Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Canning Part II....back to Clarkston

So I've been feeling so domestic lately and when I was up visiting Greg & Leigh there was an announcement in their ward that they were going to be canning green beans together the next weekend. Well Leigh asked if I'd be interested in coming back and doing that with her, and since I was having such a fun time up there I was glad to. I drove up Friday evening, through the beastly Davis County commute, and got there in time for some chat and dinner. We should have been of to bed bright and early since the bean picking was beginning at 7 AM but we were stupid and stayed up far too late. I at least made it up at 7:00, got dressed, but when Leigh chose to sleep in...well I jumped back in bed. (Ok in her defense her alarm didn't go off :-) ) We made it over to the farm at around 9:00 and luckily for us it was quite a chilly morning, I say this because I've never seen so many beans in my life! We picked only about a 10 foot span and had about 5 gallons. Then we headed back to the canning station. I felt like I'd stepped back in time about 100 + years and that I should be wearing my bonnet. It was just so picturesque and everyone was just pitching in and doing the work all together. Here we were set up next to this little creek, under the trees with some propane stoves going just canning away. While we were busy snapping beans and getting them ready the farms owner started boiling up corn she'd just picked and someone else had made chicken salad we put on homemade rolls, and of course there was homemade currant jelly with homemade bread and even homemade juice! It was all so communal, and dare I say....just what I pictured it must have been like with the early saints. It was kind of strange to us cynical modern city folk, but at the same time so peaceful and we had a great time. Here are just some of the pictures we took. (I'm sure that the good ole country folk thought we were nuts taking all our pictures but what can I say....we're geeks!)

And here is our finished product, 36 pints of beans.

It is such a beautiful area, and it's just so nice to get away from the craziness of life. I may soon be a convert to country life ;)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Greg & Leigh

Greg and Leigh recently bought their first home. Now that she has finished up her master's program up at Utah State and is working for the school district up there and Greg is getting ready to start the nursing program at Utah State they decided to buy a home in Clarkston, UT. Last weekend Mom and John & I went up to visit. The house is a darling Victorian style built in 1910, but all redone by the previous owners. It also was on a lot that is 1.25 acres and has a garden, orchard, and tons of flowers. I'm so excited for them, although a bit jealous because its totally my style of house too :) It was my first trip to Cache County and I admit I loved it. It was so quiet, and very pretty with the farm land all around framed by the mountains ringing the valley. Clarkston is just a teeny blink of an eye type of town (only about 500 people) but of course being Utah there are two wards. Crazy! Here are just a few pictures of the place...

One of the things we did while we were up there was head up to Idaho to find the graves of my Great Great Grandpa & Grandma. My mother originally thought they were buried in the Preston cemetery so we went there first. After much wandering, and many many mosquito bites later, she remembered that they had actually lived in Franklin, ID. I did have a bit of luck in Preston though because there was an owl living in the graveyard (to bad it wasn't night for the truly creepy cemetery experience right down to a hooting owl). I was glad that at the last minute I'd thrown my super telephoto lens in the bag as he was high up in this tree:

Eventually we lucked out at the Franklin Cemetery because they had a directory of the graves and we quickly were able to find who we were looking for. Looking at the pictures I realized that my great great grandmother's name has been wrong all this time in my ancestor file so now I was able to correct it from Janet to Jenett :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

The World of Canning

So I decided to enter the world of canning, well I've been meaning to for years now but I just have never gotten around to it. My Grandma has a pickle recipe that I just love, as do many of us in the family, and I've always wanted to give it a try. Well this year I finally remembered in time to pick up the ingredients. After a week of trying to track down pickling cucumbers and fresh dill I was ready to give it a whirl. The first step involved setting the cucumbers to soak in a nasty salt water solution that left crusty salt wherever it happened to slosh out of the container.

Then came the fun of loading up the jars. My mom gave me the bright idea of running the jars through the dishwasher first. Not only does it sterilize but by leaving them in there until I needed them it kept them hot.

After wedging as many cucumbers into a jar that I could, and pouring in the stinky brine (that was also full of salt that crusted all over my counter tops) it was time to do the "canning". It did lead to a very humid smelly atmosphere in my house but I think that it worked.

All of my jars sealed, and with just a few minor mishaps such as running out of vinegar and fresh dill weed on the last 5 or so jars (improvising hopefully worked) or pouring boiling water down my leg when I removed the lid to the caner on the last load, I now have 20 quarts of beautiful pickles. The only downside......I don't know how they taste for at least another 6 months :(
Even though it was a lot of work I have to say it was more fun than I expected. The whole process took about 24 hours from the beginning of the soak till the last wipe of the counter top but I actually enjoyed it. Maybe I'll have to try something else soon...