Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Crossing the Border ! YIKES!!!

Somewhere in my head I had the bright idea that we needed a relaxing weekend away. The guys work 70+ hours a week at their job and they are also farming after work and on weekends. They are exhaused.

Lunch in Canada, overlooking the Falls

We had received an invite for a 50th Wedding Anniversary for one of my MIL's cousins in Rochester NY. The invite said to be at the Bar & Grill at noon because it was a surprise. It said it would be finished at 5pm. There were a block of rooms reserved at the Hampton Inn for those of us who were traveling from afar. Here was my chance.
I booked the room, RSVP to the designated person and set the plans in motion.....let the guys know what weekend to plan to take off of work, visit AAA for maps, and get our Passports ready. We were close enough to go to Niagara Falls and do a little gambling. We are not big gamblers, but any distraction right now would be good.

Dave ( Also known as Mr. Crabby Pants)and his second cousin twice removed, Raymond

We left at 6:30am on Saturday morning, and thought a stop in Erie, PA would be a good place for a potty break and breakfast. Well, this was my first mistake. Chris was driving, and being a professional truck drive with a CDL, meant we only stop when necessary.....and the rest of us were sleeping and Chris drove right through Erie, and the next thing we knew, we were at the entrance to the NY Expressway. there goes breakfast, but not to worry, Tiffany and I are well prepared travelers, and we had snacks!

MIL Irene, cousin Kathy & Marissa

After a few confusing moments with the GPS and similarly named streets, a fuel and potty break, we arrive at our destination. On the shore of Lake Ontario. Beautiful.

The party was a complete surprise, the lunch was terriffic and we continued the celebration into the evening at the couples home. Then it was off the the hotel. We enjoyed a nice swim in the heated indoor pool and hot tub. We went to bed. At 3:30am, my DIL, Tiffany woke me up to say that there were loud noises from the next room. we called down to the front desk and notified them. the hotel has a noise policy, and the next room was definitely in violation. Security came up, spoke to the party and returned to her post at the front desk. It remained quiet for all of about 10 minutes and then it resumed.

There is a saying about letting sleeping bears lie. Well they woke the bear, the Momma bear(me), and she was growling.....she put on he flip flops, pulled on a shirt over her jammies and marched down to the front desk. Now when you don't sleep in your own bed, you have a little trouble sleeping, plus I always look a fright in the morning. You can imagine what the front desk person and the security guard saw when I stepped off the elevator!! They were on their feet and most apologetic. The police were called ( according to the hotel policy) and the party was escorted from the room. No more noise!!! Well once you are up, it is hard to go back to sleep easily, and 7am came oh so early! We went for breakfast in the lobby, and then hit the road to Buffalo. The Hampton Inn was gracious enough to comp our room. So we stayed for free because of the noise incident.

As we approached the bridge to Canada, there was an extra Border Patrol Security check point. They asked a lot of questions, just to let us OUT of the USA. We showed are passports and had to describe where we are from, what we did for a living, and what we planned to do in Canada and for how long. We should have known we were in trouble then. We all enjoyed the gambling and didn't lose too much cash except in the exchange rate. We had the most enjoyable lunch and then we headed back home.

When you enter Canada through Buffalo, there are 2 bridges to cross the Niagara River. One north of Buffalo and one about halfway down. Both bridges were packed going home, so I suggested we take the next bridge about 20 miles south in Fort Erie. I just figured that the farther we were from the falls, the less congested it would be. WRONG. We sat in traffic for 1.5 hours, went through all the questions, and headed for home. We were going to stop in Erie, PA for more gambling, but at that point we all wanted to get home.

So for for your information.....stay here in the good old USA, but if you feel the urge to venture across the border, make sure you have a passport in hand, even though they are not yet required, it makes the crossing so much easier than the driver's license and birth certificate. those were the people that were holding up the check points.

And for the next trip, I think I will take my girlfriend.... she is not at all like Mr. Crabby Pants, and Mr. Crabby Pants Jr.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Here we go again

Monday night Tiffany and I drove out to Homeville for the produce auction. This all started because Tiffany's brother was an auctioneer there on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings. Since I am off work, I can do things like go to the auction in the evening. I wanted to get some tomatoes, so asked Tiffany if she wanted to ride along. She has been after me to do salsa. I did one batch, but we needed more.

We were actively bidding for tomatoes at the auction and then something else would catch my eye. Zucchini! Beets! Onions!

Tiffany kept telling me focus, focus! Tomatoes!!! Tomatoes!!!

Well, needless to say, 5 pecks beets, 4 pecks onions, 4 pecks zucchini and yellow squash, and
12 pecks roma tomatoes, 4 pints yellow pear tomatoes , 6 pints blackberries, and 1 dozen sweet corn later we headed home!

Tiffany said she would help cut up the tomatoes and help make the salsa.
We started at 5:30am Tuesday morning and I didn't finish until 11:30pm. I am still not done. I finished 2 batches of tomato sauce this morning and the beets are just on to boil now.

We made over 60 pints salsa, 14 pints pizza sauce, 8 quarts spaghetti sauce, and 10 quarts tomato sauce. I must be nuts!
The problem is where do you put all this stuff while you are making it and where do you store all of it when you are done?

As you can tell we set up extra tables in the living room. Even with the new kitchen counters, there just wasn't enough room to put everything.

Thank goodness I bought the big stove with the POWER burner. It brings the hot water bath up to temperature rather quickley and keeps it at a rolling boils during processing!

Now I understand why they had summer kitchens or stoves out on the back porch in the old days. My kitchen was so hot, even though there was a beautiful breeze. It was silly to put the air conditioner back on, just to keep the kitchen cool, when the rest of the house was chilly. Now all I have to do is finish the beets, shred and freeze the zucchini and get to my hair appointment by 5pm. Then I am going to rest!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Time flys by....

Pickles, Pickles and more Pickles
Pickles Galore!

Where do all those summer days go? I can't believe that some children go back to school in as little as a week. Some will go back a little later, but I still think they need to start after Labor Day.

And how was your summer? Mine was short.... I did alot and accomplished nothing, or so it seems. i did wood working projects, attended fairs, canned and pickled fruits and vegetables, maintained the gardens and mowed grass. I played with the dogs, and raised some more chicks. Now I am in a panic because all the things I wanted to do...didn't get done. There is the basement to clean and all the stuff left in my son Chris' room that he left when he moved into his house, the living room needs to be painted and the floors need to be sanded. And not to mention the bathroom needs a complete remodel. And I am out of time.

So today I made a mad dash through the fruit cellar and cleaned that, and on my way I through a few load s of laundry in, then I stopped along the way to organize all the canned goods I just put up. I felt like I was running on a treadmill and getting nowhere! I must have gone up and down the stairs 100 times. I think that will count for my exercise for today.

Tomorrow is another day, lets see how much I get done!