Thursday, August 28, 2014

::august is giving me a whooping::

Remember how I said that I wasn't going to do any major stuff around the house?  I was going to just hold to the norm?

Guess what?  That's not happening.  

My parents have decided to move to lake house as their permanent residence.  They are in the process of selling their old house.  My mother had a huge playroom closet where they kept all our toys.  She and I have been going through it.  I sent most of the girl toys to my cousins - I couldn't deal with just giving them to good will.  I needed to know they went to a good home.  I kind of felt like Andy in Toy Story.  I loved these toys and they can't go to the trash.

But that still leaves one billion Play Mobil's and a huge train set.  I needed those.  I spent almost every day of my childhood on the ground playing with those Playmobils.  My emotional attachment to them is so strong.  Plus, I think the boys will really enjoy playing with them.  Josh gave up his day off to truck up to my parents house and we brought home a trailer full of toys and supplies.  I had decided that I was willing to store most of the kids toys in the attic just to make room for the Playmobils.  Yet while driving home Josh and I came up with another idea.  Lets trade rooms with the kids.  We will make the big Family Room (where we actually watch TV and keep it pretty neat) into the Play Room.  Then the old Play Room can be turned into the Living Room - a place for grown ups to watch TV.  You have to walk through it every time you go to the bedrooms, and we really made the kids keep it too clean to have it be a good Play Room.  You can't have an epic Play Mobil play session if you have to take it all apart every time you get it out.

I am still going back and forth to my mothers house helping her sort through her stuff.  Grad School also starts back up next week - guess I better make some time for that.  Plus my garden is totally neglected right this second, which just seems to happen some times.  I'll get back to it ASAP.  With the prospect of a lake house to run to on my days off I am really trying to talk myself into keeping the garden small next year.  (Yeah right!)  Ok - maybe just SMALLER.  Making it small may be beyond my ability to contain.  Small isn't really my gig.  But can't I just buy my sweet corn and melons?  Do I really need to grow them myself?

The good news is my weight loss journey is still trucking along.  I am on week 6 of the "Couch to 5K" program.  A few more weeks and I should be running 5k's.  This is huge for me.  I have never been a runner and I am feeling a bit proud about this forward progress.  I still fall off the food train sometimes, but I am doing much better with it.

The older three are back to school and already in the groove.  Max is learning easily and being a little bit of a mild behavior problem in class.  Too much talking and playing.  Basically exactly how he is at home.  Lily is getting invited to lots of different events and activities and it is nice to see her social circle growing.  Emma is nested into high school and excelling as always.  Mr. Q is still every inch of the emotional turmoil that is age two.  He cries and looses his mind when ever we leave him.  He has the worst stranger danger of our entire crew.  Youngest little rainbow baby has no chance but to be rotten. The kids are rocking it out.   

On the farming front, I am still trying to sell the fainting goat.  No luck yet.  But it will come.  My champion sheep, Annabelle, has been traded back to her breeder for a spring lamb.  I will miss that little girl so much.  I had gotten too emotionally attached to her.  If she was a pygmy goat I would have kept her home as a pet forever, but they really need high quality animals like her in the gene pool.  I hope we can buy her back some day as a retired old grandma.    The goats are totally crazy and ever time I am in the barn I fall in love all over again with my Nubian doe.  Such a noble little creature.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

::edamame - or just plain soybeans::

Look at these pretty babies!  2.4 lbs of beans from 2 ounces of seed.  I am in love with this new seed company that I ordered from last year.  It's called Territorial Seed Company - link here to see the soybean variety I grew.  I even like their catalog - its a great company.  The hardiness of what they sell is hard to top.  I planted these babies around early May.  They where in the ground for about 77 days from seed to dirt to harvest.  They where in the back row left half of my cottage garden.  A space about 3 feet wide and 15 feet long.  Soybean are very touchy - you have to keep trying them till they taste right.  Then harvest them all.  I just pull the plants right out of the ground and go sit in the shade while I pull the pods off.  For these beans it took me about half an hour.  Easy quiet work - great for listening to Disney podcasts. 


Meanwhile, before I even went out and harvested them I had a pot of water sitting on the stove on high.  It takes my old electric stove FOREVER to boil water.  Sure enough - even after about 45 mins it still was just starting to boil. You need a big pot and enough water to cover how ever much you are going to blanch.  Blanch is simply boiling a vegetable for a few minutes before you freeze it.  The Nation Center for Home Food Preservation says, "Is it recommended to blanch vegetables before freezing?   Yes. Blanching slows or stops the action of enzymes which cause loss of flavor, color and texture. Blanching cleanses the surface of dirt and organisms, brightens the color and helps retard loss of vitamins. Blanching also wilts or softens vegetables and makes them easier to pack."  After you blanch something you have to cool it quickly in an ice bath.  I fill one side of my sink with cold water, four trays of ice, and three cooler packs. 

Now we blanch.  Three full minutes.  I count it out in my head and force myself to not multitask during this time.  It's too easy to forget about them.  Then I dump them right into my colander.  

Then I run them under cold water for one minute.  Just to try to start cooling them a little before they go in the ice. 

Next they take a polar plunge when I put them in the ice bath.  I leave them in the ice bath for at least ten minutes or more.  I want them to really be cold before they come out.  I take them out of the ice and I let them drain in the sink for a few minutes before I dump them on a towel to dry.  I use a second towel to pat them dry or they will be too wet for the vacuum sealer.  I let these guys get about one more hour of air drying time before the next step. 

Which is the vacuum sealer.  I double seal the first end, vacuum seal the second end, then add another seal to the second end.  I want to make sure that if one seal fails it has a back up.  It only takes a few seconds more for each pack and is well worth it. 

These 2.4 pounds gave us five freezer packs and one serving of fresh edamame.  I am glad to have them but that is not nearly enough!  Next year I need to triple this amount, or higher!  

I then put all five in one large zip lock so they don't just randomly float around the freezer getting lost.  I think I may not have needed to freeze them because they may be gone with in the week.  


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