Tuesday, July 26, 2011


It has been really hot here for the past few weeks. My garden is loving the heat, except for my broccoli. I have been picking green beans every few days, and it has been slowing down a little. So far I have frozen them instead of canned them. This picture was taken after a really good day of picking.
I really need to take some more pictures of the garden. I am getting a lot of peppers, zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers. I am hoping to make dill pickles tomorrow. My herbs are coming on, and I have been dehydrating them. My favorite right now is chocolate mint :). My tomatoes are loaded down, but are still green. I looooooove summer gardening!

My mother-in-law and I went last week and picked blueberries on the second hottest day of the year. Ugh! We were dripping wet after 2 hours. We bought the rest. We picked around 15 pounds each, and bought another 50. They were organic again this year, and they are really yummy. I froze all but 5 pounds. My freezer is getting really full!

The 4H Fair rolled around again, and it hasn't been as horribly hot for it this week, which is nice. We went over the weekend, and had a fun day of seeing the animals and riding some of the ride. This year's strange fair food had to be deep fried Kool-Aid. Seriously? You could top that off with deep fried butter (another high health fair food treat). Wow, just typing the words "deep fried butter" makes me feel like I gained a few pounds. Obviously we didn't try either one of those things. Jeff and I tried deep fried candy bars one year, because a friend told us they were great. We couldn't finish them. I think it was a years worth of sugar and fat all rolled into one artery clogging fried candy bar.

Evie decided to have a little humor with Daisy. I didn't know how funny this picture was until after I looked at it on my computer. I could not stop laughing. She wore that thing for about 20 minutes without taking it off, but she had that same look on her face the entire time!

I wanted to thank you all for your comments and prayers regarding the miscarriage. My body has healed well, and I feel better. I am still dealing with some fatigue, but it is getting better every day. The sadness is still there, but it is lessening as time goes on. Thank you all for caring!


SchnauzerMom said...

I'm glad that you are doing better. Sounds like a great garden. I love fresh green beans.

April said...

Hahahaha! I laughed out loud when I saw Daisy's picture. How funny... I just love her "hat". Hahahaha! Sooo cute.

Your beans look great! We've been eating green beans for the past 3 nights. Mike says he's not tired of them yet, but I'm thinking about freezing some too if they keep producing like they have been.

I'd love to see pictures of your garden, so please post away! :)

How to you dehydrate your herbs Jen? I've just been hanging mine in the kitchen, but it takes a long time that way and I'm not sure it's the best way.

That chocolate mint sounds great. I wonder how it would taste in my tea? I've been brewing tea (for iced tea) with regular store-bought iced tea (Luzianne, that I really don't care for) with added peppermint from my deck herbs thrown in. It helps give it some non-generic-grocery-store-tea flavor... lol.

I'm so jealous of the blueberries you guys got. I think the 15 pounds you picked were well worth the getting all sweaty.

I'm with you on the ucky treats they've offered at the Fair. Ewww!

Jen said...

SM - Yes, fresh green beans are wonderful! Frozen from the garden is the next best thing :).

April - Isn't that picture a total riot? I still laugh whenever I see it :).

I really need to get out there and get pictures! I should go do that after I get done typing this. Our beans seem to be pooping out, which is sad. We have gotten a lot, but they are slowing down because of the heat. I hope you continue to get a bunch! I love freezing them because it is so easy. Canning them takes so much longer.

I have an Excalibur dehydrator that I have had for years and year. Love that thing! Right now it has pumpkin seeds drying in it :). I take my herbs and gently rinse them off in a bowl to get the dirt and bugs out. Then I blot them with a paper towel. I usually leave them stems and all, and lay them on my dehydrator trays. After they are dried (which takes about 24 hours), I gently pick off the whole leaves and put them in a canning jar. I heard that if you leave them whole, they will keep their flavor longer than if you grind them. I have been drying the chocolate mint in hopes that I can use it for tea in the winter. It doesn't have a very strong chocolate taste. It is more like an aftertaste. I would think it would be very good in tea though. I found out that I was making my tea wrong. I used to soak the leaves in the water, which really didn't do anything. I learned to crush the leaves and stems in my hands while my hands are in about 1quart of water. I do that for about 5 minutes, then strain the tea through a towel. I am amazed at how strong the tea is! Is this how you do it?

April said...

I've never heard of making tea like that! I assume that you don't boil the water either since your hand is IN the water - lol. So, all you do is use the leaves and stems, crumble/crush them while your hand is in the water - for about 5 minutes - and then it's ready after straining? Wow, I'm going to have to give that a try. Where did you discover this technique? And how come after reading so much about herbs, etc. I've never heard of this??? :)

I am going to have to check out a dehydrator... I have quite a few herbs I'd like to dry this year.

I love your posts, Jen... you always mention new and fun things for me to try or learn about...


winterwren said...

Hey, Jen--

Sooooo....I have been waiting to comment on this post until after I tried one of your hairstyles. Which seems ridiculous as I write this...but silly or not, I felt kind of guilty. And lazy. Until yesterday I had only tried one of the many updos everyone graciously suggested (Arnirien's.)

Last night I *finally* tried out your beautiful double rope braided bun (which is quite easy!) So now I can tell you how much I love that Daisy photo.

And deep fried Kool-Aid? What? *How?* I am speechless.

I am glad you are feeling a little better...and I hope you continue to heal, in all respects...


Jen said...

April -- Awww, thanks! I'm glad I can help :). Your blog is the same way for me!

I had never heard of making tea that way either! Before, I kept just setting my leaves in boiling water, and they really didn't do anything. The flavor was so weak! Jeff and Evie got me an herb video, and the ladies on there showed how to do it. They said that by crushing/crumbling/squeezing the leaves and stems in your hands, you release the flavors and oils in the herbs. And yes, you just use regular temp water (I use room temperature so my hands don't get cold). I made a quart of chocolate mint tea recently, and it was so strong, we had to dilute it! I had cut about 20 or so stems from my plant for the quart. You work them in the water, and keep doing it until the water turns dark like tea. I can tell you that the flavors really come out this way! The video I have is called "Homestead Blessings: The Art of Herbs". They do have clips online of it.

As for the dehydrator, I LOVE mine. I make crackers, fruit roll ups, dry nuts, and all kinds of things. You can also make yogurt in it (dairy or nut/coconut yogurt). It is a bit pricey, but worth it if you are into drying stuff. I have had mine for about 15 years!

Jen said...

Sarah, I'm so glad that the braided bun worked for you! I keep thinking that my videos are too simple. When I look at some of the other videos, I am a bit boring in comparison, but oh well. And don't worry about commenting until now. I just love that you come and visit here, and comment :)!

I ended up getting that picture of Daisy copied and put it in a picture collage on the wall. It just makes me laugh every time!

I never did see how they did the deep fried Kool-Aid. Crazy isn't it? I kept wondering how you can deep fry liquid! I thought fried butter sounded absolutely gross, but people eat it. Yuck! I guess they will fry just about anything and sell it at fairs!