Thursday, October 30, 2008

Holy Pinto Beans Batman!

Clean jars ready to go
Washing the great northern beans

Boiling water, and heating up the first canner

Mya wanting to know what we were doing

Beans measured out ready to go

Mom washing beans
Mya looking at me like "You've got to be kidding me - there must be food here somewhere!"

Beans with boiling water.
Up close and personal with the great northern beans

And the black beans
Half way through, this is the first batch cooling.
Rinsing the chili beans. They were really pretty colored

Boiling lots of water to pour on the beans
Here's the beans measured out, ready for the boiling water and their lids.

Another of the beans in their jars....

Mya the helper dog. She's been very concerned that she's being deprived treats, because we never spend that much time in the kitchen withouth making something that she gets a taste of. Canning is kind of a new concept to her. She was just sure we were hiding food from her. She kept bringing her dog balls and alien to "trade" for whatever we had. I think we ended up with 5 balls and an alien this afternoon.
Happily canning away

Tada! 28 more quarts. The ones in front, the multi colored, are the chili bean mix

You can really see the three types of beans in this picture. The really dark jars are the black beans
Another view of beans.

Well, see we had the great bean canning on tuesday, and wednesday I cleaned the kitchen and wrote about it. Then this afternoon, I still had the canners up stairs here because they weren't dry enough to put away yesterday. Well, I was talking to Justin's mom about canning beans, and she asked me how I do it, so I told her, and she said that there is an easier way to do it, but just putting dry beans in a jar, and pouring boiling water over them, then processing. Much less mess, much less time, much less everything except finished product. So I got really excited and thought, well hey the canners are still out, and the jars are clean, so what the heck! Nothing like canning another 28 jars of beans. Only this time I thought I'd try some other types of beans. I canned great white northern beans, some black beans, and some "chili bean mix" that we've had for a while (its kidney beans, red beans, pinto beans, and black beans all mixed together). So today we did the extra 28 jars of beans, about 14-15 pounds of beans. All in all that makes 83 quarts of beans all canned up ready to go. It will be fun though. A lot of time saving for dinners. Just mix in a little meat, and seasoning, and voila! dinner! Fun fun!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Beans Beans the Magical Fruit

Heating beans in the oven

And on the stove....

More beans....

We had so many beans we had to start using large bowls.

All the empty jar boxes

Well, I'm sure some of you will remember that a few years ago I learned how to can beans. It was lots of fun, and there were beans everywhere. Roughly 5 pounds of dry beans = 15 cups (dry) and need 3 cups of water per cup of beans. So say 5 pounds of beans is 15 cups, and 45 cups of water = 14 jars with a few stray beans, and takes 2 canners to do. Then you hydrate them, cook them a little, put them in jars, and can them for 90 minutes. Well, those were very good beans, and very useful, especially because Justin loves beans. So we ate all of those, then I canned another 5 pounds, we ate all of those. We've been out of beans for a couple of months now, and I keep meaning to can them, and haven't.

So with Justin gone, mom and I decided it would be a good time to do a big project like that. We were going to can 10 pounds, which would be 4 canner loads roughly. Well, I grabbed the wrong bucket, and ended up with a 25 pound bag, instead of the 2 resealable 10 pound bags I was looking for. Plus I had a bag that was partially used so we were going to can those. I know this is too much info, but its part of the story I swear! Anyway, so it was about 35 pounds of beans. Well mom and I start washing beans, and we fill up our 2 pans that we were going to use, and then mom says "Let's just keep going" So we keep going, and going and going, and pretty soon we've washed 35 pounds of beans, and put them in every pot we could find. Now to use the math from up above that would be 105 cups of dry beans (roughly) and 315 cups, or 40 gallons if you prefer, of water. Let's just say - it was a sea of beans as far as the eye could see. We took pictures, but it just doesn't do it justice.

That was monday, we put them to soak, or soften. Then tuesday we set out canning. We used 5+ cases of quart jars, worked for 16 hours (until 2 am), and ended up with about 60 something quarts of canned beans. There actually were more beans 2 1/2 canners (15 jars or so) but we just couldn't do it. At 2 am we said enough, the chickens can eat the rest of the beans and went to bed. It was really fun, but lots of beans. If we ate 1 jar a week, we would have enough beans right now for more than a year. It was a lot of work, but at least it was done at one time instead of having to keep doing smaller batches throughout the year I guess. Now we just need to see how long they actually last! :D

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Justin's gone

Well, Justin's been gone almost a week now. He was supposed to be gone 2-3 days, or at least that's what his boss said, but what his boss really meant was 2-3 weeks we just found out today. Kind of a bummer. He's on Lake Clark, which is across the inlet from here, behind Illiamna, kind of straight across from here. He said he got some really cool pictures as he flew over. They flew him over in a helicopter. He was supposed to come back thursday, but then it was friday, then he was supposed to come home today. Then his boss called today and said well I need you there at least one more week.......So Justin called me back and gave me a list of the stuff he needed to stay over there longer, like his winter boots, coat, more gloves, wool socks, blood pressure medicine, etc. Then I ran to town with mom and gave it to his boss, so his boss could send it over on the next plane that goes over there. I'm trying to be grateful that he's working, and for the money, and trying not to be mad that his boss lied (again).

In the meantime, we're just hanging in there doing our thing, wishing the election was over. The chickens are doing really good, producing about 31 eggs a day, so that's pretty cool. They're very funny, they're very noisy and have a lot to say when I go in there in the evening to feed them and gather the eggs. There's one that always follows me around and pecks my sock, or my shoe, or my pants, or whatever. She's very funny. Then there is one that always insists I pet her, she follows me around and makes me pet her. I went in there yesterday and there were 2 eggs on the floor, so I picked them up, and there was one chicken sitting on a nest, so I set them next to her, and she looked at them, looked really excited (hard to imagine a chicken looking excited I know, but she really did) anyway, she looked excited, reached her wing out, and pulled the eggs under her, fluffed up her feathers and settled in and cooed. It was really funny.

Other than the animals and Justin being gone, we're just doing our thing. We had scrapbooking this week, which was fun. I got a project done that I wanted to do for Christmas. This week I want to work on some kind of project, but I haven't decided what yet. I have a couple more Christmas presents that I need to get going.

Well, just thought I'd share what's going on around here. Sorry I don't have any pictures to share yet. We'll have some really cool ones when Justin gets home hopefully.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Funny Joke

Funny Joke, but a little irreverent.

Why men have better friends
Friendship between women: A woman didn’t come home one night. The next morning she told her husband that she had slept over at a friend’s house. The man called his wife’s 10 best friends. None of them knew anything about it.

Friendship between men: A man didn’t come home one night. The next morning he told his wife that he had slept over at a friend’s house. The woman called her husband’s 10 best friends, 8 of which confirmed that he had slept over, and 2 said that he was still there.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I guess I'm a Marilyn, not a Jackie

I found this quiz on a blog tonight, and thought I'd take it for fun. Kind of interesting!

Your result for Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? Or Someone Else? Mad Men-era Female Icon Quiz ...
You Are a Marilyn!
You are a Marilyn -- "I am affectionate and skeptical."

Marilyns are responsible, trustworthy, and value loyalty to family, friends, groups, and causes. Their personalities range broadly from reserved and timid to outspoken and confrontative.

How to Get Along with Me
* Be direct and clear
* Listen to me carefully
* Don't judge me for my anxiety
* Work things through with me
* Reassure me that everything is OK between us
* Laugh and make jokes with me
* Gently push me toward new experiences
* Try not to overreact to my overreacting.

What I Like About Being a Marilyn
* being committed and faithful to family and friends
* being responsible and hardworking
* being compassionate toward others
* having intellect and wit
* being a nonconformist
* confronting danger bravely
* being direct and assertive

What's Hard About Being a Marilyn
* the constant push and pull involved in trying to make up my mind
* procrastinating because of fear of failure; having little confidence in myself
* fearing being abandoned or taken advantage of
* exhausting myself by worrying and scanning for danger
* wishing I had a rule book at work so I could do everything right
* being too critical of myself when I haven't lived up to my expectations

Marilyns as Children Often
* are friendly, likable, and dependable, and/or sarcastic, bossy, and stubborn
* are anxious and hypervigilant; anticipate danger
* form a team of "us against them" with a best friend or parent
* look to groups or authorities to protect them and/or question authority and rebel
* are neglected or abused, come from unpredictable or alcoholic families, and/or take on the fearfulness of an overly anxious parent

Marilyns as Parents
* are often loving, nurturing, and have a strong sense of duty
* are sometimes reluctant to give their children independence
* worry more than most that their children will get hurt
* sometimes have trouble saying no and setting boundaries

Here's where I got it:

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Winter Withering

One things I tried this year for the first time was a hybrid muskmelon, called the Alaska Melon that was bred to grow in cold climates. Its supposed to grow up to 4 pounds, but it didn't really do that. But it did grow, and I carefully watched it, fed it, watered it, etc. It didnt' get big, but we were harvesting, so I thought, what the heck, I'll harvest it. I brought it in, and I couldn't decide if we should cut it now, or let it ripen on the counter. It felt like it was maybe kind of soft, so I cut it open, and it was so cute! It was a mini cantaloupe. After I cut out the seeds, and cut off the rind, we each got a tiny slice and it was SO good. I totally will try and grow them again next year. Yummy fresh, slightly cold cantaloupe. mmmm
You can see how small it was if you compare it to my thumbnail.

Well, the greenhouse plants went away this weekend. We cleaned up the deck to make snow shoveling easier (it snowed about 3 inches this week, but melted off). And while we were at it, we had to clean up the potatoes which were planted in boxes all over the deck. Hmm, I actually don't have a picture of that. But anyway, we planted potatoes in boxes, sacks, and deep planters this year, and I think if we had planted them before August it would have worked really well. As it is, we have gotten 2 meals out of them, and they taste really good, so that's something. So after we gathered up the potatoes we decided to get rid of the other dead plants and store all the pots and stuff. So we pulled off all the green tomatoes (all the plants died a while ago, they've just been chilling in there occasionally ripening) but since its too cold now, we just harvested everything. Justin even got almost a full second crop of jalapenos, and he had a lot of fun with that. We're switching to hydroponics for next year, and we're going to experiment with hydroponic chili peppers and tomatoes downstairs this winter. Should be fun. Much easier for those kind of crops than messing with dirt. That was part of the potatoes problem, we ran out of dirt, and couldn't keep hilling them as we should have been. So we'll save the dirt we used this year and grow potatoes, carrots, beets, broccoli, etc. And we'll grow tomatoes, jalapenos, and maybe strawberries by hydroponics. Fun stuff. Now I need to get my seeds ordered so they will be here in time for spring planting. . . .

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wii games

Justin and I got a Wii for our anniversary, and we've been having a lot of fun with it, but now as we go into winter, and have more time to play, we're noticing that we need more games! So - I know there are several people that have Wii's and I'm wondering - what games do you recommend, or what games have you heard good things about?

We have: Super Mario Galaxy (Justin is really good at it, but it just makes me mad in a very short amount of time), Wii Play (with classics like duck hunt and tanks), Wii sports (sports games are okay, but we're not much into sports), and Mario Cart (love it). We also have 2 other lame racing games that aren't as good (I learned not to buy the cheap games) I think one of them is GT series, and a monster truck game, but not the good one by Monster Jam.

So we like good racing games, two player games (but some solo games are good too), we'd like a shoot em up game that isn't too gory or over the top, um, adventure games are good too, where you have something you are working towards, or a goal to accomplish. Justin likes Halo on the computer, so if there was something like that you've heard of in Wii? Really just any suggestions. We don't have a lot of money to spend on games, so we want to make sure we get good games that we will get our money's worth out of. Any suggestions????

Oh, and our Wii is not online, or hooked to the internet in any way, if that makes a difference. . .

Good Movie

Justin and I bought "Iron Man" last night, and it was really good! I think I like it the most of all the Spiderman, Batman, etc. movies. I heartily recommend it!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Day's like today

Day's like today are never fun. I had an eye appointment, which I have been waiting almost 3 months for (he's a good doctor, worth waiting for) and having major headaches every day because I need new glasses. So I knew that was going to be expensive, almost $500 for the glasses and appointment, like I said he's good. And I knew that Justin's truck was going to the truck doctor for new tires, and an alignment, and how much that was going to cost ($1480). Then they get the truck into the shop, and it doesn't just need tires and alignment, it needs another $1000 worth of work. Nice. Love that. So, before 3 pm this afternoon $3000, that I'm sure I don't need to say we didn't have, went away. I hate days like this. . . .