Fresh Blueberries All Year Long!! Yes Please :)

Blueberry season here in NY is sadly winding down. However you can have yummy peak season blueberries all year long if you freeze them 🙂 We are so lucky here to have a blueberry farm right here in our backyard that is pesticide free-Childs Blueberry Farm. Just an FYI blueberries are one of the most heavily pesticide sprayed crops around, so if you have the option to buy organic its definitely worth the extra money-who really wants their blueberries with a side of pesticide? If you live in the WNY area please read more about Childs blueberries. So how does one freeze blueberries without smooshing them? Follow these incredibly simple steps to find out 🙂

Step One: Purchase freshly picked ripe blueberries

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Childs blueberry stand at our local farmers market.

Step Two: Using the container the blueberries came in, place in the freezer until frozen. When they are done, they will feel like little marbles.

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Frozen blueberries ready for packaging.

Step Three: You’ll need a few freezer bags or a vacuum sealer machine (if you choose to pack them airtight). Place blueberries in bag leaving about 1.5in at the top of the bag, be careful not to let them thaw. If you’re using a food saver simply seal the bag airtight using the vacuum. If you’re using freezer bags get as much air out as possible and seal. Then place the blueberries back in the freezer and remove later to enjoy frozen or thawed. 🙂 

Freshly frozen blueberries. Yum.

Freshly frozen blueberries. Yum.

Step Four: Enjoy all year long 🙂

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Four Years and Counting…….

So sorry for my couple week long hiatus, I’m sure you all can relate when I say things got too busy around here and the blog fell  off my radar for a bit. Whoops! No worries though….I’m back 🙂

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The quaint little sign welcoming guests to our backyard garden wedding which took place in Toms parents yard.

Yesterday my husband Tom and I celebrated our four year anniversary. It amazes me how time truly does fly. What also amazes me is how reminiscing on past events both big and small makes you realize how much has culminated in a seeming short period of time. Many things change, but yet many things stay the same. Every single day no matter how mundane something awesome happens, we grow, we learn, and we change. Each little experience of our lives changes us in some small way leaving us just a little different than the moments before. I now realize that my definition of love is sharing these moments, learning, and living these moments. Tom and I are not the exact same people we were four years ago and this is what I love about us. The old adage of “don’t ever change” that is often said as a phrase of endearment are words we’ve NEVER spoken to one another. Without change we become stagnant and boring and thats certainly not the story we want to write. 🙂 I encourage everyone to embrace changes both big and small, learn about yourself and your loved one you might be surprised at what you find.

One of my favorite photos on our wedding day. Taken at an old train station in our hometown.

One of my favorite photos on our wedding day. Taken at an old train station in our hometown.

My favorite photo. Taken at Toms parents neighbors house. Their horse was soooo good! I was pretty nervous sitting like that.

My favorite photo. Taken at Toms parents neighbors house. Their horse Kobe was soooo good! I was pretty nervous sitting like that. Do you like my wedding shoes? Birkenstocks, still have them, still wear them 🙂

To end, here is one of our engagement photos. Taken in a hanging bog. Yes I am wearing waders and in the water holding some seaweed. Perfect!

To end, here is one of our engagement photos. Taken in a hanging bog. Yes I am wearing waders and in the water holding some seaweed. Perfect!

Xoxoxo,

Jillian

Garden Happenings

Summer is in full swing here and so are the visitors to my garden!  Both the good and the bad. First the bad….mites…what I think is the two spotted spider mite-yuck! First noticed these little buggers two years ago in my garden up front after I saw them crawling on my lawn furniture.  Now they are in our back garden and again, I only noticed them after I saw them crawling on our furniture during a windy day. Have a feeling the host plant may be our tomatoes. If anyone has any organic solutions that have worked for you, please share in the comments!!!  I want to at least reduce the population so I can sit outside without them crawling on me. Ick. I know how incredibly hard they are to eliminate though.

Ok now onto the good visitors! Earlier in the season I noticed multiple baby praying mantids in the garden. This made me incredibly happy because these are the good guys!  They eat mites and aphids and not to mention they are so cool to watch:)

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Baby mantid on my hydrangea earlier this year.

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Bigger mantid trying to make its way up the side of my house. Hummm I wonder whats up there? 🙂

I also noticed this funky little bee early in the morning one day. What caught my attention was the neon green coloring. So of course I googled it and what I discovered was that it is called a sweat bee, interesting. They are nocturnal bees that are generally attracted to the by products of perspiration hence the name the sweat bee.  Although this little guy was more interested in my cone flowers more so than me. Perfect!

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Sweat bee on cone flower.

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Sweat bee on coneflower. Notice the bright green coloring and the very yellow legs! Very cool to watch.

My husband and I harvested our first round of shishito peppers a few weeks ago, and since then have harvested at least three more batches. If cared for and pruned correctly these peppers just keep on giving. They are also amazingly delicious, not spicy and easy to prepare. Just put them in a skillet with a little bit of butter or oil, salt and pepper and pan fry them till the edges are slightly charred. Enjoy them by grabbing the stem and plucking the pepper off.  These are a great appetizer and the aroma they give off smells like fresh buttered movie style popcorn!!

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Beautiful shishitos…oh how I love you.

Heres something fun….these crazy little finches visit my feeders everyday. Each of them has such a personality. There are a few birds that decide to eat upside down when the feeder gets low. It cracks me up every time!

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Mr. Finch on the right hanging on for dear life just so he can eat some nyjer seed!

Lastly, one afternoon I was sitting outside and noticed a beautiful orange fluttering. Initially I thought it was a red admiral butterfly (I had been seeing tons of them lately) but as I watched it land I quickly realized it was a monarch!! Just beautiful. Since then a number of different monarchs have been visiting my flowers for the sweet nectar. They really love my zinnias!

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Monarch butterfly visiting my potted zinnias. Just look at that incredible design. Nature amazes me sometimes.

Till next time….