Wednesday, September 26, 2012

In the Kitchen

Yesterday was the grandmaster, homemade, chewy granola bar bake-off. We tried five different recipes trying to balance the store-bought taste with a nod to healthy eating. The recipe using marshmallows was quite tasty, but not what I want for a long term solution. The recipe that tasted an awful lot like an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie didn't win either. Nut butters are obviously out, though I scrolled through pages and pages of those recipes. Here's our winner at Brown Eyed Baker. Thankfully, most recipes claim the bars can be frozen, and we have a whole stack that went into the freezer. We will eat them down, then mass produce our favorite kind. Extensive math yielded a cost of 20 cents per bar, our size bar that is. Our size is slightly larger than the kind you pull out of the box and unwrap. While they may not exactly be "healthy," they at least fall into the category of "you know what's in them."

We picked apples two weeks ago. We've eaten and cooked to our hearts content and have been slowing down, the apples being neglected. Today I cooked a giant pot of apples down into a little bit of applesauce. With a bit of sugar and a good dose of cinnamon, the kids ate it out of the pan so fast I thought I was going to run out. My goal was one jar to stick in the freezer for wintery days. (I hate canning! So I'm certainly freezing anything I make.) It's no survival plan, but still satisfying to have made it ourselves.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Strawberry Bluff

There are no road signs to all of the best places. Merrily setting off on a birthday picnic, only the sketchiest of directions from a friend, we followed the road until it became gravel. We curved left through the stand of pines, followed by a left turn on Forest Service Road 1444, marked on the maps but not in real life. Then things became a bit confused, the road forked. Left or right? Our directions at that point only said to continue up the mountain. We chose left, bumping along, feeling quite adventurous. Arden, in the back seat, was yelling, "Death ride." Hyperbole, perhaps, but things were getting worse not better on that road clearly not designed for the family van. After a ten point turn, we headed back and took the fork to the right. Then up the mountain. We parked, "where the road gets wider." We followed a short trail, unmarked, and were out on Strawberry Bluff. We think. One can never be quite sure.

We picnicked on baguettes and Havarti and Brie, grapes and strawberries, French biscuits and lemonade. We sat in the sun, we kept the little ones far from the edge of the cliff. We admired the view and found the farm where we pick berries and apples. Then we watched the sun set, and wound our way back down the mountain.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Phantom Life

What if I lived to be forgotten? In this age of accomplishments, accolades, achievement, platforms, and posturing, what if I lived as if none of this mattered.

A history professor we know says historians are speculating that 1000 years from now only two Americans will be remembered. The first president, George Washington, and the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong. Immediately I want to press this list. What about Jefferson? What about...? Only two? How many of us even know much about our great-grandmothers. Can you name them? Or great-great-grandmothers?

Then I think back 1000 years ago. How many names can I name? William the Conqueror comes to mind first, 1066, you know. But who else? Not many others. There may have been 275 million people alive then. There have been a lot of forgotten people.

I say this not to be depressing. I think maybe it is good to know my place in the world. I've been asking myself how knowingly living a forgotten life might change how I live each day. This is what I am musing on today.
LORD, make me know my end...let me  know how transient I am. Behold, Thou hast made my days as handbreadths, and my lifetime as nothing in Thy sight, surely every man at his best is a mere breath. Surely every man walks about as a phantom...
And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in Thee.     - Psalm 39:4-7