A little bit about everything

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Candy apples, jeans & the country air

I don’t know about you but I love a country fair.  There is just something about them, the smell, the noise, the rides oh and my favourite…. the candy apple.  This year was my first in many years to The Port Perry Fair.  I just love the sound of it.  I decided that we would by the weekend pass, my mom lives right next door and this would allow us in and out privileges all weekend.  We could go home for a break, to have dinner, a nap in the afternoon…. yes we did that, even to use the washroom, we were that close. 

We started over at the cattle show and watched as the young men and women walked their cattle around in a circle for show.  Lots of work I would imagine to win a ribbon.  One cow would have nothing to do with it.  He wanted no part in walking in a circle,  that boy pulled and pulled and pulled and at one point the cow just laid down in the shade.

I wanted to capture the fair this year and remember all those moments especially the people.  As I looked around I thought back to when I was a kid, a teenager actually.  Going to the fair, for many means summer is over and you are going back to school.  I watched how the people changed from the young in the afternoon to the teenagers in the evening.  With maybe a girl on a date or just a bunch of friends hanging out.  How during the day the carnie guy just let the people on and off the rides but at night he became a dancing king, yelling  “do you want to go faster” on one of my favorite rides.

Another one of my favorite rides is this one.  The guy always sat on the side where he would get squished.

This would not be one of my favourites, although I have been on it, many years ago, now….I think I would pass.

The Merry-Go-Round, well I just love the look of it, those vintage colours…although my mom said I screamed my head off when I was little.  Funny how a ride can scare us so much as children.

We watched the heavy horse show, the harness horse racing and the bull riding competition.  That’s a crazy sport, however I did enjoy the mascot.  He performed on Americas Got Talent!
Another favorite of mine in Port Perry,  is the Outback cloggers.  Similar to step or tap but a gentler step. Something I may have to try someday.

And maybe a Fair just wouldn’t be the same without a clown….

Meet Miss Valentine.

How about you, do you like the fair or can you live without it?


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Salsa & Sauce Part II

So the salsa is done and divided and I don’t feel to badly.  We had a lovely dinner in the screened porch with peach pie for dessert and then a surprise early birthday cake for Pat.  There was no shortage of food or dessert.

We started our morning off with coffee on the front porch.  It’s not a view of the lake but it gets the morning sun and we get to overlook the garden.  However within no time we are right at it because one sister is leaving at 11 a.m. and we can use all the help we can get.

Two large pots filled with water on the stove so that I can blanch 5 bushels  of tomatoes!  Within a few minutes of adding some tomatoes to a small strainer putting them into the water and going back for more tomatoes, bending over and over again, I realize I could be in trouble and maybe not be able to walk tomorrow.  So I ran around the house finding items so that I can bring these bushels and also the white pales up closer to my waist line.  Easing the amount of bending.

Outside two of the sisters are washing and inspecting the remainder of the tomatoes.  Oh what a beautiful day and look at the lake!  If that doesn’t make the job more enjoyable……

Do you believe that when they started this several years ago they did it all by hand and finally decided to buy an electric grinder.  They set it up outside because little did I know the mess this machine would make.  I would get my turn at everything, they said.

So like the tomatoes for the salsa I would boil them enough for the skins to be soft, this would help them go through the grinder better.  Once I had a  full bucket I would bring it outside.  The person on the messy side would fill the machine with tomatoes, scrape the tomatoes coming out,  and add some of the pulp back into the machine to help thicken the sauce.  The other person just kept plunging the tomatoes down the hole.

This was one messy job and hot when you were being splatted with hot tomato sauce.  I didn’t do this job very long.  The tomato sauce ran into a bucket that  held a pillow case and the bucket had holes in it to allow for water to drain, again to help thicken the sauce.

The sauce would then be transferred back into the clean buckets and we started working on the making of the sauce.  I can’t really remember the measurements but I think it was 1 cup onion with some oil cooked until soft and added to each pot of sauce.  You can also add some bay leaves to the pot or drop them into the bottom of your mason jars.

The mason jars are heated, and the lids are boiled all the same process as the salsa.  We had our issues from exploding jars to jars where the sauce was just so overheated in the jars they had pushed off the lids and the sauce was seeping out.  This was a little discouraging because the whole pot has to be emptied and filled again.

On the 3rd day I could hardly lift my right arm from lifting every tomato in that pot and out again.  Ok well almost every tomato.  We ate and ate again, we swam, we shared some wine.  We played the music loud and danced.  The sisters reminisced and shared some family stories but no one ever told me…..

How do you get those shoes on with your feet so big”?


Salsa & Sauce

For several years now my girlfriend and her sisters have got together at the end of August to make tomato sauce.  Over the last few years I have grown an interest in canning.  I think I just like the idea and well probably, mostly, the look of all that delicious produce in the mason jar.  So I was thrilled when I was invited to join the sisters in making the tomato sauce.  Little did I know what I was getting myself into…..

The setting would be beautiful.  A lake side log home and beautiful weather.  My girlfriend (Pat) and I decided that we would do salsa first.  I arrived at 11:30 am on a Sunday morning having taken the train, a quick stop at the grocery store for a few last minute items and we were back at the house chopping away.  She had already picked up 6 bushels of tomatoes. 5 would be for the tomato sauce and 1 for salsa.

The canning process is very time consuming to say the least.  First we washed all the tomatoes, inspecting each one for bad spots.

We then blanched the tomatoes to make the skins soft enough to peel.  Then we chopped and removed as much seeds as you could.

I brought my mandolin and chopped…. oh I don’t know really,  one huge bag of onions.   There where lots of tears until Barb lit two candles and it really did work.  I’ve tried everything including biting on a toothpick.

After chopping all the ingredients and the secret spices we cooked it all on the stove and then began filling the jars.

The jars are heated in the oven and the lids are boiled.  Making sure the rims are clean we place on the snap lids and then the ring, finger tightened only, then they are placed in the bath.

Ta da!  Fresh salsa for the year. Ha! If it lasts that long.  We finished up at around 7:00 and the four of us headed down to the dock for a much needed glass of wine.  Tomorrow after all would be another full day of canning.  My feet would be killing me and every bone in my body would ache.
I would have no idea!

Considering the amount of pictures I have to share I decided I would post our two days of tomato sauce tomorrow.