Daddy came home on Sunday! He and his buddies started driving as soon as they were done with work on Saturday and drove through until midnight with only one major mishap involving a flat tire in the middle of nowhere and a (probably) shady tire dealership. We crushed some miles and got in a little after midnight so Daddy was able to be home when Mommy woke up on Sunday morning. And then a little later when the little girls woke up. Ellie was holding up her hands and saying “Hug! Hug!” about every five minutes for the first two or three hours. So it was good to be home.
After Mass and lunch we drove up to Uncle Adam and Aunt Maryanne’s house for burgers and dogs.
Aunty Kathleen figured out that all you need to do to be the center of attention for a bunch of Kraeger kids is to hold the food. All except Evie. She is strange and gets so excited she forgets to eat.
Ellie loves her Grandma Ann dresses, because they have pockets. Real pockets. Useful pockets for putting useful things in, like grapes and rocks and pinecones.
Wednesday we made bread. Ellie helped.
We also made the dough for the doughnuts Mommy was planning on making for the Fourth, so that it could sit in the refrigerator and chill. Ellie is going to be a great cook someday, or baker, or both. She pays attention and has patience, and she loves dumping things and mixing things.
We got a shredder from amazon, and Daddy shredded about a bushel and a half of newspaper shreddings. Evie and Ellie helped Daddy put it in the composter, which, we are happy to say is doing really well.
We have a few thousand worms, it looks like, with a beautiful bottom layer of well broken-down compost. It should be perfect to muck the garden with by the time winter comes.
Not much else to report until Thursday, which was the Fourth of July, obviously.
Naturally, we took the opportunity of a free day off in the middle of the week for everything it was worth. The girls drove, just to change things up a bit, and Daddy and Mommy rode in luxury in the back seat.
We went to a local orchard and purchased three flats of currants. Why three flats? Because Ryan has a poor eye for how far a given volume of fruit will go when transformed into jelly, and Kathleen has a taste for biting off more than she can chew.
That was a lot of picking and cleaning, but then it was time to set up the SQUEEZO!
Everyone loves the squeezo. It’s been a hit since it was first introduced in the early 20th century. A four-year-old can mill eight pounds of currants in 10 minutes,
And maintain her attention almost the whole way through with only one short break.
It’s pure magic. Then of, course, comes the real art of mixing the sugar and pectin in the right quantities and boiling at the right temperature for the right length of time.
Evie can’t help with that part yet, so she contented herself with cleaning up every last trace of spilled juice.
I have to say, I think it is one of the prettiest looking jellies Kathleen has turned out so far.
We spread the seeds and mash along the back fence behind the tiger lillies, the fence line that the neighbor’s weeds keep creeping under. Maybe in a few years the next owners of this house will have a private hedge/weed barrier of currant bushes.
More likely our friendly neighborhood possum family will have a delicious free snack.
Then it was time for Daddy to get some coals going and set a dutch oven of oil on to heat,
while Mommy shaped the dough into nuts.
Note to selves, it takes about an hour and a half for that DO to get up to 250+ degrees with 20 coals under it. This might be because down in the firepit it doesn’t get great air flow. If we do this for a party or something we’ll have to take that into account.
Of course the heat doesn’t have to be very precise, so we would probably just hang it over an open fire. But then again there might be issues with flair ups whenever the oil dripped or splashed. Coals are a good option, they just require a little extra lead time.
Today, Mommy had to go back to work so it was just Daddy and the girls. We ended up going up to Deedee and Papa’s house. Ellie helped pick strawberries.
And Daddy split some more of Papa’s firewood and the girls had their first lesson in stacking wood.
And that’s all for this week, folks. Have a great rest of your weekend. Keep us in your prayers! God Bless!