"Cows are my passion. What I have ever sighed for has been to retreat to a farm and live entirely surrounded by cows–and china." Charles Dickens

August 21, 2011

The Ponds Put Up Some Pecks of Peppers

Since our boys started back at school last Wednesday, August 17th, it has been a nonstop can-a-thon around here: "Incredible" corn for the freezer at our friends Melvin and Anna's farm on Wednesday (a five person job); canned tomatoes here on Thursday; and tomato juice and "V-9" juice here on Friday, as well as the start of three kinds of pickles (Bread and Butter, Chunk and 9-day gherkins). But more on all of that in future blog posts (including recipes).

My husband and Melvin, left, load our auction wins onto a palette
while our boys wait to pull it. [One of the auctioneer's sons helped.]

We made time after school on Thursday afternoon to go to the Casey County Produce Auction at 5pm. You never know what you will find or what price you might get. Of course, as a grower you want the bidding to go high; as a buyer you want to pay a fair price but you also want a good deal.

Twenty peppers await stuffing for winter meals from the freezer.
I ended up with six pecks of locally grown peppers–red, yellow, orange and green–for the unbelievable price of $2 a peck! There was a lot of 12, or you could take six for the money. I thought twelve too much, even though 12 pecks (or three bushels = 24 gallons) of local sweet peppers would have been only $24 (I realized later I could have made more stuffed peppers or given a few boxes to friends). As often happens at produce auctions, when the second lot of six was offered after my bid, those pecks went a bit higher.

Henry and Eli were amused that the last time I made stuffed peppers
was when I was pregnant with Henry and made dozens of them for the freezer.

I also purchased a combined lot of five pecks of varying sizes of cucumbers (or "pickles" as they say here) and one peck of small-medium zucchini. As our friends Melvin and Anna Hurst had grown them and put them out, and because I had saved so much on the peppers, it wasn't hard for me to go as high as $8 a peck, which is still a bargain. It has been plenty for pickling and I still have one more peck to pickle, and will also be making zucchini relish tomorrow. And, finally, we got several more flats of tomatoes to make juice, after having gone earlier in the week when I got some hard-to-find Romas for canning and catsup.

Seed removal is the hardest part.
Anna has been a huge help, especially with the initial push on those tomatoes and pickles. Now I'm going to do things in smaller doses although we plan to do some pumpkins and butternut squash together in a month or so. Let me just say that this woman can cook, clean, can and quilt circles around me. She can multi-task better than anyone I've ever met. It is good to have a friend working alongside who is better at focusing on a task than I am. And it helps to pass the time and monotony––as with any task there can be a Zen-like rhythm, too. It's also a kind of therapy!

We sang crazy made-up arias while chopping and I also cranked Beck's "Guero" CD.

This afternoon my boys asked to help me with the pepper production and I was glad to let them––delegating or asking for assistance with anything is not my strong suit but it is so rewarding to be able to allow one to help, especially my children. We had a blast working together–a nice treat for me as they are often helping Dad on the farm (you know, more fun 'boy stuff' like driving tractors and haying). I was impressed by their willingness to help and their desire to spend time with their "Mama Goo."

My fat little German hands
are not as agile as I'd like them to be!
Yes, canning season is now in high gear at the Pond household. And now that I am started there may be no stopping...it's the squirrelly nester and pantry girl in me.

You come back when you're ready!


Three kinds of sliced peppers:
For stews and roasts;

and, best of all, for fajitas!
For casseroles and Mexican dishes;


  1. How lovely that your boys wanted to help you. Nice future training for them too.

  2. Beautiful, beautiful work!!!

    I'm also pickling, but you put me to shame.


    Take care. I look forward to reading more.

    Carrie in Wisconsin

  3. I love relish and would be happy if you would put up your zucchini relish recipe. Would you?


    Jo in Minnesota

  4. Jo, I will be happy to do that. I'm going to make that tomorrow. Putting up the Tomato Juice recipe on a blog right now.

    Best, Catherine

  5. You are a very busy gal. This is my first visit to your blog, so I've taken some time to browse through your earlier posts. I'm so glad I did that. I really enjoyed the time I spent here and I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  6. Hi Mary -- thanks for stopping by! I remember your visiting our semi-retired (now sequestered) Cupcake Chronicles blog, too. I have enjoyed yours, also, and it is often a go-to for many recipes I am seeking.

    Glad that you'll be back! I have many more canning recipes and photos to post in the coming days. Feeling most fallish now.

    I have many posts, too, over on my www.InthePantry.blogspot.com blog from the past six year. Farmwife seemed more of where things are now so I made the switch, more or less, back in January (with the occasional pantry-related blog posted over there).

    All best, Catherine


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