Saturday, September 10, 2011

No Time Today

More roofing to do, more materials to haul, more shingles to bag up and bring to the dump, more fun with buckets of nails. More fun in general.

Happy Saturday, poppets!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Oh, Why Not?

I know I already posted a sheep+Cubby photo yesterday (and I must say, got great enjoyment out of all your captions--you so funny), but really, is there any such thing as TOO MUCH sheep+Cubby?

Obviously not.

Happy Friday, poppets!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

It's Time for a Game! WHEE!

Anyone out there read The New Yorker? Yeah, me neither. I'm not such a fan. But the MiL subscribes to it, so she reads it, and A. will sometimes read it as well. My interest in it is pretty much satisfied by a cursory flip through it after rescuing it from the clutches of Cubby the Destroyer before he can tear the latest issue to shreds.

I guess he's not such a fan either.


Every issue of the magazine has this thing where the readers can submit their own captions for an un-captioned cartoon, and then in the next issue the best captions are printed in the magazine. I always find those captions to be somewhat lame. I think to myself, "I bet MY brilliant readers could do so much better than that." I mean, these are the people that brought us the Slippery Slope and Grasshole. Clever, without doubt.

Never mind that The New Yorker has about a million readers and I have about a hundred. That doesn't matter. What matters is quality, not quantity.

So, poppets! Sharpen up your rapier wits, and caption this photo:

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Randomness of a Domestic Nature

In a handy list form, because everyone likes lists!

1) Last night I began the pear canning. Canning pears sucks much more than canning peaches or tomatoes or anything else, for one reason: the peeling. Like apples, pears can only be peeled with a paring knife in the hand. A hand that starts to cramp and protest the excessive peeling after pear number 25 or so. Luckily, the MiL was kind enough to help me with some of the peeling last night, so my hand is not as crippled this morning as it might be. So! Seven quarts down, only 20 or so to go. Ow.

2) Every time I decide to use my Crock-Pot and am standing in the kitchen at 5:30 a.m. with the stove fan whirring and raw meat in the pan and onions that need chopping and various other things that should not be happening at 5:30 a.m. in a natural or easy world, I am reminded of the book Bridget Jones's Diary. Bridget's mother extols the use of the Crock-Pot to Bridget, enthusiastically telling her that it's so easy! All you have to do is brown a bit of meat or veg and stick it in the cooker before you go to work! And Bridget thinks to herself, doesn't my mother know that sometimes I have a hard time just not throwing up in the morning, much less messing around with raw meat?

Bridget Jones drinks significantly more than I do, so wanting to throw up is not so much my problem. But still. A chunk of bloody cow is not the best start to my day. I'll be glad I did it when five o'clock rolls around, though.

3) There are some immutable causes and effects that rule my life. Such as: It's raining today. Therefore, the kitchen floor is going to be really, really dirty today, and Cubby is going to be really, really antsy today. I suspect a field trip is in order.

I think I'll leave it at three. That's a lucky number, right? Also, I hear a screaming child. Peace out, poppets.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


What better way to spend Labor Day weekend than, well, laboring?

There was a lot of corn labor. That happens when you buy three dozen ears of corn at the farmers market.

And yet another phallic corn photo. Terrible. But please notice the canned salsa in the background. WHEE!

There was a shitload of Bartlett pears picked off of the MiL's sister's three overloaded trees.

I specialize in shitloads. This particular shitload is about 75 pounds. Time to ready the paring knife and fire up the canner. For, like, a week. Yikes.

Oh look! More corn!

Well, husks and naked cobs, that is, awaiting a trip the compost pile.

There was the smoking.

And here's the mighty Little Chief now! Note the totally un-P.C. illustration on the front. That's how you can tell this thing is about thirty years old.

And would you look at that! MORE CORN.

Maquechoux, actually. An excellent thing to have stashed away in the freezer for the winter.

I might need the coming week to recover from the long weekend.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Smokin' It Up

No, not like that. I admit to having plenty of weeds in my garden, but none of that particular weed.

No, the smoking I refer to is of the fish kind. Specifically, trout. Remember when A. went fishing on the charter boat and came home with a lot of trout fillets? Well, after using the captain's extremely successful method of grilling the fillets for a couple of meals, we still had several pounds of fillets left. So A. chucked them into the freezer to be used at a later date.

That date came on Friday, when A. decided we should take some trout fillets out to grill for dinner. So he went freezer diving and surfaced with a bag containing a whole hell of a lot of trout fillets frozen into one solid ball.

A ball of fish, yes. Appetizing. And so handy.

The ball-like nature of the fish meant that it all had to be defrosted at once to get off even one fillet. Which meant we once again had several pounds of fillets, and this time, we couldn't just put them back into the freezer and figure out what to do with them later.

This particular smoker came to us by way of the MiL's friend, who had been in possession of this smoker for about twenty years and had used it exactly twice. It was still in the box. It still had almost all the original wood chips. It still had the instruction booklet. So when she said she was obviously never going to use it again and asked if we thought we might want to have it, we were all, "HELL YES. Send that bad boy over!"

Not in so many words, however.

We've had this smoker sitting on our front porch for a couple of months now. Not because we were using it on our front porch, but because that's where it landed when we unloaded it from the truck. So when we were faced with these four pounds or so of defrosted and perishable trout fillets, we decided it was time to hear the Little Chief's war cry.

I'm sorry. That was terrible.


A. brined the fish overnight in a brine recommended by the instruction booklet. It was just salt, sugar, and water. After taking the trout out of the brine yesterday morning, rinsing it off, and letting it dry, A. slapped the fillets on the smoker's racks and loaded the smoker. Then he plugged it in, poured some of the wood chips (a mixture of hickory and alder that was actually more like shavings) into the little pan that goes on the heating element, and let it go. He-refilled the pan a couple of times in the seven hours the fish was in there, but other than that, there was absolutely no work necessary on his part.

When he announced the fish was done, I ran into the kitchen to boil up some pasta for pesto. We had fish the night before, you see, a couple of fillets we pried off the semi-defrosted ball and grilled. I don't actually really like fish all that much. And I really don't like smoke-flavored things*. The MiL had said she thought there was only a thirty percent likelihood that I would like smoked trout. Based on those two dislikes of mine, I thought she was probably right. So I made the pasta so I wouldn't have to eat the trout. Because I am a pessimist.

I bet you can guess I ate my words. And the trout.

It was DELICIOUS. Like bacon, only fish. Next time (because OH YES, there WILL be a next time) A. might reduce the salt a little bit, but it was really, really good even as it was. It was a perfect complement to the pasta, as a matter of fact. Everyone in the family, including Cubby, enjoyed it.

So now I have about three pounds of smoked trout to experiment with in the kitchen. This, my poppets, is just how we live.

* After this experience, I'm guessing the key word in that is "flavored." As in, imitation smoke flavoring is nasty and overpowering and I hate it. But real smoke? YES, PLEASE.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Last Weekend of Summer

And what a summer weekend it is. Summer in the hot, sweaty sense. It was about 85 degrees yesterday with 75 percent humidity. So of course I decided I just had to simmer salsa on the stove for an hour, and then pressure can it. And since I was already mostly soaked with sweat and couldn't get much hotter without actually bursting into flames, I figured I might as well blanch and cut the kernels off of 18 cobs of corn.

Because what my kitchen really needed was some more heat and steam to add to the pleasant atmosphere.

Oh, and hey! Speaking of corn! It's become something of a tradition for me to point you to this post (complete with an entirely-too-phallic photo) I did a few years ago about how to cut corn off the cob without the corn getting all over the damn kitchen. I don't know how many people have linked to that post and shown their own corn+bundt pan experiences, but it certainly seems as if this little bit of knowledge is my legacy to the online world.

I suppose there are worse things to be known for.

Today is going to be another hot and steamy one, so I think it's the perfect day to go pick dozens of pears off the MiL's sister's exuberant pear tree. Because what is a weekend day for the family Blackrock without manual labor? An incomplete day, obviously.

Peace out. The pears are calling.