Monday, June 25, 2007

Diving in

I've been so busy doing stuff that I just keep putting off blogging. The more I put it off, the more anxious I get about how I'm going to post something really long. So, I'm just diving in tonight.

The weather has been great for cycling, so I've been riding in to work twice a week. I want to take advantage of the good weather, 'cause once it gets really hot and sticky I may not want to do so. I have my old bike back now, too, and that is really nice. I was using Mark's "old" bike (it's only 2 years old, and is in great shape, whereas mine is 7 years old), but we just couldn't get it adjusted to be as low-impact on my body as my old bike. After several trips on Mark's old bike my body was feeling really sore.

Mark and my sister put together a surprise birthday party for me which was a wonderful way to mark the milestone of my 40th birthday. The surprise was well-kept, too. I started to suspect something about an hour before the party, but I still consider that a successful surprise.

What's really been keeping me occupied, though, is all the food processing I've been doing. I've been going to the farmer's markets at least once a week, loading up, and then figuring out what to do with the bounty when I get home. I'll have a hard time returning to the bland fare available in the supermarkets this winter, so I'm also trying to preserve stuff. In the past 2 weeks, I've made 24 cups of strawberry freezer jam, and frozen another 1.5 gallons of fresh strawberries. Now the blueberries are starting to come in. I think I'll just freeze them whole and not process them. I'm pretty tired of jam-making right now, although the product is totally yummy.

Something to note: while researching recipes for freezer jam, most of them called for copious amounts of sugar. I found a pectin product that allows me to make freezer jam with very little sugar: Pomona's Universal Pectin. It's fantastic. If you're interested in making freezer jam with honey or fruit juice as sweetener, this is the product to get.

I've been paying much more attention to what I eat and my palate is totally adjusted to fresh food now. Last weekend Mark suggested we go to a local restaurant for dinner -- one that I found quite good in the past -- and I was disappointed with the taste of the food this time. I want fresh stuff now.

I don't know what I'll do about eggs this winter, either. I've been buying them at the farmer's market only. I'm starting to think seriously about getting a few laying hens. We have the room in the backyard, and would just have to train the dogs to not go after them...hmmm...Farmer Linda!

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