This is a typical Sunday, at least compared to the past month: cooking and working on paperwork. Considering the yucky weather, it's a good day for both of those things. Gray skies and an icy drizzle aren't conducive to outside work, although Larry has been busy anyway with some clean-up work.
We took a little trip yesterday, driving to Columbus, Ohio to pick up two antique gas heaters. I'd seen them on Craigslist but had to wait for some expendable money before going to get them. These are about the prettiest of the clayback or ceramic heaters I have ever seen.
They will need cleaning up, the valves checked, etc so it will be a little while before we put one in use. Check out what is stamped on the valve handle on these heaters:
According to my research, the swastika was often used as a good luck symbol until World War II when it became identified with the Nazi movement. At that time, apparently many people removed and replaced the valves because they did not want the symbol in their homes. I have not been able to locate any manufacturing information on these heaters, but I am certainly curious about their origins. They are quite definitely from the early 1900's, and were made long before the Second World War or Hitler were even on the horizon.
We plan to replace the "Beast" in the log room with the one pictured and save the smaller one for when we build the next log room. I only have photos of the big one today, but will add the other when I get a chance. For now, it's stored outside in the the building. The Beast will be saved for later use elsewhere in the house.
We stopped at a little town called Carroll between here and Columbus because I saw a sign that said it was the place where the Erie, Hocking and Ohio canals once converged. That was intriguing enough to pull us into the town to look for this site. Imagine what it might look like! Sadly there was nothing left of any of the canals but the memory of their existence in the town. This old grain elevator attracted my attention though, a sign of a bygone era, of old and new rubbing elbows while we rush by without noticing the irony.
Today I am cooking vegetable beef soup. I don't often have beef in the house but a roast was on sale at a ridiculous price so I bought it to use in soup. The kettle of soup ended up being 20 quarts, enough for me to can seven quarts and still have plenty for dinners this week.
I also made this week's loaf of bread, a rye bread using the Hodgson Mill Rye flour that I ordered from Amazon (free shipping!). This is a mix that has everything in it, even a packet of yeast to be added. All I needed to add was butter and water. The mix has no weird chemical additives in it, which made me feel okay about buying it. I need to find somewhere local to buy rye flour, though.
I have to say it was really easy to make some excellent bread with this mix and maybe by the time I've finished with all 6 boxes I will have located rye flour in Ripley! I can hope, anyway-but I'm pretty sure I may end up having to get it in Charleston. Rye bread is my run-away favorite, and Larry's too, so this quest is a serious one for us.
After cooking, I've been working on another grant. It's not my favorite way to spend a Sunday, but it may provide some additional funds for our Stories at the River's Edge programs this summer. And now, I'm sitting here thinking about the next two forms to complete for other programs. That will clear the decks for the (ugh) income taxes. One thing at a time, though. The taxes can hold until next week.
If you're wondering what goes into my vegetable soup, here's my recipe (which is as variable as what I have on hand):
2 quarts of tomatoes
2 quarts of green beans
1 quart of corn
1 head of cabbage, chopped up
About 3 pounds of potatoes, cut up
half a head of celery, chopped
1 pound of carrots, sliced, or one quart bag of frozen sliced carrots
half of a quart bag of frozen chopped onions
Worchestershire sauce, about 3 tablespoons
3 chopped cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of black pepper
3 cubes of beef bouillon
a teaspoon of red pepper
a few dashes of hot sauce
4 or 5 bay leaves
salt to taste (I don't add any because the bouillon adds a good bit)
about 3 pounds of cut up beef or venison (optional--sometimes I don't add any meat)
about 3 quarts of water
If I'm using meat, I brown it first, then add the other ingredients. I add enough water to cover all the vegetables and let it simmer until the vegetables are cooked, about 40 minutes or so. If I am canning it, I heat to a boil, then fill jars immediately (the vegetables won't be cooked completely at this point, but that's okay because they will finish cooking in the canning process). Then I put the jars in the pressure canner, bring the canner to the proper pressure (10 pounds on my canner) and process for 90 minutes for quarts, 75 minutes for pints.
Dark is settling in early today, and Larry has returned from his walk and has the fire burning brightly in the fireplace. Time for a break, a glass of wine and some quiet conversation as we play with the cats.