Fermenting salsa and dill pickles!!  Yummmm!

Fermenting salsa and dill pickles!! Yummmm!

As a youth, I frequently heard the ‘grown up folks’ mention that “time goes faster as you get older.” My young mind never quite understood those sentiments (remember how long it took for your birthday to come? Christmas morning to arrive? summer vacation to arrive?) However, as the years have passed (and while I know that ‘time is time’) there seems to be some serious truth in that expression!! I probably have to admit that in reality, I am the one ‘slowing down’ while the metronome of time ticks away at the same old continuous pace. So when I looked at the date of my last post, my emotions went from ‘what?!’ and ‘really?!’ to sheepish admission of my lack of diligent posting! In a moment of desperate emotion, I even told myself that maybe everyone else was so busy having a good summer that my negligence wouldn’t be noticed!! If that happens to be true, then just skip this little ‘rave!’ 🙂 On the other hand, if you have wondered just where I have been and what I have been up to, I hope this post will fill you in! Remember…I started out this summer with a fractured shoulder….NO FUN!!!

Update on the fractured shoulder: I am doing much better, but am still unable to move my arm in some fairly important ways, so the work continues. With the doctor’s permission, we did go on our scheduled camping vacation out west (end of May, early June); all I can say is a fractured shoulder sure made traveling interesting!! But it was a good trip, and I don’t regret putting up with the pain, etc. You can check out the photos below – I had a difficult time taking pictures as I couldn’t even hold the camera very well the first 2 weeks! It’s 4 months out now, and the doctor tells me it will be a full year before I have ‘full range’ and use back. At least I can sew now; and for the most part I can handle a good amount of everyday activity in a way that most people would not know something was wrong. The hardest thing is to stay motivated to do the PT exercises regularly! Of course all of this is in addition to the effects of chronic Lymes which unfortunately robs one of vital energy.

Bhuddist peace shrine near Arlee, Montana

Bhuddist peace shrine near Arlee, Montana

Nothin' like experiencing a cattle drive  :/

Nothin’ like experiencing a cattle drive :/

Our camping neighbors - Gros Ventre Campgrnd,  near Jackson Hole, Wy.

Our camping neighbors – Gros Ventre Campgrnd,
near Jackson Hole, Wy.

Blooming cactus in Buffalo Bill State Park near Cody, Wyoming

Blooming cactus in Buffalo Bill State Park near Cody, Wyoming

Beautiful foxglove in the Cascades

Beautiful foxglove in the Cascades

Husband 'day care' in Livingston, Montana! :)

Husband ‘day care’ in Livingston, Montana! 🙂

Old growth trees! WOW!  So amazing!

Old growth trees! WOW! So amazing!

Relaxing by the ocean shore - Whidbey Island' Washington

Relaxing by the ocean shore – Whidbey Island’ Washington

Snow on my hubby's b-day! (June 17) - that's a first!  Yellowstone

Snow on my hubby’s b-day! (June 17) – that’s a first! Yellowstone

You can see that we wandered and camped our way across the northwest and back to Minnesota. One of our stops found us at the Pendelton Woolen Mill and Outlet Store in Pendelton, Oregon. We had been there more than 20 years ago and I had so wanted to return – to check out their available fabric and blanket ‘seconds’! I was not disappointed. The place had expanded in size and even my DH found it fun to see what treasures we could find. It was hard to ‘hunt’ with only one arm!!! 🙂 After 3+ hours, we left with a number of beautiful blankets (all seconds, but with such small flaws that in most cases you couldn’t find them! – a few for ourselves and a few for gifts) and I had a beautiful assortment of wool yardage for felting. Check out the pictures below. The deep pink and gray blue (with a slight brownish flecking) fabric is a coat weight, while the other picture shows regular weight wool. It all washed up and felted beautifully. (Is it a bad thing if you hug your folded felted fabric as you bring it up from the laundry room?!?!? 🙂 I expect that I will be using much of this to make kits for sale on the website. As I left the store, I had to remind myself that there was little likelyhood of my passing that way again; it took me 20+ years from the last time!! Maybe it’s a good thing there are a few states between Minnesota and Oregon – despite the great prices, my wallet can use some recovery time!!

Can't but love the quality of Pendelton wool!!

Can’t but love the quality of Pendelton wool!!

Coat weight pendelton wools.

Coat weight pendelton wools.

Nothing better than a fridge full of vegetable abundance!

Nothing better than a fridge full of vegetable abundance!

We got back home to a rainy and well soaked Minnesota in late June. There were several neighboring cities and areas that had experienced flood conditions. With considerable determination and my one good arm, I had planted our gardens before we left on our trip; and the gardens were definitely well watered – enough so that we discontinued the watering system we had installed before the trip. We garden in straw bales and have another smaller sized garden in the ground, as well as tomato plants in several pots. We enjoyed abundant lettuce, spinach and kale. For the first time in years, I have finally gotten beets and carrots to grow. The green beans have been prolific and my husband (he’s the real bean lover!) has been blanching and freezing them. The pepper plants have lots of peppers on them and we have had our fill of zucchini! Only the cauliflower and cabbage didn’t do so well. But the real surprise was the pickles and cucumbers! I swear that by the time I pick to the end of the patch, they have grown in the first part of the patch!! At last count, I had fermented over 28 1 1/2 pint jars of dill pickles, 16 1 1/2 pint jars of refrigerator pickles, and 12 pint jars of fermented salsa. Guess it’s a good thing we like pickles!! I am genetically predisposed not to waste any food, so in desperation I called a friend who lives across the cities (she’s a former farm gal!) and asked if she would like any pickles if I continued to pick them. So I’m still picking!! She processes her pickles. I use the fermenting process as I find it less time consuming, healthier (probiotics!), and you can do small amounts at any time – plus you can control the taste and degree of fermention. The only down side to fermenting is that the product needs to be kept cold – or as in sauerkraut, cool. So, you guessed it – we had to invest in a small refrigerator (no freezer) to keep the goods. I have to admit, it was fun to look at the ‘pretty’ jars as they fermented on my counter. (See picture on right above.) I remember that my mother was always very fussy about how her canned goods looked – it was only many years later that I realized that as a stay at home mom, this was her expression of art and pride.

Now did I also mention that we had raspberries and since our neighbor didn’t care to pick his patch, I picked both patches and had plenty to make jam and freeze the remainder for later use. (I did give the neighbor a share of the jam!) And since I was in the ‘jam’ mood, I also made batches of apricot and tart cherry jam. I did find myself laughing and thinking that my mother must be chuckling up in heaven; while I remember the hours my mother spent in the kitchen canning and freezing, my youthful self was far more interested in doing anything but!!! That’s not to say I did not enjoy the fruits of her labor. Finances were always very tight, and the majority of our food was home grown and homemade, including things like home made bread and root beer. Over the years, I’ve grown to understand how much work went into our food, as well as the health benefits of food produced with few if any chemicals, etc. Truthfully, I don’t know how she did it – with 3 kids and a husband who was gone working 2 jobs! So now the circle continues as I am returning to my ‘roots.’

In addition to a quick camping outing after dropping off and picking up an art show of my DH’s paintings, I think this pretty much explains the lack of summer posts. This last week and a half I have been preparing kits for a workshop that I am doing for the Daystitchers group that I belong to – this is something I have long promised to do. Stay tuned for pictures! Aside from the fun day we will have, I am looking forward to feedback from the ladies. I will be posting pictures of my table runner that won a blue ribbon at the state fair as well as a few other projects that have been in the works. Till then, hope you are enjoying your own ‘fruits of summer.’

2 Responses so far.


    • Mary says:

      No innsult taken!! 🙂 I hadn’t canned, etc. for years, due to my health issues, and while it definitely takes a toll on my energy levels, I find that I am really enjoying it. Guess it’s almost easier now that the kids are gone and I can just enjoy being in the kitchen, etc. That’s pretty good for someone who did her best to avoid being in the kitchen as a girl! Plus I am a lot more conscious of where my food comes from and how it is grown. We were out to the northeast – Vermont, N. Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, upstate New York, Pennsylvannia, etc.- a few years ago (in the fall) and thoroughly enjoyed driving through all the small towns with their farmers market stands, etc. as well as enjoying what seemed to be a slower pace of living (in the rural areas anyways!) So glad you enjoyed some memories!

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