Monthly Archives: August 2011

Corn-a-Thon

It all started with an innocent question.

My husband called at lunch – as he always does – and as we were chatting about the mornings events  he mentioned that one of his buddies from work had some extra sweet corn.  Did I want some?

Of course I wanted some! Our first picking had been good – we enjoyed all the corn we could eat and had about 30 “fat” quarts in the freezer – but our second planting was stunted from the drought and our third planting was weeks away.

So we gathered some buckets and boxes and set the boys in to  meet their dad after work and pick us some corn.

I wasn’t expecting a lot – the guy told Jan they had been picking all week – but I was hoping for an all-you-can corn fest for supper and a few more bags in the freezer.

They brought home a Suburban full!

sweet corn

Boxes and boxes and boxes of sweet corn. Jan said they barely made a dent in the field.

They guys started husking right away and I got some water boiling.

We took a break for some supper – but by 6:30 we were back at it!

The next few hours are a blur.

Put corn in. Set the timer. Move the cooled corn to the table. Get fresh water. Cut some corn. Bag some corn. Clean some corn.Run out to grab more corn. Husk a few ears. Run in and take the corn out. Put corn in. Set the timer…

By 8:30 it was getting dark but the guys were still husking. They moved operations to the work shop. The table was covered with cooked ears but I sent Angel Girl out to help them finish.

Corn

By 9:30 the husking was finally done and all hands moved inside to help cut. My table was full of cooked ears, one counter was full of raw ears, and the other counter was covered with full freezer bags.

By 10:30 all four kids were cutting corn as fast as they could and listening to the 2nd Adventures in Odyssey CD. My feet stuck the floor in the kitchen from all the corn juice splattered.

By 11:30 the last of the corn went in to cook and the freezer was so full that I couldn’t find room for more.

By 12:30 the last ear was cut and the last of the freezer bags filled. The kids started cleaning themselves up and heading to bed while I looked at the disaster that once was my kitchen.

By 1:30 AM I had washed the dishes, scrubbed the counters and table, and was scrubbing my floor.

Finally tally – 58 fat quarts (a quart bag stuffed as full as it can be – usually between 5-6 cups), 4 exhausted kiddos, one trashed kitchen, and one wiped-out mom who kept shaking her head and saying, “What was I thinking?”

I know what I was thinking :

“Boy am I glad the kids are home to help!”

“Corn in the freezer is like gold in the bank!”

“This is sure gonna taste good come winter!”

“What a gift – all this corn for free! And I didn’t have to plant it, weed it, water it or try to keep the coons out!” 🙂

Fresh Picked

I love this season of the year – when my meals are planned around what I pick fresh from the garden.

Corn on the cob – all you can eat. Green beans – lightly steamed and dripping with butter. Summer squash in every form imaginable. And what about the tomatoes!

TomatosIs there anything as wonderful as a fresh, vine-ripened tomato?

Unless it’s something made from that fresh, vine-ripened tomato! Something like BLT’s, fresh salsa, bruschetta, or our favorite – pasta with fresh tomatoes.


Just peel 8 medium tomatoes. Chop, seed and drain.

Combine 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 clove of garlic (crushed), 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley chopped, 1 teaspoon basil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 of a green pepper (chopped) and 16 black olives, sliced.

Add tomatoes and set aside at room temperature.

Cook 8 ounces of pasta according to directions. Drain and place in serving bowl. Add tomato mixture and toss. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Yum!

We’re still in the honeymoon stage with tomatoes- enjoying all we can eat fresh – but don’t have quite enough yet to can.

WatermelonThen there’s my pride and joy – my watermelons – both of them.

The melons didn’t like the heat and drought of July. But thanks to the boys faithful watering, we saved one watermelon plant with 2 watermelons on it.

I was a little scared to pick the big one – but my friend Martha just gave it a thunk and proclaimed it done.

She was right – it was perfect!

I may just have to call her to come and thunk the next one in a few weeks. 🙂

So what’s on tonight’s menu?

All you can eat fresh corn on the cob (Pedro holds the record with 6 ears at one meal) and chicken wraps (with roasted yellow squash, green peppers, onions and garlic for the more adventurous eaters!)

Lip-smacking goodness!

How Much Wood Could A Woodchuck Chuck…

It must be the summer for varmints.

First the coon, then the bunnies, and now a wood chuck.

I remember reading that back in the depression hobos used to leave marks on fences and trees so other tramps would know the houses to avoid, which ones had good food and where the mean dogs were.

I’m thinking some varmint put a sign out in the back 40 saying, ” Try these humans – they’re an easy mark and worth a laugh!”

However he found us – a solitary woodchuck ambled into the yard a few weeks ago and decided to make a permanent home under the wood pile in the machine shed (the only outbuilding with a gravel floor.)

We did not realize his presence for awhile and by the time Pedro first noticed the large pile of dirt and gravel in the back of the shed – he had dug out quite a home for himself.

My husband was not happy.

At first I didn’t mind so much. He was kind of cute in a 4- legged varmint-y kind of way. Besides he stuck to himself and didn’t chase chickens or eat my edamame.

But then I discovered the partially eaten pumpkins and winter squash in the garden.

Cute little Chuckie had crossed the line.

Now – how does one remove an unwanted woodchuck from his burrow underneath a large pile of wood inside a machine shed?

Good question.  But – never fear – Google has the answer.

We set the live trap for him – right outside the front entrance of his domicile – and baited it with carrots just as the website said.

Within 4 hours little Chuckie was history and his home was blocked up so no other little varmint would move in.

Maybe I should add a “no vacancy” sign.

Or “vagrants not welcome”.

Take that you little varmints. These humans are getting smart.

Photo thanks to Matt Reinbold.

Blackberries

Ahh..the wonder of the late summer blackberry.

Almost as big as my thumb, these beauties topped our ice cream, landed in our oatmeal, and were luscious in our scones.

BerriesBut ohh…the pain of picking the late summer blackberry!

It’s bad enough that it grows smack dab in the middle of the poison ivy at the edge of the ravine. But then you have the thorns – or should I say spikes?

Those bad boys are so nasty you almost need almost full-body gear for protection!

And of course – there’s the heat and humidity – making that full body gear almost unbearable.

So why do we bother?

Because the warm, sweet deliciousness of a freshly picked blackberry – that stains your hands, your tongue, even the kitchen counter – is just that good.

It makes that kerplink – kerplank – kerplunk in the bottom of the bucket music to our ears.

Some things in life are just worth the extra effort.

Mom’s Vacation

I’m heading out in a few minutes to pick up all five of my kiddos after their week with cousins.

Yes – all five. All week.

I had a 8 days at home without kids.

I’m still in awe of the wonder of it.

Jan’s dad and 2 brothers took all the guy cousins on a three day canoe trip into the Superior National Forest.

Canoe tripThat’s 11 Shervheim men aged 10 – 81 for three days camping in the wilderness. They loved it.

Meanwhile the girls all stayed back at the cabins with the aunts and Nana and yes- they loved it, too.

On the way home they spent a few days in the Twin Cities.

I loved getting daily Facebook updates on their activities – but had to laugh when Dagmar posted this on my wall,

” You don’t update your status very often. Does nothing exciting happen without us there?”

Exciting? Define exciting.

cousin timeWhile the kids were canoeing, exploring the wilderness and the Twin Cities, learning front flips, and making homemade pizza with Aunt Karen… I was on vacation.

I only used my china plates.

I read 2 entire books.

I did one teeny load of laundry every day.

It took me less than 10 minutes to do the dishes after a meal.

I had long talks with the Lord.

I ate out twice with my husband and had a special lunch with a dear friend.

Sometimes I listened to music as loud as I wanted; other times I relished the sound of silence.

I watched the Walton’s every day at lunch and enjoyed a leisurely, quiet meal with my husband every night at supper.

I rested.

It was a sweet time – a peaceful oasis in the midst of a crazy summer.

Exciting? Well – maybe not by my children’s definition.

Needed and cherished? Oh yes!

Refreshing? Definitely!

But all vacations must end – and I can’t wait to hear about all their adventures!

This house is ready for some laughter.

A special thanks to my brother-in-law Lee for the pictures and hosting my kiddos!