Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Strawberries: Small, Ruby-Colored Gems in Autumn

Somehow, I can't believe that October is already more than halfway over. We're still canning. So much for thinking that we were in the "last few weeks" last month. Mom and I were out at the produce auction again this morning, but there really isn't very much variety left. This was the first week that there were no swan gourds! How sad. It's been dark and rainy all day --- with big, cold raindrops. Prices were really low as there were hardly any people bidding. I got three pecks of the little multi-colored-acorn-shaped gourds for $1.00 a peck. I'm planning on taking all of the swan gourds, and any of the others that we want to try to dry out, into the garage this week. It's just too rainy to keep them from rotting. The coolest thing that we brought home were Autumn Strawberries! They are the prettiest things that you've ever seen and they taste amazing. We're planning on having strawberry shortcake for dinner. Hooray!

Last Thursday, I cut the hops vines down and tied them together to make a sort of garland. We were thinking of hanging them in the kitchen (hops is supposed to be a natural spider repellant), but the cats would probably have eaten them, so we decided to hang them on the fence in the Gnome Garden. Like a good little girl, I wore my gardening gloves all day --- except for two minutes. Guess what!? I reached into the hops garland to adjust it on the fence and some mean, nasty, horrible, terrible, no good, very bad "something" bit me! On the middle knuckle of my middle finger on the left hand. It actually drew blood and hurt, so I thought that I had cut myself as the vines are quite prickly. So, I went inside and washed it with soap and water, put Polysporin on it and a band-aid on top of that. It started swelling by the next afternoon and just kept getting worse. Mom got some plantain for it and I iced it. We did that on and off all weekend, so it's almost back to normal now --- but that's why there have been no blog entries all week. It was most likely a spider that bit me. Mean, nasty thing. I hope it died.

On a lighter note: we've had some time this weekend to play Canasta. That's Elizabeth's favorite game, so we've had a good time with it. We have a really cool set of cards for Canasta Caliente. The pictures are really cool. They kind of look like the old 1950s travel brochures.

In light of this spider bite that I've had, Mom decided to make some salve with the last plantain and comfry. Happily, some of the calendula plants sent up a few more flowers, so we added that in, too! It's in a base of Safflower and Olive oil. A little bit of beeswax, added in at the end, makes it hard enough to be called "salve" versus oil. This picture is when the jars were only half cooled, which is what makes that cool "dark and light" appearance. Once they are all dried then the salve is all light green in color.

Mom's salve is just great, and she makes about three different kinds in the Spring. We didn't get a chance to make any this year, so we made a bunch yesterday to last until next year. She poured it into these little, tiny jelly jars and they all sealed. This stuff works great on bug bites, cuts and even sunburn!

Buddy and Kay came up this afternoon for a visit. We haven't seen them in ages, so I think everybody is kind of ready for winter to set in and supply a bit of a rest. We're hoping to get together again in the next week --- with a pumpkin pie to go along with the visit! One of the annual book sales starts tomorrow, so we're heading up for that in the morning. Elizabeth and I can't remember a time of living in Ohio and not going to this sale. We're hoping for another hardback copy of Gone with the Wind. That seems to be hard to find. We'll see, though! More later.

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