Monday, October 21, 2013

Finishing Up For The Season

Frost on the ground two days running definitely says the garden is done!  This week I finished up some things from the garden - dehydrating the last of the herbs and green tomato pickles.  Thought I might get the curtains done for the kitchen as well but the sewing machine is taking a holiday and left behind a great blob of thread in the bobbin compartment, I'm pretty sure it is not coming back till I clean it out and maybe oil - so that is on the list for tomorrow.

I think I figured out my love of fall.  Spring is nice but spring is the harbinger of more work to come.  As I consider myself to be naturally lazy (My dream job is still book reviewer!  Somebody pay me to read all day!) fall then is better - all the good - cooler temps, pretty scenery and fall is the precursor of winter - projects, reading near the fire, warm bread and hearty soups and stews.  Oh yes I love fall!

Green Tomato Pickles is something I don't make all the time, I don't always have enough green tomatoes, just depends on how fast it gets cold and how many don't ripen on the vine - some years it stays warm long enough I have hardly any.  I found this recipe in an old  'Doubleday Cookbook Complete Contemporary Cooking Volume 2' from 1975.  This was one of the cookbooks my MIL shared with me years ago when hubby and I first got married and I needed the help!  :)  Around 2000 she and Dad were in Mississippi on a trip when she got deathly ill and was in the hospital for a month, their garden at home suffered and hubby and I went up to clean it out before they got home - there were tons of green tomatoes and I just couldn't throw them out, so some went in newspaper and ripened and then I went searching for recipes for green tomatoes.  I discovered I do not like 'fried green tomatoes' don't care what Jessica Tandy said in the movie.  But this looked interesting and I tried it.  We opened jars to rave reviews and most have said they sort of taste like 'bread and butter' pickles.  Here's the recipe:
Green Tomato Pickles - makes about 5 pints
2 quarts sliced unpeeled green tomatoes
2 Tbsp pickling salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 pint cider vinegar
2 Tbsp mustard seeds
1 tsp celery seeds
2 bay leaves crumbled
   (I used equivalent amount of pickling spices)

2 large yellow onions peeled and sliced thin
   (I used frozen diced onions)    
2 large sweet green peppers cored seeded and
1 large sweet red pepper or 1 small hot chilli pepper
 cored seeded and minced  (I do not put this in)
green peppers

Mix tomatoes and salt, cover and refrigerate overnight; drain well.  Wash and sterilize 5 pint jars and lids, stand on a baking sheet and keep hot in a 250 degree oven until needed.  Mix sugars, vinegar, spices and onions in a very large enamel or stainless steel kettle, cover and boil slowly 10 minutes.  Add tomatoes and peppers and simmer, uncovered stirring now and then for 5 minutes.  Ladle boiling hot into jars filling to within 1/8 inch of top (I leave more space than this) and making sure liquid covers vegetables.  Wipe rims and seal; cool, check seals, label and store in a cool, dark, dry place 4-6 weeks before using.

Jars in the oven - let me say here this is not a method I recommend, I suspect modern regulations would say to water bath or something similar - do this way at your own risk!
I'm comfortable with the amount of vinegar killing most germs but you are on your own!

boiling  the vinegars and sugar - this is the part where hubby walks out and says "whew the whole house smells relishy!" 

boiling for another 5 minutes after adding peppers and tomatoes.

I had almost double the green tomatoes so ended up with almost double the jars - 8 pints total.

The little bits of pinky red you see are the couple of almost pink tomatoes I decided to leave in the mix for the color!
Hope you enjoy -

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Jots and Tittles

Jots are small markings in writing - the dot over the 'i' for instance, the anglicized Greek word iota.  Tittles are a combination of tiny and little, the words appeared in the Tyndale and then the King James version of the Bible.  Just in case you were probably weren't.

It is blustery and cold, I am thinking of stews and homemade bread.  I was terribly proud of myself for not turning on my oven all summer and keeping the house cool.  Now I am thinking of excuses to turn on the oven but we won't turn on the electric heaters or build a fire til we really have to.  I have gotten back to working on the curtains that will hopefully keep the cold out and the warm in this winter and then vice versa (a Latin phrase meaning the other way around) in the summer.

The garden is done for - we had thought that we would get a fall crop but the weather turned wet and then cold, evenings are about 34 or 35 degrees F (1 to 2 degrees C).  The woodpile has grown and we are enjoying the fall colors on the trees, but we know at some point all those lovely leaves will be on the ground and we will have to pick them up.  Here is an idea - the government could stop funding research into whether or not teenage girls are more likely to have sex if they drink alcohol (I kid you not!  They could have saved money and just asked the teenage boys!) and start funding research on how to get the leaves to fall in easy to pick up clumps-maybe using static electricity!  It really can't be any more useless!

I really wanted to belong to a quilting circle like my grandmothers belonged to years ago - so I talked to a lot of ladies in the church and thought I was doing well and we had our first meeting and they appointed me benevolent dictator.  This was not the plan - the plan was to get someone else to start something I wanted to be a part of!  Note to self -stick with straight forward -finagling (obtaining by trickery) is not your strong suit. (a term from card games)

Hubby and I went for a drive to the mountains today - don't know how many more really pretty days are left in the fall season and we wanted to see the color.  Very fun drive to the local ski area and a road we had not taken before - picnic lunch, beautiful views, and then we came back through Harrison Rd in Boise which is a historic district and the trees were just beautiful.  A lovely day.
Bogus Basin Ski Resort

Wandering thoughts -I'm feeling a little disorganized the last couple of days, hopefully this passes!  I also hope you enjoyed all the fun words - there are words that just shouldn't be allowed to leave the regular usage!

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Privy Pantry

Does everyone work better with a deadline?  I certainly do.  So we knew the kids were coming and we only had one working bathroom, this is not going to end well!  When we bought the house it had an obviously added on, not very well done room off the kitchen that has the hot water heater, a toilet, a sink and a door space that is now covered with 2 sheets of plywood and nailed shut.  We did not make it a priority last summer and winter and even this summer, I moved a rack in and started storing some food extras and large pots etc. in it and started calling it the 'privy pantry'!  Now that we were going to have overnight company it needed to be a priority!  So Hubby did his part and got the toilet to flush (had to rebuild the whole tank assembly), poor Hubby he really hates plumbing work!  So then it was my turn to get to work and make it look just a little less accidental!  I bought one gallon of cheap paint and used the half gallon I had left over from last year, and I used the blue that is the highlight color in the kitchen for the highlight color in this bathroom.  (trying for that 'tied together' look)  The color on the walls was the same color as the walls in the rest of the house and it was amazingly hard to cover (2 coats everywhere) and the trim was that horrible old barn red that was on one wall in the kitchen.  The whole job took 3 days and we are pretty pleased with it.

That thing that has two doors and looks like a cupboard - isn't!  It is a big box hanging off the back of the house and we have no idea what it was supposed to be (spider home is my guess)!  I painted it shut for now.

The shelf, like our fences, was made from an old wooden pallet that the previous owner got for free.  Just a little too rough looking for my taste.

We still are calling it the 'Privy Pantry' but at least it looks intentional!  Maybe someday we can replace the toilet with a white one (what is this color anyway?) and I wouldn't mind eventually replacing the vanity.  For now it is fine and it accomplished what we wanted it to do - provide an extra bathroom!  The walls are white and the trim is blue - my camera seems to have adjusted the color for me.  Hot water heater is behind the door.

So there is one more major project checked off the list!  I just need a little push on some things - especially since our least favorite things to do are plumbing and painting!  Glad it's done!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Slow Living September Review

I am late doing this for September. The kids were here and then I rode along with them to my Moms house so my September went by really fast!  Slow living Essentials is the link to follow if you are interested in participating, it's kind of fun to look back and organize your thoughts and memories!

Nourish – sent some of my canned stuff home with Son #2, he lives in a house/dorm with 10 guys and he is a foody, he said all the pickles were awesome and the sauerkraut is so good he has just been eating it out of the jar. So satisfying for me to hear!
Took the kids to the mountains - Son #2

Prepare – Hubby stayed home and cut up all the wood from the trees the boys helped him fell while they were here. Pretty sure they just wanted to play with the chainsaw! (BOYS!) Good start on next years woodpile!
I never let them do this when they lived at home!

Green – I'm thinking taking the bus instead of driving or flying counts – yes?

Grow – Came home to some serious cold and the growing season is over – for now we will go over what did well this year, what we need more of or want to do differently next year.

Create – Started another cross stitch, and am almost done with my idea for cold weather curtains, quilted, to try to help keep the house warm.

Discover – Since our youngest (Son #3) and his wife found out they are expecting my first grandchild due in May I have been pouring over baby craft ideas – this is so much fun!
This is the only time your hubby lets you touch him with a stick you peed on! :)

Enjoy – Truly enjoyed spending time with all three boys together and each separately, loved having the time to visit with my Mom, I think I had way more fun in September than hubby! I will have to make chocolate chip cookies here pretty soon!

   Behind this giant root is a giant tree in the fog!

 Mom and I took a day trip to the closest Giant Sequoias to her house, it was foggy and eerie and beautiful!

Son #1 and DIL #1  Cute couple!

 I had a wonderful September - and knowing the kids were coming motivated Hubby and I to get a couple of things done that we had been putting off (the other bathroom - pics next time!)

Friday, October 4, 2013

I'm Home Again!

Just a quick post to say hi I'm home, after my 27 and a half hour bus ride with 3 transfers and 3 hours in layovers - I'm home, showered, brushed my teeth, washed my hair and feel pretty human again!

Had a wonderful time with the kids and my Mom - so many times I go to visit her and we have an 'EVENT' going on and the event takes up a lot of time and energy (weddings and the like).  This time it was just me wanting to see her and it was lovely to just hang out and visit a lot.  I will post more I'm sure but for now I'm getting to 'must lay down' stage, so will share my favorite bus station from the trip, it is in Pocatello, Idaho and surrounded by cool buildings and it just made me go back in time in my mind.  I'm sure the folks who work there might like an upgrade (noticed the doors were a little drafty) but oh it was cool looking. The old train station and the Yellowstone Hotel (I think every good sized city and some not so large in the Rocky Mountain West has a Yellowstone Hotel!  It's like a rule or something!)

Union Pacific Railway Station

Yellowstone Hotel

Isn't this just a cool looking old station?!

So good night and when I eventually wake up again I will show a few more photos!  And tell how much money I saved by taking the "long way"