matter of hours. Do you manage your current time to incorporate the old-fashioned ways?

Just something to think about.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dehydrating Carrots

I love carrots!  And they are a great food to dehydrate for storage. They re-hydrate nicely too. Not to mention that I can store several pounds of them in a single quart jar.  So here ya go... This is how I dry mine.

Peel your carrots. (don't forget to put the peels in your compost pile)
Cut up the carrots in even pieces.  I cut mine into round circles. You want to cut them all approximately the same size so they will dry evenly.
Blanche your carrots for  3-5 minutes and rinse in cold water to stop the "cooking". 
Place your carrots on your dehydrator trays in single layers. It's ok if they touch each other but you want to make sure they are not laying on top of each other.
Set your thermostat at 125- 130 degrees and dry for 10-12 hours, or until they are hard and have no moisture in them. 
Store them in and air tight jar.  I like to vacuum seal my jars for longer shelf life.
To rehydrate, pour enough hot water to cover the carrots well and let them set until they are back to "normal".  This usually takes about 20-30 minutes (sometimes a bit longer)

When you are dehydrating most vegetables you can follow these same directions.  Some of the blanching times will vary though.  That is why it is good to have a decent book on dehydrating.  Most dryers come with an instruction booklet that will walk you through all the steps. I don't have any one particular book to recommend but there is a great website called Dehydrate2Store on dehydrating foods here. If you have never checked it out before you ought to give it a look.  I highly recommend it.   

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Most Honest 3/12 Minutes of Television Ever

Take a few minutes and check this out.  Amazing!  Finally some "truth in television".  Enjoy!

I'm going to go back to canning tomato's now! LOL!! 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday Already!

Today's Harvest
I'm just about to the point that I might not ever want to see another tomato again.  I've spent every day this past week putting up one kind or another of tomato product.  I still haven't done some of the "tomato projects" I had hoped to do, the weather has just been too hot for cooking. I do have an outside burner set up in the shade to can on.  It's sure come in handy since there is no way I could be doing all this in the house.  It's just too hot with no AC. I am happy to say we've had a banner year for tomato's but I'll be glad when the processing is done! Canning is easy, its the preparation beforehand that takes awhile.

This week I was able to put up another canner load of salsa and several quarts (I think 21 so far) of whole and quartered tomato's. I also put up 7 quarts of a nice blend of tomato's, onions and jalapeno's for a kind of a "Ro-Tel" tomato mix.  I'm thinking I'll probably put up another batch or two of that. I just love Ro-Tel tomato's in so many dishes. I've been drying tomato's as well.  My dehydrator's have pretty much been working 24/7 for the past month.  I saw an article (well several actually) about drying tomato skins to grind and use as a tomato powder.  I'll be sure to let you know how that comes out. My first attempt is in the dehydrator right now and will be ready to work with today.  I've also been drying green peppers, lots of okra, and onions.  We just pulled up the last of the onions so I'll be focusing on those next.  They did really well this year.  I think we've probably got around 40 pounds or so.  Not bad for a first attempt!
It's hard to believe that as hot as it is right now it's time to be starting the fall garden here. After such a big spring/summer garden this year we've decided to slow the roll just a bit this fall. There are too many other projects that need working on that have been put on hold till cooler weather.   Mars has two rows ready to plant in. Now I need to decide what it is I want to put in them.  I can guarantee one thing.... there won't be more than a couple of tomato plants! Got to have some for eating fresh ya know?  LOL!
 I'm taking the day off from tomato's today and focusing on peppers.  I've been waiting until I got enough banana peppers now to try making a new recipe I've been thinking about.  Some Sweet Hot Banana Pepper rings.  I'll try to remember to take some pictures of the finished product.
 And as if I weren't busy enough, while I was at the dreaded grocery store yesterday I spied a huge bag of banana's that was marked at $1.29.  There must be at least ten pounds of them.  Since I don't have any room in the freezer (due to tomato's) I'm going to have to do something with them today as well.  Besides making a banana pudding I think I'll try my hand at making some Monkey Butter.  I've never made it before so we'll see how that works out.  What's left will be dried into banana chips.  I wonder if you can re-hydrate banana chips?  If you could it would be a neat way to store them to use later on in things like banana bread.  Have you ever tried that? If so, how did it work for you? 


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Canning Salsa

We love salsa around here.  A lot!  I think that growing up in Texas with so much Mexican influence on the local foods it's just natural for us.   I love salsa on eggs, in beans, breakfast taco's, burrito's, chips and salsa,  the list goes on and on.  And so with all the tomato's and peppers we have right now the time is right to make some salsa.  I didn't really have a go to recipe to start with but now I think I just might have found one. I love that this recipe is so flexible.  And of course you can change up the amount of onions or peppers, or even use canned tomato's if you don't have fresh.    I'm working on my 3rd batch now which makes 18 quarts put up!  That just might be enough to last till next year but I just might put up at least one more batch.... just in case, ya know?


 6 pounds Roma (plum) tomatoes
1/4 pound Roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1/4 cup lemon juice ( I used 3/4 cup just because I thought it needed it for canning)
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 red onion, chopped
1 white onion, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 pound jalapeno peppers, chopped
1/3 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

Bring a large saucepan of water to boil. Briefly place 6 pounds tomatoes into water to loosen skins and set color. Drain, peel and crush.
Mix chopped tomatoes, garlic powder, lemon juice, salt, cayenne pepper and cumin into the saucepan with crushed tomatoes. Whip to desired thickness. Bring to a boil. Mix in red onion, white onion, yellow onion, jalapeno peppers and cilantro. Continue boiling until vegetables are soft and mixture has reached desired consistency. Remove from heat. Refrigerate until serving.

You can click the link up there to find the original recipe and read all the wonderful reviews.  Of course I've tweaked it a bit.  I added bell peppers (because I've got so many this year) and uppped the amount of onions and lemon juice.I was kind of leary about using a pound of peppers just chopped. So the first batch I did I removed the seeds and membranes.   It ended up like a very mild salsa. So much so that it would probably be really good as a base for something like spaghetti or chili.  Not exactly what I was wanting but it won't go to waste.  The next batch I just chopped the whole jalapeno's.  Much better!  Of course Mar's loves all things HOT and so the last batch I added a couple of cored and seeded habanaro's.  It's still not to hot for me and he likes this last batch the best.   Chunky veggies that still maintain some firmness is one of the reasons I like this.This recipe is going to go on my list of have to do canning. for next year.

Tweaks I did to this..... 
 1 Tablespoon sugar, 
3/4 cup of lemon juice
extra onions
Bell Peppers
I didn't have fresh cilantro so I used dried because thats what I had on hand.  (which reminds me... I need to start some more seeds)
I drained all the juice I could from the tomato's and then just added back what I needed for the consistency I wanted.

And there you have it.  Great Salsa!! 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hello Again

I'm not sure I've ever been away this long before.  I keep meaning to stop and sit down and get caught up but "things" just seem to get in the way.  So much going on in the whole country right now that it kind of makes my fussing about things around here seem pretty petty.  I was going to write about the heat we are having here and how the AC isn't working (again).  But it seems sort of a small problem right now with the problems others are experiencing after that killer storm.  At least we still have electricity.  Things could be a whole lot worse. 

The garden is starting to go into summer mode now.  The beans are all done and what is out there now will be my seeds for next year.  ALL the squash succumbed to squash bugs.  Those little bas bugs ate them down to the ground eventually. We might have found something that works on them though.  I'll be sure to let you know.  We have some winter squash coming up now and are trying a new bug killer.  We'll see how it goes.
 The potato's are all done.  Not much of a showing on them.  I think we might have dug 10 lbs.  Next year will be much better.  This has really been a big learning year for me.  I've never been so actively involved as I have here this year.  I've always pretty much just been the one to put up the goodies in the past.  It's alot of work for sure but well worth it.  

The tomato's are starting to ripen and will most likely all come in at the same time.  It's too hot for them to set more fruit now so I suppose I'll be planting more for the fall garden.  It's hard to believe it but it is already time to start planting the fall garden here.  Seems strange to be thinking ahead to fall when its still 100 degree's.  BUT it does mean that there aren't more than about 60 more days of hot weather to go!!  

I've been trying to get as much done as I can but the heat seems to slow me down a bit.  I've been canning and drying every day.  I haven't canned any tomato's yet but I'm going to try something I've not done before.  My friend Mushroom suggested that I freeze the tomato's I want to can until it gets cooler.  I understand the quality is not supposed noticeably different and that when you thaw them out the skin's just come right off.  So if I can save a step by not having to blanch them all the better!   One way or another I guess I'm going to find out.  Shoot, there is just so much one person can accomplish at one time.  I've also been drying  tomato's.  I'll be using them for tomato sauces and paste. 

All the peppers are still producing tons of goodness and are still blooming.  It's been a great year for peppers for sure.  I'm getting ready to put up another batch or two of hot peppers and some more banana peppers.  I also see salsa in my future pretty soon.  Just need a few more tomato's ripened up and everything else is ready to go.

I think I've been focusing on the garden to avoid having to discuss all that "Hope And Change" that's going on in America right now.  Some of us have been seeing this coming for quite awhile. The end of America is upon us and it seems that most people STILL can't see it.  For those who can, keep on prepping, cause when folks start realizing what has happened it is going to be ... shall we say .... interesting?
              ~~~~~~  Hey ... I'm Just Sayin' ... ~~~~~~