Fiesta Salsa Recipe

It was 9:20 pm Saturday night and I was walking to the garden, again, aided by a head lamp, with scissors and a measuring cup.

Because I wanted to make salsa that morning. Here is how my Saturday actually went.

I had to hit the farmer’s market before I could start. I needed a few items that weren’t quite ready in my garden. I had tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini in the house that needed to be used soon but did not have peppers or garlic yet. I got up early, ran down to my jar supply, gathered a plethera of pints, realized that I only had 2 lids in my canning supply. I suppose I could pilfer the 5 new jelly jars with lids. I have to get more today, I need to get going on pickles too.

Only first I had to take girl child to the dentist at 7:30 am. Yes there is a dentist open, not just on weekends, but early morning weekends. We finished at the dentist, and visited two stores to pick up the perfect birthday gift for her BFF. Finally, we are at the farmer’s market. I had taken a photo of my recipe before I left the house, that way I could check that I had all the ingredients. Of course once we were there I only glanced at it, and remembered I needed garlic and hot peppers. Got them plus a few extras – like fresh made irish soda bread! So good toasted with butter slathered all over. Also good with honey. Mmmm.

We got home, and I started chopping tomatoes. I even took the time to squeeze out the seeds. This is a step I usually ignore because it seems like a waste, but then I realize later that the salsa is too liquidy, so I tried to follow the recipe. Except I only had 5.5 cups of tomatoes in the house. So off I traipse to the garden. You may be interested to know that our garden is at the opposite end of our property, away from our house by about 1/4 mile. I pick all the ripe tomatoes, promising my garden I will be back to pick the cucumbers and zucchinis, and maybe pull a few weeds, and see if there are any remaining peas, or beans. And yikes those turnips have to get processed today!

Back in the kitchen, I now have 7 cups of tomatoes, seeded, and chopped. I start on the next ingredient, 2 cups chopped, seeded, peeled cucumbers. This the is the main reason I chose this recipe. If you garden you know there are always too many zucchini, and the same can often apply to cucumbers, and tomatoes. I had searched the internet and found several recipes for zucchini in salsa, but none of them were canned, so I checked my blue book, and found the Fiesta Salsa. It contains cucumbers, which I discovered over the years of too many zucchini to deal with easily, could be substituted for cucumbers in most canning recipes. Bread and butter zucchini pickles are amazing by the way.

I seeded and chopped, but did not peel, 1 cup of cucumbers and 1 cup of zucchini. I didn’t want to chance the flavor too much, and I don’t believe in peeling cucumbers or zucchini. Such a waste, althought I’m sure there is a reason the recipe planner wanted me to peel them.

Next ingredent, hot peppers, several kinds, equalling 4 cups. I removed seeds, and threw them into the food processor. I’m a whimp when it comes to spice so I got a few medium hot peppers, and most mild hot peppers.

Then I was called away to help unload the animal feed from the truck. I realized in that moment that the feed shed really had to be cleaned, since I had officially evicted the chickens who had been calling it a coop for the last year. I emptied and cleaned, and organized and now it is a working feed shed only again. Although I think we will need to store firewood in it this winter.

Back in the kitchen, I realize I have only purchased 2 cups of peppers, so I topped it with 2 more cups of zucchini and cucumber. So much for me finally following a recipe.

Next ingredient, 1/4 cup minced cilantro. I don’t usually like the taste of cilantro, and usually substitute parsley from our patch, but I did not get a patch started this year, and guess what, I didn’t pick any up while at the farmers market.

Out I go to mention going into town to my hubby. He is getting ready to reattach the tiller to our garden tractor. So I stick around to help him out. Then go to check out the chickens in their new space, collect eggs from all around in their yard. Notice their water is low, fill it.

Get back inside, let the hubby know I have to go back to town. He lists some items he needs. I make a list, it includes cilantro, and majoram. Grab boy child and let girl child nap. Off we go.

I park in the lot near the co-op, and decide to run into the thrift store first. Boy child needs a few items for his Renaissance Festival costume. We look, probably linger too long, then head to the co-op. I pick up cilantro, and majoram. No sign of fresh parsley, I hope I still like it once the recipe is complete. Head off to fill hubby’s list.

Stop at 2 more thrift stores on the way. Find a vest that will be a perfect doublet. Get hubby’s items. Check the list again. All it good. Head home.

As we are pulling into the driveway. Hubby informs me we are going to work in the garden. He wants me to show him where he can till – there are some produce that is done or I have given up on. The letuce row that has bolted. The pea row that the wildlife consumed. The root row, where we pulled all the turnips.

We worked hard. Pulled giant weeds so the tiller could make it through. Pulled posts and string. Weeded around the peppers and tomatoes. Moved all the volunteer tomatoes from the rows we were tilling under. Replanted the tomatoes, picked the cucumbers and zucchinis.

Finally back at the house. We are all tired. I turn on the heat for the boiling water canner. We sit for a few episodes of Once Upon A Time. Send the kids off to bed.

Back to the kitchen. Start the dishwasher to sanitize my jars. Add ingredients to the pot, slowly, checking them off as I go.

7 cups chopped, seeded tomatoes
2 cups chopped, seeded cucumbers (zucchini)
2 cups chopped, seeded banana peppers
1 cup sliced green onion
1/2 cup chopped jalapeno
1/2 cup chopped anaheim peppers

Shoot! I only needed 3 cups of hot peppers! I pull 1 cup of the zucchini/cucumber mix off the top, reach into fridge, open bag – nope that’s asparagus. GAH! And so I was walking to the garden at 9:20 pm to get chives, desperate to finish the salsa, because there is no room in the fridge to store anything overnight.

Back to the house with a cup of chives. I finish the recipe.
1/4 cup minced cilantro
3 cloves minced garlic
1 T dried marjoram (I couldn’t find fresh)
1 t salt
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 T lime juice

A little over an hour later I am finally done. I did run into a little trouble with the limes being scary old in the bottom drawer of the fridge, but I figured it out. 5 pints plus 1/2 cup were completed.

Salsa batch 1 complete. Sigh.

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Websites of information

http://www.novicefarmer.com/

http://fiascofarm.com/dairy/mozzarella.htm

Queso Fresco – Easy to Make Cheese

Grow Chives for the Best Strawberries

Benefits of the Edible Forest Garden

When Weeds are Good

How we Afford to Homestead

Make a Circle Garden for Beauty and Low-Maintenance

 

https://fareforall.org/

 

Tree planting near power lines

These are not universal rules. These are based on our area provider: East Central Energy in Cambridge, Minnesota: http://www.eastcentralenergy.com/selectingtherighttree.aspx

Selecting the Right Tree to Plant
Planting adjacent to overhead power lines

You can help minimize tree-related outages and ensure reliable electric service for the future by choosing the right species of trees. Consider the trees’ mature height and crown spread, especially when planting adjacent to overhead power lines. Avoid planting directly underneath power lines. Make sure any tree planted within 20 feet of neighborhood power lines is a variety that will grow to a mature height of 15 feet or less. Small trees such as flowering Techny arborvitae, dogwood or nannyberry are ideal for these locations.

Plant taller trees farther away to ensure they can’t grow into power lines. At distances of 20 to 50 feet, plant trees that grow to a height of 40 feet or less.

If you want to plant a tree that grows tall, such as a maple, oak, pine or spruce, make sure it’s at least 50 feet from the nearest residential overhead lines.

When you select trees, consider how you plan to use the site, as well as area safety needs.

Download Plant Wisely brochure for more information.

Tree Planting Guide

Tips for safe planting around pad-mounted transformers

  • The minimum distance required when planting near pad-mounted transformers is 3 feet of space on sides and back of transformer and 10 feet of space in front of the transformer (padlock side).
  • Remember the transformer must be accessible for service at all times.
  • Select plants that are easily maintained and suitable for the site.
  • Allow plants sufficient growing room.
  • Do not allow plantings to grow over the transformer.
  • Do not change grade levels around pad-mounted transformers.

Planting for energy conservation

By planning a well-landscaped yard, you can have a real impact on your home heating and cooling costs.

Deciduous trees planted to the west and east of your home will help keep it cool in the summer and allow solar benefits in the winter. Trees function as natural air conditioners. As water is drawn from the ground to the leaves, water vapor is released, cooling the surrounding air. Evergreen trees along the north side can reduce the cooling effects of winter winds.

Download the “Save Energy with Trees” guide provided by the Minnesota Department of Commerce Energy Information Center for more information.


   Diagram source: Minnesota Department of Commerce Energy Information Center

Whether you’re looking for more summer shade, an effective windbreak or just to enhance the beauty of your property, start by selecting the right tree for your location. Consult with your local nursery, or local Soil Water Conservation District (SWCD) office or your county agricultural extension agent. If your planting area has power lines near by or if you have any questions, call the toll-free number below to reach our Forestry Services Staff, or feel free to contact us via email with your concerns or inquiries.

Trees or Vegetation Questions – 1-866-293-9068

Tree Owner’s Manual
Tree Library

Call before you dig

To locate underground utilities contact:
Gopher State One Call: (Minnesota) 1-800-252-1166 or 811 two business days ahead.
www.gopherstateonecall.org
Digger’s Hotline: (Wisconsin) 1-800-242-8511 or 811 three business days ahead.
www.diggershotline.com

Taken directly from: http://www.eastcentralenergy.com/selectingtherighttree.aspx

How I accidentally bought a pig

There is an exotic pet auction that is held in Pierz, Minnesota in the spring. Day one of the auction is hooved animals. We had heard that you could get lambs at a good price which is why we (hubby and I, boy child and his friend) were driving into Pierz that Friday at 10:30am.

The lot was full and we were nervous. None of us had ever gone to an auction. We were not certain how to proceed. We looked around outside at the few pens we could see and then entered what appeared to be a small diner. A door through the diner led to a very crowded arena. There was clearly no space to sit, plus there was an $8 per person entry fee. We reconveened in the diner area. We did not have the cash I had wanted to bring, and now this fee on top of everything.

We had left home with a plan, and suddenly everything felt up in the air. Do we go in? Is the $32 worth it (4 people x 8)? We only needed sheep and I only wanted to spend $60 out of the farm account on them. Was this going to hinder the number of lambs we could buy?

We decided to pull extra cash, then we settled in to wait. We ate doughnuts and had coffee, and waited. A few people left, and twice as many went in, and still they were working through cattle. We played a few phone games, chatted with others, waiting. The boys were hungry again. Quite a few people came out and my hubby went in to find us seats. The boys finished their chili (we had been waiting long enough that they were hungry again). In we went. And sat. The room had cleared out because they had fencing sections to auction off. And when they finally came back in they were still auctioning off stuff – horse tack. Item by item. They boys were restless; we were restless. It was late and we hadn’t seen anything we wanted to even consider bidding on. When they finally brought out the minidonkeys and minihorses I was desperate to get something. But they all went for more than $60. It was nearly 3pm. We were debating the value of staying.

Then they brought out the pigs, mostly potbellies and most were going for $10-25. The hubby, perhaps jokingly said you couldn’t beat that price for bacon. I couldn’t help myself. It was such a small amount. I bid and won a potbelly male. Then we tried on a few feeder pigs for friends who want to raise them, but the price and bidding went so fast we couldn’t get them. But then they brought out this large and ugly potbelly boar. He was bigger than the rest. From where we sat I thought he might be around 100 pounds. I went for it. Cheap pork is great. Right?

Finally they brought out this beautiful bottle lamb. Tiny and black. His price went up so fast we didn’t stand a chance. The second lamb was much the same, plus I thought there would be more lambs coming out next, but then they switched to goat bottle babies.

Boy child desperately wanted one of the first ones out, but by the time hubby and I had discussed it, we had missed our chance. Boy child was so tired and overwhelmed he started sobbing. We bought the next baby boy without really thinking about it. A cute Nubian Alpine cross (my guess). We then proceeded to bid here and there on the ones we liked the colors of, forgetting about spending limits and why we really were there. It was exciting and overwhelming. Finally one came out that we really wanted. A pretty dark colored Alpine or Toggenburg cross. We won the bid. Last one. So we went to check out, uncertain how many goats we had purchased, and completely missing the sheep.

I was worried that I had overspent the cash we had withdrawn and that we had purchased more than we should have. I went to checkout and they had only 2 pigs and 1 goat for us so far. I thought I had purchased at least 2 more goats and I wasn’t sure what prices I had agreed to. I would raise my hand when it was at $5, but by the time the auctioneer had seen me the bid was up to $15 or more.

They were only able to find 1 other complete bid for us. Fortunately. We had purchased 2 pigs and 2 goats and the total only came to $67. Not what we had set out to do, but we felt content. But then I saw him. The boar pig we had purchased was a monster. We had planned to buy lambs. We had the truck and a large dog kennel to transport him. We brought the kennel in, we wrestled the boar until we had him mostly in the kennel, but he didn’t fit, he was too big, and he broke the kennel in the process and bruised the helper.

We had to leave him behind and make plans to return the following day. 10 minutes into the drive we pulled over and debated just forfeiting him. I was feeling a little buyers remorse. $12.50 for such a large pig was a great price, but this meant driving back to get him in the trailer, and was the time and energy and gas worth it. The day had lasted much longer than expected and the goat babies were so cute. Did we really need the pigs?

We have a butcher appointment for him in 2 weeks.

Poultry

This is taken directly from: http://www.misa.umn.edu/FarmFoodResources/LocalFood/MeatPoultrySales/FarmerGuide/

Poultry farmers can process and sell up to 1000 birds per year without a license. The processing must be done on the farm and under sanitary conditions. The birds must be sold directly to customers from the farm premises. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture requires that operators desiring to sell under this exemption be registered. There is no fee and no inspection will be conducted unless a complaint is received.

Poultry farmers can process and sell up to 20,000 birds per year without a license, if they have an inspected and approved on-farm slaughter facility. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture requires that operators desiring to sell under this exemption be registered. There is no fee. An inspection will be conducted.

Form to register as an exempt poultry producer

Taken directly from: http://www.misa.umn.edu/FarmFoodResources/LocalFood/MeatPoultrySales/FarmerGuide/