Thursday, August 30, 2012


Our family truly enjoys sharing the work of the garden and preserving the food we harvest.

Most of the activities we share are enjoyed more by some than others... Dad will go along with helping with the animals when he can, albeit somewhat begrudgingly; its just not his thing.  The girls will fish with us... for awhile.  But when it comes to the garden, everyone seems to take a genuine interest.

This, for us, is sweet corn season, and I planted quite a bit of the "Bodacious" hybrid.  So despite the drought and my intermittent watering, we now have corn to pick, husk, cook, slice from the cob, and freeze.  Or eat fresh.  Or make into fritters, salsas, salads, cornbread... you get the idea.

On Sunday, we harvested and put up about one quarter of what was planted.  As the saying goes, "many hands make quick work", and while it took up a good share of the afternoon, it was fun to work as a family.

Photos by Rebekka Dagen.

"Bodacious", husked, cooked, cooled and draining.

I slice it off the cob into a Bundt cake pan; works slick as a whistle!

The production line

We use a vacuum sealer to package in plastic, it really saves on freezer space.

Our little helper. She learned how to pick and husk the corn, and labeled all the bags.

We froze twenty-two bags of sweet corn that day; each was about three cups (or 1 1/2 pints).  The golden kernels are scrumptious, even cold, and run circles around the store-bought stuff.  I cannot wait to enjoy their golden goodness alongside a pork roast some wintery Sunday evening next winter; it will be a ray of summer sunshine on the coldest of days.

Friday, August 10, 2012

What the Magazines Won't Tell You

I just came in from plucking the first ripe tomatoes from my garden, and it occurred to me that the magazines have it all wrong.

It doesn't matter if its a glossy fashion magazine, or a recycled-paper tribute to green living.  They all are about three months (or more) ahead of reality.  Those mid-May "Recipes For Your Bountiful Garden!" issues are great, but my garden isn't "bountiful" until late August.  By then, the magazine has been long since recycled... and no, I'm not organized enough to clip the recipe and tuck it away for later.

The horse publications showcase their "Groom Your Horse to WIN!" articles in February.  Seriously?  No horse on this place will even consider a public event until late April.  I've never body-clipped a horse and don't intend to start; the idea of all that white hair flying up my nose and down my bra is less than appealing to me.

"Spring Fashion!" seems to bloom on the magazine racks as soon as the Valentine's candy is marked 50% off.  Awfully optimistic, considering we can't count on spring until June, around here.

And then, of course, my favorite: Christmas in October.  We've just spent a king's ransom on back-to-school clothes, and now they are marketing Christmas? When I've barely got my tomatoes canned?  Sheesh!  I don't want to even think about Christmas until Thanksgiving dinner is consumed and its leftovers properly refrigerated.  Then, I'm ready to settle my gluttonous self into the recliner and peruse the ads... not one moment sooner.

Yes, I do realize that magazines cater to dreams and optimism, and for that reason alone I'm a hard core addict.  Few things give me greater pleasure than twenty minutes of free time to enjoy a diet soda (yeah, yeah... I know) and a shiny new magazine, be it published by Martha or Oprah or Mother Earth.

Don't believe for one moment that the internet will ever totally replace paper magazines; so many are impulse buys ("Wow, a magazine about junk decor! Booyah!").

I do wish, however, that those who publish them would head out of the concrete jungle for awhile to see how the rest of us live... and when we harvest our tomatoes.