As things wind down

The posts including my obsession with canning will end and we will eat fresh until frost and then start digging in to the larder. The Natural Foods store did have pears, and Valencia oranges, so as soon as we got home from hubby’s appointment and the curbside pickup, I pared, cored, and sliced the pears; quartered, seeded, and sliced an orange and cooked the marmalade down to 5 half pints of my favorite jam. It may taste a bit different as these were firm Barletts, not the Asian Pears I usually use, but I will have some on the shelves for winter. As these won’t go anywhere (i.e. to Son 1 or daughter’s homes), I used the reuseable lids. One thing I don’t like about them is you don’t get the satisfying pop to know they are sealed. You have to wait for them to be totally cool, remove the band, and lift them by the lid to see if they successfully sealed. And you don’t want to use the permanent marker used on the metal ones to label the top of the jar. Instead, I will use small pieces of freezer tape to label them.

While we were in town for the appointment and curbside pickup, I was going to get a fermenting book from the library. They have been open inside for a month or 6 weeks with limited number of people at a time and safety precautions so I didn’t bother to check the website. There has been a significant spike in COVID cases on campus and town is in shutting down mode again. The library only has curbside pickup, but I hadn’t pre-arranged to get the book. Fast food restaurants with drive-through service have again closed their dining rooms with service only in the drive up window, which is all we use anyway. Another small business that has a sister business in town has closed and their stock moved to the sister business that is both ice cream shop and gift shop. I suspect we will see more of that and more food places close for good as it gets too cold to eat on their patios and sidewalk tables. The town had closed one street that has several restaurants flanking it and erected canopies with tables to accommodate them and they gave up 5 or 6 parking spaces in the alley near the Farmer’s Market for the same purpose. It will soon be too cold for people to sit out there to eat and the tables with umbrellas on College Ave will be taken in for winter. This is going to hurt these businesses again. The University is fighting to try and stay open until Thanksgiving to close and finish the semester virtually and online exams. Their plan was to reassess the situation if their quarantine room availability dropped below 50%. It is down to 31% and so they are moving students living on campus in one dorm to other dorms, giving them a housing rebate for having to move and freeing up 70 more rooms in an effort to stay open. The problem is the off campus students that go to classes on campus and return into the community and the limits COVID has caused to their dining facilities sending students to local restaurants and fast food locations to get food and the virus is spreading in the town and surrounding communities.

A long time ago, seems like a different lifetime, I worked with a very diverse group of folks, some of whom were excellent cooks, all older than me, many having already raised their families as we were just beginning. Recipes were often shared, even school staff cookbooks made. Several of the recipes became go to recipes for our growing family, a meatloaf recipe, pizza or calzone dough, and a faux lasagna. The meatloaf has evolved slightly, but is still used, now in small amounts or made into several and frozen except for the one cooked. The dough made about once a week. The faux lasagna went into the file after no cook lasagna noodles were introduced, but lasagna makes too much for just the two of us. One of the purchases I make from the Natural Foods store are really good egg noodles, the pasta from the faux lasagna. I had an 8 oz fresh mozzarella from the Farmer’s Market, bought a carton of cottage cheese from the village store, and made a quick pasta sauce from the tomatoes on the kitchen window sill, along with some of our garlic, onions, basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary and without having the recipe in my file anymore, it was recreated as well as I could from memory. I had Parmesan and there are still a few eggs from the molting hens. It doesn’t come off quite like lasagna, but it is rich, cheesy, with good sauce and an under an hour meatless meal. I quite enjoyed it, hubby ate it, but would have preferred real lasagna. He never complains, but I can tell when he thinks it is a repeatable meal. He has left over goulash and rice for lunch today and I have a serving of the casserole. We will both be happy.

As seniors we always get a flu shot, usually in mid to late October. We are wondering if we should get one now, but then worry that it won’t still be effective through the entire flu season. I guess a call to our primary care physician’s office is in order to get their opinion. We have no reason to go anywhere for the next few days until Farmer’s Market preorder pick up so we will hunker down safely here at home. The annual HVAC service is scheduled this afternoon. I am glad we have a walk out basement so the technician can enter and leave through that door and I can deal with the paperwork on the porch. We don’t want people coming into the house unnecessarily as the virus spreads through our rural community as well.

I am thinking and worrying a lot about my online friends and two young cousins on the west coast in the midst of the wildfires. One I know has had to evacuate and others are hoping they won’t, but dealing with thick smoke and ash. The cooler temperatures and predicted rainfall can’t come soon enough for them.

Stay safe everyone. I see more and more cartoons wishing 2020 adieu. It has not been a good year.

I would love to hear your comments on this post.