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Small Steps: A Few Steps Back

October 17, 2011

Lest anyone think it’s a waxed paper-wrapped, line-drying, tomato-harvesting paradise over here (is there such a thing?), I thought it might be high time to share some of my recent failures and have a wee chuckle at my expense.

See these?  These are what’s left of my grand summer pickling plans.  I harvested exactly two beautiful, perfect, completely inedible cucumbers, and then left the plants to their fate.  The impossibly bitter cucumbers were entirely my fault; apparently the bitterness is a side effect of not watering the plants.  As, it would seem, is the current crunchy state of my vines.

And this?  This has happened a couple of times lately.  After several hours of peeling tomatoes and gently simmering a pot of sauce, a jar explodes in the canner.  This most recent time is a little bit of a mystery, but I suspect it’s because I didn’t leave enough headroom in the jar for the sauce to expand as it heated.  The first time, though – well, that was just stupid.  You’re supposed to add lemon juice to each jar of sauce to bring the acidity high enough for the sauce to be shelf-stable, so I thought I’d use the cubes of lemon juice I had frozen in ice cube trays.  Only I didn’t bother to melt the frozen cube first.  Yep – I dropped a lemon ice cube into the jar, ladled sauce over it, and popped it into the boiling water bath.  Cold glass + boiling water = boom.  It really is a little disheartening to see bits of your hard-won sauce floating around in the canning water.

And of course (though unillustrated), there’s my chronic inability to keep the floors in my house reasonably free of dog hair despite my best efforts; the late-night Taco Bell trips when I’m home too late and too tired to walk into the kitchen; the half-pint of yogurt that always goes bad no matter how much yogurt I try to eat; the inevitable sour-smelling load of laundry I find forgotten in the washer when I get home from work; and the fact that yes, in fact, my job does have a great deal of control over my schedule and stress levels, no matter how much I tell myself that work isn’t what really matters in life.

But then, sometimes, there’s lasagna with homemade noodles and sauce, eaten ’round the dinner table with candles lit and everyone present.  And that makes up for the other things, yes?

Edited to add: I can’t believe I forgot to mention my biggest failure yet!  My compost worms?  Yeah.  They’re compost.  I thought I’d set them up nicely for our trip to Europe, but apparently not.  I am Ashley, worm killer.  I’d like to try again with a new colony of worms, but I’m afraid of inflicting myself on more helpless beings!

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