Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A/C and Salsa for Jill

Hallelujah! The air conditioner is working. OMG, it is the best thing in the world today. The HVAC guy arrived Monday at 7:00 p.m. Again, the problem was a fuse. Argh, this old house and it's buss fuses. The last time it was a fuse outside of which I had no knowledge. Being a little wiser, this time I tried to check all the fuses.  I flipped the outside switch to no avail. Went into the basement and looked at all the fuses. None were broken, except there was one double one that I couldn't tell because you couldn't see an obvious failure device. That little fellow turned out to be the evil culprit. You have to have a meter to tell if those have failed. Wahhh! I want an electrical system with little switches that pop off and all you have to do is flip them back.

So the HVAC guy hosed the A/C down to clean it a bit and put a new fuse in. The $85 house call and half hour of work hurt a bit, but, hey, I'm glad to pay for his knowledge. You have to remember it's not the ease of the work you're paying for, it's the education and experience that you just don't have that you're paying for.

Uncle Charles tried to kill me Monday by offering a mess of purple hull peas if I picked them. Of course, I couldn't turn that down. I think I sweated a bucket and was just about sick to my stomach by the time it was done. However, I got about 2 cups of lovely peas for supper, and my fingers aren't purple today.

Then he made up for the assassination attempt by gifting me a lovely mantle clock. The spring is wound too tight, and it needs a visit to a clock shop. We have one only a block from the house in Memphis, so that's no problem. He strapped it in the back seat of the car, and all the way home I kept thinking my cell phone was getting messages until I finally figured out it was the clock lightly singing to me. Lovely sound.

He'd just pulled all the cucumber vines from his garden, and declaring they had all the pickles they wanted, gave me the last of the harvest. I hope you're okay with that Aunt Agnes.  He opined that some of the pickled squash and green tomatoes I'd given him had too much vinegar. I agree that the first batches did. However, I've reduced the amount I use to about as little as I dare. Maybe the last of the ones I've made won't have too much vinegar for him. I suspect they will, but I'm not sure about reducing the vinegar anymore than I already have. Today before I go home tomorrow, I'm going to put up the last of the cukes. That will end the pickling season.

We also picked some okra while I was there. I was going to pickle it, but decided instead to do an experiment with a way of canning it I'd seen on the internet. It calls for 6 tblsp of vinegar and 2 of salt to a gallon of water, boiling for 6 minutes, sealing, and mentions no processing time. That makes me a bit nervous, but I wanted to try it. They said you could even bread and fry it. The jar sealed well, looks lovely, and the okra stayed a bright green. It doesn't appear to be at all soft. They said the okra stayed good for months. That said, I wouldn't at all trust it for long-term storage, but doubt it would be terribly unsafe for a season.

I also made a batch of salsa. Jill and I were talking about different salsas, and we both opined we liked the watery kind you get in the restaurants. I've always made that kind fresh, but she hadn't. So last night I made up a batch of salsa and canned it. I couldn't find any fresh jalapenos, but substituted 2 cans of chopped green chilies. Since I despise cilantro, I used fresh chopped parsley from the patio planter. Mine isn't nearly as hot as Jill would like, but it's about as hot as I enjoy.

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