Sunday, September 30, 2012

It's a Canning Time of Year!

I get this way each year in the late Summer/early Fall.  I am not sure if it genetic or environmental.  The reason really doesn't matter, but what I try to accomplish every year seems monumental. 
Last year it was tomato sauce.  100 quarts of tomato sauce!  That was my final tally.  I was even shocked!  This year, I am a bit more diverse, most due to the good and bad that is my garden.

My husband is a farmer by trade, and so he grows a lot for the company he works for.  Super sweet corn, russets- I even learned something new this year after 9 years of marriage, and that is that there are early and late potatoes, sugar beets, winter wheat, barley and hay.  So, our garden is relatively small because of things he grows at work.  This year our garden consisted of cucumbers, green bell peppers, pimento peppers, cantalope, strawberries, and pumpkins.

I have frozen the corn in cob form mostly, we have eaten ourselves relatively sick on cucumbers and cantalope, and I have frozen the peppers.  The strawberries were mostly eaten right off the vine by the girls, and as for the pumpkins, we check them almost daily as they are in varying stages of ripeness.  It is comical that I can cheer up a three year old, just by asking her to show me the pumpkins.  She then gets so excited and animated to show them to me.

As for the potatoes, I will freeze some of it, but I was told about a way to can them so I decided to give it a try.  The processing time on them is enormous, three hours in boiling water, but they sealed and appear to have weathered the adventure so we shall see.  Also, we have so many potatoes that my husband traded some with our neighbor for some apples, as they have sort of a mini orchard at their house.  I have made some crock pot apple sauce that smelled divine, and I will also freeze pie filling for later in the year.

You might notice that I skipped over the tomatoes, and all for good reason.  Last year, my plants looked sickly and dingy and sad, but I ended up with a huge crop of amazing tomatoes.  As for this year, The plants are chest high, healthy and robust, with hardly any tomatoes on, and very few of them have ripened.  The term "early girl" is there for a reason, I would think.  I am hoping that a miracle happens before it fully freezes but at least I still have leftover sauce from last year so we should be fine!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What a Lovely Day...

I will hope, for the most part! 

This morning is the first of many "Late Start Wednesdays," which means that Robyn's school, and also the others in the district start at 10:45 a.m. instead of at 8:15 a.m.  This is suppose to allow for teacher meetings, trainings, and the like so that the kids do not miss full days throughout the year...we shall see how this works out.

So, after we drop Robyn at school, it is off to the Library for our first Storytime, so looking forward to that, hopefully Anna will sit still!  Then we have to head to Twin.  First to drop off Robyn inserts for more work to be done on them, which luckily the cost is already covered and not an additional expense.  Then, the dreaded activity of the a.m., blood work for me...yuck!  My Doctor and I are still not sure why my extremities are falling asleep at any moment, other than the decided upon nerve damage, which we are still trying to determine a way to lessen that from happening, so the next step is to have a panel of blood work done to see any possible clues that way.  The fun part, ha, ha, ha...Anna will be there with me.  I will be more worried that she will see. 

Then, is is home to clean house.  A friend and her family are coming from Utah on Saturday, and I need my house to at least look like a tornado has not passed through recently.  Good Luck with that, right? 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

How long could you live without...

a Microwave?

The reason I ask this is because we found this last week that we were about to adjust to living without one if we did not go and get one right off.

I was keeping things warm in the microwave to eat for dinner when sparks were spotted, and the most horrid smell of burnt metal came wafting into the kitchen/dining room.  To keep anyone else from attempting to burn down the house, I unplugged it.  Instantly, I felt a loss.  I really did!  That is bad, right? 

I was unable to keep dinner warm, and juicy.  I had to resort to rewarming on the stove and in the oven, which led to dried out fried rice, which became a salt filled mess, and burnt edges on the sweet potato fries.  I was so looking forward to that dinner.

Within a matter of an hour we had made the decision that first thing the next morning, we would bite the bullet and go buy a new microwave, after all, the one that just "died" had served me/us well for 12 years,so it was just time. 

Yea! Now I can again, boil water, defrost meat, and make popcorn!  We were without a microwave for less than 24 hours, and I felt like my daily life was coming to a halt.

The reason this seems to absurd and comical is that my Grandmother who passed away almost a year ago, was not at all a "slave" to technology.  She did not own a computer, she was given a cell phone for safety, but did not use it, and hardly ever even turned it on.  She did not have a dvd player, or a cd player, she never even had a VCR.  When family and I would discuss e-mail in front of her, she would tune us out.  She even had rotary dial telephones in her house until the day she died.  She was even given a microwave once, which she never used, and gave back to my Uncle when he needed a new one.  All she ever said was that it took up a lot of useless counter space.  My Uncle told me later that the instructions were still inside.  So, she had never even tried it out.  Another funny thing was that a few years ago, she bought a brand new car.  Which of course came equipped with things like Onstar and so many lights and fancy gadgets that she felt she was flying in a space ship.  The first summer she drove it back to NY from Wisconsin, she somehow changed the default language on the dashboard display from English to French, and was unsure how to change it back.  We all laughed and laughed over that one for a long time!  We were even all afraid to call her on the Onstar phone to avoid scaring her, and having to drive off the road into a ditch!

She never had the things that we all cannot seem to live without, and she had an amazing and full life.  I am sure that we can all learn from that!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Let's Play Catch Up!

So, I have been lacking a little bit. 

As far as the cookbook that I won, with all of those yummy looking crock pot recipes, the cola chicken one, tasted, pardon the pun...A little flat.  The chicken was moist, and there was a lot of gravy/sauce, but there was no real flavor to it.  So, sadly, that one is out of the family recipes.  Also another flop, but mostly on my part was the Hot Fudge Cake.  As it was cooking away, I kept smelling burnt smells, and so I turned my crock pot from the recommended High temperature setting, to Low, and then finally turning the crock pot off all together.  The edges were burnt almost to a crisp, and the center was close to raw.  So, while we did not like how this recipe turned out, I will probably still try it again, but do my best not to mess with the settings. 

Secondly, and in my mind, most 5-year old, Robyn started Kindergarten on Tuesday!!!  Monday night, she was so excited, talking a mile a minute, wanting to make sure I knew just how much fun she would have, and how much she was going to learn...Only to arrive at the school Tuesday morning with a scared, tear filled, and nose running, soft hearted ball of nerves!  Wednesday morning, same thing...Wednesday afternoon, we started to turn a corner.  She saw a friend from her 3-year old preschool class, who remembered her! WooHoo!!! Wednesday night, a mile a minute talking about this friend who remembered her, and how they played together at recess, and even though they are not in the same class, they are going to still be friends...Then, this morning.  Thursday...tears before she went down to her classroom, perked up a bit when I mentioned that a trip to the Library in town would be her reward for being a brave girl and trying her best not to cry...Have to give her teachers a high five on what happened next.  Robyn was a bit weepy, and wanted my to give her hug after hug.  The teacher say, "Mom can't come in today Robyn, so give her a great big hug, then go sit down..." To which Robyn did.  I was able to walk out without the whaling of my soft hearted 5-year old wanting just one more hug!  I almost cried!

Another thing she has informed me of, was that "everyone" brings his/her own lunch, "everyday." She informs me of this with all the conviction she can muster, AFTER I bought a three month lunch ticket for her to eat from the lunch line in the cafeteria.

Wow, what Joy!