Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Canned Food

I ended up canning another 6 quarts of apples, so I have 11 total and of course, I have the pickled zucchini in pint jars. Behold the results of a few of them. There are onions in with the zucchini. I've got more of those yellow fruits but I think this is plenty. I'll shred more of the remaining ones and freeze in 2 cup batches for bread. Probably won't get much more, temperatures are dropping and frosts are in the forecast this week. Oh boy!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What Have I Been Up To?

Lots of things.

Luna went lame on her left rear leg, her hock was swollen, one emergency vet trip later and she probably jut wrenched it. Ten days of pills and she seemed to be doing fine, then she is limping again, then fine, and yesterday limping on that leg and the usual front leg. No walkies for her for a bit. I tried to leave her home yesterday afternoon but halfway around the trail I hear her usual heavy panting that sounds like a steam locomotive behind me and here she comes. (I had left her in the house but forgot about the jury-rigged doggie door I had set up!) We get back home and this is when she is limping on the 2 legs. *sigh*

My sewing projects got waylaid for a bit, but I did cut out one item before my brother left, hopefully I'll get back to it soon. I started a small knitting project that will also hopefully be done soon, did at least 4 inches of it the first day but haven't gotten back to it. Then I have to finish the shawl I started in spring for Hal's favorite sister. Plus Hal wants a terry cloth bathrobe since his old one failed a while back. Only mannish color I could get in enough quantity in either of the Joann stores I tried was brown. He's going to look like a monk as he wants a hood.

After I dropped off my brother at the airport I hung around with aforementioned SIL and we went shopping. I got some things I really didn't need, but the sales were so good, and there were coupons! (I did donate some clothes to St Vincent de Paul when I got home, (something in, something out, must be my new motto!) Though while at SVdP, aka the Mikado Mall around here, I acquired a cork screw, the kind with the lever arms, a Christmas music cd and a purple embroidered jacket (Coldwater Creek) for the huge cost of $3.19 including tax. But the money is for a good cause.

I also ended up at Kohl's and got a pair of sandals and short boots and a wallet that were on sale, the sandals on clearance, and then I opened a charge account because there was an additional 25% off so I scored. And yes I needed the boots, been looking for a short pair for a few years now, my old wallet was shedding plastic, and the sandals fit my narrow feet. Narrow shoes are hard to find without paying through the nose. Including going out to lunch and dinner in the 2 days I stayed with SIL, we had a pretty good time.

I only gained a couple of pounds while brother was visiting, and those are gone again, I seem to be stuck at a loss of 21 pounds still. I've been having motivation troubles and I've been tired. Don't know if it's the shorter, darker days, the low temps in the 40s, the non-stop stuff I've been doing since last week, or a combination. Probably the latter.

I've taken Mrs Butch shopping, taken my MIL shopping a day or two later, then there was the cutting up of 96 ears of corn for making "Sinful Corn", a homemade artery busting concoction of corn, butter and half and half that tastes so much better than the store bought canned creamed corn but is so much work, even with FIL shucking all the ears and MIL doing the first 22 of them before I got there. And all that work for only about 18 quarts of finished product stuffed into 30 baggies. It may sound like a lot but it really isn't.

I also had located and dug up the septic tank which I decided really needed to be cleaned as it hadn't been in the 15 years we've lived here. The cleaner guy came out within 45 minutes of calling for a quote, either he had nothing else to do, obviously, or feared for our safety. He exclaimed that ours was buried way deeper than normal. Lucky me. I got to rebury it the next day, too. And of course, it seemed most of the dirt wouldn't go back into the hole, should have dumped it onto a tarp when I first dug it out. However, in case we ever do want to pump it out again, this time we put a plastic barrel over the hatch, put rocks on top of that and stuck the bird feeder next to it. Many years ago when we found it the first time I put rocks on top and planted flowers, but the flowers spread and the rocks disappeared under the soil. I reused those rocks and some bigger ones. It isn't disappearing any more.

The septic cleaning happened on Hal's birthday. However, he got other presents than that one and lo and behold, he liked them/they fit! Nothing like a nice new pair of camouflage sweat pants, socks and coffee. I also made him his favorite dinner of a roast chicken with sage and onion stuffing and an apple pie. His birthday will also be the only time he gets an apple pie as I don't particularly care for them. He had the majority of it and seemed quite pleased.

We picked the apples for that pie the previous week at his parent's farm. A good year for apples it seems, much less wormy than last year. (they don't spray for bugs). I cut some up the other day to can some for future pies. Took 3 hours for only 5 quarts, and I think it will take more than 1 quart per pie. I can see why buying apple pie filling is so popular. I also made 6 pints of pickled zucchini as I finally had a year where my zucchini did not fail. (can't say the same for the cucumbers again!). I have more very large zukes but those I think will be shredded for bread. I don't need lots and lots of zuke pickles. I do have an older sister who will enjoy these pickles, however.

I mowed the lawn finally, too the other day. Had a lot of rain for a few days and it was either too wet or I was too busy. Had to mow it twice it had gotten so long.

I suppose I should take Ziggy out for the morning walk now. Poor Luna will be so disappointed but she has to rest.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Not One Word...

...did I post here in August, but I was very busy. We had a mini family reunion for Hal's immediate family the weekend of the 8th and then my brother visited for 3 weeks. I picked him up at Detroit Metro about 1:15 on the 12th and dropped him off at 5 am on September 1st. We didn't really go anywhere except for a couple dinners out and grocery shopping, plus a trip to Joann's Fabric store so he could buy some jewelry supplies for his wife. Otherwise there was a lot of dog walking, eating and smoking salmon. It was fun though.

I spent yesterday and today hanging out with Hal's sister before I head back north tomorrow morning. Yesterday we did a bit of shopping, ate lunch at Amigo's a little hole in the wall Mexican restaurant, did more shopping, picked up a Hawaiian pizza from Hungry Howie's, rented a movie, The Second Best Marigold Hotel (which was very enjoyable) and had a bottle of white wine, Leelanau Cellars, Winter White.

Today we went out to T.V.'s dinner on Fort St where we both had the biscuits and gravy with poached eggs for breakfast. Right now SIL is taking an on line class required for her nursing job while I work on the shawl I started for her this past spring. We are having a good time though.

Didn't take many photos as my brother and I didn't really go anywhere, but I did take a couple of dog photos, (imagine that!) just for grins.

yes, they are still digging!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Little Food to Look At

We did a bit of smoking this month and I discovered fruit salads are really easy in summer with all the fresh fruit at the markets. And you don't have to add anything to the fruit. (I'd never made one before because I figured there was more to it, like needing a sauce. I know, weird.)  Hal and I smoked a pair of pork butts to make pulled pork for a family 4th of July party. Oddly, I don't have a photo of the final product, at least not on my camera. Nor do I have a final photo of the ribs we did recently. But they all tasted damn good.

However, here are photos of one of my fruit salads, with MI blueberries, green and black grapes, watermelon, honeydew melon, and cantaloupe. A dinner salad we call a Cobb salad in which I changed the ingredients a lot, this time it had baby shrimp, smoked chicken, and the usual other salad ingredients, and dried currants. Used a bleu cheese dressing.
fruit salad
Cobb salad
Here is our second whole smoked chicken since we started smoking this year. This is one of our own chickens rather than a store bought.
And here is a photo of something Hal wanted to try though we didn't find a lot of decent info on the internet. He smoked 2 venison back straps. I am very glad to say he wrote down everything he did because this was the BEST DAMN BACKSTRAP I HAVE EVER EATEN. And I've cooked a lot of venison backstrap over the years. It was tender, practically melted in your mouth, the flavor was incredible, I can't wait till we try this again. We had some snow peas from my garden and pan fried potatoes.
Best venison EVER

I Made an Apron!

It's a horrible picture, but I made an apron the other day.
Those ties wrap all the way around
Butterick 4945. I wanted something with lots of coverage, the store bought ones tend to be skimpy in the upper region where all the splatters seem to occur. I even added an inch in height for more neck coverage. I got the material on sale at Joann's probably around $2 a yard, needed less than 2 yards. It is apparently leftover from Valentine's Day, but I thought the dogs were adorable. As Hal says, "it's very bright,"
cutting out pieces