Friday, August 31, 2012

Grape Jelly

Christopher & Paige were oh so kind to give us some grapes.  (If I ever see another laundry basket full of grapes it will be too soon!)  So, I made grape jelly.  I have a niece & nephew who have won great ribbons making grape jelly for 4-H so I thought I must have some of the same genetic talent! 

I decided to photograph and blog about the good, the bad and the broken rules...  

Wash grapes and remove them from the clusters.

Ready to cook before juicing.

I boiled them in a little bit of water until the skins broke open.
I then put them in cheese cloth and squeezed out the juice.  I dislike this step as I usually end up burning my hands.  I juiced another day and used a Sauce Master as shown here:   
I did not cook the grapes first with this.  The only trouble I found with this method was that I got pulp.  So I just ran the "juice" from this through the cheesecloth (over a large bowl) to strain out the pulp.  I used a product SURE-JELL Fruit Pectin to gel it up. 

Cook the juice and SURE-JELL Fruit Pectin on the stove top.  Later adding sugar and cooking some more.  I just follow the recipe in the SURE-JELL package.  Then pour the hot liquid into jars and seal with canning lids and rings.

Here is the breaking rules part....  I cheated and just turned the jars upside down.  It is now 12 hours later and they all sealed.  However, USDA states they should have had a boiling water bath as that is a more safe perservation method.

We have sampled some and it is quite tasty.  We will likely share some as Christmas gifts and much of it we will enjoy ourselves!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Yellow wild flowers

One benefit of traveling around for harvest is that I get out on some prairie trails and find new photography subjects.  This week it happens to be flowers.  Our Fotos by Friends group this week is looking for photos with sun or moon light.  I tried to snap a few photos of flowers with the sun shining through them.  I took a few others too as the sun (and the flexibility of my body) don't always cooperate!!

Sunlit Wild Sunflower

Butter-and-eggs  or  Yellow Toadflax

 Prairie Tickseed  or  Stiff Tickseed

Monday, August 20, 2012

Harvest has begun

Harvest has finally begun for us.  Our barley is all in the bin as of today.  It looks like it will be another 5 days or so before anything else is ready to combine.  In the meantime, the guys are still trying to get that straw baled (from my last post!) and cut and bale some CRP for hay.  There are bales to haul home, corrals to repair, and so much more to get done. 

I thought I'd share a few photos from the week's activity.

Combining barley

Combine needed repair so as I helped I had to snap a few pictures! 
This one is my favorite from that little session.

Hubby waiting for the truck to get full.

This could be the next field harvested.  It is Hard Red Spring Wheat, but if the Canola gets ready first that is what we will do.  It is a waiting game and can be difficult to be patient sometimes.
Linked to:  Rural Thursday

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Golden Circles

Christopher & Brett have been busy taking turns in the tractor baling straw.  I don't know if they will ever finish!  Our neighbor offered us the opportunity to bale some of his Winter Wheat straw.  We knew it looked like there would be a lot of straw there, but never would have guessed this much!!  It seems like the "boys" need to stop about every 150 feet to tie another bale.  I think they might be wishing they would not have taken quite so many acres of straw!  Oh well, we will have plenty of bedding for the cattle this winter.

Some more of the Golden Circles (straw bales):