Happy Saturday everyone. I never thought it would get here!

This week has been insanely crazy. It started with a trip to buy canners, and jars, and salt and all that other good stuff to start preserving our harvest.  Next came harvesting again. This time we got 2 1/2 bushels of beans, 2 bushels of corn, half a bushel of mixed peppers, more cucumbers, zucchini and summer squash than we can count, a half  bushel of West Virginia 63 tomatoes, and hand full of onions.

While I was down in the pepper patch picking peppers (say that 5 times fast), I overheard a conversation that went something like this:

Scott: “Here Joe, you need to try these.” as he hands him half a dozen of Lulu’s finest eggs.

Joe: “Man, are you sure you can eat these.”

Scott: “Yeah man, nothing better than fresh brown eggs.”

Joe: “”Are you sure?”

Scott: “yes, people eat them everyday, where do you think eggs come from?”

Joe: without missing a beat, “Goodson’s…” (local grocery store)

After he said that I busted out laughing and about went face first into the pepper patch. When Scott asked him where he thought Goodson’s got eggs from, he said he didn’t know, and was really shocked when Scott told him from farmers.  I could sort of understand if it was a child that was involved in this conversation, but it was a grown man around our age, which is somewhere between silly and senile. The concern for our educational systems grows everyday.

After that brief comic interlude, I went in to start making some bread and butter pickles. So far I have canned 14 and a half pints. The following day we picked more cucumbers and I will be making more, it seems that for every cucumber we pick 5 more grow in their place, which is a great thing.

The next day, I decided it would be a good idea to pickle some peppers. according to the kitchen scale it was just under 7 pounds. We are not sure what all of them were because the plants weren’t market when they were given to us. I know there were some cayenne, some habanero, some wax, and some banana peppers. There were also some we couldn’t identify. There seemed to be a few hybrid ones as well, we had a 7 inch long habanero that resembled a dark green banana pepper.  Instead of separating them, I decided to mix them all together and see what happened. Well, we got 10 pints out of them, and have no idea whether they are mild, hot, or face melting lava rings. I do know that a few times my eyes watered and my throat felt seared. I did not taste test. I sent a jar home with one of the work group volunteers that was here this week. He is supposed to let us know how they turned out. Pray that he is able to contact us!

I have started on canning the beans, and have so far got 7 quarts. I forgot how long it takes to do those things. I will keep at it until they are done.

Our neighbor called us over to his house the other day and handed us a bag of beans he picked from his garden. He told us they were rattlesnake beans. I never heard of them before, so I looked them up on the internet. Apparently they are heirloom beans that are a cross between pinto and green beans and can be eaten like green beans or dried and cooked like pintos. We are going to be saving some of those and grow them ourselves.

I got a call from the National Foundation to End Senior Hunger a couple weeks ago. They wanted to partner with us on a healthy cooking course for grandparents raising grandchildren which is very prevalent in McDowell County. I agreed to partner with them and they were working on a grant to make it happen. Well, they call me this week with a completely different idea. They want to have summer camps for kids that are completely nutrition related. They want to include gardening, including preparing the spot to preserving the food they grow. They want to teach them how to cook and make healthy meals, and at the end of camp they would prepare a meal for their family and give them demonstrations on what they learned.  I’m very excited about that project.

A lady from the WVU extension office is wanting to do free nutritional cooking classes at the center. During our conversation, she said she would help me find a canning instructor through the extension to come in and teach our participants. I know how to can, but I want to make sure they are getting all the information they need for safe, healthy food.

Oh yeah, we got two more free chickens yesterday, they are young yet, but soon we will have more eggs.

It’s been a full week, and we had a blast. Now I’m going fishin!

Happy Growing Y’all