Posts Tagged ‘summer’

Putting up Tomatoes for the Winter

Posted on September 3rd, 2012 by Tonia 2 Comments

We’re drowning in ‘maters over here! Aren’t they beautiful to behold? Warm little spheres of juice. I’d tell them how great they are, but it would go to their heads. They’re already smug enough as it is.

When tomatoes are ready, they need to be dealt with RIGHT NOW. They’re kind of the diva of the garden. Say, for example, that you wanted to perhaps go to the beach today because it’s Labor Day and it’s 85 degrees and sunny and all your friends are there grilling out and drinking beer. Logical thing to do on a day like this, right?

Nope. You’ve got 900 ripe tomatoes to process, you fool! And they ain’t gonna wait around while you frolic about in your bathing-suit. They’ll go right ahead and rot, right under your nose, if you’re just a tiny bit too slow about picking them.

So I am in my hot kitchen. Processing tomatoes. And even though I’m slightly crabby about it, I’m going to be really happy to have all these jars of delicious sauces, soups and whole tomatoes in the middle of winter.

I’ve been loosely following this excellent blog post that details the canning process for tomatoes except that I’ve been roasting my tomatoes instead of blanching them. How do you can tomatoes? Any favorite tricks or tips?

Happy Labor Day, dear readers!

Raspberry Picking

Posted on September 3rd, 2012 by Tonia 2 Comments


Ohhhhh geez. I’m so behind on blogging!! August flew by at light-speed and I’m still reeling from it and trying to come to terms with the fact that it’s SEPTEMBER already! There are photos on my camera from JULY that I have yet to upload and share (I keep waiting for a quiet day with nothing to do but sit down and edit photos and write…..HAHA!)

…Starting with these from when my mom came to visit (in July!) and we went to Blue Vista to pick raspberries together. It was a beautiful day, but very hot. Our berries were melting in our fingers!

We had to work quickly, and when we got home we plunged them into cold water to rinse them before spreading them out onto cookie sheets and placing them in the freezer to firm up. Then we bagged them and stacked the bags in the freezer. It’s so nice to have a plethora of berries to enjoy all winter. I’ve already made smoothies with them a couple times!

Besides berries, we’re also putting up lots of tomatoes, pickles, and beans from our garden this year. What are you bagging/canning/storing away for winter? I’d love to know your favorite recipes for canned goods!

Summertime on Lake Superior

Posted on August 22nd, 2012 by Tonia 4 Comments

This summer has been extremely busy for us, between work and family events and just trying to keep up with the garden and all our projects around the homestead. But every chance we get, we head to the beach to relax and play- usually with the dogs and with friends.

We have a time-share on a beautiful 25′ sailboat with some friends, and we’ve really been enjoying learning how to sail {it’s been on our bucket list for years. When you live on Lake Superior, you need to know how to sail. It’d be like living in Vail, CO and never going skiing!}

On calm days, it’s fun to put her on autopilot and just zone out, letting the waves rock you into a little nap. On windy days, she gives you an exhilarating ride that awakens your senses and makes you feel {lucky to be} alive. We’re so lucky to learn on such a big, safe boat. She’s made to be seafaring, so she can definitely handle anything the lake throws at ‘er.

But small boats have their perks, too. Our neighbor’s father built him a little sailboat as a college graduation gift. She’s light enough to haul behind the truck to the beach {read: doesn’t need to be docked at a marina all summer} but big enough to carry a few friends and a few cases of beer. Pre-tty nice!

We haven’t taken the dogs on the boat with us yet, but Charlie does enjoy riding the stand-up paddle baord with me!

Hooray, hooray, hooray for this gorgeous body of fresh water that we’re so blessed to live right next to. Hooray for the waves of cold, prickling water that wash over you, healing and calming your body and mind. Hooray for boats, dogs, beer, friends. And hooray for the occasional opportunity to forget about the To-Do list and just plaaaay.

Blueberries, business

Posted on August 2nd, 2012 by Tonia 1 Comment

It’s the heart of summer. We are overflowing with business, but it’s all the good kinds of things to be busy with: work, homestead projects, tending to the animals and the garden, family gatherings, cooking and eating meals with friends and as many trips to the beach as possible.

The other night we drove to Cornucopia for dinner with some friends who have a beautiful little orchard out in the woods. I baked a blueberry pie to take along. The bush in our yard was loaded with berries and I wanted to get to them before the rabbits did. I picked 8 cups of berries and there are still more on the bush!

I followed this good ol’ Martha Stewart recipe. Her crust recipe is straight-forward and results in a buttery, flaky crust. I skip the sugar, because I like a slightly saltier crust- especially when the filling is so sweet.

As nicely as my pie turned out, I have to say that the highlight of the evening was when our friends made a trip down to their bee hives and brought back a dripping hunk of honeycomb for us all to try. We took turns carving off hunks of it with a fork and letting it melt on our tongues. The wax was fun to chew and the honey, warm from the sun and head-achingly sweet, was absolutely divine.

Their homemade wild apple hard cider wasn’t bad either.

Oh, summer. You’re a treat.