Monday, September 22, 2008

Weekend warriors

My what a weekend we had. (The rest of my week is pretty typical. Go to work, go home, clean, ignore the dirty house, you know, normal things. It's the weekends that are more interesting.)

My coworker sent me home with about 10 pounds of super-ripe pears from her neighbor's pear tree (who didn't want them. She didn't steal them.), and another 10 pounds of just about perfect pears. So I decided I was going to make and can pear sauce and pear butter, because I like both apple versions and I like pears. What could be better? So Friday night, I chopped and seeded the pears. I didn't bother peeling them because pear skin has never bothered me, and these were really lightly skinned anyway. I make pear sauce first, and burned myself. Then I put half in the fridge and half in the crock pot to make the pear butter. It cooked all night by itself and was done in the morning.
Saturday morning I started working on my talk for Sunday, and then started peeling the perfect 10 pounds of pears. I decided to make these into canned pear slices (in juice. Aren't I healthy?). It took me about an hour to peel, quarter, and seed the stupid things. And we do not have an ergo-friendly peeler. My hand hurt so bad. Then I got ready to can the sauce, butter, and slices. But the water took too long to boil, and we had an appointment, so I set them aside and went to the appointment after everything was sealed in the hot clean jars. We went to the chiropractor and then spent almost two hours at the BabiesRUs, setting up our registry. It was fun, but my feet were so tired. We finally got home, and I put the canner on to boil again. It took about an hour to boil, and it was hot tap water to begin with. Sheesh. Note to self- in the canning kitchen in our grown up house, make sure there is an industrial strength/ size stove. Then I processed everything, and everything sealed! I was so shocked, this being the first time I canned by myself. I had one pear sauce jar that didn't look convinced about sealing, so I put it back in the water for another processing time, and that time it sealed. I know have 16 jars of pear related products (ok, 14, I gave 2 to my coworker who gave me the pears to begin with). It was fun and I was proud of myself.
While I was waiting for the water to boil, I went out to harvest and tend the garden. I picked 10 bell peppers. We are talking "did you buy those at the store?" quality bell peppers. And of course, another 30 cherry tomatoes. I have about 20 nice fat green tomatoes, and I just want them to ripen! A friend told me to start cutting back on the water, and that will make them ripen, so that's what I am doing. Starting tomorrow, because it is raining today. (Stupid me, I just realized we could have had stuffed peppers for dinner. Duh. Oh well, there are still more on the plants. We will have to have that next week sometime. Alann cut and froze all of the bell peppers for me last night while I was making dinner. We won't have to buy peppers at the store for quite a while.)
Then Saturday night I had a youth dance to chaperone / host. My feet already hurt so bad, but I went and did my part. I sat most of the time, with my feet up, but they were still swollen when I went home. But I did score some yummy brownies. I cut them into smaller pieces and froze them so that I can have a yummy dessert, since Claire apparently really likes sweets. (My sweet tooth is out of control!)
I slept with a bunch of pillows under my legs so that the swelling would go down. It was ridiculous. Sunday my feet still hurt, but it was mostly my heels. So as long as I walked on my toes, I was fine. I had a talk to give, so I tried to fire up my laptop to go over the last little bit and get it printed. Laptop gives me a boot error. I tried to start it again. Laptop gives me a disk read error. It can't boot at all. It can't access the hard drive. I am so sad. I knew this day was coming. I was actually wondering what would go wrong first. I think it may have overheated. I've had the thing for almost 5 years. The first 3 years my mom was kind enough to purchase "oh crap I broke it" protection, so no matter what I did to it, Dell would fix it. The summer between junior and senior year, it started overheating. They came out and replaced the motherboard 3 times. It still overheated, so I gave up, because it was a pain to get them out there. I should have had them replace the battery, but I didn't think about it. Recently, the battery lasted about 2.5 minutes. (ok, I may be exaggerating, but it is definitely no more than an hour, usually less.) And about 6 months ago, the power cord mysteriously got broken (cat, I blame you...). The part that is attached to the big boxy thing needs to be folded in just the right configuration to make the power go through. Dell power cords do not = cheap. So I have been just dealing with it. So I should have started a betting pool on which part would give out first- the battery, the power cord, or the fact that it gets hot enough to burn people (mostly myself, because no one else ever used it. Alann shunned it). I am currently hopeful that our IT guy at work can at least get it to boot long enough to get what I need off of it. He isn't so hopeful. It is probably dead. Luckily, I haven't used it too much lately, and usually when I do use it, I save everything to my stick. (So my talk wasn't lost!) And when Alann and family got me a desktop for my graduation, I backed up all of my files to my external hard drive, so there shouldn't be much on there. It was just so convenient to use. I am sad for it's loss. If anyone has an old laptop, I'll be happy to take it off your hands. I really only used it for Internet and word processing. And my borrowed copy of Photoshop for photo editing. That part really makes me sad. But none of my theater work is lost, so that is good. There are probably a few pics on there that weren't ever put on the external, but nothing I can think of that is devastating.

So after all that stress and work, it was a pretty rough weekend. My feet feel mostly better today, but I still wore comfy sandals, despite the rain, because heels were definitely out. I took some pics of all the stuff I did, so I will post them, maybe tomorrow?

I am fairly satisfied with my garden in general. The bell peppers have done amazingly well. I have about 20 little beet seedlings popping up. I'm hoping to get enough to make a big huge pot of borscht and can it, so that Alann won't bug me about making borscht. He can say "honey I want borscht" and I can say "so open some." Won't life be grand then? Not that it is hard to make, it just doesn't interest me much. I've only made it once or twice, and I can't say what I didn't enjoy about it. But he likes it. The corn didn't pollinate very well. All the male parts came out way before the silks. If I grow anything there next year, it will have to be peas or beans, so that it can refresh the soil. I have one little pumpkin, about the size of a softball. It won't make much pie, so I don't know what to do with it. The cherry tomatoes produce like a weed, as usual. And we have had grand success with the peppers. The cucumbers I wrote off a long time ago. So all in all, a semi successful year. I don't know if I will plant anything next year or not, what with the new baby. That may be all the nurturing I can stand. So we will see.


Shannon said...

You're so funny. I'm so impressed that you got 10 peppers! That's awesome and that you did all that pear canning. I definitely want to try your pear butter. Yum. Also, I'm sorry that your feet are swelling and hurting. No fun. Ian is working lots this week again, so no go with hanging out until at least Thursday. You should have him keep an eye out at Verite for an old lappy. Anyway hopefully we will see you soon! In the meantime, put your feet up at work and sneak a nap in the back at lunch.

Teene said...

You could make me my own small pie as a birthday present for when you come down in Nov. with your softball pumpkin :) Are you all done registering? Good job with the canning - bring some pear butter if you have any left when you come down - I wanna try it and I'm sure as heck not going to buy pears and do it myself - I'm just not quite that industrious right now. But I am teaching John how to cook new things - can you believe he didn't know how to make scrambled eggs? Sheesh. Just don't tell him I told you :) Hugs and love to all!