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Jalapeno Jelly

Posted September 18, 2016 By Ruth

As asked, today’s batch of Jalapeno Jelly (with a couple Buena Mulata’s tossed in):

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As you can see I’m a bit lazy and don’t bother to remove the seeds, but then the point was the hot peppers.  I modified THIS recipe to make this.  I use Ball’s low sugar pectin, so it only requires 4.5 cups of sugar instead of 6 cups, and I always have to use extra pectin (the entire 4.7ounce jar, the recipe tells you to use about 3/4 of the jar anyways if you measure it out) or it doesn’t set up right.  And I replace the pound of green peppers with a pound of red ripe hot peppers.

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Jalapenos

Posted September 7, 2016 By Ruth

KIMG1178

That’s just about two pounds worth.  First batch of jalapeno pickles made last night.  The rest went into the freezer to make jelly out of later.

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Hospital leaders in North Yorkshire said that patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above – as well as smokers – will be barred from most surgery for up to a year amid increasingly desperate measures to plug a funding black hole. The restrictions will apply to standard hip and knee operations.

The decision, described by the Royal College of Surgeons as the “most severe the modern NHS has ever seen”, led to warnings that other trusts will soon be forced to follow suit and rationing will become the norm if the current funding crisis continues.

…..The decision by Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) comes amid increasing limits across the NHS on surgery for cataracts as well as hip and knee operations.

……The restrictions echo others made by health bosses in Hertfordshire, the North West and London in the past two years, where blanket referral bans were imposed on patients on the basis of their weight.

link

Sounds exactly like the sort of health care I want to have.  Not.  And that’s without considering the various problems with the BMI index to begin with!

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Garden Update

Posted September 3, 2016 By Ruth

I checked the paprika peppers, and then pulled up all the plants. Every single pepper was chewed on.  Despite repeated applications of caterpillar killer.  Maybe it wasn’t caterpillars.  It sure looked like ‘pillar damage, but I also never actually found one on the plants.  And whatever it was sure wasn’t bothered by the Bt.  I’ve never had such insect damage on my peppers.  Sure, last year I ended up tossing about half the peppers from the garden for bug damage.  But I also got to keep half that were fine.  This year I’ve tossed a couple habaneros, a few Buena Mulatas, and one or two Hungarian Hot Wax.  And already picked, to keep, more than twice what I’ve tossed.  And I’ve yet to find a damaged jalapeno at all.  But I’ve only picked TWO undamaged paprikas, and tossed many many many more than that.  Maybe they were just that attracted to the paprika?  No clue…..

I pulled up the cantaloupe vines as mentioned last time.  They were mostly dead anyway, which is odd cause half of them were planted way later than the first ones (deliberately).  I’m blaming the incredible hot summer.

I didn’t completely pull up the Blue Berries tomatoes.  But I did massively hack them back.  The shear amount of dropped fruit I found under them is huge.  I was indeed missing that many ripe fruit.

I also trimmed back the White Cherries, and some of the outlayer branches of the Black Plums.  It is now September, which means that we could get hit with a frost at any time now (and Mother Nature is suddenly remembering what weather is supposed to be like here), so I’d rather they put their energy into ripening the fruit already there.  Though the weather next week is supposed to get hot again our low last night was 48f, so fall is coming!

I pulled up all the volunteer vines.  I didn’t bother to save the squash from them, I thought about it, but I have a ton of zucchini AND the pumpkin vines from this year are also producing well, so I just don’t need them.

I’m keeping a close eye on the Melon Pear.  I’d really like to get some fruit from it, but so far none of it has even started to change color.

 

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RSS feed/blogroll updates

Posted August 31, 2016 By Ruth

When I originally put together this page I hacked together a makeshift set of blogroll pages rather than have the list taking up space in the side bars. It worked surprisingly well considering that my PHP knowledge is basically nonexistent. But it’s always had some issues. Among other things, it’ll randomly decide to just not load this or that feed. And when that happens that entire webpage disappears from the blogroll.  Since this leaves me with no way to tell what the problem is (did a link change?  is the RSS down? ) its not cool.

I’ve wanted, for a while, to find a better way to do it, but none of the WordPress blogroll plugins seemed to do what I wanted. Then yesterday I found a plugin by the name of YARSS (Yet Another RSS plugin). Had a minor spot of trouble getting it going, but the guy who programmed it in the first place included his email in the readme and was kind enough to respond to my emails and help me figure out the coding problem. Thanks Alex!

So I’ll be switching those blogroll pages over to the new format over the week or so.  Not sure if anyone besides me actually uses them, if so, be patient with me as I fiddle.

And if anyone reading this is looking to build an RSS feed, either as a page, or as a widget, I can recommend YARSS.  Although you can customize quite a bit by fiddling with the code, you don’t have to in order to use it.

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Idiots and wildlife

Posted August 29, 2016 By Ruth

Washington state resident Idiot2’s son was among the children Idiot1 led toward the elk. Despite safety advisories – and numerous examples of visitors getting gored by bison, mauled by bears and chased by elk – Idiot2 declared herself unafraid of the park’s wildlife. She said she was eager to see a grizzly up close.

“I want to see one right there,” Idiot2 said, pointing to a spot just feet away. “I’d throw it a cookie.”

Quoted article.  Names changed to something more appropriate.

I’d say that this is the result of city folks who’ve never spent time in real life.  But Idiot1 is quoted as calling himself an “experienced hunter” who’s “spent lots of time outdoors”, thus he was quite confident of his ability to judge the situation.  Course, his definition of “experienced” may not jive with anyone elses…….

I have no idea if these incidents are actually increasing, as discussed in the article, or if its a perception issue.  Doesn’t matter IMO.

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Garden update

Posted August 29, 2016 By Ruth

No pictures this time, sorry.

I cooked down another 6 ziplocks of tomatoes yesterday.  1 for ketchup and 5 for sauce.  There’s space in that freezer again!  But I’m sure I’ll be filling it back up with tomatoes in short order.

I’m considering pulling up the cantaloupe vines.  I’ve picked 3 fruit.  Lost the one to the coyote.  And tossed 4 more because the underside was rotten when I picked them.  I’m assuming its a heat issue as I don’t normally have problems with this variety.

I picked two more watermelons, and there’s another 4 or 5 growing.

I actually picked TWO, non-buggy, paprika peppers!  I’m not sure they were 100% ripe, but I don’t care.  They’re in the freezer pending dehydration, hoping I’ll get a few more……

I’ve got about half a ziplock of hot peppers in the freezer for either dehydration or jelly.  A mix of Buena Mulatas and Hungarian Hot Wax.  I’ve picked two Habaneros and both were buggy *sigh*.  The Jalapenos look like the first of them will be along shortly.

Still waiting on the Melon Pear fruit to change color.

The tomato avalanche is still in force.  I’m considering pulling up the Blue Berries.  They’re producing well, and thats kinda the problem.  They are, infact, hugely prolific.  And the fruit is so tiny, and the vines so thick, that picking them all has turned into a huge issue.  I KNOW I’m missing tons of them.  And its not like I NEED those tomatoes…….

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Bonus to frozen tomatoes

Posted August 24, 2016 By Ruth

When I remember to pull them out of the freezer far enough in advance to actually thaw all the way before trying to cook them down I’m able to drain off a TON of clear liquid!  That ought to help with the cook down time quite a bit!

BTW, this now makes 8.5 gallon ziplocks cooked down.  There’s at least that many still in the freezer, and a ton of tomatoes still on the plants in various stages of ripeness!

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Doctors

Posted August 21, 2016 By Ruth

Speaking of my hands, as I was last post, reminded me that I hadn’t updated.

So, first off, the symptoms in my hands: General joint soreness and stiffness in basically every joint of the hand and wrist.  Stabbing burning pains in the thumb knuckle closest to the palm of the hand (technically the middle joint of the thumb).  This is the same for BOTH hands, though my left is worse, possibly because the pain is worse when I’m attempting to do things requiring either fine motor control and/or extended hand-strength grip and I tend to be right handed and so hold things with my left.  I’ve recently noticed some issues with extension of the pointer finger (right hand), notably when I’m typing.  Its really obvious when I’m typing and I’m constantly struggling to hit certain keys anyway.

So, I have now seen a total of four doctors (besides my primary care doc) in an attempt to figure out whats going on with my hands.

The first was a hand & nerve reconstruction specialist, back in 2009, who told me it wasn’t ligament or tendon damage, and since my bloodwork was normal it wasn’t rheumatoid.  He said it was probably the sort of thing that happens when you abuse your joints the way I have.  Basically mild arthritis.

The second doctor was the first rheumatologist (2015).  Who decided that even though my bloodwork was normal, once they compared xrays to the 2009 ones he decided that there was signs of bone erosion (which means rheumatoid) in most of the joints of both hands.  But then declined to discuss it.

The second rheumatologist did more bloodwork, said there’s no way its rheumatoid, your blood work is to normal.  It’s probably the sort of thing that happens when you abuse your joints.  I’ll send you to an ortho hand specialist, maybe he can find something that’ll help you.

The ortho specialist looked at everything, poked at my hands in various spots, asked me more questions.  He said there’s some mild arthritis buildup in the joint at the base of the thumb (this joint is basically at the wrist, in case you were curious), but nothing that would explain my symptoms.  But gosh, it sure sounds like rheumatoid, are they SURE you’re not rheumatoid?  After some additional discussion he prescribed some braces that support the thumb joints on the theory that it wouldn’t hurt and might help.

So thats where things currently stand.  Two votes for “the sort of thing that happens when you abuse your joints” and two votes for “are they sure you’re not rheumatoid?”.  Sigh.  I’ve got an appointment to see the rheumatologist in another 6 months, just to make sure nothing changes.  The braces do seem to help, at least a little, with the pain in my thumb joint, so I guess thats not a waste.  It’d probably help if I wore them more, but I’m still getting used to them.

As for my ankles.  The orthotics, once I got used to them, made a significant difference in the amount of pain I was in.  I’m not going to say I was pain free (cause I wasn’t) but the difference was night and day.  For the first two months.  Three months after getting the orthotics I realized the pain in my ankles was increasing again.  Three months is an awfully short period of time to have worn out the orthotics, especially since I’m rotating between two pairs.  In addition I started having issues with my left knee (which is the weak one anyway due to prior issues).  When I started wearing a support brace on that knee, stabilizing it, I found myself rolling my left foot/ankle outwards.  All of which makes me suspect that I need higher arch supports.  I have an appointment this week with the ankle specialist, so we’ll see what he says.

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Ketchup

Posted August 20, 2016 By Ruth

Since I have an abundance of tomatoes this year I thought I’d try my hand at making ketchup, especially since Husband eats it by the trailer load.  The recipe I used is in THIS cookbook.  Btw, if you’re looking for a series of decent cookbooks for yourself or for giving, I have really liked these America’s Test Kitchen books, at least the ones I’ve picked up so far (I understand the pressure cooking one isn’t so great, but the others I’ve picked up I’ve liked).

The final step of the recipe is to smush the puree through a fine mesh strainer.  I got about halfway through that when it occurred to me that the food mill might have been a better option for my hands (the left hand in particular, which was holding the strainer, was really unhappy with me), but even after switching over my hands were still very unhappy.  I still hurt this morning.  After I griped about it on Facebook my mother offered to buy us a crank food strainer as an anniversary gift.  I won’t be doing ketchup again till that arrives.

Simmering down it didn’t smell all that great to me, but I don’t eat ketchup anyway (and absolutely can’t stand the smell of cloves).  Husband, on the other hand, eats ketchup on damn near everything, and thought it smelled divine.  Final results: he says it needs to be a bit sweeter (easy enough), and, as much as he loves the Black Plums and their smoky flavor in the ketchup, he’s missing that acid bite of the usual tomatoes (he said he’d absolutely eat it as it is though, so it must not be too far off!).  So next batch I’ll add in some of the Blue Berries (maybe 1/4 of the tomatoes?), and see how that goes.

 

Update: after the ketchup sat for a while, and was then properly shook up before he put it on his burger last night, he now says not to change a thing and its perfect the way it is.  I’ll take it!

 

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