Apples, Apples, Everywhere

My minivan is full of apples. I do mean full. We made last weekend into a Procure the Apples weekend, and oh, were we ever successful! (Pictures later. Really.) 

For our first trick, er, trip, I led Chuck to two small orchards in the not-really-a-town of Darboy. The owner/operator at the first orchard sold us four pails of “seconds” only after he was convinced that we knew what we were doing. He was suitably impressed that we own a cider press, and he showed us a few of the varieties (honey crisp! Sweet!) in the scratch and dent collection. This is going to be good cider.

The second orchard had two boxes that had been cases of Bud Light filled with imperfect Cortland apples. They had a wall of empty Bud Light cases donated by the bar down the street. Bud Light, according to Chuck, is to beer what Velveeta is to cheese. But back to the topic at hand, Cortlands are a lot like Macintosh; they are good for eating or cooking and go with just about anything. Mixed with the Honey Crisp and Macintosh and who knows what else, their tartness will keep the cider from being too sweet. This is going to be really good cider.

The next day we gave up on the officiating at the Green Bay Packers game – we would never give up on the Packers themselves – and we picked from the tree in front of my office. A few buckets and too many mosquito bites later, we loaded up three buckets at no cost and brought them all home. All the buckets and boxes from the weekend are still in my minivan. It’s a very safe storage space. No chipmunks or other critters can get at those apples before it becomes that good, good cider.

One exception exists, unfortunately. Fruit flies. It was Tuesday night when I decided the fruit flies were distracting the driver (me) all too much. What to do about it? I didn’t want to leave the buckets in the garage where they might attract little furry creatures and stinging critters as well. If I moved the overflowing apple buckets to the house, I’d just be moving the fruit flies to a new home where they’d still drive me crazy. 

The solution: cover the buckets. I only had two covers for the big five gallon buckets, and the Bud Light boxes didn’t come with lids. I covered the two buckets that I could, and then found a tarp to throw over the rest. It worked. The apples are still exposed to enough air that they won’t rot, my van smells heavenly, and there are far fewer fruit flies. 

Alliteration. That’s where it’s at, people. When we hit the cider press on Sunday, I’ll do my best to chronicle the process on film. Er, on digital. On the blog. 

Curiouser and Curiouser – and apple cider, too

Brother and family came to visit yesterday. 8-year-old niece, we’ll call her “Rainbow,” was curious about Chuck’s cooking techniques. He cooked boneless chicken thighs in barbecue sauce on the stove in a cast iron pan. The original plan was to grill the chicken, but Mother Nature delivered steady rain that made the grill less attractive. 

Rainbow decorated the chalkboard on the drop-down table. That’s her job when she visits. We hand her the chalk, and she knows what to do. 

Rainbow was curious about the barbecue sauce that Chuck had made from my homemade ketchup, which started as leftover liquid from canning salsa. The concept of making something from scratch that might be available in a jar or bottle caught her attention. Her mother is an excellent scratch cook; she must not have made her own barbecue sauce recently. 

After supper the fun began. We set ourselves up in the garage (still raining) and began chopping apples for cider. Rainbow was, shall we say, excited? She took part in every step of the process: chopping, crushing, pressing, and of course, tasting. She came inside with me to watch the pasteurizing step. She ended up leaving before the cider cooled, so she didn’t take any home. Yet. We’ll definitely find a way to get some of the finished product to her family sometime soon. 

Back to the Blog

I’ve been off-blog for quite a while. I realized that a lot of the short incidents, like what I’ve bought at the Farmers’ Market, are getting shared on Facebook these days. I haven’t done much on Twitter, and I’m not on Instagram, so I can’t use those two as an excuse. 

Lately I’ve run into situations that made me think, “I should blog this.” Sometimes it’s Amigo who tells me, “Mom, you should blog this. Really.” And I realize that the Pharmacy that Shall Not Be Named has improved to the point that they don’t make the blog anymore, but the Clinic that Shall Not Be Named still rates a post now and then. The worst offender lately was my employer-provided health insurance. I’m still very angry with the folks at charge there, so I’m not ready to post. I might be ready to write it, but I’m not quite ready to post. And the “Smart” MRI place? I’m not sure whether to christen them “Stupid” MRI or “Dollar Store Variety MRI.” Frankly, either would fit. 

I don’t want to blog my Packers. At the moment, their record is the same as the Cleveland Browns. At least the Browns inspired Budweiser to Open the Refrigerators – Clay Matthews is only inspiring yellow flags at the moment, deserved or not. 

The Pirate’s Booty (current nickname; this may change)

I’m in this boot for six weeks – one down, five to go. Updates to come.  for the Boot and its progress, I’ll need a full post – or two.

Safe to say, Daisy will be back. Besides, there’s an election coming up. I’ll have all kinds of plenty to say.

Communication and Health Care – not

Dear Clinic that Shall not be Named: 

I get it. I do. I understand that I had my last mammogram in August of 2017. I know that I cancelled my August appointment this year. Really, though, you could have saved the postage on that little reminder letter. You know the one: the letter reminding me that a full year has gone by and I haven’t had my next mammogram yet. 

You see, Clinic that Shall not be Named, I have already rescheduled the mammogram for mid-September. If your computer system had been programmed to make one more step, perhaps a search for an upcoming appointment, there would have been no need to send a reminder letter by way of the USPS. 

I suppose it could have been worse. If Clinic that Shall not be Named made robo-calls instead of sending reminder letters, then I would have gotten very irritated and perhaps my blood pressure would have escalated. At least with the silly letter, I just laughed and ripped it up. 

In conclusion, Clinic that Shall not be Named, once again your right hand doesn’t know what your left hand is doing. Get with it, okay? Okay.