What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Thursday, August 21, 2014

In the Kitchen, In the Garden

Hay Garden

cutting garden and potato patch

pumpkin and sunflower patch

The squash is coming in so prolifically that my harvest basket has been retired for a bit and replaced, by necessity, with my laundry basket.   These laundry basket hauls of squash and cukes come every two days.  I made large batch of zucchini relish just in time- we finished our last jar of relish just this week!  I think I'll be making a few more batches of it this year.  I've been putting some up in the freezer too.

I canned some pickles- volcano and dill.  And today I should be doing some bread and butters.

The splurge this week was peaches.  They were $25.00 a bushel which has been the cheapest I have found them here.  It has been four years since we've had peaches put up so it was a real luxury.  That first bite (and second and every bite since) has been so amazingly delicious.  So juicy!  So sweet!  Andrew pulled up a chair and helped me with the peaches the other day without me even asking and we sucked every drop of juice from the pits as we cut off the flesh.  Most of the peaches were beautiful but some were bruised (in part due to Judah knocking one box on top of the other box) so I am using the bruised to make peach preserves the old fashioned way...without pectin.  It is an experiment but I am hoping it will work well.

We've been eating them fresh too- or dripping with cream at supper.  Or cooking in oatmeal with fresh whole milk...peaches and cream to start the day. Oh my.

So far this week, I've made butter (2-3 lbs), mozzerella (5 lbs-ish), queso blanco (garlic jalapeno-yum), ricotta, yogurt, yogurt cheese and vanilla ice cream for Sunday's "Ice Cream Sundae" treat. More to come though.

Wednesday and Friday ladies came/are coming over to learn how to make cheese.  I find this funny because I am not exactly an expert at it- but kitchen chores are so much more fun with company- so I'll pretend I know what I am doing and enjoy their company in the meantime.  On Wednesday we made a double batch of mozzerella and queso blanco and we will likely do the same tomorrow.  Then, I really need to begin trying to branch out a bit.  Maybe make some farmhouse cheddar?  I now have homemade mesophilic starter cubes in the freezer awaiting my experimentation.  I've had a lot of company the last few weeks (people almost every day of the week!) and not a thing scheduled for next week.  Maybe then.

I have a ton of collards, swiss chard and kale begging for attention- and broccoli that is getting TOO mature and needs to be used...but these always seem to be taking a back seat to the never-ending squash and cukes. 

 I haven't harvested any stevia, basil, mint or calendula yet either and they are begging for some attention too. I plan to make stevia extract, pesto for the freezer, dry the mint for tea and use the calendula for soap making and for infusing oil to make salves.  Whenever I actually get to it.

The tomatoes are *THIS* close to being ready.  Anxious hands (big and little) keep picking not quite red ones and I say "Wait until they are RED!" but inwardly I know just how they feel.  I have popped a few orange cherry tomatoes in my mouth in desperation.  The plants look terrible but the tomatoes...if ever they finally ripen...will be marvelous this year.

So you see, my brain is constantly going back and forth from what has been done to what is next? and then getting stuck on repeat.  My brain is very full.  And sometime soon I need to get cracking on school plans.  Then, it might explode.

We are eating well these days and I am falling into bed exhausted these nights. 

Praise God for the food.  Praise God for the exhaustion.

(More In the Kitchens here)


Molly said...

Impressive! We love canned peaches all winter, and I need to get to it again!

oneme said...

OH Rebecca, I would love to pay you for some of the collard greens and kale! I didn't get any in this year and wanted some in the freezer. Wish you well to get it all done. Sandy P

oneme said...

PS thanks for the thought of zucchini relish. Will do!Sandy P

My Simple Life said...

wow you are very busy !!!
how do you make your zucchini relish?
wish you a nice time,

Miranda Hupp said...

Just yesterday I finally found a slightly red tomato! I was so excited! Now if they would all just hurry up already.

What a cute blog and blog post you linked to! I may just have to join along. I have so much I COULD blog about but not really much motivation to do it.

Ock Du Spock said...

What a beautiful garden you have. Those peaches are a sight for sore eyes. I am SO looking forward to peaches again :)

beth said...

okay, it's official: i would like bring a chair and a novel and sit beside your gardens and each peaches.


(though i fully realize what made your glorious gardens happen was a far cry from leisurely novel-reading and chair-sitting!)

-b in va

beth said...

p.s. - but please tell me you do that once in a while?? perhaps on sundays?

Laura Smith said...

My mouth is watering over the peaches and the mixed vegetables! Looks so good. I am also admiring your energy. That some serious productivity you've got going there!

oneme said...

Response to My Simple Life re: zucchini relish - I will use a recipe from the Ball Blue Book. Hope this helps, happy canning!

Anonymous said...

That is some fine-lookin' broccoli! wow.

Rebecca said...

Regina & Oneme~ my zucchini relish recipe is here: (it's the best!)


Beth- I do as often as I can which is not very often. I had taken to reading out there every morning after my jog- but then one morning I was called inside quickly, left two of my favorite books out there, and then forgot about it the rest of the day. That particular day was full of torrential downpours so the ending was not a happy one. I have not been out there reading since. (I try and write all my letters outside by the gardens though and so I try to make every use I can.)

Laurie said...

The bread, the spiral-wrapped bread....what's the recipe? Looks super yummy!

Rebecca said...

Laurie- no real recipe. Essentially: wheat bread dough rolled out like a think rectangle. Fresh from the garden garlic and basil with salt, pepper, parmesan and olive oil pureed in the food processor and slathered on rectangle. Rolled up. Baked. Then Eaten. (It's good.)

Kim Mills said...

So glad to see your still enjoying my Volcano Pickle recipe! :) Our cucumber plants are just starting to produce. I hope to be making lots of these in the next few weeks.

Rebecca said...

Very much, Kim! They are an absolute MUST for me to make- my husband adores them. ;-)

Sakura said...

Hi, do you have a recipe for your volcano and dill pickles. I clicked on the put up side bar but it didn't take me any place. Thank you.

Rebecca said...

Volcano pickles can be found here:


and for the dills- load up a jar with pickles, add 1 clove garlic and 1 dill head (or 1/2 t. dill seed) and cover with boiling brine. Brine- 8 1/2 cups water, 2 1/2 cups vinegar, 1/2 c pickling salt. (That's enough brine for about 6 quart jars) Can.

(I haven't yet posted the recipe on my recipe blog.)