Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Making Jam

     I went to the farmer's market on a whim the other day, and couldn't resist getting some strawberries.  I could care less for the strawberries you can get in the grocery store, as they tend to be more sour than anything, but once a year, when it's strawberry season, I get a big bucket from the farmer's market, and indulge in this once a year treat.  I made strawberry shortcake with tons of whipped cream the day we got the strawberries, and today I made jam.

    Abriel, who is normally my child least interested in helping me in the kitchen, came in after I had prepped the berries, apron on and wanting to help.

     A few years ago, when I first started canning, it was, "No one come within ten feet of the kitchen",  I've relaxed a bit since then, and realized that I won't give every one in my family food poisoning if the recipe isn't followed with surgical precision.  
     I was happy that Abriel wanted to help, as she has had a rough day, and a little extra Mommy time sure wouldn't hurt. She got kicked in the mouth by Samuel last night while they were romping around. It was bad enough to merit a visit to the Dr this morning. Her mouth is very swollen, and she even lost a tooth, A baby one, thank goodness!
     She squeezed lemons, stirred the jam pot, (She says stirring is her favorite part about cooking.) and fetched things for me.  I hope that my children will remember these lessons and moments when they are grown, and maybe making jam won't be stressful and intimidating for them, as it was for me.
    The finished result; nine jars of jam.  For some reason it separated a little, but I am sure it will still taste wonderful. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

First Camping Trip of the Year

      We usually go camping around Dave's birthday every year. The first couple of years we did, it was just coincidence that it coincided with his birthday, but now we plan it that way. This year we decided to branch out and go some where we hadn't been before. Roan Mountain State Park. We knew there might be some rain that weekend, but decided to go for it anyway.
       The park is beautiful; full of babbling brooks and rhododendrons, and everything was so green! We soon found out why. As soon as we had set up, it started to rain, and continued to rain until well into the evening. We found out that even if it wasn't raining a few miles away, as soon as you got into the park, the drizzling would start. Everything was saturated, but oh, so lush.

          All the rain would have been fine, if it wasn't for the pop up leaking. Rain started pouring in from the roof and the sides. We were all a little damp. Fortunately, my brother-in-law came to the rescue with zip tape (duct tape on steroids) and saved us from a second night of dripping.
       The next day was beautiful, and the kids discovered that this was the ideal habitat for red-spotted efts. They showed up at the camp site with their hands overflowing with the little orange salamanders.

     They were jarred long enough to observe them, then set free.

     The rest of the day was spent playing in the river, and taking Chestnut for short jaunts around the campground, until it was time to have supper and roast some smores over the camp fire.