Sunday, October 20, 2013
Of Apples and Thick-Skinned Squash
That's Chuck in the middle between Annie and her friend Miriam. He's also known as Zachary Levi, and he starred in the TV series "Chuck."
Last night he starred in a play called "First Date" on Broadway, and, of course, Annie and Miriam somehow got his attention long enough to do another of Annie's characteristic thumbs up photos.
Nice way to spend a 35th birthday, I'd say. I'm sure Annie has packed scores of sights and sounds of New York into her memory bank and that she'll collect a few more today.
While she was enjoying the Big Apple yesterday, I was picking beauties off from our big apple tree. It just seemed like an apple-picking type of day.
Every time I climbed the ladder and filled a container with "wormless" dark red apples about twice the size of what we've picked in the past, I felt true joy.
Gorgeous fall day and wonderful bounties from a summer of plenty.
I'll have to move the pickup out there today to collect even bigger and better samples from the top limbs, but we've already picked enough to keep the peeling operation going for a long time.
I may skip the peeling process with some and make some more jelly. Those apples make mighty tasty preserves.
While I was picking apples, Bill was headed to the Kootenai River in Montana for some fishing. He said it was a pretty good day with eight fish caught.
I also enjoyed a nice ride on Mr. Lefty for the second consecutive day. He knows there are apples awaiting his return so his behavior is impeccable, which makes for a relaxing experience for me.
The truly major achievement of the day was removing the butcher knife from the acorn squash.
When I picked my first acorn squash from the manure-pile garden, I brought it to the house, pulled out a knife and attempted to cut it open. I could not even dent the damn thing.
So, I waited a while, figuring it wasn't quite ripe. A few days later, once again, figuring we'd have squash for dinner, I went to trusty You Tube to see how to cut open an acorn squash.
No mention there of hard shell, and the cutting process looked simple enough. So, I pulled out the squash, got the butcher knife and once more attempted to cut into it.
So, I went out to the shop, grabbed the hammer, came inside and attempted to pound the knife tip into the squash. To say it was difficult just doesn't cut it.
Eventually, with more pounding, I was able to ram the knife point into the squash. At one point, the hammering was too much for the knife handle. It started to separate from the blade.
Then, I tried to pull it out of the squash. The BLADE WOULD NOT BUDGE.
So, it has sat in my pile of squash, much like the sword in the stone of King Arthur fame. I have attempted removing it several times, to no avail.
Well, a couple of weeks ago, I told some friends of my squash with the knife. One suggested that I bake the squash.
So, yesterday was the day. I filled a pyrex dish with water, turned on the oven and warned Bill that if he smelled odd fumes from the oven, it was, indeed, what he thought he smelled.
And, if he looked inside and saw a squash baking with a butcher knife, his eyes were not playing tricks on him. I was doing it on purpose. He quietly accepted the explanation and headed off fishing.
It took about an hour at 350 degrees to have my King Arthur moment and remove the butcher knife. Then, I baked the squash some more and later actually cut it in half, doused it with margarine and maple syrup.
We enjoyed it for dinner last night with steak and baked potatoes. I don't know if the knife blade added to the flavor, but it was good enough to bring a few more squash in for dinner treats.
This time I think I'll let them bake a while before even trying the knife assault.
While enjoying dinner, we watched some football and were glad to see Boise State keep up its winning ways. The upsets meant some disappointment for Bill with his LSU Tigers going down.
It also occurred to me at the end of the day that the U of I Vandals are going to the tigers and lions, in the next few weeks. They'll play Ol' Miss, which beat LSU yesterday AND then they'll play Florida State which clobbered Clemson. Both Clemson and LSU were Top Ten teams in the NCAA rankings.
I guess there's money involved, so I hope the Vandals wear extra armor, survive and live to enjoy the extra cash for the school.
Speaking of sports, we're starting to get revved up for the ZAGS. I told Bill the other day I'd better hurry up and get into Spokane to pick up my annual supply of posters for the ZAGS upcoming season.
That was after seeing that their first exhibition game is this Friday night with the regular season starting Nov. 9.
So, that errand will probably be on tomorrow's agenda. Looks like wintertime with the ZAGS is sneaking up on us faster than anticipated.
In the meantime, we have at least a week of this glorious fall weather ahead, which will allow plenty of time to get winterized and ready to stoke up the wood stove for another winter.