Saturday, October 31, 2009

A rare treat . . .

I was driving down the road, about 5 miles from the house a couple weeks ago and out of the corner of my eye I see an eagle standing in a field. What caught my eye at first was the huge mob of ravens that were obviously giving something a hard time (that's the official job of a raven you know)
When I looked closer, I see a Bald Eagle in the middle of flock protecting his breakfast. What a thrill . . and of course, I didn't have a camera with me! I headed to the house, ran in and grabbed a camera and headed back down the highway. He was still there! (minus his raven friends) Yeah me!

I wish I would have had a bigger lens LOL!
He was in a field just off Highway 66 outside of Kellyville, Oklahoma.

What a beautiful bird!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I'm a proud Mom!

I am proud of BOTH of my kids! They are amazing people!

My son Nick, is on his third tour of duty in Saudia Arabia, he flys KC-10 tankers for the U.S. Air Force. He just made Captain and will get his official promotion in June of 2010.

Here are a couple of (old pics . .) (need some NEW ONES . . NICK!! . . that's a hint for when he reads this LOL) when he was stationed in Vance at Enid, Oklahoma.

Cats are strange . . .

And our cat Monster is no exception to the "strangeness" of cats.
Of all the places in our house that would appeal to a cat -- soft beds, chairs, couches with snuggly blankets always draping over them -- he loves the bathroom.

This morning, I caught something out of the corner of my eye and there he was . . tucked in BEHIND the bathroom door.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Getting ready for a wedding!

It's official! (has been for several months . . but I am REALLY behind in my blogging LOL)

Tori & Tyler are getting married on July 17th, 2010.

They want a small family only ceremony on Catalina Island and a HUGE deep pit barbecue here in the backyard a few week later . . boy, do I have my work cut out for me!! She wants a casual, make it look like Martha Stewart did it affair (hah!)
(I see a backyard remodel in my future!!)

I was honored that they asked me to take their engagement photos (not to mention I come cheap). We drove ALL over the state of Oklahoma looking for prime fall color to take pictures and ended up taking these at the Tulsa Historical Society's Rose Garden.

How'd I do??

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Recipe for Green Tomato Relish

Green Tomato Relish

24 large green tomatoes
3 red bell peppers, halved and seeded
3 green bell peppers, halved and seeded
12 large onions
3 tablespoons celery seed
3 tablespoons pickling spice (tied in a cheesecloth ball or bag - do NOT add loose)
3 tablespoons mustard seed
1 tablespoon salt
5 cups white sugar
2 cups cider vinegar

1. In a grinder (I use an old fashioned crank grinder - you can buy them in antique stores) or food processor, coarsely grind tomatoes, red bell peppers, green bell peppers, and onions. (You may need to do this in batches.) Line a large colander with cheesecloth, place in sink or in a large bowl, and pour in tomato mixture to drain for 1 hour.

2. In a large, non-aluminum stockpot, combine tomato mixture, celery seed, mustard seed, salt, sugar, and vinegar. Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

3. Sterilize enough jars and lids to hold relish (12 one-pint jars, or 6 one-quart jars). Place your rings and lids into a bowl of very hot water while you wash your jars. Pack relish into sterilized jars, making sure there are no spaces or air pockets. Fill jars within an inch of the top. Place lid and screw on ring gently but not too tight.

4. Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot or canning pot and fill halfway with boiling water. Carefully lower jars into pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch space between jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary, until tops of jars are covered by 2 inches of water. Bring water to a full boil, then cover and process for 30 minutes.

5. Remove jars from pot and place on cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool, listen for the pings as they seal. Once cool, press top of each lid with finger, ensuring that seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all). Jars that don't seal need to be refrigerated and used immediately.

Relish can be stored for up to a year.


Green Tomato Relish

As I was picking (and picking and picking and picking) the last of the tomatos, I was thinking what I was going to do with all of these . . and then I thought of the the amazing green tomato relish my mom would make at the end of the garden season. Nothing ever went to waste at the end of the gardening season . . there was always a recipe and use for everything.

Growing up, we grew a huge garden (almost a half acre in size) and canned, dried and froze everything for the winter. Our basement was lined with shelves and row after row of home canned goodies. My personal favorites were canned peaches, apricots and mom's relishes and pickles. My dad is 86 years old and still grows a huge garden and still cans his own food.

I learned to can food at an early age, (it was my job when I was little to listen for and count the "pings" as the jars sealed) and it's been awhile since I canned myself so I dug out all the equipment out of the attic and dug up mom's recipe and went to work . . . and was comforted by the familiar smells and nostaligic sound of jars pinging as they seal.

I put Jim to work grinding the tomatos, peppers and onions while I washed and sterilized jars and got the sugar, vinegar and spices boiling (what a WONDERFUL smell).

I am so glad I grew up learning these things, although as a teenager, I would have never guessed that I would be thankful for learning how to preserve garden produce and how to cook from scratch (and without a cookbook) . . but have been VERY thankful every day of my adult life since.

My dad gave me a love of outdoors, gardening and how to do it organically long before it was fashionable and my mom taught me how to can and cook. One of my most treasured items is a notebook in my mother's handwriting of canning recipes, secrets and favorite things . . . she taught me to cook from my heart and by taste, rarely using a recipe. Thank you Mom!

Jim is eyeballing these and making a list of everything he can use them on . . hotdogs, bratwurst, beans . . . . Mmmmmm! Any bets how long they last?

I will post the recipe in a minute if anyone want to try it . . . enjoy!

The end of the garden

The weatherman is forecasting freezes into the 20's next week and rain this evening and into next week, so we thought it was a good afternoon for garden cleanup (ewwww)

So, we trimmed the strawberry patch, picked ALL the tomatoes (mostly green) and what was left of the pathetic green pepper plants. Tossed the remains to ed (who is a VERY happy and well fed goat today.

And put the beds to rest with a layer of sawdust . . . waiting for next year.

Next year's plans are for a bigger, fenced garden with the addition of 2-3 more beds, benches and walkways (yeah, rabbit proofing . . now if I just squirrel proof it)