Friday, March 27, 2009

Jams n' Jelly n' Butter, Oh My!

When we moved up here to Oregon we were on a beautiful property just across the street from The Rogue River. Oh the view was spectacular, and so new (for me)! This place was my dream; a brick Spanish style home with vaulted ceilings and a circular fireplace, on the side of a mountain and with 15 apple trees in front yard! There was just NOTHING like looking out across an apple orchard bursting with spring blossoms! :D

One morning, for no particular reason that I'm aware of, I started thinking of my Granny back in North Carolina, and I could see her plain as day, peeling apples and cooking them in this huge black-speckled pot. My "ah ha", moment as Oprah would say, came as I looked in my kitchen cupboards and found my OWN black-speckled pot. And here all these years I had been calling it my bean pot. Only reason I bought it was cause I remembered Granny always used one, so I thought it was a kitchen staple (hey, what do I know, eh?). But NOW I knew what I was going to do with all those apples!

Summer brought plenty of fruit, and being the child of a depression-era-survivor, the idea of all those apples going to waste just drove me crazy. I did love watching the deer come in the mornings and eat the apples from the ground, but there were tons still hanging on the trees, calling my name. Huh? Who, me? Did I "look" like Betty Crocker? Uh, no. How many apple pies can one gal bake?

Girl, I tell ya, Granny would-a been so proud, cause I made apple pies, apple sauce, apple pancakes, apple muffins, apple tarts. Lord have mercy, I still had apples coming out of my ears.
I'd had a few flashback memories of her canning, but had never tried it; no way, that's for cooks.
But I, at this point, at least needed to give it a try...

I found my "special" recipe box, which was my Granny's recipe box, and lo and behold, the recipe for apple butter. Okay Kathy, take a deep breath, you can do this girl. Yeah, I've been talking to myself for years, no biggie, right? Just follow the steps...and remember.

I'll be a monkey's uncle if that apple butter didn't come out JUST LIKE Granny used to make! OMG, I was SO proud (okay, I still am, I admit it). Oh yes, my hips were happy, happy campers. I tried it first on toast. Mmm, not bad, not bad at all. Okay, next, English muffins. Mmm, yeah. Hey, why not pancakes? Oh yeah baby, that's what I'm talk'in about! Wow, I was actually GOOD at this apple butter stuff. Who'd a thunk?

Never in MY wildest dreams would I ever have believed that I would be canning AND making apple butter. Like I said, do I look like Betty Crocker? Uh nope, never have. I hate cooking. Ahh, but this isn't really cooking; THIS, my friends, is an artform, and I've always been an artist.

Yet, I'm sad, deep inside, that neither Granny nor my mother got to see this. Now it is 2009, and I've been canning and making jams and jelly and preserves and butters since 1993. Wow. I still shake my head in amazement. Oh, and my hips? They're still very happy campers. lol

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

About Buzzard Flats

Buzzard Flats is the phrase I coined when living in Eagle Point, Oregon. My neighbors were all much older than I, which would have been just dandy with me, but they seemed to think that my family was less than desirable simply because we were renting. We, afterall, were newlyweds, so this was our first home as a family.

Admittedly, at first my feelings were quite hurt. I'm an outgoing type of person and love meeting my neighbors, exchanging recipes and flower seeds -- but they were just not open to making new friends. Well, ya know, after a while I came to the realization that you just can't please everybody, and it was THEIR LOSS cause I'm a great person!

So, the "little girl in me" decided to start referring to our neighbors (in family conversations) as the old Buzzards (seemed pretty appropriate at the time, eh?). hehehe Thus, the town we lived in became known [to everyone I spoke with] as Buzzard Flats!

I've always been "earth conscious" and consequently have most times had a compost going in my back yard. This creates great soil amendment, and in Eagle Point we had the worst clay soil I had EVER had to deal with. Hmm, okay, this means a LOT of working the ground in order to get any plants to grow. My knowledge of composting grew, a lot, while living there, and my ability to grow flowers and veggies grew more and more each year (Yay!). Within a year, I had flower seeds enough to share with all my friends, and more left over, so I started selling my seeds online! This became a big hit, and thus Buzzard Flats Online Auction House was created.