Saturday, August 4, 2012

Garden Creatures and Canning

So, I asked for Tattler reusable canning lids for my birthday--yes, I'm dorky like that! I really only wanted them for "storage" and didn't intend to can anything since I was well into pregnancy by this point of the summer. Well, my husband, as he often does, got into the research on these while ordering and decided he wanted to grow his canning skills as a result. 

We had a small raised bed garden, a la Square Foot Garden style, this summer. It's in our front yard. Yes, you read that right. FRONT! Some people in more urban areas have had issues with this, but we live out in the country. This was really the only patch of sunny yard that isn't overshadowed by the trees. 

Back to my point, of the story--you can see my husband canning above. He's an even bigger dork as he  bought me a canner on top of the jar lids. We had friends and family that offered (and we tried one) the use of their canners to try them out. I made the man PROMISE not to buy anything until we tried different ones. He couldn't resist and had one hiding in the garage for "me" (er, HIM) for several weeks after my birthday before he unveiled his purchase. I'm not sure if we needed it, but it is great quality and fits well on our stove or for using out on the front porch with a turkey fryer. We'll use it more next year. Note a household of boys that live in the country--the front porch becomes the dumping ground for all things recreational, including the rock collection.

I digressed--again! This post was really about the caterpillar my husband found in the garden while picking jalapenos for salsa. Childhood amazement and entertainment, my friends! We put in a bug jar for a short time for observations.

Are you good for our garden or bad? I need to ID this guy soon. This looks like a good flow chart to try. Still have so much to learn about gardening (squash bugs!). The Master Gardener program would be great!

By the way, we found a great source for canning veggies without growing them all. Wakarusa Produce Auction is a good way to buy lots of produce at once from local farmers. We went a couple of times and bought corn, tomatoes, and peaches to can. These were all locally grown and picked fresh--NOT shipped several days before getting to us. It's interesting to learn the rhythm and flows of an auction. While prices fluctuate, they seemed fair and less or comparable to others low price baseline for canning.