Wednesday, June 26, 2013

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday

Sometimes you have a really stressed out cat.  And sometimes you have to get that cat high. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Cherry Picking at Lynd Fruit Farm

I got a phone call Thursday night from Natalie, inviting the girls and I to go cherry picking on Friday morning at Lynd's.  As we hadn't done any structured activity this week that didn't involve a grocery store, I agreed. 

Because their cherry orchard isn't large, they only advertised on their website and Facebook page the day before.  The picking was only open from 8-12 on Friday.  While Cora busied herself picking cherries, I listened to who I assume was one of the misters Lynd explain the history of their experience with cherries.  Cherry trees are apparently a fickle beast and they're still learning more about which varieties do well in the soil in Licking County.

She did most of the work.

The cherries that we picked were sour cherries.  Cora picked about 2 1/2 pounds in an hour and then started filling up Natalie and Katherine's bucket.

This was before cherry juice stained her white shirt.
 I could tell she was done when she squeezed a cherry and proceeded to "paint" leaves on the trees.  She was covered in cherry juice.  There was even some on her face. 

We paid and headed to the car.  Natalie and Katherine met back up with us and shared some of the sweet cherries they bought by the quart at the cashier.  Apparently Cora loves sweet cherries, so I left the girls with Natalie and went to buy a quart of sweet cherries. 

When we got back home, I realized I probably need to do something with these sour cherries, so I decided on cherry crisp.  No fussy crust to deal with like a pie. 

I knew I wanted to use the topping recipe for the apple crisp that my mother in law makes, so I just needed to find out how much sugar to add to the sour cherries for the filling.  The general internet consensus said about 1 1/2 cups of sugar for 4 cups of sour cherries.  I guessed that I had about 6 cups of cherries, so I used 2 cups of sugar and 1/2 cup of brown sugar.

Here's my non-recipe recipe.   

Sour Cherry Crisp

For the filling:
2 1/2 pounds sour cherries, pitted
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar

For the topping:
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Mix the ingredients for the filling and pour into an 8x8 or 9x9 baking pan.  

Mix all topping ingredients except the butter in a medium sized mixing bowl.  Slowly pour 1/3 of the melted butter in and mix with your hands.  If the butter is too warm, wait a few minutes.  Pour the rest of the butter in and continue mixing with your hands.  It should resemble damp sand when it's all incorporated.

Crumble the topping over the filling.  Place the square baking pan on a jelly roll pan in case of bubble over and bake for 50 minutes.  

You can eat this as soon as it is cool enough to not destroy your mouth.  Refrigerate the leftovers. 

Ready for the oven.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Derechos. Derechoes? Derechii?

Last summer's big storm came at an interesting time in our lives.  It was the end of June and I was pregnant with Lily.  Pregnant and preecclamptic.

I was scheduled to have her via c/s the next morning.  That night during the storm, the power went out in the hospital.  The backup generators kicked on, but those didn't power the HVAC system.  Do you know what is nice to have when you're pregnant and on a magnesium sulfate drip?  Air conditioning.

I wasn't the person for whom to feel sorry though.  That was the woman in the room next door that they were wheeling into the OR for a c/s 10 minutes later.  The hospital was at full power when Lily was delivered.

We were also due to attend the wedding of my sister's sister-in-law the next day.  Driving from the rehearsal to the dinner that night, my sister noticed the back of her truck starting to lift in the high winds.  They managed to turn down a side street and out of the path of whatever specific weather event it was that decided to pick up their truck. 

Cut to this year.  The storm was set to come through in the middle of the night instead of early evening.  Lily woke up for a bottle at 1:30 and I turned on the TV to check things out.  We'd never gone to the basement for a night storm before, but Jym Ganahl was using the term "severe tornado warning" for our area.

At about 1:40, we all made our way down the the basement.  Cora was entertained by a flashlight and Lily was happy for a change of scenery.  My TuneIn app failed me when I tried to turn on the local radio station that was playing Channel 4's weather feed.  It told me it wasn't available and started playing a station out of Coral Gables, Florida.  That was less than helpful.

The worst part of the storm passed and we headed upstairs.  Lily finally fell asleep after telling me a 10 minute story, throwing her pacifier on the floor and saying "uh-oh" for 5 minutes, and finally being rocked to sleep for another 10 minutes.  Cora requested a snack, so we shared a poptart and finally got back into bed around 3:30.
No wind damage and less than an inch of rain.  I'll take it. 

Obviously, I switched to a darker roast coffee this morning. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

I don't pay for TV anymore, and neither should you!

I hated paying for our Dish.  When we first hooked it up, we had a pretty middle of the road package.  It advertised something like 100 channels, but a good 1/3 of them were shopping channels.  I don't need that many things that slice and/or dice.

We bumped it down to a cheaper package, but for the few channels we watched it wasn't worth the money we were paying for it.  We finally pulled the plug (literally) in September of 2012.
Are we now TV free?  Nope, we might watch a bit more now than we did when we paid for it.  AND I have a DVR so I still don't have to watch commercials.  

Here's how we watch and DVR shows for free:
1.  Determine if you live in an area that has a good signal for broadcast television.  This website will tell you if you're a good candidate for cutting the cord.   We live approximately 20 miles from the local broadcast towers in Columbus, Ohio and we get 19 channels.  Yeah, like 4 of those are crazy evangelical Christian channels, but those are easily blocked.  The kid's "Science" show on one of them was enough to give me the willies. 
Since the switch from analog to digital broadcast a few years ago, you don't have to adjust the rabbit ears.  Digital broadcast means you'll either get it or you won't.  Yes, there might be some cutting out during strong storms, but that happened all the time with our Dish.
2.  If you look like a good candidate for broadcast-only TV, invest in a digital antenna.  We bought a Leaf Indoor Antenna and it's so light, it's held up with a 3M strip on the wall.  I suggest buying just the antenna at first to make sure you're getting a good signal. 

Depending on your distance from the broadcast towers, you may have to get an outdoor antenna.  And no, not the kind that you used to climb at your grandma's house.  No?  That was just me that did that?  Ah, moving on.

3.  If you don't want a DVR, you're pretty much done.  Just hook the antenna into the TV and start watching.  We've got a splitter between the antenna and the TV so it actually catches the signal (surely that's the right term) for two televisions.

If you do want a DVR, you'll need to buy a HD Homerun as well as an Apple TV.  The HD Homerun box has software that you put onto your computer that acts just like your DVR.  The box is connected between the antenna and the Apple TV box.

The Apple TV box is hooked as an input into your TV.  Once your show is recorded on your "DVR," you export it to your iTunes and it's playable on the TV through Apple TV.  

Easy peasy.