Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pool party pics





This was supposed to be just a picture of step-dad's sweet flip off the diving board, but I now notice it also depicts the hubs trying to drown brother-in-law.

Love, J

Monday, September 26, 2011

In the kitchen


Happy to have a Redbox to watch,
or just smug because he doesn't have to wear a sexy hairnet?


Hard to say.

Love, J

Sunday, September 25, 2011

My first show & sales!


Even though the show had a pretty low turn-out, I still sold a case of beans, got a LOT of encouragement from satisfied samplers, and worked out some kinks in booth-setting-up.

After my first sale! I'll be framing that dollar.

It was just the boost I needed before kicking it into overdrive this week - the bean season is right about spent and I've only got a few more nights in the kitchen to build up my inventory. I'm excited to wrap it all up though, so I can move on to my next product.


Love, J

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Old but new to me

Just popping in to say I've discovered a new-to-me show that I'm sure everyone and their mom has seen but I just discovered for the first time on Hulu: Hearts Afire.

It's kind of awesome, and not just in a "good for an old sitcom" way, but actually laugh out loud funny. I never thought I'd develop a crush on John Ritter, but it appears to have happened. It's just perfect to watch marathon-style while I sit here and snap beans.

And my labels ought to be here by Friday, so hopefully I'll have a photo of the finished product soon!

Okay, back to the snapping.

Love, J

Monday, September 19, 2011

Stock the Cellar

I am:

~ officially in business as the owner of a small batch cannery.

~ 324 jars deep in pints of pickled green beans.

~ exhausted and exhilarated from long days in the field & kitchen.

~ planning on keeping up the pace until the first frost ends the beans.

~ getting ready for my first sale booth this weekend at the Cheney rodeo.

~ regretting that I'm too tired to post any photos. maybe i can make up for it soon with one of G in a hairnet, because that's really too sweet for words.

~ so, so so hoping against all hope that this little project turns into something bigger. it's backbreaking, impractical, and not too lucrative but oh my gosh do i love it so much. like, love. for reals.

love & goodnight,

a very content J

Friday, September 9, 2011

New game

I like this.

Love, J

PS ~ If the image above is too foggy for you to read, click on it and you'll jump the the Pinterest page where I found it.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Frustrating

You know that feeling, when you start something and get deep enough into it that by the time you realize maybe it wasn't a very good idea, you can't really back out of it without making a huge mess, so you have to follow it through to the end?

This morning my canning company plan sort of took a turn in that direction.

My big jar order was supposed to arrive yesterday, if not the day before that. I confirmed this with the company last week. Hubs and I scoured the basement clean, made room for the jars and my other equipment, and I got the house all in order so I could disappear into the steamy kitchen for the rest of the month the minute the jars arrived.

Tuesday came and went. No jars.

Yesterday came and went.

No jars.

I even called the sales rep I ordered through and left three - increasingly curt - messages for her yesterday, in a vain attempt to learn the jars' whereabouts so I could schedule my time in the commercial kitchen and order produce from the farm. No answer.

This morning I got a call from a woman in their billing department, just letting me know, "as a courtesy" that the payment information I gave them didn't work, and so the jars were never shipped.

Said billing department lady then got an earful. Fortunately for her, even at my most pissed-off, I'm cripplingly polite and I probably apologized to her as many times as I told her what crap this whole thing was.

After scrambling like mad all morning on the internet and phone, I came to the annoying conclusion that ordering through the original company is still the best way to go. I was very thorough in my product & price research, and no better options have emerged in the month since I placed my original order. Plus, a week is still faster than anyone else would be able to deliver them.

So I stand here on the path and I look ahead of me and see that I will still need to expend more resources - for produce, kitchen time, fair and market booth fees - if I go forward. And the window for production is rapidly closing, as the beans I need will be toast as soon as the first frost hits. Losing a week of this time is a major, major, major blow.

But on the same path, behind me is the even more money spent to get this far. And the hopes I have built up for my little fledgling cannery, which I know are probably disproportionate to its actual potential, but still, they're there and would be dashed if I give up now.

So I went ahead and ordered the damn jars.

Now I just have to try not to mess up the house & basement before next Wednesday.

Love, J

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I want to grow food and stuff

Farmhouse painting by Nancy Tobin

I am on such an agrarian bender right now that it's begun interfering with the rest of my life.

What's that?

There is housework to do? Meals to make? Business stuff to square away?

So sorry, I'm too busy sitting amongst my pumpkins, daydreaming about what it would be like if the patch were an acre rather than 20 square feet. And maybe bordered by a stream on one side. With a white farmhouse in the distance, short in stature, long in charm. Wrap-around porch with a swing; cozy fireplace(s); clawfoot tub; root cellar.

Mmmmm... root cellar...

The end of summer and harvest time always pushes my gaze toward the fields like this, but the attraction is stronger than usual this year. And it is apparently contagious, because I only had to mention it once and the hubs immediately seized the idea and has spent parts of two weekends now driving me around to his favorite little satellite communities, scouting for good candidates.

"Good candidate" = All of the aforementioned charm on 5ish acres, not *too* far out.

Room for a mega berry patch of blue; rasp; black; and straw. Space to grow some Christmas trees and enough corn, potatoes, onions, garlic, squash, to make us through the hungry gap.

Chickens.

Maybe some rescued sheep and a pair of donkeys? (Though maybe not. I'm still pondering whether I'd be cool with having outside animals. I really need to have all my little buddies tucked in the house safe and sound after dark.)

A while longer in town and just maybe I can build a little business that will travel with me into the hills and off into the fields.

Or I may still land some lame desk job and life will take a different course.

?

Until then I will continue to enjoy and be grateful for my own little patch of Earth.

Love, J

PS ~ Speaking of my little company, it's pretty much up and running! I'm due to get my big shipment of jars this week, and then will be a canning maniac, filling as many jars as possible until the first frost ends bean season. (Cross your fingers for me that's at least a couple of weeks, more would be great.) Pictures to follow!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cooler evenings


From Harvest, by Nicola Smith:

People started to make dark noises about winter coming, the end of light and warmth, and the beginning of cold and privation, when the land shrank back into itself and humans retreated to their houses and the animals began to seek shelter. It was a perverse thing -- and quite Yankee, a vestige of the Puritans' Calvinist outlook -- the way people, basking in September warmth weeks before the snow came, began to lower expectations and anticipate trouble and make unhappy predictions as if pleasure was not an end in itself but a foolish indulgence, an open invitation to hard times and harder weather.

We're still basking in September's warmth, the bunnies and I, but the nights have cooled off considerably, and I can certainly smell autumn each morning when I open the windows.

Normally this would not concern me, but I've only enjoyed a smattering of ripe tomatoes - none of them my beautiful, long-awaited chocolate stripes - so I do need the heat to hang on just a bit longer this year.

Oh all right, I admit it, deep down I'm quite greedy and hoping for this last hot snap to last a good 6 weeks.

Is that so wrong?

Love, J

Friday, September 2, 2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Margarita Jello Shots

Makes 36 shots:

Halve and hollow 9 lemons*

Make up a small box of lime Jello, substituting tequila for 1/2 of the cold water.

Fill 'em up and chill, then slice each half in half.


I didn't try any, but they looked pretty cool, and were mostly gone by the end of the night, apparently relished by those who don't share my Jello aversion.


No, make that Jello revulsion. *Shudder* Jello.

Love, J

*There are more than 9 lemons and a box of raspberry mix in the first photo because we also made an alcohol free kid-friendly batch.