Monday, October 6, 2008

Canned veggies, naked crabs, and packed boxes...Oh My!

This is a picture of a giant, bathtub-filling pile of carrots. After spending 3 hours scrubbing, chopping, cooking, and canning these carrots, I realize why women 100 years ago didn't work outside the home! This pile of carrots turned into 5 quart jars of canned carrots, plus 4 baggies of tiny ones for the guinea pigs. Looking at the carrots makes me tired. Anyways, I haven't posted in forever, because there has been so much going on. We finally found a house to move to, so the packing has commenced.

Let me say that my significant other and I have very different ideas on getting ready for a move. When we moved in together the first time, we showed up at his house with the truck, and 1/2 of his stuff wasn't even packed! Me, I start 1-2 months before the moving date, carefully packing, wrapping, and labeling all my belongings, even down to the smiley face, with 23 days to go! written neatly on the side. To say I was frustrated with his efforts was understating it a bit. So we will see how it goes this time. He says he will start packing 2 weeks before we move. And,

this time we are going to get help from a bunch of his work friends. So, even if he doesn't pack well, hopefully I won't be the one that suffers for it. As you can see from the picture, I have started to destroy my house. It is kind of nice to not worry about cleaning anything. What's the point?
I am very excited about the move to the new house. It has a shower on the same floor as the bedrooms, so we won't have to run downstairs through the freezing cold to take a shower this winter. Also, it has closets. My current house is very old, so I guess people didn't have more than one outfit back then. I will enjoy getting some of the clutter out of sight. I am trying to get my son excited about the move, but he is lukewarm so far. I took him by the house to show him the yard and point to where his room would be through the windows. No one was available to let us in that day. I think he is a little nervous, he keeps making comments about how nothing is wrong with our current house. He is really

excited about bunking with his big brother in the new 'boys' room though.
In other exciting news, we got a new hermit crab. My son called him 'Fred'. Fred replaced 'Herbert', who was purchased at Petsmart, but died within 2 days. Fred was purchased at the Ark, a very nice local pet store. Fred seems to be striving for dominance, however, because I came in the other night when he was forcing poor Sheldon out of his shell. The picture shows a very rare sight, a naked crab. Fred climbed on top of Sheldon's shell, made high pitch squeaking noises, and waved his pinchers in Sheldon's face. Upon which, Sheldon jumped out of his shell and onto a nearby lava rock. This is where I entered the fray...I grabbed poor Sheldon (naked), and his shell out and scooped them into a dish, and then a box. It took several minutes and lots of coercing to get Sheldon into a new shell. I am keeping an eye on them, so they don't injure each other if possible. I have enough trouble with bad petstore crabs, without worrying about them ripping limbs off each other.

I just made a batch of pickles last night. They are made in bread and butter flavor, but with
jalapenos added in for a hot afterburn. My dad will love them. Here is the recipe:

Trina's Sweet and Hot Pickles
6 large cucumbers
5-6 jalapenos
1/2 cup pickling lime
1 gallon water
4 cups white vinegar
4 cups sugar
1 tsp canning salt
1 tsp pickling spices

1. Soak sliced cucumbers and 3 jalapenos in water and lime overnight. Do not use aluminum.
2. Remove the cucumbers from the lime water. Discard the lime water. Rinse 3 times in fresh cold water. Soak 3 hours in fresh ice water.
3. Combine remaining ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a low boil, stirring til sugar dissolves. Remove syrup from heat, adding the cucumbers. Soak in syrup overnight.
4. Add remaining sliced jalapenos. Boil slices in syrup 30 minutes. Pack the slices into clean jars. Pour the hot syrup over the slices, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Cap each jar when filled.
5. Process pints 10 minutes, quarts 15 minutes in boiling water bath canner.
6. Check that seals are airtight, refrigerate jars that didn't seal.
Enjoy! They turned out just right, sweet with a burn. A great way to use up the many jalapenos I have leftover.
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