Monthly Archives: September 2013

So Many Apples

Between two houses with multiple apple trees we are inundated with apples! So that meant while I was baking this morning, everyone assumed it was because of too many apples and not the stress of my school term ending and a major final on Wednesday, a paper on Tuesday and all the last minute chaos. This gave me a break from people worrying that I’ve been pushing myself too hard.

(I can’t be pushing too hard, there’s so much left to do!)

So, I made apple crisp. I might pick out some of the nice apples this weekend and set them aside for Idunn in thanks. Pretty sure she would support the idea of apple crisp for dinner.

Tomorrow will be officially one month since I started this blog, and like the Slytherin I am, I have plots for the tiny milestone. (Hey, every milestone counts, right?) Hopefully they’ll work out and I can share something neat with all of you.

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School Dinner & Problems With Pecans

Meet my dinner for school tonight: spinach salad greens with celery, carrots and baby tomatoes.

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In other news our freakish pecan trees that my great-grandmother planted circa 1940s are dropping green pods if you so much as look at them crossways. We have been told multiple times that these trees should not be thriving in our zone. We even had a tree expert stop and ask us what we did for them to thrive here.

…Uh…we’re nice to the aelfar?

Honestly, we never touched them for anything. This year however, I’ve decided to harvest them rather than buying pecans for holiday goodies. The question is so I stain my hands opening the pods or do I wait for the actual nuts to fall and fight squirrels?

Lesson? Be nice to your land and such, maybe you’ll be amazed in a few decades.


Sheds and a (Lack of) Quality Time with Dad

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So, the big project going on in my family this year is a new shed for tools and the rototiller, things like that. This being at my grandmother’s behest, however, means that it cannot be easy, oh no. My grandmother has been collecting dozens of wooden skids for months. so, rather than buying lumber, she and my father (84 and 57, respectively) decided that the pair of them were going to  rip up the skids and build a shed out of the wood.

Yay recycling! Or…not so much. This is a lot of time-consuming work. There were no blueprints, so of course, my dad had to draw them up. then he has to put this thing together, and she wants it to be weathertight and done before winter. This all sounds good in theory. Especially with homesteading and reuse and recycle and not having to pay crazy prices at Lowe’s for lumber. Saving money, woo.

However, throw in the fact that my father works ten hour days, doesn’t get home until after 5:00 at night after working in a steel fabrication plant all day and then at 9:00, has to leave to pick me up from my classes in the nearest city. All the work, therefore, has to be done on the weekends. This…has led me to be a little resentful of the shed, and let me explain why.

My mother died when I was very young. Since my dad went to work before the sun was up, I spent half of elementary school, and all of middle and high school at my grandmother’s, getting maybe an hour of time with my dad a night, until the weekends. Weekends were this free time where we could just do stuff or do nothing, because Sunday night I’d be carted back over to my grandmother’s house.

Now, yes, I am 26. I am an adult. However, I do like to still spend time with my family, and a half-an-hour a night with my dad during the week, and maybe two-hours on the weekend is making me wish I lived in Bewitched and could just wiggle my nose. My hope is that in a year I’ll have my own place, or at least a nest egg and a job with which to try and get my own place — and let’s be honest, I doubt I’ll get one within walking distance of where I am. I’ll have to move to wherever I’d get employed. I don’t know if that happens, how much quality time I’ll get with my dad, when I already see so little of him during the week. I want to spend what time I can with him, while I have it.

Of course, I can’t say this, because the work needs to get done, and all the whinging in the world won’t do anything but make everyone feel bad or think I’m being overemotional, so…I think I’ll be baking tomorrow. Bread maybe?


If I’m At the Stove, It Doesn’t Mean I’m Chained There.

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The tomatoes continue to be in fine form, and because of this, I ended up getting maligned as “anti-feminist” by a schoolmate, as I was asking someone if they wanted any extras. Apparently things like gardening and cooking and knowing how to make your own pickles rather than paying crazy prices at a store makes me “anti-feminist.” Yeah, no. Trust me, I know anti-feminists. Circa 2005, I was the only one in a class of thirty-two who said they would vote for a woman. Of those people, seven, seven females, in that class, said that they didn’t believe that women should have the ability to vote, that’s anti-feminism. 

When I left college for health reasons, with my credits so mucked up I had no idea how to start fixing them, a friend’s mother cheerfully told me that the only reason for girl’s to go to college was to “catch” a husband. That’s anti-feminism. (For all the amusement I had imagining an engineering student comping up with a Mouse-Trap style contraption to catch a husband.)

The fact that I am learning how to feed myself and my kin without running to The Dark Lord WaldeMart every other day? That’s not anti-feminism. The fact that I can take in my scrubs and therefore not have to pay for new ones every time I go down two sizes? That’s not anti-feminism. The fact that I am slowly conquering my fear of chickens so I can know how the animals that lay my eggs are treated and what they eat? That’s not anti-feminism. The fact that I am in training for a stereotypical feminine job? That has nothing to do with feminism, that has to do with 1) What I’ll be good at and 2) what I have a good chance of getting employment with when I finish. Heck, I wanted to be a marine when I was thirteen. You know what stopped me? Not the fact that I am a girl, but instead the fact that I am disabled and wouldn’t make it past the physical. 

I fully believe in equal rights between the sexes. I also did ballet and tee-ball when I was a kid. The fact that I happen to bake pies and can pears doesn’t mean I’m training to be a submissive little housewife. Furthermore, if I was (pretending for a minute that I’m anything resembling submissive) then that would be my choice. If I want to rock out to Wolfchant or Flogging Molly while I make blackberry jelly it doesn’t make me any less a feminist than the twentysomethig studying Women’s Studies at Bryn Mawr. The whole point of early feminism was to give women a choice, and to let them do what they wanted to do, whether it was run for president or be in the boardroom. That doesn’t mean “push all the women out of the kitchen,” it means let the women do what they want. I want to make yummy food, play in the dirt, have some animals, do some sewing, and do something for the environment.

And if you still want to argue that I’m “oppressing” myself, I have lots of sharp pointy things. I like sharp pointy things, and I can probably use them better than you.


Emergency Management, Hel and Apple Pie

End of term is coming up for me, and with it comes the perfectionistic freak-out over projects that are due. (Like the one tonight.) Due to the fact that I go to night school, sometimes topics come up in class that really make me think. Right now in my Emergency Management class, we are talking about hazards and disasters and first aid and CPR and what you would do in an emergency if you found someone lying on the ground. 

Now, I know in an disaster, we’d have enough food to survive, with many thanks to my grandmother, so disasters don’t worry me too much, and I know how to handle a cricket bat if there’s a zombie outbreak (:)) but I had a moment of truly not knowing what I’d do if I happened on a complete stranger who was unconscious. I know part of it has to do with discussions I’ve had with others, people who have talked long and often about the fact that they have DNRs, and one who succinctly stated that he would be glad when he was called to Neorxnawang or Hel. I guess I would just find it a quandary if I managed to save someone (which I doubt, since most CPR attempts fail to save the person) and they hated me for it. Especially if they were able-bodied and when they recovered now had other issues that didn’t let them just resume life as it was. 

(Fun fact: apparently spellcheck decided the closest thing to ‘Neorxnawang’ was ‘Orangeade.’)

This is what happens when you know far too many people with serious health issues who look completely normal. It gets in your head. So, how do I deal with stress and not having answers? I made apple pie. We have a ton of apples on the trees right now. There was apple crisp last week, and now there’s pie, though at the rate it’s going I may have to make another tomorrow. This is why I make two pie shells and just freeze one.Image


From Tomatoes To Sauce

I’ve been neglecting this blog for awhile, which I need to remedy. Unfortunately, it’s very busy for me now with the end of my school term looming, after which I get a little break. So I’m going to be cramming as much into the break as possible. However, that’s no excuse for not posting so today I bring you homemade tomato sauce.

Now, let’s be honest here: I didn’t get on the gardening bandwagon early enough for these to be my tomatoes, but it still counts. They still came out of a garden, albeit my grandmother’s garden. This being my grandmother, though, she has no idea what kind of tomatoes they are. one kind she calls “Big Meaty” and the other ones are “Stripey Heart-Shaped.” This is because she saves seeds every year and doesn’t buy them.

So, step one: Pot full of tomatoes.

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Pot full of tomatoes get peeled, roughly seeded and quartered. Now, there are lots of tricks to peeling tomatoes. We just have them resting in hot water and go to it with a knife. Feel free to use whatever trick you want if you try this. 

Step two: Seasoning.

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Further proof that this recipe comes from my grandmother via my great-grandmother: a complete lack of measurements. Also, she likes things sweet, feel free to add whatever you like. Personally, if I can manage to do this not under her watchful eye, I’d be throwing oregano and basil in there. However, this version is as follows. Two handfuls brown sugar, about a half teaspoon of salt, a sprinkling of pepper and about that much dried onion. So, you know, experiment. 

 

Step three, place lid on, and cook on lo heat for anywhere from an hour to three, or until the result looks like this:

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At this point, you can spread it over toast like my aunt, use it on top of a supper shortcake, or in lieu of ketchup, or pizza sauce if you want. It’s pretty versatile. We freeze it as well, because it’s full of tomato goodness without taking up as much room in the freezer as frozen tomatoes.