Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Busy, busy, busy.

School's back, the undergrads are crazy, and the work days are getting drearier again. Where the heck did the sun go in the mornings?

The deck is mostly done - the under-structure and top boards are done. Still have to sand a few imperfections out and seal it. It's beautiful. :)

Leif doesn't care that Neil is almost done the last board, he just wants Neil to throw the ball.

It's beautiful, that deck, but it did try to kill me. There was that evil board that insisted on being where my head wanted to be on the way down to crawl under it. And what it has done to my shoulders has had me whimpering for a few days.

Menfolk! After I recovered from the evil board collision with head, I mentioned to the hubby that some little display of empathy might have been nice.... he said that he was watching me closely for signs of concussion. Hmmm.

Just how does one go about being gratefully stunned by the sheer practical attentiveness to my health, and yet still pout because one didn't get that shoulder pat and murmering noises of comfort?

Ah well, of the two reactions, I suppose I'd rather have the practical one.

Apple pie, anyone?

We went to Chudleigh's briefly to visit with the inlaws and watch the nieces and nephews run around the field while we picked apples. I forgot the camera - darned but those kids get cuter all the time.

We've still got some garden chores to do. There's a big pile of mulch in the driveway that has to get into the garden before the snow flies, herbs to harvest, tomatoes and green peppers to play with, pies to bake, bulbs to plant.

Tomatoes.....I've been saucing them up and freezing the sauce batches for weeks now. I'm going to be so sad when the season's done and I have no more pasta sauce to make.
I'll have to move on to other things to brew.... stews and chowders and soups, oh my.


Sunday, September 2, 2007

One Local Summer #10

Meatloaf leftovers, with pasta sauce topping.

All this summer, I've been trying to find, or get around to making, pasta. Because I've been making my own pasta sauce for years and it takes very little effort to make it with all local products.

Except the paprika - I must have paprika.

But I just haven't had the energy to make my own pasta. Imagine my surprise when other OLS entries recently have had local sauces and non-local pasta. I coulda been a contender!

Anyhoo... this contest is almost over, or is over, I'm not sure. But I've definitely made big changes that are going to stick.

We found a freezer food store for local meats, and bought a freezer to contain them. It's also starting to contain my pasta sauces as I use up all of the tomatoes that I'm growing.

We found a couple of quasi-local cheese makers. The biggest problem is that the best of them was recently taken over by a big multi-national. So while the production is still local, it's doubtful that their ingredient suppliers still are. How far will I define 'local' as 'local'? Things to think about.

The other local cheese-makers just aren't as easy to obtain, or are somewhat expensive. But they are more definably local - the goat cheese maker is using his own flock!

Vegetables, while easy during the summer at farmer's market, aren't going to be so easy to obtain during the winter and I haven't gotten into canning or freezing them. I really like freshness in a vegetable. So that will change back to being non-local during the winter.

I'd been buying commercial pre-made pizza shells and building my own pizza for a few years, but this summer I learned how to make my own pizza shell as well. Finding a local flour supplier was another happy accident that made that possible.

Overall, it really makes me think about where food comes from and how it's made. I will definitely be continuing with this in many different ways!

One more local story success story that actually ties this post back into my garden, where I usually like to keep the blog - local grapes.

How local? Two steps out and 6 steps to the right from my own back door - our grape vine has finally started producing!

We inherited the grape vine with the house, but I didn't like where the old homeowner had planted it, so we moved it. Then the next year, I didn't like it there either.... so we moved it again. Suffice to say that it took awhile to recover, but this year, we're all happy and they taste delicious!