Tuesday, August 25, 2015

How Much Water Is In A Tomato?

A lot.

Tomatoes Prior to Dehydrating

Tomatoes After Dehydrating around 20 hours

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Dry Season

This refers not to the weather (which should in fact be our wet season but in this year of backwardness we had record rains when it should have been dry and now have no rain at all during our supposed wet season) but to the drying of fruit.

A random comment from Daughter #3 has turned me into a dehydrating fiend! It started a couple of weeks ago when I complained during the weekly Skype call that I was overwhelmed with peaches. We completely failed this year in culling the peaches ahead of time and were inundated with fruit. I already had 10 bags in the freezer which is plenty for just the two of us with as little as we eat. #3 said, "Dehydrate them and bring them to us when you visit in October!"

At first I was "Ya right, that's just another big ass project that I'm likely to take on."  I've never dehydrated anything in my life. But on the other hand what the hell was I going to do with all those peaches? So I got on line and read about it and it didn't seem that difficult. Plus I remembered that our new oven has a dehydrating setting.  So it off to dehydration city for de-I.

Here's my first attempt after about 14 hours in the oven

And now bagged. This represents the equivalent of about 4 to 5 one quart bags of frozen peaches.

I decided I needed to do something else with them so I made my first ever peach cobbler
(Verdict - more sugar in peaches and less sugar on topping)

I made another load of dried peaches and then had the brainstorm of doing the incredible bumper crop of tomatoes as well

The peeling process

Sliced and ready to be put in the oven.  With the amount of water in them I suspect they will take around 18 hours.

I'm drying my chiles too and I have plans to dry my copious supply of herbs including basil, Thai basil, and tarragon.

Friday, August 14, 2015

A Family Fortnight

I'm pretty sure a fortnight is two weeks.  We just completed almost two weeks of family related stuff.  A week ago Sunday granddaughter 1.1 flew in from California. She was with us for 6 days, the longest time we've had any grandchildren with us alone. Originally we were worried about what we were going to do to fill the time. In the end, we were rushing around trying to get everything done we had hoped to. 1.1 is 10 years old. That's a great age. Their minds are really starting the transition from kid to older person. And they are physically capable of doing lots of things. She and I went hiking and cooked a number of meals together. She sewed a skirt with her Wife's help but with her doing lots of the hand sewing. We went to museums. We did our local amusement parklet which everyone loves when they come here with the Grandparents managing to escape with only two injuries (Wife - some whiplash from bumper cars and Me - a nasty contusion on my thigh getting out of some computer game pod). Wife and 1.1 went to the movies and did shopping. 1.1 needed to earn some money and I had a bunch of files that needed to be thrown out with certain documents shredded so she did a number of hours of that. We played cards.  We had a very full six days.

Then this last Sunday we drove with her in tow to Las Vegas where we met up with her parents #1, 1A, and her brother 1.2 who flew in from California. 1.1 did very good on the drive which is 8 hours from Albuquerque even though the movies she'd thought she'd downloaded to her Kindle had failed to download correctly. We'd rented a nice big house with a swimming pool. Vegas is very hot (highs of 105) this time of year so you can get good deals on rentals and such. We got up real early one morning and did a child friendly hike in Red Rock Canyon National Park. We got up not so early and tried to do Hoover Dam but it was way too hot for the kids. We went out to eat dim sum (1.2 thought the food coming around in the carts was way cool and was choosing all kinds of things before we could censor him). We spent LOTS of time in the pool and the spa. Wife and I spent more time in a swimming suit since the time daughter #2 used to live in St. Pete Beach Florida. We could only get the rental for 3 of the 4 days we'd had planned, so we moved on to Four Seasons Hotel at the Mandalay Bay where SIL 1A (aka Armenian Deal Hound) had gotten us a great rate where we spent even more time at a pool ordering lots of summer drinks.  We got a babysitter through the hotel that only required we sell one of the two children off into slavery but that allowed us to have and adults dinner with daughter and son-in-law, something that is pretty rare indeed and was very nice.

On Thursday, we got up early because it turned out that we could get a visit in with our oldest granddaughter, 2.1, who is at a special school in Sedona, AZ that limits the amount of visits from relatives. So we drove the 4.5 hours to Sedona, had our two hour visit which she seemed to really appreciate and we certainly did and then drove  5.5 hours back home to Albuquerque.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Shuttle Craft Reenable - Mission Continues

I'm happy to say that the the Shuttle Craft LapTop is back aboard the Eldership even though there was a problem with translating the terminology used by ElderFleet Maintenance. If I'd have put the terms "3 to 5 business days" into the universal translator, I'd have found that term translates to "7 to 8 business days" in standard ElderFleet days.  It turned out that the problem was the logic board which meant I had to reload all the Shuttle Craft's data which is really not that big a deal.

In the meantime we are in the middle of a very delicate diplomatic mission. The we picked up granddaughter 1.1 at the airport on Sunday night and are having her for the entire week. She's being given the full ElderFleet Cadet training experience including hiking, study (museums), cooking, baking, sewing, and is actually doing some old file destruction for real pay!

On yet another front we are dealing with a species invasion that is taking on epic proportions. Our peach tree has gone crazy. We thought we done a great job of peachocide earlier in the year to reduce the number that would ripen but evidently peaches are like Tribbles and reproduce geometrically when you turn your eyes away. Of course they are all going to ripen exactly at once and do so when we're out-of-town.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Shuttle Craft Missing In Action

That would be the shuttle craft LapTop, In the course of normal operating assignments on Tuesday all optical display capability ceased. Called ElderFleet Maintenance, went through various diagnostics without success. Used the tractor beam to bring the LapTop to Repair Base Erotselppa where they tell us it will be '3 to 5 ElderFleet Maintenance Command working days' until we get the trust LapTop back.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Just Be Thankful Anything Works!

It's hard to go by a day when we aren't bombarded by information that has us feeling that our world is being held together by the most fragile of string. It makes no difference whether it is how people are dealing with Greece, or the acts of violence, or the weather/drought/floods, healthcare, diplomacy, whatever. One looks at how all the actors in the process are dealing with things and it is enough to have you run into a corner, get in the fetal position, and just pray that you'll make through to tomorrow.


Unless one has a bit more of a historical perspective.

I've been doing intense reading lately on the time period of the 15th through the 18th century (1400's through the 1700's). (My interest was piqued because of our visit to Malta and my being aghast at the Knights of St. John). And we're planning some more trips so I've been doing other reading on countries we're visiting as well.) When you read in depth about what was going on and you go beyond the superficial names and dates history, you get a different perspective. For every great date or event, there is a series of bumbling moves by leaders of varying degrees of competency. THIS IS UNIVERSAL! This is the norm.

Readers, it is not like the world has been run by these incredibly capable people that float above the storms of events. No, the whole history of the world is a bunch of bumbling, arguing, petty, vengeful, small sighted, occasionally good intentioned, and very rarely competent people just barely keeping things together.

So what does that mean? It means chill. Don't get all wigged out about what isn't getting done or the incompetency of various people, or the illogical decisions that are being made. THIS IS NORMAL.

Be thankful anything works at all.