Thursday, September 2, 2010

An evening in the life of Arvay

It seems I'm often busy with tasks and chores that other people don't even have--picking berries and rose hips, splitting and stacking wood, combing fuzzballs out of dogs, searching for and picking clover and dandelions in the yard for Millie, etc, etc. Last night, for example, I was all kinds of busy doing completely self-inflicted tasks. I bought ten pounds of kale from the farmer's market for ten dollars, and chopped up, blanched, and froze them in batches because I'm such a snob about Alaskan kale that I hoard it when I can. Also, I sometimes can't recall the difference between horde and hoard.

I also spent a good twenty minutes following an owl around the street to see if I could get a good photo of him. I don't often see owls!

Anyway, here are the girls when I first get home:

They need to do that for maybe 5-10 minutes when I first get home. Then they go calmly back into the house. :) Can you believe that (1) those crazy pups are 11 years old and (2) this entire performance is silent? No barking, growling, etc. The girls only bark or howl on special occasions. :)

(Incidentally, before I forget to add it to today's post, we had our first really nippy morning today... the thermometer said 35F/2C.)

Here are my lousy photos of the uncooperative owl. He refused to go anywhere where he wouldn't be backlit. How rude!

But still! An OWL! In my YARD! How awesome is that!

Here are photos of Operation Kale:

The setup:

Chop up in station 1. Blanch in pot 2. Dunk into cold water in 3. Put into colander over bowl 4. Move colander to sink 5. Put into plastic bag 6. Then put into freezer 7. Incidentally, I once whipped off my sweater too quickly underneath where I had that (steel) colander hanging, and the colander came down and gave me a black eye. :( But I've since moved the colander so such things won't happen again. :)

I should have taken a photo when this bag was full! All that's left for this photo is the dinosaur kale, my favorite!

Kale in three stages:

All done (with a few stems left for Millie)!

Then I group the bags and label each group, according to kale type:

I'm not sure what that one on the right is called that's veined with purple and shaped like oak leaves, but I like it!

And that's my evening of owl-chasing and kale-processing. :)


Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Ah! Someone else who uses ifranview to scribble all over pictures! Cool!

Rena said...

Only you would get a black eye from a colander.

So what's the point of blanching the kale first? What would happen if you just threw it into the freezer raw and washed? Seems to me that freezing will automatically burst the cell walls and if you wet the leaves first you won't get any dry/freezerburn areas on the leaves?

mdr said...

You have always been a fun-loving and self-inventive child ever since your childhood. I am happy you are keeping all that. Pls pls pls be more safety minded and do not hurt yourself any more.

Arvay said...

No, you can google why to blanch veggies first... if you don't do it, some bacteria survive that can cause rot even in the freezer. Also, for some reason freezing without blanching makes veggies tough. I'm not sure why.

Anonymous said...

I blanch before I freeze...fiddlehead ferns, beach lovage, etc. And the shocking in cold water, keeps them green. Maybe it is a green vegetable thing.

Anonymous said...

"But still! An OWL! In my YARD! How awesome is that!"

Millie thinks it is not very awesome at all. :)

Also, do you buy/feed her commercial hay? Or just various lawn clippings and veggies?

Arvay said...

I buy her commercial hay, which I leave in a mini-bale in her pen. She hardly touches it in the summer, when she has so many greens (I also cut her grass and dandelions from the yard), but she eats quite a bit of it in winter, when greens are lean. :)