i've been so busy worrying and whining about not having enough tomatoes to can, especially for stewed, to last us through this winter, that hundreds and millions of tomatoes have managed to sneak up on me! the tomatoes that we bought at the produce auction last week were ready to can today, and so were some more of our tomatoes.
but first, before getting to them, we went to pick beans. a friend from church knew a friend who had way too much fun planting beans with his new bean planter last spring. as a result, he now has far too many beans, and is giving them to whoever wants to come pick. what a blessing! so i woke D and N up early, and we went to pick yellow beans with Lorraine. we picked about 3 bushels worth, and were done by 9:30.
we started right on snapping beans when we got home, and with the 4 of us working, it didn't take too long. we got 29 freezer bags full, with 5+ cups in each. what a tremendous blessing that some one that we don't even know shared his bountiful beans with us! i am so thankful for God's provision for my family.
then after lunch, and after the girls were down for their nap, we started on the tomatoes again. we all helped- washing tomatoes and jars, picking the tomatoes from our garden, sorting the ones ready to do today, blanching, skinning, adding salt and vinegar to the jars, preparing lids and bands, filling jars with tomatoes and then boiling water, wiping tops and screwing on lids and bands, feeding scraps to the chickens.... all that work, and we have 101 quarts of stewed tomatoes! i still have about 3 canner loads to process in the hot water bath, but hopefully i won't be up too late tonight!
so i guess it's fair to say- we're ready! i think i will be able to use the rest of my Roma tomatoes from our garden for salsa. and then after the killing frost we will make Green tomato relish. (i know, it sounds kind of gross, but trust me- the kids love it on their hot dogs. and we even add it to our macaroni salad. yum!)
and on a totally unrelated note: in case you were wondering- chickens can not be herded like sheep. how do i know this? i tried that very thing today, and it did not work! the chicken tractor needed to be moved today, and He Who Works At Lowe's All Day And Was Not Around To Help Herd Chickens told us to let out all the white meat birds, move the chicken tractor to the garden, and then shoo the chickens back in. HA! even with the 3 boys and i chasing chickens like, well, chickens with our heads cut off, and A opening the little door for us, it took almost half an hour to catch them all again. just a little lesson for future reference!
but all is well again on our little homestead, and we'll eat very well this winter. at least, as long as the menu calls for beans, tomatoes and chicken!