It has been hot here, and not just hot, it has been humid. The breeze has been slightly absent also, which is both good and bad. When James went downtown at 3:30 it said 96 on the bank thermometer. Later in the day the radio said there was a heat index warning, so it was dangerous to be outside.
Yesterday when I hung clothes on the line, the towels dried almost stiff. I didn’t even bother washing anything today; it was more than I could handle dragging it in and out. I did spend nearly an hour outside watering the cans and other parts of the garden. The cosmos actually got the most from the hose. After watering, I decided to pick what was available. I started with the tomatoes, just a few there. Next I found several zucchini both yellow and green that were a bit over sized. The cucumbers were not bad, but mostly I was looking for a few that I could use in a pint jar. I had planned to pickle another batch of beans and figured I might be one jar short of a canner kettle. Boy that phrase just sounded like a slur. “She’s one jar short of a canner kettle.” Ha!!
Anyway, I spent another hour picking the beans, and by that time it was getting pretty hot. The sweat was running down my face and I was a mess because of the dried grass sticking to me and the dirt and everything. I ended up doing as much weeding and clearing out bad plants from the weeds as I picked beans. I ended up with a pail of beans, which was just enough for the 6 pints that I was aiming for.
I also picked some lettuce, one bell pepper, a few red chili peppers and about 3/4 a pail of jalapeños. I took the largest two from every plant to allow more to grow. And this all started because I decided to check on the pumpkins and gourds. I ended up pinching off as many of the runners as I could find on the pumpkins. It is time they quite spinning and put their efforts into the pumpkins of which there are enough to keep us busy most of the fall. Good thing we don’t have apples this year.
Before I mention the rest of the day, I have to show and tell these crazy zucchini. We planted green and yellow, but some of the seeds were taken from a green one last year, and somehow we are getting these strange-looking crossed variety that you can see on the table. I know these are larger than most people like them. We normally use these cut up in stir fry or grated to use in zucchini bread or cake. Currently there are 22 of the darlings on the table. I am thinking that Sunday, Paulina will get up and leave church during the sermon and put one in each unlocked car parked near church. Oh, and we have 30+ cucumbers that she might have to do the same thing with.
Back to the story: So after I proved to myself that I only had enough beans for 6 pints, I went back to the garden to find just enough small cucumbers to pickle one pint of small ones. I ended up getting some larger medium sized ones and had to also pickle a quart. By the time I was finished finding my little ones, I also had another 8-10 large cucumbers including one that it way too big for regular eating. I am thinking that one may end up in an experiment as I found a recipe for candied cucumbers. I will let you know if I really try that.
So the pickled bean recipe which is based on the one I got from my sister, Kathy goes something like this.
Wash and prepare your beans, clean jars and pack them. Into each jar put the following (I prefer to put these items in first and pack around them). 1 garlic clove, 1 head of fresh dill, 1 red pepper. The brine is 4 cups of water/4 cups of white vinegar (5% acidity) and 1/2 cup of canning salt. Bring the brine to a boil and pour over packed jars. Make sure to fill your jars so the brine leaves 1/2 of space. Process for 20 minutes. For the pickles I used the same ingredients and brine, but added 1 teaspoon of pickling spice. I will see if it is any better than the pickles I did up two years ago. I can only hope.