Tuesday, September 20, 2011

sometimes you are greatful for the things that did not happen

We almost had a bit of a situation yesterday.

taken through the bathroom window screen

I was sitting in my studio when my husband came in and asked if I was okay.  The smell of burning plastic hit me immediately, and half the house was filled with smoke.  But we could find no fire anywhere, and with the windows thrown open the smoke soon dissipated.  We looked in every room, closet, appliance and corner we could think of, and - nothing.  So finally we decided to call the fire department.  It turns out that if you want someone to pick up the phone, you really do have to call 911.

From the time the call was made, it took exactly 5 minutes to this:

intentional blur!

Eventually the culprit was found:

baseboard heater with a burned-out motor

Luckily, the electricity switched off right away and no bigger fire ensued.  So slowly, the driveway emptied and all was quiet again.

Except my heart.  That overflowed with gratitude for all the blessings we receive all the time, and which we're often too busy to notice.  It beat, first fast, then slower:  thank you....Thank You...THANK YOU.

P.S.: the Windex bottle is filled with vinegar, water and dishsoap, just in case you were wondering.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Just over a week ago, I bought about 25 lb of tomatos on sale, added them to the ones from our CSA shares, and spent two days cooking and canning tomato sauce.

Plum tomatoes fresh from the farmstand

First, I washed and quartered the tomatoes, then I cooked them in a stockpot for about 2 hours until they were completely soft and at least a third of the liquid had evaporated.

I then pureed the tomatoes with a food mill like this one, though there are much better models out there (note to self:  stop ogling things on the Lehman's site!).  Next, I sterilized quart canning jars in the dishwasher and the lids and rings in a pot on the stovetop (leaving them in boiling water for about 10 mins).  Finally, the jars were filled with tomato sauce and two tablespoons of lemon juice before I canned them in a hot water bath.  The lemon adds acidity to the tomatoes, which the internet tells me helps prevent the tomatoes from going off.

yummy tomato sauce!

the first four quarts of a total nine

The biggest challenge in this process was getting pictures that weren't a garish orange color. I don't think our kitchen light favors the tomato... and I didn't want to use a flash.

Bonus artsy shot - lets pretend it wasn't just totally out of focus!

I am debating whether to get another box of tomatoes (assuming the cold nights haven't killed them all already) this week.  If I do, I will probably can one batch more and freeze the rest.  In years past I have only frozen sauce, but this year we seem to be short on freezer space.  Also, I love opening the pantry door and looking at all that beautiful food... a little splash of red may be just what I need to look at come February, oh yes, I think so!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

summer into autumn

In the last week New England has shifted from late summer into early fall.  A week ago, autumn colors arrived in this latitude, but they stayed mostly north of the Mass Pike.  This week, we are rushing to bring in the last of the harvest before our first frost.  Here are some pictures from our late summer bike ride, may they help us hold on to that warmth for a little while longer!

the southern tip of a large nearby lake

Yellow the bracken...

the last of this year's berries

late summer light

first colored foliage

old barn

Friday, September 2, 2011


"If I knew that the world should end tomorrow, I would plant an apple tree today."

                                                                               -Martin Luther

Our house came with four apple trees.  I love the cheerful red among the green leaves.  We don't know what variety apple they bear (red ones, slightly sweet and a bit tart, small to medium size), and they are not nearly as attractive to look at as the ones you find in the supermarket.  But they speak of promises.  They whisper of delightful things in our future - apple crisp, apple sauce, apple butter and maybe even apple strudel.  And those are some of the nicest words we will be thinking about in the next two weeks or so.