Tuesday, June 26, 2012

It's an Apricot Fiesta!

 So June has been APRICOT month for me. They opened up the church apricot orchard for picking--and I picked!
 I haven't even counted up how many pints of jam, fruit leather, and dried apricots I've done, but by the time I got to the last few batches of jam, I had perfected my recipe!
 The Jalapeno--Apricots new best friend!

8 Cups cut up Apricots
1 Lemon, 1 Lime (about 1/4 cup juice)
3 Cups Organic Sugar (evaporated cane juice)
1 Cup Real Maple Syrup
1 Cup Honey
1 Cup Agave
1/2 Can Crushed Pineapple
1/2 JALAPENO--Don't be afraid to use this--it's the secret ingredient!
 That's right, you don't see pectin in the recipe. I suppose you could add it, but I like my jam a little fluid, not clumpy. You just add all the ingredients (I cut up the jalapeno and blender it up with the lemon/lime juice, so nobody gets a green chunk--you should see my first batch!) Use a very large pot because when you start to boil, it gets fluffy! Bring to a rolling boil, stirring frequently for 30 minutes.
 Before you fill your pints, add a couple of apricot nuts (shelled pits) to your jars. It enhances the flavor and they have a nice almondy kind of zing if you want to munch them later. You only need to process this for 10 minutes, then take from your canner and wait for the pings! Makes about 6 pints (more or less) of Fiesta Jam!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Hay Bale Loading

Just for fun, I wanted to share some pictures of what my kids and I did. This last Saturday my best girlfriend Jenny and her husband invited me and my kids to help them load their hay bales up in Walsburg. That sounded fun and I always jump at the chance to help them. They always do so much for me. They are some of the best people I have ever known. Our kids play together constantly and are their closest friends. This is her husband Matt and son Dain on the trailer.

 I had no idea what it would be like. We had a lot of hard work to do, but, it was so fun and soooooo beautiful!

 Caleb is in the striped shirt. The kids would roll the hay bales so the truck could drive through while we threw them onto the back of the trailers. We had 1 full bed trailer and 2 horse trailers to fill!

 Noah and I took a break for a bit and took pictures and ooooohhhd and aawwwdd at the farm equipment and the amazingness of it all and managed to snap a picture of ourselves!
 Emma,  Dain, and my dear friend Steve- from Seven Peaks- daughter Bella were trying to lift the bales of hay. Steve and Bella wanted to visit us on Saturday and decided to help us with the hay loading. These bales actually weighed A LOT! 
Below here is my girlfriend's other son Bryant and another boy Duncan. They all worked hard and did a great job! 

My favorite action picture! These men were so tough! I was totally impressed! I could pick up the bales and put them on the trailer, but over my head????? and throw them???? Wow! Needless to say, I am not feeling so great today. Mostly I have had horrible allergies from all the hay, but, my friends the herbs are keeping me company and helping me feel better. :) It was a great experience. Glad it only happens once a year. I'm plum wore out!