Monday, August 24, 2009

The Great Elderberry Heist

Mrs. JP has been persistently pointing out to me how it has been a long time since I have posted anything on our blog. There have been two causes for me not posting lately, #1) I've been sooo busy at work and at home, and B) there are so many things on my mind of late that I have been concerned that if I started writing, in the end I would wind up sounding like a ranting, gripping lunatic, rather than like a child of the King with little or nothing to worry about.

That week of vacation I was supposed to have, that Mrs. JP mentioned on here a few days back, well, someone in our sales department ignored the projected completion date that I gave on producing a product and promised an earlier date to the client, so I got called off of vacation after only two days at home and I had to go back to work. But really, compared to driving a big rig and never being at home, this job is still not that bad. I will just save the three days I didn't get to take and use them at a time when things are a little slower at work, like maybe around Thanksgiving.

Thanks to TennZen's blog, the Mrs. and I have caught the "elderberry picking fever". Yesterday we were on our way home from church, on a route that takes us along several horse and cattle pastures and weed covered back roads. Along the fence line to one of the pastures, we spotted several clumps of ripe berries. They were on Mrs. JP's side of the car, so she took off her nice shoes, I handed her my pocket knife and she jumped out of the car and harvested two very nice clumps of ripe berries. Further down the road, we spotted some more growing along the weed covered shoulder of the road, so she jumped out of the car and harvested some more. One car came by while we had our four-way flashers on and asked if we needed help. I told them, "No thanks, we're just picking elderberries." They looked at me like I was some kind of nut and went on their way. I would roll the car just a little farther down the road and spot another clump of berries, and Mrs. JP would walk along the road and harvest them as I spotted them. It was kind of fun bossing her arou.... errr.... uh.... driving the "get away" car as she picked the loot.

We left several clumps that were still mostly green to be harvested on another day, but we may already have enough to make a batch of jelly. I think in our enthusiasm, we may have picked some before they were ready, so we will have to pick through them and take out the green ones. I'm looking forward to tasting some home made elderberry jelly. The raw berries don't seem to have much sweetness to them, but I'm sure some sugar will fix that.

All of the dogs are doing just fine. I mowed the dog yard yesterday, and the cut grass stained Scrappy's little white feet green, so they looked like she was wearing cute little leprechaun booties. Charley just loves running and chasing all of the other dogs. Sometimes they gang up on him to pin him down and chew on him, but he loves the attention. Daisy is always on guard duty, either warning whenever a strange car is driving along through the holler, or barking at the cows when they get too close to the property while they are grazing. Speedbump has become a sneaky trash can raider. Just off the kitchen we have one of those trash cans that have a top that can be locked, but sometimes we forget to lock it, and Speedbump manages to get into the trash. Corrie and Violet are both just glad to be with us, and love to visit with company whenever someone comes to see us.

Oh, by the way, it's almost "Football Time In Tennessee!". I'm excited about it, what with having arguably one of the best defensive minds in football on our sidelines now. We are avid Vol fans around here. Even my granddaughter knows our fight song, not to mention Rocky Top.

Well, I managed not to ramble too much. As Mrs. JP is fond of saying, "Blessings from the holler!".

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Garden update...

Our green beans did a good job, we're still loving our tomato crop, the peppers couldn't be more peppery and lastly the tater tires tanked. I mean we got a little over 5 lbs. of potatoes from three stacks of tires. That's okay, live and learn. This garden is our first so we're pleased overall and our freezer is almost full! So I consider the venture a success.

We're having wonderful weeds around here. I mean really beautiful! I know the names of some but not all of them. If they wouldn't kill my sinuses I'd have bouquets all over the house. Oh, and our next door farm has a new baby that is just so cute I can hardly stand it. I love farm babies. So if you know the names of these weeds let me know.



We send blessings from our garden to you and yours.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Baby Quilt...

Since it says in my profile that I love to quilt I thought I should post a picture of something I've done. I've just finished this quilt for my daughter-in-love's sister. She has a new baby girl and her colors are pink and brown. This is my first try at the a new type of quilt - it's supposed to look like you just threw it together because none of the squares match. Let me tell you it took some time for me to wrap my head around that whole idea. This is a good thing, I like to learn new things! I was showing my DIL and grand baby the material for this quilt and my little one said "oh, this is for me right?? I love "Hello Kitty!!!" So I promised her that she'd have the very next quilt I make and it will have "Hello Kitty" fabric. I already have the fabric for it. That's a lot of pressure for a mamaw to be under - those big, huge blue eyes laid the guilt trip right at my door and I had to think of something fast! I mean really who else would I sew ANYTHING for but her right? Poor little darling. So,,,on to my next project. Which is processing some green beans I picked today! It was nice to do this quilt for a change of pace.
Blessings to you all.

Beautiful Words...

God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.
His purposes will ripen fast
Unfolding every hour
The bud may have a bitter taste
But sweet will be the flower.

I'm reading through "The Mitford Series" by Jan Karon AGAIN! This will be my 3rd time through. It makes me laugh (JP can vouch for that) but occasionally the main character will spout of a verse of poetry or words of a hymn that I love. Anyway, that's where I got the verse above.
Blessings from the holler. Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Is it Hot?....

Well it's all hot stuff here in the holler today. The pickin's from our garden were just laying there on the dining room table taunting me. I could barely hear it as I'd walk by "we're still here, don't waste us, you went to all the trouble to grow us, blah, blah, blah." So I just started working and we came out with four jars of salsa, one jar of pickled jalepeño and sweet peppers (highly experimental), and two bags of frozen basil in olive oil (recipe from my cousin - also experimental for us). But the voices have stopped at least. Were they in my head? I tell you, I knew that gardening was lots of work but I had NO idea. On the flip side of that is I didn't know how good it felt to look in the cubbard and see all the fruits/veges of our labors.
I washed the basil leaves and let them air dry then put a layer of leaves into a freezer bag with 1/4 - 1/3 cup olive oil, pressed out all the air and in the freezer it goes. The salsa is hotter this time because I left in the jalepeño seeds. I'll have to make another mild batch for our grandbaby who started first grade this year! Yikes! The pickled jalepeños were packed in a sterilized jar and then I poured a hot mixture of 1 cup vinegar, 1Tbs salt, 1Tbs sugar, tsp mustard powder, 1tsp celery seed and 1/4 cup olive oil. We'll see how those come out. Really, I just wanted to use up some peppers some how. I hope JP likes them.
Since I've been slaving in the kitchen all the live long day we'll have easy pork chops for supper. It's super easy and good. Just season pork chops, pour over one small bottle of italian dressing and let marinate (I got this started before preserving fever set in.) Then bake at 375° until brown - turning occasionally.
I haven't decided on the side dish but the salad will be little cherry tomatoes. I'm glad it's done - now tomorrow i'll pick beans! It never ends...what a blessing.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Family Blessings...

Today I started thinking about where I learned to do the every day things I do. My Mom! She taught me to cook, clean, sew, and so many other things that are just part of me. When we moved from Florida to Tennessee to farm, my parents had over 200 acres to fence so that's when I got to help out in the kitchen and with cleaning too. My mother would slave over dresses for me and taught me to read a pattern and go for it!! My grandmother taught me to crochet, to love sliced tomato on pizza, and to take care of my complexion. Ponds cold cream was her weapon. My Aunt Shirley taught me the love of quilting - she still inspires me. I'm so blessed to have these women in my life.

Last weekend, my parents and I went to Florida to celebrate one of my Aunt and Uncle's 60th anniversary. The drive wasn't so bad because we chatted all the way - although we all could've done without the traffic jam from Atlanta, GA through to Chattanooga, TN!! What's up with that? We're supposed to be the only ones on the road!! Anyway, we were only there for two days but we packed as much family fun as we could into it. I realize now how blessed I am to have grown up in such a family. We are all close and all love each other - warts and all, as they say! We are not perfect, we know that, but we are close and when we're together there are no awkward moments when we have to warm up to one another. The credit for that goes to my grandparents and how they raised their four daughters. I take that back, silly me, the credit goes to God. He has blessed us beyond measure with faith in Him through His grace and to Him goes the glory.
So, for their 60th anniversary gift, their children and grandchildren all wrote them a "tribute" and sent pictures of their favorite times. This was compiled at my cousins house a.k.a. party command central. There was even, hold on to your hats,,,dancing!! How sweet to see my Aunt and Uncle dance to "their song." And I even got out there with my cousin Debbie and learned to Foxtrot. Since I was out there already I might as well learn the "macarena" (sp?) and demonstrate my "electric slide" prowess! Okay, now that you all are having a good laugh, I'm happy. We laughed all weekend long (with and at each other.) I just wanted to share my weekend blessings with you.
Oh, if you are wondering about the pictures in this post they are - the top one is me at my Grandma's house (she babysat me), middle is most of the family at my Grandma's 80th birthday, and last is me, my brother and mom (cousins in background) hunting Easter eggs at Grandma and Grandaddy's house.

Well, it's back to garden work. My salsa must've turned out good - it's all gone. Never fear, there's more where that came from.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Have you been worried?...

It's been quite a few days since our last post. Have you been worried? I've been keeping up with all of you but haven't had the time to post anything!! Well, for a few days I was swallowed up by our garden. I barely made it out alive, gulp! Then, we had some company come on Saturday so that meant I had to clean this house which I've sorely neglected since garden days started. I know, excuses, excuses... Seriously, I don't know how you gardenistas have a life and tend to your garden too! JP made some outstanding marinara sauce and I made some salsa from our garden. We'll be making more because the maters are piling up. It really is great to have so much food put away for winter. I know I'll be enjoying it then.
I feel like the tomatoes plants are just laughing at me because it is never ending!!! We have two walls (front and back) of tomatoes. The pepper plants took July off but are in full swing now! JP is gonna have to make some of his "mean green" sauce to use up some of the jalepeños and habañeros. I'm sure he'll do that this week since he's taking a few days vacation. He'll be doing a post on our project we'll be doing tomorrow. The smoker will be working on some pork butts, yum, yum, yum!! Lots of love go into that deal.
So,,,how does your garden grow? Blessings from the holler to you all.