Wednesday, November 25, 2009

One man Canned

The Sauerkraut process was a bit off this year. The cool fall weather caused it to stall in the fermentation process, so Jon had to drag the crock into the wood shop,
and turn on the furnace to warm it up so it would get done.
It finally was ready to can the second week in November (I know I'm behind but I have been having some computer problems, back problems, Grace moving out :( and just plain trying to keep my head above the current!!). We for got to do our annual drinking of the kraut juice, most of the kids were not at all bothered by this miss of tradition.
Jon single-handedly canned it all~all by him self. He did 14 quarts a night for 4 nights and then on the 5th night did some pints. That will last us, and some to share, if you happen to darken our back door he will pull down and jar and send it home with you.
He is impressive!!
The fruits of his labor!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


My raspberry patch was HUGE this year! I think it was the cool weather we had, the summer heat just wasn't around to stunt their growth. Some of the canes were over 6 foot tall. It made for really nice picking with no stooping, which I took as a personal gift from the Lord!
I'm sure I've mentioned how much I love picking berries, here I am in my berry pickin' attire in the middle of the patch. By the end of summer the 5 foot path between the rows was not passable in spots because of the bent canes.
The harvest was just as HUGE with berries that were also HUGE! We also had tons of Siamese berries, I wonder what causes that. But there were a couple of things that bugged me...
Now these bugged me a bit, they are the pesky Asian beetle, they do do some damage but nothing that causes me much concern. Now we have never used pesticides on our raspberries. Bugs don't really bug me much. Some bugs are good. I love creation and figure its good to share the bounty with Gods creatures great and small....EXCEPT for this HUGE problem.................
Popillia japonica a.k.a. Japanese beetle.
Although they are a pretty bug, I'm sure they have relatives in Hades. A lady I work with told me they are common on roses and we NEED to deal with them. We already planned on it, but research tells us we need to up the "ante" with these bugs. They stripped the leaves and ate the berries, but did they just finish a berry and move on... NO! They sampled from many berries all over the berry patch. They were so many and to say they were prolific is an understatement! They were stacked 3 high and lined up 5 deep, it was scandalous to say the least! Next year we will cut them off at the pass, chem bomb them, what ever it takes, this is war, let the battle begin!
This was our first line of defence for this fall. Last week Jon cut ALL the canes, Willy stacked them and we burned them. No spring berries for us :( but there will be chemical warfare in our back yard!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Chocolate Cherry Cake

Chocolate Cherry Cake was my birthday cake! It is on my list of top 10 cakes, I don't have a #1 favorite, I don't like to limit myself to just one. I was just a kid the first time I had this cake. My Grma Brown had a neighbor, Vel Sullivan, who was infamous for her cooking and baking skills. She would bring this cake to get togethers, and I nearly stood guard to be assured a piece. When Vel, her husband and son first moved down the road from my grandparents they built a garage and lived in that until they could build a house. Vel cooked, baked, and canned on a wood cook stove, and that was in 1973 or 74. We were awed by her talent. When they finally built a new house, Jerry bought her a nice new stove, she did not like it and they moved her wood cook stove into the new house.
Pictured here are Jerry, my brother Rock, Vel(standing), and my Mom. Vel and Jerry came to my Dads birthday party in August. It was so fun to see them again. One of the first things Vel said to me was "WHERE'S Flapper?!?" who is my sister Tami, Flapper was Vel's pet name for Tami, who when she was little couldn't make it 5 minuets without talking...not even for a dollar!!! Willy baked my cake, FYI the picture does not do it justice. Without further delay I give you MY CAKE!!!
Chocolate Cherry Cake
1 chocolate cake mix (devils food-dark is best)
4 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 can cherry pie filling

mix first three ingredients until well moistened
gently fold in cherry pie filling
grease only bottom of 9 x 13 cake pan
pour into pan
bake 350* (325* if using glass) 35-45 minutes
it is done when toothpick comes out clean, but not too clean, it easy to over bake
I cover with a cookie sheet right out of the oven to hold in moister(learned that bakers trick Jon's sister Kaye)
Frost (we cheat here and use a boughten tub of frosting, it is a habit I am intending to break...soon)