Summertime & Sweet Corn

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For some reason it just seems like summertime and sweet corn go together. It seems a long while back that my husband and I put those little pink colored kernels into the ground just in time for them to get rained on.

I ventured into the patch the other day and ended up coming back to the house for some  5 gallon buckets. By the time I was done going through the rows I had 4 buckets full of ears of sweet corn.

My husband helped me husk them and then it was up to me to get them ready to freeze for the coming year. Working with those ears of corn brought back lots of memories. I remember as a kid going with my folks to my uncle’s farm to pick corn to eat fresh and to freeze.

My mom would spend the entire day husking corn, blanching it, cutting it off the cob and packing those beautiful golden kernels into plastic freezer boxes. Our job, as kids, was to help with the husking. Then we would wait for mom to blanch it and cut it off the cob. There was nothing quite like sneaking slabs of cut off corn and popping them into your mouth after they had been blanched and cooled slightly.

By the time mom was done; the kitchen was hot, steamy, sticky with the milk from the kernels and corn silk seemed to be everywhere. The upside was the rows and rows of freezer boxes filled to the brim with corn and tucked into the huge chest type freezer in the basement.

I remember the first time I froze corn, as a young bride. I went to my mom in laws house and the procedure was pretty much the same as I remembered from being a kid.  The only difference was my mom in law used a huge oval copper canner on her stove for blanching the corn and when it was cut off the cob it was packed in freezer bags instead of boxes. It was so satisfying to go home with bags for my own freezer.

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There is comfort in the continuity of putting up produce. It seems to weave the generations together. I can look back and remember grandma, mom and now me doing the same task that has been done for years. Perhaps that is why I enjoy gardening; canning and preserving produce…..it has the feel of timelessness.

I remember even as a kid waiting for those first ears. There were no farmers’ markets back then and no early sweet corn in the grocery store. If you wanted sweet corn you either had to grow it yourself or know someone who did and would share.

I know other families would have corn on the cob as the vegetable with their meal. When my husband and I were kids our families had corn on the cob as the entire meal. Our moms would put big pots full of sweet corn on the burners of the stove and let them boil till those ears were a bright yellow. (There were also no varieties around here other than yellow!)

It was so delicious to slather those ears with butter, sprinkle them with salt and sink your teeth into the juicy kernels. It also was a given that the first one you ate would definitely burn the roof of your mouth and you would spend the next few days having that skin peel off. It kind of makes me wonder how many layers we did lose from the roofs of our mouths through the summertime?

I have a feeling the reason we had it as an entire meal might have been because it was cheap and filling. That may or may not have been the reason we fed it to our boys!

I have found an easier way to freeze corn than the way my mom did.  I will share the recipe with you that I use.  I have used it for many years and it has always turned out wonderful and delicious.

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Freezing Sweet Corn
4 cups sweet corn (cut off cob)
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons sugar
mix salt and sugar into the water.
pour over sweet corn and put in a freezer bag.
I have found that using a round angel food cake pan and an electric knife work great
for cutting the corn off the cob.  Prop your ear on the middle part of the pan and when you cut
the kernels will drop right into the pan.

Always do your best.
What you plant now, you will harvest later.
Og Mandino
Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/o/ogmandino164003.html

Peanut Butter Bars

Peanut Butter Bars

I have been having some issues with my blog site.  I am not sure why but it might be just the way this week is turning out.  Sometimes life just piles extra stuff on to what a person has planned.

I knew I would be spending 3 days in the hospital with a family member who had surgery. I knew that would take up my days as it was a 1 1/2 hour drive …. one way. I didn’t realize how tired I would be just sitting there!

What I did not know was that I would also be washing machine shopping (see Monday’s post). I also did not know that my blog would be having technical issues.  It would not let me into my drafts, it would not let me leave comments on those blogs I love to follow (now you know why there has been a looming silence from the Chicken Grandma), it really would not let me do anything. I do love technology …… when it works.

I will give you a little report: Surgery went well, I have my machine picked out (not many “bells and whistles” on it and that is good with me), and obviously I am back up and running in the blog department.

I should learn not to get frustrated when this stuff happens. I have learned ……slightly…..when I just walked away from the computer Wednesday and muttered, “all righty then – no blog post today.” I must admit I don’t think I was muttering graciously.

Today’s post is going to be quite short due to all the above-mentioned items and sweet corn ripening in the field that urgently needs picking and freezing. What I do have for you today is a recipe for some delicious bars.

These are some of the best bars…..I think it might be the frosting. It is the creamiest, smoothest frosting and tastes wonderful due to the peanut butter in it. When eating these I try console myself that they do contain protein in the form of peanut butter…….it might be a delusion but I am sticking to it.

Peanut Butter Bars
1 Cup white sugar
1 Cup brown sugar
1/2 Cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup oleo
1 Cup creamy peanut butter
1 Lg. egg
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 Cups flour
1/2 Tablespoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon salt
Cream sugars, shortening, oleo, peanut butter and vanilla for  minutes.
Add eggs and mix 2 minutes.
Add rest of the ingredients.
Bake at 350° for 25 minutes
Frosting
3 1/2 Cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 Sticks oleo
1/2 Cup peanut butter
1/2 Tablespoon vanilla
1/3 Cup milk

OOPS!!!!!   Someone called to my notice that I forgot pan size. I use a jelly roll, cookie sheet, bar pan (whatever you call it) approximately 11×15 pan.
and it works really good if you do not spread it all the way to the edges as it tends to expand a lot.

And now I am wondering what do you do when life throws you some things that you really think are one to many at a time?  I am personally working with myself on the verse below. I have to say it is not always easy….especially when it involves my laptop!

  Whoever is  slow to anger has great understanding,
but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.

Proverbs 14:29

 

 

Washing Machines I Have Known.

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I have decided there never is an opportune time for appliances to decide to die. I was planning to do my laundry this afternoon after a weekend of family being here to visit. The mound of towels that needed washing was very impressive. (In a sad way).

I put some work jeans into the machine and left it to do it’s job. When I came back in the house I could smell burning rubber……this is never a good sign!  I ran to the laundry room and discovered my washer smoking, making a squealing noise, and NOT spinning for the spin cycle.

I have no idea if it is just the belt or something like the transmission.  My husband’s theory is to go and look at new ones as this one is 12+ years old. It probably has paid it’s dues doing that many years of farm laundry.

Thinking about washing machines brings back some fond and some not so fond memories of the first machine I used as a new bride. My mom in law gave us her vintage Maytag wringer washer. She used this machine for her family until she got an automatic.

I will never forget the time my husband left to go hunting and I went to the basement to do laundry.  I put the agitator in the machine and heard an odd squeaking. When I took the agitator back out and looked inside with a flashlight I discovered a bat!  Not a Louisville slugger but a living breathing mouse on wings!  I did not get any laundry done that day……

I also found that if the wringer part of this machine does not release the only way to get your fingers out of the wringer is to put it in reverse and back them out. That is something you only do once and wish you hadn’t even done it that many times.

Once we moved to the farm I got an automatic that lasted quite a few years. I would hate to guess how many loads of cloth diapers I put through that machine.

When my oldest son was probably 3 years old I discovered him in the entry, on a chair, playing in the washer as it was running. (This was back in the day when there was no safety features that shut the washer off when the lid was opened.) Prior to playing in the washer he had dropped a couple dozen eggs out of the egg basket onto the floor. Once he had accomplished that he proceeded to climb on the chair and snag diapers as they swirled around in the wash machine. He then tossed them, wringing wet and soapy, onto the slimy egg covered entry floor. I remember laughing because there really was not much else I could do. At least I laughed until I tried to clean the slime and found that egg white just sort of keeps smearing around and is hard to wipe up.

My husband is full of good suggestions on what to do in my crisis moment of being washing machine deprived.  His ideas run the gamut from taking the laundry down to the river and beating it on some rocks to hauling out the old Maytag out of the back of the shed……..I think I will just go shopping for a new machine.  It could be my sense of adventure has dulled over the years.

A new machine might not be as “exciting” as using a vintage Maytag but I am okay with that.

“You don’t realize
how many clothes you have,
until you wash them.”
Unknown