Tag: pickling

It’s All At Home

I am trying to get so much done all at once all the time.  Work is a little nuts right now- not in a bad way- just requiring extra time and attention to make some changes happen.  It’s also canning season.  I made some garlic dill mixed veg pickles last week as well as some more blackberry jam.  (I am working at perfecting my jamming skills- so at least one more batch of blackberry jam is required).  Today my mom and I go picking pickling cucumbers on Sauvie Island.  Tomorrow I will be pickling all day.  I love canning so much.  Like writing does, it makes me feel right in my skin.

I want to thank all of you for speaking up to remind me I’m not alone last week.  It really does make a huge difference to hear it even though I intellectually already know I’m not alone.  I found a local support group for parents of special needs kids and I will check it out probably next week and see what I think.

I don’t find much time for crafting these days and mostly I’m okay with that.  If I want to get where I intend to get then writing and querying agents is what I need to be spending “extra” time doing.  However, just before my trip my back went our for a couple of days and I watched old movies (30’s and 40’s) and made this camera case for my new camera.  I’m notoriously hard on everything I own and with my last camera I never kept it in a case.  I want to try to take better care of my new one because cameras (good ones) are super expensive and having a really good working one at all times is really important to me.  So I made this case for it out of things I had on hand.  I used wool felt and then did free-hand embroidery all over it.  Winging it as I went along.  I would have chosen different thread if I hadn’t been determined not to buy any.  So I was guided by what I had and in the end I’m really happy with where it took me.  I’ve been good about keeping my camera in its case while bouncing around in the dark perils of my bag.

The bloody noses are back.  In the past couple of weeks Max has been getting quite a few of them.  This is nothing compared to how it was two years ago which is something I make a point of being thankful for.  The days of my bathroom looking like a murder scene are obviously not quite over though.  This is sometimes how I find out Max is bleeding again.  He doesn’t always tell me.  The up side of this is that obviously he’s handling them well by himself.  He’s only had two recently that required my help because they were much to bad for him to deal with.

The fact that I feel compelled to photograph blood whenever I see it suggests that I might have missed my calling as a forensics photographer.  Indeed, I think I would have loved that.  I do take photographs of dead things when I see them and though it does give me an occasional uneasy pang (exactly how macabre AM I?) I do it anyway because it’s fascinating.  I have a photograph from Santa Monica of an impressive bloody street scene.  It’s already on my flickr pages if you want to seek it out, but eventually it will be used in a post.  Blood tells the most interesting human stories.  The evenly splattered blood drops Max and I once followed from Jay’s Landing (a sports bar near our house) held our rapt interest- we were thinking a drunken brawl was the cause.  The drops disappeared up at the top of the hill.  But several days later we picked up a new blood trail along the fence of his school down the street from our house.  Was it the same bleeder?  Or a whole new event?

Blood stories.  I can never look away.  Maybe because, like Max, I lost so much blood as a teen myself.

I must tear myself away and get ready for my farm adventure with my mom.  The most difficult question I have to ask myself today is: should I put make up on for this pickle picking, or not?  And: when I come home tonight will there be a corn snake living here named Angelina?

Did I mention that wee Pete died?  I can’t remember.  There’s more to say on that and I think Pete deserves his own belated memorial post so I will save details for that.  We miss that baby snake more than you can imagine.

Have a great Saturday!  For those here in Oregon- stay as cool as you may unless you thrive on heat in which case- get out there and don’t waste your moment to wallow!!  For those of you on the East coast-please take care not to jump into the eye of the hurricane- okay?

Disturbing Pickles and the Macro-Mouth shot

die flies!

Mental Pickling

Last night I was pickling 3.5 pounds of jalapenos reflecting that the tingling in my hand was the result of completely ignoring the instructions to wear gloves while processing hot peppers.  The thought that sprang into my head next was this:

I may as well have been holding hot peppers between my bare butt cheeks for all I seem to care about discomfort.

Thanks, brain, for that delightfully whimsical image.

All kinds of weird things are going on in my kitchen.  Wrong things.  Like the pickled green tomatoes I’ve been working on for two days.  Yes, two days.  I’ve never limed anything before and this recipe I started following said that liming the tomatoes is absolutely necessary so I did as I was bade and what resulted was creepy.  I’ll discuss this over at Stitch and Boots, obviously, but I save all my truly inappropriate stuff for Better Than Bullets, so I thought I better get this out of my system here, now.  The last step before pickling is to soak the tomatoes in hot vinegar for six hours.  This morning I lifted the lid and this is what I smelled:

Chalk piss with hint of dill*.

This is not evocative of deliciousness.

Other Unappetizing Things

Onward to another topic I’m dying to broach:  photographs of your child with food all over his/her face.

Disgusting.  I am so tired of seeing pictures of people’s kids on blogs where the kid has tried eating and missed their mouth by a cheek and a chin.  Smeared chocolate may  be sexy to some people, and funny to others, but to me?  It’s just gross.  It is never cute.

Which is why I regret having taken the classic photo of Max on his first birthday eating his first piece of cake.  He’s not a very messy child and used to go into a full panic if a drip of jam managed to escape his sandwiches onto his hand or face and since jam has a tendency to do that it was quickly expunged from his “acceptable foods” list forever.  Anyway, he did manage to get a little chocolate on his face and I did take that picture.  Looking back on it now I am confused about my motives.  Was it to embarrass him later?  Was it to gross out potential girlfriends in his teen years?

One thing’s for sure, it wasn’t because I thought it was adorable.

The Macro-Mouth Photo Nightmare

Mouths in the process of eating do not encourage me to eat.  They also don’t encourage me to get frisky (I keep bringing this up because of all the movie scenes where a guy gets all turned on by a woman “sensually” inserting food into her mouth while looking at him suggestively).  I once saw a picture on a food blog- a macro shot of a mustachioed mouth inserting a cracker into the hairy orifice – that almost made me not eat for days.  Every time I started eating my brain would flash that disturbing macro-mouth photo across my vision and I would have to walk away from the plate.

I recently saw a recipe on a blog prefaced with a gorgeously giant photograph of the blogger’s child “eating” the food presented in the recipe.  I think this was an effort to show how irresistible the food was: so irresistible that a baby will smear it across their head from ear to ear.  That’s clearly some damn good food.

What resulted is that I now will always think of smeared nasty food bits when I see that blogger’s recipes.

This should go in my unsolicited advice column.


We still have a ton of flies.  I talked with a local farmer who has over 50 chickens to find out if he has fly problems and he said this year has been heinous- that it’s the weather and that when the really cold weather comes it will kill off most of them.  I conclude that it’s not just our problem.  Now, if only we’d have a super cold winter with lots of snow and ice!

Not to kill flies, just to please me.

It’s been 58 inside my house most mornings this past week.  I love it!

My Rich Fantasy Life (it isn’t what you think)

As much as I cougerishly admire Robert Pattinson**, he must not be allowed to play the part of Grey Bonneville when a movie is made out of my book.

It is also crucial that Angelina Jolie not be allowed to play ANY part in the movie but especially not the part of Cricket who is not ten feet tall with pillow lips, huge boobs and skinny-ass scary veiny arms and legs.  I just wanted to make that clear right now.

Also: Cricket isn’t a man-eater like Angelina Jolie is.

How long has it been since you’ve heard that expression?  Since the eighties, right?  In that song?  Isn’t there a man-eater song by Hall and Oats or someone equally under-appreciated by me?

A Boring Bit of Business

I am suddenly reminded of a very boring bit of housekeeping I keep meaning to mention: because of the new way I’ve divided up my writing into separate blogs my blogrolls are different than they used to be.  For Better Than Bullets I’m trying to concentrate mostly on writing blogs (blogs by writers) and all my crafting/cooking/homesteading favorites are going to go on Stitch and Boots.  The reason they aren’t there now is because I don’t have a menu bar on that template to take you to the links page…the truth is, Stitch never got completely completed on it’s new template but I am planning to move it to WordPress like my other ones because I like wordpress much better than movable type.  It’s going to be a little while before that move takes place because this isn’t the kind of thing I can do on my own but as soon as I do I’ll have all of my  missing friends linked back up.  I’ve been meaning to tell you that because I don’t want you feeling dissed.  No dissing has occurred.  (Not with regard to blog links at any rate.)

17 Quarts and Counting

Among my other weird pickling adventures this year I have 17 quarts of pickled aphids.  Caviar of the garden!  Picture this: a delicately carved tiny spoon made expressly to scoop tiny mounds of shiny aphid-caviar onto garlic rubbed crostini… perhaps a little creme fraiche would be dotted on the toast as well… green mounds of minuscule garden jewels for people who are bored of eating, who are bored of all food and need a break from their increasingly stressful ennui.

You know those black kinds?  Those would cost twice as much as the green kind.

Aren’t you hungry?

Would you like the mustachioed cracker stuffed macro-mouth image back in your head?

I live to serve.

*The vinegar had been previously infused with the essence of dill heads which, if you must know, was the result of soaking all my dill heads to remove the aphids so as not to repeat the 17 quart canned aphid disaster.  I then strained all the insect and plant detritus from the vinegar to be used for pickling.  Are you scared to eat my pickles now?  The good ones, I mean.  You shouldn’t be.  I’m much more scrupulously clean and insect-free than any commercial canning facility that you readily eat products from.  Yes, they don’t strain out all the insect bits.  Not kidding.

**I’ve got no cougar instincts but I had to say that didn’t I? Today is say-creepy-shit day.