Beans, Beans, Beans

Dried beans, not green beans. At least not yet.

I saw on Pinterest the other day about cooking your dried beans in a slow cooker and then canning or freezing them yourself rather than buying cans at the store. So I did it.

The method was super easy, just pour about 1 pound of beans into the slow cooker, add a chopped onion, pepper, bay leaves, and 6-7 cups of water. Then cook the beans on low for about 4-5 hours (just tender) and then add 1 T salt, then cook one hour longer. The method says you can freeze or can from here, but I just put them in the fridge for the up coming week.

Let me tell you, the beans turned out awesome, but they are way salty. I am going to cut back the salt to 1 teaspoon instead of tablespoon next time.

I did some math to see if the canning effort was going to be worth it. 1 pound of black beans cost me $1.75 at the market, so that comes out to about 35 cents per cooked cup of beans. Then if I were to can them, that would be about 2 cups per pint, so 70 cents per can plus the lid which brings the total to $.91 per home canned pint of beans. I can get organic black beans on sale for $.99 each, less the work and water and electricity of canning my own.

What do you think? Is it worth it to you to can your own beans? Or do you just cook what you need? Or do you freeze them?


Knock On Wood!

I am about to say something, and I don't want to curse myself, but I'm gonna do it anyways.

I think the Bastard Groundhog has moved on.

Ever since the behemoth house behind us was built (where the BG lives(d)) he hasn't been around.... Ok, truthfully, he was still around during construction and all that, but really since they graded the yard and have been landscaping, he hasn't been around. I haven't even found dig sits under the fence, whereas last year he had practically a tunnel running the length of it.

We still have the kale and brassicas fenced off, and they will remain that way. But everything else is flying free, with the exception of the chickens who remain content in chicken prison. They still get all the weeds and grass clippings and kitchen scraps. I think as far as their happiness goes, as long as I keep their maws full, there will be no chicken revolt or egg protests.

I will always keep my eye out for that BG, but so far, nada.

**Our neighbor on the other hand has a vacant lot and caving in garage and other various fun city things behind him, and he has been on a pest-killing rampage again this year. I think he said he is up to 3 possums and 2 groundhogs for the year.


Woah, it's been how long??

Sorry Y'all! I've been slacking on the blog front, but it really because I've been so busy out in the Yarden! This past weekend was Garden Walk Cleveland, so we were busy getting everything pretty-fied for all our guests. Honestly, I think the garden walk was kind of a bust, we only had about 10-15 people each day. Last year, I can remember an almost constant stream of people. One guy we talked to said he thinks the organization dropped the ball on marketing, but I am not a part of that, so I can't say much there. I just know it was slow.

So all that and my summer classes started, and my first class is only a 6 weeks long (they crammed 18 weeks into 6!) so it is keeping me busy.

Anywho, I am back now that the yarden is totally cleaned up, and I have no upcoming harvests except my now constant picking of kale. Just in case you were wondering, The cherry tree was fully ripe this weekend, and so I spent yesterday afternoon pickin, pittin, and preservin. This is what I came up with.. FOUR lbs, EIGHT oz of CLEANED fruit. Just cherry goodness and no pits. I can't believe that our little tree put out that much fruit. We are tying to figure out places to put more trees!

I love the jam I ended up with, but I am happy I don't have to make more until next summer... It took me almost 3 hours to pit these things! They are so small and soft (not soft, but not as firm as sweet cherries) that they just popped through the pitter and the pits didn't come clean off, so I had to engage my fingers in helping to rid them of the pits. 


Non-Edibles in the Yarden

So, I tried to take the best pictures I could of my flowers, but for whatever reason, they just look stupid... But here they are anyways!
flower row... Yeah, there are herbs in here, but mostly flowers

Hanging basket by back door... Don't ask me what these are because I truly have no idea. Yes, I bought and planted them, but that doesn't mean I remember their names!

Hanging basket by chicken window

flowers on top of chicken run

so this is the chicken area... I put the most potted flowers back here because it is the ugliest part of the patio. 2 hanging baskets, 4 potted pots, and 3 potted window boxes... They are all supposed to get long and viney so the area will look more lush (hopefully)

Front Yarden... The hydrangea will be in full bloom just in time for the Garden Walk!!! I am really so proud of the front yard.

The back door... 2 hanging baskets, 1 large potted lavender, and flower row... Just in case you are wondering what the sign on the door says, it is "Please be careful to latch the door completely! Punkin is very Sneaky!"


Harvest Monday!!!

Woo!!! We got our first harvest of the year!!! Normally I would have been jumping for joy with pea harvests, but as Granny can attest, this is just NOT the year for peas.

So yesterday we harvested 14 ounces of gorgeous kale leaves. I LOVE kale. I think it might be my favorite vegetable. Seriously, more than corn on the cob, tomatoes, and broccoli. I mean, don't get me wrong, I haven't met a vegetable I didn't like, but kale??? I just freaking love it. And it hasn't been hot enough to make it bitter yet, so that is even better!!!

The garden isn't far along enough to give us a harvest every week, but I will take what I can get! Hop on over to Daphne's Dandelions and check out harvests from every corner of the world!
This week: 14 oz
Yearly total: 14 oz


Back Patio, Version 3.0

Yesterday we took the fence down. Which fence? The original chicken fence, or the pile of crap replacement fence. We took it down because now that the chickens are imprisoned in the yard, we wanted to have more room for a "patio" which is really just a portion of the driveway. I need to do some more clean up of the patio and rearrange the table and fire pit and wood pile, but here it is in a series of pics...
fence - pile of junk

Then, the fence that was

Fence that was....

The "patio" that is
Better view of the "patio"...


Yarden Update with Pictures!

Ok, I just snapped these as the wind and rain was starting to blow in. I thought a good thing to do while taking a break from house stuff was to get these pictures! I think I've been talking about it for like, 2 weeks. Oy!

I found that I had taken a few similar pictures of certain areas and I wanted to show you the difference just a few weeks makes. The photos on the left are May 3, pictures on the right are today, June 1. I LOVE finding new toys on programs. I used the collage creator in Picasa. I thought this was pretty cool because I get discouraged by lack of progress, and this helps me to see the progress. LOVE!
1 Month ago.......................   Beautiful Roses!

Kale in the Side Yarden
Garlic Bed in the Back Yarden

Front Yarden!

From flowers....                    To Cherries!
Fire Pit... An awesome hand-me-down gift from my Momma. I brought a bunch of wood home from the farm, but it's too hot now to even think about having a fire. I am sure we will use this thing A LOT come fall!

Pathetic peas (I even sampled a few from these short vines and they were starchy and bitter. This is just NOT the year for peas!) And 2 zuchinni mounds. I am looking forward to having lots of zucchini goodies in the freezer come August, which is usually about the time we are totally sick of them.

Back (top) to front (bottom) 5 marglobe tomatoes, 2 purple cherokees, 3 eggplant, 3 basil.

Back to Front - 2 black cherry tomotoes and 1 sweet 100 type cherry, 10 peppers - jalepenos, hot banana, and cayenne. I am sure I mixed them all up when I planted them.Cucumbers will be growing up the chicken fence on the left.

Beet bed... I used mostly purchased seed tape for the bed, and then sprinkled loose seed on the top left... You can see which sprouted faster... I may do a separate post on this....

Bean Bed. I went with bush varieties this year... We tried pole beans last year and it just didn't go well in our small space. I will keep you all posted on how this goes...