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  • Archive for May, 2012

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    Early May to say, within the last week, could easily be designated the cucumber weeks of May. I’m almost willing to call the whole month the Cucumber Month but the last week the Sumter cucumbers have waned, letting the County Fairs take over as producing the abundance of fruit. I might be able to get another round of fruit out of the Sumters but I think they are done. The County Fairs have another few weeks.

    The amount of cucumbers we’ve been harvesting has been bordering on the ridiculous. I took some to Chris’ field site for the biologists and archaeologists to eat on, then he was home last week for a day and he took a grocery bag full to the food bank across the street. My parents were here this weekend and I probably sent home at least 50 cucumbers for my mom to pickle. I have enough pickles to last me the rest of the year. I may keep a few more cucumbers that come off the vine just to eat but most will likely be given to coworkers or to the food bank. We definitely harvested many more cucumbers this month than we did back in the fall.

    But, if the first of May was the time of cucumbers, this last week to week and a half has become the time for tomatoes. When we first planted them I kept worrying that we just wouldn’t have enough! Texas has a narrow window for harvest and for starting them—battling freezes or frosts until late Feburary (early March in some areas of Texas) and then we have to get our harvests in before the heat of summer comes. It is quite frustrating. But, I think we managed to make the most of it so far. I’ve put away 12 jars of salsa, 6 jars of tomato jam, 12 jars of just packed tomatoes, and one batch of tomato soup I ate in the span of a couple of days. Currently I am oven drying some of the cherry/pear tomatoes and plan on making spaghetti sauce next. I need to start scouring antique shops and garage sales for cheap Mason & Ball jars.

    I’m hoping most of June will be spent getting the most out of the tomatoes and starting in on the peppers!

    What are you harvesting?

    (Aside: sorry for the new commenting password thing. I upgraded my plugins on WordPress, my blogging platform, and apparently the Akismet spam program is not compatible with the WordPress I am currently running. I could upgrade that but I don’t have the right update of php and that is connected via my web host and I don’t know if I can change that. So, I’m going to have to see if I have the old Akismet file on my back up hard drive and reinstall—but until then the password thing is my only method of spam prevention. I was immediately over taken with spam the moment Akismet failed….it was awful! So, thanks for putting up with it. It is just copy and paste—very simple! No tricky CAPTCHA stuff. (Oh, if you are logged in with WordPress some how, you must log out for it to work.) Thanks!)

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    Sewing is not one of my fortes but I do like to make quilts/easy blankets. Right now however I do not have a sewing machine so I took up this endeavor by hand—something very dumb of me to do in the middle of a big harvest season. My coworker is pregnant and due in a few weeks and I wanted to make something for the baby. Normally I would have used a machine to sew up a quick blanket or even crocheted but no, I did it the hard way.

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    It turned out mostly good with a few blemishes but I think that adds to the charm. I miscalculated my width on a few of the rows—oh well!

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    At least the end result was a nice blanket that I could gift—remind me not to do this again!

    Read Day 1 if you haven’t already….

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    We woke up the next morning around 6 a.m. Dawn had already broke and the sky was getting light. Some of the other hikers had begun to rouse before 6, knowing it would take them longer to get ready and drink their coffee that morning. We were hoping to make maybe 12 miles that day in order to ease our mileage for the third and final day so we wouldn’t be leaving the forest so late for our four to five hour drive back to DFW.

    The ups and downs of the previous day were mostly over; the topo map showed mostly level ground with a few minor climbs later on in the day. We would be following streams and later on the Little Missouri River, the rest of the trip. It was a beautiful morning, cruising along the trail, listening to the birds, stopping to look at the water.

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    The trail bounced back and forth across the stream, forcing us to rock up as best as we could. Chris found several deep pools to stop and fish at, allowing the group up front, the faster group, to wait for the others in the back. I liked this kind of hiking, though sometimes it was frustrating, but for the most part I enjoyed it because I could relish the sights and take it all in. I wasn’t drive-by hiking.

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    Had it been warmer that morning this would have been a great place to stop and swim.

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    A few times I found myself hiking alone, something I’m not really used to. Chris and my my brother tended to hike ahead so Chris could stop and fish, and while I tried to stay with my dad most of the time, sometimes I found myself alone all of a sudden. It wasn’t bad, just different. Somewhere around this area I started feeling like the 3.5 miles to the river should be getting close. Soon enough I sensed it even more as the terrain became wetland-like, the vegetation crowding the trail and the smell of dampness permeating the air.

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    Sure enough, it was close. This wouldn’t be any kind of rock hopping creek, this was a full on river ford…luckily at low flow.

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    Of course Chris was loving the fishing and was disappointed that it wasn’t the place to camp for the night or he would have been catching enough fish to feed everywhere. We hung out here for about thirty minutes, snacking, refilling water and waiting for everyone to catch up. Finally the rest of the crew did catch up, and as Curt and Chris had been there for longer than everyone combined they headed on our first. There was another water crossing in less than a mile, to cross the river again back to the same side we’d been on, and we said we’d all meet there.

    This is where things changed course for the rest of the day.

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    So, Curt, Chris and another guy, Leonard were on up ahead, and my dad and I were not too far behind them. The rest of the group, six other people, were still gathering water, putting shoes on and eating snacks. Dad and I walked the short path up to the main trail where we saw a blaze (white, all of the blazes were white except for one other trail which had yellow and white) going to the right. I’d recently looked at the map and it was clear that the trail went to the left while a side trail going south went to a trailhead. Dad and I hesitated for a few moments and decided we’d go left and see if we saw a blaze, and if not turn around. Of course we found a blaze and carried on along the lowlands next to the river. We quickly came upon other hikers and day use visitors taking advantage of the beautiful scenery of this particular area of the river. It was gorgeous! I only wished we’d been camping there that night!

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    We rounded a few bends and walked a few rocky outcroppings and then found the other three who had been ahead of us. Chris was fishing (of course) and Curt and Leonard were taking in the scenery. It was pretty spectacular!

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    Finally we decided to keep on going, expecting the rest of the crew to be not far behind us. We knew we had the next water crossing and that would take some time so off we went. At the second crossing, which was relatively short due to a gravel island in the middle that allowed us to get across the east side easily, we found two different couples intimidated by the fact they were going to have to take their shoes off to cross to our side of the river. It wasn’t that deep, knee deep at most. The five of us crossed easily and finally the two intimidated couples made it across.

    It was there we waited for a good thirty minutes or more for the rest of the group. We figured they would stop and take pictures at all of the scenery behind us, but we couldn’t imagine what was taking them so long. I read my book for awhile, perched on an uncomfortable log. Chris fished. Curt moped about. Leonard took a hiker bath in the river. We waited and waited.

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    Curt and Chris finally decided to leave and continue hiking, saying they would meet us at the next stream crossing for lunch. Dad wandered off to use a tree and found a neat waterfall that he sent me to see and photograph.
    Finally we gave up and decided to keep on going, knowing we had miles to make and that the rest of the crew would catch up eventually.

    We hiked up the bluff, coming onto the ridge above the river. Dad would turn around every so often and look back, hoping to see the rest of the group. No one. Eventually the trail curved around a bend and the place where we had crossed fell out of view.

    The top of this mountain had either been clear cut recently, been burned or a storm had done some damage. Several trees were down across the trail and the tree cover was lacking, undergrowth dominating the scenery. Several groups of hikers passed us as we made our way northward in this section, one group being a motley group of what appeared to be Boy Scouts. They were glad to be near the top of the mountain while we were glad to be going down the mountain.

    Descending the mountain we waited to hear for streams, crossing one barely trickling stream where the three hikers ahead of us had not stopped at, finally we found the right one. Chris was downstream fishing while Leonard and Curt was perched under trees eating lunch. This stream was more formidable than the other stream we’d rock hopped across earlier that morning—in fact it was the stream we’d forded the day before at lunch. Off our shoes went, despite a few nice rocks that looked potentially favorable for walking on, however none would complete the path across the stream.

    In the middle of the stream there was what appeared to be the remnant of an old bridge, washed away in a flood. Across the stream we found ourselves settling down for lunch. Chris and I had brought dehydrated beans to make burritos out of for lunch for the three days and since I had been carrying the fuel and stove he had been waiting for me to eat lunch. Lunch boiled up quickly and we devoured the food.

    Our lunch spot happened to be near the Winding Stair trailhead and we had several small groups of people come through while we ate. One family in particular held to my memory, it was a woman, a boy and a girl and the man was obviously military—well built, close shaved hair, tan army-looking boots. The kids carrying small school-packs and the adults regular packs, found the stream and realized it was going to be a bit tricky. The girl and woman decided to try to rock hop as best they could despite water rushing over most of the rocks and the little boy had a more difficult time deciding what to do. The military dad finally decided to just pick the kid up and carry him across, not caring one iota about getting feet wet. I could only imagine he’d been through worse terrain. It was interesting watching this family interaction, mostly because I was happy to see a family backpacking.

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    The butterflies in the forest while we were hiking were amazing; they were abundant and beautiful. We had several landing on our packs either attracted to the color or the salts.

    Lunch was finished and of course Chris and Curt were ready to go. Shortly after Leonard left. I’d gone up the trail a bit to use a tree and had seen some of the junctions of the side trails to the parking lot but there were a couple of weird paths crisscrossing this intersection, so I told them to make sure to hang a right and look for the blazes. Dad and I left not too long after Leonard. We had two more miles to go before getting to the Albert Pike Campground, site of a horrible flash flood two years ago. We planned to hang out there until the rest of the crew caught up to us.

    By this time the humidity was starting to soak in and we had a few small hills to climb. Not in any rush, we took our time, dad and I, stopping for breaths and enjoying the scenery.

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    We reached this nice overlook, one of the few clearings on the trail, and stopped for a few minutes to enjoy it. Down below, voices and the sounds of life were beginning to come into earshot.

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    Dad and I did the obligatory timer self-portrait! There were a lot of cool formations in this area; it made me happy to see them. We also stumbled upon a weird concrete building/platform that we couldn’t quite figure out what it was for. It almost looked like an old tower base but it was rather high.

    Eventually we started descending, the noise from below growing louder. Fences were put in place on the switchbacks in an attempt to prevent switchback cutters (don’t cut switchbacks!) but they weren’t very good at doing their job. As we came down into the Albert Pike campground we saw a couple of backpacks perched near the picnic tables and someone sitting there. For a second I thought it was Leonard but then realized it was Mike.

    You see, Mike was supposed to be with the other group! Quickly we asked where he had came from and where the rest of the group was, thinking they had all hitched a ride because earlier in the day Rebecca, Mike’s wife, had taken a stumble and hit her head—maybe she had a concussion.

    Nope, Mike was alone.

    So, remember the part in the story when we’d crossed the Little Missouri River for the first time and we’d seen white blazes going both directions on the trail and being a little confused? Well, that group had went right/south instead of left/north. They walked and walked, wondering where the next crossing was until eventually the trail kind of petered out. (Though, the maps said a trail head was supposed to be this direction, so I’m not sure what happened there.)

    Well, when the trail petered out, Mike went one way and the others went another way and before he knew it there was no trail and he was a bit lost. So, figuring that he was still going the right direction he continued following the river until it just became apparent it was not the right way. Eventually he found houses that abutted the river and bushwhacked his way up to them, finding no one home. He continued a bit until he found a couple of guys moving some furniture and asked them for some water and about where he was. This next tidbit was good—because when we had last been together as a whole group at the first river crossing, I had mentioned that Albert Pike might be a good place for lunch. This bit of information had stuck with Mike and so when asked where he might need to go, he said Albert Pike. That’s when the furniture guys told him he was on the wrong side of the forest for that!

    Offering him a ride they first decided to take him to a bridge where the river crossed to see if the rest of the group might be waiting. Finding no one there the furniture guys said they would take him to Albert Pike and hope that the group in front was already there waiting. There could have been a chance we would have been gone, but at least he was willing to take the chance; it was a known place. The problem with all of this of course was there was no cell phone signal, so even if we’d tried to call each other it wouldn’t have worked.

    So, we’re talking to Mike, he’s showing us on the map where he wandered around in the forest at, we’re all worried because the other group has no idea that Mike is alright and who knows if they are still waiting and looking for him. It’s about 3pm at this point and we’d hoped to hike at least three more miles for the night. It didn’t look like that was going to happen.

    Meanwhile, Leonard isn’t there. Chris and Curtis are. Chris is fishing, Curt is wandering around. Oh, the other good thing is that a general store is about a quarter mile away down the road—excellent! They had already been there to get snacks and brought back IBC rootbeer and cream sodas. Everything about the little park area reminded me of thru-hiking, coming into some place to refuel and rest. It made me a little sad, wishing the hiking could go on.

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    So, because Leonard isn’t there and because dad and I knew he was ahead of us, we start to worry he went off ahead of the group because they had all gone over to the general store. If no one was at the campground he could have assumed that they had continued on. Now we were concerned about two sets of people!

    I wandered up the trail a little bit to see if I might spot Leonard up ahead but didn’t. Instead I ran across this caterpillar crossing the road. I think it is some kind of swallowtail butterfly. I played with for a few minutes before releasing it and continuing on down the trail to scout for Leonard.

    About an hour later after watching the trail head for signs of activity and carefully eyeing every car that drove by to see if it was carrying a mess of stinky hikers, we finally saw someone come down the trail. It was Leonard! What on Earth!?! Well, apparently at the intersection of trails right near where we had had lunch he had gone right but too far right and took a turn down another trail. It was marked with yellow blazes and for awhile he thought nothing of it. However, it was going on too long and he hadn’t caught up to Curt and Chris (Leonard’s a fast fellow) and finally he got worried. He blew his whistle for a bit but no one responded. Finally he decided to turn around and of course came back to the intersection and found the right trail. I have to say, this forest needs to be better on their signage and blazing! They need to adopt the method of blue blazing side trails to trail heads and the such.

    Now at least we were back to only waiting for the group now and not having to worry about Leonard. 5pm rolled around and we were still sitting there. Dinner time and unsure of what was going on. Dad had decided to stick it out to 6pm or so, maybe even later if we could, just to see if the group arrived. We would have stayed there for the night if we could have but the campground was still closed from the flood two years prior.

    Chris was catching fish to cook over the grills at the picnic tables and I was making my own dinner as was many others when finally we heard chatter up the hill on the trail. Dad yelled up to the group that we had Mike and shortly after the group descended into view with Rebecca running towards Mike the moment she saw him. We weren’t sure if he was in for a slap on the face or a hug but as soon as I saw her face breaking out into tears I knew it was going to be a hug.

    Thankfully this all turned out good. It could have been one of those stories you see about hikers getting lost in the woods, but this one ended well. The stories were re-told, especially to find out about the rest of the group and how long they waited before finally giving up and hoping for the best and heading to the Albert Pike campground.

    Fish was cooked, dinner was eaten and a last minute trip to the general store was had for a bathroom break. No, using a flushing toilet never gets old when you’ve been digging holes for a bathroom.

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    We had about an hour to get far enough down the trail and find a good campsite for us all to stay at for the night. It was a beautiful walk along the river this direction as the sun was going down.

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    About a mile later we crossed a small channel leading into the main river and on the other side we found our campsite for the night, sheltered in among the trees. We tried to stay up for awhile, head lamps on, chatting in the dark. I was itching to read my book so I retreated to the tent to read and listen to the conversations outside.

    Finally it was time to relax, sleep and put the stressful day behind us.

    If you follow over at Sprout Dispatch you may have seen my post about our onion harvest. For a week the onions sat in some deer feeder platforms in our computer room, fan on, door shut to keep the cats out. The room started reeking about a day into it but finally mellowed (or I got nasal fatigue) by the end of the week.

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    Finally last Sunday I took them outside and cut the tops off, leaving a few inches, trimmed up the roots a bit and then stacked them in some storage crates I found at Walmart. Initially I was going to opt for laundry baskets but a few text messages with Chris (this is how we communicate most days as he has very little cell service but texts work where is at) and he told me to look in the office supply section for milk crates. I found these, sent a photo to make sure they were up to par, and walked out with five crates (after paying of course!). I was unsure how many I would need and decided an extra crate would be good for future use anyway.

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    I labeled the crates, moved them inside to our living room and they are stacked there waiting to be used!

    Pretty handy, I think!

    How do you store your onions (or garlic…we have that coming to harvest soon)?

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    I have to say that these are going down as one of the most prolific tomatoes I have ever grown. They are giving my sungolds a run for their money on abundance. Last night I was picking the golden fruits off the vines in the last bits of light before dusk, I was reminded of black plum tomatoes that I grew in Florida. The shape is different but I was instantly missing my seeds and tomatoes from then.

    It really is interesting growing tomatoes in a different climate. If I were in Florida still, the vines would have been ripped up for about a month now, or at the very latest ripping them up now. They would be ratty, worn figures of their former selves. Chel was recently lamenting the onslaught of heat, humidity and rain in SW Florida—and oh, I remember that. I’m just waiting for mine to set in. I don’t think we’ll get the rain she does, but we’re semi-coastal so I think our humidity will be quite nasty with chances for afternoon thunderstorms likely on occasion.

    I saved some seeds from the yellow pears yesterday, along with a few sungold and Cherokee purple. I think seed saving is almost as much fun as harvesting the fruit! (That’s another post in itself later on.)

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    +These days I feel like most of what I do is garden related, whether it is being in the garden or doing something with the harvest. A couple of days ago I pulled out 21 lbs of food from our garden, carrying it out in one of our black reusable bags—a first in awhile because I always forget and have to pull used plastic grocery bags from the garden shed—worrying that the straps would break on the way to the car from the pressure. Inside I had many fistfuls of endless long, purple Chinese mosaic beans, more cucumbers than I need at the moment because we’ve pickled ourselves into a vat of vinegar for the rest of the year, and beautiful blobs of red tomatoes intermixed with delightful yellow pear and sungold tomatoes. Those two, the yellow pear and sungold, are currently in a contest for most prolific bite-sized tomato. My brother told me that his yellow pears made it through the Texas summer last year, so I can only hope they will do that for me after all the others have wilted under the relentless heat.

    +I don’t normally garden in a skirt—this was my work clothes for the day—but I felt especially girly and decided not to change into my grubby clothes that day. Actually, this was taken on another day, not the 21 lb day, a day I meandered in the garden and didn’t do too much heavy lifting, only light watering and picture taking. The cucumbers are sneaky. I am trying to find the ones that hide behind the leaves. Rotating around the bed is the only way to see the ones you missed, the ones that were right in front of you two seconds before. It is inevitable that I forget one anyway and a couple of days later I have a giant on my hands.

    +It is very difficult to keep up with the garden and then everything else. As you can see I haven’t written a good post here in nearly a week. My post yesterday at Sprout Dispatch was left wanting for more, and I had good intentions of writing about the beautiful blooms about the garden. Instead I spent hours in the kitchen trying to put all the food away so it was edible at a later date. While I do enjoy doing all of this, sometimes I am just bone tired from work and other things that I want to be reading, writing or doing some art. I have so many things I want to read and haven’t been able to crack open a book. I’m doing good to be writing here.

    +Now for some things I’ve been bookmarking around the internet:
    Hearts and Throbs via The Hoofist: I missing sharing a tent with Chris.
    Mushroom and Scallion Frittata via Allison at Homesprout.
    Park Ranger Pays Price for Whistleblowing This story reeks of some nasty political crap. It is disheartening. I will probably try to pick up his book and read at some point in the future.
    Diptychs via Saussie. I love this blog, and while she doesn’t write very often she always has something of quality.
    Chive Blossom Vinegar via Food in Jars. We have some chive blossoms in our garden that I would love to do something with. I’m hesitant right now to do anything more than what I’m already canning due to our space issues (we have none!), but I’ll file this away for later!
    Dandelion Fritters via Longest Acres. Oh, man, these look good! I am itching to try them and am tempted to one day plant a little plot of dandelions just to harvest do make things out of. Oh, this blog is very much worth reading….
    In Praise of Moms Who Crush via Adventure Journal. About moms who aren’t going to let having a baby stop them from being active—in this case rock climbing.
    The Mess via Renee Garner and Wolfie & The Sneak. I love when blogs are honest—life is busy, hectic, hard and trying and it isn’t always perfect. Just love her honesty!
    Dressing the Greens via Eat Outside The Bag (a side blog of Chiot’s Run). Making my own salad dressing is on my list of things to do too!

    And that is the short run down of things right now. I’m working hard to get more posts up this week, I have lots to write and share and I miss writing here so much!

    +When I get out of the natural rhythm of life it always takes me several days to bounce back.

    +Last weekend I drove to east Texas to visit one of my best friends Michelle. Her daughter’s 4th birthday was this weekend—I can’t believe that one! I came to Texas a few weeks after she was born 4 years ago and met Kylen as a tiny baby and now she’s this tall, long haired, spitting-image-of-her-momma kid! It was fun, there were cupcakes, balloons, meeting Michelle and J.P.’s extended family and friends…it was great! Now that I found an easier way to get there, (I took a different way to get there, driving two-lane backroads through several nasty thunderstorms in the dark…I was very nervous a few times and kept being paranoid about potential flash floods lurking at the bottom of hills) J.P. told me of a better way to go that included part of their path to get to College Station to visit Michelle’s brother and it was much faster and involved mostly four lane highways with speed limits of at least 65 m.p.h. or more.

    +We pulled most of our onions on Sunday. Now our computer room, where we are drying them out for a week before storing them, smells really onion-y. We had to close the door because both cats were too enticed to be near them.

    +In the creative realm I need to finish a drawing and a quilt and I have so much to write—blogs and ‘real’ writing too.

    Maybe I will get caught up this weekend…

    What is going on with you?

    Back in March I saw a post on Food in Jars about salt preserved key limes. I bookmarked it and finally the other day I saw key limes for sale at the store. In Florida we had a small key lime tree I grew from seed—even managed to get a few fruits off one year—and while most ‘wild’ citrus was oranges or grapefruit, I once came across a key lime tree! That’s a good find!

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    Staring at the photos on Food in Jars I was entranced and could just imagine sipping a homemade limeade from the juice I would ferment. Oh, it looked so good; I had to make it!

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    I sliced up the limes and instantly my mouth was watering, the tangy scent teasing my nose. But, I kept them for the jar and managed to put them into an old spaghetti jar we’ve kept around for pickles and other home preservation ideas.

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    Some juice managed to fill the bottom of the jar but like Marisa, the author at Food in Jars, I had to buy some lime juice to finish it off. I was able to find key lime juice at the store which made it even better—I would have settled for regular lime juice if I’d needed to.

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    The other thing I’ve been doing is making pickles with the insane amount of cucumbers we’re getting. Insane. I think I picked 30 within two days! We have so many claussen pickles right now and since they have to be refrigerated I am running out of room in my fridge for that type. We also have pickles still from last Fall so I wanted to make something else.

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    I ended up making some relish based loosely on a recipe I found online. I am not a sweet relish or pickle fan and every recipe I found had sugar in it. Even Googling ‘no sugar’ resulted in a recipe with Splenda. Dude. No. So, I just left the sugar out and adapted it for my needs. *I did have to drain the water from the veggies/fruits before putting in the vinegar concoction…because I used my food processor to chop everything up the water easily leeched out.*

    Cucumber Relish
    The result was 5 pints of relish ready to be eaten sometime soon! These jars came from my mom without lids but I bought replacement lids at my local grocery store very easily. The jars are super cute and I’m glad to have found some way to use them. I’m probably going to make more soon and was thinking of making some kind of cucumber chow-chow too. Any other ideas for cucumbers?


    Rosemarie and me with our friends Robert and Eric. They didn’t go to TAMUG, but Eric sailed on the Texas Clipper II in 1998 with us.


    Rosemarie and me.


    Another Rose from TAMUG! Hi Rose!


    One of my best friends, Erika, and my first college roomate Marsha.

    When my 10 year high school reunion came up four years ago (!) it didn’t seem that strange, it did feel like I’d been out of high school that long. Well, it has now been 10 years since I’ve been out of college and that does seem strange. Ten years ago I walked across the stage with most of my friends at the The Grand 1984 Opera House in Galveston. I got married a month later and then moved to Florida where we stayed for 8 years.

    I read a couple of blogs where the authors are just graduating college or recently out of college and they seem to be taking that next step, not sure where they are going. The only thing I can say is that, its ok. Your life in 10 years will more than likely be vastly different, as will be your goals and dreams. I am not a marine biologist but I am still vastly interested in biology, just in a different way.

    Time changes, we change, but that doesn’t mean we don’t keep a little piece of the past along with it, some of the hopes and dreams of back then. Back then I was hoping for work with sea turtles, now, while that would be an awesome job, I’d rather have a giant garden, or be going somewhere with a backpack on my back instead.

    Who knows what another 10 years from now will look like. Hopefully it involves being a successful author/artist/photographer (far cry from that marine biology degree, huh?). One thing I know is, to be what you want to be and make those ideas come to fruition, you have to do the work.

    It’s time for me to start doing the work.

    sumter1

    sumter2

    I’m starting a new series of portraits of the vegetables and fruits I harvest out of the garden. Hopefully I can make it a weekly series!

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