I sorta knew this would happen, though. I get so busy with work, keeping up with housework and kids, and also doing projects here and there. I think it’s hard because I don’t blog because I don’t have PICTURES because who wants to read a boring old blog with no pictures???
Well, I do take them sometimes but then the time it takes to upload them and get them arranged… I just end up not blogging at all. So today I’m going to blog about my recent stuff with NO pictures just because I don’t have them yet.
The biggest news is that we got a truck! It’s so nice, I’ve had it less than a week and have already been hauling lots of stuff (mostly leaves 😉
Let’s see… the garden is coming along nicely. I have 17 bags of leaves in the garage for the summertime compost pile and about 1 1/2 truckloads of shredded leaves that were delivered in a pile next to my manure. I still never got my chipped wood mulch from the landscaping company but you know… I have SO MANY leaves I think leaves & compost & household waste will actually be enough. I’ve just done a few layers of leaves/manure/leaves/manure and they are about halfway full. I also have a fair amount of kitchen waste and chopped up pumpkins in there, too. Yesterday I went for a morning run and one of the houses on my route had some bagged leaves so when I was done I went back with the truck and STOLE them from the curb! THey were really wet and full of water and when I opened them they were already fermenty-smelling which is GOOD for my purposes because it’ll get the beds going pretty good.
Craigslist is great! I picked up a truckload of bagged leaves yesterday and a couple weeks ago had someone deliver 2 truckloads of loose leaves and I didn’t even have to do the hard work! It’s been great.
We did make a cheese a couple weeks ago – first attempt at a farmhouse cheddar. I think the milk we get here has been treated somehow because it just didn’t form a very good curd. I still managed to press it into a cheese but there was so much whey in the cheese still so it took about a week & half to dry out enough to form a rind and right now I’m fighting a battle with mold. I think the rind is now dry enough that it won’t mold but we’ll have to see. It’ll be about 2 or 3 more weeks until we break it open. In the meantime I’ll be making more cheese next weekend probably… didn’t get any made this weekend but I have this coming Friday off so maybe I can get more done this coming weekend if it’s 3 days.
Last weekend (or was it 2 weeks ago? I don’t know!) I pureed my pumpkins. Baked them in the oven until soft, scooped out the seeds and threw them away, then scooped out the pulp and used my kitchenaid food mill to process it. I think I’ll just use a regular food processor next time – the lack of “waste” material made it so there was pulp extruded out the back where the waste normally goes so either next time I’ll wash the skin before I bake it and throw that in with it or just use a food processor. All in all I got about 8 cups which is 4 recipes’ worth. Not nearly enough! I’m glad I’m starting to grow my own… this year I can save seed from the biggest/best sugar pumpkin and so hopefully in a couple years will end up with bigger sugar pumpkins. Oh, and in case you were wondering – I cooked the pumpkins with the seeds IN because we don’t eat them, so of course they get composted… and if you cook them first, they don’t SPROUT. I wanted to be able to throw the waste into the garden beds but didn’t want to have little pumpkin seedlings sprouting up everywhere. Plus they are super easy to scoop out once the pumpkin is cooked and soft.
On Friday Mr. Hot Stuff brought home a big box of windfall apples from a friend – they are all bruised and small but I thought I could at least use them for applesauce. We don’t really eat a lot of applesauce but I know Ballerina Girl likes it so I figured I’d make some and could can them in pints instead of quarts. Again I used my kitchenaid food mill and this time it worked GREAT! I was so happy because for one thing, the apples were free (though I did add some honeycrisp in there that I’d had on hand in the basement, maybe 1/4 of the apples) and so I didn’t feel bad about wasting parts or throwing away entire apples that were bad. After all, when you compost, there’s no waste, right?
So I made 12 pints of applesauce, using about 2 big mixing bowls worth of apples (they were all very small) and a bag of cranberries. Some of the cranberries I left out and put them into the finished applesauce for an interesting look but most of them I cooked & pureed along with the apples. I spiced it up, using lots of fresh & dried ginger and molasses, and it turned out really really excellent! Even Mr. Hot Stuff thought it was really good and he is not really a fan of applesauce normally. I didn’t add any sugar and so it wasn’t overly sweet but the molasses gave it good depth and went well with the ginger and cranberries. So now Mr. Hot Stuff can take a couple jars of it to his classmate (and classmate’s parents) who gave him the apples in the first place 🙂 How’s that for a trade? And the Kitchenaid food mill… I gotta thank my sister Sarah for turning me on to that thing because it made it SOOOOO easy. And of course all the leavings got put into my garden beds and covered up with leaves.
Other than that, not a whole lot is going on. I need to make granola tonight because I have to have it on hand. I’m up to exercising 6 days a week now, running/walking 3 days and strength training 3. Mondays are my day off 🙂 I’m really enjoying the time early in the morning, especially when I go running outside because it’s so crisp and still in the mornings. Anyway, what with exercising, running after toddlers, cooking, working, and nursing (which burns the equivalent of about 40 minues of jogging) I’m finding it difficult to eat enough calories so granola is perfect since it’s very nutritious, natural, and calorie-dense with a good proportion of carbs to fat to protein. And I’ve lost 13 lbs so far – in about a month.
Another cool thing… many people won’t understand except those who have the same compulsive need to bake as I do. I love baking… but my husband doesn’t really eat “treats.” So I don’t bake very much, not nearly as much as I want to, because I end up eating it all myself! But I just took over birthday duty at work from a co-worker. She’s been bringing in cupcakes for people’s birthdays for a really long time and mentioned to me that she’s burning out on it. I happily told her I would take on the duty so this is cool because I can pretty much make whatever I want. Not just cupcakes… but pound cakes, cinnamon rolls, etc. All kinds of stuff. This is great! It’s about 1-2 birthdays a month and so I think that’ll get it out of my system and I won’t have to eat anything beyond one serving.
Anyway, that’s pretty much what’s been going on these days. Someday I’ll post more pictures 🙂 At least I’m still writing for now!