Thursday, September 22, 2011

My new project!

Like I don't have enough going on, right? Well, if you must know, I really don't have enough going on, but taking on a huge project like this is still pretty daunting.

You may not know this, but my father-in-law, James Strombotne is an unbelievably incredible artist. He's been painting since the mid '50's, and has been garnered with awards and fellowships and has really famous people collecting his art.

My all time fave Strombotne painting
Red Nude
With the hopes of even more exposure in this tech savvy world, and with the help of my husband and his computer guy, Nick Brunson, because normal people cannot understand anything about Wordpress, I have taken on another blog called Studio Strombotne. Although we're still building and working out kinks, (Wordpress, right?) I feel its time to unveil the canvas. (Like the arty reference? Canvas, get it?)

And I can't tell you how thrilled we are about James' art being included in the Pacific Standard Time art event of the century!

So, I hope you stop by and visit, and let me know what you think about the new project! But please be kind, we still are changing and tweeking here and there, but I'd love your bloggy input, too!

See you there! I mean, here!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

When life gives you tomatoes...

So what if it's the hottest day of the year. I have too many tomatoes, and by god, I'm going to attempt to can them!

Down to the garden I go to collect LOTS of tomatoes. Did I mention that it's down 27 stairs? And the chicken coop, did I also mention that it's down 27 stairs?

Oh, and speaking of chickens... today when I went to go feed my precious hens, one was missing. Yup, gone. Trying not to panic, and trying to assess the situation, hmmm... no sign of blood and guts, so no coyote or raccoon had gotten her. Everything was locked up tight. I looked inside the coop, outside in the run. She was gone! Wha? As I scratched my head, I decided to start poking around in the coop. I started to move the food can, that's when I saw her. She was all squashed up in the corner. My heart sunk.

Wait a minute, she was nesting! Did you know that chickens don't always ever want to lay in their nesting boxes (that we so carefully built for them)? Nope, they want to lay wherever the heck they want. And really, who can blame them? So under missy chicken was 4 eggs she and the others had tucked away. As of now, the egg laying count is 5 out of 8 of the hens!! Hooray!! Maybe, just maybe, I'll never have to buy $4 eggs again!! Ah well, life on the farm, right?

Soooo, back to the tomatoes and making life hotter than it's supposed to be.

I decided to make stewed tomatoes. A dumb idea in this blazing heat? I am not going to answer that.

First, cut an x in the bottom of tomato and dip into a nearly boiling bath for a few minutes, until skins start to separate. Remove from heat and place into an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

No, wait. First, first - sterilize jars and lids. You can run them through your dishwasher, or boil them in hot water, or if you're like me, I quickly boiled water in my microwave and put the lids in the boiling water, then microwaved the jars.

Then peel them all. It's kind of a pain, but not nearly as much as deseeding all of these buggars. That was a real pain.

I added about 2 pints of water and added all of the peeled, quartered and deseeded tomatoes, adding some basil, also from the garden after about 10 minutes. There were probably about 3 lbs of tomatoes altogether, and I brought them to a slow boil, about 30 minutes. I'm very accurate when I cook, as you can tell.

Pouring into the jars. Sorry it's blurry, but 1. I stink at photography, and 2. it's really hard to take pictures while pouring hot stuff into jars. You'll see when you try this!

Into the boiling water for the final step. I read somewhere that this only takes 20 minutes because they've already been cooking. So, 20 minutes it was.

Voila! (Sorry, still blurry!) Ready for a cold winters day. I'll probably have to do this again soon, my tomato crop is still going strong. Never having done this before, next time I think I'll keep the stewing going a little longer, maybe about 45 minutes.

Why do I feel like Old McDonald? E I E I OH.