SO EASY AND SO FUN – BREAD IN A JAR!

We subscribe to Countryside Magazine. It is one of the few we actually enjoy and use!  It has everything for small farming, hobby or backyard garden/farming, recipes tried-and-true methods; you name it, they have it (have had it or will have it).  Perfect for anyone wanting to grow their own food.

A few years back they ran a series on “oven canning” which included several recipes for Bread-in-a-jar.  My sister and I were intrigued, so we gave it a shot.  Besides being fun to make, they were the perfect sizes to eat.  They made a fantastic gift for just about any occasion.  We did banana, blueberry, chocolate chip, spice, pumpkin and plain sweet bread.  Then, because we are so crafty, we added a sticky label with ingredients (for allergies), then decorated with bows, ribbons, and a tag.  We received so many compliments on it that we were amazed!

Well, with the house fire all of our saved and categorized Countryside issues were lost.  Along with those the bread-in-a-jar and oven canning secrets – UNTIL NOW!

I subscribe online to thewhoot.com.au it is out of Australia, but a lot of what I get from them can be done anywhere in the world (mainly recipes and crafts).  The latest wonder that they delivered to my email inbox was about Banana Bread-in-a-jar!  WOOO HOOO – oh excited me!!

This is what the completed plan looks like:

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I was so happy to find it I just had to write this up and share it! Hope you all give it a shot. The bread’s we made up (about 30 jars) sat on our pantry shelf for at least a year (maybe a couple of months more) and were still just as fresh and yummy as day one!

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THE CORN ROAST or HOW TO THROW A PARTY.

A kids’ life on a farm can be amazing!  We were lucky that we had such a fantastic family with such great family and friends.  When it came time to bale hay (yep all small bales only back then), plant crops, pick rock, fix fence – whatever – a load of people would show up to help.  In turn, we would help them with their tasks (chicken butchering was more fun that rabbits – but that is another story).  The amazing part was a large number of people that would show up to help.  

My father was a cook-a-holic.  He loved being in the kitchen, at a grill, where ever as long as he was the cook.  The highlight of every year was our annual fall corn roast.  It started out simple enough, a small thank-you-type afternoon with family to show our appreciation for everyone’s help.  Soon, family extended to friends, then extended to friends of a friend.  The roast went from a small charcoal cooker, closest family (Aunts uncles, cousins, etc.), drinks and a quiet evening; into a full blown whole day event!

 It starts at the crack of dawn.  My sisters and I get dragged out of bed just as the sun is trying to rise.  We get thrown onto the back of the flat-bed wagon, which is still damp from the morning dew, and hauled out to the corn field. Thank goodness we never put away our winter mittens!

The machine corn pickers have already been through the fields.  They pick up most of it, but not all, for the canning company (hee hee – I know where your canned corn comes from!).  They flatten everything as they go.  Now it’s our turn.

corn-picker

Dad drives the tractor this time (we all know now that baby sister CAN NOT drive a straight line – or is that would not?), and all of we girls jump off and start picking up the leftover cobs and throwing them onto the wagon.  This goes on for about an hour or so; then it’s time to head back up to the house.

Dad pulls the tractor up next to a shiny horse tank.  We help him to unload a portion of the corn.  Dad has the garden hose running in the tank at the same time, then tops it all off with a ton of ice cubes (I have no clue where they all came from because our freezers could never hold that much – the mysterious Ice Fairy?).

Dad and a couple of my Uncles took an old metal drum, cut it in half (length-wise – I know you have seen these because they are on almost every farm now), and turned it into one huge grill.  The coals get to the right temp and the corn, husks and all, goes on.

outdoor-cooker

(This is sort of what it looked like, but no wheels or wagon.  It had welded legs on the bottom to stand on)

People start to swarm in.  Some have brought their own food to cook or share – several salads, hamburgers, hotdogs for the kids, sodas, beer, chips, you name it, it all starts pouring in.  By now it is only about 10 a.m.

The day finally starts to kick into full gear. 

·         The grill is in high heat and cooking away.

·         The ladies (moms mostly) are running stuff back and forth from the house to the grill.

·         The kids are running amok everywhere.

·         Our main job for part of the day was giving the no-horse kids rides.  This was done by plopping them up in the saddle, then leading the horse around (boring, but our job – plus the kids LOVED it!!)

·         The volleyball net goes up; the lawn chairs come out, and all the games begin.

Everyone eats and people are scattered everywhere.  It is mostly a lawn type of activity (at least that’s where all the kids get to sit, our choice.) after all.  Once Dad is sure most everyone had been fed, he checks the wagon.  The last of the corn is off the wagon and in the ice tank, so it’s time to move the wagon.  Now was a great time for young and old alike.  Everyone piles onto the wagon in groups (can’t hold more than about 20-25, and there are over 100 bodies here now).  It’s hay/wagon ride time.  Dad’s favorite part!

Everyone on the wagon is having a ball, but I loved to watch dad.  His face would light up when he would pop the clutch to make the wagon jump.  Everybody would fall back and bust out laughing – especially dad.  Our farm was very hilly.  He would drive up and down the hills on purpose just to watch the riders flopping all over laughing.  Then it was back up to the yard to get another group and repeat.

  wagon-ride

(We looked very much like this except for one HUGE difference – DAD ALWAYS WORE A BLACK FELT COWBOY HAT – no lame weed woven thing for him! LMAO)

(To Be Continued Next Wednesday 10-12-16.)

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DO YOU EVER GET CARRIED AWAY IN THE MOMENT?

Happens to me every fall.  I just can’t help myself.  I have tried. I keep myself busy with harvesting and crafting and food processing – but it just can’t stop it.  Those pesky childhood memories come flooding back every fall.

There is so much work that has to be done right now.

  • Canning, cooking, freezing, dehydrating.
  • Digging up old and prepping for new in the spring.
  • Start or end projects for the holidays
  • Then there are all the decorations – dig it out, put it up, take it down, pack it away.
  • Clean up/out the house for winter ready (basically the same as spring cleaning, but now is more to get the dust out and keep the bugs out.).
  • Pack away the spring/summer clothes and get out the fall winter clothes – and don’t forget the boots!
  • Finish any critter roofs that need to be tacked down and/or sealed.
  • Shear up any walls that got knocked around by winds.
  • Mow everything one last time (that takes two days in itself).
  • Get the tank water heaters out and make sure they are working (for critters and the fish pond in the front yard.).
  • Fix any doors, windows and shutters on all buildings.
  • Re-insulate, caulk, or trim any place that may have lost it over the summer.

This is just part of my to-do-list before the first frost hits.  One weather forecast said colder than normal; the other said warmer than normal, pretty sure I do not even know what NORMAL is anymore?!

I started to water what is left of the gardens, and heard some kids (very young) laughing as a truck drove by; and that was all it took!  I had to come in and write up my last blog (cool dad #2) while it was fresh in my mind.  (OH, for those wondering – the memory is great – only lasts about 5 minutes, but it is great! Lol)

Then I realized I left the water running in the strawberry plot – oops!  Oh well, been meaning to do that anyway.  The temps are still in the mid 80’s here during the day, and only dropping to around 40 at night (actually just before dawn), so they are safe with the flooding.

This weekend is supposed to be a bit cooler.  We have “volunteer” trees that have to come down, and some nasty rats that need some bubble gum!  I just hope my mind can stick to the task at hand?  Fall and Winter are my most favorite seasons simply because of all the delightful memories!  How about you?  Do you get carried away in the moment too?

dsc_0003  (Too many volunteers right on the fence line – both sides!)

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(You may not be able to tell from these pics, but each hill from the rats is about a foot tall!  They have even invaded our corn patch – jerks!)