Red Pickle Sticks – Cinnamon Pickles

I don’t need to tell you how busy you can get and not realize how much time has past! I haven’t posted since July, and I apologize for that. We had several family emergencies and issues all hit at once, it seemed. It took me months just to get to the point of being upright again, and I wasn’t even any of the people stuff was happening to.

I tried to keep sane with mentally thinking about the garden for next year, the Christmas presents I was sewing, and things like that. So it was, bad things do pass, thankfully.

I promised I would post a recipe I got from my husband’s family, Cinnamon Pickles!

That would be the jar with the red contents in the picture below.

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After the garden dropped its final batch of produce, the end numbers were staggering. My last post was in the midst of our 1st picking of green beans. At the end of the total, our numbers were something like:

4 (yes, 4!) HUMUNGOUS pickings of green beans that were big enough to be snakes – I gifted away something like 6 -5 gallon bucks, and took 2 bucks to the local food bank so that the beans wouldn’t go bad. We canned some 70-odd jars of green beans, froze around 20 lbs out of the ones we didn’tgive away.

Same amount in the Hungarian wax pepper department. I was begging people to take peppers, and we made batches of pepper jelly and so did our friends.
The spaghetti squash ended up being rather terrifying in size, and I think we got 9 of those, and we ended up cutting several in half and freezing them, while also gifting away to anyone who wanted one. The zucchini were also terrifying, and my friend has a picture of her daughter posing with one that is as long as she is. I have a zucchini relish recipe that is suppose to take something like 3 small zucchini (6 cups shredded) – that didn’t even go through a 3rd of one of my smaller ones!

The cucumbers were just as terrifying in numbers. We did so many types of pickles and went through every Mrs. Wages packet and recipe book we could.

Just in pickles alone, we did:
– lime pickles
– bread and butter pickles
– dill pickles
– spicy dill pickles
– polish bread and butter pickles
– cinnamon pickles, etc. plus a few more I can’t remember off the top of my head.

My heirloom tomatoes were gigantic, I literally had, at one point, a single tomato that was about 2 lbs. It had a rough diameter of > 6 inches! Sadly, with the rain, my biggest problem was the tomatoes rotting, even though they were tied up!
At the end, the corn and the lima beans didn’t do so well.
We had a great amount of rain, and that definitely helped.

My husband topped all of this by randomly showing up with 12 dozens ears of fresh corn from his grandparents one weekend

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Worm Composting!

So it’s been a busy couple of months recently, what with starting a new job and doing a few certifications. With the weather warming up, I am no longer confined inside growing seeds in baking dishes and egg cartons, counting down the days in my gardening journal until I am unleashed on my unsuspecting garden.

I love cooking with fresh stuff, plus the nearest big grocery store is about 45 minutes away. It just seemed natural that we try & grow as much food as we could. We’ve also wanted to eat healthier & I grew up eating home grown veggies & canning stuff for winter, so this seemed the best choice.

We finally got a fence up around a 25′ x 100′ area where (hopefully) the deer will keep their little noses out of it!

We have not had much luck with gardens in the past few years. The first garden we had after building our house was eaten by cows. Our neighbors fence broke, & there was a rise in cabbage-scented methane in the surrounding area.

We had the last few gardens eaten by deer, rabbits, groundhogs, & even had a bear pass through & stomp on a few plants. We had to save the money for fencing materials, so we tried all the well-meaning advice from family & friends, ranging from fishing line ( a pain) to human hair (birds loved it) to the plant the local amish greenhouse touted as a groundhog deterrent, Wormwood. This lovely plant did seem to work, as the oil is toxic, and will actually kill a lot of the plants near it after it washes off during a rain and seeps into the ground.

I also find it immensely amusing that this is the prime ingredient in making absinthe, and is the source of the famous hallucinations.

Anyhoodles, we have the whole garden planted & were complaining that we should of made it bigger (keep in mind we plan on canning a great deal).

I did just stumble on a neat site which you can find here. That allows you to input your garden size, the # of adults in a household, & the plant varieties you want. It arranges the garden & gives you a plot of what you can plant where. This avoids cross breading and such and also helps with plants that benefit from each other.

Another thing I did was read a nice composting book. Out of the several forms of composting, the one that caught my eye was WORM COMPOSTING!

I find it both exciting and gross. Let me tell you, sticking my hands into the mass of worms for the first time did illicit a tiny full body shudder that I denied when my husband commented on it.

My one friend’s little boy supported my decision, & I ordered a Worm Farm & my 1 lb. (about a 1,000) from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm just arrived!

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It has a booklet & a DVD (which I confess to not watching) & all sorts of things that happy worms need.

You are suppose to leave the worms alone for 3 days just to let them acclamate. I confess to not having enough patience, I didn’t even make it 20 minutes. I realized I did have to check because the next morning, it was like escape from Alcatraz. I now check every morning to put worms back in the box & I now have a bright light on above the box to keep them from doing a Free Willy.

I am so excited to have my first batch of worm compost, as it is very good for planting & gardens.
Worm updates will follow!