Showing posts from July, 2009


Catching up on the last few days....

After canning 16 pints of pickles from the same recipe, and not wanting to continue if I were just producing lots of mushy pickles we would never eat, we finally opened a jar to test the general level of mushiness, and we were delighted to find that they weren't mushy at all and were in fact so good that we're now down to 15 pints--and the 4 quarts I did this morning.
The bread machine still continues to mess with me--this week I got this:which I think looks a lot like Gumby. Perhaps I should have sold it on Ebay like the Virgin Mary cheese sandwich of a few years ago, though I suppose cartoon characters aren't worth as much.

I made an "old-fashioned" mustard which combined yellow & brown mustard seeds and soaked in vinegar overnight with a couple bay leaves,then was pureed the next morning into this:which tastes great and REALLY clears up the sinuses. Brown mustard seeds are the ones we associate with Chinese mustard and t…

Day Two

Hood River is actually a very nice place, and parking issues aside, the Hood River Hotel grew on me after a soak in their hot tub and much nicer staff people on subsequent shifts. Amazing what a difference people can make! A shot of the rest of the room, which was thankfully bigger than the bathroom,but not by much.

After breakfast, we got on the interstate headed to Portland, only to find a sign saying "International Museum of Carousel Art Next Exit." Well seriously--who could pass that up? So we took the exit and started looking for more signs.....and ended up right back at the Hood River Hotel. OK, obviously, we missed something somewhere. We went back, found the only other direction we could have gone, and ended up here:
which wouldn't have been a bad detour if it had been open...and not 9:00 in the morning. We took a moment to admire the view,made our way back the way we came, and stopped herewhile Andy ran in to ask directions. (I know, I tried to get a pictur…

It's Dinner Time at Chateau Sutton-Goar.....

....which has also come to be known as, "What potato concoction are we having tonight?"

I suppose it's sad that coming from Idaho, the state famous for growing potatoes, I know so little about them. I had no idea how many potatoes one plant could produce...although that does help explain the size of the plant. I didn't grow up in the part of Idaho that raises potatoes, so I'm mostly familiar with them as huge bakers sold in the store or the ever-present "Do you want fries with that?" of every restaurant in America.

In Southern Idaho--where the potatoes are--potato harvesting time is a very big affair, with kids even getting out of school to help with the harvest, so I imagined that they were a bit like onions or garlic with one definite harvest time. Now it seems that we get to harvest potatoes all summer--provided we can find them. The ones that pop out of the ground are pretty easy--and make it easy to figure out when to add more dirt--but we'r…

We Really Did Come Home

OK, so the posting from the road thing sort of fell apart. I think it's that sleep thing that always gets me. When I plan my days, I think I have that 24-hour thing in mind, conveniently forgetting EVERY SINGLE TIME that my body insists on sleeping a good portion of those hours.

There are more pictures and a better update coming, but to give you a brief update, we got back on Sunday afternoon, and Andy's parents arrived shortly thereafter for a short visit on their way to Seattle. That was delightful, and even Theo seemed happy to see them as he promptly presented my mother-in-law with a dead mouse in her shoe.

And now I'm off to unpack, do some laundry, and find my camera so we can share some more pictures.

Greetings From Hood River!

Normally, I don't get to do this sort of update as it isn't a good idea in general to announce to the world one is away from home and it is an especially bad idea if an obsessed ex wife follows your blog (now almost 3 years after Andy and I got married), but we have a house sitter, so all is well.

We decided to just take a quick trip out of town for fun and to get away from the crazy heat, so we're in Oregon for a few days.

We stopped at one of our favorite spots for lunch--the Geiser Grand Hotel in Baker--on the way over yesterday. If we are going to spend the money & have the extra calories of eating out, we want some fabulous food and were NOT disappointed. We both ordered pasta dishes for lunch andWE'RE ON VACATION!!!!!! When we spent a few days in McCall in March, we realized it was impossible to truly abide by the rules while traveling, so it's sort of a small vacation from the Year of No Processed Foods. I am proud to say that this has been our only &q…

We Have Pickles!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday night, with the cold mostly gone, I harvested our first big batch of cucumbers(and admitted it might be time to stop giving the cucumbers Miracle Grow)

Because we've been SOOOOOOOOOOO long without pickles, I made 2 jars of refrigerator pickles, which will keep up to 6 weeks but if they tasted anything at ALL like dill pickles would be gone much, much sooner
See how they're sort of cloudy? That's because they are made with lemon juice--not vinegar--and no salt (though I added a tiny bit), and they taste wonderful! I think even someone who did NOT have to give up pickles 4 months ago would think so.

Then cut up 6 pounds of cucumbers and set them to brine overnight.I made pickles years ago, and while they tasted great, they were really soft and mushy. Doing a bit of research, I found that the top ways to NOT get mushy pickles are:

1. Use varieties of pickles specifically for pickling
2. Use cucumbers that aren't big yet
3. Cut the blossom ends off
4. Soak the cucum…

Aphid Update

My sweet, wonderful, adorable husband went out last night and sprayed the ENTIRE garden with soap and water, which kills aphids or at least sends them scurrying for less clean places, and we will be sudsing the garden weekly now.

Look What I Harvested From the Garden This Morning!

Now, if you're saying to yourself, "Gee, I don't remember Toni saying she was planting patty pan squash," that would be because I did NOT plant them. I planted pumpkin. From a seed packet. I planted butternut squash in the same place--from a seed packet--and they never came up. I have 4 other squash plants over in that corner--all planted from pumpkin seed packets--and I'm really, really, REALLY hoping that thisis a baby pumpkin.

Last year I refused to even plant a zucchini as summer squash plants are just two hard to keep up with, and now I have 2 summer squashes--or more, depending on what the two small squashes decide to be. If they turn out to be patty pans too I will be ripping them out by their little roots shredding their little bodies into the compost bin--maybe minus the seeds.

And as long as we're on the subject of squash, remember when I got frustrated because the pumpkins weren't sprouting, and I mixed Hubbard squash & buttercup squash …

I Have Just Removed About A Pound of Skin

Andy had found a recipe involving white beans and kale--which we had a lot of but rarely used as we didn't know what to do with it--so he decided to make it for dinner tonight. All good so far.

When he went out to pick the kale however, he discovered that the backs of the kale leaves were covered with little white somethings. Since I'm the one with the farming background--which never involved kale or little white somethings, incidentally--he came to see what I thought. I thought it was time to switch recipes for dinner. Either we had some sort of egg infestations or the kale had a really unique way of going to seed, and in either case I decided it was time to remove the kale from our garden. I know there are all sorts of ways to remove eggs & things from leaves and use them anyway, but my interest in eating kale has so far been pretty minimal. Throw in some insect eggs and it would have to cure cancer for me to want to eat any more of our kale crop. So I got out my g…

What A Little Bragging Will Get You

Okay, so you know how I've been telling everyone that neither of us have had a cold since we started the Year of No Processed Foods?

I said it one too many times, and I now have a cold while it's a brisk 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

To be fair, the lack of colds could also have something to do with neither of us going to germy workplaces every day, but I like to think that we're getting lots of benefits out of all of this.

At least the one thing I can say about getting a cold NOW--I don't miss canned chicken noodle soup because it's just too darn hot for soup no matter how good it would be for me!

Happy Birthday Andy!

Andy's birthday party Thursday night was lots of fun and we had lots of great people over, but the BEST surprise of all arrived Thursday afternoon:
Andy's sister flew in from Colorado to surprise him! It turns out, I have married into a family of covert operatives, as neither of us had even the slightest suspicion that Jana and the kids were planning this. What fun! The kids made Jana a map to our housewhich she needed because she was WALKING from the airport to our house (which has honestly never occurred to me as something to do), and on the back of the map was a little incentive reminder:A fun, fun weekend!

Lesson Learned This Week

* If one does indeed schedule 4 social engagements in one week, smart people probably don't host two of them

The Garlic Is Harvested!

I had harvested some of the garlic earlier, because I was unsure if the "doesn't like heat" overrode the "stop watering two weeks before harvest," so yesterday it was time to harvest the remainder. I assume that one stops watering the garlic so it will die back naturally--like not being able to cut off the scraggly, dead foliage from the tulips no matter how bad it looks in the flowerbed--and that might make it store better, so in case that is true, I decided to mark which garlic heads we might want to use first with little bits of yarn which are much easier to see in person than they are herebut you get the idea. Sometimes it pays to have a really, really big yarn stash.

Garlic is supposed to bruise really easily, so you hang it to "cure." That seems awfully fussy to me for a plant that originated in Siberia. I mean, if Russian peasants--who had a pretty dismal life anyway--were afraid to be sent there, Siberia is a tough place to survive. Seems to m…