Sunday, September 11, 2016

Week in review - pepper jelly, fair ribbons & fall

It was a busy week.  I read this post over at An English Homestead and suddenly remembered that I had planted shallots this year.  I had totally forgotten.  They were an impulse but at Away and I'd never planted them before so why not try?  I went out to have a look.  While wading through the mess I was distracted by the jalapeno peppers that have been ready to pick for two weeks.  Peppers were picked and carried back into the house and washed. I started to clean the kitchen.  The shallots, I thought.  Crap.  Back outside.  They were under the overgrown patty pan squashes and are very small but still edible.  Not perfect but not bad for total neglect.

When I saw the jalapenos I remembered that I had wanted to make jalapeno jelly from the Blue Ball ,  Ball Blue Book.  We really enjoy pepper jelly over cream cheese with crackers and cheddar.  I wear contacts and have burned my eyeballs one too many times chopping peppers so out came the Nutribullet and in went the hot jalapenos along with some cider vinegar.

Nutribullet. Sold under the guise of making healthy smoothies - also makes good homemade pate.  I would have loved to have used my homemade apple cider vinegar but couldn't because I don't know the acidity level.  You need 5% acidity to can safely. 

I followed the recipe except added some tiny Thai pepper rounds to the puree to add some color. Here's the finished product. We tried a bit.  Husband said it was fantastic but my mouth was on fire.  Next time maybe pimentos.

The fair wrapped up on Saturday night.  There's a certain time frame when entries can be picked up. 9-10 p.m. on Saturday ONLY and if memory serves correctly over the years it is, more often than not, pouring down rain during that particular time period.  Husband dropped me off at the corner so I could dash in through the downpour to collect my things.  Gonna brag myself up here - look at all the ribbons!  I also got some "honorable mentions" not worth mentioning.

There is a small premium for placing and it varies according to what category you've entered (a first place in canning wins $4.50 while a first place in floral about $2.50) but they add up.  For this stay at home mom, my fair premiums totaled $58 without really even trying.  When I take that money to the local feed mill those premiums will pay for 250 lbs of fresh ground layer mash and a 50 lb bag of cracked corn.  That's a pretty good payoff for having a great time.  I'd like to get my act together and enter some baked goods next year too.

It's the start of September and we've turned the corner into fall.  You can feel it in the temperature at night and the air smells different.  The goldenrod is coming on and the honeybees are all over it.  Goldenrod will be their last major nectar flow of the year.  I'm not sure when we'll extract honey.  Both swarms we hived on our property died over the summer but the ones at my father's are doing spectacular.   Here are another couple of ways to tell that fall is near in western Pennsylvania:

Pumpkin beer is in season.

Also this finally came in the mail:

My antlerless tag for deer season.  Buying a PA hunting licence automatically includes an antlered tag  (for a buck) but you have to fill out an application and send in additional money to secure a doe tag. The kicker is that you have to do this in the middle of the summer for a hunting season that starts in December. This wasn't a problem when I worked for the County because I was in the Treasurer's Office often enough to see the notices but this year I just plain forgot. I love venison.  Love, love, love venison.  Dry aged and cooked rare it is the best thing out there. So it was a happy day when I got this. 

Well, that's about it.  My plan for the week is to get into the garden and start going through it.  It's so far gone with weeds that it's more of a search and recovery mission for edible vegetables at this point.  Last summer I was nine months pregnant and had an immaculate garden.  This year, not so much.

Little man assists by using a stalk of kale to beat back a weed.  In my defense, he's on the outside of the garden here.

Time to start a new week.


  1. My plan is to start to tackle the garden, mine has really slipped but mainly because I've concentrated too much on building the extension and my paying work. I'm really need to focus now to get in order for winter. I plan on altering all my veg beds as well.
    We'll done on all your ribbons, like I said next year I must enter the village show.
    I like the sound of the chilli jam, I'll have a look in my ball blue book as well. I've got so many chillies ready, I want to make a sweet chilli dipping sauce as well.

  2. Sweet chili sauce sounds fantastic! I'll have to look into that.