Monday, July 25, 2011

Green Beans are Done!

Stocking up our veggies for winter is keeping me busy! That and the fact that we had VBS all week and a 50th wedding celebration party to attend this weekend. I must be getting used to picking, canning and freezing because I didn't even think to take any pictures of us picking the beans or doing anything else. 

We ended up with 16 quart sized bags in the freezer, 14 pint jars canned and 24 quart jars canned. This was more than last year so hopefully we won't run out of green beans.

 All the cans.

My chest freezer. I just turned it back on and the green beans were the first thing to go in. I'm ready to see this freezer full for winter. My stand-up freezer that my parents gave us is already full of peas, broccoli and some of the things we have left from last year.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

In a Pickle and New Paint

On Thursday, before I found out I'd be picking a ton of produce to preserve all week, I started working on K-girl's wallpaper. When we moved into the house it had this "girlfriend" border, which I don't like and K-girl didn't like either. So in between freezing broccoli and pickling all my cucumbers I found time to finish removing wallpaper and paint.

 I forgot to take a picture before I moved all her stuff around so her room is messy (but that isn't too different from normal).

 Look a picture of me. At least the lamp is blocking most of my backside. Every mom loves to have pictures of their backside posted on the web. ;) I've decided that I really dislike wallpaper.

 Just a few of the cucumbers getting washed up.

 How many did we pick???? Next year I don't think we will pick this many or I will find someone else who wants some ahead of time.

 Some of my bread and butter pickles.

 I'm sure as a mom I could get lots more done on my list each day if I didn't have quite so much help, but oh how my kids love to help! I would hate to discourage them from helping now when they want to spend time doing "work" things with me now. I know the time may come when they may not be as eager to help out with chores and such. K-girl did the painting on the bottom half of her room all the way around as high as she could reach. She did a fantastic job and didn't spill any paint (I wish I could say the same about me).

 K-girl helped me pick the color and it matches her cowgirl quilt on her bed. The color is a bit brighter than I originally thought, but I think we will let this color grow on us for a few weeks and then paint a darker shade if we don't like it. I don't think it will look quite so bright once we get some things up on the walls and Nana Yvette and I have a project in the works for one of her walls. I'm so excited and can't wait to see K-girl's face when she sees the finished project.

 more pickles...these ones are dill

We ended up with:
28 pints and 7 quarts of bread and butter pickles
10 pints and 10 quarts of dill pickles

I don't think I want to see another cucumber for a month! The canning directions said they had to sit and absorb the flavor for 4-6 weeks anyways.

K-girl's bed and quilt in her room. I still haven't got the old curtains back up yet.

And of course we got more veggies on Tuesday. I love that we get so much variety and my kids love trying all the new things (most of the time anyways). I love the feeling that my kids and hubby are getting nutritious food each week and we are preserving food to last us all winter long. But I do hope that the green bean pick isn't this weekend...I need a break!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

It's a very veggie weekend

We'd hate to take it easy for a, we decided to pick some broccoli this weekend at our CSA farm Bluebird Gardens. When we arrived we found out that not only could be get broccoli, but also pickling cucumbers. Let me just say that the picking is fun and EASY compared to the time it takes to put this food away to last all winter.

Saturday we spent the day in Fargo at a softball tournament fundraiser. It was a for Elijah's Truth Adoption Agency. It was HOT, but we still had a great time cheering on the NAZ team. I also got a chance to go shopping and we were glad for the air conditioning. :)

Sunday we enjoyed our morning at church and then had the opportunity to see some of our friends and neighbors perform in the community theatre production of Annie. We all loved it. It was fun to see everyone show all their talents! I'm definitely going to be renting the movie to show the kids sometime.

Now on to the pictures.

 All clean and ready to find some broccoli.

 clean boots

 mmm.....broccoli. All the kids were munching on broccoli as they walked down the isle.

 a bucket of broccoli

 Look at all those rows of broccoli and this was about half way down the row!

 tomato plants...I can hardly wait!

 After we picked our 2- 5 gallon buckets full of broccoli we found the cucumber field to get some pickles for making our favorite bread and butter pickles.

 My three big pickers. It's hard to tell you how LONG these rows are and we only picked part of one row. Next year we will bring garden gloves because the cucumbers are very prickly. I also have learned to start picking at the far end of the row so when the buckets are full you don't have to carry them as far. A 5 gallon bucket of cucumbers is heavy!

 muddy boots

 Our CSA also had beautiful flowers that you can go out and cut any time you are visiting. K-sis loved helping to choose which flowers we should take home.

 Our bounty! I'm so thankful that my kids love to garden and work hard.

So, when we get home I had to spend a lot of time preparing all our veggies to be canned or frozen. I decided to freeze all the broccoli and I usually follow the directions from the Pick Your Own website.
 all the florets

 broccoli stems

 some of my helpers

 more helpers

 This is what 10 quart bags of stems and 12 gallon sized bags of florets look like. I think we will be enjoying some cheddar broccoli soup, cheesy broccoli potatoes and many more yummy dishes this winter.

 Shawn playing short stop. I think he had fun and he only had a few minor injuries from making diving catches.

K-girl watching daddy play.

Monday is going to be a pickling day. Feel free to come play and I'll send you home with some jars of pickles.

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Kids Don't Play With Toys

If you visited my house you would see all sorts of toys strewn about, but I can tell you that it probably wasn't my kids playing with them. My kids prefer to play with....


 the coffee table

 Okay, technically these are toys but do we always have to have the spread ALL over the front yard??? They were playing pumpkin patch.

 sharp knives...they are cleaning strawberries...who knew chores could be so much fun?

 another day, another obstacle course

 more furniture

 ahhh...there they are

 camping anyone?

 laundry baskets...every kids dream!

yet another fort (but I think I spy a few toys in this one).

These are just some of the pictures from this summer. In winter, they come up with totally different creative (messy) ideas. I'm glad my kids are so inventive and I'm also are willing to help clean up too. Maybe they can ask for furniture from the grandparents for Christmas?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Our First CSA Harvest Pick for 2011

Besides getting a box of wonderful veggies every week, we had the chance this weekend to attend a harvest event at our CSA farm, Bluebird Gardens.

Our week 6 box- Lettuce, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, 2 types of peas, onions, potatoes and zucchini

 This picture shows how BIG the lettuce is. We'll be eating salad with all our meals this week!

 K-sis ready to do some serious pea picking!

 The whole Papon crew at the pea field. Every thing that is green from us to the trees are pea plants! It's a huge field!

 More pea field...see how small the people look?

 K-baby with our stash of peas. I didn't weigh them this year, but we made quite the haul.

My wonderful work crew! They helped shell peas for hours, even K-baby.

Shelling more peas before breakfast...what a great snack. Abby kept the floor quite clean during the whole process.

Our peas all shelled. It was a LOT of work to get them to this point, but the taste is worth it!

Peas finally in the freezer. K-sis helped to seal the bags with my FoodSaver Yvette got me.

Our final tally came to 15 bags of peas each containing 5 cups each. So we froze 75 cups of peas! Last year we only froze 28 cups of regular peas so I'm excited to see how long these last this winter. We had also picked stir fry peas last year, but we didn't end up eating them (I think they were a little big and stringy) so we skipped those this year. The ones we are getting in our box each week have been fabulous so we must have picked big ones past their prime last year.

We are also keeping up with our small backyard garden and enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of our labor. We've been eating green beans each night along with raspberries. YUM! The girls helped me pick all of the onions and I chopped them up and froze them to use this winter. I ended up with 2 gallon ziplocs of onions. We probably should have let them keep going, but the kids kept stepping on the tops and I was afraid they would die in the ground so we picked all of them. This should give us a little more room to maneuver in the garden.