Sunday, October 11, 2015

Another Beautiful Weekend

Last weekend a friend and I canned dozens of jars of applesauce.  I warmed a bowl of it after supper tonight and topped it with a scoop of ice cream.   Amazing.
This weekend we picked and processed 70 or so jars of what was supposed to be jelly.  Except that, as it turned out, it is more the consistency of ice cream topping.   Delicious, but much too thin.   We will let it set for a few more hours and then decide whether to try reprocessing it.   This is our second year of failure and I am pretty sure I know where we are messing up, and hopeful that maybe this time I've argued those points more convincingly than last time. 
I love picking grapes, and love the smell of the cooking juice.   I am not nearly so crazy about the wasps, but they seemed almost drunk from gorging themselves in ripe grapes and didn't both us even though we accidentally picked more than one of them along with the grapes.    Even after I washed the grapes and drained them in a colander, several wasps climbed up and out as I was taking grapes off the stems.    My canning buddy carried them outside, where they staggered around on the railing of the deck for awhile before flying away.
The grapes also held several tiny spiders, a few earwigs and then this big mama, a nursery spider.  I am not a fan of bugs, but all of the critters in the grapes were too mello to worry me.   And it was interesting to read that this kind of spider actually stays around to protect her young ones -- not very successfully in this case, I'm afraid.   We set her free to start another brood.
The colors are reaching their peak north of us, but the trees are still turning in my neighborhood.   I hope the season holds on for as long as possible.  
I am trying a new project this weekend, my first attempt at chalk painting.   I've read about it in several blogs and loved the idea that I could refinish something without stripping, sanding or much of any of the usual prep work.    My dining room table was water spotted and marked up with paint and markers from years of kiddie projects so I figured I had little to lose.   I bought one of those 8 ounce paint samples at a local hardware store and used that, along with the chalk powder from BB Frosch and painted away.   I've now put on my third coat of wax and tomorrow I will buff and begin to use the table.  According to all I've read, the finish should hold up to my usual life.   The final product is not perfect, I think I will do a better job at it next time, but I think it will be an improvement over the old finish and I am not ashamed to use it so I 'chalk' (ha ha) it up as a win.


Kim@Snug Harbor said...

I am extremely allergic to wasp stings so I steer a wide path.

I can give you a tip to making sure your jelly sets. Before you start working on the jelly, put a small plate in the freezer. Once you think your jelly has cooked down enough, take a dollop and drop it onto the cold plate. push your finger against it. If it wrinkles, then it's done enough. If not, put the plate back in the freezer, cook down the jelly a few more minutes and try again.

I used to have a lot of trouble with my jelly setting. It's funny how some times it only needs to cook 20 minutes and other times I may cook it 35 min.

Barbara said...

Wow, that's a great tip from Kim above. You had my kind of weekend. I love doing that kind of stuff. Something very gratifying about making and canning one's own food. We have tons of those spiders around our place at this time of year. I always give them a wide berth.