Back to the Farm

Spring has sprung and the vegetable garden is looking GREAT!  My fabulous farmer hubby has all kinds of goodies growing – tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries, squash, radishes, lettuce, peppers, asparagus, onions, garlic and lots of different herbs.

Since it looks like a real “farm” I decided this farmer’s wife needs to get back to the Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt.  The challenge is to make two blocks a week from The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt book (by Laurie Aaron Hird).  There is a wonderful Farmer’s Wife Quilt Along Group on Flickr with lots of support, encouragement and pictures.

I picked back up with Block 44 – Gentleman’s Fancy – here pictured among the tomato plants (yes, it is April and we already have good sized tomatoes – amazing!).

Next is Block 45 – Grape Basket.  It is photographed in the potato plants (no, we don’t usually have a tomato cage in the potato plants :-) ).

And then I had to get both blocks in the strawberries:

The fabric I chose for this project is primarily Aunt Grace and is so bright and cheery that it feels like the perfect project to celebrate a beautiful and bountiful Spring.

Farmer’s Wife Quilt Along – Blocks Among the Tomatoes

The Farmer’s Wife Quilt Along is up to week 19. This project is inspired by the Farmer’s Wife Quilt Along Group on Flickr.  The challenge is to make 2 blocks a week from The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt book (by Laurie Aaron Hird).  Over the last couple of weeks I’ve made 4 blocks but haven’t had time to share pictures.

As a good farmer’s wife (well, gardener’s wife), I had to also share pictures of our fall tomato plants:

Here are blocks 35 and 37:

And blocks 36 and 38:

It won’t be long and we will have some fresh garden tomatoes!

Here are some closer views of each block:

FW 35 - Flower Basket

All four of these blocks today are paper pieced using the foundation patterns that can be found on the Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt Yahoo Group site.  The Flower Basket has a machine appliqued handle.

FW 36 - Flower Path

Flower Path was a real bear!  It doesn’t meet in the center as well as I’d like.  But I do like the brown and white print and the green “path”.

FW 37 - Flower Pot

Flower Pot is another challenging block with some set-in seams.  I used some new Aunt Grace fabric I picked up at the quilt show last week.

FW 38 - Four Winds

Four Winds is my favorite this week.  I love all the pinwheels within pinwheels and used some pretty blue fabrics to represent the sky.  Perhaps some clouds in the sky might look like white dogs? :-)

Despite some challenges this week, the Farmer’s Wife Quilt Along is zipping along.  I can’t believe I have 38 cute little blocks completed already!

Monday on the Farm

OK, we have a garden, not a farm, but after spending part of the morning in the garden pulling Tomato Horn Worms off the tomato and the pepper plants (including the jalapeno plants – ¡Ay Caramba!) it feels a bit like a farm.  So, as a good farmer’s wife :-) I have 5 new quilt blocks to share!

Farmer's Wife Blocks 27 Through 31

This project is inspired by the Farmer’s Wife Quilt Along Group on Flickr.  The challenge is to make 2 blocks a week from The Farmer’s Wife Sampler Quilt book (by Laurie Aaron Hird).  Since this is my week 7 and their week 16, I have been attempting to catch up.  I’m almost there!  I think I only have 3 blocks next week!

Here is a closer look at each one:

FW 27 - Darting Birds

Lots of teeny tiny pieces in this block.  I have to grin over my fabric choice for Darting Birds – each bird has flying hearts pierced by an arrow… or is that a dart? Get it? :-)

FW 28 - Duck and Ducklings

I like Duck and Ducklings a lot – no ducky fabric so I chose something calm and serene.

FW 29 - Economy

Well this block is certainly an Economy of time – it was very easy.  The Aunt Grace fabric I’m using doesn’t have any large print that would lend itself to a nice fussy cut in the center.  This would be a nice block for that type of treatment.

FW 30 - End of Day

I haven’t used this blue fabric much and I thought it would lend itself to the pinwheel effect of the End of Day block.  It came out alright, not my favorite.

FW 31 - Evening Star

Evening Star is probably my favorite block this week.  I love the Aunt Grace black and white fabric and the striking contrast of the star in yellow.

Now that I’m almost caught up with the Farmer’s Wife Quilt Along Group, I have my eye on another interesting project.  It’s a Mystery!  I tell you about it later this week!

ps – after dinner we discovered more Tomato Horn Worms.  This guy has been chowing down:

Yuck!  These guys are nasty!

 

Civil War BOW – Ohio Star

This is week 38 of Barbara Brackman’s Civil War block of the week.  Each week we get a new block pattern and an interesting history lesson.  This week is the Ohio Star.

I continue to use the Neesha by Sentimental Studio fabric line.  I’m afraid some of my blocks are starting to look alike with the same fussy cut flowers offset by the same paisley fabrics.  But when the year is complete, I am hoping all the quilt blocks will all go together well.

It is always fun to see what all my fellow Civil War quilt groupies on the Flickr site do with the same block but completely different fabric choices.

Yesterday was a fabulously fun football Saturday!  I had a great time and the TCU Horned Frogs won the game!

And, we’ve been blessed with rain two days in a row and a chance this afternoon! The garden which had been so scorch by the heat and drought is starting to perk back up – we have tomatoes and peppers for our salad tonight!

Have a great day, y’all!

David’s Homemade Hot Sauce

Last week we canned Hot Sauce.  This is the kind of hot sauce that you serve with chips.  Some people call it Salsa.  No matter what you call it – it’s scrumptious!

Sometimes it turns out HOT and sometimes it is relatively mild.  It really depends on the peppers.  We went back to our favorite Weatherford Farmer’s Market for our peppers.  Along with a bunch of jalapenos, we also picked up a hot banana pepper.

Here is what you will need:

In addition to the HOT (see, they spell HOT) peppers, you will need a couple of bunches of cilantro, onion, garlic, lots of canned tomatoes, water, cumin, salt and pepper.

Yes, the bird is observing – he’s not part of the ingredients.  In my last recipe, a reader requested a name for the bird – he has now been dubbed Y.R. Bird :-)

This recipe makes 6 quarts of hot sauce so get out a BIG pot and add all your canned tomatoes.  Put some of the water in the empty cans before adding to the pot so you get every last bit.

Remove the stems and then chop up your jalapenos – seeds and all.  The seeds and the white membrane is where the heat is.  Be careful not to touch your face or eyes!  That would hurt!

If you got a banana pepper (optional), chop it up too.

Add the peppers to the pot.

Chop and add your onion.

Chop and add your bell pepper too.  You may notice we have three tiny bell peppers – they are from our garden and that’s about as big as they get in the awful drought this year, but they are still sweet and tasty!

You will need 10 cloves are garlic.  Peel the garlic and either chop it finely or put it through the garlic press.  I really think the garlic press is cool!

Open it up, throw in a couple of cloves.  Close and squeeze.

If you don’t have one of these – go get one today!  This garlic press is from Pampered Chef.

Add the garlic to the pot.

Add the ground cumin, the salt and pepper.  Now chop up your cilantro.  First, whack off a good portion of the stems and then chop chop chop.

Reserve a good handful of cilantro for later and add the rest to the pot.  Give it all a good stir, bring to a simmer (watch for the tiny bubbles).  After it starts to simmer set your timer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare to can the hot sauce.

You will need a pot deep enough to hold quart jars with an inch or two of water above.  Since you don’t want the jars sitting directly on the bottom of the pot you can put a wire rack in the bottom.  I’ve also seen where you can wire some jar rings together to make a platform.  I use a round wire rack:

Put water in the pot.  You will need enough to cover the jars, however, when you add the jars, the displaced water will rise – so you don’t want too much.  You may as well get started bring the water to a boil.  It will take a while.  BTW – to try to keep the kitchen relatively cool, we used the burner on our gas grill to bring the water to a boil.

Meanwhile, wash your jars.

Drop your jar lids into a small pot of boiling water.

Remove the pot from the heat but leave the lids in the water.

After your hot sauce has simmered from about 25 minutes, it is time for a taste test.  Take a small bowl of sauce and stick it in the freezer for a minute or so to cool it down.  Then get out a chip or two and try it out.

If you need more salt this would be the time to add it.

Now, do you remember that handful of cilantro that we saved?  Add it to the pot now.  This will add a very fresh taste to your hot sauce.

Now it’s time to fill your jars.

We have a set of very useful canning tools which includes a wide funnel to keep the rim of the jars clean, a magnetic lid lifter to remove the lids from the hot water, a tool to measure headspace and a jar lifter to safely get the jars in and out of the boiling water.

Leave about 1/2″ headspace:

Add your lid and ring.

Now, we are finally ready to process the jars.  Carefully, using the jar lifter, place the jars in the large pot of boiling water (that we are boiling outside):

Allow them to process for 30 minutes and then carefully remove them.

You may hear a little pop sound within a few minutes as the jars cool.  That is the lid sealing itself. To quote Martha “…it’s a good good thing.”

After the jars have cooled tighten up the lids a bit.  And enjoy for months to come!

Recipe:  David’s Homemade Hot Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 140 oz. crushed or diced tomatoes (we bought BIG can of crushed from Costco and added a couple of extra cans of diced tomatoes)
  • 2 cans of water or 28 oz.
  • 10 jalapenos (add a hot banana pepper too if you wish)
  • 2 bunches cilantro
  • 1 large onion (we used a 1015)
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 10 cloves of garlic (pressed)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • A lot of salt – start with 1/4 cup
  • Ground black pepper to taste

Put tomatoes and water in pot.  Chop jalapenos, cilantro, onion and bell pepper put in pot except for a handful of the cilantro for later.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  Simmer for about 30 minutes.  Add the rest of the cilantro.

There are several web sites that have great instructions for canning.  Here are just a few:

It can sound intimidating but it really isn’t hard and the results are fabulous!  Think of all the great hot sauce you’ll have next winter!

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