Tag Archives: canning

Catching Up

It’s been a while since I’ve posted so this blog is about catching up with friends, books, marbling and gardens.  After my return from the Folk School class, I had a huge crop of slightly over-ripe cucumbers.  I still have about two dozens pints of pickles from last year, but I just couldn’t let all of those beauties go to waste.  I made another dozen or so pints and vowed to have pickles on the table for every meal next year.  I decided that that was enough and I would NOT do anymore.  So far, I’ve held to it and have only picked cucumbers for eating.  Don’t know if I’ll hold out though!

We’ve had a stretch of cooler weather and while I love it, the tomatoes don’t.  The red cherry tomatoes just aren’t getting ripe. The orange ones (Sungold) are almost ripe, but not in the profusion they should be.  The full size are slowly ripening, but if we don’t have some hot sun, I might not have enough to can this year. Harvest from two days, minus the cucumbers!

Last week I had a delightful visit from a friend I’ve known for over 20 years.  We had rather lost contact for a while besides the annual birthday greetings and it was great to see him again.  It’s amazing how one can flow back into relationships with a friend one hasn’t seen in years and yet with other people it is hard to sync up even seeing them once a week.  People are strange and fascinating beings.  My friend had read about my marbling class and wanted to learn how to do it, so we spent a day playing with it!

Lots of fun, but I didn’t get much real work done.  After he left, I went back to the trays, but the carrageenan just wasn’t doing its job.  Not sure if it was the temperature, high humidity, my water or just random contamination.  Very frustrating!

Amid all this, my dehumidifier conked out.  My studio is in the basement so its very important that it stays dry, especially the area where I store my paper. I ordered a super heavy-duty model, but it took over a week for it to arrive.  More frustration.  To cap it all off, my hot water heater died. That replacement was fast and efficient, but not before I had to deal with a lot of water on the floor.  Not the time to be without my dehumidifier!

All is well at the moment and I hope to have pictures of some new creations soon.  I have listed my diskette books on Etsy, so I have a start!  More paper will be coming soon.

In another catch up, I talked a while ago about buying recycled odds and ends at a place in Durham, NC.  One of the pieces I bought was a broken slab of marble (not sure if it’s real or fake).  I’ve been using it as a base on which to pare leather and it is just the right size.  I’m thrilled with it! It’s hard to see in the picture, but the marble makes a smooth, hard surface to cut against while paring.  The edges of the leather need to be pared down to the thickness of a sheet of paper.  I’m not very skilled at it and it takes a lot of knife work to get them smooth even and the right thickness.

I hope to do some more marbling next week and hoping it’ll be more productive than last! In the meantime, lots of books to finish and hoping no more appliances die!

Leave a Comment

Filed under Life

Corn, Tomatoes and Rabbits

I’ll start at the end.  Rabbits.  I have lots of rabbits this year due to a combination of a mild winter and lazy fox. I know there are fox around as I see them very occasionally, especially in the spring. This year I had three sightings, which is more than usual.  They just aren’t doing their job on the rabbit population, however.  Rabbits seem to love my lawn.  I suspect it’s because it isn’t really a grass lawn.  It has lots of thyme, mint and other goodies mixed in.  Smells lovely when I mow.  Yes, it needs mowing right now, but that’s another tale.  My rabbits are more curious than afraid of me, but usually they scamper off if I’m too close.  The other day, as I was taking my morning walk around the property, a rabbit darted across my path and then stopped.  I also stopped.  He, or maybe she, was about four or five feet away – just sitting and watching me.  I watched him.  He watched me.  He didn’t hunker down or lower his ears, just sat there.  After a minute or two, I decided I had work to do and walked on. He ducked under a low hanging branch and I’m sure kept watching me.  Cheeky little fellow.

I love fresh corn and I used to freeze some every year.  For various reason, I haven’t done any for several years and this year I was determined I would get some.  I hadn’t done anything about it, but happened to notice some U-Pick advertised in the local paper.  I decided I just had to do it, so I went to the farm and talked to the owner.  She said the ad was really a mistake as the corn was pretty much over, too tough, but there were some people still picking and I could try it if I wanted to.  I had to try and I’ve found the more mature corn freezes better.  The very first crop has wonderful taste, but tends to be small kernelled and turn to mush when frozen. I spoke to the others who were picking and they assured me that the corn was still good and juicy.  It looked a bit old, but at $1.50 a dozen, I decided to take a chance and get four dozen ears.  After getting home, I set up all the equipment, shucked the corn, parboiled it and started cutting it off the cob. The farmer was so right.  Definitely past its “sell-by” date.  Oh, well, maybe I can make a lot of corn soup this winter.

On a better note, more tomatoes.  I rarely grow large tomatoes as they always seem to get eaten, have bugs or rot. I stick to the cherry tomatoes and have great luck with them.  I always put in a couple of plants of the larger variety for the few tomatoes that do make it.  This year is, of course, is different.  I have a huge (well, huge for me) crop of large yellow tomatoes.  So out comes all the canning equipment and off I go.  I have put up a batch of the yellow tomatoes, a mixed batch of red & yellow and still to come a batch of over-sized cherry tomatoes.

What does this have to do with books or marbling?  Nothing, except it keeps me from playing with my toys.  I did get out the marbling trays this weekend, but that will be another blog.

Leave a Comment

Filed under etc., Life

Home again with more boxes and way too many cucumbers

I arrived  home again and was immediately faced with a deadline.  Before I left for North Carolina, I had started five new Treasure Towers and assumed I would have plenty of time to finish them after getting home.  Of course, I hadn’t counted on delays caused by illness, weather and general negativity. Drop-off day for the new show at the Arts Center was Monday and it took a real push to finish the towers in time. I was pleased with the results: All the papers on the correct boxes with no last minute switches or upside downs.  Mistakes caused by pressure & rushing seem to be plaguing me recently.  I hope the jinx has run its course.  Here are the finished towers at the Arts Center. I didn’t have time to make “artsy” photos, but it gives me a record of what I’ve done.

The third tower has a print of a painting of Keuka Lake by Jane Terry on the outside instead of my marbled paper.  As I was photographing these, I realized there were none with maps on the covers.  I often put marbled local or area maps on the outside of the tower and these have been very popular.  I wasn’t planning on it, but I should probably do another set with maps before the summer people and tourists leave in September.  I hope I can find enough maps already marbled!

On the garden front, I came home to a jungle of tomato, squash and cucumber vines and even a couple of heads of broccoli.  First task was the cucumbers as they spoil fastest. The cukes are huge, but still sweet and fine for making bread and butter pickles. I did two more batches, 22 pints, if I’ve counted correctly (not counting the ones before my trip) and more to come.

The cherry tomatoes are just coming on, both orange and red.  They are oversized this year, but still sweet and flavorful.  For the first time I’ve been able to outwit the rabbits and actually harvest some broccoli and cauliflower.  I harvested one small watermelon just a bit early (still delicious) and a second will be dessert today.  Again, for the first time, the acorn squash has really gone to town and I’ll have quite a few that are good-size in the fall.  The potatoes are almost ready to be dug.

In spite of the late start and my intial pessimism, this looks to be my most succesful garden ever.

I am really pleased!


Filed under Boxes and Towers, Life, Marbled Paper