Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Out for the count

I'm alive, but our computer, sadly, is not.  Or at least, it is in a very deep coma.  A virus attacked and totally decimated it.  The ETA of recovery is unknown at this point. 

So that's why you haven't heard a peep out of me.  Otherwise, things are good. 

Here's the short rundown:
  • 26 weeks pregnant
  • The baby is moving all the time -- lots of be-bopping and head-bonking.
  • A first: we butchered, roasted, and ate a hen all in one night.  She had a prolapsed vent that wasn't showing any signs of improvement, so it was "now or never".  Otherwise she would have been a goner with a miserable and lengthy death.  It was normal and strange all at the same time.
The boys are going nuts, so it's over and out.


Friday, September 17, 2010

In process

  1. Apple sauce (pink with skins) - FINISHED
  2. Tomato sauce (from a neighbor's excess harvest)
  3. Diego's obsession with gourds (he woke up in the middle of the night AND early this morning excited about how he was going to pick more of them)
  4. Truen wants to be a baby bunny ("You be a mama bunny, Mama.")

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

and I laughed

(This happened last month)

We were passing by a McDonalds with an enormous blow-up Ronald McDonald, sitting and waving, perched atop the building, on our way to meet my parents and grandparents for an early lunch.

Diego (sounding a little alarmed): "Are we going to the Clown Store...?"
Mama: "Clown Store?  No, we're not...thank goodness."
Diego (still fixated on the freaky clown): "I don't want to go to the Clown Store!"
Mama: "Well that's good, because we aren't going there..."
Diego: "...I'm scared!"

Of course, aside from being endlessly funny, I was soundly pleased that my 5 year old isn't branded yet.  He will be eventually, I would think; it seems impossible to avoid it.  I give credit to not going there and minimal exposure to network television. 

But meanwhile, I'll enjoy the luxury.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Little Fluffy Clouds

An old B.D.P. favorite, though I couldn't find the 7" edit on YouTube, which was what we actually danced to.  The nostalgia was much more powerful in that version, which, of course, as an ENFP, I loved. 

But, good enough.  Let's dance.

[a.k.a. Basement Dance Party]

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Food preservation and garden notes

  • I am canning salsa verde (a.k.a. roasted tomatillo salsa) today.
  • Our big juicy tomatoes were a total blow-out this year, due to wallowing in weeds -- so while I might have canned salsa verde anyway, that's all she wrote, folks.  For this year at least.  No "regular" salsa.  Or tomato sauce.  (Wah!)
  • Note to selves: though this pregnancy wasn't neccessarily planned, and we didn't know I would be wiped out for 2 months, it is better to do a smaller amount very well vs. stretching ourselves to more than we can handle.  Though really, if I had been up to speed, things may have been different.
  • Little Truen is obsessed with tomatillos, in the fact that he finds great joy in peeling the husks off of them. 
  • He helped me husk the entire vat with pleasure.
  • Canning with two little ones around is an all-day process.  I've spent most of the day helping them with their big project (making Daleks out of toilet paper rolls w/ egg carton heads and straw guns) and slowly prepping -- washing cilantro, husking tomatillos, washing jars, choosing the garlic, etc.
  • Up next: pepper picking and onion retrieval from the drying station in one of the outbuildings -- old screens out by the chicken coop.
  • I've realized that the gains in my maturity and experience levels have helped me greatly in this endeavor.  In the past, I might have quit before I started, because it would have been just too overwhelming.  But now I can look at the task, understand what I need to do, and parse it out into manageable segments.  I like that.
  • I also realize that I'm not chasing a baby or a toddler, which definitely assists greatly to the feasibility of the whole project.
  • I wonder what next year will be like...?
and one non-tomatillo note:
  • Squeeze and I are smitten by this season's buttercup squash -- we can't get enough.  Just add butter and salt and you have the most satisfying scrum-diddly ever.
11:17 PM UPDATE:
  • Seven quarts!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Garden Chowder

I've been making the most seriously delicious creamy-thick chowder of late, pretty much straight from the garden.  I used the Zucchini Garden Chowder recipe from Simply in Season for my basic structure, shortened the name to "Garden Chowder" and expanded from there.

So yumilicious.

Garden Chowder
  • Butter and/or olive oil
  • 2 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1-2 onions, chopped
  • 2 small eggplants, chopped
  • Basil or marjoram, chopped (or sprinkled in, if dried)
  • Flour
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 3-4 cups chicken stock (or water)
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • Handful of kale, ripped and chopped
  • Handful of parsley, chopped
  • 4-6 okra pods, chopped
  • 2-3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cups corn
  • 1-2 cups milk
  • 2-ish cups cheese
SautĂ© the zucchini, eggplant, and onions in the butter w/ the basil or marjoram (I've been using dried marjoram, since our basil was a blow-out this summer).  Add whatever vegetable you have on hand that suites your fancy. 

Once soft, sprinkle a smattering of flour on the vegetables and stir.  Add salt and pepper.  Add the chicken stock.  Stir.  Let it simmer, then add the kale.  Let it simmer for a bit, then add the milk, okra, tomatoes, corn, and parsley.  Stir.  At the very end, add the cheese and stir.  I suppose the whole process takes . . . 30 minutes?

I like this soup chunky (as did Truen), but the other two didn't, so I used our handy-dandy immersion blender (thanks Mom and Dad!) and mixed it into a nice, thick chowder.

Yo.  Delicious.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

If you build it, they might come

Squeeze dug a little "pond" in our front garden this past spring. I say "pond" because it is really just an old plastic salt bucket for our former . . . water softener? Something like that.

It is approximately 3 feet deep and maybe 1.5 feet across. But a pond it is. With his usual finishing touches, my thoughtful Squeeze put in a goldfish, water lily, blue flag (an iris native to MN/WI) and a sprinkling of duck weed.

It is so cute.

While he was digging the hole and putting it in, Truen begged and begged for a frog to come and live in it. All Squeeze could say was the just maybe a frog might come. Just maybe it could.

And sure enough -- it has come. A nice, big leopard frog came and now lives in our mini aquatic ecosystem. He likes to sit in the water or surrounding rocks and ducks under lily pads when startled. Little Truby is so thrilled.

In the first picture, you can see both the frog and the fish; they were very excited about the swarms of flying ants that were falling in the water.

Our little ecosystem

This was the first time we saw the frog --
you should have seen Truen sneaking up to it, so carefully.
And yes, we do parade around in our undies
and mud boots, outside, all summer long.
That must be what Country Boys do?
(: Or maybe just Shawna's boys :)