Happy Fall, y'all!
Today is the first full day of autumn and what a glorious day it
is here in Southwestern Pennsylvania. The fog was pea-soup
thick this morning, but it burnt off early revealing clear,
azure skies and lots of sunshine. We're looking for a high
temperature of 85 degrees this afternoon. Holy cow!
We didn't have weather this nice through most of the summer.
It's actually been much like this every day of the last two
weeks, except for last Friday and Saturday when
was left of hurricane Ivan passed through our area, dropping up to 9 or
10 inches of rain in some areas around here (we are now nearly 20 inches
above normal rainfall levels for the year). There were a lot of
flooded basements locally, a few closed roads and some power outages,
but the worst of the storm was felt west of us in Washington and
Allegheny Counties and north in Beaver Co. President Bush toured
some of the flood damaged communities yesterday to offer encouragement.
Gardening is pretty much winding
down. I picked the last of my tomatoes last week and combined them
with some given to us by a neighbor to can 15 quarts of them whole.
A friend has been supplying us with hot peppers and ideas for stuffing
them. I'd never done them before this year, but Tim likes them and
it turns out they are quite easy to prepare ahead and freeze for quick
warm ups later. If I can find some green tomatoes, I'm going to
try making piccalilly. Not sure I spelled that right. I
never even heard of the stuff before, but one of the older ladies I work
with has been making it and it sounds good. It's kind of a relish
with green tomatoes, onion and I think peppers.
I'm looking for recipes using eggs
if anyone has any really good ones. The chooks started laying
about a month ago and I'm gathering about 4-5 dozen eggs a week! I
give some to my mom, some to my aunt and sometimes to one of the ladies
at work, but that's still a lot of eggs. I'm really tickled,
though. There is something so satisfying about going out to the
coop and collecting the eggs every day and rather than thinking it's
odd, most of the people I've run into have been amazed and think it's
really neat that I keep chickens and have fresh eggs. It always
surprises me how many people think what we do is a very rare thing, that
no one does such "old-fashioned" things any more unless they
actually live on a farm. I've never lived on a farm in my life,
but all the things we do were just how things were. My family has
always been homesteaders, I guess, without even knowing it.
We allowed Matt and Megan to take a
vacation day from school yesterday to go with my mom's husband to a
rally for George Bush. A lot of people thought we were nuts to
allow it and the kids even caught some flack from their teachers over
it. I guess it's just a sign of how the times have changed.
Regardless of politics, we thought it would be a valuable learning
experience for them to hear the President speak and see some of how the
political system works. How many chances does a person get to do
that? I was raised to respect the President by virtue of his
office. I don't always have to agree with him, but I do feel he is
owed our respect as the leader of this country and much of the free
world. The kids did enjoy the day and the long wait for the
President's arrival was filled with speeches from Arnold Palmer and
former Pittsburgh Steeler, Lynn Swan as well as a concert by John
Michael Montgomery. Matt, who is newly registered to vote for the
first time, was able to meet several local candidates and talk with them
personally. Megan very nearly got to shake hands with the
President, but at the last minute was shoved out of the way by several
adults. How rude! Anyway, they both came home very excited
and reported enjoying the experience very much. I hope their
teachers will recognize that today and give them the chance to share a
little about it.
After 4 weeks of school, work is
going as smoothly as it possibly can and I am enjoying it immensely.
It's taken me 2 years of on-the-job training to learn what works with
the kids and what doesn't as far as discipline, encouragement, etc. and
this year I have much better control over them and their behavior is
much improved over last year. It's basically been a matter of
staying on top of things constantly and consistently, because if you let
something slide once....it's real hard to enforce it later. Those
kids are like a pack of lions circling an antelope. The first sign
of weakness and it's all over!
Paid a visit to the dentist this
past Saturday. I went in for a toothache right before our vacation
this summer and had a temporary filling put in, but I never went back.
Since then that tooth has started to bother me again and another has
started acting up since I lost a huge chunk of the filling out of it.
I know I should have gone sooner....years sooner....but I am a complete
whimp when it comes to going to the dentist. My usual theory is
"if it doesn't hurt, leave it alone!" Not really a good
theory. The bottom line is that I now need 2 root canals and three
crowns. I can't believe how expensive it will be to get all the
work done. All of it from start to finish will cost $3600 and we
do not have dental insurance. I guess it's a good thing Tim went
with me because on hearing that I would have either let it go again or
opted to have the teeth pulled and nothing else. Instead, starting
on October 5 I'll be getting all the work done and I'll be paying for it
over the next 4 years!
Well, have to run. I'm
heading back to work early today so I can wash my bus. I want it
to be nice and clean tomorrow when I take some fifth graders on a field
trip to the local fort. Hope you all are healthy, happy and
enjoying this season of bounty.....