Thursday, August 11, 2011

Garden goods and a new Camera

The alarm sounded at 6:00 AM, but we snoozed until 6:30 ;0) By 7:00, I was out in the garden with green beans and cucumbers on my mind.

Two hours later, I was done......and then Mom started giving commands inside. Simply task #1: Caitlyn and Candace to sweep the floor while Cassie helped me clip green beans for canning and clean up the dishes as to have a clean sink and counter to work with.

For those of you who 'can' [American term used as a verb; "to preserve vegetables either by pressure-cooking or by hot-water-bathing], you already know about the organization needed when a garden comes into harvest. Today, I only had green beans and cucumbers to deal with; I am SO thankful tomatoes don't get harvested at the same time! I don't know how I'd manage....

It's already a special "dance" that occurs in order to make best use of canning/cooking/prepping time for preserving. Today, once the veggies were cleaned and scrubbed, I started by cutting 4 pounds of the larger cucumbers with this vintage/antique(?) serrated cutter. I showed this last year when canning too----I LOVE the decorated cuts it makes for my favorite Bread-n-Butter pickles! I "inherited" this from my Grandmother's kitchen; when it came time to clean out her apartment, the directions were simple to all of us who helped...."Take what you want." So, I did :0)

The first batch I made this year, I simply used my Pampered Chef mandoline (gifted to my from my sister). It's a bit quicker than the serrated cutter, but not as "pretty."

Once those were cut, they were set aside to desalting with salt and ice. ???.....hmmm.....guess I never figured out why they call it DEsalting when you use salt to do it?!?!?! **scratching head**....

Anyway.....then it was time to fill some quart jars with dill and cucumbers while the brine was cooking on the stove AND while the water in the canner was brought up to temperature. I use a VERY SIMPLE brine for my dill pickles: 3 quarts water, 1 quart vinegar, 1 cup salt. That's it. Usually, I cut that recipe in half though......half the recipe works well for 4-5 quarts.

I started with the dill pickles because they only need to be hot-water-bathed for 10-15 minutes. SO.......

with THOSE in the was time to boil some water for a 5-minute bath for the beans. By the time the water came to a boil for the beans and they spent 5 minutes turning into yummy-yums, the dill pickles were finished and set aside in order for me to use the canner for the green beans. beans....into the canner for 20 minutes of pressure-cooking at 10lbs pressure.

While THOSE were pressure was now time for me to go BACK to those lovely, decorative cucumber slices for me to make my Bread-n-Butter pickles.

When you find a good recipe, there is NO NEED to make changes. I used to have a recipe I used all the time, but then misplaced it for one reason or another. SO, I grabbed the Ball-Book last year and used the recipe listed in it. OMGoodness!!!!! They were better than the recipe I used to, there ya go! It was a good thing the recipe "got lost."

I need to be careful how many pints I make of B-n-B every year. I am the only one in my family who likes them! I have NO IDEA who I live can they NOT love these things??!!?!? But, at least FIL loves my B-n-B pickles! So, this will probably be the last batch of B-n-B this summer. Six made today, and 4 made last week.

I filled and prepped the jars by the time the beans were finished. However, because of the pressure-canning, I wasn't able to hot-water-bath these right away. I simply put them in the sink with HOT water while waiting for the canner to de-pressurize in order to be available.

In the meantime, we ate some lunch.....

and took adorable "sisterly-love" pictures :0)

Played with a new "pet." Oh golly....Candace was all...."MOM! What do flies eat?"
Me: Sugarwater
Candace: Okay.....

She comes back a few moments later with the TINY watering bucket (I think from her Littlest Pet Shop toys). And Caitlyn started writing the fly's name on top of the container......I snapped this before it was finished. "Flilena" [Fly-leena] is her pet fly's name. **shaking head**......oh....the silly years of childhood!

Once lunch was over and cleaned up, the beans came out of the canner and the BnB pickles took over occupancy for the next 10 minutes. And v'iola! Today's outcome:
- Seven pints of green beans
- Four quarts of dill pickles
- Six pints of bread-n-butter pickles're thinking...."That's IT!?!?! After 7 hours of work?!?!?!"

**nod**....yeah, I'm thinking the same thing too.

With the morning (and early afternoon) duty complete, I headed to the mailbox. There were TWO packages in there!!!! It took me a moment to recall what I had ordered since both were addressed to me. MY NEW CAMERA ARRIVED! Well, truth be known; not "new," but it appears to be in great shape! A minor cosmetic scratch on top of the flash cover, and some minimal wear-n-tear.

Picture wise..... it takes a good indoor-flash picture....

And GREAT outdoor pics!

Amazing zoom capability!

Now that the picture show is over :0), .... Bethann and Ryan have this camera and I fell in love with it this weekend. I missed my old camera; recall that I have been using a simple camera that belongs to Cassie. Well......for about 20% of the original cost, I landed this camera "Used-Great condition" through Amazon. The seller will get EXCELLENT marks from me! I was HOPING it would arrive before the race this weekend, but I thought my luck was pretty slim considering I placed my order Monday late morning before leaving for my parent's house. EXCELLENT SHIPPING TIME!!! ;0) 5-stars :0)
The camera: Sony DSC-H1 Cybershot; Super Steady Shot; 5.1 megapixels; Mpeg movieVX
Cassie's only zooms to x3.6 whereas this can zoom up to x15! (12x optical zoom lens). YES! I really like it!!!!

The other package was a replacement power cord for my MacBook and MacBookPro. My ONE complaint about Apple.....these powercords don't last like they should!!! :/ I know many Macbook/Pro users who have also gone through more than one/two/three powercords. After a while, it stops charging the laptop :0( For the past couple of weeks, I've been playing the "let's turn it this way...okay maybe this way.....hmmm....just a little wiggle.....let's prop it up on a book" game in order for the cord to have a chance to charge the laptop. I LOVE my MacBooks......but Apple HAS to figure out a better powercord to LAST! that enough for one post?? ;0)

I wonder what I can accomplish downstairs now......


Patchwork Penguin said...

The veggies look soooooo yummy. Can you get a serated blade for the mandolin?

Erin has a MacBook.... she hasn't said anything about the power cord but I'll tell her to keep an eye on it. can you use your ipod charger?????

Looks like the kids had fun... as always.


Quiltin' LibraryLady said...

Why would Apple want to figure out a better power cord if they can keep people coming back to buy new ones??!

Andee said...

Awesome on all that canning! I would be enjoying those bread and butter pickles with you. It has been years since I rid of my canner even. Nice score on the new camera, that will get much use :) I hope you are sewing away right now..I am going to iron some SMM hst's and maybe get back to sewing too!

Tracy said...

You have good girls to help you! I always got stuck doing my own thing because the boys, when they were old enough to actually be of some help, were out in the fields by then! Although when they were little they sure loved to grind the tomatoes through the Velox grinder!

Amanda said...

I'm not too sure what bread and butter pickles are, but I' guessing they're called that because you use the in sandwiches? We just call it pickled cucumber. Isn't it interesting how different countries preserve food in different ways. Freezing seems to be the usual way of preserving here; I've blanched and frozen peas, french beans and broad beans so far this year. And the runner beans are reaching overload so that's what I'll be doing next.