Thursday, October 6, 2011


It’s cold now – 45 this afternoon. We tried to get by with just the propane wall furnace but it wasn’t enough. We opted for a cheery fire in the insert this afternoon. And I have lentil chili in the crock pot.

The first official celebration of the holiday season, Elderberry Fest, is coming right up -- October 14-16. I didn’t think Hallie and Nick would come this year because of their work schedules, remodeling their condo, and a trip to Washington D.C. in November. I thought I would celebrate Elderberry Fest all by myself with a cup of tea – or maybe just make a batch of jelly and call it good. But when I broached the subject with Hallie last week, she said I was wrong and that they would come. What would I think about making some medicinal elderberry syrup, she wanted to know. Lordy! Suddenly I’ve got to move!

Yesterday (Wednesday) was “clean the pantry” day. I admit it – I had been putting it off. I knew it would be an ordeal. In the words of Maynard G. Krebs – “WORK!!!”

The pantry here at the farmhouse is a deep cupboard – part of what used to be a walk-through hallway under the stairs. It’s impractical for food storage, yet I’m so grateful to have it. Without it, we would have no place to store food.

I didn’t get started until about 11:00. First, I formulated a plan: shelf by shelf, I decided, beginning with bottom right. Everything out, decisions made, shelf washed and dried, selected items back in. I felt good about my direction.

Mid-way through the first shelf, Mike came into the kitchen. “How’s it going?” he asked cheerfully.

Fifteen minutes later and he’s back. “Still at it?”

After lunch the tone became a little more insistent. “Are you still cleaning the pantry?”

“Look,” I said, making no effort to conceal the frustration in my voice, “did you think this was going to be a simple job?”

“Yes,” he said, “I thought it would take maybe an hour.”

“No! I have to take everything out, wash the shelves, read dates and make decisions, toss out the old stuff, and then reorganize,” I shrieked. “It’s an all-day job!”

So, that was the end of the cheerful yet troublesome questions. He busied himself elsewhere while I worked. 

Anyway, Mike had plenty to keep him busy. Two air hoses lead from the windmill into the pond to provide aeration. In order to be able to find the hoses in the pond, Mike had originally tied Styrofoam blocks to them, which worked until the blocks deteriorated. Then we used empty milk cartons, but Mike began to consider options for more aesthetic floats. His answer was duck decoys, which he set up yesterday.

He also installed a tree stand for deer hunting. Here he is trying it out at a safe level. And this is where he installed it, a place across the lane above the “awesome” apple tree. I know – the photo is dark, but see if you can find it.

Speaking of “awesome apples,” I was amused last week when Betty Crocker’s web page was titled “Awesome Apples.”

Here’s a photo of some interesting things from yesteryear. Does anything spark a memory for you? KW


Chris said...

I found it!!

I cracked up over the pantry story. I'm afraid guys just don't understand kitchen mechanics. And good ol' Maynard G. has been invoked many times here at the resort. :-)

So glad Hallie and Nick are coming for the start of the fall festivities! Hmmm... medicinal syrup. I must hear more about this.

Kathy said...

Apparently elderberries have lots of antioxidants or something. You can add alcohol to the syrup, but you can also make it without. I told Hallie if she wanted to add alcohol, she would have to bring it. Actually, she's doing the research, getting the bottles, and maybe Nick will make a label or tag. I'm sure this topic will unfold.

Leah said...

Cleaning out the pantry is a BIG job, I know. One reason to take everything out is so that you can decide if something really is worth keeping. You have a different mentality when you clean shelves and want to put just the "good" stuff back in. Cleaning closets requires the same procedure. I learned that when I would clean a closet and just move things around to clean shelves. I didn't throw anything out and I knew something was wrong. My closet purification now is a full bore assault. Everything comes out, shelves cleaned and then the "new" closet has a different attitude. It only wants usable things put back. My closet is happy when I'm done and I'm exhausted. Yes, it's an all day job!

As far as the "yesteryear" items, I noticed a brown crock. My collection of brown pieces date back to 1956. Safeway gave you a piece of brownware when you collected $20 in grocery receipts. And it often took a couple of weeks to get to $20. Different economy, different time. My collection eventually totaled about 20 pieces. A cookie jar, chili bowls, huge mugs (for hot chocolate), baking casseroles, pitcher, etc. I can't seem to part with them. They are on my "nostalgic shelf" in the kitchen.

Kathy said...

OOOO -- Your brown crockery sounds so '50s. I wouldn't get rid of it either. Mother had some brown mugs.

And yes, I was exhausted when I finished the pantry project, but I edited those words out of the post -- thought maybe I sounded pretty wimpy.