Tag Archives: canning

My Little Victory Garden: Dance of the Misty Canning Faery Sprites

This afternoon I was canning.  Nothing out of the ordinary was going on.  A rote, repetitive “chop, chop, peel, peel, stuff, stuff, garlic…salt and lid” process was taking place at my kitchen island. Over and over, nine half-pints full.

I was on auto-pilot.

But as I started the hot water bath, the natural science of heat transfer, water evaporation, and magic woke my numb mind up.  I had forgotten about the Misty Canning Faery Sprites.  But there they were; steam flickers dancing across every gleaming tin lid of every clattering jar.

They didn’t stay for long. Quickly appearing in a different form every time, they would flirt with me then disappear as fast as they came.  I had forgotten about them and was dull, but the faeries reminded me of the kitchen magic waiting to be rediscovered every time I cook.

So now I’m sharing them with you…tiny moments of the faery dance I saw on top of the lids of my canned peppers this afternoon.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I.

My “awakening” was unexpected, and crinkled the corners of my eyes…curled up my mouth and lifted my spirits.

Take care friends, Kelly

My Little Victory Garden: Canning With Fear, Friends, Fire and Frequency

The first crabapple tree I remember was growing beside my great-grandmother Porter's home in Missouri. Can you find it in the background? Yes, I'm the baby in this photo. Click on frame for larger view.

Four summers ago, my dear friend Cathy and I were in her neighbor’s crabapple tree throwing fruit to her daughter below.  Greta was running from one ground-level spot to another, doing her best to keep up with the showering fruit.  “Look out beloooooow! Hey, Greta – come over here!” Cathy and I yelled quadrant commands for about 45 minutes until Greta had had enough.

“Hey, when do I get to climb UP THERE and YOU catch the fruit down HERE??”

Okay, that was fair.  We switched places.  Cathy and Greta were now pummeling fruit and I was the fetcher.  In an hour, we had filled a 5-gallon bucket about 80% full of sweet smelling, warm and perfectly ripe crabapples.  We were going to make jam.  We loaded up our accoutrements (ladder, rake, other buckets, hats, gloves) and headed to her home.

I had not canned since living at home as a little girl. That was back in the day of pressure cookers and freaky stories about jars exploding. I was feeling pretty insecure and was scared I would do something wrong.  I didn’t know how to prep the jars. I didn’t have a sense of what a rolling boil was or how to skim the foam from jam.  I certainly didn’t know how to hold the jars or fill them correctly, how tightly to screw on the rings, or what the sealing process was all about.  I needed my security blanket and teacher – hence, I was hanging out with Cathy and learning. A whole bunch.

Crabapple jam is a rosy, golden-pink hue and the taste is like the best sweetness summer has to offer.  Continue reading My Little Victory Garden: Canning With Fear, Friends, Fire and Frequency

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch….Garden Season 1

by Julie Allgyer

My husband Greg and I are celebrating our 6th successful year in the country.  The success is measured simply by the fact that we are still both alive and still married.

After two years of sharing a trailer with his father-in-law and four years getting our log cabin just the way we want it, I decided I didn’t have enough to do this summer.  Hence, our garden was born.

It is still unclear to me why a gal whose first salads consisted of only lettuce and French dressing would want to start a vegetable garden.  I even have a story of how, at an early age, I successfully hid Brussels sprouts in an air conditioner vent to avoid eating them.

The bottom line is that I didn’t do it for the food.  I did because I had two key elements:  time and space.
A fabulous garden was designed by yours truly that would not only be productive, but would also look like a work of art to any small plane traveling over our area.  (See graph below)

I filled the soil with all the goat and horse poop I could get my hands on, harvested directly out of our pasture. I planned, researched, and studied the Farmers’ Almanac, but nothing was happening. (Meaning, the plants were just sitting there.  So GROW, already!)

One Saturday morning I walked outside to find my beautiful plots of lettuce, peppers, and peas redesigned into rows! My husband Greg had been busy.

Note:  I do NOT have a graph to show the modified version of my garden.

Before I knew it, however, I had a crop.  As the summer progressed, we consumed all of the lettuce that survived.  Next, I gently added one cantaloupe, one watermelon, and cucumber plant.

Why only one of each, you ask?  Well, my pepper plants are filled with enough peppers to rival any Christmas tree look alike contest.  I can only make so many bacon-wrapped, filled with cream cheese poppers, and the tomato plants are speckled with green balls ready to ripen at any minute.

Selling some of my veggies seemed to be the next logical step.  I made a sign, put it out by the road, and waited.  As it turns out, however, the older clientele can’t really eat peppers.  Trust me.  I heard all about it.

Shortly after returning home from my “farmer’s market” trial excursion, it was back to the internet to explore another adventure:  canning.

As it turns out, canning really isn’t all that difficult if you’ve got two major elements: time and space.