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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

International Can-It Forward Day 2016!!!!

Ball Brand Can-It Forward Day 2016
It's that time of the year again! When our gardens and the U-Pick-Its are starting to really produce. When it's time to start canning! When Ball® brand has there International Can-It Forward Event with lots of opportunities to learn and win  Ball® products!

So a little personal history before I start reviewing and talking about the AMAZING jam my daughter made...

I canned as a kid with my mom, and when I was invited to be a part of International Can-It-Forward, used the opportunity to teach my daughter to can. Since then, we have not bought any jams or jellies. That's one way I canned it forward- by learning from my mother and teaching my daughter.

This year, my garden had enough excess from my perennials that I was able to give plants to my friends to grow their own berries and rhubarb. That's another way to Can-It Forward- by sharing plants that you know are good producers with friends who like to can.

My daughter and I can a lot of jams and jellies and give them to friends and local charities. That's another way to Can-It Forward. Friends from hotter states see my raspberries and get excited knowing they will get some of the amazing jam made from it.

You can also teach people to can, give them a basic supply kit to start in small scale canning. That's another great way to Can-It Forward.

You can take the pledge here to learn about canning and share the love of canning and learn what Ball® brand is doing for charities in the spirit of Can-It Forward. You will also get a 5.00 off coupon for the Fresh Preserving Store for taking the pledge!

#canitforward Strawberry Rhubarb Jam

This year, the fine people at  Ball® brand sent me their new cookbook, The All New Book of Canning and Preserving, a case of those gorgeous blue wide mouth jars you see in the background of this photo and a $5.00 off coupon for the Fresh Preserving Store and will give the same thing to one of my lucky readers in the U.S.A.!!  Leave a comment to enter and we will pick a name at random to win on the 24th! Shipping will be directly from the prize supplier, and I'll need a way to contact the winner to get the information- email, FB page or Twitter account. 

So the book? We went through the recipes and there are a lot we are planning to try. My son is particularly enthused about the Fiery Fermented Hot Sauce recipe that uses habanero peppers. I like the idea of making my own Worcestershire sauce because we use it a lot. But it's the jellies and jams that we always look at first. We made the Strawberry-Rhubarb jam on page 30. There are soup recipes, instructions for making kombucha and other fermented goodness, sauces, seasoning mixes and all sorts of other yumminess that makes fantastic gifts or ways to save money and provide good food for your family and friends. 

Just as an aside, a couple weeks I commented on a photo on Ball Canning on Facebook  that I can never grow enough strawberries to can my own. A lot of people liked the comment so apparently I'm not the only one! We bought strawberries, but rhubarb, that amazing plant, we have plenty of that. So we chose between this and a rhubarb-orange marmalade. 

The jam is fantastic!! If you like Strawberry-rhubarb pie, you'll love this jam. It's like having dessert for breakfast. As soon as the photo above was taken, my daughter grabbed the English muffin. I think her face says it all. 
#canitforward - Eating a muffin with strawberry-rhubarb jam

The book is full of great recipes that are clearly written with the steps written out very well for beginners. Like any of the Ball® publications, it has photo step by steps for canning methods.

If your a more visual learner, be sure to tune in on the Ball Canning Facebook page on Friday July 22nd for videos from 10:00AM – 3:30PM ET. Each hour, viewers will have the chance to win a giveaway prize!

During those hours, there will also be experts answering questions on their Twitter page- @BallCanning  #canitforward

You can also post things on Pinterest and Instagram using #canitforward and check out their Pinterest page here- Ball® Canning on Pinterest, BallCanning on Instagram.

Ooh..  I just opened this book at random and found a recipe for Summer Bounty Zucchini Relish that looks fantastic. I need to check my garden and see how my zucchini is doing.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

July geometric mandala to print and color

Geometric mandala with a blank version for coloring

It's really warm here- I was going to post this yesterday but my computer room was just entirely too warm so I put off finishing coloring until this morning.

Print and color this mandala!!! Click the images below for larger versions.

Small jpg:
Geometric mandala to print and color- available in jpg and transparent png format. Click through for the best version.

Large png version:




Thursday, July 7, 2016

Garden photo post!

First, I just have to show off my brand new strawberries. These were a gift from my darling husband- they are called Tristans and the flowers are very nearly the same shade I use for my logo-






Isn't that beautiful? It's really very productive, and the berries aren't as good as my French strawberries, but they are so pretty and they do taste better than store bought.



Yes. I know that one isn't quite ripe- it's in TG's hand and I told her she could pick one strawberry to eat and she decided she wanted the biggest one. Even if it wasn't quite ripe.

Tristans are great for containers, and don't send out many runners- that's where my French strawberries have the edge. I can have a couple mother plants plus plants to get flowers/berries. This one did send out a couple runners, so I rooted in them in larger pots.

To root them, I mixed up some organic container soil with a fair amount of compost and some perlite to keep the pots and mix light. Because Anchorage is just on the edge of the "safe" zone for these, I plan to over winter under the porch. I took the ends of the runners with the little root nodes and pinned them down with hair pins to root. The one on the left has flowers on it now.

(yes. My yard is mostly weeds, because we eat them and they are better for bees and butterflies than a manicured lawn. Making a virtue of laziness!)

My house needs painting so badly!! But these are my rhubarbs. Plural. At the start of the year, it was one HUGE rhubarb that desperately needed to be split. The really nice thing about rhubarb, strawberries and raspberries is that with care- you can give people plants for virtually free. My husband helped me dig it up and split it in very early spring- as soon as the ground was workable. We split it into 8 parts and gave 4 of them to friends and planted the other 4- with lots of compost. They are HUGE now and I keep looking at the biggest one and thinking "I could have gotten 3 plants off that."

My raspberries!!! They are out of control and trying to take over the world!

There will be SO much raspberry jam! I posted a picture to my FB timeline, which my brother liked. I said "You're just liking it because you know TG will insist on giving you jam." and he said "I do like raspberry jam."

So.. sugar peas are a regular thing in our garden. Peas are excellent nitrogen fixers- and this year we decided to try a different kind. There are a couple of excellent Alaskan seed companies that specialize in seeds that do well in our short season- Foundroot out of Haines, Alaska is where I got my Sugar Ann snap peas-

Mine are in beds, but these would be *great* container peas. They don't grow super tall- only about 3-4 feet so they don't actually need trellising but I really like the look of those plant spirals. They are prolific. We are ALL eating handfuls of peas and loving them.

 If you like Foundroot, tell them hi from me! Maybe I'll get lucky and they'll offer me a discount next year!

Also in my garden-
nasturtiums- also from Foundroot and grown from seed, these things have gotten HUGE this year.
Lots and lots of lettuce-it makes a quick bed filler and works well in all sorts of things
Dragon carrots from Foundroot- these are actually growing very well in containers, and TG made a stew using the thinnings with their big frilly leaves and it was so good! The frilly leaves taste a bit like parsley, and the carrots have this wonderful sweet/spicy flavor that makes them a favorite.
Tomatoes- stupice and um.. I forget!
Violas and marigolds
Radishes
Sunflowers
Dark Star Zucchini- also from Foundroot, also a good container plant. The zucchini has an open bush habit so it doesn't need trellising and I grew them last year- they are delicious.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Stars and stripes rosette mandala to color

Stars and Stripes mandala with a blank version to print and color


Happy 4th! I hope you enjoy this printable mandala.

Click the images below for larger versions to print and color.


Small jpg:
Print and color this mandala in jpg or png format. Click through for the best version.

Large transparent png:
Print and color this mandala in jpg or png format. Click through for the best version.
Click  HERE to download more patriotic mandalas and printable projects! 

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