Monday, September 01, 2014

September Arrives

With an overnight shower.  Not the heavy rain we expected.   And this morning is sunny and very  humid from the rain.   I slept until 9am.  I have been very tired lately.  In body and mind.

The condition of the late summer garden isn't uplifting.  It all looks so tired, weedy and finished. I still have tomatoes, peppers and potatoes to harvest but the plants are reclining, have yellowed leaves.  And my green beans haven't even gotten started yet due to late planting. The chard looks fresh and young.  My carrots are a success for the first time.

I spent Saturday pouring boiling water into a yellow jacket nest in the old, unused compost pile.  The safest way to take care of the hive.  My raspberry canes were full of jackets.  And G got stung.  Five times I think on his hands.  They seem to side step me.  I gave up on the raspberries weeks ago.  I am hoping the October crop of berries will be enough to satisfy my hunger for raspberries.  I gave up picking blueberries.  11 quarts is too many.  Let the birds have the rest.

I used my own onions and carrots to make Italian Carrot Soup.  I had no heavy cream so used the thick cream of a can of TJ"s coconut cream (discarding the water).  The soup now has a slightly sweet taste I just don't care for in an earthy soup.  A disappointment.  I am now wondering whether to eat it (with disappointment) or just compost it all.  The latest batch of zucchini fritters was (is) a disappointment also.  I guess it wasn't a good day for me to be cooking.

Yesterday I cut apart a bunch of ripe tomatoes with bad spots, cracks etc and roasted them in a 300 degree oven for 3 hours with two fresh picked onions, some garlic and rosemary.  I served the roasted mess with pasta.  It was very good.  The alternative was a pot of tomatoes for Tomato Jam.  But then I would have to do the water bath.  I just didn't have it in me.

I wore a pair of size 16 pants I purchased in June of 2013 yesterday.  They stopped fitting at some point before the cold weather arrived.  I wore mostly size 20 pants during the winter and into spring.
It was the high point of my day on Sunday.  The scale shows no movement in weight loss but the fit of my clothing tells quite another story.  So, I will listen to my clothes while the scale tells me I have lost 9.5 pounds (the same thing it has said for 2 weeks) which is still a very good number but not what I had worked for.  I am drinking plenty of water today as I am walking with a friend at 1:30.

That's about all I have to write today.   I have housekeeping chores to do which will keep me busy. I have a second book to read (which will make three books in a row) and a visit to the garden to pick tomatoes.  I have a row of peppers turning bright red on the counter and I need to cut them into strips for the freezer.  I like my peppers red.  Oh, and jalapeƱos to pick and share with a friend who likes to make "poppers".  G says it is horribly humid outside.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

End Of August & Garden Report

The peppers are turning red.  In the house.  I gave up on the sun doing the work and have started cutting green bell peppers that show a bit of color change.  It takes a few days of rotation on the kitchen island, but eventually I have red peppers.  Which I will clean and slice and freeze. I have a few yellow pepper plants and will try and see if I can get them to change color in the house as well.

Which brings me to the news that the fridge is still working 4.5 days after the new fan was installed. I am slowly moving things into the kitchen fridge from the sunporch fridge.  But now I have to face the fact that the 10 quarts of frozen blueberries won't fit in the kitchen freezer section.  And the four quarts of frozen raspberries, and the one quart of frozen jalapeƱos.  And I have two quarts of the smallish blackberries.  The easiest solution is jam.  But I prefer thawed fruit in my daily yogurt.  Not jam. Not to mention the many containers of frozen ratatouille. And I haven't begun to slice and freeze all the bell peppers.

Today I am using the leeks and carrots in the sunroom fridge to make an Italian Carrot Soup with canned white beans and cream (which I will eat and not freeze).  Well, perhaps not the cream as it went bad in the fridge.  The use by date.  I got used to having a pint on hand during low carb days.  Not so much these days.

I also have two very nice, heavy cabbages to use.  I picked up and older copy of Vegetarian magazine where I discovered a recipe for vegetable stir fry.  I think I may also start doing a stir fry for my dinner.  Onions, peppers, cabbage, carrots with some sort of sauce.  The sauce is the key thing here.  Anyone have a favorite stir fry sauce they might care to share?

I am also doing laundry today.  Two and most likely three loads.  G and I certainly do fill the dirty clothes basket.  He is working one day a week for Habitat building storage sheds.  G also made lots of holes in his work pants.  I think he gets caught on things and just pulls his way off.  Making a nice hole in the pocket or next to a pocket.  Tough areas for mending.

I have two new books from the library.  Romances.  Summer Porch Reading Material.

Well, I am going to start on my carrot soup.  I also want to take a long walk.  Drink lots of water.  See if I can get closer to my goal for the end of week 7.   I am way off but haven't done anything bad according to the food diary so I am confused (and feeling defeated).  I also have more PT exercises to do. Work tomorrow but only a half day.  Tuesday I have another visit with my foot doctor.  I don't see a lot of progress in my toes but it took a long time for them to get this bad.

Happy Labor Day on Monday.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Trying To Find Balance In Weight Loss

The ups and downs of diet this time around--well, I seem to have lost my patience.  But then, I contemplated the past SEVEN YEARS and I did find a pattern.  One that has been there for the entire time, one I noticed, but a pattern I disregarded.

My weight dips to a number that thrills my soul.  Then it goes back up the next day.  I dissolve in doubt and self recrimination.  This is where I fall off the wagon, usually.  This time, due to age and exhaustion, I just sigh "oh, bother!" and keep going.  In a few days, the number reappears and stays put until another unexpected drop in numbers occurs and disappears.  I think it is mostly that I need to be drinking more water.

On more exciting news.  The fan part was installed in the fridge.  Started right up and was still working when I woke up this morning.  We are still feeling insecure.  I have 5 ears of corn, some cut up watermelon and my coffee creamer in there.  I told G we would be transfer things to the "now working" fridge as we used them.  Not a mass exodus from the sunroom loaner.  I still don't have trust that the fridge will keep working.

I ventured into the backyard of my daughter's house, at dusk, to pick blackberries.  Did I tell you this already?  Not the big berries I harvested from my own thicket last summer.  These are the small ones. I may go back tomorrow after work.  I got about a quart of them.  Only two mosquito bites.  I may just have to dress in heavy canvas work pants, long sleeved jacket and boots and try to fight my way into the overgrown mess in my yard to collect the small wild berries.  IF that is all there will be--then that's what I will have to make do with this year.  I had wanted a blackberry pie. Before the diet.
But pie can be a part of a diet if eaten instead of lunch and dinner.

PT continues to go well.  My therapist and I get along like friends who have known each other for years and years.  Isn't it odd how that happens.  Will the friendship continue of end when my therapy ends?  I guess I know the answer to that.

I am working the afternoon shift today.  It's a long afternoon and very boring.  I have an orchid and a pot arriving from our mother ship store.  I have to pot it up for a 60th birthday gift.  I could also take my own orchids in and repot them.  It feels like I should be on vacation.  Sleeping late, reading books, sewing something.  August stuff.

Next month is my birthday.  68.   "oh, bother!"

Monday, August 25, 2014

August Ending & Jar of Pickles

The end of the garden season seems to be fast approaching.  Today I made up a half gallon jar of refrigerator pickles, using the worn scrap of paper on which I scribbled my mother's instructions. Family meals, when I was growing up in Cleveland, consisted of a main dish (usually meat), potatoes in some form, a vegetable (usually canned), a plate of sliced bread (not always from the bakery) and another plate with an offering from the garden. Refrigerator pickles were a favored item.  The pickled beets not as popular (though I loved them) with my brothers.  The portions weren't large but we were all healthy.

The scrap of paper and the smell of the vinegar, sugar salt brine always brings back memories of those years.   My mother gardened with a vengeance.  All insects and diseases were dispatched with products displaying a skull and warning.  When these products were banned my mother stockpiled rusting cans in the garage.  DTD.  Stuff like that.

She also got my father to "pick up" buckets of horse manure from the police horse barns.  Cleveland still had mounted police at that time.  Imagine driving home with open buckets of horse manure in the car.  Ugh!!!  She composted it behind the garage mostly for her roses.

In the summer we were served plates of sliced tomatoes warm from the garden, bowls of steamed green beans, pickled cucumbers and the pickled beets with our pork chop or stewed chicken.  My grandmother (on my father's side) provided us with plum kuchen, apple strudel and an endless array of cabbage based dishes.  Which I LOVED.  She also made the best dumplings.   When the summer garden was closing down my grandmother ground everything in the garden into a pickled chow chow which we didn't like.  Then.  Now I would love it. She also pickled hot banana peppers to eat with rye bread and baked ham.

When I went to stay with my dad while he recovered from pneumonia, I discovered jars and jars of pickled banana peppers in his basement.  Ageless with rusted lids.  Who knows when they were canned.  He ate them.  I did not.  Were they canned by my long dead grandmother?  

These are the thoughts and memories brought to life by a saucepan of pickling brine coming to the boil in the August kitchen.  My pickles (I grew the cucumbers, garlic and dill) won't be ready to eat until tomorrow, but I like looking at the jar on the stove top, cooling.  A connection to two other generations that gardened and served garden grown produce to the ones they loved.

G and I will be having sliced tomatoes tonight--finally my countertop is covered in red tomatoes.  Life is good!