Monday, August 22, 2011

[Cross-Post] Making Pickles

Making Bread & Butter Pickles-2.jpg

We have dozens of wonderful cucumbers from the garden this summer. John made 6 pints of relish (the recipe will come later), and today we made pickles. The photos are my own from when we made the pickles using this recipe. The recipe can be found at We tasted the pickle juice after we finished canning the pickles. It was wonderful, with a great “bite.” We can’t taste the pickles for one week.This post is from my recipe blog: All text in italics is mine. Non-italic text is copied from the Bon Appetite post. We doubled the recipe and used pint jars. This was a great day — John and I cooked together while violent thunderstorms raged outside!

These old-school sandwich pickles strike the perfect sweet-sour balance.


RECIPE BY Kevin West


Making Bread & Butter Pickles-3.jpg
John has made a knife that uniformly cuts 1/4 inch slices,
which was perfect for the cucumbers.

  • 2 1/2 pounds Kirby cucumbers, cut crosswise into 1/4 inch rounds (about 8 cups) (We used the small cucumbers from the garden, about 4-6 inches long.)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced red onions (We used a combination of red and yellow.)
  • 1/3 cup pickling salt
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 2 Fresno chilies or red jalapeños, pricked with a toothpick (We used green because no red was available. We also cut them into thick slices.)

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The cucumbers, onions and salt are ready for the refrigerator.

  • Toss together cucumbers, onions, and salt in a large bowl. Add 3 cups ice; set aside for 2 hours. Drain; rinse well and drain again.

  • Combine vinegar and the remaining ingredients with 1 cup water in a large pot; bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cucumbers and onions; return to a boil.

  • Ladle hot vegetables and pickling liquid into 2 clean, hot 1-quart jars, dividing equally. Press vegetables to completely submerge in liquid, leaving 1/2 inch space on top. Wipe rims, seal, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

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After several hours, I drained and rinsed the mixture.

Hungry for More? If you have a question about this recipe, contact our Test Kitchen at To see more recipes like this one, check out our Summer Sides Slideshow.


      1 tablespoon contains:
      Calories (kcal) 19.4
      %Calories from Fat 0.0
      Fat (g) 0.0
      Saturated Fat (g) 0.0
      Cholesterol (mg) 0.0
      Carbohydrates (g) 4.4
      Dietary Fiber (g) 0.4
      Total Sugars (g) 3.5
      Net Carbs (g) 4.0
      Protein (g) 0.2
      Sodium (mg) 60.9

    Making Bread & Butter Pickles-7.jpg
    The sterilized pint jars.

    Making Bread & Butter Pickles-8.jpg
    The lids waited in a hot water bath.

    Making Bread & Butter Pickles-9.jpg
    The first jar is filled.

    Making Bread & Butter Pickles 9A-1.jpg
    Seven pints are put into the hot water bath.

    Making Bread & Butter Pickles-10.jpg
    The jars have to be covered with boiling water in the canner.

    Making Bread & Butter Pickles-12.jpg
    The pickles!



    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    Three Photos

    South Barton, VT station-.jpg
    Relics of sawmill on Route 5

    I was on a photography jaunt (for wind tower photos in Sutton) one day in July when I took these three photos. This old sawmill is south of Barton on Route 5, before the Underpass Road. I thought it was the old railroad station for South Barton but I have been told it was probably a sawmill. Let me know if you know.

    Patti's Brook Trout-1.jpg
    Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)

    I continued home and ran across Patti fishing off a bridge on Route 5. Just as I walked up to her, she pulled in the brook trout you see here. She is using this photograph for her profile pic on Facebook now and says that the fish was great at supper that night!

    Another Huge Rock-1.jpg
    Another boulder yanked out of the back yard.

    I finally got home and found that John had found another boulder under the earth in the backyard. He needed these chains to haul it out. You can see our back road on the right in the photo. The boulder is now at the corner of the back road, the big lilac and the wall going down to the backyard. Buddy and Oscar often nap next to the boulder because it is so large it creates cooling shade for them.

    It was a good photo day.


    Monday, August 08, 2011

    More Views of the Wind Towers

    Wind Towers from Underpass Road, Sutton (July 12, 2011).jpg
    Underpass Road, Sutton
    July 12, 2011; sky extremely hazy; 55mm

    Wind Towers from Underpass Road, Sutton (July 12, 2011)-1.jpg
    Same spot, closer view; 55mm cropped

    Wind Towers from Underpass Road, Sutton (July 12, 2011)-2.jpg
    Closer view still on Underpass Road; 250mm

    Wind Towers from Jennifer's on Route 16, Barton (July 12, 2011).jpg
    Route 16, Barton, overlooking Crystal Lake
    July 12, 2011; heavy haze and overcast; 55mm

    Wind Towers from Jennifer's on Route 16, Barton (July 12, 2011)-1.jpg
    Closer view from Route 16.; 250mm


    Proud Parents

    Guess Who Stole Pansy's Mouse--5.jpg
    Pansy brings her mouse to us in the house.

    I think John and I are too permissive, indulgent, complacent — whatever you want to call it —  about the cats. I find that not many other people understand stories like this.

    Pansy caught her first mouse in New Hampshire two years ago and since then we have no documentation that she ever caught one again. But she got one on July 10. I was leaving the house out the back door, which is always open during daylight for the cats, with my camera, as Pansy was trying to come in with her kill. Pansy hates my guts, so she wouldn't enter while I was there. I took advantage of this to photograph her and then stepped aside to let her in.

    Guess Who Stole Pansy's Mouse--6.jpg
    Under the kitchen table.

    Pansy ran to the kitchen and dropped her dead mouse under the table. She doesn't eat her mice. She just drops them and guards them. But Oscar was not going to let an old lady's spitting deter him. He began to bat the mouse about on the floor when Pansy hissed at him. Oscar challenged her authority and she relented and let him have it.

    Guess Who Stole Pansy's Mouse--10.jpg
    Spitting Pansy.

    Now it was Oscar's turn to be ferocious. He growled and postured as he took possession of the mouse.

    July 10 was a Sunday — pancake breakfast day — so I began Oscar was tossing the mouse about the kitchen and dining room. A friend, R, dropped in then. Since we were going to have breakfast, I invited him to join us and he accepted. He sat down and began watching Oscar tossing his dead, mangled mouse about. John and I, realizing this may be an odd breakfast activity, explained to R that Oscar was learning to hunt, getting a good taste for mice, and we were very proud. An odd expression came over R’s face, but he ate plenty of pancakes, sausages and coffee.

    Guess Who Stole Pansy's Mouse--16.jpg
    Growling Oscar

    After breakfast, I cleaned the kitchen while R and John talked at the table. It had been over an hour since Oscar took the mouse from Pansy but he was still tossing it high in the air and leaping about the kitchen. Soon Oscar became quiet, so I went to see what he was up to (quiet kittens, like quiet children, need to be checked on). Oscar was crouched in the dining room — eating the mouse. In fact, he had eaten the entire head and shoulders. How proud I was of him! I called out to the men at the table, and John, equally proud, interrupted his conversation to watch Oscar. Our boy was going to be a great hunter!

    R had to leave then. Oscar ate the entire mouse except for the read end and tail. R has not returned for another breakfast.


    Oscar’s Toes

    Oscar's Toes-2.jpg
    Oscar has seven toes on each front paw,
    six toes on one back paw and five toes on the other.
    Oscar has a total of twenty-five toes.

    In New England polydactyl cats are called double-pawed cats. Normally cats have 18 toes — five on each of the front paws and four on each of the rear. Most double-pawed cats have extra front toes. Extra toes on the rear are rare and extra toes on all four feet are even more rare.

    Oscar's Toes-3.jpg
    A twig is caught between Oscar's extra toes.

    Oscar is a very rare cat because of all of these toes. Usually the number of extra toes is the same on both front paws and both rear paws. But Oscar has five on one rear paw and six on the other. He has seven toes on each front paw for a total of 25 toes. Mooch, from Maine, held the record for the most toes of any cat with 28 toes. Oscar, according to legend, is a very lucky cat for us.

    Exhausted Kitties After Morning Walk.jpg
    Everyone is resting after a grueling morning walk.

    You can read more about double-pawed cats here at Wikipedia and at The Straight Dope. It's fascinating stuff!


    Saturday, August 06, 2011

    Faces of Oscar 2

    Oscar Outside-3.jpg


    Faces of Oscar 1

    Oscar Outside.jpg
    Oscar stays cool in the grass.

    I'm indulging again. This is the first of a series of the faces of Oscar. He is my favorite subject (as you can tell). There will also be photos of him jumping in midair and running as he learns to hunt.

    Don't forget to vote for Oscar for the Cutest Cat in New England by
    simply clicking his photo on the top of the sidebar!


    Friday, August 05, 2011

    Buddy Disapproves

    1. Buddy Disapproves.jpg
    Buddy looks . . .

    2. Buddy Disapproves-1.jpg
    . . . and doesn’t like what he sees.


    Thursday, August 04, 2011

    Sheffield Wind Turbines

    Sheffield Wind Farm Construction-3.jpg
    I-91 Southbound between Exits 25 and 24

    After years of legal fighting, the windmills are going up on Hardscrabble Mountain in Sheffield. These are the first photographs that I took on July 7, 2011. There are about 8 turbines up now, and as I proceed through my photograph editing, you will be able to follow the construction as it proceeds. There will be a total of 16 turbines installed when this construction is over.

    Sheffield Wind Farm Construction-4.jpg

    After years of protests, I am now accepting the towers. They are beautiful in a way. I still mourn the loss of two hundred acres of habitat and I still am concerned about birds and bats (what are left of them). But moaning now won't change a thing, so I'm going to sit back and enjoy photographing them. I hope to visit the site in the future.

    Sheffield Wind Farm Construction-7.jpg

    Sheffield Wind Farm Construction-8.jpg


    Monday, August 01, 2011

    Oscar’s E-card (or, Oscar Says Hi)

    Oscar's Daily Walk-7.jpg
    Oscar is actually trying to catch deer flies here.

    Yankee Magazine is having the Cutest Cat in New England Contest. Of course I entered Oscar because he is the cutest cat in all of New England (just look at the other entries and you will agree!). If you have a kitty that you think is cuter than Oscar (not!) and if you and this kitty live in New England, click here and enter a photo!

    Click here to view and send Oscar's e-card!
    The cats with the most page views go on to the final round, so please click!
    Later this fall I may be asking you to vote for his photo to win the prize!


    Team Hunting

    Team Hunt.jpg

    Pansy spends all her days outside from 6 AM to 7 PM, rain or shine. I don't know what she does because she doesn't like me one little bit and avoids me. Bu I did manage to capture her hunting with the love of her life, Buddy. Until this day (July 6, 2011), Pansy had only caught one mouse, and that was in New Hampshire two summers ago. But since this photo, she has caught and brought home three mice. She's improving her technique and the pickings here are good. Pansy’s mice are always dead and she always brings them home to the kitchen. She does not eat her kills and lets the other cats enjoy them.

    Team Hunt-1.jpg

    If looks could kill, I would have been dead in my tracks with Pansy's evil eye.

    Team Hunt-2.jpg