Rose Hip Jelly

Having never done rose hip jelly or jam before, I took to the internet for thoughts and recipes. This page is the one I kept coming back to and in the end was the source I derived my recipe from. I started out thinking I wanted jam, but my rose hips averaged about 1/4″ in diameter. After half an hour of seeding with only half a dozen hips to show for the effort, I informed the Dearliest that he was getting jelly. So much easier!

Catch-Up Routine

To get things back on track in terms of housey things, I’ve had the following as my daily goal, every day, for a week.

  • keep dishes moving through dishwasher
  • one load of laundry completely done (I tend to get sidetracked at the folding stage, which is why there’s typically 2-3 loads of clean laundry piled on some piece of living room furniture all the time)
  • bathe one child
  • remove and throw away one spoiled something from the fridge (it’s amazing how quickly this stuff accumulates when you don’t cook regularly for a while!)
  • get two potted plants in the ground (I have a couple dozen that my mom sent with my dad…a number of them will overwinter in their pots, but about half need to go in the ground now)
  • prepare two quarts of frozen fruit for canning and/ or can prepared fruit

In the canning department, so far I’ve done rose hip jelly (success!) and raspberry chipolte (success!). Raspberries aren’t my favorite, but I really REALLY like this stuff. Especially on chicken. And over cream cheese with crackers. I told the Dearliest that unless he specifically wanted plain raspberry jam, I was likely turning all the raspberries into chipolte. Well, he does want some jam, but he also likes the chipolte so there will definitely be more of it! Photos and recipes for the canned stuff forthcoming.

A couple nights ago the deer took down the deer netting and trampled all but two of the tomato plants. All the bell pepper plants are pretty shot. Yesterday the kids and I went out to salvage what we could of the peppers and tomatoes, and we came away with a very full bucket. Most of the tomatoes are green or just starting to turn, so it’s time to look into recipes for green tomatoes! The Dearliest said he’d fix the netting around the last surviving plants, and boy did he ever! The netting went up, then reinforcement, and then a hot wire strong enough to keep a bull in check. I’d like to see the deer get through THAT! The last couple plants are quite loaded with tomatoes, so we may yet get a good harvest.

After 3 weeks…

..the flu has FINALLY left the building.

Two days of household normalcy and counting! Just in time too, because tomorrow is the last day of the fair! We’re planning on going a little later this afternoon after The Dearliest finishes installing some egress windows for his folks’ place.

I should like to take a moment to say that I have some awesome sister-in-laws. On Tuesday (entry day for fair craft items) I was sick as a dog and had long since given up the thought of entering my things into the fair. Later on in the day one of the sisters called the Dearliest to see about entering the baby rag quilt I made for my nephew. Apparently I didn’t have to enter it in person, and they could fill out the form for me. Since the blanket was already in town with the sister I gave it to, it was an easy enough thing to make happen! I was really touched when I heard about it later, and hopefully I’ll see them soon to thank them. I’m told the quilt took 2nd, so yay!

Now that I’m feeling better I have a list of things to take care of, the first being harvesting as many of the wild rose hips as possible. We have a number of especially flavorful bushes, and picking season started right as we all got sick. Thusly, we’ll probably only get a quart or two, but that should be enough for one batch of rose hip jam (the Dearliest’s request).

Yesterday Pokado helped me pick about a pint, then we brought them in to start prepping them. She became so focused on her task (removing the dried flower remains on the end of the fruit) that she stopped chatting with me at the table. When I tried to get her to smile for the camera she shot me the briefest glance before returning to work! Poor girl. Both her dada and I tend to get completely engrossed in tasks and projects, but I’d hoped she’d be a little older than 2 before it started happening to her. πŸ˜›

After the rose hips are taken care of I have a freezer full of peaches to turn into jam and chutney, raspberries to turn into chipolte, and apricots to turn into jam and maybe something else.

I have a bunch of plants in pots that need to go into the ground, but things have been so smokey around here that I don’t really like being outside. I didn’t realize there were so many wildfires going on, but the smoke being like fog for over a week probably should’ve given me a hint. πŸ˜› According to the Dearliest, the wildfires form a horseshoe around our area (quite some distance away…a lot of the fires are in neighboring states). So far the fires have consumed half a million acres, and over 7000 firefighters were called in. No wonder it’s smokey!

Nap time and quiet time is about to begin for the wee folk, which means I’m off to go make some tea, snitch some chocolate, and crochet or knit something for an hour.

Bring it on. Especially the chocolate.

Project 2013

I designated 2012 “The Year of the Sewing Machine”, although in the end I think it’ll be more like a half year of sewing….I’ve been taking a break to focus on other things, and at this point I don’t know if I’ll get back to it before the year’s end or not. I dunno about your families, but around here things start going nutso in October and never really slow down until February. Between the holidays and something like 8 birthdays in December and January (including mine! eep!), I tend to have a lot to do. All this to say, my plan is to finish Project Emerald and then not tackle anything huge in the sewing department for a while.

Once THAT is done, I will do Something Else I Have Never Done. I love the look of scrapbooked things, but I’m not very gifted at looking at a blank page and coming up with really cool designs and stuff. After reading a bunch of “helpful hints” and tutorials and tricks and browsing all kinds of photos of finished projects, I tried one page of my own. Once. After a couple hours of manipulating my pieces I was still unhappy with it and gave up in frustration. That was several years ago.

Then I learned about altered books from a long-time librarian friend of mine, and I fell in love with the concept. She recently posted a 4-part tutorial on her process for altering books (she makes them into travel journals because she travels a lot). I like how she uses what she has on hand, and the way she presents it makes me feel like it’s something I can do.

Thusly, I have decided to make it my goal for 2013 to make four altered books–one for my wedding, and one for each child. I haven’t decided on the level of content (photos? no photos? spanning weeks? years?), but the good news is that I’m still quite a few months away from starting so I have time to think about it.

In the meantime, I continue to work through my yarn stash. Another skein bites the dust!

‘Tis a wool headband that will keep my ears warm this winter. I’ve made several of these over the last couple years for various people, and I decided it was high time I made one for me! I have longish (and getting longer) hair, which means that it’s often up if there’s any kind of wind (which, given where we live, happens a lot). As it gets colder a hat isn’t always going to mesh with pulled up/ back hair, so this will be a good alternative.


What do you do when you’re down with the flu?

You think about all the things you want to blog about, of course! This is, at least, how I spent a good deal of my delirious state this last weekend as I lay curled up in bed. Fortunately I got hit the lightest of the family, except for Pokado who seems to have missed it entirely (lucky girl). The Dearliest was down for about 4 days, LK and Squaky are still fighting it a little but seem over the worst.

But I didn’t start this post to write about the flu, because who wants to hear about that?

Here are some recent happenings!

  • LK turned 4! Such a handsome lad…

  • I got some new (to me) wheels! Quite a space upgrade from my little Altima. Many thanks to my mother for offering me her van when she bought a new one. Many thanks to my dad for spending 3 days driving it over!

  • This spider out-smarted a wasp nest. It made its web just underneath the opening and caught everything trying to get in and out. I happened to be sitting on the porch when the first cluster of (very mad) web-caught wasps crashed down to the ground…right next to me. I had never seen anything like it and was quite perplexed what in the world the wasps were doing. The Dearliest found this not too much later, and it started to make more sense:

It didn’t take very long for the spider to catch all the wasps. It was maybe two days later that we observed the spider had moved into the nest and watched its web from the opening. Kinda cool in a creepy sort of way!

  • I finished another project! I’m an extremely slow knitter, so I limit myself to little things like scarves and headbands and neckwarmers and things. I might try socks and gloves at some point, but I’m not a huge fan of small yarn on small needles. But small yarn on big needles? Much easier to mentally deal with!

I wouldn’t normally wear sea foam green with purple, but, yanno, it was that or change my shirt and I didn’t want to wake the baby. πŸ˜› Aack! I just realized “the baby” is going to be 1 in a month!

*wanders off to ponder where THAT year went and if a party might be in order*

Personal Growth

A couple months ago the Dearliest brought something to my attention. I forget the exact wording, but it was something along the lines of, “Do you realize that just about every question you ask is a double question?”

“You mean I ask two questions or one question with a double meaning?” Okay, I didn’t actually say that, but it truly was an eye-opener. I really appreciated that he wasn’t telling me to quit it (in fact, he found it more amusing than anything else), but he was right in saying that if someone where continually asking me double questions, I’d find it annoying. It made me want to change the behavior, and so I set about it.

How do you break a habit that you a) didn’t know you had and b) have had for most your life? (At least, I assume it’s been most my life…I’ve spent quite some time analyzing this facet of myself and am certain I’ve been doing it since I was at least 16, if not younger.) One of my piano teachers said once that it takes your fingers 100 repetitions of a piece in order for “muscle memory” to take over, and if you learn it incorrectly it takes 100 more correct repetitions to unlearn the mistake, and another 100 repetitions for your fingers to relearn it.

Based on that 1:2 ratio and applying it to mental habits, I figure I’ll be in my 90s before I’ve relearned the behavior. Or dead. πŸ˜› Oh well. Doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying!

I spent the first two weeks just becoming aware of the double questions, which really wasn’t so difficult because once they were pointed out to me they became glaring huge LED signs. “Do you want me to do it likeΒ  ____ or ____ AUGH that was a double question. How do you want me to do ______?.” became a frequent occurrence, one that was frustrating because I couldn’t seem to stop myself from throwing in that “or” even though I saw it coming the moment I opened my mouth.

The mouth was the problem, really. It started talking before I’d really thought about what exactly it was I wanted to know–what question I truly wanted answered. Around week three I had established asking myself this before saying anything, but unfortunately by the time I’d decided what I really wanted the answer to, I’d generally already asked half the question.

I’m still working on answering the mental “what do you want to know?” before opening my mouth at all, but I’ve got a long road ahead of me. I still catch myself in a double question a lot of the time, but generally I’m able to quit before the “or” and just live with the fact that it I might not be asking the question I really want answered.

And so I make a personal journey. I’m enjoying the challenge despite it’s frustrations, and I’m quite determined to see it through. Here’s to self-improvement!