Monday, May 18, 2015

What We Did While We Weren't Here

This morning I realized how long it had been since I posted here. A quick review of what has happened at Chez Sheffer these last weeks makes the reasons for that much more clear. We have been getting a lot of good stuff done around here.

To start, someone is now able to really start playing on the equipment at the play place in the mall, and we stop there whenever we are at the mall which is at least once a week. For a kid who does not yet walk, she sure can climb. I have been working really hard at allowing her to explore and have some 'ventures on her own. It is rather nerve wracking to say the least. Her protective daddy just might have a panic attack the first time that he takes her to play there. She is a little daredevil. 

Speaking of daredevils - she and I went to the Cities for a weekend, and a certain little someone decided that lots of exploration was in order. She managed to fall on her face and tried to put her front teeth through her lip. (After unsuccessful attempts to hold ice on her bleeding lip, we went with a couple of small bites of ice cream that were like magic. I am a little surprised that she did not do it again in order to get more ice cream.) There was also an attempt to bring home souvenir slivers in her toes, but her buddy took them out. She thought that the process of removal was way more interesting than how they got in there in the first place. No fussing at all while they got pulled thanks to Josh's way with kids and gentle touch. What a guy!

I found a rock for you Papa.
We have been making lots of trips out to the Farm over the last couple of weeks. The little girl may be wary of touching the grass, but she has still been having a great time riding in the wheelbarrow and playing on her mat while we work in the gardens in addition to getting to "hike" through the woods. There have been reports of toads and garter snakes in the area that she will probably start finding in the near future. I am really not a fan of either of those, so she will need to be finding someone else to play with those and teach her which ones are not to be touched. I can almost see my hair getting more gray at an exponential rate.

Dandelion Jelly!

The other day I was going through food storage (both in cold storage and the freezers) to figure out what we have and what we will need to try to stock from this year's garden, and I discovered a couple of pails of strawberries and rhubarb that I had frozen last summer with plans to make jam over the winter when heating the whole house up with the stove wouldn't be a big deal. Oops. At least it was still early enough in spring that I had cool days and near frosty nights that I could get all of it made and canned. I also made a couple of batches of dandelion jelly with dandelions that we had picked out at the Farm. It sure was nice to start replenishing our jam and jelly supply since we were getting dangerously low. This year, I am tracking how much I make, so we can start to gauge how much we will need to have to get through the winter - we eat a lot of PB&Js around here, and homemade jam is absolutely delicious on homemade yogurt.

Greeking it up
Ah, the deliciousness of homemade yogurt. I have been experimenting a bit to decide what will work best for us. Regular or Greek yogurt? A big tub or individual sized containers? How much of it do we really eat besides "a lot of it"? Which of the homemade jams and jellies go well with the yogurt and which ones do not? In the upcoming days, I will also be experimenting with different recipes for homemade granola as the current one ("crush crunchy granola bar") is not really the route that I prefer to go.

For those not from around here, right now we are in the heart of rhubarb season. As such, I have spent a large percentage of my waking hours the last five days devoted to making sure that we take full advantage of the season. It is really astounding how much time it has taken to harvest, clean, and prep 15 pounds of rhubarb (so far). We have had muffins and pie this week, and I have a bunch measured and frozen for later. There is just something fantastic about being able to make a favorite rhubarb comfort food outside of when it is normally ripe - a summer treat in the heart of winter. It just makes me smile. 

Last but certainly not least, we have been prepping the garden for planting. There has been a lot of weed pulling and compost spreading happening to get the bed ready for the tomatoes and peppers that will be planted next week. I will be taking the day off from working on rhubarb to see what can get accomplished today between catching up on all of the chores that did not get done the last couple of days while I diced rhubarb. It will be nice to not be spending all day leaning over a cutting board.

So, there is the short version of what we have been doing for the last few weeks while our digital life was limited. I will try to do a bit better in the coming weeks. We do have a lot to do though, so it may or may not happen.

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