Category Archives: Domestic skills

Cucumbers and honey


We harvested, extracted, and bottled honey today. I have tons of video of the process, but it will be a while before I get it all edited and spliced together into something resembling a coherent Podcast. We harvested 10 frames. The photo above shows the first six frames’ worth of honey. The new extractor worked very well. Every surface in our house seems to be coated with honey at the moment, but it’s worth it.

I’ve spent a lot of time working in the kitchen lately, processing things I’ve harvested from the garden. Last night, I made a batch of pickles:

This pickle recipe is a slight variation on one my mom’s friend Dana gave her. I’ll post it later.

All the cucumbers that had gotten too big and ripe to use for pickles wound up being turned into relish. I don’t normally eat much relish, but I think this stuff is straight-up awesome. I made the recipe up as I went along, based on three or four recipes I’d seen online and a few of my own ideas about what I’d like on a hot dog.

Here’s the recipe:


Emily’s Pickle Relish

About six large or 10 small pickling cucumbers, quartered, with seeds removed
Two large red onions, peeled and quartered
Three bell peppers, cored and quartered
Five ribs of celery, washed and trimmed
1 c. cider vinegar
2 c. water
1/3 c. pickling salt
2 c. sugar
1 tbsp. mustard seed
1 tbsp. dried red pepper flakes
2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. paprika
1 tbsp. celery seed
1 tsp. cloves, crushed
1 head garlic, peeled and pressed

Place vegetables in food processor and chop finely. Place chopped vegetables in colander and let drain for an hour or so.


Place remaining ingredients in a deep saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly to keep sugar from burning. Stir and boil liquid until its volume decreases by about a third. Remove from heat. (You could probably shorten the cooking time here by simply using less water to start with.)


Place drained vegetables in a large bowl. Stir syrup into vegetables. Pack in small jars and process for 15 minutes in a boiling-water bath. Makes about six pints.

After all our hard work the past couple of days, we rewarded ourselves tonight with a trip to the Performing Arts Center downtown to see The Phantom of the Opera. I’d already seen Phantom two or three times in St. Louis, but Ron had never seen it. The performers were all really good, and even Ron — who normally hates Andrew Lloyd Webber — enjoyed it. 

Hope your day was as good as mine.




After four days of babysitting, three days on the road, and two days of attempts to get my feet under me at work (probably an exercise in futility until school starts), I’m pretty wiped out … and my house is pretty much of a disaster … so I’m hoping to muster the energy to spend an hour or two getting the house in order a bit before I crash. I would have cleaned last night, except I had a boatload of produce in the garden that I had to chop/grate/cook/process/etc., so I spent most of the evening in the kitchen.

Goals for this evening: 
Clean hamster cage
Install new hard drive
Move photo and music files to hard drive 
Make Rock Cafe page for Ron’s blog 
Clean bathroom
Transfer and sort images from Litchfield trip
Start cleaning craft closet (no, I still haven’t gotten that done)

Hope your evening is productive.

I forgot to mention this the other day, but I completed No. 88 on my 101 Things list — we went to dinner at Lanna Thai last week. It was pretty good.


Getting ‘er done

I caught myself slipping into a bit of a funk the past couple of days. I think the erratic sleep patterns, extended travel, and emotional roller coaster of the last three months finally caught up to me, and I could feel myself starting to crash, mentally and physically.

After indulging in one too many naps, I decided it was time to snap out of it, so I sat down Thursday and accomplished something. Several somethings, in fact. Between 7 a.m. and 1 a.m., I:

1. Finished up item #65 on my 101 Things list.
2. Wrote course descriptions for eight classes I want to include in the journalism curriculum at Webster High School. Ten years ago, I abandoned my career in education after a nightmarish challenging year babysitting gang members teaching English at a hellhole high school in St. Louis County. Three months ago, my journalism career abandoned me. In mid-April, the Webster principal presented me with an intriguing opportunity to revive both careers at once by joining the Webster faculty as journalism strand coordinator for their new magnet program. We start writing curriculum in a couple of weeks. I’m so excited I can hardly sit still.
3. Designed a planner/calendar/Control Journal that will hopefully help me stay focused and organized as I start my new job.
4. Ate dinner at my Emergency Backup Haunt: Al’s Route 66 Cafe in Sapulpa. It’s not the Rock, but it’s certainly an acceptable replacement while I wait for Dawn to rebuild … and it has the dual advantage of being much closer to home and much less fattening. (My favorite thing at Al’s is the tuna-salad-stuffed tomato with a side of cottage cheese. My favorite thing at the Rock is the chicken-fried steak with a side of deep-fried pickles….)
5. Cleaned the bathroom.
6. Cleaned the kitchen.
7. Cleaned the living room.
8. Sorted and organized the magazines that were cluttering up the shelf under the coffee table.
9. Started a load of laundry.

Not bad for a girl who was so tired she had to take three naps and then go to bed at 9 p.m. yesterday. 🙂