Laundry musings

Not the neighbor's laundry. (Photo taken in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on October 22, 2011.)

Recently the neighbor’s laundry has caught my eye.  Not in a “I want to photograph it” way.  But in other ways.  Responsible ways.  Mundane, domestic ways.

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If it’s Monday…

(Exhibit at the Holzwarth Historic Site, Rocky Mountain National Park)

… it must be laundry day.  Well, maybe not for you, but for me it is definitely laundry day.  The washer and dryer are going, the wind and sun are drying the stuff hung on the line, and I’m trying to fit in other chores in between.  I hope to get out to the garden later today to do some clean-up in the asparagus bed.  We’ve had some rain over the weekend and last night which makes it a good time to pull weeds as the ground is not as hard as concrete, a condition it has been in during most of the month of August when we had very little precipitation.

I have a bone to pick before I get back to the chores.

Over the weekend I was listening to The Splendid Table, a radio show on NPR, while I was prepping tomatoes and peppers for a big pot of vegetarian chili.  There was an interview with a woman, Kim O’Donnel (you can read about her in this article) who, through re-tweeting (on Twitter, of course), sparked what she called a Canvolution and Canning Across America was born.  In the Mission Statement on the website, it states:

Canning Across America (CAA) is a nationwide, ad hoc collective of cooks, gardeners and food lovers committed to the revival of the lost art of “putting by” food. Our goal is to promote safe food preservation and the joys of community building through food. We believe in celebrating the bounty of local and seasonal produce and taking greater control of our food supply. Together, we can.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I think this is a fabulous idea.  I love it.  Food preservation is a wonderful thing.  You not only walk away with a sense of accomplishment but you have all of this tasty, delicious, nutritious, and locally grown food put away for the winter months.  I am all for it, and if this sparks a big interest in eating locally and preserving food safely, fantastic!  Kudos to all those involved.

What bothered me was when, during the interview (and I see it is also in the mission statement), Ms. O’Donnel stated they were committed to the revival of the lost art of putting by food.

Lost art??  Since when??  I have been canning (preserving, putting by) food for decades.  Friends have been canning (preserving, putting by) food for decades.  My mother did it.  Visit Hilgert’s Farm Market when they are in full swing and you’ll find hundreds of people who preserve the harvest by canning and freezing.  I suspect a visit to the midwest of the U.S. will turn up thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of people who can and freeze and dehydrate and pickle and ferment (sauerkraut is being made now) and find all kinds of ways to preserve their food.  Young people, middle-aged people, old people.  We’ve all been doing it or learning to do it.  Last year I taught my daughter-in-law and youngest son how to can.  I can’t speak for people in other parts of the country but I’m guessing there are still plenty of folks out east, down south, and out west (in other words, people all over the country) who can and freeze.  People I know in Europe and Australia put by food every harvest season.

When did the art of putting by food get lost??

Perhaps it got lost in the cities or out west or, I don’t know.  But it was never lost here.  Those of us who live near where our food is grown, those of us who want to save some money, have long known that buying fresh food in bulk is a good way to go but only if you’re willing to do the work to preserve it in some way.  A bushel of tomatoes for $16 is a great price but not if they are left to rot.  Therefore, you must find a way to preserve them.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I want to wish all of those involved in Canning Across America much success in their canning endeavors and I hope it leads to more and more people buying more and more from their local farmers, or growing their own food, and safely preserving and enjoying the fruits and vegetables of their labors.  I did enjoy the interview.  I am so glad someone is getting the word out about “putting by” food.

Shades of yellow

With some green thrown in to go with the NaBloPo theme, some blue from the skies (and clothes pins), and whatever other color happens to crop up.

These bright yellows go well with the bright late-August days we’ve been having.  I am appreciating them very much now and imagine I will appreciate them again while looking at them during the grays of winter.

We have a lot of tiger swallowtails hanging around the zinnias lately.  I still haven’t seen any monarchs this year.  I wonder what’s up with that?

The sunflowers are blooming nicely.  The biggest one has already gone to seed and the birds have obviously been dining on it.

I like the way the sunflowers appear to have different personalities and attitudes.  This one seems to be standing tall and proud with its hair (petals) slicked back.

A spot of brightness

(Brightness in the dark greens.)

This is another of the 3-generations of fisherpeople taken in July when our granddaughters and their parents last came for a visit.  I played with it in Photoshop to give it a more painting-like feel (and to blur the people a bit to respect their privacy).  I like the deep darkness of the greens in the trees and on the water and the way they contrast with the boat and the people in the boat who had the brightness of the early morning sun shining on them.  Those three people are very bright spots in my life and this is a good representation of that.

The beautiful yellow flower above appeared over at Bountiful Healing.  Since I know that not everyone who follows me here follows me there, I thought I’d post it here too.  It’s one of my favorites right now.  The lighting was just right and the rain gave the leaves and flower petals a nice shine.  I took it in the picnic area near a Ranger’s Station right after the deluge that washed our car as we were coming home from the cabin in the woods.  Everything was so quiet, the kind of quiet you get right after a good rain.

It’s quiet now as I write this.  I won’t post it until later in the day (because I like to let my posts age a little before publishing), but it’s early now.  5:00am and still dark outside. M is asleep and the cats are sitting nearby looking puzzled, trying to figure out why I’m up so early.  I can hear the washer in the background.  It’s one of those HE (High Efficiency) front-loading washers that doesn’t make much noise, just a low and dull thump-thump-thump as the laundry is twirled around, falling from the top to the bottom of the cylinder/tub.  We bought an HE front-loading washer as part of our effort to live a leaner, greener lifestyle, and to help conserve water since we have a well.  Front loading washers are mechanically simpler than their top loading counterparts.  In general, they clean better than top loaders while using less water and energy.  They also cause less wear and tear on the laundry.

The first time I encountered a front loading washer in a place other than a laundromat was in the flat we rented during our summer in London (England).  I had a devil of time understanding the settings as they were all done in what I now think of as Ikea fashion:  symbols.  With no code book (manual) to decipher the symbols, I had to guess.  Mostly I experimented and learned which cycle was which through trial and error.  About a week before we left London we located the stack of manuals for the appliances.  I had guessed (learned) correctly in many cases, but there were a few symbols that I interpreted inaccurately.  Thankfully the laundry survived my lack of talent when it comes to figuring out the meaning of symbols, and nothing was the worse for wear (or the worse for my learning attempts with the washer cycles).

(Clean laundry in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania)

I’m babbling about laundry again.  This isn’t the first time.  I’m beginning to think I need a Laundry category since I write about it so much.

The washer has finished doing what it does so well, the sky is brightening, and I should get this day started in other ways.  Just one more thing before I go for now.

Blog Business

I know it’s uncool to post about how you don’t have time to post or read and comment on other blogs.  Or it used to be uncool.  It may be a trending topic now for all I know.  Cool or uncool, I feel like it has to be done.

I have not been able to visit all of my favorite bloggers on a regular basis lately.  It’s been kind of hit or miss, I think.  For that, I apologize.  The summer months are a busy time, filled with traveling, preserving the harvest, and just getting outside and enjoying the warm weather while it is here visiting with us.  I’ll have plenty of blogging time when the cold winds of winter blow in and the snow starts to accumulate.  That said, I do try to make the rounds.  Sometimes I comment.  Sometimes I don’t.  It depends on how much time I have.

I do have blogging plans for the winter months.  Big plans.  Well, maybe not so big.  But they are plans.  You’ll have to wait, though, for those cold winds to arrive before I tell you what those plans are.  In the meantime, I will do my best to keep up with both the reading and the writing.

Hot air balloons

(046:  Hot air balloon.  Photo © 2009 by Robin)

The lovely weather we’ve been having (for the most part) has brought with it a few hot air balloons floating across the sky here in the Bogs most evenings.  I don’t always take my camera out anymore since there are only so many ways I can capture a hot air balloon (depending on light, distance, etc.).

As a result of being a little bored with taking pictures of the balloons (but not at all bored with seeing them!), I started playing with some of the shots in Photoshop.  The little sparkle of light you see on the top right is sunlight.  My favorite part of this photo is the way the clouds were swooping upwards.

Here is the unshopped version:

(Photo © 2009 by Robin.)

I’m off to do a Muscle Max workout and if that doesn’t kill me, it’s laundry day.  The goal is to get all of the laundry washed, dried, ironed if needed, and put away by the end of the day.  The weather is cooperating with my goal.  It’s a good day to hang stuff out on the line to dry.

Exciting stuff, don’t you think?


Photo Challenge

Kel at the X facta issued a photo challengeTake a photograph using the word “wash” as a prompt.

I wanted to take something new, but it’s been a rather hectic week.  It’s also been a rainy week, not conducive to hanging the laundry out to dry.  There are, of course, other things that can be washed, but I’m partial to laundry when taking photographs of things that involve “wash.”

I do have quite a collection of laundry photos.  All I had to do was pick one.  Here it is:

The laundry room in the apartment building we lived in while M was on sabbatical.

Another view.

What I really wanted to post were some photos I took while going through a car wash.  Either they were really bad and I deleted them, or I’m more disorganized than I thought.  Whatever the case, I was unable to find them.


(On the laundry table.)