The Concert

On Saturday I went to my first concert.

IT. WAS. AMAZING.

I am still in the happy-from-music stage.

The Script, American Authors, and OneRepublic.

I heard about this concert last Friday (just over a week before the concert), and at that point I knew only about 3 OneRepublic songs, only 1 American Authors song, and I had never heard of The Script.

But I have been wanting to go to a concert, and I thought OneRepublic would be fun to see. I looked up the concert that day, and saw there were still tickets available. So I talked to Dad, and we decided to listen to more of OneRepublic’s music, to see if we liked it enough to go.  We didn’t get around to listening to it until Tuesday.

On Monday night I made a semi-final decision not to go, and I texted my friend (who was talking about coming with us) and told her we weren’t going to go.

And that’s when I heard Counting Stars playing from my dad’s office.

I went downstairs to tell him I had changed my mind, but when I went down there, my mind was swayed.  After listening to more OneRepublic (and liking most of their songs), I changed my mind.  Dad came up later that day and said, “Hey, these guys are cool, I think we should go see them.”

So I texted my friend, and told her we were going.  We were able to get tickets that night.

And I could hardly wait.

Bethany and I had way too much fun together – we danced for a good part of the concert.  I was so very thankful to have someone to dance with!

I am not sure what else to write – it is hard to describe.  The skill the musicians have is amazing – I was so glad that they used a real piano.  Also, the guitarist played a mad guitar solo before Counting Stars.  SO.  AMAZING.

At one point, the microphone that OneRepublic’s main singer was using stopped working.  He played the intro to a song (a beautiful piano piece) and then when the song got to the place where it should start, he kept messing with his microphone. After a few moments, he starts singing, “My microphone wasn’t working, but now it does.”

There were several unusual instruments used – dobro, viola, cello, and banjo.  It just adds a neat edge. And for the last song, OneRepublic had 4 or 5 drums lined up across the front of the stage, and during instrumental portions of the song, they would play them. I am so not good at articulating this – it was great.

Well, I think I’ll quite trying now.

Except for one final thing:

IT WAS SO MUCH FUN AND AMAZING AND JUST…GAAAAAH.

I don’t feel like this post does my mood justice. But I am not that great with words.  Oh well.

Here are some photos.

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Bethany and I – American Authors playing in the background

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The Script

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Us and The Script. =)

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The Script had asked everyone to take out their cellphones, and it looked so cool.

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OneRepublic playing Secrets

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(Same as above)

Note: As with all things, if you are under your parent’s authority, don’t just take my word for it, make sure they are O.K. with it!  I do not necessarily endorse everything that these artists have done or put out.  Use discretion.

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New Books

So yesterday I had some new books arrive in the mail, and I had one arrive the day before.  I am still expecting one more, but I thought I’d show you these anyway.  🙂

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I needed this one for school.

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And this one for school, too.  It looks pretty interesting.

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And this one is for school, too.  I haven’t looked at it yet.

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And this one I bought with some of my Christmas money.  I have another friendship bracelet book, and I thought it was time to upgrade and get some fancier stuff going on.  I’ll let you know how it goes – there will be photo updates!

My First Wedding!

Well, hi there, everybody!

(Or at least to the two people that still check this blog. :))

If you haven’t noticed (cough cough) there has been a dearth of posts lately.

So I am going to try to remedy that.

Are you ready?

Good.  Glad you’re on board with me.

All two of you.

So then.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of second shooting my first wedding.  It was my cousin’s wedding, and it was AWESOME!  Most of the time I focused on getting candid shots, not any of the formal shots, since the other photographer was getting them.  So that means that there are not that many “formal” shots to share with you all.  But I hope you enjoy the ones I do have!

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We helped with reception hall set-up before the ceremony

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They used these cool/weird water ball thingies.  They were great to photograph!

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Hello there!  Just affirming that I am here, cause you won’t see me a whole lot.  🙂

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My cousin and my grandparents

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Mother of the groom

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My aunt (mother of the bride) and two of my many awesome cousins!

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Junior bridesmaid (and another of my awesome cousins) Hannah

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Waiting

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Exchange of vows

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I LOVE her face!  Isn’t she so sweet?!!

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Hannah and Meiling

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Between photos

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Bouquet

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The flower girls – they were so cute!  You’ll be seeing more of them.

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My cousin Mark.  We had this thing going all day, where I was getting goofy photos of him.  I still need to finish the slideshow of funny photos.  It’s almost done!

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Bride, mother, and sister

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See? What did I tell you?  Cute or WHAT?!?

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The main photographer was having them make happy/fun faces.  As you can see, Hannah took to jumping up and down.

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They left the church amid bubbles

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*Happiness*

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Can you *tell* they’re sisters?

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My aunt (not the mother of the bride) makes a piñata for just about every family occasion.  The wedding was no exception!

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She even made a fancy bat.

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Scott egging on the crowd

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And that’s the end of that.

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Another tradition: the wearing of the piñata

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Fixing hair

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Almost everyone who had been there for the piñata (family and bridal party) had glow sticks.

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Mom, Grandma Jeane, and my aunt (the one that made the piñata)

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Centerpiece

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Greeting at the door

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These two were so cute.  They started dancing, then were break dancing, and now are slow dancing.

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Cutting of the cake (see the glow stick bracelet?)

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Head table (minus the bride and groom – hey, where did they go?)

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First dance

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At the end of the first slow song, the music changed, and the bride and groom did a choreographed dance to several songs.  They danced for almost 10 minutes!  It was a total BLAST to watch!

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They ended with a slow song

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Groom and mother

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Watching

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Bride and father

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Next they had all the couples come to the dance floor and dance.  The DJ then had couples leave the dance floor, by saying “Anyone married less than  ___ has to leave the dance floor.”  It was pretty awesome, because my grandparents were the last ones there.  All because of them.  🙂

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My parents

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When my grandparents were the only ones dancing, a bunch of us made a circle around them

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And then the dancing started

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Cousins

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Bridesmaids

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Scott and Sarah

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Us  🙂  (Thanks to my dad for grabbing this shot)

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The dollar dance – my dad and Sarah

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Noah and Sarah

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Drake and Sarah have always been special friends, since they share a birthday.  Drake used to hang out with her when he was little.

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And you want to see one of the goofy pictures?

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Too.  Much.  Wedding.

Why Every Cook Should Have Their Nails Painted

I haven’t had my finger nails painted in, like, 8 years or so.  At least.

But that all changed last week.

(Unless you count the time I painted a few nails, then promptly removed it because I didn’t like it.)

Last week I attempted to paint my finger nails red.  And I painted all the layers too soon after each other, and my polish got nicked and rippled.  Also, I had painted all over my fingers, not just on the nails, since I have painted my nails in so long.  So I took it off.

But the next day I just put on a clear coat, thinking that would at least be some nail polish, and I could start getting used to the feeling of having my nails painted.

Then today I painted them purple.  And they turned out pretty well.  My right hand is a little nicked, because I didn’t wait long enough between applying layers, and when I was finished, I went outside and picked up acorns instead of letting my nails dry as long as I should.  I mean, think about it:  pick up acorns with 7-year-old sister for the pig, or sit there and do nothing while your nails dry?  Clear choice.

One of the reasons that I haven’t painted my nails is that I cook a lot, and the thought of my hands in the food with nail polish on the nails just grossed me out a little.

But today, in between layers, it hit me.

EVERY cook should have their nails painted.

Because it happens to the best of us and the worst of us, no matter how good your knife skills are.  You’re chopping something in the kitchen, and either someone bumps you, your little sibling thinks it would be funny to scare you right now (NOT), the mail man rings the doorbell, or the FBI shows up (just kidding about that last part).

And you slip and cut yourself.

And besides the minor details of stopping the blood flow, getting through the freak-out session over the fact that you just cut yourself (the thought of the knife slicing your skin – YUCK!), wade through the apologies (or lack thereof) of the bumper or scarer, find somebody to keep you from hyperventilating, and determine whether or not you need stitches, there is always the important part of making sure that there are no nails left in whatever you were preparing.  Particularly if the cut wasn’t of your skin, because your nails were long, and that’s what the knife got to first.

Just think: if your nails were neon green, wouldn’t they be much easier to find in the food you were chopping?

Now the only think you run into here is that if your nails are red, for example, they wouldn’t show up so well in tomatoes, for example.  And dark green wouldn’t be great in romaine lettuce.

So this is what we need to do:

For those of us who paint our nails every day, you should coordinate your nail color with dinner.  So, for example, if you are going to make spaghetti, you should paint your nails green, blue, or yellow, but should avoid most reds and browns, although certain shades of pink and orange would be O.K. (if they were bright enough).  And if you were going to make a big salad, you should avoid greens and dark blues, and go for bright blue, turquoise, and any of the warm colors (red, orange, pink, yellow).  You get the idea.

And for those of you that don’t paint your nails daily, you should try to pick a color that wouldn’t match your foods.  Bright turquoise.  Bright yellow.  Any neon color would fit the bill.  Just any color that was bright enough to be seen easily, and that doesn’t match any common foods.

So don’t you agree – All cooks should pain their nails?

 

 

NOTE:  This was meant to be funny, not an actual representation of anything I do, or intend to do, or anything that I would like you to do.  By all means, when you cut yourself, forget about your nail color or even where the nail went, and attend to your finger.  And hygiene comes first.  If it’s gross, throw it away.  Over and out.

Hello, Seattle–Day 1

“Hello, Seattle,
I am a mountaineer
In the hills and highlands…”

~Owl City, “Hello Seattle”

You’re going to hear more of that song.

Two weekends ago I had the awesome opportunity to visit Seattle, Washington!  My Dad had two separate business trips on the West Coast, one ending Friday afternoon and the other starting the following Monday morning.  So instead of him flying home on Saturday and flying out again on Sunday, he chose to just go straight from one destination to the next.  And I flew out to spend the weekend with him!

So, let’s dive right in.

This was my first time flying by myself.  I was nervous – particularly about taking off and landing.  I get a little nervous about that, and when I flew previously, I had someone’s hand to hold – usually my mom’s or my brother’s.  And unless I had some super nice person sitting next to me, I wouldn’t have anyone to freak out to.  But I did fine, and now taking off doesn’t scare me, but landing still does.  Just a little. 😉

So I flew out on Friday, at 11 in the morning.  I arrived in Seattle at 2-ish Seattle time.  Which put me at almost six hours since my last meal. (I had forgotten to grab some cheese sticks to take on the plane, and so had only had a banana.  And all the snacks that they had on the plane contained grains.  So no luck there.)

My first order of business after getting off the plane was food.  As I walked down the B terminal, I looked at all the restaurants:  Quizno’s.  A Mexican place that was rather small and had a bar – not somewhere I wanted to be.  McDonald’s.  As I walked by each place, I new that there wasn’t a whole lot that I could get at any of them.  So I continued to the main area of the airport, where there was a whole collection of restaurants.  And there they had a directory of all the restaurants in the whole airport.  I spotted, way at the other end of the C terminal, a restaurant that looked pretty promising – Wolfgang Puck Gourmet Express.  The distance I had already traversed, from my gate to this directory, was about the same as the distance from this directory to the restaurant.  Which wouldn’t have been bad at all if I wasn’t hauling a camera bag and my on board bag, which was a backpack, holding my purse, three books (one of them over 1400 pages long), and my sweater.  So pretty heavy.  So I hauled all the way over to the restaurant, stopping on the way to look another restaurant that I was hoping I could get something at (they had local cheese), but all they had were awesome-sounding sandwiches with that local cheese.  I finally made it down to the Wolfgang Puck Gourmet Express, where I got a Greek salad, and then hauled all the way back to the main area of the airport.

Only to then realize that I left my 1 liter water bottle at the restaurant.

And I didn’t realize that until I had sat down, mixed my salad, and gotten all settled in to eat.  So I packed everything back up and hauled back to the restaurant, where they had my water bottle.

*Sigh*

Once I had actually started eating, a young lady right around my age came over and asked if she could sit with me.  I said, “Sure!”  She sat down, and we started chatting.  Turns out she is in the army and was just stationed there, as she had graduated the day before.

After we had both finished eating and she had gone her way, I purchased me a White Chocolate Mocha at Starbucks.  It was pretty good.  I bummed later that I had had it, as I wish I had waited and gotten some more local tasty Seattle coffee.  Oh well.

I sat and read for awhile, drinking my coffee, until it was time to go meet Dad.

Once Dad and I had met up, collected our luggage, and picked up our rental car, we drove out to Bellevue.  (Dad would be staying here for his business trip, so that’s where we stayed.  It’s about a 20 minute drive outside of Seattle.  And beautiful!)

After checking in at our lovely hotel, unpacking, and video-calling Mom and the rest of my siblings, it was time for dinner.  Dad had made reservations at a seafood place, Seastar, that he and Drake had visited when they were in Seattle several years ago.

Dinner. Was. Amazing.

First we had an heirloom tomato salad, which had heirloom tomatoes, pine nuts, Walla Walla onions, buffalo mozzarella, greens, and an awesome pesto vinaigrette.  Dad had a Thai lemongrass shrimp soup, which he really liked, but I didn’t care for.

But that salad.  Oh, that salad.  It was out of this world.  The flavors blended perfectly, and it was the right balance of everything.  That was probably the best mozzarella cheese I had ever had, or at least the best that I had for awhile.  I believe it was actually made from buffalo milk (traditionally, that’s what mozzarella is made with, or so I’ve heard).

For my main course I had pancetta-wrapped grilled white shrimp with garlic aioli and this awesome bacon-y salad.  Again, awesome.  And that’s about all I can say. 🙂

Dad had prosciutto-wrapped grilled scallops with thinly-sliced melon (the melon had a fancy name, which I can’t remember – it was watermelon and cantaloupe, if I remember correctly).  He really liked it, but, again, I didn’t care for his so much.  Which was great.

For dessert, Dad had black and white crème brulee.  He said the chocolate part wasn’t that good, but I believe the vanilla part was great.

I had sorbet – a scoop of lemon and one of guava passion fruit, I think.  It was GOOOOOD.  The lemon was OUT OF THIS WORLD.

And they gave use some caramels, one for each of us.  I ate mine, and it was really good.

(Do I sound like a broken record?  It was really good.  It was awesome.  *Sigh*)

And that was Day 1.  Tune back (hopefully) soon for day 2!

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My Greek salad

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In Seattle!

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With Dad on the way to Bellevue

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Bellevue straight ahead!

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In Bellevue

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There were several walkways like this one across the streets in Bellevue (I saw maybe two or three)

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Dad and I were going to walk to Seastar, but it was pouring rain (we WERE in Seattle), so we ended up having to go back and get the car.  But I did get a few cool pictures!

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(Remember the sign to this restaurant)

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A (cool) walkway

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Remember the sign to the Chinese restaurant?  These guys were making dumplings or wontons.  The man with the rolling pin the left corner would throw each wrapper up as he finished it.  (You can forget the sign now.)

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Chihuly glass sculpture

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Dinner at Seastar – the heirloom tomato salad

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(Excuse the bad pictures – it was dark.)

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My entrée

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Dad’s entrée

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My sorbet (Mmmm…)

By the way, check out Cowgirl Dirt for a cool giveaway!  http://www.cowgirldirt.com/  (I don’t know how to do a hyperlink in WordPress).

Canning

“I tried to be normal once.

Worst two minutes of my
life.”                             
-Unknown

I found this quote online the other day, and I thought it was pretty good.  Because I feel like I am pretty not normal.  🙂

I have been so busy the past few weeks, and this next week promises to be really busy, too.  The main cause of this is canning.  We’ve been canning peaches and tomatoes.  We purchased three bushels of peaches for ourselves two weeks ago (I think), and I have canned roughly 16 quarts and 2 pints over the past few weeks.  And that could increase.

Mom and I have been going to the farmer’s market and collecting tomatoes to can.  So far, we have 19 quarts and 2 pints.  And that could increase.

This morning Mom and I went up to a farm about 45 minutes north of us and purchased almost 50 lbs. of tomatoes, 7 lbs. of tomatillos, several pounds of potatoes, 9 melons (mostly yellow watermelons, but two were cantaloupes, and one was a snow leopard), and several sweet peppers.  Today we canned the vast majority of the tomatoes.  That made 12 quarts and 1 pint of the 19 quarts and 2 pints above.

I love canning.  But it is exhausting.

And so listed on my schedule this week:  wash dog, manage clothes, clean room, can chipotle peppers, can jalapenos, can tomatillos, can raspberry jam, work two afternoons, teach three piano lessons, and hopefully do some school.  Not on the schedule (but things that I’ll still have to do) practice piano and help with meals and other things at home.  It would be really nice if I could make my bed at least one day this week.  And it would be really nice if I could accomplish all this without dying.

Just kidding about the last part.

Things are a bit exciting around here.

Here are a few photos from canning peaches the other day.  Enjoy!

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Peaches being prepped for canning

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The canning/blanching set up:  the big black pot is the canner, the second pot is for blanching, the blue bowl is for iced water, the clear bowl is for the blanched and cooled peaches.

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Blanched, peeled peaches.  Aren’t they beautiful?

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Just look at those purty colors!

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Sliced and in the ascorbic acid solution

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In the jar in a light sugar solution

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I love how food looks in jars

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Practically ready to go into the canner (just have to put on one more lid)

Blueberry Summer

We went up north to Lost Branch Blueberry Farm to (you guessed it) pick blueberries a few weeks ago.  They have delicious berries, and we really enjoy going.  We were able to go once a few years ago, and I just recently finished the berries we had frozen from that trip.  I was really glad that we were able to pick more!

We have great timing – we went up on what was predicted to be the hottest day of the year yet.  And it was pretty hot.  I picked until 6:30/7-ish, but most of our group had already stopped by that point.  I ended up burning BOTH my arms and my neck (so I was a regular redneck, ha ha).

The heat really wasn’t all that bad.  Once you had gone out there and gotten used to it, the heat didn’t bother you.  Or at least, it didn’t bother me.

We drove up with some friends of ours, and picked that afternoon/evening (I can’t remember a date – although it was a Tuesday).  That evening we had dinner with the P. family (sweet friends of ours), and then headed back to the lodge to turn in stay up way-too-late talking.  But it was fun.

The next morning, Meiling, Mom, and I went to pick some more while Noah and the friends we drove up with went swimming in the pond.  It was a very nice pond, I would have gone swimming in it, too, except for two things:

1.  I hadn’t brought a swimsuit, and I had no spare clothes to get dirty.

2.  I was there to pick.

We left Wednesday afternoon, having picked 41 pounds of berries.

When we got back that evening, the grand processing took place.  We started washing and freezing the berries, and deciding how many we were going to leave out for other purposes.  We froze all but two colanders-full, which would be used for some canning (blueberry syrup) and a pie.

That night Mom wanted me to use up some apricots that I had been planning to use in a crisp, but were aging on the counter instead.  I pulled up a recipe, and cut up the apricots, but I didn’t have enough for a whole batch.  Mom added a few tired peaches, but we still didn’t have enough.  I threw in a handful of blueberries and a few pitted cherries.  Mom tried some that night and said it was really good.  I can’t comment, because I made it gluten and grain-ful and didn’t eat any, but Noah liked it too, and I believe Drake did.

On this past Wednesday I canned four jars of what was supposed to be blueberry syrup, but I think it is really jam.  I made a pie the same day, which used up one colander of berries.  I am hoping to can some syrup that remains syrup with the remaining colander full.

 

Thanks for having us, Lost Branch Blueberry Farm!  It was a blast!

 

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The blues

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Pom juice on manager’s special at Kroger – got to love it!

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My berry bucket

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Wednesday morning – in the blueberry patch

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Walking back to the lodge – A harvested wheat feild

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The fruit mixture of my crisp

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Lots o’ berries

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The crisp topping

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Mom had gotten several pineapples on sale at the grocery store…

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…so we dehydrated several

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A blueberry rolled under the oven, and Lucy was trying to get at it.  Poor Lucy.

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Apricot-Peach-Blueberry-Cherry Crisp