Cargill Family Day

For those of you who don’t know, John works for Cargill. It is a corn processing plant that makes corn syrup, corn starch, corn anything really. It’s pretty much one of the biggest food industry giants in the world. Yup. I know. Kinda….ironic? that we seek to live a lifestyle that is additive/preservative free, grown from the land, straight from the farm, etc etc etc. And yet that lifestyle that we strive to live is actually funded by a company that makes bazillions of dollars in making processed, fake, highly sugared foods. Hmmm…..
*gotta get food on the table somehow*
Any hoot-a-majooty. Every couple of years, this Cargill plant opens the doors to the employee families. They offer tours, prizes, meals, free PPE (personal protective equipment)  ;-), etc to all the employee families. This is a pretty big deal because the plant is closed to ALL non employees. ALL. They are very very very strict about security. On Saturday they held a family day. So we packed up the kids and headed to CarGAIL(as Yvette would say). I must say it was rather fun and very nice to see where John works and what he does. They had a lot for the kids. There was a corn pool with prizes the kids had to climb in and dig out. They gave childsized PPE to every kid (hardhat, work gloves, glasses, and ear plugs). And we got to jump on a tour bus and drive around the plant, see some of the work areas, and walk around a little bit. It really was great. The kids had so much fun. And I think it was really great for John too.

*Wyatt was the cutest thing out there…okay, maybe not the cutest (I’m kinda partial to 30something men in hardhats, utility glasses, and black tshirts….but that’s just me). Wyatt got into it. He wore it all and checked out everything John pointed at and made comments accordingly. It was really really funny.

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Over Abundance

I absolutely love this time of year! Love Love Love. And I can hardly express the satisfaction in “harvesting” especially with such amazing fruits. We’ve been so blessed with such an abundance of everything. There is definitely much more than what we need.

*pumpkins (if you want a pumpkin just stop by and take your pick). I’m hoping to try my hand a canning some of it. We’ll see how that turns out.

*tomatoes…I get about 2 baskets full every couple days. And it doesn’t seem to be letting up quite yet. I must say, the soil here is like the Fertile Crecent of the midwest. AWESOME!

*wood. Though we do have propane heating, last year we decided to try to go 100% wood using our woodstove with the livingroom. I am happy to say last year was a success. It did get a bit chilly upstairs, but everyone has warm footy jammies and down comforters to sleep with, so it wasn’t too bad. This year we are more prepared with firewood aplenty. The neighboring farmer decided to plow down a whole tree barrier that separated 2 of his fields. He was going to burn everything but thought to offer it to us first. Needless to say we…or should I say John and my brother have their work cut out for them for quite some time. This should last us a while.

We haven’t even begun to dig up our potatoes. We planted an insane amount of potatoes. So if anyone needs spuds….come on over!!!!….they a huge, yummy, and there is a whole TON to share.

Oh Happy September to everyone!!!….my favorite season of all!

Homemade Yumminess

‘Tis the season!!! As I’m taking inventory of canning supplies in preparation for some huge mass canning days coming up, I realized how short on jelly we were. And then I noted how many empty jelly jars we had. AND THEN, I went freezer diving to see if I find some buried fruit that needed to be jellied. I found blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries. Plus, in the cupboard I found 4 jars of grapejuice my mom canned last year. I then dug around to find some fruit pectin, canning lids, and LOTS of sugar. Needless to say, we have been replenishing our jelly stash.

*the juice I found.

*I got 2 batches out of the 4 pint jars. Not bad!
note: I know it is kinda a canning faux pas, but I reused some lids I had. In theory they should still be fine, but my mom always told me to use new lids. I thought I’d try to reuese them (*just once*) cuz I’m cheap like that. 😉

*after 2 batches of grape jelly I was hooked. I then moved on to the blackberries. One batch yielded about 4 pints. Not as much as I’d hoped but I can’t complain.

I am finding that canning/preserving is rather addicting. I actually dread it every year because it IS a lot of work and it seems never-ending, but once I get going on it and see all the fruits of our labors, it is hard to stop until there just isn’t anything left to can. For those fellow canners out there, you know what I am talking about. There is something intensely satisfying in seeing a pantry chucked full of homemade yumminess. Homemade yumminess that isn’t riddled with high fructose corn syrup, msg, preservatives, and God knows what else. Homemade yumminess that comes straight from the backyard garden. Homemade yumminess that I don’t have to go out and buy for a very long long time…..hopefully it will all last until this time next year (though we usually do run out by June).

Well, HAPPY CANNING to all my fellow canners out there. You are in good company! And for all of you who are on the fence as to whether or not to try it, ….. go for it! It is so worth it.