Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Terriffic Tuesday.

Last night was gorgeous - warm and sunny - and since we were having leftovers for dinner, I was feeling footloose and fancy free. I changed into a running skirt, tshirt, and old sneakers, and headed up to Landis Arboretum for a mid-week trek.

We walked a bit more than 2 miles over hill and dale. One of my favorite things in all of Schoharie County is this tree, which has pride of place at the arboretum.

It is old. Lore has it that the tree was around in George Washington's time. It's sustained lightening strikes, ice storm damage, and who knows what other types of damage, but still stands strong and tall atop the hill.

Another favorite thing of mine is mud. We've got plenty of it at this time of year. Who in Upstate NY doesn't, though? I knew it'd be a sloppy mess up in the woods, but I somehow thought I would emerge unscathed and unsullied by the mud. What? Intellectually, I was aware that I'd have to slog through puddles. But I was unaware the I would have to slip and slide my way down hills on trails that more closely resembled a swamp. Seriously, I almost lost my shoe in the muck a few times. At the end, I'm not sure who ended up dirtier, me or the dog.

I love that it looks like I have the world's most pronounced sock tan line.

I loved last night because my typical weeknight is spent inside cooking, watching tv, and sometimes cleaning up after dinner. This was a fantastic break from that monotony. Also: my peas have sprouted!

Monday, April 11, 2011


This weekend, I finally canned my sauerkraut. It is also pink. That's because I used a red cabbage in addition to the 3 or 4 green cabbages. In this image it looks to me like 3 jars of brains.

I ran out of space in the canner after the first 8 pints, and out of time to do a second batch... so I just stuffed it into 3 clean jars and stuck it in the fridge. This has the added benefit of preserving all the good cultures that are present in the fresh sauerkraut.

The fact that I do all of my canning perched atop a step stool never ceases to amuse me, so I snapped a shot of my set up. I don't really get it, because it's not like I'm abnormally short, but for some reason that extra foot of height means that I'm less likely to spill stuff or burn myself on the edge of the pot. I have found that it's the only way to make sure I'm getting a reasonable scoop out of the container (in this case, my crock) and into the jar. I still make a mess, but the mess was far worse before I started using the stool.

You'll note that I'm using my pressure canner for sauerkraut - but I would draw your attention to the unlocked lid. Sauerkraut doesn't need the high heats created by pressure canning, but 8 jars wasn't going to fit in my water bath canner, aka my stockpot with insert. I've got to research water bath canning soon - can I stack the jars in the water, if I use a rack in between?


This totally unintentional smiley face made me feel really happy at lunchtime. The bagel thin was hot from the toaster, so the peanut butter melted. Coupled with the slightly runny homemade strawberry jam, this makes spreading jam impossible. So, I just sort of glop it on (see: adjacent bagel thin). Who doesn't love unexpected smiles?

Also: please note that the red gingham fabric over my legs is not a skirt; it's my work napkin. You're jealous, I know.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bowling for bumpers

See that floating thing in the pond? That's a bumper. It's a canvas cylinder stuffed with foam, with a rope attached to it for ease of throwing; they are designed to train retrievers. We use it to exercise the dog when we are lazy and don't feel like running. But sometimes, he is also lazy. Especially when the pond has only recently thawed and the air temp is around 40. Mister Gus does not like to get his belly wet. Come on, we've all been there, trying to tiptoe our way into the pool - the most painful moment is the tender belly area. I can't really blame him.

And so, faced with the inevitable loss of a $10 bumper, M. invented a new sport. I call it bowling for bumpers. Here's what it looks like:

Lest you think we are cruel, doggie-hypothermia-inducing folk, I should note that that same reluctant pooch took a flying leap into the swollen Schoharie Creek two weeks ago, entirely of his own accord. He just lacked motivation this time around.