06 August 2008

what's your hobby?

we can (not) stop canning! after blueberries, we made some incredible peach chutney, some green beans with lemon and tomato (a slow cook recipe from bittman, where the beans just melt in your mouth), last night we did some spicy pickled green beans (the kind that go great in bloody marys), and we expect to make salsa, maybe this weekend.

i also tried making some fruit leather with peaches i got at a great discount from the farmer's market, because they were quite ripe. i am not sure of the results of the fruit leather yet, since it is still drying, and we haven't tried the green beans either. the peach chutney is to-die-for though, and i am tempted to make more while the peaches are on. apparently we aren't the only ones around here with canning fever. i looked for some books on food preservation today at the library, and all but one were checked out, some with holds 3 deep! i know that part of this mania for me is inspired by reading animal vegetable miracle by barbara kingslover. a couple of people recommended it to me, so i finally started reading it.

(a recent garden and farmer's market haul)

the book is all about eating local, and since we are so privileged to live in a place with an abundance of local food available all summer and fall, it makes sense to put some of it up for the winter months. that way we won't have to buy as much food that is shipped from far away. besides that, we are having a blast.
in other news, cosmo got a balance bike called skuut. it costs about a third of the german made like-a-bike, but seems to be about as well designed and built. cosmo has never been crazy about vehicles, generally. he tries to ride his trike now and then, but he wasn't one of those kids who was pushing himself around on those little toddler cars all the time. so, we weren't sure how he'd take to the bike. after a day of awkwardly walking it, his heels getting run over by the back wheel, he quickly got the hang of it. i couldn't believe it when i saw him picking up his feet and coasting the next day! now he has a taste for speed.

the great thing about it is that he has so much control. he almost never falls because he can catch himself with his feet, and he can steer it and pick up the front tire when he encounters a step or other obstacle. i love this thing, and feel like it was well worth the money ($90, with free shipping*). it works great on grass, gravel, and pavement, and is really fun on hills and inclines of any sort. it is also light and easy to carry, in case he's tired of riding on the way home from the park.

cosmo has been blowing us away with how grown up he seems. it seems like major transformations take place every couple of days or so. i guess it has always seemed that way. he really digs music, likes to sing, and knows a lot of songs now.

(cosmo, carl and maggie at music class)
he's been making up new words, and new verses to songs that he knows. while they rarely rhyme, they do make some sense, and usually they crack us up: have you ever seen cosmo, eating edamame...down by the bay? (down by the bay).... he's developing an imaginative world, which is wonderful to witness, and he draws simple faces on a regular basis now. he calls them people, and sometimes some ghosts.

we went to the county fair a couple of times. first to see the animals and the precious 4H crafts. we went back one afternoon, with shawna and justin, to check out the rides. to my surprise, he loved the rides. there were many that just went round and round, maybe a bump or slope along the way, but rather tame, and suitable for his age.

he went from motor boats, to crocodiles, to flying saucers, to dragons, to trains and trucker convoys. his favorite thing though was the bounce house. he went into that one at least ten times, and jumped and laughed and fell down, and contended with other kids bumping into him, and kept coming out saying "i want to do it again!" luckily the line was relatively short. unfortunately, it was right in front of the funnel cake stand pumping greasy fumes into the air all around us. cosmo also played a couple of games on the midway, one of them involved throwing darts at balloons on a wall, and he popped one and got a prize. all the others were incredibly easy. everyone's a winner, basically. and for a kid whose not yet three, that was just fine. we came home with more shwag than we knew what to do with. (fair photos by shawna bean)

cosmo also got properly introduced to the world of candy at the fair (someone at a booth handed him a dum-dum) and now, it is all he talks about. for the first two and a half years of his life, he didn't know that those brightly colored small things in intricate wrappers were edible. the cat is now fully out of the bag.
well...this post sat around for a week or so, unposted. by now i have some updates: the fruit leather turned out great. it was a wonderful use of a whole lot of very ripe peaches. cosmo, naturally, loves it, and it packs great for snacks on the go. here's a couple of photos of the one i spread out onto a round pizza pan.

we also canned two batches of salsa, one red, one green. they both taste incredible. carl said, of the heat in the red salsa, it's slow in coming, in the back of the mouth....
i said, i may never eat store bought salsa again! carl and i consider canning our new hobby. we lucked into a bunch of canning jars at the goodwill, at bargain prices, and snatched them up.

i should point out that our new hobby is something we carry out after cosmo has gone to bed. it takes some focus, and there are a lot of burners going at once. not a safe place for little ones.

* typo stating the bike was $80, corrected 12/29/2008


malke said...

kayte, you are a complete inspiration to me! I've got to get this canning thing going, it looks fantastic and (fairly) easy.

Abby said...

ahhh...candy. avery has been introduced, and is now obsessed. we keep a strict limit on it - and we too kept it away from him until last halloween...when he discovered skittles. it was all a downward spiral after that. :)