Warning! This post is long: short on pictures, and heavy on verbage.
If you’re interested in my overall thoughts on the year, good luck wading through. If not, I can sum up my attitude toward next year with the thought at the end of this article: to keep practicing at something — anything! — until you’re good enough at it to impress someone. I am not-bad at a goodly number of things. (And I’m really bad at a much bigger number of things.) So for 2013, I will try to be mindful when I’m choosing my activities, to try to focus my hours towards not just doing, but improving.
Things I’ll be focusing especially on? Bread-making and pastry (croissants, I’m looking at you), flute playing, sewing. My current skill level for those things? Pretty good (epic fail), sorely lacking, and mediocre, respectively.
With that out of the way, onto my wordy year recap!
- I drink tea more often when I have a cute cup to drink it out of. Just as well I found an adorable Peter Rabbit teacup this summer in my thrifting!
- As it turns out, I’m really not that much into canned pickles (with the exception of my beloved bread and butters), but that doesn’t mean I don’t like them! Having figured out that just putting a dish of quick pickles on the table with dinner seems to work out*, I actually tried a whole bunch of quick refrigerator pickles this season!* Well, for me, anyway. The Boy’s just not into pickles.
- Pastry cutters are not just cute gadgets that serve no purpose; they are amazing. Thanks Maria! Fastest pie-dough-making experience ever! And no sore fingers! More exclamation marks!!!
- I do not, in fact, hate blueberries. I picked many a wild raspberry and wild blueberry while up in the bush over the summer. Fun fact: while I still feel that grocery store blueberries are the zombies of the berry world, I am surprised to learn that I quite like wild ones.
- Item 41 — Teach a class (in anything). Being now (all officially-like) a yoga teacher, I taught not one, but two yoga classes. (Well… the first was my practicum. But the second was to the ladies of my dragonboat team… and among the students was another teacher!) Should I keep teaching? Probably; it was surprisingly a lot more fun than I expected. Will I? We’ll see what the new year brings, but I’m struggling to figure out where and how to fit it in.
- Item 55 — Drive a 4-wheeler. On our fall visit to The Boy’s parents, I got to go on a firewood logging expedition! (I was informed that we were “foraging for wood”, but I feel that any foraging that involves a chainsaw, a four-wheeler and a trailer can reasonably be called “logging” even if we did try to make use of already-fallen trees.) My faithful camera stopped working just as we arrived at the site. So of course I have no proof of either having been forage-logging, nor of my having driven the four-wheeler (successfully). Nonetheless, a couple times over the summer, both The Boy and his dad prodded me up onto their shiny red beast and lo, although I still think it’s weird to shift gears by lifting a pedal with my foot, I drove.
Somewhat relatedly, The Boy and I also went sea-doo-ing together, this summer. At first we tried sharing a sea-doo, but after some circus-act-like attempts to get back on after falling off (in the middle of the lake), we headed back for individual rides. (These ones were a little too small for two adults.) My first time piloting one of those things too! (I suspect I drive like a grandma.)
- Item 69 — Institute yearly picnic. This nearly didn’t happen; I had prepared for the yearly picnic, but was bested by Mother Nature with 3 consecutive days of rain. Having vowed during the summer drought that I would not complain once it started raining again, I instead took matters into my hands. Three days after our anniversary, I put a blanket down on the living room floor, and laid out my spread there. We got to contend with the wilderness of two curious kitties wondering what this tasty food down at their level was, and why weren’t we sharing it?
(Food notes for the picnic: I made kefta (since The Boy loves it, and nothing says summer picnic quite like grilled meat!), hummus, and a sort-of tabouleh with corn intead of bulgur/quinoa, as well as individual pouding chomeurs in wide-mouth half-pint jars. Cute, portable and totally awesome. Especially if you pack extra sauce, like I did. Recipe in the new year.)So… three things crossed off my list is a little bit slackardly, I’ll admit. I’ll aim for more of them next year (maybe 8-12?).
Foodstuffs canned (or otherwise preserved):
It seems, in canning terms anyway, that for me 2012 was the Year of the Condiment. Looking through what I actually canned (as opposed to freezing), everything was a sauce, spread, or pickle of some sort. Nothing wrong with that but definitely a change from years past.
I’m pleased to report that I’m getting better at canning with the Tattler lids also… still not getting 100% sealed, but feeling much better about them than last summer.
Onto the Stuffs! In roughly chronological order, grouped by fruit/veggie
- Frozen, 3 quarts
- Strawberry-lemongrass jam, 4 half-pints (one gifted)
- Red hot strawberry-jalapeno jam, 2 half-pints (one gifted)
- Balsamic strawberry jam, 2 half-pints (one gifted), 1 quarter-pint
- Rhubarb-ginger jam, 3 quarter-pints
- Rhubarb mojito syrup, just under a pint (about a third gifted)
- Pickled, 1 pint (gifted)
- Pesto, 1 half-pint (gifted), roughly a quarter pint, frozen in nuggets
- Kabees (Lebanese-style pickled turnips), 2 pints (one gifted), and 1 pint as refrigerator pickles
- Quick radish pickles
- Pickled carrots and radishes, 1 pint (gifted) and 1 half-pint for the fridge.
This was the first recipe I tried out of Marissa’s book (although I just used top radishes, not daikon), and (along with the kabees) it kind of made me think maybe we should eat more sandwiches!
One thing I want to try is dicing these up into a burger pattie. I’ll keep you posted!
- Carrot green and cilantro pesto, half-pint (gifted).
- Bread and butter pickles, 5 pints (one gifted).
Miscellaneous freezer veg
- Lettuce (as lettuce soups) — about 2 quarts
- Corn — about 2 quarts
- Zucchini, grated — about 4 quarts.
Not super-impressive, but given the drought and travel, I think it was a pretty good summer! Of course, I did miss the boat planting my garlic this fall… so we’ll see how next year’s garden fares. I am looking forward to January, when I’ll be diving into the seed catalogues (they’re here already!) to plan and plot for next year’s veggies!
Other than that… it’s been a pretty quiet year, full of little projects, small skills learned, lots of keeping busy, and quiet moments with family. A pretty awesome year!
Wishing you all a quiet new year’s eve, or at least a moment of quiet sometime during the day — everyone should get the opportunity for a little introspection at the close of the year! — and a 2013 filled to bursting with happiness, family closeness, adventures with friends, and new beginnings!