4 gallon crock + 2o pounds of shredded cabbage + pickling salt = A whole lot of sauerkraut!
This was my first time making sauerkraut and after reading many recipes I decided on the old fashioned way to do it. I used the recipe out of Putting Food By, by Janet Greene and made it in an old family crock. My Dad gave this crock to me not too long ago. I'm sure he intended as decoration or storage (it came with 35+ year old news papers of the moon landing and other major headlines). I don't think he had intended me to use it for a more practical purpose and maybe after the 5Th quart of gifted sauerkraut he'll hope he had never given it to me. I just love the idea of using it for like they did back when it was made in 1908.
I shredded cabbage from the garden using my Kitchen Aid mixer attachment to do all the shredding, it work fabulously and went really fast! I layered two pounds of shredded cabbage in the bottom of a 4 gallon crock with a 2 1/2 teaspoons of pickling salt. I then packed the cabbage down with the bottom of a jar and repeated until I reached twenty pounds of cabbage. The cabbage leaches water and creates a brine with the salt (this happens astonishingly fast).
I covered the cabbage with a cotton cloth, placed a plate that fit snugly in the crock and put a gallon jar full of water on top to keep the plate under the brine level. It is important to change the cloth and clean the plate everyday, the recipe says to scrape the "scum" of the top, but so far I have not seen any, only yellows brine.

Twice I have had to make a week solution o brine to
add to the crock to keep the liquid above the cabbage, 11/2 teaspoons of pickling salt to 1 cup water.
A few of the recipes I have read disagree on the time to let it ferment, 10 days to 4 weeks is what I am going with.
The fermentation period also depends on the temperature at which you keep the sauerkraut. The lower the temp the longer the process, the most important thing is to keep the temp as constant as possible and never above 72 degrees (it will spoil).
I am going to can mine once it is ferment because I could never use 20 pounds of sauerkraut fast enough (I can't even imagine trying) and it would be nice to give some away (isn't it just what everyone wanted). You could keep it in the crock and use what you need as long as you keep the brine level about the cabbage. I'll let you know how the canning goes.


A Showman is Born!

We have been done with fair for a few weeks now, but I just haven't gotten around to sharing a few really sweet photos. I am the 4-h co-superintendent of the sheep barn @ the Kitsap County Fair and Stampede, along with my mother who is the other co-superintendent. It is a busy job that requires us to live at the fair all week. I love it! I have always loved the fair and have only missed one since I was 10 years old when I started showing my sheep in 4-H. I even made it the two years I was really pregnant with each of my sons, who were born in Aug and Sept (the fair is the last week of Aug), the youngest was born the Sunday of fair.

Anyway, this year was a whole different kind of experience with
two little ones with me all week. Thanks to my mother, I could not have done it without her.
My oldest got to show his first sheep in a show called Lads and Ladies Lead. It is not a costume show, but instead it is to display wool as a functional material to wear and to promote the wool industry. We had a great turn out in contestants this year, it is open to all ages and garments. Whether the outfit is knit or sewn, second hand or commercially bought, there is a category for all. I didn't have any of my own sheep at the fair, so my son borrowed the cutest Shetland ewe, she was the perfect size. I was amazed at how well he walked her around the arena, he is used to sheep, but not leading them around on a lead. He won his category and Grandma won for her hand sewn, green vest of Pendelton wool he wore. It sure was a lot of fun! We also had fun with some silly photos of daddy and the boys with Uncle Burt ( a dummy we take to fair every year). He is a really popular guy, everyone loves to get their picture with him (and of course he is stuffed with wool and has a great hair piece made from wool).


A Cake To Remember

Happy Birthday Boys!
My boys have their birthdays with in weeks of each other, so to make life a little easier on myself and my family we gathered their birthday celebrations into one smashing day. I know this won't go over well every year, but since they're 1 and 3 they don't have much say or care.
And of course we were doing two in one, it had to be good. The whole family was invited and we did a BBQ on the deck and totally lucked out on the beautiful weather.
My three year old is really into trains, especially "Tommy" (Thomas the Tank Engine), yes we are on a nickname basis we know him that well. So I had a simple and sweet idea, to incorporate a vessel which uses locomotion, into the commotion, in the form of a train cake.
What you see was not my first idea. Note the 30+ individually decorated cake pieces, hand laid candy track surrounded by coconut grass, all laid out on a 2 X 4 foot board covering the whole dinning room table.
My mother had come home the week before with a cake pan with 9 individual train car cups, what fun! It looked like a great idea. After baking 4 pans worth of snickerdoodle cake the morning of, just to get enough for the party (not counting the practice run to make sure I could get the cake out of the pan) By the way, on a side note, for situations such as these baking spray with flour in it (yes it exists) is worth the small investment. I and many others (Thanks everyone!) were busy decorating each train car with frosting and candy as guests trickled in.
It turned out great, better than I had expected, each person and child could pick the car they wanted and it took every kid there to help blow out the candles. I can tell you this though, it most defiantly will not be repeated every year.


I'm Back!

Oh my gosh! Is it over yet? I don't really meant that, it's just that this summer has been soooo busy, I just now sat down and took a breath. I think in my last blog I was counting down the days till summer was in full swing and now I feel like I blinked and it is September. Time for Isaac to go back to preschool, the boys birthdays and fall to creep slowly (faster than I think) into view. I have do so much this summer that I couldn't possibly go back, except maybe to show you my first sewing project (yes, believe it or not sewing is a newer hobby for me), I'll have to show you later. Along with the 20 lbs of sauerkraut I made two days ago and the oh so cute sweater for Gavin that I am almost done with. Well the pictures will have to wait. You know it is really nice to be blogging again I hope my readers will come back!

Inspirational Growing Quotes

"Gardening requires lots of water-most of it in the form of perspiration."
~ Lou Erickson, www.quotegarden.com