Tuesday, July 26, 2011

59 days until autumn begins

July 26, 2011

The 207th day of 2011

59 days until autumn begins

This morning as Bob and I headed out to start chores, I noticed two things.
First it was darker then it has been in the past six weeks, and second I needed a long sleeve shirt (to take of the chill and keep off the mosquitoes). What a diference a week makes in Maine.
Time to start canning to preserve the summer harvest and think about cool crops, and second cut.

Yesterday I harvested the first of this years potatoes "new" potatoes. New potatoes have such thin skin you  need only give them a quick wash and a short boil and they are great topped off with some grated cheese.
These mornings of cool air are preferd by the Belgians.
My summer vacation has officially come and gone, it is time to admit summer is about to leave us. We have purchased and started feeding the seasons first cut of hay, I calculate to get us back around to first cut 2012, we will need about 780 bale.
The hoop house sits empty except a "test" tomato plant, next week I will plant lettuce and spinach there.
One of the simplest things to can is pickles and  it is cucumber season. Once the cukes are picked and chilled the process takes about 30 min , less if you purchase a packet of pre mixed pickle spices. This evening came to a close with a sudden rush of dark clouds, a light show and a down pouring of rain, perfect for the gardens.

Crunchy Dill Pickles

Yield: Makes about 8 pints.

•4 pounds small cucumbers
•2 cloves garlic, peeled, for each jar
•1 fresh sprig of dill for each jar
•4 black peppercorns for each jar
•2 quarts white vinegar
•1/2 cup pickling salt

Chill freshly picked cucumbers overnight. Clean and dry the cucumbers then pack them into sterilized jars along with the garlic cloves, dill sprig, and peppercorns. In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add the vinegar and salt and boil for 5 minutes. Pour the hot brine over the cucumbers, leaving 1/4 inch of headroom. Wipe dry the rims of the jars, then cap each with a lid and screw band. Prepare a boiling water bath and process the jars in it for 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the bath and set them on a towel on the counter. They will “seal” during the cooling-off process. Place any jars that do not seal properly in the refrigerator and use first.

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