Saturday, July 30, 2011

Teaching the kids

Today was a very productive day.  At eight this morning the electrician came over to show me how to wire the whole house fan.  I had cut the hole in the hall ceiling two weeks ago and got it all ready to go, except the electricity.  Since all I really know how to do is rewire outlets, switches, and lamps, I figured since there's an electrician at work who said he'd show me how to do the wiring I should take advantage of the free help and the electrical lesson.  The fan and a high and low switch which made the wiring a bit trickier than if it was just a straight on-off.  I did have a switch that was originally for a wall outlet but several years ago when that outlet got replaced it was made hot all the time and therefore I didn't need the switch on the wall.  This was good because I didn't need to punch any holes in the wall to put in a new switch.  It did take over an hour to fish the wire up the wall and into the attic.  One person was in the attic and the other in the hall, each holding a wire with a hook on the end.  Once we got them hooked some of my paracord was attached to the end of the smaller wire that was up in the attic.  I pulled it down through the switch box in the hall and we were set.  We could then take the heavy wire that was going to be used for the fan and tie to paracord to it and pull it up through the wall.  Easy.  And another use for paracord!

I sent boy and another grandson who had spent the night outside to pick the two plum trees clean.  We still have two other plum trees whose fruit isn't ripe yet and a new Santa Rosa but the two mature Santa Rosa's were only going to last a few more days before the birds and bugs got hold of every last plum.  They brought about 2 gallons of plums in for me and gave about two gallons of plums to the sheep.  I already canned about 30 jars of various plum things: juice, slices, jam.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with these plums.  I'll probably dry some plum fruit rolls.  Yes, I know that dried plums are prunes but there's actually a plum tree that's a prune plum.  Those plums are oval shaped and not as juicy.  They still taste good fresh but are much easier to dry than the Santa Rosas or Green Gage plums that we also grow.  We only have one prune plum tree and it rotates between abundant harvest and poor harvest.  It usually gives two poor harvests then one so heavy that the branches all try to break.

I was hanging clothes up on the line when Army daughter came in from her  Today she bought groceries.  I think she's going to stop bringing stuff in when I'm home.  For example she brought in one can (yes she bought just one) of tomato paste.  Why would you buy that?  She said that she doesn't want to use ours and when they move out she wants to make sure that we still have lots of food.  Whatever...  Anyway, when she got home she said that since she was gone most of the day she just wanted to sit and chat.  How about I just put the laundry into the drier?  How about you come outside and help me hang the laundry on the clothes line?  So I went outside to hang the clothes.  She brought the baby outside to keep me company.  I guess she didn't want to be out when it was in the high 90s. 

When I was getting ready to make dinner I told boy that I bought him a present yesterday.  I got out the little thumb can openers that I bought for him and his sister.  She wasn't home to get hers so he got to admire his gift first.  I told him that he should keep it in his backpack that we have in the truck.  Let's pretend that we go down to San Diego for a visit with his cousin and on our way home there is an earthquake.  We may not be able to drive home.  We may have to walk and he may need his can opener.  He thought it was really a great gift.  Then I told him to go out to the garage and get a can of creamed corn.  We could mix the corn in with the squash that I had just finished cooking.  I showed him how to hook the opener on the side of the can to make the first cut.  The I showed him how to lift it a little to continue making cuts all around the can.  He opened the entire can and then asked if he could now just eat the contents of the can.  No! 

When Army daughter got home he came out to show his aunt his new can opener.  She was not impressed because it took more work than using our Swingaway opener.  True, and while we have a Swingaway in the house, another in the trailer, and another at the bug-out place, they are too heavy to carry around in a backpack.  Boy kept opening and closing the can opener.  I told him that he better be careful because he can easily cut himself.  Perhaps it wasn't such a great gift for an 8 year old!  Army daughter reminded me that when he cuts himself he can just get into his backpack and pull out a bandaid from his first aid kit.  True. 

Tomorrow we will do more canning.  The apples are ripening and so are the pears.  I soaked the asparagus because a coworker asked for some roots.  I'm going to dig out another plant.  Each plant has been producing about 40 crowns that I can replant.  I've been giving away asparagus crowns plus I'll have about 200 feet planted when I'm done with the transplanting. 

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