Monday, October 31, 2005

Angels over me

Remember waaaay back two or three months ago when I mentioned The Blue Angels performing nearby. Well, for a couple of days before their show they ran practice maneuvers ... sometimes flying right over our house. I'd hear the roar of a jet zooming overhead and dash outside, but by that time the jet itself would be long gone.

Those jets flying overhead made me think of our lives and how our influence, for good or for evil, continues on and ripples out to many, many other people long after we are no longer present. What a responsibility!

Monday, October 24, 2005

One of the nicest advantages of the empty nest is...time together.

I was talking with some friends and one (also a relatively new "empty nester") commented about how much she is enjoying the advantages of this stage of life. "I'm falling in love with my husband all over again", she said...with a bit of a blush. I'll second that!

Our nest doesn't seem to stay empty for very long at a time so when it is, we savor the time together to focus on each other. Then, when the fledglings light here again, often bringing others with them, we are content and ready to enjoy them as well.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Something odd is going on in the clothing industry.

I'd been noticing that my old faithful jeans are starting to get rather raggedy looking. So, off I went to Sears to pick up a couple of new pairs. It took awhile to find my favorite style...or rather what is currently passing for them. It appears that there have been a few tweaks to the style since I last bought jeans--there's a totally useless button in the front now and the pockets are cut on a different angle. No biggie--they still have that all-important (to IBS people, that is) elastic waist.

I'm wearing jeans in my "fat" size because my tired, old "skinny" size jeans are dirty. I grab a couple of pairs of jeans in my skinny size and take them into the dressing room just to make sure they will, indeed, fit. It's a good thing I do, too, because those things practically hang off of me! I double check the size and try on the second pair. It's baggy, too! What is going on?

Out I go to get the smallest size on the rack. That fits fine. Whew!

I weigh 35 pounds more than I did when I got married, yet (according to the tags) I now wear a smaller size of jeans than I did back before having children. Something weird is definitely going on in the clothing industry!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Taking a tally of a long day...

* Eleven pastel size 8 Bible Times costume robes cut out,

* as well as six cream-colored boy-size headcovers complete with 6 striped ties for said headcovers,

* six girl-size head-wraps,

* and an additional two heavy boy-size Bible times coats cut out.

* Ten jars of freshly canned tomatoes cooling on the counter (OC helped with that, bless him),

* two jars of freshly-made spaghetti sauce cooling in the fridge,

* seven squeeze bottles of fabric dyes mixed up (which mixing requires moving the procedure out of doors and the wearing of protective mask and gloves),

* a pail of sodium carbonate pre-soak solution mixed,

* a scrap of fabric from the rag pile prepared and test-spots dyed with the new colors,

* a small mountain of freshly picked tomatoes carefully arranged on trays and placed in the garden window to ripen,

* and finally, two dozen muffins bagged (lots of help with those, too, though not, alas, with the pan washing, LOL),

and, at last, it's time (and past!) for bed...

The OC's list of accomplishments was even longer. What a day!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I should have been canning the tomatoes but this was more fun...

Remember all that rain I mentioned? Well, it turns out that cool weather and lots and lots of rain is not conducive for the ripening of tomatoes. Also, it seems that very few of the local Community Supported Agriculture farm members have been picking the green tomatoes from the U-Pick field. The farmer thinks they're waiting for the tomatoes to turn red. Ain't gonna happen, not with this kind of weather, anyway--they'll rot!

So, the OC has spent quite a bit of time looking through the Roma rows for even slightly blushing tomatoes and bringing them home by the bagful.

We've been layering them on cookie trays and in the window until they ripen, which they do...beautifully!

Today, I spent quite a bit of time turning a heaping dishdrainerful of "rescued" tomatoes into yummy (if I do say so myself!) garlic & onion spaghetti sauce. It's now divided into quart freezer bags and cooling fast. Tomorrow, before they spoil on me, I'll busily can up a bunch of jars of tomato chunks for winter soups, but today I had the fun of making spaghetti sauce from scratch! :D

The sun is shining!

This is noteworthy because we haven't seen sunshine in well over a week. I've been reveling in it because...I need my sunshine fix!

Last weekend we had over 8 inches of rain, rain, rain and there's been nothing but drizzle and gray skies ever since. The rain is coming back tomorrow, the weather forecasters tell us, but, in the meantime, I'm enjoying the glow of brilliant sunshine on colorful changing leaves.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

I love my new front door!

We got a new front door today and, so far at least, I think I'm going to love it! The top half is a double-glazed window with internal blinds that, at the flip of a gliding switch, can be opened or closed for light or privacy. Mega-cool!

Yummy (and inexpensive!) homemade yogurt

This post is especially for Hannah at the request of Sunny; however, even if you're neither of them but you do like yogurt and would like to learn to make your own thick, inexpensive, filler-free yogurt, read on...

Anyway, I shall now share with the entire internet the secrets of my superb (if I do say so myself, ha!) homemade yogurt.

Step one is to select your favorite active culture yogurt. We like the taste of Dannon so that's the brand I buy for the starter. Make sure it says "active culture" or this won't work. There are also commercial yogurt starters available but I've never used them.

Step two is to make sure that whatever you are going to let your yogurt culture (or grow) in is splickety clean--you want to grow yogurt in your milk, not some weird, unknown germs...

Step three is one of my "secret" tricks; use double-strength milk. I whisk together water and double the recommended amount of powdered milk. I also add 1/4 cup of sugar per quart of milk mixture.

In a thick-bottomed pan on low heat (so you won't scorch it), bring the milk almost to a boil to kill the little germies that are growing in there.

Next, I set the pan of hot milk into cold water to start the cooling process and splash in a dollop of good vanilla. Once the milk has cooled down to "warm" but not "hot" or around 110 degrees F, whisk in a heaping tablespoonful of your purchased yogurt.

Now pour the mixture into your clean container(s), cover and let sit in a very warm place for at least 8 hours so the culture can grow and turn your milk into a lovely, thick yogurt. The longer the mixture cultures, the stronger "yogurt flavor" it will have.

I am currently using a 70's era Salton yogurt maker that has five little glass cups, but I've also grown yogurt in the top of a double boiler set over a stove pilot light and have even heard of people using the top of a water heater for a source of steady warmth.

And that's it; chill and enjoy! I like to stir in blueberries or top with chocolate sauce and pecans, while the OC sometimes likes a bit of strawberry or cherry jam with his and Grammie has been known to top hers with a drizzle of real maple syrup.