It has been a crazy week here! We went on a mini-vacation to Ocean City, MD and had a truly wonderful time with all three kids. They loved playing in the sand on the beach, but boy the ocean was COLD! Bea encountered some type of crustacean thing that looked like it probably existed in the time of the dinosaurs and after screaming for five minutes turned to me very calmly and said, "Mom, I can see why you prefer the pool."
Sad news awaited us when we got home, though. One of our cats, Maggie, got out during one of the cat sitter's visits and she was taken in by another family for a day. It's a long story, but after all the table food she ate and a pre-existing digestive disease she suffers from, she had to be euthanized. It was very sad, but not unexpected since she had been ailing for months because of her disease. We have a garden of rosebushes planted on the side of our house, each commemorating the life of a beloved pet. Maggie's is peach, which is appropriate because her nose was peach colored, kind of unique for a cat--she was a tortie Siamese.
Then my cousin and I went on a strawberry canning bender. After last summer's prices at the farmer's market we got it into our heads that we'd go straight to the source and buy them at the Loveville Produce Auction. I live in the heart of Amish country in Maryland, so fruits and veggies are abundant. I have a 5 month old, so it's probably not possible to pick our own, so this was the second best option. Strawberries retail for $4 a quart, but we bought 32 quarts for $1.90 each, and they were just picked! It was a little nerve-wracking doing the bidding, because it's a real live auction with a guy going, "bla, bla, bla, bla..." that I didn't really understand. Here is the before photo:
And the after:
And this picture doesn't even include the dozens of strawberry syrups we froze in one of my two (yes two) freezers in the garage! We canned a little under 100 jars of strawberry, strawberry-rhubarb, and strawberry-pineapple jams. We couldn't find any rhubarb at the auction, but we found a woman who knew a woman, and we drove over to her farm. She picked it straight from the garden. Needless to say, the jam is delicious!!!! So, now we are totally into going to the auction again. There still are raspberries, blackberries, peaches...
I also finished that baby quilt for my husband's coworker. I used a decorative swirly stitch on my machine and just quilted straight down the seams. It looks okay. I am glad it's done so I can move on to other projects.
And, lastly, this week has been hectic because my great aunt has moved here permanently yesterday. When her husband died two years ago I invited her to move to to Maryland to be closer. She has no family and has never had a driver's license. Back then I was just pregnant with my second kid, but now I've got three kids, none of whom are school age yet. I'm a little nervous about being her only support because with a five month old, life is a little stressful already, but I know it's the right thing to do. I just hope it goes well. I actually have to get going to take her grocery shopping and pick up a few things she will need for her new place.
I also belong to this really cool co-op for natural and organic foods and products. I ordered a couple of hand soaps for the bathroom, and this one, A La Maison in honeysuckle, is divine! It's like a breath of summer. I love it!!!