Sunday, June 28, 2009

Farmers Market

We had another record-breaking day at FM!! Not only did we bring in the most money, but it was also the hottest day that we've ever been out there. (Some records are not fun to break!) Travis & Elizabeth came out to help set up and get me through the opening rush, but then they took off for home. It was just too hot to have Sweet Baby Girl out there any longer. I didn't have a chance to take a picture or even look around much when FM opened, but Travis said that there were few people at other vendors and our table had a line of people waiting! Wow, I couldn't believe it!

As much as I like our garden and going to Market (yes, I really do like it, I just don't like having to get up so early!), FM will end the season on July 11 and I'm ready for it! Market will take Saturday, July 4th off, so next week I'll only go on Thursday. Then the last week, I will go on Tuesday and Saturday as I normally do. I'm looking forward to spending the evenings at my own house and out of the heat! We might keep a few things up for a little longer past FM closing, but the majority will come out.

I hope you all have a good week!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Elizabeth Update

Elizabeth is growing and changing so fast! She took her first steps on June 14th. She's not walking around by herself, yet, but she will walk a few steps back and forth between two people.

She also has a little horse that hooks up to the TV and plays a few songs. I regularly find that she's gotten on the horse by herself and is playing music, bouncing up and down. I couldn't believe my eyes the first time I saw that she had gotten on and could get off by herself! What a big girl!

Elizabeth does like to walk behind her little push toy. Watch out, here I come!!

Silly girl likes to kick her feet through the bars on her crib. She fell asleep like this the other night and I had to pull her back in!

Elizabeth is also about to cut another top tooth! I'm surprised at how fast they're coming in now, when it seemed like such a lull between the first four and the fifth.

I think something has blown into the area...pollen or something, because Elizabeth and I are both feeling a little puny. Runny nose for her and major congestion for me, but no fevers, thank goodness! Hopefully, we'll be back in the black soon!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Czech Heritage Society

Also while Elizabeth was away was the 25th Anniversary supper for the Czech Heritage Society of which we are members.

My MIL was asked to do decorations and recruited me to help with them. Since it was the Silver Anniversary, we decided to go with silver, red, and white as our colors.

We made two different centerpieces. One single pearlized white candle hot glued to the bottom of a cylinder vase with silver netting swirled around the bottom, sitting on a white embroidered napkin.

And three white votive candles with ivy accents, also sitting on an embroidered white napkin. All along the center of the tables as a "runner" were Hershey Kisses. It all turned out very nicely and we received many positive comments about the decorations.

Members were also asked to bring a raffle item, if they wished. Of course, I had to put a plug in for FM and Sara's Garden!

You can bet that if the garden is still looking good in July that some of you will be able to bid on a similar item in the silent auction at our next reunion!

Pickling Cucumbers

Wednesday of last week, my Mom met Elizabeth & me in Schulenberg for lunch and then she took Elizabeth to spend a few extra days with her and my Dad before Travis & I went up there Saturday for Father's Day. We crammed so much stuff into those couple of free days! Travis even took Friday off so we could work on painting the bedrooms!

Wednesday afternoon, I put up a few more pints of peach jelly. Thursday morning, I started pickling cucumbers.

Getting them washed up.

Packing them into jars.

Washing up the large cucumbers Noah from FM gave me to experiment with.

Packing those big daddys into jars.

Simmering the vinegar, water, salt, and pickling spices.

Packing the dill and mustard seed into the jars.

After processing in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes, they're all ready! Now in 4-6 weeks, we can pop a jar open and try them!

I did have one small problem with my pickles. My water was not gently boiling as it should have been. It was boiling fast and hard, shaking the jars a bit. It's really hard to adjust the heat on an electric stove, so that's what I get. The cucumbers shrank a lot more than they were supposed to and they look shriveled and warty. I'm hoping that it won't affect the taste! If I decide to pickle again this year, I'll remember to really try to adjust my temperature and hope that that will make all the difference!

Farmers Market

A couple of FMs have passed and they have been great! I never seem to make it out to take pictures before market opens anymore due to all of the people waiting for produce! I have been using the stand that Stephen made me. I even had to raid Sam's Club for all of the empty flats I could find!

Things at the garden (and at home for that matter) have been crazy busy. I can't even keep up with it all. However, it is getting so hot and so dry that the garden may only last a couple more weeks. We do have drip irrigation on the entire garden, but it's just not the same as some good rain. It has gotten hot enough for the Okra to really start producing, and that's a precious commodity at FM. Everyone comes around looking for Okra! Another thing that seems to really like the heat are the peppers. I have tons of small peppers putting on, so I should have a nice picking for Saturday. We should also have some sweet corn ready for selling Saturday. Lots of people have been asking for that, too.

I think we'll have a couple more good weeks of the garden before it'll start winding down. Just in time for it to get really, really hot!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Farmers Market

We had another record-breaking day at FM yesterday. I was surprised at the total because it actually felt like a really, really slow day. There were nine vendors, the most that's ever been there on a Saturday this year. I brought the vegetable stand with me this time, and had a really cute setup...of course, I forgot to take pictures! So here are a few pictures of how the garden looks now. It's not so neat and cute any more! It looks like an overgrown jungle.

Looking at the garden from the new part back to the old part.
Cushaw, just a couple of days old. It is now huge and overgrown. The plants completely shaded our my row of dill!

Giant Marconi Bell Peppers.

Fat 'n Sassy Bell Peppers.

Sugar Snack Grape Tomatoes.

One of two squash patches. Never, ever plant squash like this!! It is hard to pick squash when the plants are so close together. When I planted them, they were so cute and small and it looked like we were wasting so much space in between plants. Each plant is now at least 2.5-3 feet wide!

Mucho Nacho Jalapenos.

I'm standing in our sweet corn patch. It's now putting on ears, so Travis is keeping it sprayed for worms! Next to the corn are watermelons, and then our second squash patch.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Farmers Market

Yesterday was another FM day. In addition to the usual produce, we also brought figs, two types of green beans, and cucumbers. The beans sold out within the first 20 minutes of market, the figs within the first 1.5 hours, and one lady walked up to my booth at the opening of Market and took all of the cucumbers!!! Talk about big sellers!! Cucmbers are seadily rising in production, so by the end of this week, I'll have one order for pickling filled! Overall, it was a slow market day, I came home with a small flat of squash, quite a few grape tomatoes, and 8.5 lbs of small tomatoes. We left at 12:30. Elizabeth was falling asleep in her chair, so I loaded everything up as quickly as I could. Tony's wife helped me out since I was really all alone at Market. Travis helped set up first thing in the morning, but then he had to go to work, so it was just me and Elizabeth for the rest of the morning. Luckily for me, as soon as we got home, she took a nice long nap!

I know it's hard to see, but Joanne sent Elizabeth a cute little outfit this week and it made a debut at Market. The shirt says "Raised with love in Texas" and the skirt has different colored stars on it. Super cute!

Later in the morning, Noah was nice enough to bring Elizabeth and I a huge slice of watermelon! She took a few bites, but then discovered it was more fun playing with it than eating it!

So, I broke the slice in half after I had eaten most of it and gave it to her to play with. Her tray, hands, and face were all a mess! I know to always bring extra wipes!! You can see that she dropped her half on the tent stand.

The major lesson I learned while at FM alone was to bring lots and lots more entertainment! I'm thinking paper and crayons next time! I did tape a piece of paper down on her tray and gave her a pen. That lasted 10 minutes, tops. She would have had a lot more fun if I wouldn't have been trying keep her from drawing on the tray.

Do you have any entertainment ideas for me? Leave your ideas in the comments!!


Monday afternoon, while I was finishing up picking the garden for FM, Elizabeth went swimming for the first time! We didn't put much water in the bottom of the pool since we didn't know how she would like it. (She was skeptical at first.) Turns out, it was pretty fun for her and she stayed in there for quite awhile! I don't think Grandpa minds watching and playing with her, either!!

Yesterday, she went swimming again, but this time with a little more water. She didn't want anything to do with it at first, but then warmed up to it and had a fun time. I think there will be more swimming in her future. (And if I get over my body-image issues, I may go swimming, too!)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sleepover & Canning Green Beans (Again!)

Matt, Ethan, and a couple of their friends came Down South for a Roger Creager concert Saturday night. Instead of driving all the way back home, they crashed at our house. They had to sleep on air matresses, but I don't think they had any complaints! I made them all breakfast on Sunday morning and then they napped and hung out until the afternoon.

It was just too cute that all of these boys were loving playing with Elizabeth. She was the center of attention! They played with her toys, entertained her, pushed her around on her little car and even played with her fridge farm! She was little miss show-off all day long!

While everyone, including Elizabeth, was taking a nap and Travis was working at the garden, I started tipping, snapping, and canning six gallons of green beans. If you want a refresher on the canning process, check it out! I canned 18 quarts and 1 pint of green beans. This brings our total up to 22 quarts and 1 pint. I canned a pint of green beans because I did not have enough left for a quart and they ended up fitting perfectly in a pint jar. I did not have a single jar break or not seal! I think this will hold us over for awhile, so I'm going to wait to can more. For now, what we can't eat, I'll sell at FM.

It took me from 10:30 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. to finish canning. So that's 8 hours and 45 minutes! Whew, now you know why I'm a little late posting!! I hope everyone had a great weekend! Ours went by way too fast! But don't they always...

Farmers Market

I realize I'm a couple of days late with this post and there will be another FM post tomorrow, but Kate asked for pictures of the competition. Travis wouldn't get up to take pictures, so this is what I've got for now.

Tony is a local grower. He's been doing this for a few years now and really brings a lot of produce.

These guys buy from either the Rio Grand Valley or from the San Antonio Markets. They do not grow their own produce, so they are competition, but not when it comes to buying local.

More people who buy their produce from out of town. The tent in the far left of this picture is a local grower and he specializes in tomatoes. He does have gorgeous tomatoes, but on Saturday (which was his first day at market), we sold out at about the same time, so I'm not too concerned about him...yet!

The white tent is a family or group of families that sell canned and baked goods. They have no fresh produce. They have a commercial kitchen somewhere and then drive their pies, breads, cookies, and jams in to town. They are only at Market on Saturdays.

The trailer with the flags on top is Noah and his wife. He's in charge of FM and makes sure everyone is selling within the rules. They are also local growers and they always bring lots of produce. Out of everyone at Market, Noah and Tony are my competitors when it comes to local grown produce.

Here's a couple of pictures of what our table looked like Saturday. I really needed Stephen's stand, but it's still in the process of being painted.

This time, I separated out the three varieties of grape tomatoes to show what was in the mixed baskets. People actually really liked that they were also separated because the single variety baskets sold just as fast as the mixed baskets. I did not come home with a single Golden Sweet Tomato! I also propped them up on a shoe box, so I think that helped!

We had another record-breaking day at FM. We'll be picking our little hearts out again tonight as we get ready for another Market tomorrow!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

All About Elizabeth

I realize that I haven't had a post dedicated to Elizabeth in awhile. She is doing great! She just cut another tooth last Wednesday and is now drinking out of a straw like a big girl. She's not walking yet, but I think she's getting closer.

She's very entertaining and a very happy little girl. She's now into transferring and rearranging things. So instead of her emptying out the diaper bag, all of the contents are just moved around and if I look hard enough, I can find them somewhere else in the bag.

Elizabeth loves being outside! She is fearless when it comes to crawling outside over any terrain. Grass, rocks, doesn't matter! She really likes it in the garden. She'll sit an eat grape tomatoes off of the vine or an apple off of the tree and be perfectly happy!

Here are some pictures of our growing girl.

Travis got an order in of some pitchers and cylinders. Elizabeth thought it was much better for a hat!