Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer at the Ranch

What have we been up to here at the ranch?
Our garden has been rather slow this year - but we are harvesting a nice bunch of cucumbers. And kind friends have shared so much wonderful produce in the past few weeks - we've been hopping trying to get it all stored away, preserved, pickled, dryed, sliced or whatnot. :^)

Chopping up cucumber spears and garlic

Packing the jars with cucumbers, dill seed (saved from last year) and salt

All ready for the brine!

In the draw behind our house is a rather large thicket of wild plum bushes! With all the rain we have had this year, it's been an amazing crop. We've already been to pick four times, and plan to go again tomorrow!

The plum thicket is quite prickly and crowded - so it's often quite an ordeal to pick plums. Especially when one must constantly be on the look-out for wasps, rattlesnakes, and wild hogs. Eek!

The plums are about the size of a large walnut. Quite tart usually but with a delicuous sweetness of flavor. Guiltily I shall admit that I probably eat as many as I pick!

My 5-gallon bucket about 3/4 full of lovely plums.
We always make plum jelly which turns a beautiful bright red color - quite delicous on homemade bisquits! We also use much less sugar than the recipe calls for - we like to keep a bit of the tartness. :^)

This week we've been doing peaches too. More peaches than I have ever seen! My right hand was so cramped from peeling and slicing that I was afraid it was going to stiffen up. *whew* thankfully we have all of them put away in the freezer  now, awating their fate as pies and cobblers. :^) We made jelly from the peach peels. Yum!

Yesterday was corn-day. Now it's all sliced off and in bags in the freezer.

Today it's apples. 3 big boxes of apples. I think we are going to dehydrate most of them. Should prove interesting.


Stephanie Ann said...

All of this looks crazy good! I have never made pickles, do home made pickles taste better? They look so yummy.

Atlanta said...

Yes! (at least to me) I like homemade pickles much better than storebought. We almost always do garlic-dill pickles. My favorite kind are the tiny baby pickles - with grape leaves included to keep them crisp. MMm -mm!

You should try them sometime - they are incredibly easy!

Hana - Marmota said...

Pickles with garlic? That's new to me. Dill I know, but around here (Czech Republic) the other ingredients are usually onion and slices of carrot, and herbs/spices to the maker's preference.

Funny thing is, those plums you were picking are most probably called "špendlíky" in Czech (guessing from their looks and the time of the year), which means "pins". :-) I always wondered why they were called so.

Anna Olivia said...

Lovely summery pictures. <3

Happy Homemaker And Momma said...

Is it possible to share how to do the pickling from start to finish? Please...please:) Would love to make my own pickles this year!

Anonymous said...

This post was featured in the August Issue of Bosom Friends!

Thank you! :)

Loree said...

Great post it could have been from the 1860's until you said the word freezer. I love it when our activities are like the activities of our ancestors. Again just want to say I am really enjoying your blog. Can't wait to read more.


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