Striving for Victory – Be Prepared!

via Striving for Victory – Be Prepared!

Loved this post from Hip roof Barn, I totally understand her talking about the different things the weather and the such threw at our farms this year.

I am looking forward to her posts on what they are planning to do in regards to getting more prepared.

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Zucchini Relish Recipe

While you can finely chop everything, if you have a food blender or a chop it or if you are really old school use the large setting on your grater.

This is one of those older two step-two day recipes, written in the red book as coming from Mrs Benson. I am not sure who is was, most likely someone from church or perhaps the women’s farmers group.  I am not even sure when this recipe first came about as its been copied from book to book 🙂

  • 12 cups of grated Zucchini (if you are using small, can use the whole thing, if bigger, clean out the guts of it, leave the skin on.)
  • 4 cups of grated white onion
  • 2 cups of grated peppers (you choice on color but red will make it the prettiest)
  • 1 small piece of grated horseradish (approx. 2 tbsp.)

Make this and put in a glass bowl with 1/4th cup of canning salt, mix in and then cover and let sit overnight, drain the next morning well.

Into your large cooking pot, put the drained mixture about into your pot, add 3 cups of sugar and two cups of regular vinegar, 1 tsp of dried keens mustard powder and 1 tbsp. of freshly grated (if possible) nutmeg if not, use 1 tsp of dried nutmeg.

Bring to a boil and then drop it to a simmer.. it will take about an hour to a hour and half to bring it down to a the thickness of a good relish..

Prepare your 8oz or pint jars for water bath canning, it should make you between 4 or 5 pints of relish. Fill your jars, leaving a half inch head space and process for 15 min in water bath, cool for full 24 hours, wash your jars and into cool dark storage. will last you the full year if you don’t eat it all.

Its good on sandwich’s and excellent with all kinds of meats, also can be used as a salad base.. just mix it with some mayo and into a cabbage salad.. YUM!

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Farmgal’s Loaded Pasta Sauce

I was asked to share my pasta sauce recipes and I make a few so there will be a few posts over the next weeks as I make my regular different batches. This is my loaded Pasta sauce and it DOES require using a Pressure Canner.  I will do a batch that will be water bath canning.

Farmgal’s Loaded Pasta Sauce

However to be fair most of my sauces do require a pressure canner. I have never tried to make this sauce into a recipe but I got asked for it on Twitter 🙂 So I made it like normal and then did my best how to figure it out to create it to be a bit more standard.

Having said that its a bit of a loose-goose recipe, Not the best recipes in a way for someone that is just starting out and it would NOT BE SAFE to be water bath canner.. on the flip side once we move over pressure canning, it does not matter so much that I am going to give general amounts because its still going to taste amazing and be safe.. Win-Win..

You need a very large pot.. this pot holds 12 quarts when full or 24 pints.  The measurements are going to be based on your pot so keep that in mind when you do this one


Start with 3/4 filled pot of raw pasta type tomato’s and start them on a simmer and cook down.. Take out extra tomato juice when you can easily just slip a cup in the side and skim it off.. I take at least half of the fluid out at that point from the tomato..


This will cook down to give you half a full pot of plain tomato and yes, you can skin them but I don’t, we are going to blend it and neither myself or Dear hubby mind the tiny bits of skin in the sauce so go with the way you like it..

Gut out the Zucchini but leave the skin on, I did two huge Zucchini’s (so six to eight normal size, 12 cloves of garlic, 12 med sized onions and 12 large peppers and one cup of dried basil, half a cup of seasoning salt, two rounded Tsp of black pepper, (use one and try it, 2 does give it some zip )

Now for the top half of the pot, we are going to add zucchini, onion, Garlic and Peppers in this case today, red peppers, Basil, seasoning salt, pepper. The above pot is loaded with all the goodness and now it needs to be cooked down.

Cook it down by about a 1/3rd, stirring fairly often at med heat, cook till everything is softened and the color of the sauce will change.

When you have get to this point, take it off the heat for a few minutes.. now you have the choice of moving it over in batches for a blender and take it as smooth as you want. I prefer to use a stick blender. I like to let it sit about 5 min after it comes off the burner and then I take my time..  Be careful! you do not want that boiling hot liquid to come up and hit you anywhere.

At this point, I will bottle it up into pint jars and into the pressure canner for 35 mins for pints and 55 min for quarts per my canning book at ten pounds for my sea level, check your book to see if you need to make adjustments in weight or time for where you live 🙂


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Zucchini Gummy’s Rasberry Flavour

Ok, so I read about this idea a year or two ago on Commonsense Blog and so full credit goes to her for this one 🙂 I have included a link to her detailed and lovely post.

However she used bought fruit juices, I wanted to try it with 0 mile juice, so in this case I did it with raspberry juice. I have frozen all my raspberries this year and so when I thawed out a bag of them, I used the juice to make these Gummies and the fruit in baking. Worked like a trick indeed.

Peel, gut and dice up a large overgrown Zucchini and then cover it with juice and I let it soak overnight in the fridge. Then cook in the juice till clear, which took about 40 min for this batch. You can add a bit of sugar if you want.. I did not.

Its still on the firmer side but it will be softened and cook to the look in the photo above. Strain it out.. save the juice for drinking, its still yummy.. and place the pieces onto drying trays.

Dry them till they are just tacky.. They will be dried with just a touch of tack and when you try them, they will have a gummy like texture. Below.. getting there  but not quite.. keep going 🙂

At the point above , I flipped them, I know you don’t have to.. but I did it anyway.



Now we are talking.. I think this photo will show that the finished ones will have these lovely dark edges, this seems to be the sign that I like that its right there.. dried but still gummy..  Now is when I did use a touch of sugar to keep them all from sticking.

The finished product.. it was fruity, it was gummy, it was gone in a heartbeat.. tried by four folks and all liked it.. no one could tell what it was made of.  Side note.. six cups of raw made me pretty much 2 finished cups worth.

So if you ware looking at a counter full of those big zucchini’s … give this one a try for a nice little treat 🙂

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Grape Juice (Steam Juicer)

Steam juicer Review: I love it! The first time I saw one of these in action was in Holland when I was visiting at a friend’s place. This was not something I grew up with, I was raised straining fruits though linen or cheese cloth or using the old-fashioned cone with the wooden pusher, round and round for pushing out the juice and pulp but leaving behind the skins and seeds.

I started looking for one locally for a few years and finally got one on a 55% off sale on amazon, it’s also available at Lee Valley Tools.. but it never went on sale and its spendy! at 250 approx when full price..  watch amazon around Christmas time and it will be found on sale for a much better price and free shipping.

But don’t just use it for juice, use it to blanch for freezing, the bottom pot is ideal of making jelly and jams in it!

The juice/jelly grapes are ready! Filled to the brim with fresh concord grapes. Its just that simple, clean the grapes so there are no bad ones, no leaves etc. and then put the lid on and let it steam away, soon enough the juice will start coming out of the spout and into your pot or bowl..

If you filled the pot to the correct water level and filled the top to the working top line, you can just let it go.. if you add more fruit as it goes down, then you will need to keep a eye on the water pan and keep it topped up with boiling water from a tea kettle.

You will be very surprised the first time you use this, just how little is left after the steam does its job 🙂 The pureness of the juice is hard to explain but it just takes everything up a level..

Two big covered pots worth of hot grape juice are now cooling for a bit on the deck until its cool enough to go into the fridge to chill down..  It would have been very possible to can the juice right afterwards.  Look at the color.. so pretty!

However I have other plans for the afternoon and I want to chill the juice so that the sediment will settle to the bottom and I will take off the top juice for a batch of grape jelly.

Do you use a steam juicer? I highly recommend getting one when you can find one second hand or on sale to add to your homestead home processing equipment.

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Sept Long Weekend!

Dear Hubby had taken both Friday and Tuesday off so that I could have a mini holiday with a dear friend of mine.  It was busy! but it was so good.. Long drive on my own, long enough to work my way though radio stations 🙂

Friday we took the quads and did a good bush trail, great country and even better mushroom hunting! It was a great time out!

Saturday we took a drive up to the Bancroft area an went rock hounding! I might have gotten a wee bit dirty while working some of those rocks out of the ground 🙂

It was a great afternoon at the site and everyone came home with some nice collectables.

On Sunday and Monday it was more about the water, lake, boats and fishing?

We got out on the lake and explored it from end to end over the time on there..

The time spent on the lake with friends in such amazing weather was so enjoyable.  Even if I had spent the time out there and never caught a single thing, it would have been a grand time indeed….. However…..

The bass were biting 🙂 Fresh fish fry was very yummy.. just deboned and skinned and then egg dipped and into a cracker breading with salt and pepper cooked in a crazy amount of butter 🙂

There were lots of laughs, fresh food from the garden, cooking on the BBQ because it was hot out.. got caught in the rain once while shore fishing.. it was still blue sky and sun shining around us but we got a nice rain.. it was fine to me.. just helped cool me off!

Hope you had a great Sept Long weekend.. and  fall is here.. o my gosh.. fall has arrived.. so much to do! Sometimes we need to remember to stop, take that time to go spend time with those we care about and to do things we love to do!

I do miss my bush time.. I love my farm but there is something about bush that makes my heart sing 🙂 Good thing that I have a forest just down the road from the farm..


Posted in At the kitchen table | 2 Comments

This and That Post

What a productive week.  Its been a steady week since I have been on the blog and there is just no way to split the past week into their own posts and for some reason I have been off my writing and have been reading instead.  The good news is that a lot of things I have been reading have got my thoughts and hands busy with things that I know will find their way to the blog in the future so I have to consider that a very good thing indeed.

Friday we went off the farm for a couple of hours after evening chores to go to a local fair.. it had a few fun redneck games including two that I will share here. Hubby rode the fake bull twice which was great fun.  It was the first time he had ever done this and I have to admit to being surprise that when I said.. o go on.. that he did LOL

Then we went on to the real reason I went, I wanted to check out the ax throwing area, they had brought in a company from the city, I have looked at the company and have often thought that it would be good to get their “teaching” as we have throwing ax’s here on the farm but I knew that they would be using a different type then what we have.

We got there very early and before the crowds and I was able to get a few questions in and some extra info.. without needing to head to the city to do it! perfect! For sure more practice is needed but that is true for most things 🙂

Saturday we worked on the farm. I am so pleased with the amount of yard clean up we have been able to get done. My new front pasture is responding very well to its growing out and extra seeding out. I have hopes for it to be a truly productive pasture for next year. We needed to go dig out some plants, cut down a few others and we will be seeding out some winter wheat by hand broad cast to do some extra spring fill for the first graze.

Sunday we had company on the farm and that pretty much takes the whole day when that happens, we do morning chores early and try to make the house tidy, we do the visit, which including horse back riding (a favorite for those that come) and then we work to get back on par and evening chores. It was a good visit.  We also had more chicks hatch that weekend.

Monday is normally my bake day but it turned into a garden Monday instead and Tuesday ended up being my baking day. Banana Bread was done on the weekend. I got a large amount of older banana’s on the sale rack and froze them so I will most likely be making a loaf a week for a while for Jason’s work breakfast and lunches

Our Dessert or stop for a bite to eat was a big old pan of a nice white cake with our home-grown mid-summer raspberry’s with a brown sugar baked in topping. I used the berries frozen to keep them from bleeding too much and I made the cake in a very large pan so it’s not very high at all but turned out just right 🙂

I had made a half-white/half-whole wheat bread last week and I was just not feeling it this week, so I made a batch of Cinnamon Raison Bread. I had to laugh, I have been using up the last of a yeast jar and its been working but not great.. which meant I was using a touch more yeast to get my lift. I opened a new jar for this batch and WOW.. I didn’t realize just how much rise I was going to get LOL

It turned out very nicely indeed but was a good reminder of the difference in how the bread goes between using sour dough, using older yeast and using fresh yeast.  Sometimes we just get used to using what we have and forget that a small change can have a huge difference in the results.

So lets talk about weather for a bit.. we had a high heat wave hit us again this week.. it was hot on the weekend but come Monday it really came on, Monday to Weds it was in low 30’s c but with humidex kicked in and it was 41 to 43c and it was that bad air like soup stuff.. that is when I get up early and work in the “cool” of the morning and hide in the afternoon.  We have new curtains in the kitchen and the foyer now that blocks heat and UV, I open them early in the day for the plants in the kitchen and close them up mid morning and they stay that way till the sun goes down.  Without my big tree’s the deck wood now gets so hot in the afternoon sun that you can not stand on it.. its to hot for my feet.

Weds however the radio sent off an alarm for tornado warning.. ok then. We did NOT get the notice on our phone, not that I am surprised by this to be honest, I have never gotten one yet.. So we headed out to the yard and did a fast round the farm just in case.  Then we watched the storm on in.

It was a good one and we both had to admit that it was a relief that the big old tree’s were down as we did not need to worry about them coming down.  We got a short hard storm, we got 1 and half inches of rain in 20 minutes, we got high winds and we got some really good cracks of lightning and thunder over top us but it would appear that the worst went past us, there was recorded 120 km hour wind or wind gusts at the local town, it took of bolted down decks to give you an idea.  There was a confirmed twister that took out two barns and there is reports of two more but it came down to an area that didn’t do damage to anything other than farmers fields.

I could tell you that I have a short video for you but nope.. because when it really started to get bad, we went to the basement for cover. I was really proud of how cool my farm hounds were but wee paris was not happy about it. Anyway it was here and it was gone.. Truly remarkably small amount of damage here on the farm.

While it might seem like a strange thing to say, it was good to see a couple of our systems being put to the challenge. Rain collection worked well and we put up just under 700 gallons.

Just as important to me was watching the water movement in our new yard and I can see where I need to put a dry creek for free flow, I was able to also track my drainage rate in the area that I want to put the rain garden system.

After the storm we did a big bean picking and today I am canning beans up along with regular house hold chores and farm work.  I am hoping to go mushroom hunting and fishing this weekend. I truly need some bush, River or lake time.. and ideally some riding time 🙂


Hope you have a great long weekend!

PS, I almost forgot.. That was something else that has been keeping me busy.. Paris went to the vet last Thursday so a week ago and she had her teeth cleaned and seven of her teeth needed to be pulled out..


Poor wee moppet.. This photo was taken just after she got out of the vets, she was still pretty druggy at the time. The vet gave me a week of antibodics for her and pain meds for five days and she has recovered so well. She looks great, her mouth is healing well and she is eating so much better 🙂  I am so pleased with how well she is doing and I know that this will improve her overall health for years to come.

Posted in Life moves on daily | 6 Comments

Corn Cob Syrup

I enjoy making Corn Cob Syrup to can up for future use over the year.. this is a homemade version of the store version of Corn Syrup to a point. There is a slightly different flavour to it but its quite close and can be used in baking or as a pancake type syrup. Sorry that I will not be able to give you a detailed recipe..

Its flexable in amounts.. but I will be able to tell you how to do each part and what to do with the information once you know how much corn liquid you have and once you start making the syrup 🙂

After you take off the corn (cut it off) to use for canning or other fresh uses, take your raw cleaned cobs and put them in a big pot and cover them well with water, bring to a boil and then drop it down to a simmer for a hour or an hour and half.

Take the cobs out (they can still be composted or used for pig fodder), strain the liquid though a cheese cloth or linen cloth to get the bits out. Measure the amount of liquid you have.  If you have ten cups of corn liquid, you will need a min of 5 cups of sugar or up to 10 cups of sugar. Its your choice.. both are safe  Some folks like it to be half and some like it to be 1 to 1

Put your liquid and sugar into a large flat bottomed steel pot if possible, stir with a wooden spoon ideally and bring it to a boil.. Boil it till reduced by 40 to 50 percent for a thicker syrup..  If you want a white style syrup, use only white sugar. If you want it more a golden corn syrup.. use half white and half brown sugar.

Do regular plate tests to see how thick it will set up.. Chill four or five small plates in the fridge and dribble a small amount of the syrup on the plate and check it by pushing though the syrup to see what its like once cooled.  If you are only making a small amount, it can be cooled and stored in the fridge (if you plan on storing it in the fridge, make a more fluid syrup so it will pour better for you). Otherwise, you can follow standard water bath process and put it into either 8oz or pint jars and water bath for ten min.  Will easily hold for a full year in cool storage.

This one was made with only white sugar. Do consider making Corn Cob Syrup the next time you have corn cobs looking for a job after they have made you creamed corn fresh this summer 🙂


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Mock Apple Crisp Aka Zapple Crisp

Topping.. this is as simple as it gets. You can double this recipe for a large pan, as you can see in the photo I made it in a smaller 8 by 8.

1 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of room temp butter
1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp of salt

Mix together with pastry cutter or washed clean hands, its mixed together perfect when you can give the crumb a gentle squeeze and it will hold its shape but when touched gently break apart. Mound slightly higher in the middle of the pan then the edges.


  • 6 cups of prepared Zucchini
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp of flour
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp of ground ginger
  • a good pinch of salt (if you want)

Place the filling in your pan, cover with your topping and bake approx. 40 to 45 min at 350  please check the middle with a folk to make sure that the Zapples are cooked though, if needed do another 5 min.  Can be served hot with a bit of ice cream or served Cold as is or with a dollop of whipped cream.

Take a large overgrown zucchini  (but still green, no yellow on it yet) Peel it and take out the pith an seeds from the middle. Slice it into lines that have a curve to it and then slice that line into thinner slices that will look like the above. Do not cut them to thick or they can have trouble cooking all the way though. You want them just a touch thinner then you would for cooking apples as they will a touch firmer then a apple even when baked.




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What a find!

Last week my girlfriend said to me.. Got a hour? Lets head to church Basement (one of our local second hand shops) she was on the hunt for some working pants and a few other things on her list.

To be honest, I was not on the hunt for anything but I had my change purse and gave myself a limit of 5 dollars max and went with a smile on my face. Girlfriend time is important, that drive to town and back is when many fun, silly and or important things can get talked about.

I walked into the kitchen section (it’s own little narrow room, think a galley, shelves on both sides and at the end, with just enough room for two people across and to tell the truth, its one of my favorite places in the store but I am at that point of.. if I add it in, I need to remove something at the same time, unless its something on my wish list.

I spotted it on the floor, it had been pushed under the bottom shelf and was next to the wicker baskets. I blinked and picked it up and read the top and then flipped it over to read the bottom and into my arms it went.  LOL

As I set it down at the till I held my breath because I was not sure it would be under my five dollar self-given limit and I was trying hard to figure out what my limit would be if I need to raise it. I was pretty sure I had a good idea of what it was worth new (which is why I don’t own one, because  a new one is out my price range when I can use my cast iron that I already own 🙂

I tried to keep a smile on my face, when she said.. no tag on this one and I said nope.. I knew this because I had looked for one as well.. She said two dollars and I tried not to let to much of my “WHOOOOTTTT!” come out. Instead I said Thank you so much, you have made my day. I am really looking forward to using it.. and that it had been clearly well loved in its life..

The large version of a Romertoff Clay cooker! I am looking forward to learning how to use this pot for bread making, for cooking the tougher cuts of meat.

So any readers on the blog have one of these? Got any helpful hints? What is your favorite way to use it? How did you get yours?

Or on the flip side.. what is your best find in the past few weeks at the local garage sale or second hand shop or farm sale?

Posted in Bread | 13 Comments