Bread and butter pickles in a mason jar. There...Image via Wikipedia

It has been particularly hot this summer.  Oh sure there was that late freeze, back when my apple trees were all in bloom, that destroyed my fledgling raspberry plants and seriously stunted my baby strawberries, and just generally insured that we would have no fruit on the farm this year.  Add that to the discovery that the power company, which has a right of way across the back of our land, mysteriously sprayed only the quarter mile or so where last year we picked a bumper crop of wild blackberries (which were ready around the same time as the baby!), and it adds up to little or no jam to make this year.

 

Jam is a staple here, with all of the lunches we pack each day for school and work, homemade jam from our own fruit is a special, as well as economical favorite around here.  However, in some sort of divine balancing act, we have had the best year ever for cucumbers.  I planted just four plants, perhaps a tad early, and we have been literally over run.  They even outproduced the zucchini!  I have taken three or four bushels out so far, and despite the fact that the dreaded cucumber bug is now starting to attack as evidenced by the drying dead leaves, I still have maybe half a bushel more waiting down there. With that many cukes, you just gotta make pickles.  So far we I have made about 35 quarts of bread and butter pickles, and 7 quarts of dill.  All hot water bathed and stacked neatly on the shelves in the pantry downstairs, they await the school year when they will be turned into pickle and cheese sandwiches and fill lunchbags and stomachs.  (This year I have used a packaged brand of pickling spices by Mrs. Wages® , though, I must try to find my mother’s recipe, handed down from her mother and her mother.  They were better, though just slightly, but they were a lot more work.  If and when I do I will post it.  (The Mrs. Wages are nearly as good though, and way easier)

 

Of course, all that pickling and canning had to take place as usual, during the hottest, muggiest weather of July.  Today, though, I awoke to the sound of a Thunderstorm overhead.  It is cooler, and not a lot will be done outside this morning.  Oh how I wish I had some fruit to make at least a pie.  We may just have to buy in…

 

 

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