Friday, July 13, 2012

Hot, Humid, Ants and Canning

Its hot hot hot here and humid. Just like much of the country, although our summer was rather cool before this last week. Last night we had a thunderstorm with rain. Unusual for Southern California to have a good shower in July, but our garden sure liked it.

We've been enjoying fresh corn on the cob from our garden..this variety has both white and yellow corn on the same ear. So sweet and good just picked. The kids have been putting it on the barbecue in the husk, just like they do at the state fairs. Best year for corn so far! I've also froze some for this winter.

About a week or so ago, we discovered that there were aphids on  the corn stalks and of course, with aphids comes ants. The ants actually encourage the aphids. I sprayed them with a natural spray and then put down ants traps which are wonderful.
In the past, when the weather gets hot like it is now, we would be invaded with ants, not only in the yard but in the house. It really drove me a little nuts frankly.

But thankfully, we found a product that works so well that we no longer have a problem. We see some of the neighbors hiring extermination companies to come in to spray which neither of us like with the grandson and all our pets. So, if you are having trouble with the little critters...we highly recommend this product  (we are not getting compensated in any way..just passing on a good thing.)We're recommended these to others and everyone says they work well. I got this photo off the internet. Terro Liquid Ant traps. Ants love these things and eat it up, they take the bait back to the nest also and it kills the entire nest. I don't recommend them inside but around the areas where the ants come in because they will come back for more.
In the garden, I found that the ants had made a hill, right in the raised bed. So I simply put down two traps by the ant hill. Within a few days, all the ants were gone. We put down 3 traps down at the house, one outside our French doors where they were starting to come in, one outside the front door and one by the garage door as they had started invading at those points. Within a few hours, no ants.These traps are ALOT cheaper than calling in someone.
This works for our common tiny little Argentinian ants and also the larger red ants.

You can find these traps at most big box home improvement stores, both Lowes and Home Depot carry them. You can also get them online at Amazon.

Our tomatoes are starting to ripen also and I've canned, so far, about 6 pints of sauce. The last batch, I added a red pepper to the pot which is giving the sauce a little snap to the taste. This year, I am canning more pints than quarts as its enough for the two of us. Plus its nice to add a pint to a stew or soup. You can see the tiny little red pepper in the photo. This is just a green pepper that is ripe. Not hot or spicy.

So easy to make the sauce. I  just put the tomatoes, after washing them, and cutting out the stem area, in a pot, cook them down well, put the result through the food mill, cook the sauce down a bit until I get it thick. Then put into the hot jars, with a 1/2 t. of vinegar or lemon juice and process in the water bath canner for about 20 minutes or so.I've got everything set up so I can do this easily whenever we find enough ripe tomatoes. As its been so humid and hot, I did this at night after supper. I'm planning on  canning tomato soup as soon as I get enough for that project.