Thursday, September 17, 2009

Not exactly a wagon train of thought

Autumn lettuces, kales and chards are all in. Except where the deer have discovered them already. It's just like In-N-Out (California burger chain. Anyone?). Only rural. And no burgers. Our garden is limping to its summer finish after severe water shortages. This is exciting, however, because it has my husband dreaming up lots of innovative (never say over-engineered in his presence) water solutions. My vast collection of homesteading books, newfangled and vintage alike, are helping with the planning process. Gray water recycling. Rainwater collection. Water, water everywhere. And still enough to do the laundry.

Ratatouille anyone? It's time for comfort food again chez Suite. Tonight for dinner: Homegrown corn on the cob with homemade butter and salt. Homemade biscuits. Who needs a main dish at this point? I have been experimenting with an iconic 1970s "make your own mix" cookbook and updating it for our family's organic bent. Substituting coconut oil for the hydrogenated fats specified in the recipes is working out pretty well. Madeleine's been having fun with our quick biscuit, cornbread and pancake "mix."

Grace and her friend Fidget (some names may be changed to protect the innocent) love to play Little House. Or, Little House Plus Plastic. Because I'm pretty sure Laura and Mary and the gang didn't have these wagons with the cup holders and seat belts. But if they did, they certainly would have played just like this fearsome duo plays... gathering sticks and rocks and fallen leaves... hauling them to the shadiest spot... stacking them just so for log dolls' houses and mossy bird nest offerings. Nevermind that the birds aren't building nests now. They're flying south, you say? Well, maybe they'll need some moss and horse hair on their way.

The weather here is that perfect fall of made-for-TV movies: crisp foggy mornings and clear sunshine in the afternoons, overnight rain and woodsmoke. My only complaint is that the days are indeed getting shorter (it's not just my to-do list getting longer?).
Indeed my list is getting longer as I start to plan (panic about) my return to graduate school. Homeschool for Madeleine, Sarah and Grace is going so very well this year. Their eagerness is contagious. But keeping up with all three of them -- kindergarten, fourth and fifth grades -- is a full-time job. Of course we can't forget Laura, who at 20 months appears to be following in the big girls' early reading footsteps. Today she was making good use of her crayons when she drew an "H" (accidentally? who knows) and named it. (I just couldn't resist the tiniest little moment of heart-bursting pride and accompanying blog brag. Please forgive me.)
Madeleine and Sarah will start "band" next Wednesday. Madeleine's leaning toward the clarinet and Sarah the violin. Ballet is also on our list but Sarah's been having some challenges with pain management. I'm having corresponding struggles with mommy anxiety. (Who me? Anxious? Never.) Madeleine's still busy with her twice-a-week horseback riding lessons. I have a few deals in escrow promising to close any moment and somehow needing a little attention as well.
And then we can't forget our everyday chores: chickens, horses, rabbits, laundry, dishes. Food preservation? Yes, that too. I "put up," as my grandmother would say, 30 quarts of tomatoes and 10 quarts of applesauce (just starting on the applesauce). We also grated and froze enough zucchini for nine months of zucchini bread. We have made pounds and pounds of fruit leather and dried cherries, pears (still two weeks of pears coming), apples and peppers. We froze corn on the cob and diced summer squash and onions for freezer bag saute kits. I still want to can salsa but I'm worried about flavor loss; I'm big on fresh salsa. Anyone have any good canned salsa recipes for me?
Oh. And while we're at it. I have guilt. I have guilt because Amy of the Hundred Acre Woods sent us a beautiful package that I haven't acknowledged yet. To tell the truth I haven't opened it. I told the girls we couldn't until I sent our package in return. It's on its way tomorrow, Amy! Thank you! We can't wait to see what's inside!


Misty said...

I can't wait to hear about your package! :)

Katie said...

Slacker!! And I mean that in the most loving way...snort!

Love the shot of Fidge and Miss G.

QuiltedSimple said...

WOW you are busy - but I know you will get it all done....have a great day