Thursday, September 24, 2009

You got your autumn in my summer

And now your summer is in my autumn. It's been fall for 2 days and both days the A/C has come on. It's not terribly hot, but enough to be sweaty. At least it's not hideous at night. But seriously, who gave summer permission to exact retribution on autumn?

Oh well, I have the house decorated and I made a roasted veggie soup to mark the first day of autumn. We went to a local fall fair/regional exhibition that we hadn't been to in a few years. It got really sucky for a while, and then it was good again. Now it's back to sucking. But the kids had fun on the rides and seeing cool exotic animals and such. And Little Miss was brave enough to ride on a live pony ride. I had a hand on her, but she held on to the saddle and had a great time! Little Mister isn't really the live horse type. He'd rather ride around on the car ride (which hubby said had a manufacture date of 1970!).

We ate some very dry, over cooked food. The one vendor had a smoker, and smoked everything, which would be fine... Except the peameal bacon was already cooked and sliced. All it did in the smoker was dry out. Blah. We tried a deep fried Mars bar, but it tasted like the water used for the batter had been stored in a plastic jug in the sun for a few hours. Either that or they forgot to unwrap the chocolate bar before frying it. Blech. Got our money back on that one. Actually, the woman nearly threw the money at me to get me away from the truck quickly, before anyone else heard. We bought some fresh mini doughnuts instead.

This weekend is the wrap up of the local wine festival. I doubt we'll go to any events. There's a big parade, but it's supposed to rain. And the organizers have become a little poopy about the whole thing, wanting to make it some stellar "event" rather than a fun community parade. We did take the kids to a parade on Labour Day that was fun. Except for the labour entries, which were boring (it's a community celebration parade, not specifically a labour parade). But the kids liked it.

There's a local food festival coming up in a couple of weeks. Looking forward to that. And of course the Thanksgiving craft shows the week after that. I can't believe Thanksgiving is in less than 3 weeks! We've been discussing whole turkey versus turkey breast. I love the whole bird, but it's hard to find small ones. They're all 15-25lbs anymore, it seems. Hubby asked if there are 5lb turkeys. I said, "Yes, they're called eggs."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Of butter and autumn

I read a post about someone making butter with their kids and got inspired. I had a couple of cups of heavy cream in the fridge, so I decided to pull it out and make butter. Now, I am not one of these food porn bloggers who take detailed photos of the process, so you'll have to Google if you want to see butter being made.

I poured the cream into my KitchenAid and fitted it with the paddle attachment. I put it on medium-low (any higher created a splatter pattern on my counters). And that was it. I let it go for maybe 1o minutes. It passed the fluffy whipped cream stage and, as it was supposed to, went to the curdled mess stage. I poured it into a strainer and then into some icy water (I forgot to do that first). Then back into the strainer. I pressed and stirred out some of the liquid, and then put the mass into a small bowl, where I pressed it some more. It's amazing how much liquid there is in there. I added salt and it is now sitting, covered, in the fridge. I imagine more liquid will come out yet. I think I'll take some of it and add some garlic and some homemade dried tomatoes. Maybe a little fresh basil from the back step.

So autumn weather is here; not that summer weather really arrived at any point for very long. But there is a difference between cool mid-summer days and late-summer/early autumn days. Today the sky was grey. Slate grey. But the sun was coming from somewhere unseen, and the entire street looked as though it was bathed in gold. The air isn't just cool; it's crisp. There's a sense of anticipation in the air. The anticipation of putting on long pants and shirts one day and not going back to shorts. The anticipation of the turning colours on the trees. The anticipation of all things autumn, from fall fairs to local festivals, to going out apple picking and leaf gathering. It is my favourite time of year.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fluid learning

I love the fluidity of learning, and the homeschool environment. This morning we sat down to do some spelling. We finished up beginning and ending letters on simple words and moved on to the short 'a' sound. Part way through, the little mister asks about rain and how it happens. That lead to a whole discussion about evaporation and condensation, which lead to me plugging in the kettle and putting ice in a bowl and demonstrating both principles (while both kids begged ice chips to munch on).

It so happens that the Sid the Science Kid programme is focusing on weather this week, so we have a springboard for more discussion and a way to solidify what we talked about this morning a little more. It's wonderful. I'm going to look around online for more interesting ways to set the concepts. Eventually we want to buy a weather station so that we can track the weather and chart it and such. I think it will be really fun.

For those following the tomato saga, something has been boring into them and eating them. I've lost about half of the San Marzanos already. I think I'll just buy them next year, since they take up so much space and aren't ripening at an even pace. I can't make sauce a dozen tomatoes at a time. I did dry the last ones that I got and froze them for later.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Mmmm, Danishes

Okay, I will get back to the business of blogging about life and home and gardens and homeschooling and such. But I came across a blog page today that has me thinking of actually attempting to make Danishes.

It looks so easy. Of course, there is no recipe on that page for the dough. I imagine myself making these with store bought puff pastry. At least at first. I am not a baker. I have always preferred to cook; to change things up to the last few moments before serving. But since having kids, I've taken more of a shine to baking. And these pastry shaping tips, assuming that store bought puff pastry will work, are really getting me thinking of reasons and occasions where I can try my hand at them. I do hope that our son is not allergic to tree nuts (he doesn't seem to be). There is a place nearby that grows nuts and have no peanuts on site anywhere. So those nuts will be safe for us to use, which will allow me to try those Bear Claws, which look wonderful.

Next week we're "back to school." I'll blog about that as I go along. For now, my mind is awhirl with golden, flaky pastry.