Friday, August 22, 2014

Power, Peeps, Potatoes, and People Please Me, TToT Week 62

Electricity, with our ability to harness it, move it, and use it the way we want, has got to be one of the biggest discoveries that has changed the life of humans on this earth.  We have come to depend on it so much, that we are at a loss as what to do when we no longer have it.

Major storms blew through many times this week.  On Monday, Buttercup and Phoenix's school was on a two hour delay because a late-night storm took out a tree and the power to their school with it.

One Wednesday, the school which the other three kids attend was almost dismissed early because the power had gone out during a storm right after the school bell rang.  They were without power for almost four hours.  Twenty minutes before the principal sent everyone home for the afternoon, the power came back on.

I'm pretty sure our pioneer ancestors are laughing at us from their perches up in heaven.

Electricity is wonderful.  It allows us to stay cool in the summer and keep our meat frozen until we remember to take it out to thaw for dinner.  We can stay up well past sunset to read or watch TV or get lost in the internet for hours.

And yet electricity is a dangerous thing.  When lightening is seen, people scurry from the soccer fields and metal bleachers, afraid they will be hit.

And sometimes, no matter how careful we are in harnessing that electricity, things can go wrong.

On Wednesday afternoon, one of our first grade teachers lost all of her possessions when her house caught fire. An electrical fire. Fortunately, she was still at school, and her husband and daughter were not at home.  When the firemen arrived, their dog was inside and unconscious.  The firemen pulled the dog out and resuscitated it with a new (electric) machine donated to the fire department for just such a circumstance.

Despite the loss, there are many thankfuls in the entire situation.

Less than 24 hours after the fire, this teacher was at school talking with her first graders and letting them all know she would be just fine.  If she can be grateful in her circumstances, for Pete's sake, how can I not be grateful this week?

1.  The chicks are here!  All but one arrived nice and healthy, so we have 26 new girls.  Hopefully.  We'll see when they get older if there are any missexed birds.

We got a call from the post office that the chicks had arrived.  I had until closing time to pick them up.

2 days old
2.  Mother Nature finally subbed in Heat Miser and warmed us up to summer temperatures just in time.  If the temps would have stayed the way they had been, those chicks would have had to live in our basement with a heat lamp until they were a bit bigger.  We've done it before, and we do not want to do it ever again.

3.  I actually had a day mostly free in which I could can and freeze some potatoes from the garden.



Most people look at me funny when I say I can potatoes.  "What do you use them for?" they ask.  Mainly, three things.  1. Quick mashed potatoes, 2. Quick potato salad, or 3. Quick camper's casserole.  (Heat up sliced smoked sausage, add drained can of green beans and drained can of potatoes and cook until hot.)

The potatoes that don't fit in the 7 quart jars I'm doing that day get cooked and made into mashed potatoes and put in the freezer for another day.

4. Normally I have someone in the kitchen with me peeling all of those potatoes, but with only Cuckoo in the house (watching PBS and learning about a wubble bubble) it was quiet and lonely.  I used my iPad to pull up Brian Regan's stand-up shows and laughed my way through the tedious process.

This man is one of the funniest people to ever walk the earth.

5. A little while ago Lizzy Allan posted a recipe for Bloody Mary Pasta.  I saw it and said, "Self, I'm tired of making pasta with only alfredo sauce or Prego.  We have everything for this recipe either in our garden or on our shelves, so you should make it."  I made it for dinner tonight, and it was yummy.  And I got to use up the last four jars of tomatoes I canned last year.  The only thing I did differently from her recipe was use my hand-held blender thingy to make it a smooth sauce.  My kids wouldn't have touched it if they could actually see the bits of tomatoes and onions in it.

6.  I got home from a soccer tournament last weekend and found this on our little kitchen table:

Fresh from our garden.  The shocker is that Bryan actually brought them in and put them in the vase like this.  All by himself. There was also a dozen roses on the kitchen counter he had purchased earlier in the day, but the sunflower arrangement was a much bigger surprise.  That man loves to make me happy with colorful flowers.  No special occasion needed.

7.  For the first time in my life, I just spelled "occasion" without the aid of spellcheck or a dictionary.

8.  All of the big kids have had their first soccer games of the season.  They all did very well.  It's going to be a fun season.

Even if it rains.

9.  The first week of school, the germs were flying through the school.  All 6 of my kids have had a cold this week.  Fortunately, they all had the same pattern of one day sore throat, two days of runny nose and cough, one day stuffy nose, then done.  Giant and Cuckoo are on the tail end of it.  I will not discuss Bryan and my health, seeing as how I don't want to jinx anything.

10.  Finally, and most importantly, today (Saturday) is Cuckoo's birthday.  My baby is 5 years old!!  I cannot wrap my brain around the fact that I don't have any little, little kids in the house anymore.  Thankfully he is the smallest kid we've ever had, so he doesn't look like a 5 year old.  I don't think I could have handled it.

This child brings more light to more people than I could ever count.  He is the one and only of our children who genuinely likes to talk with people, and he does it constantly.  And people love it. Don't take my word for it.  I have no doubt Kris will back me up on this one.

And for those of you wondering, he will not be getting a wubble bubble.  We looked into it and found that they pop very easily, usually within the first 15 minutes.  Um, no thanks.  He'll be getting something he will love, though.  Have no fear.  Photos will come eventually.

Your turn!  Besides electricity and a roof over your head, what are you glad to have this week?

Have a lovely day!

Ten Things of Thankful

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  1. Woo hoo! Apparently, yes!

    I'm sorry about the first grade teacher's house. From what you've written in the past about your community, though, I imagine friends and family will rally around her.

    Happy birthday to Cuckoo! It is bittersweet to see kids grow up.

    1. Within minutes, a fund had already been started to help her. She's taught there for years and years, so alumni were chipping in, too. Our community is marvelous.

      Happy for them, a bit sad for me.

  2. Happy birthday to Cuckoo.

    The sunflowers are beautiful.

    1. I'll pass the birthday wishes along.

      They are such pretty flowers. Unfortunately, they'll be the last of the season. A storm last night knocked all of our plants down. Makes this little bouquet that much more special.

  3. Congrats on this momentous "occasion"! :-)

  4. happy birthday to your little man ...he so cute . all your recipes sound great the potatoes look interesting - I'm real interested in caning coming from a family that canned, yet it kind of skipped a generation. lately I'm thinking I should start as well (easy on the wallet) did you freeze the potatoes in the jar?
    I'm so happy that the dog was saved - that would have devastated me if my house went on fire and Teddy could not be saved. everything else is replaceable; lives aren't.
    chickies are so adorable good luck raising them and post pictures of them...there's a farm not far from my house (how funny does that sound "a farm",) so in the morning on the way to work sometimes they have the chickens out on the lawn pecking? grazing? -Whatever chicks do - so my point is they are really pretty all different colors.
    Anyway enjoy your week - :)

    1. I'll pass on the birthday wishes! He is adorable, if I do say so myself. :)
      Canning isn't hard, just a bit time consuming. It's worth it, though. It tastes so much better! I froze the potatoes in a freezer bag. 7 jars on the shelf, and a bunch of mashed potatoes in freezer bags in the freezer.
      They were very fortunate to have gotten to the house in time to save the dog.
      Oh, I'll post pictures. I haven't been able to take any good ones yet since we haven't had any sun. It's pretty dark in the coop. A flock of free-range chickens are pretty, aren't they?

  5. Happy Birthday to Cuckoo! Love having fresh flowers around the house even if I have to go out and buy them for myself :) Caning potatoes is a great idea. I use them in stews all the time. So easy once all the hard canning stuff is done first. Have a great weekend!

    1. Thanks! I'll tell him!
      Fresh flowers are such a nice addition to the house.
      Agreed! It is the same amount of work to can potatoes as it is to peel and cook them each time you need them. Work today for an easier job another day!
      Thank you!

  6. HB to Ck!
    Cool to hear about the dog being saved (in the house fire).
    Still waiting for the Heat Wave of '14 my hopes are ebbing.
    you are probably in a situation similar to us, no electricity…no plumbing (we are in a rural community so everyone has a well… wells have pumps to get the water…pumps run on electricity.) We do have a generator and my upbringing on the Vineyard has me filling bathtubs every time they predict a hurricane or ice storm etc...

    1. I'll pass the birthday wishes along!
      It was a very good thing.
      Ah, still no heat wave for you? Maybe ours is sliding your way. It's blazing hot this weekend!
      We are one of the few lucky rural families that has city water. No well for us! However, in an emergency, we have three cisterns from which we can draw water. With a bucket.
      We really should have a generator. Mostly for all of that pig in the freezer.

  7. I can hardly get that tragedy ofbthe fire out of my head. Yes, there's room for thankfuls in it, but I don't know if I could be as generous as the teacher so soon. Happy Birthday, beautiful boy!

    1. I'm sure she'll be more annoyed and less generous as the days go on and she's having to deal with the cleanup. With all the love and support she's received so quickly, though, and the relief that everyone was OK is helping for now.

      I'll pass along the birthday wishes. Thanks!

  8. I am seriously impressed with your canning skills. I have never ever thought of freezing potatoes but what a great idea! The Bloody Mary pasta sounds amazing and can easily be made vegan. I think it would be great with horseradish added too. But I digress... thank goodness the teacher and her dog are okay and you are so right - if she can be thankful we sure can! Hope you have a wonderful week!

    1. Why thank you! It's not nearly as hard to can as I thought it would be.
      I have a cookbook about freezer meals and it has a recipe for mashed potatoes. It didn't cross my mind until I saw that.
      It was delicious, and as leftovers it was just as good.

  9. Yes, I will most-certainly vouch for you! Cuckoo is an absolute DELIGHT! And no, he's on the smallish end of 5 so no one would be the wiser. Until he opens his mouth and speaks. Which is, I'm glad to say, often.

    Happy happy birthday, sweet boy! Hope your day is full of ALL the things you want, with the exception of a wubble bubble.

    And yes I did notice, BTW, that you had other things of thankful on your list, but with Cuckoo on there, what else was there to mention? ;)

    1. I knew you would! :)

      I will pass on the birthday wishes.

      I was pretty sure you'd zero in on that thankful. :)

  10. ♪♪Happy Birthday to you,♪♪
    ♪♪Happy Birthday to you,♪♪
    ♪♪Happy Birthday Dear Cuckoo,♪♪
    ♪♪Happy Birthday to you.♪♪

    The baby chicks are adorable.

    Have a fabulous weekend. :)

    1. I shall pass on the song. Thanks!

      I wonder if there are any animal babies that aren't adorable...


  11. Such a shame that the teacher lost all her possessions in the house fire but I'm glad she and her family are all safe - things can be replaced, lives can't. So glad the dog was saved too, thanks to the firemen.

    Those chicks look way too cute - I hope you just keep them for their eggs and not to eat :(

    The sunflowers are lovely, and how thoughtful of Bryan to pick them for you.

    And finally, a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Cuckoo - I don't know if you saw the second link I posted in your previous post about the wubble bubble, but it's the nearest I could get to actually sending him a card :)

    1. Exactly!

      They are all for their eggs. We've done meat chickens before, but it is such a hassle to go from coop to table. And we don't know of any butchers in the area who will do it.

      The sunflowers were so pretty. Unfortunately, a storm came through last night and took out every one of our sunflower plants. Makes the bouquet that much more special.

      I did see it and I did show it to him. He was very happy to get a birthday card on the computer. :) Thank you!

  12. A fire is such a frightening thing to me. So glad no one was home when the fire broke out.
    1. They're cute until they get real feathers.
    3. I love new potatoes out of the garden cooked with fresh green beans.
    4. We have a cd of Brian Regan that we listen to on car trips. And we quote him a lot!
    6. What a guy! The sunflowers are lovely!
    7. Gold star for you!
    8. Do they actually have bleachers or anything, or do you have to drag chairs with you? Good luck, Phoenix and Buttercup!
    9. A cold isn't so bad when you consider it could be the stomach flu. Double thankful!
    10. I, too, can vouch for the fact that Cuckoo can talk and doesn't know a stranger. Loved spending the day with him and hearing his sweet, funny voice!

    1. 1. Living in an old house like ours, I've been paranoid since the day we moved in. I had an electrician out here last week who gave us the "you're not going to die from a fire" thumbs up.
      3. We have both! Any particular recipe?
      4. He is hilarious!
      6. He's a peach. :)
      7. Thank you! I love a gold star.
      8. The high school has bleachers, as they play on the football field. For the other three kids, we drag a chair. If I don't feel like it, I carry a blanket to sit on.
      9. Exactly!
      10. Yes you can! Thank you! Just the other day he said, "Remember that other zoo where we met your friend?"

    2. Be still, my heart! Hope he's feeling better today and can enjoy some birthday cake and ice cream.

  13. An early Happy Birthday to your "baby" :-) Lily also talks to people a lot; I've actually received FB messages from acquaintances to pass a message on to Lily :-) Yay for new chicks! Please let us know how many hens there actually are! Have a great weekend, Christine!

    1. Thank you! Ha! That's funny about the FB messages. Going to get her her own page? :)
      Oh, don't worry, I'll be sharing more chicken posts. If there is a rooster, you'll know.
      Thank you!

  14. Happy BIrthday! Another Leo! yeah! My guy is 25 today, I cant believe it! So sad about the teachers home... but thanks that everyone is okay including dog...

    1. Wow. 25 is a big number. I'll stop crying about my 5 year old now.

      It is sad, and only one of several sad things to happen to teachers this week. It is making it all a lot easier to have everyone in her family, including the dog, safe.

  15. Cuckoo is the cutest thing! I love the idea of canning. I've started a Pinterest board because at some point and I'm going to dare to do it! I think canning potatoes sounds smart. You gave some great ideas for how to use them, too!

    1. Thanks!
      Do it! Do it! It is so much easier than I anticipated. I've been canning veggies and fruits for about 7 years now, and it really isn't hard. Time consuming, but worth it!

  16. Oh, Christine. We lived without electricity for 8 days when Hurricane Sandy hit. That was a week of many thankfuls. The worst was the lack of water because we have a well and pump our water electrically. Yes, an appreciation for our pioneer ancestors or in my case, Pilgrims. Anyway, I remember once, a LONG time ago, my husband picked flowers that grew on the side of the road and gave them to me. What a sweet memory. I usually always spell occassionally wrong.

    1. My family had to go without power for a couple of days after an ice storm, and I know what a pain it was for them. Eight days would be difficult, for sure. Lack of water...ugh.

      Aw, that is a sweet memory.

      It's a hard word!

  17. My friend had a Facebook post that she had to go the post office and pick up her quail chicks.. And then she showed a post of them all in her bathtub. I'm so jealous of you two. I'd love some chicken chicks. And we had a raging storm last week. Very wrath of God type. Makes you think about the power of the natural universe. Fun to hear about your world of last week.

    1. In her bathtub?!?!? Why in her bathtub? How many did she get?
      Sorry, got off topic a bit there. :) Does your neighborhood not allow chickens? Some do!
      Raging storms are fascinating. Scary at times, but still fascinating. I totally understand why storm chasers do what they do. We had another one last night. It destroyed our garden.

  18. So sorry for the loss your teacher went through, but you are right - really does make you see how much there is to be thankful for, even in such a difficult situation. And chicks and pretty flowers and happy birthdays are all good reasons to give thanks!

  19. Happy Birthday to that sweet faced boy! I imagine him with a raspy little man voice for some reason. Don't ask me why! I'm consistently amazed at how different people's voices are than what I imagine. Your husband is so sweet! Mine's a good guy but I don't see him picking flowers out of the garden for me...and then to actually bring them in and put them in a vase?? He's a keeper!
    I am so glad that the teacher and her family (including the dog, of course!) are okay. That is so, so scary.

  20. Your intro on electricity was so interesting, and how fortuitous that nobody was hurt in that fire and that the teacher could feel grateful.
    And you wrote about potatoes too! I was amazed that you can them. How do you do that anyway? (Since I notice they are in jars, not cans - it's not a term we use much in the UK. I think we "preserve" or maybe "pickle." Although I use the term "we" very loosely! :-) )
    The chickens are so-o cute.

  21. Oh gosh there is just so much goodness in this post I don't even think I can respond to it all!! Just basking in the sunflowers and the fact that the precious teacher didn't get hurt and the baby chicks for starters!!! LOVE it all!!!!

  22. I must admit I would be one of those people looking at you funny. However, now that I know you can can potatoes...I think you are a genius!!! And Brian Regan....HILARIOUS!!!

    Your Bryan is pretty darn awesome too! I can't help but think awwwwwww........

    Happy belated 5th birthday to Cuckoo!!! Can't wait to read all about it.

  23. Oh man? the wubble bubble things pop easily? I was actually kinda excited about it when I found it. Happy happy birthday to Cuckoo. Five. OMG FIVE. Yeah, I'm feeling the five, too. Tucker turned five in July and wow. You should totally have another baby. M'kay? So glad that your friend/teacher is okay and that her family and dog is as well. I know it's just stuff but fires scare the @#$% out of me... I think it's cool that you can or whatever it is potatoes, although, um, yeah. I can barely make dinner. But I have a really small yard, so that makes it okay right?

  24. Ahh, your baby is adorable. I never thought about canning potatoes before. I am proud of my self that I actually used some of the tomatoes from the garden to make marinara sauce! I used an immersion blender to make it nice and not too chunky. My daughter is not a fan of chunks. She immersion blends jars of supermarket salsa!

  25. Happy birthday to Cuckoo.
    Oddly, potatoes and green beans together make me very unhappy. I think it's because of something my father's mother always made called, simply, green beans, ham, and potatoes. Yuck. Perhaps the only meal on the planet I have ever hated. Potatoes alone? Yes. Beans alone? Yes. All that stuff together in one pot with ham and some icky bland broth? Nooooo.
    So sad about that teacher - but great to know that the community is stepping in to support her. That makes all the difference.


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