It is a delight to be the spouse of a hard working, joy-filled, dedicated man.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tomorrow Schmarrow

"See you tomorrow with a long post about pickles and bees, mean unidentifiable bees, and harvesting things." quote from Lanny's last post, not yesterday.

Not today but soon, I'll tell you all about my bee battle, okay, okay yellow jackets, not bees, shoot me down like the dog I am, yes I've been taking short cuts and calling everything that flies and stings a bee and it is not fair and yes, I could have sworn that the flying stinging little buggers in the soil by my irises were indeed fuzzy and therefore a bee, however, on closer inspection they are indeed yellow jackets not solitary ground bees that suddenly had changed their habits and became angry colonists. (Confessions usually call for run on sentences.)

But as I began with, I will tell you all about it in another post, date tba. Today I have decided to try to stick to one subject. I will say here that I am inside lounging with the laptop in the middle of the day, not because it is raining, I would love to be in the rain, but because I am researching overseeding pastures and such and I am doing that mostly because I am sportin' another bee sting that has given me an extra elbow and a rather queezy and fluctuating thermostat. (Justifications also call for run on sentences.)

This clearly is the summer of ketchup so catch up I shall.

Monday found me very excited. It was raining and it was time to get into a pickle with Tipper and a couple of her readers! Fourteen Day Pickles are underway.

Here is my photomontage of my Monday morning. Hope you can follow along. I should have a bouncing pickle like sing along with Mitch's little bouncing ball.

These are the cukes I purchased at Duris Pickle Farm down in the big valley. They were labled extra small but there were ones labeled exta extra small. I'm the only adult, grown-up, ahhh parent here at Vicktory Farms that eats sweet picks so I'm making them to my liking and I like sweet picks at about a two bite affair.

I ended up using one hundred even though Tipper's recipe called for three dozen. Even at that I was still short of her volume measure of two gallons, mine equalled just a bit over a gallon.

Even though I had a crock, two actually, and Tipper's recipe called for a three gallon crock, I have that, I went out and bought a two gallon glass crock at the forbidden store. Knowing on Saturday afternoon that my hundred cukes barely measured a gallon and a half and Tipper was using two gallons of cukes in a three gallon crock I figured that her ratio of cukes to size of crock would be like me using a two gallon crock for my barely gallon and a half cukes.

Crocks are notorious for having cracks and also for being expensive. So I had Anna check with Grandma and Grandpa Vick to make sure nothing untoward was ever stored in them and then I filled them with water and set them on newspaper to check for cracks. I also measure the level of the water from the rim, but little mister Howel used the ten gallon crock as his personal bowl so I was glad for the newspaper trick I began with. There are no cracks in either crock so I am very very excited.

Look at these two silly cukes that slipped past me at the Cuke farm! Ooops I don't think I counted the two klingons. but I couldn't use them anyway they were already slimey. I am looking forward to not having issues with my cucumber plants next year and for the ones I do plant to be producing way sooner than this years will.

I'm leaning toward putting in a full bed (four feet by two hundred feet) of just pickling produce. It will be covered with a hoop so I ought to be, God willing, a month ahead and in abundance of pickles next year. I'm in love with next year can ya tell! Oh wait not all of you see my bumpersticker notes on Facebook, nevermind. I tell you all about my "next year" thing in a future post, maybe.

This is the murky waters after all the little sweet cukes got brished up and into the two gallon glass crock.

And these are two bad boys that slipped by my notice Saturday afternoon when I counted to one hundred while inspecting my picks for picks.

At first I was not excited to hand count out one hundred of the two types of cukes I had come to get. But when I was washing them up I was glad that I had to buy them by count not by weight or volume. Counting forced me to touch each and every one I chose. So yes, I have two I shouldn't have had but if I had bought them by anyother means I would most likely have ended up with way more duds than that.

Next came the brine. Both Tipper's and the recipe I found for my garlic dills called for a ten percent brine solution. (salt solution) In regular water an egg, fresh egg, sinks. Like a rock, no tettering no tottering.

But in a ten percent brine solution the very same egg floats! I just did that to check it out. I actually just measured one pint of salt to one gallon water. Once again, I am glad that I live on well water. In preparation for the day I read a lot that says that you can have trouble trying to do pickles in this manner if you use city tap water that is treated with chlorine and such. Not a problem for me. I love my house and where I live. Have I ever mentioned that Dear Reader? I am so thankful for my nice big house. I can have all the things I need and a lot of what I don't really need all inside my sweet house. And it is chalk a block full of history and stories.

That was pretty much all I needed to do for Tipper's pickles until the eighteenth. And my recipe for garlic dills follows nearly the same except that I am layering dill and garlic in the bottom and middle of the slightly larger cukes. But the same brine, salt, solution is poured over the dill, garlic and cuke layers.

The dill was looking a little droopy but man alive it perked up after it was in this glass of water.

For this batch I am using the three gallon crock crock. My mind is twirling with what to put in the ten gallon one. Bet and I are sauerkraut eaters and I would love to eat real sauerkraut.

Even though I harvested thirty pounds of garlic recently I spotted these big fellas at the local grocer's. They were incredibly cheap. Er.. inexpensive. Especially when compared to the seed garlic I had just ordered a few days ago. I will be planting back each of the varieties I harvested from last fall's plantings that I bought from FilareeFarm. They were great! and all four performed beyond expectations, but I want to expand my current repertoire so I have ordered four more varieties to add to next year's (by the way, I just realized I sort of already explained my "next year" thing in How the Heck!?! so I am off the hook for further explaination, but that isn't to say I won't).

But I saw, well Bet and I saw, these in the local grocer's produce collection at such a dirt cheap price and they are so nice and big and appear to be softneck and therefore braidable, that I thought I would add them to my collection to plant in October. These are the garlics that I used for in the garlic dill's crock. I wanted to see what these little big guys looked like out of their skins. They're pretty stinkin' good looking (no pun originally intended there but I'll go with the stinkin').

Hey I just looked at the begining of that paragraph and saw another unintentional pun, dirt cheap. But then I guess you gotta know my running battle with my dear Dirt in order to see that one.

These are my garlic dills set in brine supposedly for about three weeks. There is a clear plate on top to hold the picks down in the brine. Come to find out, none of my plates work very well for either crock. They were either too small or too big. So Dirt picked up some oak for me and is making me two oak "lids" for my crocks. I keep having little cukes slip past the plate and the silly garlic is determined to float.

So now that I finished that, here is a little note about the long awaited rain. I am definitely a PNW girl. I need my rain, and I need my walls of green. I love green, not real thrilled about the subversion of the name of my favorite color as a living concept, I actually love the color green.
Ooops, sidetrack, about the rain and sleeping and what I had to say Tuesday when I woke up, when this post was actually started. But now it is Thursday. I confuse myself a lot because my posts are never really posted when they say they are being posted and not because I am clever like A. Joy and "schedule" the post but instead I begin it and then I am distracted for a few hours or for a few days.

Arencha glad I'm sticking to one subject for this post Dear Reader?!?

So here it is Tuesday morning's thoughts from Lanny.

That was the worst night of sleep I have had in months. But I don't really mind too much, except that now I am behind because I finally fell asleep an hour before I was suppose to get up.

First couple of hours I wondered about what I might have left out in the rain. Dirt too. Then we both remembered that he left one of the tillers out. He's the mechanic. He wasn't worried, why would I get up and try and get it in?

But then I spent the rest of the night awake alone. I could tell you exactly what times it rained, when it was just misting, when it stopped completely and how many inches we got. I'm not kidding.

I was excited to go to bed and fall asleep listening to the rain. We, Dirt and I, have been in the trailer all summer, the bed is better out there, and when you're in the trailer the rain is hard to miss. You're right Susie, I was so looking forward to the sound of the rain lulling me to sleep.

Instead, I ended up being more excited about exactly how good it was going to rain. I'm looking forward to it being a soaker.

Well off to play with my bees.

Which I did and then I managed to get stung by a "not bee" down here at the house.

Since I wandered from my pickle main topic already let me go further by saying that Facebook has caused me to become even crankier with culture. So here, in the PNW, it hasn't rained for over a month and the last rain was hardly measurable, yet facebook is crowded with people who are upset that the rain is ruining their summer. Eh?

But the worst recent cultural run in on Facebook was a lovely Christian's woman's statement about her sons, young teenagers, being studs.

Studs!!! Does she call her daughters "hot little tarts" too!
Folks, it is one thing to say of some guy on tv that he is a stud, he very well may be, even in the true sense of the word, but for crying out loud, if you call a young man a stud don't be so stinking surprised if he comes home with some preganant girls in tow! Oh, but it is cool to be thought of as a stud. Really? Really? How far are you going to go with that cool?! A stud is a male animal, kept for the purpose of breeding. Stallions are studs, dogs are studs, owners of such charge a stud fee.
"Oh but that's not how we are using the word?"
Really? really?
That is a large pile of manure. So large that if I had that pile I could fertilize my entire pasture with that one pile of manure. Lets all get our heads out of the manure pile and think about the words we choose and the culture we insist on chasing after. The results of where our heads have been aren't looking so good folks. Lets get both feet on the same side of the fence.
Catch up to you in a couple of days Dear Reader but for now I need to step away from the computer, put down the key board..... so that no one gets hurt...


KathyB. said...

Pickles, I think I will be a making them this week. While enjoying the rain and then appreciating the sun in between the rain fall. Hope this makes sense to you because after re-reading it I know this is what I meant to say.

Susie said...

Interesting post about pickles Lanny. I'm not a pickle girl myself but if I eat them, I prefer the sweet. Looks like you had the perfect size for them.

Tipper said...

Oh I hope you like my pickles-I think you will. And I need to give your dills a try too. I love the way you tell a story : ) You may take us on a round about way-but we always end up in the right place!

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Lanny: That was a fun post on the pickles.

Daisy said...

Lanny, I sure am glad you stuck to just one topic. HA HA HA! :D (Please don't be upset by my gentle teasing.)

You make me smile, my dear. I'm not a pickle eater, but I'm sure yours are great. I enjoyed the post.

You always manage to make me smile and to think.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Beautiful pickle post! With my view on "Studs" it is no wonder I was only blessed with girls. What kind of a Mother would call he boy children Studs.. that is insane. You keep telling it the way it is Lanny! :)