Canning!

We’ve been canning like crazy around here lately.  Putting up our abundance now, hopefully to make a dent in the old grocery bill later on.

We ended up with a small glut of pepper – jalapeno, banana, green, poblano.  So!  Many!  I’m not a huge fan of spice, but I do like a little kick now and then.  I was at a loss as to what to do with all of the pepper.

{Side story: when I was pregnant with one of the kids, someone “kindly” gifted us about ten tons of peppers.  The literally covered our dining room table.  Every time I walked past them, I would have to hold my breath, because the smell almost killed preggo-me.  We ended up having to toss the whole lot!  It’s taken me all of these years to recover from the olfactory trauma and finally be able to face peppers again!}

I stumbled on ton of interesting recipe for Candied Peppers, also called Cowboy Candy.  I knew that, even if it turned out too hot for me, the manly men in my family would devour it.  Turns out, we’re all fighting for it.  This stuff is amazing.  I modified and meshed a few recipes, to make it more suitable to our tastes, and the results are delish.  We’ve been throwing it on everything – crackers, sandwiches, it even showed up on last nights tacos.  Yum.

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Since the flavors must all meld, to obtain the amazing depth of flavor, these little jars have to sit for 3-4 weeks.  It’s a good thing pepper harvests come in waves and you can stagger your canning adventures.  Cowboy Candy in steady flow is a good thing.

Cowboy Candy

2 pounds of peppers – I used a combination of jalapeno, poblano, and banana

3 C vinegar

2 C white sugar

1t turmeric

3 cloves crushed garlic

In a saucepan, boil the vinegar and sugar until the sugar has dissolved.

Add your sliced peppers, turmeric, and garlic.  Simmer for about 5 minutes.

Pack peppers and sauce into warm, sterilized jars.

Process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes for small jelly jars or 1/2 pints and 15 minutes for pints.

Label with the date, so you know the exact moment your 3 week setting period is up!

 

GIVEAWAY! And the magical little seed

As school starts and fall is around the corner, I start dreaming about next years garden.  I know that’s crazy.  This year’s is still going strong!  There’s still time for a fall garden! But as the bush beans and cucumbers fade, visions of seed catalogs dance in my head.

Who doesn’t love the promise of the seed?  It’s the stuff dreams are made of.  A tiny seed, planted months ago is now going gangbusters in my garden and causing late night canning parties in my kitchen!  It really is the gift that keeps on giving.  Even when you want it to stop, so you can sleep!

This year, we planted a few experimental things, simply for the fun of it.  Candy striped beets?  Green beans that are actually purple?  Who could say no?  The beets grew well and were beautiful.  Unfortunately, I was the only one who enjoyed the eating of the beets.

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The purple beans added so much fun and visual appeal to veggie platters.  And surprise!  They turn green when cooked!

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Hot kitchen days and late nights spent watching the pressure canner are the inevitable result of the January planning and the February indoor planting.  The March tending and the May days spent elbow deep in soil bring us the cucumber abundance that makes our kids beg us, please, can’t we eat a different veggie?

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Those hot July days, weeding, are rewarded with cool, salty tomatoes and juicy watermelons.  And aren’t we thankful for the hot canning days when we’re eating homegrown salsa in December?  Those seeds are the miracle that fills our tables.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could have a starter pack of those wonderful seeds and grow your own abundant garden next season?  You can!  The good folks at Baker Creek Heirloom Seed have donated their curated Seed Collection to one of my readers.  Here’s the deal: for a chance to win: follow me (@sewmanywildthings) on Instagram, for a second entry: follow Baker Creek (@bakercreekseeds) on Instagram, and for a third entry: comment here telling me what YOU dream of planting.  And let me in the comments that you’ve done all these things!  Contest ends Monday and the winner will be announced here!

:::EDITED::: And the winner is EMILY G.!!  Congrats, Emily!  Please contact me with your shipping info, so I can get your seeds to you!

Good Luck and Happy Planting!

 

 

 

 

Adventure Bags for Your Little Nature Explorer

Awhile back, I saw a friend on a homeschooling thread asking about Nature Study and the tools to enhance and encourage it.  I answered with a long list of links to the components of the “Adventure Bags” that we have put together for our girls.

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The response was encouraging, so I thought I’d compile it here for both my reference and as inspiration for other mamas!  Obviously, there is room for your own twist and creativity!  Let us know in the comments what you would add to the list.

We put together these Adventure Bags so that the kids would have all of their Charlotte Mason inspired Nature Study tools in one place.  Grab and go!

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Ms. Mason says:  “It is infinitely well worth the mother’s while to take some pains every day to secure, in the first place, that her children spend hours daily amongst rural and natural objects; and, in the second place, to infuse into them, or rather, to cherish in them, the love of investigation…”

Yikes!  That’s a tall order.  These Adventure Bags make it a little easier to get outside and ready to explore and record investigations.

First, the bag!  We LOVE a good sturdy bag for the kids.  We have one that is large enough to hold everything they need and is just the right size for them to carry.

Bella’s bag is also just the right size to hold her wonderful sketching journal.  In our house, these notepads get filled with drawings, but each page also has lines for your little writer.  Bella likes to carry her water color set and a small mason jar of water, so she can paint what she sees.

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Avila’s bag is a little smaller, but can fit a small note pad, crayons, her magnifying glass, and a field guide.

Also in their bags, the girls carry a small magnifying glass.  These are fun to use to get a closer look at leaves and bugs.  I’m sure there are some out there that are better quality, but for the price, a small one suits us just fine.

My girls particularly like to bird watch.  They each have a copy of our favorite Birds of Indiana field guide and Bella carries a pair of binoculars.  We love a pair that has good magnification, but is small enough for tiny hands.  In fact, I noticed that Andrew snagged Bella’s to take along on his recent trip to hike along the Appalachian Trail.

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Never be within doors when you can rightly be without.  Charlotte Mason

To recap:

A good sturdy bag

Magnifying glass

Binoculars

Sketching Journal

Watercolor Set

Field Guide for your state: birds, wildflowers, trees

Now you’re ready to head off for a Nature Study at a moments notice!

Every child has a natural interest in the living things about him which it is the business of his parents to encourage.  Ms. Mason

{Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links.}