Thursday, August 16, 2012

I Crave the Cooler Air

I am ready for the colder weather.

Summer is fantastic and all, but it's too hot after a while, and I'm almost always inside because it's too hot to do anything more than cross a parking lot to run for shelter in a store for fear the sun will cook me to the pavement. Two days this past week, though, have been torturously cool, flipping the switch in my mind that is labeled "Fall". 

Sadly, those cool days did not stay, and it's back to being hot again, successfully messing up my inside thermometer. Now I find myself catching whiffs of the beef brisket we always make for Christmas or craving the glittering warmth of flames when I hold my palms toward a campfire. I want my clothes to smell like the earthy smoke from the burning firewood. I want to lie in my camper bed staring at the canvas over my head listening to the cold mountain winds move the creaking pines at night. I want to step out of the car and take in a cold breath, letting the winter air empty every ounce of invisible festiveness into my lungs as I pull my coat tighter about myself and tug the neck of my sweater higher. The smell of the mountains, the sound of icy, babbling streams, the taste of hot chocolate...I'm ready for it all. Camping in the colder months is perhaps one of my favorite things to do, and I have been doing it ever since I was young.

I hope college doesn't keep me so busy this fall that even small camping trips are impossible. I should be very sad that I cannot hide under the pine needle canopies in the mountains and watch the wispy winter clouds dissolve through the branches. I crave to be there, and I cannot bear to not even see these places even once this fall or winter.

{Autumn snapshots from around my yard last year. Campfires = ♥ }

Monday I start up my cosmetology classes. Wish me luck, dears, and have a wonderful weekend, as it is getting closer. I know it's early (by a day) but I don't know if I'll have anything to talk about tomorrow, so I'll wish it now. =)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Fishing from a Kayak!

{All above: the parking lot/ boat ramp area.}

{First stop at a fishing hole where I caught the second fish we got to keep.}

{T'was a truly lovely lake! The breeze and water was cool and refreshing.}

{Coming in with slightly sore palms.}

{The family catch!}

{The truck loaded up with the kayaks and canoe.}

{Views from the visitor's area.}

{One the road with the kayaks in the truck bed!}

{And the gorgeous sky as we departed from a fun day of paddling about and fishing!}

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Stunning Saturday -- Part Three ♥

Finally! My blueberry creation! I was given the Blueberry-Lime Jam recipe to work on, and boy did it smell as good as the first blueberry yummies. Lime, blueberries, and sugar all together in a jam that I can't wait to put in a sandwich. And so much fun to make!

My hands still smell like lime, too!

  {Lime rinds!}

{Blueberries about to be smooshed, blueberries being smooshed, and smooshed blueberries with pectin about to be mixed in!}

Now, I wish I had four arms, because then I could have boiled and mixed and stirred WHILE taking pictures...but I couldn't. After a bit of boiling, constant stirring, moving from one pan to a bigger pan after pouring all the sugar into the mix so the stuff wouldn't boil over, stirring more, then pouring into jars, measuring headspace, and sealing -- -gasp for air- -- this wonderful, and very tasty result happened!

Got to taste some of the leftover jam from the pan it boiled in, and the lime compliments the occasional bitterness that accompanies blueberries and dances away with it beautifully. Well worth making, AND I got to spend some good, quality time with my mom in the kitchen learning something not done very often today. It was a super win-win and a wonderful way to start the weekend!

Hope you all are having as great a time as I am! ♥
Tomorrow my family plans on going canoeing and I'll be there in a kayak, so if we don't get rained out, I should have some interesting stories to tell!

Stunning Saturday -- Part Two ♥

And so begins the canning adventure!

My mom picked out the Honey-Bourbon Pickled Blueberries recipe, and it can be seen from start to finish below. I got to help out and learned the process of canning as she went along. The recipe I made with blueberries was, in fact, done close to the same time as this one was, but for the sake of understanding what picture goes to which recipe, I shall post them separately. (Which works, because there're a TON of pictures!)

This recipe smelled awfully delicious, and I do think it should taste very much the same, and cannot wait until the time is come to devour it! I wish I could have taken pictures of the smell and posted them here, but no such technology has been created, so you shall just have to imagine the fabulous scents of a cinnamon stick, cloves, nutmeg, and mulling spices being boiled in blueberries and honey. Simply stunning stuff, there!

{Above three: the spices in their wonderful little baggy!}

{Boiled down spices and blueberries.}

{Sauce left to boil, blueberries removed.}

{Blueberries in jars.}

{Rolling boil of blueberry sauce!}

{Sauce ladled into jars of berries, and lids put on.}

{Sealing them up and...}

{...Fin! Yummy, no?}

(Next post: My canned blueberry creation!)

Stunning Saturday -- Part One ♥

Though my morning started out later than usual, it was fabulous none the less. With some time to burn after breakfast, I huddled down on the floor near my bed and read comics, then got some more of my novel written. But that's not as entertaining for you as it was for me, so I shan't divulge on that any further for the sake of your eyes. -wink-

No, the fun of today began when my mom announced that there were tomatoes ready to be picked in the garden. As usual, the camera was snagged from my desk and I was out the door in a minute. It was a bit warm today, especially in the sun, but I got several nice shots of our insanely large flower bed as well as out fruit and veggie garden. The bees were busy today, as well, all rolling around in the flowers like freshly washed dogs roll in the dirt, picking up pollen before humming away once more in the happy way bees do.

Had it been a tad cooler, I would have stayed outside and enjoyed the sunshine and fresh air a bit, but there were things waiting inside for me, such as a bowl of steeping tea my mom mixed up with different teas and mulling spices.


It was devilishly good, and the mulling spices made me yearn for fall and the goods that come with Thanksgiving. 

My mind, however, was soon pulled away when my mom announced she wanted to teach me how to can food....And we did.

(continued in next post)