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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene blew up the East Coast on Saturday. The wind increased all day Saturday and rain began falling. It was still raining when we got up Sunday morning but it seemed the worst was over. The power blinked once Sunday morning but came right back on. We went to church as usual and by the time it was over the rain had stopped and wind was dying down. We went merrily on our way to our dinner invitation at my cousin's house at Fleetwood. Eveything was fine there. We had a good meal and nice time visiting.
When we arrived home about 4 p.m. we found the electric had gone off at 11:02 a.m. Oh well. We didn't mind too much because it was Sunday and we weren't doing much anyway. I had tapped some drinking water and Leroy had filled a 5-gallon bucket with water for other uses. We went to church in the evening and then to bed by the light of a coal oil lamp, confident power would be restored by morning.
We awoke Monday morning to a dark house. Now it was beginning to become real. I hauled our dirty laundry up to Gene & Amy's house and ran it through her washer. It dried nicely on my solar powered washline. I spent quite a bit of time picking up the sticks that had blown down and burned them. I decided not to bother cooking supper; we can go out to eat and surely by Tuesday the power will be on.
We awoke Tuesday morning to a dark house. More of the same. I had invited Gene & Amy for supper because it was his birthday. Instead, I hauled the food up to their house and cooked it there. Surely by Wednesday morning the power will be on.
We awoke Wednesday morning to a dark house . . . . More of the same . . . Surely by Thursday morning the power will be on. . .
To be continued

According to this morning's paper, we could be out of electric until Saturday. I hope not, but am trying to look at the bright side. At least we don't have to worry about keeping warm, frozen pipes, and closed roads. We were able to borrow a generator from the shop to keep the food from spoiling in the frig and freezer. I discovered I can also plug in the microwave to make instant coffee and the computer to find out if the rest of the world is still out there. This may be the first gas-generated blog post you've ever read. Where there's a will there's a way.

But now I need to shut it off and plug the freezer in again. We'll survive but it sure is unhandy.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

End Of The Season

I am exhausted in body but gratified in spirit. This morning I got two 5/8 baskets of big solid canning tomatoes at a nearby farm. I slopped around all day turning them into my own version of V-8 juice and tomato soup. I had enough pizza and spaghetti sauce left from last year so I wasn't going to make any this year. But 48 pts. of juice and soup later, I still had another 1.5 gallons of juice left. I decided it can be spaghetti sauce after all but didn't have all the ingredients on hand. I stuck the juice in the frig to wait for processing until another day.  What was I thinking? I probably have enough tomatoes to last us two years!
The Big 4 of the August harvest have been conquered for another year---corn, peaches, apples, and tomatoes. I'll can one basket of pears yet and probably freeze a couple pie fillings. There may be some grapes but we didn't spray them so they probably won't amount to much.
Since there is only two of us here anymore a little food goes a long way compared to what it once did. As I was canning peaches I asked myself if it is worth the work for not more than we need. But I concluded it is because Leroy is diabetic and commercially processed foods have too much sugar for him. I can accommodate his diet by canning my own products. And home canned tastes better too.
With so many produce farmers around here these days I let them grow most of my fruits and vegetables. Our garden has shrunk to fresh-eating size. It has the look of fall now. All that's out there anymore is potatoes, tomatoes, and a short row of green beans that decided to do an encore.
As much as we enjoy eating fresh things, I am glad the rush is over and I can soon stash my canner away for another year. I won't have any trouble finding other things to do!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sharing Knowledge

One of the things that I like about volunteering at the historical society is that no two days are ever alike. Another of the benefits is the people I meet that I would probably never meet otherwise. This spring I met a man from California I had communicated with on genealogy via email but had never met. He happened to come in on one of my work days and we were both surprised to meet in the library. Today another lady came in who was only a name to me until we met there and since then we have helped each other with our projects.
Today I was working on getting a postcard collection ready for the archives when two couples walked in. One of them was my cousin, Nora Hoover, and her well-known historian husband, Amos. The couple with them was obviously Amish but I had no clue who they were until Amos introduced us. I was pleasantly surprised to learn he was David Luthy from Pathway Publishers in Ontario. And David and his wife had read some of my books and were also surprised when they heard my name. David immediately sent his wife upstairs to the bookstore to buy one of my books because he wanted an autographed copy.
Later in the day a lady came in to research her family history. I heard her telling Mary (the volunteer at the research desk)  the surnames she was searching for. One of them was Beery. Mary knew nothing about the Beerys but that is a family I have done some work on so I butted in and referred the lady to some books on the shelf which I knew were her Beery line. She was very grateful and impressed with what she found in the books. Being able to help someone like that produces a satisfied feeling.
Someone has said, "You will be the same five years from now except for the people you meet and the books you read." The historical society is crammed with books and a place where the currents of people's lives can mingle and flow together for a time; then go on to carry the shared knowledge in different branches to other places and people.
Sharing knowledge increases its value. Keeping knowledge erodes power. Sharing is the fuel to your growth engine.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

'Tis The Harvest Time

The last half of July we were in the final preparations for Gerald's wedding. July 30 came and the wedding went off without a hitch. (Well, there WAS one hitch.) Then the following week I began catching up on all the things that I said could wait until "after the wedding." On Saturday I drew a deep breath and proclaimed I was caught up.
But I wasn't looking over my shoulder. While I was busy catching up on laundry, computer work, mail, cleaning, etc. the summer's produce was busily growing in the gardens and orchards. After only one day of rest (comparatively speaking; we had church and two picnics on Sunday) I woke up Monday morning to dive head first into the August canning rush.
On Monday Amy and I froze our corn for the winter and Leroy brought home two baskets of peaches. We were scheduled to be on the route today for Lantern Books so the peaches sat quietly in the patio turning more pink and juicy all day long. I sorted them when I got home and stashed one basket in the frig until morning. Then I went out in the garden and picked another basket of cucumbers, cabbage, and tomatoes. More stuff stashed in the bulging frig. Tomorrow will be peach day and the other things will have to wait their turn.
My canning season used to begin in June and run through October. Since we're a family of two now I don't need as much but for at least a couple weeks each summer there is something to can or freeze every day. It all adds up to good eating the rest of the year so I'm not complaining. When I think of the starving people in the horn of Africa I know I am mightily spoiled. I enjoy the harvest time and hearing the music of canning lids sealing but I'm glad I don't have to do it all year long.