Friday, August 15, 2008

Kids in Yoga, Garden & Canning

Every Monday the kids start their evening out with me in my outdoor yoga class. They actually both really enjoy it and it gives them a good stretch before they play soccer.

About 15minutes into the class Tom picks them up and takes them to soccer practice. The Tomah Area Youth Soccer seems to have some sort of soccer going throughout the spring, summer, & fall for the kids. Right now it's just whoever shows up Monday night they either work on drills or play a pick-up game with the parents. Reeve and Kyle love it. They come home sweaty and happy.

If you scroll back a few posts you can see the above tomato bed in a weedy mess. I put my heavy duty gloves on, got my long neck weed puller, some scissors, string, and went to town weeding and tying up the tomatoes. I braved the many mosquitoes and nasty thorny thistle weeds. I do love the raised beds because they are significantly easier to weed. I was glad I put the stakes in the ground when I planted the tomatoes, but next year I really want to invest in some good tomato cages.

I also started to work on my long beds. I found a ton of tomatoes, which was pretty amazing considering the fact that they were 100% buried in tall nasty weeds. You can see from the above pic that most of my stakes were way too small. The poor tomatoes were actually using the weeds for growing support! I did find a couple of rotting tomatoes, and I threw one over the fence. I must have come close to hitting a sleeping deer because I heard it get up, snort loudly, and then run off into the woods. If you've never heard a deer before they make this snorting noise. It's not a noise you'd expect to hear from a deer. It makes me think this is what a bull must sound like before it charges you...deer can be pretty fierce when confronted, so I was glad the weeds were so tall we didn't see each other and it ran off into the woods.

I had to go on top of the roof to adjust the TV's no fun watching the Summer Olympics with a ton of snow. While I was up there I decided to take the camera to get an aerial pic of the garden.

I also took a few pics of the organic corn our neighbor is grown in our fields for his organic dairy cows.

It's hard to see from these pictures, but his corn is some of the finest corn I've seen around here. We've had so much rain that the corn growth has really suffered with most of our neighbors fields having flooding problems.
It looks a heck of a lot better than the field that borders our property as seen in the pic below.

This farmer is not organic and he planted a no till herbicide injected seed that is supposed to kill the weeds as the corn grows. It looks lousy, it's smaller, and it's full of weeds.

I sprayed some clay on our apple trees to ward off the vicious plum curculio

I was supposed to spray the clay on right after the blossoms fall off and then re-apply 3 times, and then after a heavy rain, and weekly for about 10 weeks. I didn't get the clay until I noticed the crescent shape wounds in some of the apples, but hopefully I've saved a few of the apples using the clay. Next year I'll be more vigilant!

This is 16.5lbs of tomatoes from our garden. Yesterday I decided it was time to make my first batch of pasta sauce for the year. I love my Ball Blue Book (for Canning, Freezing, & Dehydrating), but for the life of me I cannot figure out their Tomato Sauce recipe. The recipe calls for 45lbs of tomatoes to make 7 quarts of pasta sauce. The last time I made this pasta sauce I took some notes...I weighed 22.5lbs of tomatoes, and I made 9.5 quarts of sauce! I thought it was because I didn't peel the tomatoes, which I highly reccomend you peel the tomatoes. If you don't the skin becomes leathery and not fun to pick out of your spaghetti. This year I peeled the tomatoes, and cooked them down for 5 long hours. 16.5lbs of peeled & diced tomatoes filled my large stock pot to the brim. While the tomatoes were cooking down (lid off) I sauteed my onions, garlic, & spices. After about 3 hours I added the saute mix and cooked it down for another 2 hours. After 6 long hours in the kitchen my 16.5lbs yielded 7 quarts. I was thrilled with this, but uber confused as to how Ball thinks 45lbs should yield 7 quarts. Was it because I was too lazy to strain out the seeds? Could the straining really make THAT much of a difference. Did I not cook it enough? I cooked it for 5 hours, was I really supposed to cook it for 10 hours? My sauce is a little watery, but we really love it. Also Ball calls for 1/2 tsp of citric acid in each quart...I like using a full tsp. It makes me feel safe and we really like that tangy taste. It's not overwhelming at all.

So far this year I've canned 7 quarts of pasta sauce and 5 quarts of pickles. I have a lot of little cukes growing, so I'm hoping I can can another 5 quarts of pickles.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Guilbeault Family Reunion

This weekend we went to the Annual Guilbeault Family Appleton, WI this year. We had tons of fun and really enjoyed spending time with my cousins...4 first cousins once removed (& 3 spouses), 8 second cousins (& 4 spouses), and 6 second cousins once removed! All in all we had about 30 people gathered. Unbelievable as it may seem...we didn't capture one single picture. How did that happen? The weather was perfect, the food was delicious, and the company was top-notch. Next year's reunion is set to take place in Boulder, CO around the 15th & 16th of August 2009.

The second butterfly we raised was released July 27th...

For our 15th Wedding Anniversary we went to Baraboo with the kids and saw a free Concert on the Square.
The kids had fun on the cannon

We all enjoyed listening and watching the Chicago steel drum band OD TAPO IMI. They put on a great show, but I have to say it wasn't original...well I hadn't seen this grinder bit before:

But we have seen the Blue Man Group do the neon paint drumming bit:

I don't think they played one original was all covers. Which is okay, but I really enjoy hearing bands play their own music. They covered Jimmy Buffet, some Santana (that part I digged...I love Santana), some Shakira, and some Todd Rundgren (Bonus points if you can guess which Rundgren song they played).