Monday, August 15, 2011

Losing Pip, a Preserving List, and a Little Garden Clarity

I haven't been blogging because I am depressed, devastated, bereft, and forlorn.  I lost my partner in crime, my travel companion, my sweet little doggie, Pip.  My angel went peacefully to sleep in my arms over two months ago.  I didn't sleep for 9 days.  I want my dog back.

Let's move on, shall we?

Here is a list of what I have put up so far this year:

 Mandarin oranges in Spiced Syrup - (6) 1/2 pints (These are bitter and horrible!)
Peaches - 7 qts.
Pinto Beans - 14 qts.
Strawberry Preserves - (11) 12 oz. jars
Strawberry/Fig Jam (so good!) - (9) 1/2 pints
Bread and Butter pickles - 6 pints  (I grew the cukes!)
Beef/Vegetable soup - 7 qts.

I'm forgetting something, I think.

Not really canning but I did 2 jars of fridge pickles, also with cukes I grew.

2 gallons whole strawberries
1/2 gallon sliced strawberries in sugar
6 c peas (Almost my entire harvest. Need to put in way more peas next time.)
1/2 gallon peaches in sugar
3 cups tomatoes (The first of the Romas)
1 pint of tomato juice


From the garden and patio, I have harvested peas, lots of cucumbers, potatoes, tomatoes, and carrots.  A lot of the garden in South Carolina just up and died. The weirdest thing is that the red cabbage I  planted in February is just now making heads!  That's just wrong, right?

I learned a lot about gardening this year.  Most notably, I learned that you cannot successfully have a garden in another state.  Life intrudes, and it became impossible to get there, sometimes for a month or longer.  I plan to go exploring in that jungle soon to see if I can find my onions in all that mess.   Fortunately, we had to cut a big tree down in our front yard at home in Atlanta, and suddenly my greedy gardener's eye sees potential for a garden in right in my own front yard.  Raised beds are about to be built for the fall garden. Hopefully I won't be the next Julie Bass. Hey, if a garden in the yard is ok at the White House...

 The best surprise for me this year was to find that we have a prolific pear tree in our yard in South Carolina. That  thing is huge and so laden with pears some of the branches have broken.  I plan to do a lot of canning with those pears.  Fruit cocktail, salted caramel pear butter, pear sauce, canned pear crisp filling, just pears in syrup, oh my!  We also have a fig tree I didn't know about.  FROG Jam and more Strawberry/Fig Jam coming up as soon as they are ready!

I want to put up a lot more soup, more veggies, lots more meat (I did pork last year and it was wonderful!), more beans because the pinto beans are so delicious and easy to make something from.  I want to do some kidneys, limas, and white beans, at least.  I still haven't done my tomato canning for this year.  My tomatoes are not producing so well, so I'm going to have to buy them, but I need to have tomatoes in my pantry, especially my mom's recipe for stewed tomatoes. I need to remember to get a new gasket for my pressure canner!

How goes your gardening and preserving this year?


Friday, August 12, 2011

For Mikey

 I made this Peanut Butter Pie because recently widowed Jennifer from In Jennie's Kitchen asked her readers and fellow food bloggers to make her husband's favorite pie today in remembrance of him.  She regrets putting off making his pie, which touched me deeply.  Mikey's death was very sudden and unexpected.  Like mine and yours and everyone's, Jennie's life was busy and filled with a million things that get in the way of seemilngly unimportant things like pie. 

I can only imagine, thank goodness, the shock of suddenly having one's world shattered like that.  All their plans for the future, gone.  Their daughters will now grow up without their dad.  Jennie has lost the husband she loved so much.  Everything was changed in an instant.

This could have happened to any of us.  Thank you, Jennie, for taking the time to remind us all to make the moments count.  I am so grateful to have Bren and I love her so much, I want to make sure that I never have regrets about what I didn't do for her.  That will be an ongoing project, but for today, I made her favorite pie, too. 
Rest in peace, Mikey.