Wednesday, September 10, 2014


We had a wonderful tomato-growing season with several bushels produced at the ready for our use.  The tomatoes were of high quality with few blemishes or insect damage.

We made 40+ quarts of stewed tomatoes.  They make a very good addition to a winter meal, either as a stand-alone or as an ingredient in other entrees such as chili.

The second picking included lots of Italian roma tomatoes along with the other large and small varieties.  These baskets plus four more already on hand provided an ample supply for making spaghetti sauce.

The first step in sauce making is to clean and cook the produce in our two large pots.  Celery, green peppers, hot peppers, onions and garlic are added.  Several pecks of tomatoes are compressed and used in this step.

A nice fall day made the outside filtering a pleasant task.  (The "squeezo" machine removes the tomato skins and seeds.)  This type of unskilled labor fits Bill's profile, and he is quite good at it!

The sauce is then cooked down to thicken, spices are added, and the colorful final result is bottled.

Twenty minutes in a boiling-water bath seals the lids, and our 25+ quarts are stored away.  A lot of work -- but we know exactly what went into the recipe and will enjoy the results all year long!

Sunday, September 7, 2014


More evidence of a bountiful harvest!
The tomatoes on the left came from plants raised from seed by Jane Kuitems at her Herb Farm in Webster and are an example of her heirloom collection.  We always get several of her plants for our garden.

The red raspberries are a result of our careful care and year-round attention to the bushes.  We have been picking two, and sometimes three, quarts each day.  We freeze those that aren't eaten, by spreading them out on trays in the freezer before boxing them up. 

Our green peppers were perfect this year, and certainly larger than usual.  They, along with the whole garden, prospered with the 7 inches of rain in July!

Of course, we made stuffed peppers -- several panfuls to fill the freezer.  They make a quick and delicious meal on a winter night!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Sewing day


Jeanne and her friend, Anne from Toronto, came for a sewing day.

They were working hard on creating a wonderful quilt that Jeanne is going to give as a gift.

Nancy was also sewing and also working on her own composition in blue fabrics.

Anne gifted me with one of the wonderful small bags she made --Lovely!

And she gave Nancy one that she made with floral fabric.

The mud cloth bag in the background is one that Nancy got at Craft Bits & Pieces.

Also from Craft Bits & Pieces -- Nancy got this curtain and is thinking about how she might save the blocks and use them in something else.

Jeanne showed us her best bargain -- this great kimono that she bought at an estate sale.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Grape jelly

Our grape vines are mature (planted in 1969), and they produce a reliable  crop each year.  We have Concord and Niagara in our small planting.

The first step in jelly making involves selection of those picked and washing the good ones we plan to use.

We cook them in a small amount of water until the individual grapes lose their color.

The grapes are pushed through a sieve to separate the juice from the pulp.

The juice is stored in plastic jugs which are refrigerated for later jelly making.  Some will be frozen and can be kept for a long time before being used. 

As you can see the purple concord grapes dominate the color of the juice.

Adding pectin and sugar, boiling at low heat, and filling the jars completes the task.  We freeze the final product for best flavor...  Yum, Yum!!

Monday, September 1, 2014

It's my week!

My Earthquake Faults quilt is included in this year's Quilt Art Engagement calendar published by AQS (American Quilter's Society).

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Barn work

We had a full day of excavator work done by Dave Pulcini and just wish that nephew Dylan could have been here to watch it all.  He would have loved it!

The project was to clear all the sod and vegetation away from the foundations of both barns. 

We are uncovering the base boards to determine how many and what percent need to be replaced.  There is some deterioration in spots with rot and rust evident.

The back of the barn at the entrances to the horse stalls was similarly cleaned and scraped level.  Dave was very skilled, and it was a pleasure to watch him work.

The west end of the horse barn was clogged with old volunteer trees and heavy vines featuring the rope-like wild grape (terrible stuff!).  The material was piled away from the structure -- with its final destination to be determined.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Class reunion

One of our classmates who lives in Texas was traveling through our area over the weekend.  Since he hadn't attended any reunions in several decades, it gave us a good excuse for a mini-reunion.

We gathered on the deck at JD Wine Cellars at Longacre Farms in Macedon.

Without a lot of advance notice or planning, we had a good turnout and a great time.  There's talk of making this a yearly event.

Thanks go to Joan for getting us organized and planning a wonderful party.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Sewing day

Linda and Jeanne came to the studio for some sewing time, and Nancy joined us for a time, although she is sidelined from sewing til her hand heals.

Jeanne worked on this new shoulder bag, shown here with the top flap opened up.

And she modeled it for us in the picture below.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Peach season

This year's crop of Red Haven peaches (our favorite variety) has provided fruit that is both pretty and delicious.   Some of these peaches came from Marion and the rest from Penn Yan.

We canned most of them, made a few batches of peach marmalade, and are eating the rest....  Yum!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Canna lilies

We saved the canna lily bulbs over the winter and planted them in the garden just beyond our raspberries.   They bloom a long time and attract the hummingbirds.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Millie's table

Our feral kitty, Millie, has learned to come up on the deck for both her breakfast and dinner.  If she isn't already waiting on the bench, a call usually brings her on the run.  She still won't allow anyone to get too close to her, but on occasion will let me sit on the bench with her while she eats.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Jen's quilts

In addition to being Dylan's Mom, Jennifer is also a quilter.  So after the tractors were put away, Jen and I got to have some studio time.

Jen has finished piecing this delightful kitty quilt and now has to figure out how to quilt it.

She also brought this appliqued piece.

These lovely mums were a present from Jen, and I've repotted them to see if I can get them to last longer.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Dylan's visit - day 2

Dylan showed his Dad how much dirt he could move with his excavator.

The hit of the weekend, though, was taking out the John Deere tractor.  Dylan helped gas up and was ready to go to work.

Dylan was more interested in watching where the grass was coming out than seeing where they were going, and his Mom was trying to get his picture.

Driving up from the back yard.

Dylan also like watching and feeding the goldfish and our two multi-colored shubunkins.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Dylan's visit

Our niece, Jennifer, visited us for the weekend with her family, David and Dylan.

Dylan had lots of new things to see in the gardens and liked looking for frogs in the lily pond.

He was busy building his own roads through the zen garden.

His favorite activity was working on the tractor.  Here he's mastering the levers to operate the front bucket.

He was also interested in checking out the John Deere lawn tractor.