Weekending

Some pictures from our weekend.  It was full and it went fast but it was pretty great.

Fall gardens getting going and a couple of new places for planting.

Seeds are slowly getting planted and seedlings are sprouting.

This little guys so badly wants to be just like his daddy.  He’ll even stand on a bucket to reach the work bench.

And these two little girls…. growing up way to quickly.  I can barely catch my breath but I am amazed by the young women they are becoming.  I’m hoping that the dirty faces and shy smiles stick around for a while longer.

I am one lucky mama.

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Small-Batch, Homemade Applesauce

We had an amazing Labor Day weekend.  One of the best weekends in recent memory.

We headed three hours south to the little town of Willcox, Arizona and did some serious apple picking. It was so much fun and only a *tiny* bit hot and humid.  (Ok…. maybe it was a lot bit hot and humid….  but we’re trying to keep it positive here.)

So, we went apple picking and it was our first time doing so as a family.  We had a great time and came back with a little over 40 pounds of apples.  My plan is to do a large batch of applesauce and can it (!).  (Don’t worry…. my mom is coming to help me, so I won’t be able to screw it up and therefore we won’t all die of botulism.  Phew.)  But, honestly, who can wait all that time for yummy, fresh applesauce?   Certainly not me, nor my husband, nor our three adorable children.

So, what’s a mommy to do?

Well, let me tell you.  This mommy took to the internet for a quick and easy, small-batch, applesauce recipe.  And you know what?  I couldn’t find one!  And some of you might be saying that this is because applesauce is really easy and who the HECK needs a recipe for it?  Well, I’ll tell you who – this girl does!  So, I looked over the large batch recipes and came up with my own.

Here you go….. the Five Little Homesteaders’ small-batch applesauce recipe!


Ingredients
6-ish apples (We had two varieties – red delicious and criterion.)
1/2-3/4 cups of water (enough to have about 1/2 inch in the bottom of the pot)
1/4 cup sugar (Now, before you go jumping all over me, yes, I used refined, white sugar.  You could certainly use this - http://amzn.to/174m0x1 or this - http://amzn.to/1dBKId1 in place of it.  Or if you are really serious about the whole no sugar thing, you can omit it altogether.)
1 tbsp lemon juice - http://amzn.to/19dI4W7
1/4 tsp of cinnamon - http://amzn.to/137cTuK or apple pie spice - http://amzn.to/1fvAyrc (I used apple pie spice, which is just a combo of spices.)

Directions
1.  Peel and slice your apples.  (I use this thing - http://amzn.to/174mbIA for slicing apples.  It is a life saver.  I use it daily for the kids.)

2.  Put the apples and everything else into a pot.

3.  Heat on medium until the water starts to boil then reduce to simmer.
4.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
5.  Smash your apples up. (Careful they are hot!)  You can use a simple potato-type masher - http://amzn.to/1fvAAzc if you don’t mind chunks (which we don’t) or you can use a food processor - http://amzn.to/1fvAE1V .  You can even use a food mill - http://amzn.to/18n0l29 , if you’re that hardcore.
6.  Enjoy while hot!  You’ll be in heaven, I promise.

Do you make applesauce?  What is your secret ingredient?

           

Tasty Tuesday Linkup

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Weekending

This weekend was nice and quiet.  We stuck close to home and enjoyed each others company.  It was perfect.  Here are a few glimpses into our days….
Tomatoes were defrosted for pizza sauce making. 
Gardens were checked and signs of life can still be found.  Planting season is upon us!  I simply cannot wait to start getting some dirt under these fingernails. 
Despite the sweltering temperatures, coops were cleaned. 

We fell down a couple of times.

But we got back up and remembered to stop and smell the roses basil.

And this little (or not-so-little) one turned four.  FOUR!  My baby is four.

Sorry… I have to sit down.  This life of mine is going by too quickly.

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Weekending & a few Notes from the Garden

This weekend has been a quiet one – hanging around home, hitting up the grocery store, playing naked in the backyard.  You know, just your usual summertime activities. 
On Friday night a monsoon blew through to the south of us.  We didn’t get any rain (can’t remember the last time it rained), but the storm did cool us down.  We took the opportunity to hit up the playground – an activity that Arizona kids usually have to wait until fall to enjoy.  
This little guys is growing up so fast.  I just can’t keep up with him.  I’m half heartedly working on weaning, but since it is beginning to look like he will be our last, I’m in less of a hurry than I used to think I was.  

This girl is my sweetheart.  She is tender and emotional, just like her mama.  She needs to be taken care of and treated gently.  I love her so.  

My rule-follower, my heart, my big girl.  She will be four next month.  Four!  How did that happen?  I remember when she was a teeny-tiny baby – my first.  I remember endless days rocking her to sleep and wondering when things would ever get back to “normal.”  And now look…..  I’m beginning to think “normal” is very, very far from what I *really* want.  
And now…. a little news from our garden….

Summer hits hard in Phoenix and takes a good garden down in a matter of days.  Eggplant is one thing that loves the heat and I do enjoy a nice eggplant.  

Unfortunately, the ants seem to love my eggplant, too……  Can you see those little jerks?  They crawl all over the plant and bore holes into the stems, sucking out liquid I presume.  I’m having a heck of a time getting rid of them.  

Pumpkin plants are taking off.  

Armenian cucumbers are getting big.  

Remember our children’s garden?  This is what it looks like now.  We had some really productive and huge cucumber vines but when we ripped those out, we found all of this bermuda grass invading from the neighbor’s yard on the other side of the fence.  We’re coming up with new plans for rebuilding (bigger and better) in the fall.  

And finally, a lone egg but don’t let it deceive you.  I’ve been consistently collecting 5-6 eggs a day from our girls.  We are in egg eating heaven. 
What’s going on in your neck of the woods? 

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Weekending

As with a lot of the country, this weekend was hot.  Temperatures reached nearly 120…. in the SHADE.  We got out early, while still in our pajamas, to get some garden work done and make sure the chickens were prepared for the heat.  
Here are a few photos that I snapped.  Hope you all stayed cool. 

Standard, legally required, Endorsement Disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

Weekending

Standard, legally required, Endorsement Disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

Weekending

Standard, legally required, Endorsement Disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

Weekending

A lazy three day weekend is happening over here.

We are staying home, doing yard work in the morning while it is still relatively cool, visiting with family and taking it easy.

The kids and I started seeds late last week and I stopped by our favorite, locally-owned nursery - http://www.bakernurseryaz.com/  for a couple of hot weather necessities, i.e. four different types of eggplants and a six-pack of Armenian Cucumbers.  I was beginning to think that I wouldn’t get to planting our hot weather veggies this year.  I’m glad that I was wrong.

Some shots from our day.

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