Garden is giving so many cukes! Yesterday I canned four quarts of bread and butter pickles. This was my first time making sweet pickles, but the recipe for bread and butter pickles from my trusty Home Canning book by Sunset, 1975, worked very well. I didn’t have bell peppers on hand so I used Padron peppers from the garden. A little spice goes nicely with the sweetness. I also placed a part of a horseradish leaf at the bottom of each jar. Tannins in the leaves help in facto-fermented pickle crocks so they may help with vinegar pickles, too.
I grew up eating my grandmother’s bread and butter pickles, so having home-made sweet pickles in the fridge is a real treat. I like the dills I make just fine, but these pickles are a welcome walk down memory lane. Bonus treat: I used my grandmother’s crinkle cutter. The one with the green wood handle and flaking lead-filled paint. Old stuff is hilarious.
Although the pickles should be shelf stable, I will store them in the fridge. After I sealed them I noticed the pickles in a couple of the jars weren’t completely covered by the pickling liquid. Oops. Fridge should them safe despite my carelessness.
We’re keeping an extra close eye on Frida. She’s doing very well, but a couple of evenings ago she exhibited severe tooth pain. She was frantically pawing at her mouth on one side. It passed in about 15 minutes, but was hard to watch. This may mean something was stuck on the roof of her mouth, but we couldn’t find anything. She hasn’t pawed at her mouth much since. Just a couple of times and more casually. She’ll see the vet next week. Until then we’ll watch her eye for swelling and discharge (which would be signs of an active infection in a tooth). We won’t let her live with pain, but it won’t be easy to figure that out or, if we do, sort it out. Always something, but always rewarding. Fingers crossed.
Enjoyed a close pass by a University of Albany bus. Typical scenario. Pedaling on Western. Just three blocks on the route to the garden. I moved left into the lane to signal to the approaching operator that the lane was too narrow to share side by side. Message not received. Instead of fully changing lanes to pass, the operator buzzed closely by and was seen gesturing and hollering at me to move right. So another operator that doesn’t know the law. Great. I called the Director of Transportation at the University of Albany. He was a good listener as I described for him the incident, the law and the best path forward. He was kind and said he’d speak with the particular operator and call the CDTA to coordinate preparation of a safe passing memo with them. Maybe this will help nudge the CDTA along. We’re a week shy of 90 days since our face to face meeting and still no memo or word as to its progress. As we wait, please report all close passes. CDTA (518) 482-8822. University of Albany (518) 442-3121. Add the numbers to your phone and be ready to call with time, street, direction, bus #, etc. It only takes a second and the life you save may be your own, mine, Lacey’s, etc.
The timer on the Dualit toaster I picked up at an estate sale a year or so ago is acting like it wants to stop doing its job. I can still make toast, but I have to keep an eye on the progress since the timer slows or stops at times (leaving the elements on). A new timer is on the way for $26 (eBay from England). It will be easy to install and we’ll be back in well-timed toasty business.
I just finished the first of four short story collections written by Haruki Murakami, and I have the second on order at the library. I read all of his novels in the first 6 months of 2016. Now it looks like I have a shot at reading all of his short stories and nonfiction works in the second half. I won’t soon forget my 2016 literary journey around Japan.
That’s plenty. Thanks for reading. Take care of yourselves.