What I’ve Been Doing on my Summer Vacation

Bliss. Bliss. Bliss.

We’ve been taking a “home” vacation the last week and a half. (Well, I have. BH has been working.) That means avoiding the computer, reading for fun, not research, and doing all the little projects around the house I’ve been wanting to do, but haven’t made the time for.

Like becoming a domestic goddess.

I went through this phase before, when I was a stay-at-home mom with a toddler and an infant. I had a garden, fruit trees, and a woodpile. I baked and canned and sewed. And then life got complicated for about twenty years. BH and I have taken vows to simplify, simplify, simplify our lives, and spend our energies doing the things that have meaning for us; trying our very best to avoid the rat-race that life often seems to becomes.

So… my vacation! (so far, I am still taking this weekend off, too.)

It has mostly been spent in the kitchen, playing pioneer. I turned a bushel of peaches into…

Image and video hosting by TinyPic … a dozen quarts of canned peaches, a dozen tiny jars of peach chutney and a whole bunch of peach preserves.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Then I turned a pot of tomatoes and boxes of blackberries into

Image and video hosting by TinyPic spaghetti sauce base and blackberry jam.

Once I got started, I couldn’t stop.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I made deviled eggs and froze massive amounts of blueberries.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I knit a warm vest that will go to a child who could really use it, thanks to the amazing people at Warm Woolies. (Thanks to my friend Martha, and our friend Elvira, for telling me about Warm Woolies.)

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I went back to the farmer’s market for more tomatoes and brought home fresh dill and cucumbers.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The tomatoes are in the process of becoming chili base.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic And the cucumbers are being fermented into old-school fermented dill pickles. They went in this crock with a bunch of spices and garlic and dill and vinegar. For the next three weeks, I am supposed to scoop off the foam from the top of the crock and make sure the dog doesn’t stick her nose in it. If the crock doesn’t explode or catch fire, in three weeks, I’ll be canning the pickles.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Our wood arrived!!! (Winter is never far from our thoughts up here.)

Image and video hosting by TinyPic BH ran the splitter for a day until all the hunks were of manageable size. (We received nearly nine cord.) If it cools down a little this weekend, we’ll stack it.

That’s all for now. My stuff on the stove is getting ready to bubble over. What have you been up to?

39 Replies to “What I’ve Been Doing on my Summer Vacation”

  1. I didn’t know you were a knitter. Joelle and Elvira get together to go on yarn-buying trips. (Which is one of the reasons I have to go on book tours.) The cool thing is that Joelle was taught to knit by a librarian in CT when she came along for one of my school visits. When the librarian heard she was interested, she went home to get needles. This is yet one more reason we love librarians.

  2. What fun, all! Your puppy is wood colored…I had to look at that photo twice to see her by the pile.

    Thanks for the Warm Woolies link. 🙂

  3. You’re the third or fourth person on my friends list to talk about canning and such this week…I still have to wait two days before I go home and help my mom can her homemade (literally; she grows all of the ingredients in the backyard) salsa! (Helping her make it is the only way I’m allowed to have any. So mean! 😉

    I’m also going to have to tell her about Warm Woolies. She loves to knit and crochet and the like but I can only take so much of the stuff off her hands. Thanks for sharing the link!

  4. I learned to knit in Denmark. We were allowed to do it in class, if you can beleive that.

    Are there any end to the number of reasons we love librarians? I don’t think so.

  5. Wow! Everything looks so beautiful!

    I want to learn how to do all of that! (I already know how to knit- but the rest of it is intriguing!)

  6. Soooo lovely– winter nesting.
    I had such a crazy summer schedule that I pretty well gave up the idea of canning this year, though tomatoes and peaches are my favorite canning projects! School is back in, and amazingly, I have more time now. I was hoping to at least do some grapes on my birthday, but they aren’t quite ripe yet.

    But you’ve inspired me. If you can still get peaches, maybe I can find some here, too! There’s nothing like home canned peaches when it’s 20 below– a little taste of summer sun!

  7. Y’know, I moved to this new town about a year ago and have only recently felt the urge to nest. This post increased that urge by eleventy gabillion. ::searches for the local farmers market::

  8. YAY for knitting librarians! Thank you for the link to Warm Woolies … if I can squeeze in a little extra knitting time, I will send them some handknits. Domesticity can be so relaxing and comforting … just reading your post made me feel better *grins*

    Alas, my past few weeks have consisted of chaos and mayhem, for the students have returned to SU, and my own little pea is starting third grade next week. I’m hoping things quiet down a bit soon … my yarn and needles are calling!

  9. you rock!!! my mouth is watering so bad…i’m such a sucker for deviled eggs and those look outrageous. suddenly i’m feeling very very very lazy. =)

  10. sweet pickles

    Very impressive! I have (according to my mother-in-law from rural Oklahoma) the best sweet pickle recipe in the world. I’ve canned them a few times, and they are good! So, if you have any extra cucumbers and want to try an Oklahoman sweet pickle recipe, let me know.

  11. Oh, I have a new interview series on my blog called AUTHOR CHAT: WITH…

    I have a great line-up so far and today I interview Jennifer Laughran from Not-Your-Mother’s-Book-Club!! I’d love to have you sometime too if you have time. =)

  12. Salivating here. I just spent a couple of days on a staff retreat at a Methodist camp in a deep canyon west of Oklahoma City. The weather was so HOT and HUMID that our walks to the mess hall were downright debilitating. (The canyon was named “Devil’s Canyon” for a reason.)

    I learned something about one young female member of our staff on this retreat. She won’t buy any meat or fowl with bones in it. (You read that right.) If she sees or feels the bones, it freaks her out and she won’t eat it. So she might buy a package of frozen chicken tenders, but mostly she lives on a lot of very processed foods. She admitted she didn’t even know you could buy chicken breasts with bones in them until she bought a package last week by mistake. So the concept of dressing out fresh deer meat or cutting up a freshly-killed chicken belongs to previous generations. I wonder if there are many like her.

    Reading your post was a very much needed breath of fresh air. I feel whole and healthy again. Rock on.

  13. Holy COW! You have been one busy chickadee! I wish I could say the same for I have been lounging about doing positively NOTHING and reading my ass off. Literally reading until my sight is blurry and it is two in the AM. I hope one day to become a domestic goddess. It sounds peaceful and wondermous and look absolutely delicious!

  14. It makes me happy to know that if an asteroid were to hit the moon like in “Life As We Knew It”, you would be able to survive. Me, on the other hand… one day I’ll know how to do all of that. Hopefully before a cataclysmic event.


  15. The only thing that sucks about living in Manhattan? Bad, way expensive produce! Those tomatoes look phenomenal. And I’m sure they weren’t $4.99 a pound 😐 Rock on, sauce goddess, rock on.

  16. First week of school. Coming in early to make copies and phone calls to parents, busting my butt all day, hanging out on lj instead of working when I do get five minutes to myself because my brain’s too tired to think, staying up late changing everything for tomorrow based on what happened today.

  17. Mmmmmmmm…those peaches do look quite delicious!

    I landed a co-op/internship at Lockheed Martin near Binghamton this summer, which basically took up all of my time during the week. I did manage to come home on the weekends, though.

    Little Quirk

    PS-I’ll try to find a weekend sometime soon when both Lisa and I can come see your mom and dad . Maybe I should persuade her fiance to come up and meet them, too. 😉

  18. Looks deeeelish!!! What time should we all come over? I’ll make scones, they’re great with canned peaches and vanilla ice cream!

  19. Such productivity puts me to shame

    Then again, I’m in the ‘home with the toddler and infant stage’ (well, 4 yr. old and 2 yr. old) of life right now. So I’ll cut myself a small break. I’m having to sneak this minute on the computer while my preschooler is watching Thomas. Also, I’m finally reading SPEAK, and just started it yesterday, so it’s funny that I got this link to your LJ today. I was going to say ‘nice cans’ in my subject line, but thought it wasn’t appropriate since I don’t really know you. 🙂

  20. Wow. I’m totally impressed. Hopefully next week will be my domestic goddess week, when the first section of thesis (finally) goes winging its way to my reader. But I doubt I’ll get anywhere near as much accomplished as you did! You’re a double-inspiration 🙂

  21. Wow, can I live with (or atleast visit) you? All that food looks yummy. Speghetti sauce and preserves, mmmmmm.

    I only have a 9.5 month old and I’m too tired to cook let alone all that other stuff you used to do.

    I’m going to tell my talented friends about Warm Woolies… and when I get good enough (I’m still figuring out SQUARES) I’ll do it too!

  22. I have been up to:

    • not writing the essay that’s due in eleven hours
    • not unpacking the boxes that have been sitting in my room since I moved last Sunday
    • not finalizing the adoption of my pet rats who will fill the empty cage in my room
    • not writing any of my creative projects (for about the last two months)

    I have been not doing lotsa things. 😀 I have been playing Lego Star Wars, enjoying the warm weather while it lasts, going to work, going to class, and sleeping. Yay!

  23. i’m glad you’re enjoying your time off:-). all the things you made look really good:-). i hope whoever receives your vest enjoys wearing it and staying warm all winter. okay what have i been up to…well i’ve been at HACC for classes two days a week. but i’m enjoying it which is nice. and right now i’m working on my first article for the fourth estate (the newspaper i’m working on now). it’s a movie review. i’m excited for it. oh, and i got a copy of the last issue of my high school newspaper and i wrote an article about your presentation at the moravian book shop for it. i’m going to send you a copy so you can see that i’m a published writer now lol. let me know if you want all of the issues because i have all of them with my articles in them. miss you and continue to enjoy your time off! =) ♥

  24. Stolen Earthmother DNA

    Now I know why I don’t cook, am allergic to wooly things, and I thought cords of wood came to me ‘redi-split’….. My earthmother DNA was stolen by my yankee cousin!

    Seriously- do you know how to make Nana’s watermelon pickles?? How about her molasses cookies? I have her recipe (written in her hand) I can share.

    Sending Florida hugs… we have been reading on a float in the pool!

  25. Re: Stolen Earthmother DNA

    Ooh! Ooh! I would LOVE those recipes. Please post them. And how do you pick out a watermelon with a thick rind?

  26. Re: Stolen Earthmother DNA

    Found my old pickle recipe. Haven’t used it in decades.
    6 cups water
    9 cups pared watermelon rind cut into 3/4″ cubes
    4 cups sugar
    1 cup white vinegar
    1 Tbl whole cloves or 1/4 tsp oil of cloves
    6 1″ pieces cinnamon sticks or 1/4 tsp oil of cinnamon
    DAY ONE: Boil water. Add rind and simmer 10-15 min.until fork tender. Drain well. Put in glass bowl or crockery. Combine remaining ingredients and heat to boiling. Pour over rind. Cool. Cover and leave overnight.
    DAY TWO: Drain rind, reserving syrup. Reboil syrup and pour over rind. Cool. Cover and leave overnight.
    DAY THREE: Repeat Day Two.
    DAY FOUR: Heat rind and syrup to boiling. Pour into sterilized jars and can.

  27. Mmmm. The farmer’s market, eh? Which one? My father sells at the Regional Market, but he’s nearing the end of his retail season. Mostly pumpkins going to stores and stuff now.

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