Tuesday, August 28, 2012
My computer is once again acting up and I am unable to fix it. I can't upload any new pictures- I can't even seem to stay on the internet for more than five minutes before it shuts down. BUMMER. Especially BIG bummer because I have so many things I'd love to share with you! It's killing me!
So my cucumber fingers are trying to type on the teensy keys of our netbook and I swiped a picture from last year just so I could say hi. "HI!" I'll leave you with this bit of reading, until I can figure out a way to share the pretty great things that are happening around here.
It is a response from G.K.Chesterton to a question going a little something like this: "Do you really want to hinder women from being as worthwhile as men in the workplace?"
They are always talking about man going forth to wield power, to carve his own way, to stamp his individuality on the world, to command and to be obeyed. This may be true of a certain class, but the ordinary man who typifies and constitutes the millions that make up our civilization is no more free for the higher culture than his wife is. Indeed, he is not so free. Of the two sexes the woman is in the more powerful position.
For the average woman is at the head of something with which she can do as she likes; the average man has to obey orders and do nothing else. He has to put one dull brick on another dull brick, and do no nothing else; he has to add one dull figure to another dull figure, and do nothing else. The woman's world is a small one, perhaps, but she can alter it. The woman can tell the tradesman with whom she deals some realistic things about himself. The clerk who does this to the manager generally gets the sack. Above all... the woman does work which is in some small degree creative and individual. She can put the flowers or the furniture in fancy arrangements of her own. I fear the bricklayer cannot put the bricks in fancy arrangements of his own, without disaster to himself and others. If the woman is only putting a patch into a carpet, she can choose the thing with regard to color. I fear it would not do for the office boy dispatching a parcel to choose his stamps with a view to color; to prefer the tender mauve of the sixpenny to the crude scarlet of the penny stamp. A woman cooking may not always cook artistically; still she can cook artistically. She can introduce a personal and imperceptible alteration in the composition of a soup. The clerk is not encouraged to introduce a personal and imperceptible alteration into the figures of a ledger...
~ G.K.Chesterton, Common Sense 101. April 1906
I thought his answer was brilliant and thought-provoking. Rather changes your perspective, doesn't it? What think ye??
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
The shift is beginning to happen. I can feel it in the coolness that rushes us and our short sleeves inside after supper. The picking of potatoes instead of weeds. The digging up and curing of (a first batch of) onions, brown and gold and red- the earthy colors of fall. The lure of the baking scented candles. The sudden rush of wood splitting and the questions of "will there be enough?" The yarn that beckons. The pumpkins on the vine beginning to grow their orange freckles.
It is coming, Fall.
And I am not ready.
Monday, August 20, 2012
Thank you for all your recipe suggestions- by email or by blog comment.... I didn't get to use nearly as many recipes as I would have liked last week- but as I assured the children---they haven't seen the last of the zucchini YET. ;-) I will be trying them all, I hope, before the zucchini finally dies.
Here were the zucchini dishes I made from Friday until the end of the week (Sorry for not posting over the weekend, I am a terrible weekend blogger), in no particular order~ the recipes from Zucchini Week will be posted on my recipe blog sometime this week-along with a few rogue zucchini recipes from this summer. I'll let you know when.
|Garden Veggie pizza- for Friday night pizza night|
|Now THESE are zucchini brownies! ;-)|
And now you guys are probably SO THRILLED that I will not be posting any more pictures of food for a while. NOW is when I will hear the collective sigh of relief, I am sure. (Speaking of which~ I am sorry about my constant whims and that you must endure them.)
And a bit of the weekend~
* Judah remained sick, feverish and obsessively clingy all weekend. It took four days before he would even consider allowing me to do anything other than hold him. Thankfully, I have helpers. Needless to say, he got a lot of attention.
|The little sick Prince and the Pea|
|He is HOT! Love Adele's face there.|
|~ He eventually let me take him outside for some fresh air for a little while. (Hallelujah!)|
* I had this massive, freakish, meltdown at church because a wonderful woman, out of the blue rubbed my shoulder and said PEACE BE WITH YOU and at that moment, and for many reasons, peace was very, very far from me. I love Mary and am constantly amazed at how intuitive her love is. But it kinda stunk that I made an absolute fool of myself. But if you can't make a fool of yourself in front of your family-then when can you, right?
|After Saturday Night Baths~ bright and shiny like a new penny|
* I started crocheted a Christmas gift. I might make ONE Christmas gift this month after all. Wonder of wonders!
There are so many more things I could say (and so many more pictures to post) but this computer is taking FOREVER to upload pictures so this is all you get for today.
Thank you for all the book suggestions in the last post! Wow! If ever I want more comments, all I have to do is ask about books. :-) What great suggestions you all gave; many I had never heard of. Thanks so much (and methinks Corynn will be thanking you too.) You guys are swell.
Friday, August 17, 2012
I sent the children out to harvest veggies from the garden yesterday, knowing it had been a couple days (no more than three) since checking it myself. But 2-3 days in the land of zucchini is a lifetime, and all of the ones lurking under leaves were huge. One weighed five pounds! (they weighed each one!) So yeah- no worries about running out of zucchini any time soon.
While they were at it, they discovered monster BEETS which lead to picking monster beets which then lead to picking 40 beets (they counted!)....and beets were NOT on the agenda for yesterday. (Well, not SUPPOSED to be anyway.)
So instead of just canning some pickles, I canned a batch of bread and butter pickles, a batch of spicy pickled beets, boiled beets (to do more today) and sorted, washed, blanched and froze the beet greens. Needless to say, yet again I did not get my school plans in order. This weekend?
I just remembered too---I really wanted to paint the school room before school started! YIKES!
Speaking of canning~ I took a picture of my canning cupboard yesterday. It is downright worrisome to me. See that teensy little space left? I haven't finished canning beets yet. I haven't even STARTED canning tomatoes. I have no idea where I will put everything. NO IDEA.
As I canned, I was listening to George Grant (ever hear of him? He founded the Franklin Classical School and has written many good books) and his lectures on Modernity. Which are brilliant, by the way. I listened to three lectures- all on World War I. Whenever I listen to him I feel like I am learning things for the first time. Pretty great.
At one point in the morning, Judah got super crabby. Inconsolable, really. I tried to make him happy with books, distractions. I offered him food and drink. I tried to ignore him. But nothing was working. So I found a spot I could stop at in the canning process and I sat down with him and rocked. Wouldn't you know it, he fell right asleep. With him being almost two now, his falling asleep in my arms is a very rare occasion. Him sitting in my lap for any length of time at all is rare, in fact. It was so sweet feeling his heaviness against me and looking at those poofy lips that have enamored me since Day 1. These moments are rare and fleeting. And very, very precious.
The zucchini recipes for the day were thus:
Flourless Zucchini Brownies. (I modified the recipe here by substituting peanut butter for almond.) We aren't gluten free but we have loads of friends who are, so I am always on the lookout for gluten free recipes to entertain them with. So the "flourless" part had me alter my course slightly. They were delicious in their own right, but what I was looking for (craving) was a dense, fudgy chocolate brownie and these were more of a breakfast bar with a muffin texture. Bake them for that reason and you will be pleased. I'll try again with a different zucchini brownie recipe this weekend to get my fudge brownie fix.
Now, completely unrelated to canning or zucchini~ I have a girl who will be turning 9 in exactly 16 days (so she tells me a million times a day) and I asked her to write me a list of ideas I might be able to look through for her birthday. Not because I would get her any of them (necessarily) and CERTAINLY not all of them but more because I knew she would have fun doing it and I would have fun reading it.
The list read like this:
1) A camera that you don't take to CVS and they break (you know what I mean) (she means disposable.)
2) Any art supplies like paint or a SHARP!! paintbrush
3) a horse stuffed animal
4) a very good, very interesting, very LOOOoooooooong good book
5) a purse
6) surprises (the ones you make, Mama, are superb!)
P.S. (If this list is too long, you may erase some of them...)
So there you have it. I *do* happen to have a surprise up my sleeve but I would love to get her a very good, very interesting, very LOOOOOooooooong (DOUBLE GOOD) book and would love to know, especially of you twaddle-free junkies out there,if anyone has any suggestions.
Now today, I fully intend to light an apple pie scented candle and do something decidedly UNRELATED to food. (AFTER I finish canning the rest of the beets, that is.)
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Yesterday I woke up early and made a batch of muffins for breakfast, oversaw chores, took care of some zucchini, washed the dishes, got things around to go visiting and then headed out the door. We went to visit my mother, about an hour away and when we left, instead of coming home like I *should* have, I drove 15 minutes further to go to the only Hobby Lobby in the area (what can I say? It's HOBBY LOBBY.) After my very justified (it's HOBBY LOBBY!) dawdling, I didn't get home until 6:15. Supper is usually at 6:30.
I started to hastily follow through with my original dinner plans but a few minutes in, realized there was ain't no way- no how I was going to get THAT meal on the table before 8:00pm. So my original dinner plans were nixed and I threw together a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants dinner. Then Matt came home and wanted corn on the cob too. So, I put a pot of water to boil. We ate dinner. We read. We ate corn. I did dishes. I finished putting together the abandoned dinner for the next day. I oversaw bedtime. I tied up Rubydog. I tidied up the dining room. Then, I folded three loads of laundry that I have meant to fold for two days now. Then, I went to bed. I did all of this, save the laundry folding, on hyper speed.
And THAT is why I never posted anything zucchini yesterday. Good excuse?
Tuesdays' zucchini dish was our dinner; a hearty minestrone soup with some cheddar onion biscuits. It was delicious. DE-licious.
|... Hearty Minestrone ...|
Wednesday had TWO zucchini recipes in it: Zucchini muffins for breakfast and creamed zucchini with dinner.
|... Lemony Blueberry Zucchini Muffins ...|
And for our hasty dinner as described above~ we had chicken salad on whole wheat bread, home canned pickles, homegrown corn, onion rings, and creamed zucchini. It tasted like alfredo pasta sans the pasta. And this afternoon, with the creamed zucchini leftovers , I am going to boil up some whole wheat pasta and have the best lunch ever.
|... Creamed Zucchini ...|
Now. Let me tell you about my day today. I have to go through the garden and harvest the readied veggies (squash, anyone?). I HAVE TO can pickles. I have to freezerpack some frozen things. I have to put laundry away. I HAVE TO start planning for the school year. I have to do some emailing. I HAVE TO start on a baby gift for a baby that is probably being born at this very minute. I have to pay bills. and tonight- I HAVE TO go on a date with Matt! (oh dear. What a life I lead. winky, wink) So forgive me, please, for not posting any recipes today. I'll get them up soon.
So much for the lazy days of summer...
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
The first homegrown corn that has ever been EDIBLE. Many attempts to grow corn under my belt, never with success though. So it is pretty big deal. We grew gold! Nuggets of gold!
They paired well with last nights' zucchini boats, let me tell you. And some home-canned cinnamon applesauce to round things off.
Thanks for all the suggestions for food. (You guys are great!) I already had quite the list of ideas planned and now I *almost* wish I had more time with this challenge. But I don't think, by the end of this week, that I will have any more zucchini to contend with! At least not for a while...
Monday, August 13, 2012
I've been known to do it with eggs a time or two, so who says I can't challenge myself to use up the insane amounts of summer squash that inundate us these days? So I will. UNLIKE eggs, however, I am going to spread this challenge over a week and not a day, for obvious reasons. Mainly, my family will hate me.
Here is how it will go. I will fix at least one zucchini dish for an entire week and it won't include this recipe, or this recipe, this one or this one. Not that they aren't GREAT recipes (love them!) but I am on the search for a few new ones to put in my summer artillery. And because I love ya (and suspect that many of you are being equally swarmed these days), I'll share some pictures here and, likely, a few recipes over here.
And yes, I have been canning up the very best ever relish too.
(If you all have awesome-y type uses for zucchini--- fire away!) Do you not love that I followed the metaphor of artillery for that last statement? Ahhhh- so corny am I.
In other news~ we had a pretty great weekend away which involved a church conference, a hotel room stay (and donuts!!) this past weekend. We arrived home to find a nice and clean house, our first ripe tomatoes and enough flowers to make luscious and large bouquets for the house, a large frog and an orange newt, a yard that needs mowing and corn nearly ready for the table. I am going to see if I can scrounge up enough for supper tonight. I have exactly one day to get laundry caught up because for the next two, Mr. Weathermen say it is going to rain. Then, it will be time to harvest onions and potatoes.
I am so excited.
Wednesday, August 08, 2012
So I have to take a minute and brag a bit.
But just a *bit*, I promise.
A couple months ago there was some SERIOUS tractor-buying pressure going on around here. We surely needed a bigger tractor than the one Matt had, if we are going to be fixing barns and hauling logs for lumber/firewood out of the woods. The only question was- new or used?
Both sides have their obvious advantages, of course~ a new tractor is super reliable for a very long time, you know exactly what you are getting, and, oh yeah- it is SUPER shiny. But the biggest pull is that there is 0% financing for 4 years. (Free money!) We could buy the tractor and make payments and KEEP our savings intact while not accruing a cent of interest fees for four years! An older tractor, on the other hand, you pay MUCH less money for and are able to pay it off without adding any payments to your long-term plans....and some new paint could make it shiny, to boot.
Well- as Matt was pondering these choices he was having some SERIOUS pressure from both sides of the fence (I won't name names but I bet you can guess what side of that fence I was on....) and for a very long time- MONTHS even, I did not know how it was going to turn out. In fact, I didn't know the ending of the story until the day before a brand-spanking new tractor could have been delivered to our door.
It was this weird place between wanting to inwardly scream and choke the man and knowing I had to respectfully voice my opinion and then wait to see. I knew very well I couldn't play "woman games" like guilt-trips or over-pressuring---but in my mind the seriousness of the decision could almost warrant the sin. :-)
Well, I am happy to report, the man pulled through. At the very last second, he had this wisdom epiphany and bought the used tractor with the cash we had been saving for that express purpose. That day as he called me to let me know what his decision was, he kept going on and on about what had made his decisions clear and they were remarkably the same as all the things I had been quietly bringing up for months--but I didn't care at all-the relief was so great I could barely focus on anything else.
So he bought his new-TO-HIM tractor.
And then, with the little bit extra, he also bought a woodsplitter.
Then, a week later, he posted his old tractor on Craigslist and sold it. And do you know what the man did then? He gave me (ME!) half, to finish off the amount needed for a new camera. (No-I didn't ask him and even fought against it-but he refused.) The rest of the money he will most likely use, says he, on a brushhog.
For the cost of the downpayment of a spankin' new tractor, Matt bought:
a wood splitter,
a new camera for his wifey
and a brushhog.
And the best part? No monthly payments making monthly budgets BEYOND tight for years to come...no monthly payments stealing money away from our double mortgage payments...no monthly payments leaving extra cash non-existent for emergencies like replacing tires (we've had two flats in the last month!) or pregnancies (hey, it could happen!) or trips to the doctors (I have one on Friday.) No monthly payments making our lives so much more stressful.
He makes me proud, this man of mine. Never, in 10 years of marriage, has he made me prouder. I know how much a nice shiny tractor would have been for him and how hard a decision it was for him.
And getting a new camera out of the deal wasn't all that bad, either. (thank you, Mattie!)
Any future photos in blogposts are thanks to Matt~ so you guys can say thank you too! ;-)
He's a Keeper.
Friday, August 03, 2012
I seriously have a hard time relating to people who say they don't know what to do with their kids in the summertime... I rarely see mine.
Every minute of their day is filled with their own, homemade fun. I will never have to actively seek to keep them busy, that's for sure.
Thursday, August 02, 2012
I've been freezing things and dehydrating since June, but yesterday I finally broke out the canner and I bet I won't be putting it away for quite some time.
I was so tired by the end of the day (I am out of practice, you know) that we had only fruit and vegetables for dinner. Potatoes, onion, garlic, and zucchini roasted at 400 degrees with olive oil, sea salt and crushed black pepper until crispy on the outside and exquisite within, sauted swiss chard and beets with the same treatment = perfection. Topped with fresh peach wedges and blueberries. No better way to end the day.
I have been wearing an apron daily lately, and I am finding there is not much else as satisfying as hanging up an apron at the end of a long, productive day. Hanging it on the hook somehow feels like it finishes off the work of the day, and it is good.