Monday, August 13, 2012

Good Old Summertime

"There's a time each year 
That we always hold dear,
Good old summer time;
With the birds and the trees'es
And sweet scented breezes,
Good old summer time;
When you day's work is over
Then you are in clover
And life is one beautiful rhyme,
No trouble annoying,
Each one is enjoying,
That good old summer time"
In The Good Old Summertime ~Lyrics by Ron Shields 
It always happens at this time of year…  While hanging out laundry I saw a leaf fall.  As I followed its path to the ground I was amazed to find several more lying there.  As usual it sends me running to try to fit as much in as possible.

Early last week I took the kids fishing.  While they fished I gathered some elderberries.  The birds and I are in a race to see who can get to them first…sadly they are winning.  I returned later in the week and gathered some more.  I also found a crab apple tree which I hope to beat the birds too.  I did get enough berries so far to make one batch of elderberry/blackberry syrup, and two batches of elderberry jelly.

I got a great price on mangos and I wanted to make chutney but they were very ripe so I made mango jam instead.  After another jaunt to the farmers market, I canned  9 quarts of crushed tomatoes,  10 pints of carrots, and froze 10 pounds of broccoli and 16 pints of corn.

The kids got the day off work on Thursday to go to the Jake Owens concert at the county fair.  It started at 7:30.  The man and I strolled through the exhibits and when we came out of the building the sky was rolling big black clouds. 

The man bought his sausage and peppers and we headed to the other end of the fairgrounds to buy my blooming onion.  

Our appetite sufficiently sated we went to check out the sheep and goats.  We did not get half way down the first aisle of the barn when the skies opened up and delivered a deluge of rain.  

We had told the kids to meet us at the front gate when the show was over so we had to dash through the down pour because we figured he would cancel the concert.  But Jake Owens said that if they were willing to sit in the rain he was willing to sing in the rain.  So the show continued until the thunder and lightning started and then they called it.  They missed out on half of the concert but they were so happy they didn’t care.  Since we were all completely wet we just headed for the parking lot.  Then we sat and watched the lightning for an hour while we waited to exit the fair grounds, the kids chattering away the whole time.

 Yesterday while visiting with grandson we went to Produce Junction.  I picked up some mushrooms to can cream of mushroom soup, sweet cherries,  green mango’s for chutney,  strawberries to freeze,  kiwi, lemons and some peaches.  We dropped #2 daughter off to spend the week with #1 daughter while Sir T goes out of town for work.  We will be going back down next weekend to pick her up and visit with Baby O again.  He is getting so big. 

Today I made black cherry pie filling and strawberry kiwi jam.  Tomorrow I will make the cream of mushroom soup and mango chutney.  The peaches need some time to ripen and might become peach salsa.

My garden finally produced two ripe tomatoes.  I continue to pick side shoots of broccoli and freeze them.  I have picked a handful of beans and they are loaded with blossom.  I hope #2 daughter is back to help by the time they all come in.   I pulled the zucchini.  The red raspberry bushes are going to bloom soon and so far the grapes look good…both will be a race with the birds.

So the canning season is going full force.  The school shopping will continue when #2 gets back home.  Being a creature of habit I am looking forward to our old routine and all of us sitting down to dinner together each night….only three weeks.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Forgiveness Day

To err is human; to forgive, divine.~ Alexander Pope

I was out picking blackberries, both wild and my thornless.  Marveling at the size difference reminded me that the last real conversation I had with my sister was about that very thing.

This was right after my mother died and before we realized what an malicious domineering b*tch she was.  I was asking for the canning supplies and when I went to go into my mother’s home to retrieve the squeezo I found all the locks had been changed.  She inherited the house but everything else was to be split.  She and her boyfriend of three months went through all of my mother’s things together instead of us all sitting down as a family.  My brother and I got the scraps.  We had to get a lawyer involved  just to get copies of family recipes!!!!  We never saw the inside of my mother’s house again while she owned it.

Ironically after picking berries I came in and read that tomorrow is Forgiveness Day.  Can I forgive her cruelty?  I started remembering going through photos with my brother and making copies so we would each have certain pictures. 

Oddly I had always thought of myself as the black sheep in the family, the inevitable angst of the middle child. 
While looking through the pictures my brother and I  noticed that my sister was never part of them unless  it was a staged photo.  In most candid shots it is the family together and she sits in the background reading a book. 

My memories really don’t include her except when she smacked me so hard she left a welt of her hand print on my back.  I don’t remember laughing with her or going places with her as a kid.  She was seven years older, always thought of herself as my mother.  She left for college when I was ten.  She moved back home three months before mom died.  I was extremely happy and hoped for the adult sister relationship.  Quickly I realized we were but a stepping stone place to stay to get out of the old relationship and start the new one.

As soon as she could she sold my mother’s house  and was gone.  The woman who bought it is a fantastic neighbor.  My oldest son went to school with her oldest son and my younger son played football with her younger son.  The kids are free to play in the fields again, something that my sister denied them.  The house had beautiful new siding and windows installed, the inside had a complete make over and no longer looks like the same place which actually makes it easier to be in there.  My mother would have loved  the changes.

So will I be forgiving her tomorrow?  No, I will leave that up to God to do as he is a much better person than I.  Forgiving her won’t erase the unnecessary pain she caused.  Do I miss her in my life? I don’t know where she is or even if she is still alive.  But no I don’t miss her because she was never really a part of it.  For all intents and purposes my life has become better with her out of it.  My children are free to roam what use to be their grandmothers property without being yelled at.   The neighbor has given us back items that she left there that we had given our mother.  I am quite at peace with the way things are.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

School of Patience

"Life on a farm is a school of patience; you can't hurry the crops or make an ox in two days."~ Henri Alain
It is pretty well known that patience is not one of my finer virtues.  And I have stated how the garden got off to a late start.  So if you put those two together you will know that I succumbed to the lure of the farmer’s market and purchased some produce.
Prices have indeed gone up in one year.  I bought 25# of tomatoes last year for $8 and they are $12 this year.  I better have a bumper crop otherwise there will not be much salsa or V8.  So along with one case of tomatoes, I did pick up some green beans, little cucumbers and hot peppers.  I got 13 pints of green beans canned as a start on this winters vittles. My green bean plants are just starting to flower and they are looking good.
With the hot peppers, I saw a recipe for “bottled hell” and knew the man would love it.  Well not only does the man like it but the guys at his job do too so I made a second batch.  I tend to stick to canning things that we would use on a regular basis.  This is not one of those things but is something that I would throw in a basket of goodies for someone who liked hot food.  It is just something different to tickle the taste buds or in this instance burn them off.
The cucumbers are in a small crock fermenting to be come horseradish pickles.  Why?  Because the man wants them.
And since I had something to occupy my canning itch, I was given some rhubarb, prime example of when it rains it pours.   I made 10 quarts of rhubarb pie filling.  OMG it is so good, why did I not know you could can this before?  I have canned apple and peach so I should have known I could do rhubarb.  Live and learn.
The zucchini is coming in.  I have enough frozen for zucchini bread and I have some fried zucchini frozen (what didn’t get eaten by the children).  I want to make up some zucchini crab cakes and freeze them.  Let us hope the cucumber beetles don’t kill the plants before my plans are finalized.
I made four batches of salsa but still have some hot peppers left so I will make the man a batch of cowboy candy – sweet pickled hot pepper rings.
The blackberries are still coming in and I have juice enough for two more batches of jelly and the rest of the harvest I will freeze whole to throw in pancakes, yogurt, cereal, muffins etc.
I am knitting a scarf, namely the +SSS  albeit with wool and not stainless steel yarn. 
We are still visited daily by the deer.  There are now 2 eight point bucks, a four point buck, a doe and two fawns. 
They are eating like crazy and things they have never touched before like my forsythia and every tree branch that dropped during the various storms was quickly stripped of it's leaves.  Hope that is not foretelling a early bad winter, I have too much to do still! 
So far they are leaving this alone....
Officially my first hazelnut!  Someday maybe there will be enough to make my own Nutella.
The garden is getting a natural watering quite frequently.The humidity is still high but the temperature has cooled down considerably. This all works in my favor.  I had found two reversible cast iron griddles and an 8 in frying pan in my grandmothers and the man was able to sand blast them at work.  I have to season them now and did not feel up to using the oven during the heat....I am too cheap to pay for the AC!  Hey I guess in this instance I did show some patience!