right now

right now

Jun 24, 2011

downright Celestial!

Probably the only word I could think of last night that best described our sunset.  It was absolutely breathtaking.

I noticed as I was putting the kids to bed that there was an eerie glow outside their blinds, and went out to investigate.  The color in the yard blew me away.  The photos can't possibly replicate it, but all the pinks and purples of blooms seemed almost florescent, and my skin actually was glowing orange!  It was about 8:30 pm.  I stayed out as long as there was enough light to snap some photos.

Lots of dark stormy clouds mixed with wildfire smoke and clear skies to the west made for a spectacular sunset and a very strange light quality...


This last shot was unbelieveable, made me wish I had a really nice camera and the knowledge to use it!  I was speechless looking at this, I can't even explain how "small" and insignificant I felt in comparison.

My apologies in advance for my late blog visits, but it appears I am going to have a busy weekend.  I spent the morning trimming and spraying blight again, and spent the early part of the day with the kids swimming.  Now it looks like we will be going biking at the state park in this heat, then a last minute BBQ for hubby's work that is almost an hour away tomorrow, followed by another get-together for the family of one of Finn's friends.  Even though it's hot as can be (was still 92 at 7 pm last night!) we are going to be very busy and I'm not going to get much gardening done, but after this sunset last night I really have this urge to just "be" and spend some time having fun with my family and relaxing, I'm wondering how many other times I have missed beauty like this because I was "too busy"?  I hope you all have a fantastic weekend and stay cool!  (Or get some warmth, as your situation might be different than mine!)

Jun 22, 2011

The rest of the post!

Yes, the happy ending to the day!  I did get some birthday presents after all, and exactly what a gal like me wants most!

If this thing is half as Bad A$$ as it looks and feels, I'm going to be a very happy girl!  

I'm now the proud owner of an All-American canner, built right here is the USA, in Manitowoc, WI.  This thing is built for generations to come, it's simply unbelievable unless you are already familiar with them.  I researched the heck out of it but it still didn't prepare me for the quality and heft of it.  A really nice manual & canning guide came with it.  I purchased it from Amazon at the best price I could find at $179.99.  I can't wait to use it, I feel like canning the world, LOL

The other gift was from my hubby!  I have been using a PDF version of this on my computer since my printer is dead, but now I have a real hard copy to flop down on the couch with and mark up to my heart's content!

But why does hubby have to spill random coffee or hydraulic fluid on it before it even gets to me?!

For those of you that might wonder, no, we aren't LDS, but some of you may be familiar with their ideas on preparedness.  They advocate preparing a year's worth of stores, almost require it even of their members, and have lots of good material on the subject, as well as a few websites out there devoted to it.  I guess we could call ourselves "cultural Mormons" in that we value family, preparedness and a few other of their ideas.  Their doctrine states that although they should not drink alcohol, provisions are made for alcoholic drinks made at home, ha!  So I guess we are doing that :)  It actually stems from the fact that they were persecuted and sources of alcohol and other food items could not be trusted as safe, so they highly recommend home gardens and canning as well.  Too bad about their views on gays and gay rights, otherwise they might be able to convert me :)  I better watch it, they probably have people trolling the blogs and they'll be over here tomorrow morning.  That's okay, I'll listen intently and then turn the tables on them, they'll be my interns by noon at the latest.

Gosh, I sure am having a ranting kind of day, aren't I?  But check out the items covered in the manual, pretty neat stuff.  There's also tons of checklists, self tests on supplies and other things not always thought of, like ways to store water, fuel and cash.

Do I feel bad about hubby using his work printer to get this for me?  Nope!  I figure if he has to work 80 hours a week and be gone for half of the year supporting a war for a government that occasionally threatens to pull the paycheck out from under us, well, a little "preparedness guide" is just what military families need!  Am I a little weird for liking these kinds of gifts?!

Help Wanted

Intern Needed!
Pay - nonexistent
Education/Experience:  No education necessary because you need to learn to do it my way,anyway.  If you have experience with kids, that's a plus, but then again I don't care, you'll get it anyway.
Benefits package to include physical exercise, blood, sweat and tears as well as emotional baggage you can take with you to your next job.

What, no takers?!

I'll start out by saying this post does have a happy ending.

Last night, I never got my book started, I was too busy cleaning out file cabinets, fun times.  Today I thought I would just go out and water the garden, come in and do dishes and get some sewing or reading time since it was expected to be very hot out, not a good day for garden chores.  One thing led to another and here I am at 7 p.m. and I still have a good hour's work ahead of me folding laundry!

Yes, it was one of those days.  I started off by watering early and hunting down any harvest.  I pulled one of the Mizuna Greens plants that looked a little mature, but when I tasted it I was surprised that it was just fine.  I washed those up for a surprising lettuce harvest along with some Red Zebra tomatoes.  It was already getting very humid and there was a heavy haze and odor in the air from the wildfires that have been burning just across the border in NC for the past month or so.  

After doing several loads of laundry, doing dishes and sweeping the floor I realized that I was low on bread.  Uh, huh... with two kids and a hubby we are always low on bread.  Since by now it was already 11 am I figured I could write off any "me" time for sewing or reading and instead use the day to make things to stock up on for the next few days so perhaps I could have "me time" tomorrow.

I'm noticing now that school's out I need to have a different strategy for my routine.  Normally, the kids don't see hubby during the week, since he works from mid-afternoon through the night.  Now, however, they wake up at 6:30 and proceed to run around the house until they force daddy to wake up with only a few hours' sleep so they can spend time with him before he leaves at 2 pm.  Now I have 3 boys running around the house in my way, doing nothing constructive, and it's really hard to get anything accomplished without having to get involved with whatever they are doing.  Maybe I'll start working nights, too?

Have any of you experienced this? - no matter how hard I try to stock up on cooking and baked food, it disappears at the same rate?

I baked 2 loaves of bread for the past 2 days, that's 4 loaves... why do I have only half a loaf left and had to bake more today?  I made the kids eggs and toast this morning, so I went ahead and hard boiled a few to have "extra" for healthy snacks they can get themselves over the next few days - they ate them today!  I need a separate kitchen with a lock on the door!  It totally defeats the purpose of "stocking up"!

And what's up with the constant fighting and shenanigans?  I understand they are bored, but the heat index is 107ยบ today!!  I would love for someone to tell me to go sit DOWN and read a book or something LOL!

Instead I have to constantly walk into situations like this...

In between laundry and bread making, I made some strawberry ice cream to have on hand.  I thought I was going to be able to do this without them knowing about it, but I had to go switch loads of laundry and when I got back to the kitchen, there's Finn sticking a spatula into the moving ice cream maker... "I'm just trying to catch a strawberry mom, I'm starving"!  uh-huh, you're starving....

After this I threw the Green Tomato Pie away.  It was taking up valuable space in my fridge, nobody was eating it, nobody cares.  That led to taking the trash out, which then led to me having to scrub the trash can out since "something" leaked... yuck.

I then headed for the espresso machine for a fix, only to see that I was out of chocolate syrup.  Some of you know about my espresso addiction.  Yes, I do 8-10 shots a day.  I love my iced latte's with just a bit of chocolate.  I decided today I was done buying the chocolate syrup I use.  It's full of nasty stuff like corn syrup and I don't even like it anyways.  It's the reason that if I go to a coffee shop I have to ask for only ONE pump of chocolate, they always put half a bottle of sweet yucky syrup in there.  I actually like to taste my coffee, thank you, that's why I'm in a coffee shop!  Luckily I have an espresso machine at home to save $$ on my addiction, so now I am making my own syrup... dark chocolate syrup that is delicious!  

Well sorry, I guess there's no happy ending in this post after all, I need to go and fold laundry and put kids to bed, and I'm pretty sure I have ranted so long that you are now asleep or have moved on LOL!  Happy ending to my day will be in a separate post!

Jun 21, 2011

Can't keep a secret...

...thanks, Chicken Mama, for outing me!  Yes, it's my birthday... so what?!  I'm now have feet firmly planted in the 40's, so what of it LOL?!

I've probably used this photo before, that's me at age 2.  I obviously need to ransack my mom's photo stash when I get home next time, I need more variety!

I got this card from my mom, she knows me so well :)

So what did I do today?  Nothing earth shattering, that's for sure.  I did some garden chores - I'll fill you in on that in a moment, but I did get to go to the library and coffeeshop all by myself, and that's a fantastic present in my book!  After that it was all downhill, I spent the afternoon cleaning my desk, files and rebalancing our 401K, no kidding LOL.  Hubby's working nights so I had to slog through making dinner for the kids, too.  I will however, treat myself to an early bedtime for the kids and starting a new book for me tonight!

Other news:  oh yes, count them... that's now THREE herding dogs, and still no sheep.  Ha, I'm petsitting a friend/neighbor's dog, although it's really not difficult at all since we love Neptune and he's a good boy :)  

I spent yesterday evening re-spraying tomatoes after a day of rain.  The Brandywines are still holding strong, but the Amish Paste are now a lost cause and were completely ripped out this morning.  

It's okay though, because I hear 41 is the new 31, I decided that beans are the new tomatoes, and planted some in the blighted bed :)  I'll be alright :(

I did get a harvest today, a little of this, a little of that...

Remainder of the almost-ripe Amish Paste, Red Zebras, Persian Pickling cucumbers that were hiding and got too big, and just a handful of beans.

I spent another 30 minutes or so just tidying things up, removing bird netting from maturing plants and re-tying peppers, since the temps are supposed to be near 100 the next 2 days, so I wanted to get this stuff done.

These are my Poblano peppers... aren't they freakishly tall?!

Jun 20, 2011

Green Tomato Pie

I did it!  A good old fashioned Green Tomato Pie, just like the one Ma Ingalls made, hopefully!    This has deep roots in the midwest where they would use it as a way to prepare all the green tomatoes still on the vine upon the first frost, although it has become a standard in the South too, evidenced by the fact that I used a recipe from Southern cooking diva, Paula Deen.  While I'm not a huge fan of hers, not because of dislike but rather that I don't watch cooking shows, I do know of her reputation of a home cookin' type gal.  You can find the recipe by clicking on her name above.  I found it to be really sweet, maybe a bit too syrupy sweet for my liking since I like my apple pie stacked thin and high and on the dry side, and I never cook my fillings beforehand.  I don't think there is a way to get around having a syrupy filling here however, due to the nature of tomatoes.... they're wet!

Started with...

Sliced for the pie...

The finished product:

It is purported to taste similar to an apple pie, so upon serving it, I told the kids it was a special kind of apple called a Pseudo Apple.  Hey, I'm not lying :)  It did smell and sort of taste like an apple pie, but what wouldn't being cooked with all that nutmeg, cinnamon and sugar LOL?

Here's the reaction, the kids do not know it's tomatoes - 

Would I make it again?  Yes, but only if I could get rid of it in one night, like a novelty item served to gardeners at a party!  This is one of those things that isn't bad at all, but it's a lot of work to not be a much beloved apple pie LOL.  Plus, as soon as the kids realize what it is, they won't eat it, and it will sit in the fridge all week.  So I highly recommend it for an "event" as a fun thing to serve and get oohs and ahhhs as to your garden cooking prowess, but don't make a whole pie just for yourself, it's not that good :)

I'm hoping to do pickled green tomatoes next.  I figure it will be nice practice so for the future I will immediately know what to do with green tomatoes!

This is just for fun... this is what happens when you tell your kids "no tv today, make your own fun"!


It was the perfect day for experimenting, rain all day and the temp even dropped from the mid 80's in late morning all the way down to 67 degrees by mid afternoon.  I just went out and surveyed a lot of wind damage, ugh - and temps are once again climbing tonight, we are supposed to be 98 by Wednesday :(

Jun 19, 2011

Father's Day Weekend Wrap - Up!

Our party last night went great, met some fantastic new people and enjoyed conversation about gardens and where our food comes from with people whose eyes don't glaze over - you know what I mean, don't you?!  :)

Lots of kids here last night, I lost count LOL but they all seemed to have a good time in spite of temps in the mid 90's still at 6 pm.

Some of the "grown-ups", I'm in the blue ball cap and the gal I'm talking to in the black shirt is the much loved Gina of the  "Miss Gina let us gather the eggs, mom!" fame :)

not children, but not really "grown-ups" yet, either... LOL

More kids... it seemed we were growing them on vines last night!

Is this the best hostess gift ever?  Two guesses where the zinnias & eggs came from  :)

Thanks, Gina!

On to today - I did not get around to dealing with all the green tomatoes, but I had enough ripe Amish Paste to make a quart of sauce.  I also harvested some marjoram, oregano and basil to go in there with the last of last year's garlic.  Not much, but it will get used this week so at least I didn't have to fire up the canner just yet.  I will definitely be getting to the green tomatoes tomorrow.

Other than sauce making and bread baking early, it was Father's Day, and Daddy wanted to go swimming so that's what we did.  We didn't go to the beach but instead the pool on base, knowing it would be much less crowded today as well as a bit cooler, since their whole pool deck is full of big umbrellas.

Even though it was 91 out today, it stayed pretty gray and windy which made it tolerable.  We got our swimming done just as they were talking of closing the pool before the t-storms moved in.

The beans are finally coming in!  Hubby got a nice Father's Day meal with his favorites, steak, stuffed potatoes, beans and bread.  Maybe not the most imaginative thing, but definitely comfort food.

My dad was off flying to CT this weekend having a reunion with old submarine buddies so I'm sure he had a great Father's Day weekend even though he's in the air right now and I can't call him - Happy Father's Day, Dad!

This video is for my mom - she doesn't care for swimming at all, although she is very happy I'm sure that all of her offspring do swim LOL - but Loch went off the diving board today and wanted to "freak out grandma", so here ya go, mom - that's 12 feet of water your 8 year old grandson is jumping into :)

And Happy Father's Day to all of you, hope you were able to spend it with a special Dad, enjoy being that special Dad or talking about memories of a special dad with your family!