The Agony Of ‘de-feet’ (pictures Included, But Not Of My Feet…)

I have decided when it comes time to design the flooring for my commercial kitchen, it’s going to be pillows. It may not pass the health inspection, but darn it, it will be more comfortable than cement. Our house is on a cement slab and we have ceramic tile, so my dogs are on a hard surface all day. To know me is to realize I don’t wear shoes in the house, so when baking all day, all that standing gets to my feet; on Wednesday night my feet and hands were pulsating as I lay in bed. I tried to wear shoes last week on a big baking day, but I just didn’t like it, so off they came. They had time to rest on Thursday and feel better now. Maybe I should soak them in beer; it makes me happy after a long, hard day of work…

We baked like crazy on Wednesday and I swear the Lord works in mysterious ways. If you aren’t religious you should skip this paragraph and go brush your teeth or something, because I am going to use the Lord’s name…and not in vain, mind you. Normally, we bake all day until 9 o’clock the night before State Fair entry day. This year, experience has made me faster and more efficient. Ha, just kidding. I’m just realizing procrastination has its drawbacks and used the freezer instead. The last baked item on our list for the day was pies and they finished at six…and not five minutes later the power went out. I thought it was my fault for running the oven, fans, air conditioner, mixer, bread machine…you get the picture. But it wasn’t, and what could have been a big disaster any other year was simply a blip for us. Had a bread machine been in the middle of a session, or had we been making donuts on the stove still, or had bread been in the oven, something would have been ruined. Instead, it allowed me time to get all the things out of the freezer and start packaging/labeling  the entries. So mad props to the big guy upstairs! It’s not the big miracles one notices, but the little things that make us realize there’s something bigger than us out there and he’s looking out for us.

Yesterday we got up really early to frost rolls, drizzle, glaze, and put the final touches on some of the exhibits. I learned my son does not frost well before he’s fully awake and eaten some breakfast; he almost put his robe sleeve in the frosting which begs the question, “Why is he frosting rolls in his robe?!” While we finished up, hubby packed the boxes in the car for us. That man can pack like no one I know; he’s had plenty of practice with all the moving we’ve/he’s done over the years. We drove to Minot with the air conditioner on high to keep the food cool so my son was wrapped in a blanket while I enjoyed the cold air-it was a nice change from my hot flashes. After dropping off our wares, we went right back home-no shopping, going out to eat-just straight home. Originally we had thought we’d take it easy as a reward for all the hard work we’d done, but I am not sure I know how to do that. At least that’s what my son believes. Hey, we did have an hour of quiet time before processing the juneberries we picked on Monday. We sorted, washed, and flash froze them; today we’ll take them out of the pans and use the Food Saver to vacuum seal them. I used the last two pails to make juneberry jelly. I put them in a large pan, added some water and let them cook for about 1/2 hour. Then I got out the strainer/masher (see picture, I really don’t know what that thing is officially called) and got the juice out of them. I put it in a large gallon jar and will make the jelly when I have some spare time which could be sometime this winter. We harvested the cucumbers and I got my first tomato; it’s a yellow pear and I can’t wait to taste it tomorrow. We also picked beans and had them for supper. Yum. We finished off the night by watering the garden and training the vines. I make them all go in a straight line so it’s easier to get around them and they go where they’re supposed to be. It’s kind of like our kids; we train them to be productive members of society and not let them run amok. Not going to lie; I like that word ‘amok’.

I feel a little weird about today but I’ll get over it. Normally, we come home on Thursday and start baking for today-the Fleishman’s bread contests at the State Fair. However, because I won it last year, the rules state I can’t compete this year. My son could have competed, but it’s more fun when we plot together what we’re going to make, how we’re going to present, etc. It’s no fun alone. We will have to wait until next year, I guess.

I give up on my ‘Earth boxes’-you know, the ones you fill with dirt, fill the reservoir with water until it runs out and produce an instant patio garden-I covered them with chicken wire so my cats would stay out of them; they LOVE to lie in dirt and since these are in shade, all the better. I thought I was being clever, but obviously my cats are more clever than me. Twice now they’ve managed to pry off the wire and lay on my tender lettuce and radishes, squishing both to oblivion.  I took off the wire last night and decided to let sleeping cats lay…or is that dogs? I don’t relish the idea of eating lettuce with which a cat has napped upon. That sentence may be grammatically correct, but I really wanted to type ‘napped on’ and leave it at that.

Good gravy, it’s Friday! Get out there and have a fun weekend! I will be at the North Dakota State Fair on Monday, July 22nd for Pride of Dakota Day; I will be selling my jams in the tent and entering the kuchen contest at 3. Fairgoers can enjoy a $1 meal courtesy of Pride of Dakota and YOU can vote my kuchen consumers’ choice! I’d like to see YOU at the fair!

 Here’s the strainer-boy, does this stuff stain! But it’s so pretty…

Here’s my son and I making donuts using his Grandma Doris’ recipe. Very tasty, indeed!

 These are some of the final exhibits we frost, drizzle, or glaze before we leave. I start with a thick frosting and by the end, it’s the glaze for the donuts. I discovered it’s fun to play with frosting and create new glazes, such as the chocolate one bottom left, and the orange juice one on the rhubarb braid top right.

 Finally, here’s what the RAV looks like when it’s all loaded up with entries; we brought a total of 72 to exhibit. That’s a lot of dough…literally.