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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Simmering Salsa

I've made salsa before. I've even blogged about it. But for some reason, I've never canned any. A few weeks ago, we were having dinner at a cousin's house when the lady of the house broke out her last jar of handcrafted, home canned salsa. I was smitten. The flavor was amazing. I begged the recipe off of her and last Sunday, set to work. It is more work than I expected, but the end result was mouth watering! These long cayenne thin and habanera peppers are from my hoop house. The hand, by the way is not that of the grim reaper. I'm wearing gloves to protect my hands from the hot peppers.
Laughing Water took charge of the blanching operation. She thought it was pretty fun. All of the tomatoes were also from my hoop house.

Here is the pot of simmering salsa. I was delighted to learn that you can dice the tomatoes and let them sit for a while and then drain the excess liquid off. It makes for a thicker, chunkier product. I know most of you knew that, but I didn't.

My finished product. I left these on my table for days and kept looking proudly at them. It was pathetic! I'm planning more batches already! - Nanette

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Balancing Act

Life feels like a balancing act this week. I have a number of business issues going on that are requiring a great deal of concentration. One is an annoying, recurring issue that just seems impossible to put to rest. The other issues are happy. We have two consultations this week for new students! (Maybe last week's announcement that the recession is over will actually be true...eventually!)

It's hard to get my mind into anything efficiently because there is so much that needs my attention. My exercise routine...isn't. That must change tomorrow!We've hit on a great treat. We've dehydrated fruits and vegetable for years, but always threw away the apple peelings. No more! Providing the peelings are organic, you can just heap them on the dehydrator tray, sprinkle them with some sugar, xylitol, or other sweetener, add some cinamon and dehydrate them for a few hours. Yummy stuff!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Wild, Wacky, and Wonderful

Here's a few cool shots of what we've seen the last few days. This is a toy car that was left in the yard. I started to pick it up to put it away and all of these ant eggs fell out. The ants were justly upset by my intrusion. I left the nursery alone. I can pick up the car another time.
I'm pretty proud of these melons! This is the first year I've had a melon harvest. The watermelon was not ripe enough, but the canteloupe was amazing- so juicy and sweet!

We were pretty excited to see the pine siskins return to us this week. A few years ago, we had a lot of them, but for some reason, they've not been around for a while. I love this action shot - Nanette

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Settling Into a School Routine

Meet the shoe taxonomists. We're studying botany this year for science and yesterday we learned about taxonomy. To illustrate the concept, our textbook had us collect all the shoes in the house. (I truly didn't know we had that many!) The students were then assigned to separate them into 4 kingdoms. They could pick the criteria. They immediately landed on the idea of separating the shoes according to family members since there are four of us.

They further had to separate each kingdom into two phylum. They chose indoor/outdoor. From there, they separated them into classes and orders.

The "Mama" kingdom definitely had the most choices! I was amused and amazed at how they chose to organize it all. They really had to think about characteristics. Today, we had to record it in their botany journals.
We are settling nicely into a school routine. The kids have a new piano teacher and they both adore her. This comes in handy when trying to get Mr. Blueberry Eyes to practise! I'm particularly excited about his attitude, because was definitely an at-risk piano student! :)

Our landlady is boarding several horses right now. The kids were delighted when the horses' owner let them ride one tonight. Horse fever hit our family this summer hard and let me tell you, this is NOT helping! The children both want a horse so badly! It is a little anti-climatic to tell them that all we can afford this year are chickens! It doesn't quite cut it!

Mr. Blueberry Eyes and Laughing Water have both had the privilege of helping with a convalescing horse. He was a much beloved horse of a trail ride outfit. Unfortunately, someone shot him in the shoulder. He had to have his shoulder operated on and the bone chipped and smoothed to prevent muscle trauma. They never did find the bullet, but since there is no exit wound, they assume it is still in there. His shunt has to be irrigated twice a day.
Mr. Blueberry Eyes takes great delight in helping however he can. Here, he is walking the gentle beast to give him a little exercise. Laughing Water even overcame her fear of medical yuckies and helped apply vaseline tonight. She was rightly proud of herself.
It seems that there is so much happening that it is hard to keep up with journaling it all! I'll just have to do my best and hope I don't bore you all! What is exciting to me, may very well bore you all. But, I guess the purpose of a blog is to write about what one finds significance in herself! - Nanette

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Catching Up

Its been a month, now, since our friends from Kenya came to visit us again. This is Nahoshon sharing at Mr. Blueberry Eyes' Sabbath School. Nahoshon is 12 and he is such a joy to have around. He is very polite and kind. His eyes sparkle, belying the trauma of his past.
Here, we visited my parents' store. Benson and Nahoshon were fun to take around.

We took them to the mountains and found a little snow for Nahoshon to feel. I love the look on his face!
It was fun to hear first hand the stories of how they have used the things we sent to them in the 40' container a year ago. I was particularly pleased to hear of how they have started a sewing industry with the sewing machines, patterns, cloth, and buttons we sent.
I wish them godspeed. Oh, and I really hope that someone else sends another container to them. I would love to help out, but I'm not crazy enough to do it myself again! - Nanette

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

'Twas the Night Before School

This is my little brother. He leaves for a tour of duty in a little over a week. Our church had a special service of dedication for him and a couple of other young men who are in his unit. I really can't believe it. I always used to worry about my little brothers "having to go to war". It has actually happened! Fortunately, this time it is to a place generally thought of as safer than "the other". For that, we are thankful.
This family picture isn't complete. Brother MP and his wife weren't there that day. Still, I like the picture.
The Wood Artist is still feeling yucky tonight. Mr. Blueberry Eyes is still feeling a little punky, but was enough better that we could tease him about his less-than-finest moments yesterday. Today, he could laugh. That's good. I don't like seeing my peeps down.
So, tomorrow is the big day. School starts. Laughing Water is a sixth grader. Mr. Blueberry Eyes, a second grader. They are excited. I'm mostly ready, but there were a few things that didn't quite get done - mostly typing out the schedules I've scribbled out.
I did manage to pull in a few things from the garden. A dozen quarts of pickles are cooling on the table. There is still much to be done. Tomorrow is another day. - Nanette

Monday, September 6, 2010

Precious Days

Meet Yukon Lady. I don't get to see her often, for obvious reasons. She was my roommate in college. Like Anne of Green Gables and Dianna Berry, we were "bosom friends". Still are. We consider it one of life's great cruelties that we are unable to live in the same town.

She spent last week with us. We talked, laughed, cried, and sewed and sewed. She brought three of her four beautiful boys. Mr. Blueberry Eyes was in 7th heaven! Laughing Water enjoyed it quite a lot, too! And me? I was ministered to! I let the house go, and just soaked up every minute I could. Her calm, earnest and genuine spirit was such a blessing!
Here is an apron we made for my sister-in-law's birthday. Laughing Water had fun modeling this obvious "mature" article!

Yukon Lady made all of these little bags, except the little wallet. I made that. She gave me the one with the leaves. I can't wait to use it. The small leaves on the top are made of baked clay, also custom designed.
It was a sad day when she left. I cried as she drove down my driveway. I'm scheming about how I can launch myself onto the Alcan Highway (not exactly sure how to spell that) with my kiddos to spend a month or so with her. Maybe next spring?
In other news, I took my kids to a small theme park several hours away yesterday. We had fun and got started back too late. Granny Flash insisted I stop and get a hotel. I was relieved to do so since I was truly weary.
This morning, Mr. Blueberry Eyes awoke feeling sick to his tummy. He was sick in the hotel hallway. Mortifying! We traveled home today, stopping every little while for one "emergency" after another. We arrived home to The Wood Artist pasty-pale with a fever, chills, vomiting, etc. All is calm as I write this now, but we're very tired. I think I'll delay the first day of school until Wednesday - because I can! ;) - Nanette