The need to knead…and a few catch up notes too.

It was time to make more jam, the Blackcap berries were perfect for the picking, and thanks to hubby who went out and picked I cooked up a batch. See I was feeling a bit under the weather, but not in the sick sense, I was literally exhausted from the weather, the heat and humidity had been pretty unbearable that day. So it was a collaborative effort, hubby and I, he picked and I jammed. So now the pantry has cherry jam, strawberry jam, strawberry rhubarb jam and now blackcap jam, so the question I get is…”do you eat a lot of jam?

black cap berries

black cap jam

The answer is not a lot, but I do enjoy the occasional toast and jam, as well as a well timed PB and J sandwich. So what’s with all the jam? Well it’s about not missing the bounty of the season, and having that bounty available throughout the year, like a taste of summer in winter, which really can’t be beat. It also is a great gift to bring someone when going to visit, or at holiday time, it’s a small gift, but a homemade gift of food off the farm is one people appreciate, and that I enjoy giving.

On another note, I learned something shockingly simple about bread baking the other day. I’ve had some frustration with my sandwich bread recipe I had found. It seemed as though it looked beautiful and tasted good warm, but the next day it seemed overly dense and by the second day seemed downright hard and dry, two words that don’t go well with bread! I did a bit of reading and then had a lightening bolt moment…was I kneading enough? The two pictures show the bread I was making before followed by the bread I made with more kneading. The first was brushed with egg which is why it is glossy, but they are same bread recipes.

bread pre kneading

I tried kneading the bread for about five minutes more than the average 2-3 minutes I was kneading it before. I was rewarded with a taller, lighter, more moist bread with much more staying power. Even on day three it was still soft and delicious. How did I not know this was the neediest part of the process?! Just another moment of learning by doing, and again that background of assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating. This evaluation was a delicious one.

bread

The tomatoes are coming in earnest…

tomatoes
The tomatoes have been beautiful this year! I was so lucky this year, I planted early, and was really on the edge of the danger zone as far as things possibly getting hit by frost. Fortunately, apart from the loss of my purple beans, I did well and because of the gamble I have the earliest tomatoes ever. Usually my tomatoes are still green at the end of September and by October I am thinking about green tomato relish, and fried green tomatoes with the ones that just won’t ripen before the frost. That won’t be the case this year, I have a feeling I will be done with all tomato processing by early September, maybe even the end of August? I have already started drying some of the little Juliets that are perfect for drying. I’m reading up on recipes for good tomato sauces, canned tomatoes with spices, tomato juice, catsup, and salsas.

When the weather finally broke and the dry air rolled in, Hubby and I decided it was time for a bit of recreational fun, and so we had a saturday night shoot out in the field. We both enjoy the target practice and so it was a beautiful night to be hanging out in the field.

pink clouds

violet clouds

These views were in slightly different directions and taken at different times, but both were from the same evening, and both were beautiful!

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