Thursday, October 26, 2006



I'm finally finished (I think). The final count is 160 jars (minus what we've used or given away). I know you thought I was kidding about these being Christmas presents (I wasn't). Now you have a choice to make.

This is the final list and what you have to choose from...

Apple Butter (12 oz) - Very tasty
Apple Sauce (Qt & Pt) - Great flavor/texture. Not too sweet. Good on ice cream.
Apple Sauce w/Red Hots (Qt) - Sweet - great taste
Brandied Peaches (Qt) - Haven't tried them - not ready until December.
Dill Pickles (Qt) - Great flavor. A tad over processed but still firm.
Green Beans (Pt) - Ate them with boiled potatoes from our garden
Peach Preserves (1/2 Pt) - Sweet - a little runny unless refrigerated first.
Pickled Tomatoes #1 (Qt) - Milder than #2 - pickle like flavor.
Pickled Tomatoes #2 (Qt) - Reminds me of stuffed olives… yummy
Pickled Tomatoes #5 (w/onions) (Pt) - Great on crackers (w/ cream cheese)
Pickled Tomatoes #5A (w/cilantro) (Pt) - Same as above slightly different flavor
Sweet Pickles (Pt) - Great flavor, sweet and crunchy.
Zucchini Relish (Pt) - Excellent reviews (I can't eat onion).

Pick several; that way I will have some idea of what you like and might use. Enjoy.


The contractor has put us off (again) for another week. The scheduled installation date for the door is now next Wednesday (11/1/06). We'll see if he keeps this one

On the upside we now have time to do some work on cleaning up the mess in the barn and working on the lights to the trees (another project).

Friday, October 20, 2006


I Got a New Toy

This is a great devise that peels and cores apples all at the same time. Is it messy? A definite YES! But, it sure saves a lot of time. The alternative is a vegetable peeler and a paring knife. I cut up and cored enough apples to can four quarts and five pints of apple sauce; plus 12 ½ - 12 ounce jars of apple butter. We ate the half jar.

The apple sauce is not as sweet as I would like it to be but it will be good with a few Red Hot Candies added to it (my mom’s favorite) or on ice cream. It was easy enough to make too once the apples were peeled and cored.

I didn’t need to peel applies to make the apple butter so I cored them by hand. The recipe called for cooking the apples for 10 hours in the oven; stirring and adding more apple mixture as it cooked. I placed the bowls of apple butter in the oven at 3:00 PM the first day. You do the math.

Fortunately (or unfortunately depending upon your point of view) the apple butter did not cook in 10 hours. At 3:00 PM the next day I finally began to can the apple butter.

For 24 hours I felt like a mom with a new born; checking the apple butter; stirring the apple butter; adding more apple butter; raising the temperature on the oven; lowering the temperature on the oven; making sure the jars, lids and rings stayed clean. I was ready to swear off making apple butter. After all what’s wrong with the apple butter they sell at Safeway? Then we tasted the apple butter.

We’re going to the open
air market again on Saturday to buy another box of apples.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006



and the world is full of color.

This is the set up in the triangle near to the road. The pumpkins and corn stalks are from the garden; straw bales from the Grange and the accouterment are from somewhere in the garage.

The tree is in our front yard and a (nearly) burning bush in the flower bed.

Flowers in bloom

and the nearly completed north end of the barn. The door has not come in yet so the gaping whole will have to remain until next week.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Update on the barn construction. We're closer...

We should be able to get the rest of the siding on by Friday; the trim on Saturday.

The roll up door will be installed next week.
Then we start construction on the work shop and art studio...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


We worked on the barn again Monday. I held things: Roger worked. :) We’re one step closer to completion. If we can get the siding on this week the outside will be complete next week after the overhead door people install the door.

Monday, October 09, 2006


We took a break from working on the barn last Saturday. Instead we decided to burn weeds. The field out in front of the house is about an acre and a half. The weeds there weren’t very tall, but they were quite dense near the creek. We linked the six or seven hoses (175 – 200’) we have scattered around the ranch and attached one end to the faucet in the center of the field. We coiled the excess hose near the base of the faucet.

Roger lit the fire on the south west side and began working north and east. At first the progress of the fire was slow and quite controllable. We had little difficulty ‘directing’ it where we wanted it to go. I was watering the boundaries and he was lighting small fires to keep things burning in the center. The saturated ground and vegetation kept the fire from burning beyond the boundaries we set. Easy, right?

For some reason we got the bright idea that we could start another fire adjacent to the first one and speed things up a bit. Roger worked the second fire with a blanket while I controlled the direction of the first with the hose.

Unfortunately the farther from the faucet I went the more difficult it became to drag the end of the hose. Also in the denser vegetation the fire began to produce a lot of smoke. I was on the down wind side of the burn area and was starting to feel like a Virginia ham.

I was so intent with my part of the project that I did not realize that Roger’s fire was burning towards me and also towards an area near the creek that I had not yet watered. The fire was also in the process of cutting off my escape route. I tried to pick up my speed but the fire was faster. To add insult to injury much of the hose I was using was coiled in an area where the weeds were now burning.

My multi-tasking job failed miserably. I was trying to rescue my hose, water the weeds and catch my breath and not doing any of the above efficiently.

Roger to the rescue. We traded places. I stood on top near the road (up wind from the fire) with the blanket while he dragged the hose around. My hero!

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Remember the barn? No, we're not done but, we are a few steps closer.

We had little time in August to work on the barn and the first part of September Roger was in California. He helped his sister in her move to Laguna Woods and then spent the next 10 days in helicopter school in Long Beach.

He returned home on the 16th of September.

We started the construction work again the following week and this is how far we have gotten. We hope to have the front enclosed by the end of this next week. BTW: If you're confused, the new part in the lower photo is on the left... (this is the back of the barn).

We found the large window in the barn. Evidently the window was removed from the house when it was renovated. It’s such a nice large window so we decided to put in it Rogers ‘work shop’. It looks pretty good.

FYI: Roger and I have a great appreciation for construction workers. Patrick helped Roger with installing the 18 foot rafters to support the roof. Other than the rafters, Roger and I have done ALL of the construction ourselves. I'm impressed =)

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