It may be a late night tonight. This afternoon we discovered our bean patch had really popped with the hot, muggy weather, so we picked a ton of green beans and got started with the processing. By the time I go to bed tonight, we will have processed 42 quarts of beans! We still have canned beans from last year, but if our corn doesn't mature before our first frost we will be eating more beans, and I want to make sure we have enough for ourselves and company before we attempt to sell the rest.
I had my first jar casualty in the last batch ... Most of my jars have been purchased from local elderly ladies, and I must have used a jar that was past its prime. At least the bottom broke cleanly away from the rest of the jar and I didn't have shards of glass floating inside the canner along with beans. It has been so much fun to talk canning with the elderly ladies that answered my ad for jars; they are actually excited that someone would take up doing something like that. Most of them have asked me how large our garden is and what I plan to can. I also advertised for another gauge style pressure canner, and a lady that used to live up here in the hills called to say I could have hers for free. She said it probably needed a new seal and for the gauge to be recalibrated, since she hadn't used it since they moved to town about 10 years ago. This lady is 86 and her husband 92. I'm hoping to go visit her some day, but it may be after I find some breathing room in between canning sessions.
It's hard to believe that before moving to the country I hadn't canned anything but raspberry jam. The Lord has been so gracious in providing wonderful mentors from which to learn the various processes. Last year I asked Jim to help me through my first experience in pressure canning. He was very gracious and read the directions and walked me through the process. We learned together!
How wonderful it has been to just walk into the garden and pick out enough items to have a salad: Lettuce, cucumbers, a few tomatoes (if I get them before the chickens do!), green pepper, broccoli and zucchini. I must admit that during the Y2k time I attempted to grow a few items in the city, and one of those things was strawberries. I planted them in my front flower garden. The strange thing was once they started producing a few berries I decided I didn't want to eat them because they hadn't come from the store! In my mind, store bought items were superior to what I could grow. I think I figured my home grown produce might have bugs in them or something. What a change it has been for me! I am constantly amazed at how a small seed can produce so much. I was thinking about that this afternoon when picking green beans, because I noted how one seed produces a stalk that grows into a bush and ultimately produces a lot more seeds inside the bean pods.