Monday, August 20, 2012

It's in the air...

Do you smell that?

 simple img 2 oak leaf wallpaper marijuana leaf pictures maple leafs wallpaper leaf wallpaper border autumn desktop wallpaper

Can you smell that fall is on its way? I can!! This time of year I feel like a little kid waiting for that first leaf to fall or see the first pumpkin on the front doorsteps of a neighborhood house. Autumn is my favorite season. Nothing compares to the smell of apples and cinnamon and the feeling of the crisp air in the evening.

I have big plans for this season. Over the last 10 years, I have moved around a lot and never really gotten into the fall spirit like I wanted. We were living out of boxes and never quite had that feeling of home. Almost exactly a year ago, we moved into this house. I decorated the porch last year with pumpkin and corn, but still didn't go all out like I wanted. This year is a whole other story. This year I can finally say that I am as settled as I have been in my adult life and I am going to go all out!

All these ideas of things I wanted to do to celebrate the fall season have been in my head the last few days. I figured I should write these amazing ideas down so I won't forget!

Things to do before December (in no particular order):
  • Take a drive through the mountains when the leaves are changing.
  • Visit a pumpkin farm.
  • Decorate the front porch.
  • Make apple EVERYTHING!  I'm talking pies, butter, sauce, bread, and anything else I can put an apple in.
  • Make corn chowder and brunswick stew.
  • Have a family pumpkin carving night.
  • Make a new fall wreath.
  • Take a hayride.
  • Go through a corn maze.
  • Start making homemade Christmas presents.
  • Make at least one of the kids Halloween costumes.
  • Learn to use a pressure canner.
  • Get good pictures of the kids.
  • Go to a fall festival 

Anything else I should add?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Feeling a little corny...

Growing up I remember a day each summer that my grandparents and another family got together and had a long day putting up corn. Usually around the hottest day of July, they would find some farmer along side of the road and make a deal with him. The farmer would usually want to get home to his family so he would give them a hard to pass up deal on a pick up truck full of ears.

I never fully understood the logistics of putting up that many ears of corn since I was pretty young. I just remember the adults doing all the work and the kids playing baseball or running through the sprinkler. And of course there was the occasional game of Super Mario Bros.  At the end of the day, we would all go home tired but filled our freezer with the best corn ever.

Now in adulthood and dabbling in the art of food preservation, I decide that I want to put up corn this year. After just a little convincing, I talked Cory into getting 100 ears from a local Mennonite farm. It cost us $30.00. I talked to my grandmother about the best method. Husk. Blanche. Cut. Bag. We could do this no problem. I had been practicing a little with like a dozen leftover ears from the farmer's market. It took me about 6 ears cut off to fill one bag. I packed them somewhat full. I wanted enough for the four of us for dinner with some leftover for our work lunches. So I did my math... 6 ears to a bag, 100 ears of corn, we should end up with 16 bags of corn. (Remember this number)

Cory picked up 4 of these large bags full of corn. I had the whole ordeal planned out in my head. We would husk outside but boil and bag inside. I would fill up the sinks with ice and it would all be smooth sailing. Well apparently Cory had another plan. He wanted to use the turkey fryer outside and set up a cutting station on the tailgate of his truck. We went with his plan, and I can admit it was the right way to go.
I had asked my grandfather if he wanted to come over and help husk. He must have been really bored so he actually agreed! He husked most of the corn for us while I did the cutting and Cory worked the fryer. It was really nice when we had the opportunity to all sit down together and husk because Grandpa was telling us stories about himself that I had never heard before. I found out he used to be a firefighter when he was a teenager!
Cory was in charge of the cooking process. He would boil the husked ears for four minutes then put in the ice water. It was such a good idea to use the turkey fryer. I bought him that a couple years ago at Christmas and we have only used it once for last Thanksgiving. I couldn't even imagine how messy and hot my kitchen would have been if we would have cooked it inside.
I set up the back of the truck with my little makeshift kitchen. Cooled corn would go on the cookie sheets and I would cut in one of my oblong pots. I got a great tip from Pinterest (I wish I could give the credit to whoever thought of this but I don't know who it was!). If you stand up the corn on a smaller bowl in the pot, you are able to go straight to the bottom of the ear without hitting the bottom of your pot. This made it much easier for me. After I would fill up this pot, I would dump the cut corn into another pot with a lid. At that point, it would be bagged in gallon size freezer bags.

So I'm cutting, and cutting, and still cutting... I looked at how many ears we had already down and how many we had to go. We figured out pretty quickly that there were way more than 100! There were at least 140 ears. We finished everything up in about five hours. As I am putting the bags into the freezer, I was counting. We ended up with 46 bags of corn!!! I was a little off with my initial guess of 16! The freezer was full!

Overall it was a really good day and a bonding experience between the three of us. I am all about making memories lately and I definitely think this will be a new one. I also think this will be a new tradition for us each summer!