Thursday, September 29, 2011

I guess I've been busy

Once again, I've been a blog slacker. There's just so much going on around here that time's limited. We've got volley ball games, cross country meets, gardening, church convention and a minuscule Indian summer dealt with. It's our schools cross country invitational today, so we're going out to cheer WE on as he's running through the park. Each CC meet he's had he's beaten his previous time and he's hoping to get a consistent 7 minute mile in today's 5K, we'll see how he does. He's also got other things on his mind since it's also homecoming week and he managed to get himself a date to the dance on Saturday night. This will be his first boy/girl date and he's being very cool about it all. The girl's a junior, a year ahead of him, so he snagged an upperclassman with a drivers license, which will omit having to have us drive him over to pick up his date (good thinking on his behalf).

Angel #4 is still loving volleyball and is doing well. She's got 3 games left in the year, then I don't know what she's going to do all her excess energy. Probably drive me nuts.

Angel #2 dyed her hair turquoise the other day. The roots didn't take, so she's got about an inch or two of natural color roots before the turquoise begins. When I first saw it, she was just getting out of bed and she had massive bedhead and was looking very Medusaesque. She couldn't understand why I was laughing hysterically. Kids, what ya gonna do?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

now we're gasping in a different way

That wildfire up in Minnesota must be one heck of a big blaze. We're almost 500 miles away from it and we're smelling smoke and not just a little. When I went outside this morning, I was wondering why my neighbor had a fire going so early in the morning. It took til someone mentioned it on facebook this afternoon for it to click that it was the MN fires. Look out Afton, the stink is heading your way!

Though things are unusually warm in northern Minnesota, there's a threat of frost down here in Wisconsin so I've got the whole September Wisconsin garden thing going on. All my tomatoes, peppers and eggplants are nicely tucked in under old sheets and curtains to protect them from the frost. Tomorrow morning I'll uncover them and will probably have to RE-cover them again tomorrow night. It's so much fun tucking your vegetables in at night.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

one of summer's last gasps

BEAUTIFUL day today. The sun was shining, the temperature was perfect. A great day to go running around with my girls. On our way home from church we stopped at a couple rummage sales and the grocery store for a few odds and ends. There was a farmers market set up in the parking lot at the store, so we hit that as well. I didn't get much at the farmers market since I've got a garden of my own, but I did get a big head of cabbage (my cabbage is kind of small), some fresh blueberries and lettuce.

After we got home and unloaded our loot, we headed right out again to St Patricks. St. Pats was a big catholic church complete with separate priests house, sister house and another huge building (maybe a school?) that's now an apartment building. There's also a ginormous cemetery. It's all closed down now, but still maintained by the Friends of St Pats society. Every year they hold a harvest festival to raise money. There's a bake sale, silent auction, drinks, snacks and the local food standbys, brats & sauerkraut and chicken booyah. This is all topped off by music from a local polka band. Angel #4 ran off immediately with friends while #2 and I wandered around the grounds. We explored the nun house, which is totally gorgeous. It's got some rocking linoleum floors from the 50's, along with some great retro bathroom fixtures and original stained woodwork. A beautiful house. We even snuck up to the attic, which wasn't open to the public and checked that out too. Afterwards, we bought some stuff from the bake sale and I sat down to listen to the band while #2 wandered off somewhere. I must have caught the bandleaders eye because I wasn't sitting there more than 5 minutes when he announced that the next song was dedicated to the young lady in the front row with all the food on her lap. I never had a polka dedicated to me before, so that was a first. Later on, they played God Bless America with a polka beat and the whole place got to their feet and sang along. It brought tears to my eyes, patriotism Wisconsin style. We won a few things in the silent auction, so we hauled that, our baked goods and the bucket 'o booyah the I bought home and have been eating ourselves silly ever since. Thank goodness the weekend is over, I need a break.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Haystacks for Ahm-lets

Last night we went to a haystack supper put on by our local Amish community. All the proceeds go to their school. I go past the school quite often, it's only a couple miles down the road, and I love seeing all the bikes parked by the door and all the little Ahm-lets (Ahm-lets = little Amish) outside playing baseball in their suspenders and hats or the girls in their pretty blue dresses. I guess it says something about my hermitness to say that I knew more of the Amish people putting on the feed than I did of the 50+ people there chowing down. Anyway, after stuffing ourselves on haystack, hubs and I went for a stroll around the lake next door to our house to walk some of that awesome food off. (FYI, a haystack is a handful of crushed tortilla chips on a plate then meat, beans, lettuce, peppers, onions, cheese sauce layered on top of them and topped with crushed Doritos. For dessert, homemade pie and ice cream)

I dropped hubs off at the airport this morning. He's on his way to Hawaii for 10 days or so. On the way, he's making a side trip to San Diego and spending a couple days with Angel #1. He also had something he wanted to do in Austin, TX, but decided against it. A few days after his decision, we heard of the wildfires in that area, so I'm glad he's skipping Austin this trip. WE came along with us this morning and I left him at the airport as well. He was picked up by a friend who lives near the airport and he's spending the weekend there. I guess I'll see him again sometime tomorrow. He was looking forward to a little break. He's been busting his buns in Cross-Country - he had a meet last night and beat his personal best by a full minute. His time for the 5K is now 23:30. His ultimate goal is around 19 minutes since Angel #1's best 5K time is 19:20 and he really really wants to beat his big brother.

I've canned about 20qts of carrots in the last couple days and am getting a bit sick of doing them. I've still got about half a row left to pick, which will come out to about a 5 gallon bucketful. I put some in my new food dehydrator yesterday and they dried up real nice, so I think I'm going to do another dehydrator or two full and see how that goes. I'm also going to shred some zucchini and see how that dehydrates. Since I still haven't found my Mouli and it's really cramping my style, I picked up a salad shooter this morning for $2 at a rummage sale. I'll try shredding my zucchini in that and, with any luck, I'll be able to make zucchini cake this winter.

Monday, September 5, 2011

I guess this is why they call it Labor Day Weekend

There's just so much to do around here. I get overwhelmed and then just sit down and read a book. Not very proactive. But, I did get a lot done despite my literary escapes.

Friday morning, we had huge storms. Our power went our around 10am and finally came back on again around 6:30 pm. I don't mind the lack of electricity that much, it was day time, I've got a gas stove, we didn't need the heat or a/c on, so no big deal. What I do hate is the lack of water. This doesn't happen when you have city water, but in the country, you've got your own well which pulls water up from the ground and through your pipes using, you guessed it, an electric pump. Fortunately, since I try to be on top of things, I keep a large supple of water stored up in our basement in old orange juice bottles, so it would be awhile before we really felt the hit, but you don't realize how often you wash your hands until you don't have a working sink.

Fortunately, Angel #2 and I were invited to a friends house for lunch on Friday, so we had a perfect excuse to escape our waterless home and have a delicious lunch to boot. After lunch, we hit a few rummage sales before going back home. WE had a cross-country meet on Friday evening, so when we went to town to pick him up. He had an awesome meet and beat his personal record in the 5K by 3 whole minutes. We stopped by the football field and watched the last half of the high school game going on. Our Panthers handily beat the other team, who had an even small team roster than we had, which is pretty unusual since we've got a tiny school. Theirs must be even tinier. One of WE's spring track cronies plays on the football team. This boy is a fast runner, but has a very unusual, unorthodox way of running. It's so unusual that though he was in full football gear complete with helmet and was only standing on the sidelines at the moment, I knew who he was from his posture alone. Now THAT'S distinctive!

Saturday, I put the girls on chopping and dicing duty and we canned up 9 pts of zucchini relish, 2 of cucumber relish and 5 pts of apple butter. I've got about 20 pts of apple butter made and I think it's safe to say, my whole family is sick to death of the scent of apple butter cooking down. I think we're done with windfall apples for the year, so thankfully, Saturday's batch should be my last one.

Sunday was a potluck after church. SO much delicious food and great conversation. I visited with an acquaintance I hadn't talked to in years. She was reminiscing about the days when my kids were little, laughing about stuff they did. I said that I was so pleased and surprised that WE turned out to be such a wonderful teenager after what a stinker little kid he had been. She said she was surprised he lived to see 4 years old.

Today, I'm going to see what else in the garden is yearning to be thrown into a jar and boiled to death. The girls and I are also going to participate in that age old, cold weather tradition of throwing wood through the cellar window and stacking it up to be burned when things get chilly outside. Since the weather turned this weekend and we've had to dig out our long pants and sweatshirts, that probably won't be too far in the future. After the canning and wood throwing, we're going to get this house in some semblance of order. It's been woefully ignored lately. It doesn't really pay to scrub the kitchen floor only to spill pickle juice, apple peelings, green bean clippings, etc, all over it right afterwards. But since things are getting dirty enough where I could probably just replant the garden inside, I think we ought to do something.

Sigh. Better hit the Publish Post button and get to work.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

too cool for school

Angel #2 celebrated the first day of her not going back to school by sitting on the porch with a bagel and cappuccino watching her younger siblings get on the school bus this morning. She took a few pictures and waved them off. I think she's enjoying this waaay too much. Both WE and Angel #4 have sports practice after school, so I haven't heard how their day went yet. I would be enjoying the peace and quiet, if only all the critters in this house would have got onto the school bus as well, but, as it is, I'm stuck with 5 cats, 2 cockatiels and a dog. Not so peaceful.

I was pretty busy on my first day w/out kids. Picked and canned 5 quarts of beans, 7 qts of pickles and canned up the 7 pints of apple butter that I made up yesterday. I've got pinging jars sitting all over my kitchen table. Next on my list is to figure out what to do with all the zucchini and yellow squash I've got sitting around here. I'm thinking zucchini relish should put a dent in my plethora o'squash. I've got so many yellow squash that it's piled on the counters and we're even using one for a doorstop. It's gone out of control. We've got a potluck after church on Sunday, I'm thinking I'll take a bag of squash with me and pass it out among those poor gardenless souls who don't have squash doorstops. I think it's safe to say that I'm getting just the teensiest bit sick of my garden.

Tanya, I'm talking about Jersey cows. Guernsey's are okay, as far as cows go, but Jerseys are MUCH cuter.