Inside: Sunflower fields forever, curry pickles kick off the canning season, and my new favorite thing.
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Sunflower Fields Forever
For the past several weeks, whenever I walked out my front door, I’ve been treated to a yellow horizon to the west. It’s a shock to the eyes, but in a good, surreal kind of way, particularly when the sky is that typical azure color. I find the sight to be cheery, uplifting, these bright beauties nodding their heads to the sun.
Heading up to the farm to take care of the chickens this afternoon, I noticed the yellow starting to fade. Many of the plants have come to their zenith, and now their energy goes into making seeds. Certainly not the vibrant show, but an important part of the process. Seed time and harvest. Sometimes life situations mirror that. What begins as grand and lovely becomes worn after a while. Yet if we could just remember how close we are to harvest time, we might have the strength to keep going.
I think I have found my second favorite type of field–sunflowers!
Curry Pickles Kick off the Canning Season
If you’re like me, this time of year you’re finding creative places to put cucumbers until you can find creative uses for them. I’ve got a
few good recipes in my repertoire–and added a new one this year–for fresh use and making pickles. Pickles for giving gifts, pickles for home use. We eat a lot of ’em. While I’ve experimented in the past, last year I decided to just make what we like the most. Our two favorites are Sweet Garlic Dills and Curry Pickles–both of which come from this canning book I absolutely love, love, love called The Complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard. The authors understand the way some of us can–little by little as time permits. Already I have made three batches and am aiming to do some dills, provided I can find dill seed. Hubs checked the high-end grocery store next to his work, and he said they didn’t even have a place for dill seed in the spice display. Not a lot of canning going on in the ‘burbs, I guess. Hopefully I can find some dill in my small town grocery stores when I go Monday–that is if the other canners haven’t nabbed it before me.
My New Favorite Thing
As a joint Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gift, my daughter Emily got us an electric 2-quart ice cream maker–the kind with the bowl you put in the freezer ahead of time. (No more ice, rock salt, or cranking. Yay!) This summer we’ve given it quite a test run. So far we’ve made vanilla, three kinds of chocolate, strawberry, blueberry and strawberry, coffee, lemon curd, butter pecan, and pistachio. Which seems like a lot, as I see it written out in front of me. I should explain that we’ve shaved off some of the calories by using a stevia and erythritol blend to replace the sugar and also a vanilla low carb milk we get from Kroger’s to go with the heavy cream. We also portion control to around a one-cup serving. Okay, it works for us.
Next stop: fresh peach ice cream. Provided I can find some good peaches tomorrow.
What’s happening in your neck of the woods? Tell us about it in the comments.
Related posts: Cornfields, Stump Garden, and Other News Fresh From the Farm
Stay tuned for DIY Summer Project Month coming in August!