Saturday, December 02, 2006

Nov 28 - 9 quarts and 5 pints

That's how much applesauce I canned this morning. Even though it was technically still time off, I really wanted to get the rest of those apples taken care of. Last week I sorted through the several coolers and buckets of apples we still had from our apple-picking expedition (a month ago? something like that). Some were totally rotten, and those went into the compost bin. Some had bruises, soft spots, and rotten areas on them, and those went into a bucket (or two). Most looked like they were still just fine. Those went back into two coolers and a bucket. The ones with spots are the ones I worked with, because they really do need to be done by hand (as opposed to the nifty peeler/corer/slicer deal which will only work on intact apples). I got through all of those this morning.

Last Thursday I did the sorting and made a big batch of applesauce. I wasn't sure it was enough for a canning batch, though, so today I finished off the soft ones and did another batch of applesauce. The total turned out to be enough for 9 quarts and 5 pints, and all are cooling on the kitchen counter now. It looks so far like all of them sealed just fine, which would make me happy (though if one doesn't come through that way, we just have to eat it, and there are certainly worse things in life LOL). Gyokuko did up a batch a couple of weeks ago, some pints and some quarts, I can't remember, so we have a good stash of applesauce now. Doesn't mean we won't can some more -- we certainly have a lot of apples. There are also ziplock bags of apples chunked for pies in the freezer.

Yesterday I fixed brunch for the 4 of us who were around, and fried up potatoes with veggies and eggs, and served applesauce on the side. Both were yummy. Another thing I spent some time on yesterday was the upcoming newsletter. I worked with our layout person on the new software (Adobe InDesign), and we were both just delighted with it. We've been working with an old version of Calamus, which was a good program in its day, but has some serious deficits when it comes to working in a Windows environment. I've learned a lot of new programs in my time, so it felt familiar to be working on a job with new software and figuring out how to use it as we go along. Our layout person has similar proclivities, and so we were both just having a great time helping each other through this, laughing when we discovered that the program would do this or that -- look, it has an "Undo" button! you can drag-and-drop photos! you can delete a page and it just moves the next to the next page! -- and we would shriek and do little dances of delight. Okay, I know, weird, but if you had wrestled with that old program as much as we have, you'd be a little silly too.

Our teachers are scheduled to return tomorrow or maybe Thursday. They are driving up from southern California, and may encounter weather issues between here and there. So far it's great here. We had a faint dusting of snow this morning, which is now all gone. We've had hail, wind and rain. Outlying and higher elevation areas have had snow, but right here in inner-southeast Portland, not enough even to mention. Right now the sky is mostly clear and blue. It's warming up a bit -- it was supposed to get down to 25 degrees this morning, but after today there are no more freezing temps forecast. Rain and snow mixed forecast for Thursday, but still temps from 35 to 45.

I'm really looking forward to seeing the teachers come back, and I know the cat (who I've been taking care of) misses them a lot as well. And of course they will be happy to be together here where they belong once again. It's been a long haul -- 6 months since Kyogen's step-mother went on hospice, and then her death, and then his father's diagnosis of bladder cancer, and his decline and finally death two weeks ago. I suspect they will be tired and ready to rest a bit.

Sunday we are all scheduled to head out to the monastery for Rohatsu sesshin, which is an annual 7-day silent retreat to commemorate the Buddha's enlightenment. I'm actually looking forward to it, though it sounds like I will be "working" it again as chant leader and maybe some time-keeping stuff as well. Last year I was sick practically the whole time. Hope that doesn't happen this year.

And so much of this week will involve preparation for that retreat, along with trying to get the newsletter as close to complete as possible (maybe even sent to the printers?) and whatever day-to-day stuff comes up.


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