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Archive for July, 2009

Enjoying the Harvest

Isn't he lovely?

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In the life of the Flynns:

We’re still house-sitting, and we still have 22 more days to go. The snake we are taking care of won’t eat. The cats won’t quit making noise.   I keep forgetting to feed the fish.  We are officially not “pet people.”

Last week, my sister and I spent an evening in the kitchen. We were able to make 4 loaves of zucchini bread, as well as can 2 batches of apricot jam, 10 jars of apricots for pies, and 7 jars of pickles!!

Last night I picked 18 cucumbers. I almost have another 8 lbs for a second batch of pickles. Anyone need cucumbers? Or have canning jars they want to get rid of?

We’re not getting the quantity of tomatoes we had hoped for. We planted strawberries on the tops of our upside down tomato plants, and I think it somehow tricked our tomato plants.  All my tomatoes are the size of strawberries.  I don’t think I’ll be canning any salsa this year. Sigh.

Sweet Rubi is moving in with my parents this week, which means I HAVE to get our room cleaned out so she can move into it.  Carrying boxes up and down stairs is  going to kill me so much fun when it is 104 degrees outside.

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Cherry Pie Filling

I don’t really know what possessed me to originally decide to go pick cherries and can some filling.  I’ve never really been a big fan of cherry pie.

I’m so glad I did it.

This is some good stuff.

Flag pie rhymes with magpie

Can I show you my pretty pie again?

For some reason I’ve always thought my little brother Keith’s favorite pie was cherry but I recently found out he doesn’t like it much either. Strange.  I also recently found out that cherry is Steve’s favorite.  He says he told me back before we were dating and that I made him some cherry pie.  I only believe him because I know he has a better memory than I do. I don’t remember this at all.

So, the first thing you do is call all over town to find the cheapest price on cherries, then call the place you want to get them from and tell them the cheapest price in town and ask if they can give you a better deal than that.  Then smile when you get 30 lbs of cherries for 1.70/lb.  Or grow a tree and pick your own.  Then ask your husband to smile while he carries them to the car.

Smile babe!

I liked the Montmorency variety available at our local orchard.

Next step: Put a couple of garbage bags on the kitchen floor and dump the cherries on top.

On the floor

Why do you do this?

So your husband can sit on the floor and take the stems off the cherries while he watches a movie.

All a part of the processThen wash well.  Now it is time to pit your cherries.

I’m sorry, I meant it is time for your husband to pit the cherries.

This job is the pits

I highly recommend this kind of cherry pitter.  Even if you are only pitting enough cherries for a single pie, it is totally worth it.

While your husband is pitting, get your ingredients together. (At this point I realize I’m out of something important and go to the store. And then go get a massage while I’m out so that the cherries will be all done when I get back.)

You’ll need:

4 1/2 cups sugar
5 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
16 cups pitted cherries
1 cup minute tapioca
2 tsp almond extract (or just splash a bunch in like I do)
5 cups water

Stir together all the dry stuff first in a really big stock pot and then add water. Cook on med high heat. Stir and cook until thickened and bubbly then cook an additional 2 min.

Cool white semi-dissolved liquid mess

Add the lemon juice and then the fruit. Stir constantly and bring mixture up to a rolling boil and cook 1 minute.

It is going to smell like Heaven.

I wish you could smell this.

Promptly ladle into quart jars leaving 1/2 ” headroom.  If you look at the jars below you’ll notice the last jar doesn’t get quite as many cherries as the others, its mostly syrup.  This could be remedied fairly easily, but it would require moving your funnel a lot. 

I don't follow all the rules

Process the jars however you prefer to process your jars.  I don’t abide by the rules that say you shouldn’t use steam canners. I’ve used them since I was born and I ain’t about to stop now.

If you want to process them in a boiling water bath canner, do so for 25 min.  I steamed them for 30 minutes.

Another silly face

Hold up your jar and smile for the camera, then write a blog post about cherries so it looks like you canned them even though it was really your husband.

A quart is just enough for one pie…and my cherries gave me 24 jars.

Make some. Now.

And then let me have a slice of pie. 

And tell me why I was cursed to be afraid of making pie crusts.

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Very Berry July

Cherries are just so photogenic

As I mentioned earlier, we’ve been having some fun with blueberries and cherries in the Flynn family.

About 45 lbs worth of fun.

Lizzy and I went to the Naches Blueberry Farm and each picked 10.25 lbs of blueberries.  I wish I had remembered to take some pictures.

Then I started thinking it was time for cherries, so Steve and I went and u-picked some pie cherries. 7 lbs.

Steve picking

I made pie filling (tutorial coming up soon!) with those, and ended up with 2 pies and 3 jars of pie filling.

Wanna see my pie?

Flag pie rhymes with magpie

They were magnificent!  I took the idea from Mrs. Mama at All Astonishment. Thanks for sharing!!

We enjoyed the pies so much, we decided we needed more cherries.  I called around and got prices, and then Steve called around and did some haggling, and we ended up with about 28 lbs of cherries, picked for us, at less than we paid for the U-pick cherries!

Lots and lots and lots

28 lbs is a lot of cherries.  We were able to get 21 jars of lovely pie filling and we are really excited.

I’m also excited to have about 9 lbs of blueberries left in my freezer!!

How are you preserving your summer fruits?

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Half-Blood Prince

Typing that title made me cringe as I thought of Snape telling Harry that he was the Half-Blood Prince…  can someone who hasn’t read the books really enjoy the movies?

I really didn’t mean to begin this post with a negative comment, I really did enjoy the movie and I had a great time.

We’ve had Steve’s costume planned out since before the release date was moved from last November.  He wore his pinstripped suite, a scarlet tie, and a lime green bowler hat.  He even got a pair of cowboy boots from a yard sale and we dyed them purple.

This is the way we shine our shoes

He made a fantastic Cornelius Fudge.  Not that anyone who hasn’t read the books would know who he was… but I didn’t start typing to complain about the things they do WRONG other than the way I think they should in the movies.

Mr. Fudge

Liz wore her prom dress and wore a lovely diadem in her hair.  She really looked elegant as Rowena Ravenclaw.  I’m glad we were able to dress up and go together, we never really had before.

The Gray Lady

Liz’s good friend Mindy dressed as Hermoine, complete with my time-turner necklace.  Steve Santa put a lot of Harry Potter silliness in my stocking last year.  Mindy’s brother was Michael Corner, a Ravenclaw in the DA who dated both Ginny and Cho, just like Harry…

The Sillies

Mom didn’t dress up but told us that if anyone asked she would say she was Mrs. Figg.  I don’t think anyone asked.

What about me, you ask?

IMG_4082

This year, I decided to be Rita Skeeter.  We found an amazing acid green quill at the Renaissance faire on our anniversary trip, and I found a crocodile skin handbag at Value Village for $2.50.  JoAnn’s had some red rhinestone glasses for another $2.50. A fitted jacket, short skirt, high heels, and long red fingernails finished it off nicely.

We played a Harry Potter trivia game while we waited in line for seats. The crowd was kind of a bummer this year.  Most years the line is the best part- everyone talking and playing games and such.  We did sit next to a fun girl who was crocheting and did some of the trivia with us, but the rest of the people around us were just… there. Ah, well.  There was a guy carrying a boombox on his shoulder blasting Michael Jackson tunes…

Michael Potter?

Yeah.

All in all, a good time was had by all. All de dall de dall.

IMG_4077

Let me know when I can start complaining about specifics, because, really, I know they are the movies and not the books, but REALLY???

Yes, I know my mother is an English teacher, but I know she’ll agree with my last sentence.  Sometimes incomplete, incoherent, ill-punctuated sentances are necessary.  In my case, more often than not.

Happy Movie-Going Everyone!!

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I Miss You

Here is a list of things I want to share with you and don’t have the available amount of time with Internet access, or the pictures, to really make full posts about yet:

Picking blueberries with my sister and all recipes blueberry related that I’ve made since.

Picking cherries with my baby and our experience canning pie filling.

The amazing blueberry/cherry pie I made for the 4th of July.

The beautiful house we are sitting, and the gardens surrounding.

Our 4th of July celebration in Sequim, along with patriotic nail painting.

Some day, my friends… someday I will have a few extra minutes to run to my parent’s house, download my pictures, and POST POST POST!!!

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