Tuesday, July 30, 2013

So... I lied

I have obviously NOT been posting more regularly like I promised last post.  Yeah... I lied.

But, in my defense, things have been really hopping around here.  In the past week I have processed 17.5 dozen ears of sweet corn, weeded the garden, done bulk shopping at Stringtown (an Amish store near here), traveled to my parents to help around the house with things they can't manage anymore (K13 and I washed all the windows), attended a 50th anniversary party, helped hang ceilings in the basement, worked my paying job (while short staffed and supervising a student as well) and have done all the usual household 'stuff'.

The tomatoes are just starting to ripen and I made my first batch of salsa yesterday.  Mmm!  The peppers and tomatillos have been ready for a while but we finally had tomatoes. And I'm a bit frightened of one of my peppers.  Our friend Roger gifted us with a Ghost Chili (Naga) plant this spring.  It has been growing in the garden and now one of the peppers is beginning to ripen.  Considering that these are reported to be the heat of police grade pepper spray, I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with it.  I have heard that you need more protective gear than just rubber gloves to process them.  Hmmm....

And one of the new ladies has started to lay!  This afternoon there was a lovely, little, brown, pullet-sized egg in with the others.  My bet is on Bettie Page but Ishtar would be the second guess.  Beatrice and Tabitha still look not ready yet.  Bettie was always much bigger than the other chicks so I'm thinking she was a few days older and as a black sex link, she is likely to mature faster than the others.  And they are just over 4 months old now.

That's about it.  Justine has only a few weeks left at home before she heads back to school. This week she is off in the evenings as she is helping as a stage hand in a community production of Rent that one of her friends is acting in.

So, things are still moving here.  I'll try to keep up.  You know, sometimes I really, really just want a day to do nothing.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A new level of decadence

We achieved a new level of breakfast decadence today:  Chocolate chip/Raspberry waffles.  Absolutely heavenly!  They taste like they are bad for you but really aren't.  Good thing we have a gallon and a half of raspberries in the freezer because I see this as a popular item this winter.
It has been a bumper crop year for berries here.  In addition to the berries in the freezer, I made a batch of jam and we ate many, many raspberries.  I think yesterday was the last picking I'll get until next year.  There just aren't enough out there to bother picking again.  But the blackberries are just starting to ripen.  Mmmmmm......
We also picked a gallon of red currants last week and made a big batch of jelly.  This is the first year we've had enough to actually do anything with and the jelly is wonderful, the perfect balance of sweet/tart.

I baked bread yesterday morning.  Yeah, baking bread when it's 90 isn't the smartest thing to do, but I was the person responsible for bread for church today so it needed to happen.  But, let me tell you, fresh baked bread with homemade jam is DA BOMB!

V has been putting up ceilings in the basement so things are finishing up in construction... not that I think we'll ever actually be finished but it's getting closer.

In other garden-y stuff, I pulled the last of the onions this morning.  This has been the best year for onions I think I've ever had with lots of lovely, large onions, now happily drying on racks.  We've been eating a few peppers and the tomatoes are getting big but aren't ripe yet.  I can't wait for the first tomato.  I've got tomatillos planted this year as well so I'm seeing some salsa coming up.

I know I've been pretty lax on posting here. I'll try to keep up more often but things have been busy.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Herbs and the Apocalypse

Or...  Why more than strength and speed are needed for survival.

You all know that we did the zombie run this weekend.  It was awesomely fun.  I started on the zombie fit quest a while ago after watching a marathon of The Walking Dead.  I had the realization that I had all this awesome knowledge and great skills but may not be fit enough to survive long enough for it to be useful if I truly had to run for my life.  So, I began the quest to lose some weight and get back into shape.  I've been plagued by illness and injury but have persevered.  I've still got a way to go to be truly zombie fit but this weekend showed me that I can hold my own and do have things to offer.

The weather was a great equalizer in the early waves of the race on Saturday.  Rain made the trails muddy and treacherous so that even those who were young and fit couldn't go fast.  That meant that those who were young and fit were rubbing shoulders with those of us who were slower and possibly less young.  And sometimes... it worked to their advantage.

In trying to keep her balance on a muddy slope, a young woman (one of those young/fit people) inadvertently grabbed onto a nettle which were growing in abundance along the trail.  Her hand on fire, I offered assistance, telling her I could find a plant to help relieve the pain.  She declined and smeared her hand with mud from the trail, saying she would be fine.

Fast forward a quarter mile and a crawl through the stream later... she approaches complaining that her hand was still burning.  The mud hadn't helped and she had scrubbed it with sand in the stream which made it worse.  A few feet down the trail, I spied Jewelweed (also known as Touch-me-Nots), picked a bit and gave it to her, telling her to break open the stem and smear the juice on her hand.  She had a quite skeptical look on her face but tried it- I think at that point she was desperate. Her skeptical look turned to one of amazement, relief and joy as she realized that it actually worked.

Ha!  See... the old and slow do have their uses when running from zombies!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Zombies!!! (photo heavy)

I'm sorry to inform you that both Justine and I have been infected with the zombie virus.  We did not survive the race with any flags intact.  But we had a fabulous time and hope to do it again next year!  We made a weekend of it with Justine and I, I16 and Justine's boyfriend JC.   The guys were our cheerleaders and photographers.
A few photos of the adventure:
 We start out, clean and with flags intact.  Ready to go!
 The first hill is a killer!  The race was run on a motocross track and it had rained fairly heavily in the morning so everything was muddy.  The biggest problem was at the top of the hill where the track is bowl shaped and slippery.  I would not have made it except for the kindness of strangers pulling me up.  There was a wonderful sense of camaraderie among the participants as there is safety in numbers.
 Justine and I are sizing up a zombie zone, trying to decide the best route to take.
 Made it through this one safely!
 One of the easy obstacles:  Crawling through mud under barbed wire.
 More kindness of strangers.  He helped me, then I helped Justine and she helped the person behind her, etc.
 Up the final hill...
and down the final hill.  No graceful running at this race.  It was much more "trying to not fall".
 We start up the waterslide...
 and head down!
 Splash Down!  Into the pool of fake blood (now much more muddy than bloody)
 Through the final wave of zombies.
 On to the finish line.  Yes, it is electrified, in case you were wondering.  This was the second electrified obstacle.  And there were walls to climb over, barricades to crawl under (through both mud and a running, ice cold stream with pebbles under your knees!)
 Finished!!  Even though we were 'infected' we still got our medals.
 Don't let the smiling zombie fool you... she will eat your brains at a moment's notice!

Now I'll have to train harder so maybe next year I can survive!!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


I've been foraging recently. I took V out with me yesterday afternoon to go berry picking.  I discovered that much of the west fenceline is filled with raspberries that are just now starting to ripen.  It's amazing how much is coming up now that the property hasn't been overgrazed.  We picked a few cups between yesterday and today.  I also discovered several gooseberry bushes that, while supposedly wild, are absolutely loaded with respectable sized berries, many the size of my little finger tip.  So, I picked only about a cup of those so far.  The best bush is actually over the fence on our neighbor's property but I don't think he would notice or care if we picked them.  I also discovered some wild blackberries. Although they are still hard and green I'll keep my eye on them!
All of this foraging plus picking the first of the red currants and rhubarb from a friend has led to cobbler heaven.   I still use the same recipe I used as a child.  This was the very first thing I ever made totally by myself as a child.  And it's still as wonderful now as it was then.

Time to find some ice cream to go with it....