At Last!

Sunday, September 7 2014

My mood deteriorated throughout yesterday evening, and when I woke up in the morning I could not for the life of me find the right side of the bed. Attila stayed up until 2:00 a.m. finishing the interior of the windows. He woke me up when he came to bed, and I had trouble falling back to sleep. Then he got up at 4:30 a.m. and woke me up again! Enough!!!

I scowled and stamped my feet into the bathroom after I arose, then went out to the kitchen to make myself a cup of coffee. Attila was passed out, and arose several hours later. There was still one last job to complete before the interior finish on the windows would be actually finished. And it was a messy job! The window sill needed to be trimmed, sanded, and painted. In no uncertain terms did I let Attila know that I wanted my kitchen back!!!! Now!!!!

Shame on me for being so prickly! I seldom loose my cool in this way, but occasionally, every few years I have a mini-meltdown when something leaves me feeling totally helpless, and and I can find no distraction powerful enough to alleviate the stress. Attila laughs at me for thinking I am so fierce! He says that this mood of mine is “nothing” by comparison to those which he observed before he met me. Still, I really do not like having my knickers in a twist.

So we had a lovely breakfast of pancakes and peaches, after which Attila got right to work on the window sill. The job was loud and long, but finally, it was done!

dining room windows completed with metal top kitchen table by window
TADA! The new dining room windows, and the kitchen table, all in order and ship shape!

And my foul mood instantly evaporated! I literally danced around the kitchen, vacuuming the sawdust and drywall dust, washing the floor, washing all of the counters, and finally washing the dirty dishes! Then I rescued the kitchen table from the living room and put it back where it belonged. The bathroom renovation was intrusive, but I have discovered that I can tolerate just about any renovation project, except in my kitchen!

As soon as I had put the kitchen to rights, I started a food preservation project. Terra and Lares brought us an abundance of vegetables from their garden, as they had far more than they needed. We received kale, beets, beet greens, and three huge bunches of celery. The celery was deteriorating most quickly, so that was what I started with. After some consideration, I decided to process the celery in two ways. The first was to dry the leaves for flavouring, and the second was to chop, blanch, and flash freeze the stalks. Both powdered leaves and the chopped frozen stalks would be welcome additions to stews and soups.

It took all afternoon to process two of the stalks of celery! I prepared the first stalk standing at the kitchen sink, and before I knew it my knee was aching and my back was giving me grief. The next stalk of celery was prepared while sitting at the table. I removed the leaves, culling the yellowed, damaged or wilting leaves for the compost. Then I used the salad spinner to wash the leaves, spread them thinly on cookie sheets, dry them in the oven at 200F for 45 minutes, crush the dried leaves, and store them in an airtight jar. I washed the stalks, cut away any iffy portions, chopped them into 1/2 inch pieces, and blanched them in boiling water for five minutes. Then I drained the celery pieces, spread them in a baking pan and flash froze them in the freezer for about an hour. They separated nicely, and the yield was about two quarts.

celery leaves in salad spinner and dried on pizza pan
After removing the celery leaves from the stalks, they were washed in a salad spinner, then spread on pizza pans and cookie sheets, placed in a 200F oven for about 45 minutes, turning twice after 15 minutes.
celery stalk pieces in the blanching pot
Blanching the celery stalks was quick and easy, and the results were good. Terra’s home grown celery has a lot of “body”, and needed to be softened a bit. The blanching served three purposes, softening the celery, moderating the taste, and killing enzymes.

While I was busy with all this, Attila was staining the front porch, which he had finished building last October. We are pleased with it, and it should keep the neighbours happy. We try to do some sort of improvement to the front of the house every year, just so that the neighbours know we are still making improvements, and have not abandoned the place.

Attila seized the day, and the fine weather, to finish the front stairs.  The front stairs, freshly painted and stained, drying before the second coat was applied.
Attila seized the day, or the fine weather, to finish the front stairs. The front stairs, freshly painted and stained, drying before the second coat was applied.

Terra visited us again today, during her lunch break at work. What a treat it has been, to see her every day! Lares had the day off, and was working hard at home. He is installing siding on the last side of the house. He has sided the entire house almost all by himself, and has done a very professional job of it. Their house looks wonderful!

The weather was cooler today, and less humid.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Again, didn’t manage to record the weather! Still summer like though, just not heat wave summer like anymore.

Quote

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”
George Bernard Shaw (1856 – 1950)

6 Comments

  1. Bex

    I’m picturing some little plants in pots lined up on that window will in the future, maybe a little kitchen herb garden?

    I’d never heard of freezing celery before. Since celery is so full of water, I would think it wouldn’t freeze well – or rather wouldn’t taste like celery when it thawed. But I suppose for soups, it would work. I do like the idea of drying the leaves. I love celery. I saw a TV show with a simple celery salad which included chopped celery and leaves, toasted walnuts, and either cubed or sliced pieces of fresh mozarella all covered with a lemon-mustard vinaigrette.

  2. TopsyTurvy (Teri)

    Sending you hugs for having been so frustrated with the extensive window work. I’ve been to that point a few times, myself.

    Drying the celery leaves is interesting but I’m not so sure I’d like it. I really enjoy celery stalks, but OTOH I can’t stand the taste of celery seed.

  3. Frustration is one of the more difficult emotions in my paint box Teri. Luckily, the kitchen and dining room windows won’t need to be replaced often!

    I use the dried celery leaves in soups and stews, in the winter when fresh celery is pricey. I am not keen on the taste of celery seed either, I wonder why it is so different than the familiar taste of celery.

  4. Bex, funny you mention the little flower pots on the window sill. The day after Attila finished the windows I went right out to the garden and picked a bouquet of giant marigolds, in oranges and yellows, put them in a black mug of water, and placed it on the window sill. I enjoyed seeing it there every time I looked in that direction!

    That celery salad sure sounds good!

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