July Fourth Weekend Is Over

Reader Contribution by Ginnie Baker
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The July fourth weekend here in the country brought cooler than normal temperatures. We all commented that it was odd to wear sweatshirts on the 4th of July! But, cool or not, the Bellville parade came off without a hitch and everyone enjoyed the special day.

As dark approached, neighbors, one by one, got ready for their annual fireworks displays. On Friday night, one neighbor lit up the sky with the beautiful the beautiful colors of the fireworks. It was a great display for the whole valley.

Then on Saturday night, another neighbor set off his July 4th display, again lighting up the dark sky with red, white and blue fireworks.

There are organized fireworks in most of the towns around here, but the impromptu displays done by neighbors are a little more special. While we all enjoyed the fireworks, my miniature donkeys, Samson and Delilah, didn’t seem to care for all the noise. They stood side-by-side in the barn, seeming to get comfort from being close together.

When my old Golden Retriever, Millie, was still with me, she didn’t care for the fireworks either. She wasn’t afraid of them but she’d sit at the window, watching, and bark every time there was a loud boom.

With the long holiday over, it’s time to get back to the everyday things.

We have a lot of Amish farms around this area. They seem to get gardens planted a lot earlier than I do and have produce from their gardens and greenhouses several weeks before my garden begins to produce cucumbers and squash.

I got a head start on making pickles when we bought some pickling cucumbers and both zucchini and yellow squash at one of the Amish farms.

Since it is nice and cool again today, I made a batch of Amish Kosher Dill Pickles. It’s an easy recipe and the pickles are really good. They are on the mild side and they have a very clear brine or pickling solution.

I have plenty of fresh dill in my herb garden and always keep garlic on hand.

Here’s the recipe:

4 pounds pickling cucumbers
2  3/4 cups 5% white vinegar
14 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
3 cups water
1/4 cup pickling or canning salt
14 heads fresh dill
28 peppercorns

Wash the cucumbers and remove the blossom end. Cut in half lengthwise.

Heat the vinegar, water, garlic and salt to boiling.

Into each quart jar, place 4 garlic cloves; add the cucumbers, 2 heads of dill and 4 peppercorns. Pour the hot liquid over the cucumbers, leaving 1/2 inch of head space. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes and pints for 10 minutes.

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