Adventure Weekend

So this past weekend was likely the last the Mister and I will have to ourselves before he starts classes again at the end of the month. We took advantage of the time by leaving the mutt with a neighbor (huge props to him for keeping her, by the way) and headed north to Land Between the Lakes for a day at the planetarium and nature center.

I’d been there with my family before, many years ago, but had forgotten how much they have to do there! The nature center has birds, wolves, deer, turkey and all sorts of other animals. They also have craft booths and games for both children and adults set up along all the walkways. August is the Hummingbird Festival at LBL as the birds migrate through on their yearly trip to Mexico, so there were hundreds of tiny birds filling the air everywhere. The back yard at the nature center was like standing in a beehive… except with hummingbirds. It was very cool.

We used real maps (you know, the folding kind that fit in the glove compartment) to get there and even took a few smaller highways on the way back. Without warning! We just saw them on the map and went that way. Isn’t that cool?? (Ok, I actually do use paper maps on a regular basis, so this is sarcastic, but I know people that have never unfolded a map in their lives.)

In keeping with our weekend of adventure, I attempted to make pickles last night. (Key word there being “attempted.”) Results are yet to be determined. They are just refrigerator pickles, so they didn’t require any fancy canning equipment – which I didn’t even know might be necessary until a friend told me you don’t just pour the ingredients in the jar and leave them like that. So… we’ll see.

I really know nothing about canning and preserving food. And when I say “nothing,” I really do mean NOTHING. Some of my friends who grew up in small towns and out in the country know all about it and try to teach me, but I guess that’s just a piece of my brain that is too city-girl to understand. I was thinking back on it last night, and I don’t think I’ve seen my mother can a single thing in my lifetime. (If this is incorrect I’m sure she’ll call me tonight and let me know.) My grandmother either. My great-grandmothers do preserve things and do such magic as making jelly, but I’ve never actually seen them do it.

I like the idea, as it seems that if you grow the food and then store the food you wouldn’t have to buy so much food through the rest of the year. And that it hopefully would still taste like summer in the wintertime… but like I said, this is a completely foreign concept to me. My best friend says, “cucumbers are easy, just can them and drop in a water bath and you’re done” and I hear, “put veggies in a jar and wash it.” Turns out that a “water bath” is an actual specialized thing with rules about how deep the jars have to sit and that they can’t touch the bottom. How would I EVER have known that??? Just buying the jars was overwhelming because I had no idea there were so many contraptions included in the home canning section.

I really don’t think my friends understand the extent of my non-country-girl-ness.

But, in the spirit of adventure, I actually chopped a clove of garlic (fyi – a clove is one of the little bulb pieces, NOT a whole bulb) and bought fresh dill. (In my world, both things come dried in a little shaker can.) My hands will now smell like garlic for the rest of the week, but Hey! maybe by Thursday morning we’ll have pickles!

Hopefully a little better than Aunt Bee’s….. (bonus points if you understand that reference)

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3 thoughts on “Adventure Weekend

  1. We made all those tiny jars of jelly/fruit butters for our wedding and, while I had canned (somewhat successfully) before, I quickly realized that canning 150 tiny jam jars wasn’t as easy as it sounded… Fortunately my MIL knows her way around canning and was super helpful… A few batches may have gotten overcooked, and a few may have not set properly… but they tasted okay anyway. 😛

    I also quick-pickle things all the time — Japanese tsukemono at home are about as lemon squeezy as it gets: rice vinegar, sugar, optional hot pepper. Works on cucumbers, radishes, carrots, cauliflower… It takes about an hour to go from zero to delicious. 🙂

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