Sunday, February 16, 2014

Valentine's Day #1

My granddaughter spent Valentine's Day with me.  Her Mama and Daddy had a short weekend to themselves.  Magic Man was on the road, entertaining families for the Lover's holiday.  We will celebrate when he is home again.

Zoe just celebrated her 2nd birthday.  She told me at breakfast Thursday she wanted pizza and salad Friday night.  Not bad menu planning for a kiddo her age.  Pizza it is, so we made homemade pizza.  We got the recipe from "12 Tomatoes" and it is one of the best I've ever tasted.  The salad was a simple compilation of lettuce, cucumber slices, and shaved carrots.  It looked like a flower, but most of the flower was eaten before I could get the camera to the table. (Note to self - photo before placing dish in front of the kid)
Cheesy Pizza from 12 Tomatoes
We were up early (like 5 a.m. - yawn and streeeetch) Saturday, Zoe hungry for yesterday's egg harvest.  It was probably a good thing, we had a busy day ahead of us.  Shortly after breakfast we fed the chickens, then started Strawberry Jam.

We gave a good rinse to the berries at the kitchen sink.  Zoe is in charge of Quality Control.
High quality berries make the best jam.
 Then it was time to husk the berries.  I cut a little too much off one of the berries.  Zoe sifted through the chicken scraps and put the red parts back into the berry bowl.  She was very patient pulling off the green parts.
Zoe quickly learns to husk berries
 A quick spin in the food processor and the jam starts cooking.  The house is filled with the fresh scent of sweet berries.  There is no commercial fragrance that can compare.
Pectin and sugar in the fruit mixture.  Yummy.  Smells heavenly in here.
 It was not easy waiting to sample the finished product, but the wait was worth every second.  "No toast, spoon!" was Zoe's recommendation.  I have to agree.  Sometimes it is best to veer from the norm.
Nine pints should get us by until peaches are ready to harvest. 
It was time for lunch and a nap.  5 a.m. caught up with both of us.  The last activity of the day was planting the garden.  We planted strawberries (Magic Man and I never did get any from last year, so we  bought 12 more plants - I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but not very hopeful), a set of onions, potatoes, and cabbage.  Zoe loved breaking up the dirt clods.  She's the only person I know who loves this clay soil.
Tilling the old fashioned way and guarding strawberries
The chores are finally over.  We grabbed chairs and watched the chickens race from the pen and scratch in the fallen leaves.  They found worms and tender little greens.  We had a bowl of Blue Bell on the back porch swing and waited for Mama to come.

Zoe wasn't ready for the day to end, and neither was I.  But she'll come back soon to help plant more seeds.  Perhaps I'll be rested by then.  Maybe we'll make homemade bread to go with some jam.

Oh, and Mama - don't forget the hair ties next time (I never have the right ones on hand).  The little bands that held her cute pigtails don't last more than one use.  I hate sending my angel back home looking like a ragamuffin.


P.S.  KoKo is the translated name given to me.  I wanted to be called Eko, Osage for grandmother.  Zoe couldn't quite get that name out.  KoKo is fine with me.   Magic Man answers to PawPaw.  even I can't say In' Dan Zhe for grandfather.

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