Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Doing the Salsa, or Bryan Learns Canning

Bryan chopping and chopping.....and chopping tomatoes, onions, garlic, green peppers and hot peppers for salsa.

As I'm typing this, the computer is diligently downloading pictures from my camera disk into a file. It takes time... there are a few pictures.

Yes, patient reader, I know it's been a long time since I wrote to you. But I was busy. Truly.

Not just the travel to and fro across the North Atlantic, but also the laundry and chores to do upon arrival home, and the brutal re-entry back to work the day after arriving home (landed in Calgary late Saturday night, then drove from there to Vernon the next day).

Go to work - go to supper for our 25th anniversary - sleep 10 hours - go to work - sleep 1o hours - go to work - feel human again.

Bryan did a lot of the catching up around home. That included picking and processing a lot of tomatoes. A LOT. The crop was good for the few plants I put in the garden. I would have made tomato sauce but not Bryan. Salsa was on his mind.

I didn't have peppers in the garden this year, but I bought local. The hot peppers are from Osoyoos - does that count as 'local'?

And so we made salsa. Bryan loves to cook but he's never done any preserving before. That was primarily my job. He now knows how much work it involves - not just picking and processing the produce but also preparing the jars, the whole she-bang. But he was a quick learner.

"Wash the tomato, dry the tomato, chop the tomato." Repeat.

We couldn't get the entire batch cooked up in one night. A third of it was in the fridge for processing the following day. When I got home from work that night, Bryan was just tightening the lid on the final jar. And he had supper made as well. I was very proud of him!

Can't you just smell the goodness?!

This morning, Bryan headed back up north for a month. Back to the grind for him. He'll be spending Thanksgiving with the kids, though, at Marlon and Krista's in Grande Prairie. I've half a mind to drive up on Friday night or early Saturday morning, then back on Tuesday. Things are slow at work - we'll see how it goes.

In the meantime, I now have time to (waste) spend here, showing you some of our pictures from Germany and Denmark. Once they're sorted.

Lessons learned this week:

1. Never mix salsa vegetables with bare hands, no matter how mild the hot peppers seem.

2. Liberal application of lemon juice kills the unbearable burn from chili oil when one ignores lesson #1.

We made 10 quarts of salsa. I still have 4 gallons of green tomatoes in the basement I picked earlier this evening under the threat of frost. Us northern gardener know a thing or three about green tomatoes. They'll ripen. Perhaps I'll get some spaghetti sauce in jars yet this season.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

We're Here

I am sitting in a lovely apartment in what was the former East Berlin, free coffee at my elbow (of course) and trying to type on a German keyboard. Nothing is where it is supposed to be! But I am managing (Chris is laughing at me).

Not going to write much other than we are here, still a bit jetlagged but so happy to see the kids! and on a steep learning curve with German trying to keep up to 3.5 year old Valentin!!

Booked our train tickets to Denmark for Sept 13 to 16 to visit Christian and Tove. Claudia's mom is taking us to Erfurt on Tuesday (where Claudi was born and raised) and we will take the train or bus back here.

Right now, just enjoying the time with our little family.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Going, going.....almost gone

Have I packed yet?

Have I got my flight booking stuff all done on line?

Did I pick all the green tomatoes in the garden and put them in a cool dark place in the basement?
of course!! I'm a northerner; we specialize in green tomatoes

Did we get gifts for our friends and hosts?
yes, by the skin of our teeth

Got a working digital camera?
YES! and on sale, too; Nikon Coolpix with all sorts of tricks to it

Are we ready to go?

Still have a day at work, and I think concentration will be difficult. When the 5 o'clock whistle blows, we're off on an night drive through the mountains to Calgary. The flight to Europe isn't until Friday evening, but it's fast through the parks and construction zone (Lake Louise, still and forever) at night.

It's been so blessed hot this evening. The actual temperature isn't so high but we had severe thundershowers last night and so are at 65% humidity. The sun's just gone behind Estekwalan so things should cool off now.

My laundry is in the dryer, so we can pack tonight. Years of traveling on motorcycles with only saddles bags for gear, and Scouting with the kids, makes for tidy, compact travellers.

Adrienne, bless her heart, said she'd keep my plants from imminent death. We gardeners look out for each other!

Trevor said he'd keep a weather eye on the tomatoes and make sure the ripe ones don't come to harm. Oh sure.

I have things to do. I have pictures to post. I'm not ready at all but I'm going anyway.