I love being home!!!! Of course, that’s no surprise to anyone who knows me. I had today off from school because it’s Election Day and it was a very productive one at that. I am so suited to being home, it’s not even funny! I started my day at the lab having some blood work done that needed to be done on a day off. Next, I voted, then swung by my school to pick up some paperwork that I forgot.
From there I went to the gym and did some cardio and weights. When I got home, I made a delicious breakfast then I made 8 quarts of preserved pears (which took quite a few hours).
I picked up my new glasses at the eye doctor, took my dogs out a few times individually on leashes because some workmen were at the house and the gates were open. I made some phone calls that were on my To Do list all week and went through the mail and did some online banking. Finally, I ate a delicious dinner and cleaned up the kitchen for the 3rd time today. Now, I’m catching up on my DVR and hopefully will finish knitting the shawl that I’ve been working on. Oh yah… and I almost “read” an entire audio book while completing all of my tasks today.
God… I can’t wait until this is my life EVERY DAY!!!
All about apples
This weekend I decided to try some apple butter to use up all of the apples I had on hand. I culled ideas from multiple recipes and comments but one great tip that I used was to collect the juice after boiling the apples and use it to make apple jelly. By doing this, it reduced the amount of liquid in the apple butter so that I didn’t have to “boil it down” to evaporate to an ultra thick consistency. I used a cheesecloth to strain it before putting the apples into the crock pot with the spices to cook all night into a delicious, dark, tangy apple butter spread.
After cooking all night, I canned the apple butter then used the saved apple juice to make a sweet apple jelly. Yippee!! Talk about making the most of my batch of apples. I posted a picture on Facebook and friends/family want to try it. If I do make large batches I will have to come up with a connection for cheap (ideally free!) apples to pull it off. Unlike everything else in my little hobby/business, these items are not organic and homegrown as I don’t have an apple tree. I will definitely pursue options to buy locally at least.
My Saturday morning breakfast: Oatmeal with warm apple butter.
Apple butter on the left, apple jelly in the middle and on the right.
Better late than never…
Last night, I finally got to plant my garden. I love my garden and I can’t believe I was so behind. This spring has been very weird; we either have had heat-wave hot, August weather or rainy damp, early April weather. During the summer type days I was either away or busy and couldn’t plant. I ended up shopping for flowers and vegetables more than once because they had died in their pots waiting to be planted. Yesterday, after school I finally got them in the ground and planted some seeds as well.
My garden is completely organic and I use compost for soil enrichment and natural mulching techniques such as grass clippings. I water as much as I can by hand with rain water that I collect in my water barrels. I try to repurpose other materials as well… using broken fence posts and discarded lumber to edge my raised beds.
I’m looking forward to the garden’s bounty and will can, freeze or donate what I’m not able to consume. Right now, I’m eating strawberries in my morning smoothies and pea pods in my salads. The peas self sowed from last year so they are an added treat.
Here’s looking forward to a fruitful bounty!
NEPR…love the Rendezvous!
Big Al and I spent a wonderful weekend unplugged to the max. Each year we attend The Original Northeastern Primitive Rendezvous and love it. This year it was in West Warren, Ma. We went to the same site in 2008 and dubbed it “the ropes course” because it is so small that the last time we were there, we were so tightly packed in, all of our ropes were crisscrossed and it was a feat just to walk around our camp. This year, most of our crew went up on Wednesday (we joined them on Thursday) and the secured prime real estate! It was a hot weekend and as always it was a great time. Rendezvous is a lot of work but a heck of a great time! I LOVE THE VOUS!!
See the rest of the pics here.
Most of June and all of July thus far has been hot and steamy. We’ve gotten some much needed rain over the past couple of days though, and my organic garden is very happy! I’ve been able to harvest eggplant, peppers, green beans, cukes and herbs. I’m awaiting the tomatoes and it looks to be a bumper crop this year. Al’s been using a lot of charcoal this summer as opposed to the gas grill and with it being so hot out, we’ve sparked it up more nights than not. One of my favorite things to do is just load up the grill with garden veges and eat them just like that. Roasted eggplant, peppers and zucchini… YUM!
My flowers are also doing well but admittedly, it’s necessary to stay on top of the watering and dead heading because of the massive heat and sunshine. Thank goodness for my rain barrels! I’m loving this summer and have been outside most of my waking hours.
Lots of peppers!
Taking advantage of space: tomatoes, zucchini, cukes, green beans, eggplant
Gorgeous deep purple hydrangea
Asiatic Lilies beginning to bloom
The entire summer flickr set is here.
Things are progressing in the garden. The strawberries have pretty much come and gone, the seedlings are growing and my seeds have sprouted.
My garden space
Eggplant, bush beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, couves, peas, lettuce
Bush beans, tomatoes, basil, peppers
Peppers, basil, tomatoes, beans
I love my organic garden and I love to do simple domestic things around the house. Of course, I happened to pick one of the hottest days to do some canning but Mother Nature doesn’t wait! I have a beautiful crop of cucumbers and the tomatoes are starting to ripen all at once so I put up a few jars of Bread and Butter Pickles and Garden Salsa…. Just the first of many, I’m sure!
Bread and Butter Pickles
With Christmas in the rear view mirror, I’m moving forward and just enjoying being home. One of my goals for this vacation is to get back to a consistent gym schedule and I’m happy that I’ve been able to stick to that. Today was spent running errands and YIKES… the traffic was nutty! I had to do some practical things: bank, market, pet store, etc…. I would have prefered to not be out there with the crowds but I really had no choice.
I also went to Joanne‘s to spend the gift card that I got for Christmas. When asked what I wanted, I said that I needed some new knitting needles and sewing notions so my niece obliged. I bought some nice yarn as well and some candles which were marked down 70% because they were part of red, white, and green section of holiday stuff. (I always have candles lit and had run out of tapers.)
I’ve been pretty productive so far this week too, having uploaded all of my holiday pictures, tailgate pictures, writing up the latest tailgate report and updating the website. I also upgraded all of my blogs (except the podcast one because podpress doesn’t work with the newer versions). Unfortunately, my Now Reading plugin is broken for my Book Nook. I really hate upgrading wordpress and hold my breath each time I do! Hopefully I’ll be able to figure it out and not lose all of my information in my library. Right now, I can only see one page of entries and also have no links to add images to blog posts. It’s late now, so I’ll research it in depth tomorrow.
I hope to get a lot of reading done this week and some relaxing once the decorations are down and put away. I’m excited for the HUGE Patriots game on Sunday but don’t want to wish away this vacation so I’ll be content if time drags… Anyone who knows me knows: I Love Being Home!