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September 02, 2012

Let me first say thank you to all who have left comments and/or emailed Birthday wishes.  I really appreciate it.

I was definitely feeling my age this weekend {we'll leave the actual numbers out}.  I went back to my canning-pa-looza events.  Saturday I worked on canning and some of Sunday, but I did take a break on Sunday to make homemade Coffee ice cream {thanks Mom for the ice cream maker!} as well as to go to my Mom's house for dinner {thanks Mom for the delicious dinner!}.  I canned more crushed tomatoes, cantaloupe jam, tomato ketchup vanilla peaches and pickled jalapeno slices.  I also made spaghetti sauce for the freezer.  I forgot to pick up ginger root at the grocery store so I wasn't able to make any more tomato jam this weekend but have promised my husband I will do so before tomato season is over.

I also made grape ketchup.  I made it and then I tossed it.  I saw the recipe in the canning cookbook Food In Jars.  What intrigued me was she compared it to BBQ sauce.  I thought that would be great for chicken.  The recipe claimed that after 1 hour and 15 minutes my concoction would look similar to ketchup, only it would contain grapes.  After 1 hour and 15 minutes my concoction was as watery as when I'd begun.  After 2 hours I removed half of the liquid and discarded it, cranked up the heat and let it cook.  At 3 hours I finally had something resembling ketchup.  The next morning I tried a bit.  It tasted like grape soda with ketchup spices.  It was disgusting.  I couldn't even think of any way to save it.  What a bummer!  I'll be doing a book review on Food In Jars as well as Canning For A New Generation.

I must share a Jackson story.  As you know, he is a real piece of work.  Jay worked both Saturday and Sunday on replacing one of the front doors {we have two.....old farmhouse}, the interior trim around it, and painting it inside and out.  On Saturday Jay was actually replacing it, so he put the baby gate up gating Oliver, Emerson and Jackson in the kitchen with me.  Cait was in the bedroom and out of the way.  You all know how high a baby gate is.  Jackson is a cat {we think}.  A cat should be able to jump over the baby gate.  Right?  I guess a cat-dog cannot.

So there the three of them sat, in front of the baby gate staring into the dining room, where they weren't allowed, dreaming of being let free.  Oliver and Emerson eventually gave up and went to lay down, but not Jack.  He paced around the kitchen, under foot of course, and then lay right in the middle of the kitchen floor glaring at me.  I laughed.  He didn't find it amusing.

Eventually, back to the gate he went and stared through to the dining room.  Suddenly he had an idea.  He stood up and reached his paws up.  Hmmm.....he could reach the top of the baby gate.  What about pulling myself up, he thought.  Yup, that was working.  So he pulled himself up the gate, slowly, then when he got to the top there he sat, all four feet teetering on the top of the gate until he finally fell forward - right into the dining room.  Success!  I was, of course, laughing.  He looked back at me with a smug grin and began strutting into the living room to show Jay just how smart he was.  I didn't have the heart to point out how much easier it all would have been to just jump.  As soon as Jack entered the living room Jay said "don't you think it would've been easier to just jump?"  Poor Jack.  He ran upstairs to the bedroom and went to sleep on the bed.

I also have a chicken story.  One of the babies {no longer chicks, they are now pullets} caught a mouse and ate it on Saturday.  I couldn't believe my eyes!  While they were out foraging she found a mouse and was running up and down part of the driveway trying to figure out what to do with it.  I was feeding a few of the girls beans {they like them shelled} and went in to grab my camera.  When I came out she was swallowing it.  The whole thing!  I suspect she was full for the rest of the day.  Now, if only I could train them to chase away the squirrels and chipmunks...........

Tomorrow Jay and I agreed we will only be working the first half of the day, then it's time to relax.  We'll see.

Wishing you all a wonderful Labor Day!!

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