Sunday, September 8, 2013

Pennsylvania with the Cousins!

This past April, my cousin Logan and his wife Melody came to visit us. You can read about that adventure here. A couple of weeks ago, we went to visit them in Pennsylvania. They live out in the country, near Scranton. We had a lot of fun learning how to can and playing games.

I took off Friday and we headed up to PA late Friday morning. We got to Logan and Mel's house around 4 or 5 and immediately started canning!

We started with peaches that Logan and Mel got from someone at their church. My Aunt Jill, other cousin-in-law, Danielle and Mel had sliced up a ton of them before we got there.

That picture is deceiving... That blue mixing bowl was huge! And I think there was another glass bowl filled too.

We relied on an old cookbook and Mel's experience to get us through the process.

We decided to do canned peaches in syrup and peach jam. The peach jam was pretty nasty looking when it was boiling. All this yellow froth kept appearing. Don't worry though, I scraped it all off before distributing the jam into the jars.

Unfortunately, several of the jam lids never popped. And the jam never thickened up like it was supposed to. Logan redid the jam jars Sunday morning.

These peaches will be so delicious later this year! How about some Peaches 'n Cream Cupcakes mid-winter?

We used Logan and Mel's collection of yard sale mason jars. We ran out of lids though and had to send the boys to the store. 

Friday night we went out for pierogi pizza at a local bar. Yes. Pierogi pizza. It was amazing! We had only two slices left which Logan graciously allowed me to take home. :)

Saturday morning we explored downtown Honesdale. Honesdale is only supposed to be a 15-20 minute drive from their house but it took us almost an hour because we kept stopping at yard sales. Todd got a dart board and I got these jars for only 75 cents for all three! You really can't find such cheap deals in Maryland.

Once we got to Honesdale, we had bagels at a local cafe and checked out some other small stores. The remainder of Saturday was spent canning the veggies that Logan and Mel picked up at a farmer's market.

They got 50 ears of corn for only $12! The men shucked all the corn. We were going to can it all but decided to just chop and freeze them after realizing that corn requires 90 minutes per batch in the pressure cooker.

While the guys were chopping up endless ears of corn, I was slicing and dicing endless bell peppers. They got this whole bag (think garbage sized bag) for only $8.

They also got a bag of hot peppers for around $3. The bell peppers that we didn't freeze, I diced for Mel's canned salsa. I chopped and diced so many bell peppers that my fingers were all wrinkly after.

And that giant box of tomatoes? Yes, giant as in file box size, for only $10. 

While the boys rested because the corn exhausted them, I started making strombolis for dinner...

... and Mel finished up canned green beans...

... and canned salsa. Mel wore gloves when chopping up the hot peppers but took them off when cooking the salsa. Unfortunately, she still got burned! All the steam from the salsa burned her hands.

Logan quickly Googled what to do for burned hands. Mel tried soaking her hands in milk and in a bleach and water solution. It took a few hours for the burn to subside.

When the salsa was finished, we headed out to visit with some of Logan and Melody's friends, Tim and Shannon. Of course, we brought the stromboli with us. :)

I met a really cute dog named Schnitzel. She is a miniature wiener dog! Get ready for some cuteness because I went a little overboard with dog pictures.

We started off playing 7 Wonders. 

Logan came in first place and Todd in second. I came in somewhere in the middle of the group.

I had made some PB Cup Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies however they melted during the car ride up. Oops. 

After 7 Wonders, we played Dix It.

Shannon crushed all of us! We spent the rest of the night relaxing and hanging out on the couches.

Sunday, we went to Logan and Melody's church. After church, we had lunch at my Aunt Jill and Uncle Dan's house. Uncle Dan brought us to a local creamery down the road and we got some fresh butter for lunch. It was SO good. I ate a ton of it just on crackers.

Uncle Dan also gave us a dozen fresh eggs to take home. The yolks are orange instead of yellow and they are extra creamy.

Here is the chicken coop my uncle built for his chickens. It matches the main house which is a white and green farmhouse.

The chickens will eat right from your hand if they know you.

Here is the view down the road from Aunt Jill's driveway. We were so fortunate to have great weather for our stay!

Aunt Jill braided my hair...

... and then we headed over to my uncle's mill to try some archery. Unfortunately, that did nothing to help my braided hair. All the braids came out. :(


After archery, we went in search of rocks. Yes, rocks. If you read my previous post about our exterior, you would know that I have been looking for some affordable rocks for our garden border. Apparently in Maryland, free or cheap rocks are not easy to come by. However, in Pennsylvania...


... ginormous piles of FREE rocks! The rocks pictured above were right outside of the mill. We drove down the road and found a field of river rocks that had washed up during a flood. Jackpot!

We filled up my trunk with nice FREE garden rocks!

Woohoo! I was so happy. (Pictures to come of them installed!)

We headed back to Logan and Mel's house to take an inventory of all we accomplished.

We did canned peaches, peach jam, green beans and salsa.

And we chopped bell peppers and corn for the freezer.

I have learned that canning is hard work. It's more fun and a lot easier when you do it with a bunch of people. It's also not financially worth it to can in Maryland because produce is so expensive. Oh yeah- and a large kitchen is certainly helpful! I can't imagine canning in my tiny kitchen!

Now, here are some random pictures of Mel's rabbits.

We both can't wait to visit PA again soon! We have already started talking about activities we would like to do next time such as kayaking and hiking. Thanks Logan and Mel for a wonderful visit!


  1. looks like you had an absolutely wonderful time and I don't think you had a minute free! How fun! I admit canning is better with someone for the help and's a long process. And I'm so happy that you found the free stones...we find them in Michigan near fields and sometimes the farmers actually help us load them up!

    Thanks for sharing your fantastic family pictures!


  2. Hello Lindsey,
    What a fun trip. It looks like you had a great time and it must have been fun to learn how to can. What a great adventure, and what a cute little puppy!
    Big hug,

  3. What a fantastic trip and visit with family! It's so green and lush! The farm is so neat! LOVE the stylish chicken house.

    It looks like you had a blast! And lucky to get the rocks too!

  4. That was a lot of work! It's wonderful that you got to spend so much time together. All that food you guys got done! The bunnies are adorable!

  5. A busy, fun visit!! Was it hard to pull the bow string back? That looks like a pretty nice set up he's got going on there!!

    Congrats on your free rocks. :) I'm glad you had a nice trip.


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