Monday, November 5, 2012

Weekend Work, a Booth Update and Squirrel Gravy

We got busy this weekend with catch-up work: cleaning out the gardens (still in progress, actually), getting vehicles winterized and getting the booths restocked and rearranged. I took only a few photos and only at one booth, and those in a rush because we were pushing against time at each visit. Isn't it funny how even being retired there are still appointments and obligations that keep us tied to a clock at times?

Friday I made a round of some of my favorite junk shops that I had not visited in quite a while. The results were disappointing for the most part but I managed to find a few things. Then we took off to Charleston to look for a door for the cabin room. We had no luck at ReStore--last time we were there they had several nice exterior doors, but not this time. Since we were in town, we stopped at another usually good junk shop. Again, no real good finds. Bummer! After a little discussion we decided to stop at Lowe's and price a door. We bought one (ouch) along with the wire Larry needs to put between the logs before he adds the chinking.

Saturday we were up and out by 9:00am. Our goal: restock the Ravenswood booth and remove a cabinet that had not sold, restock at Marietta and be back by 2:30 because I needed to change clothes and be ready to MC the awards reception for the writing contest at the library by 4:00pm.It was tight but we made it.
I added some barware this week as there seems to be a demand for vintage items in that category, and my favorite--the purple glass eggplant, made by Blenko! I found it at a yard sale and thought it was the coolest thing. I also added a green Depression glass cake plate, a Morgantown Glass pitcher, some Noritake sherbets...and lots more. I needed to get some things out as my room at home is overflowing with stock that I was not able to get into the booths in October.

Some retro red! I bought the Ransburg canister set to replace my own just like them since mine are very, uh, vintage looking (meaning beat up!). But then I figured I'd be rough on these too so I'm reselling them. The percolators are another recent demand item so I've picked up several different styles. Griffith's spice racks usually a good price as do the aqua retro tumblers in a rack.(The Wendy's coffee cup isn't for sale--at least I remembered to trash it before we left!)  I also added the red and milk glass kerosene lamp this week.

We made it home with just enough time for me to change and get back out the door. The reception was fun, lots of great stories and nice people and happy winners. This is the third year for the contest, and it keeps growing. I had several favorites among the winners: a young man's poem about the Crucifixion really stood out, and an essay about early days of moving to the country was hilarious and reminded me of my own experiences when we moved here in the mid 1970's. Another favorite was the story of an elderly man and his pumpkins; it was touching and unusual and I am still thinking about it. There were many others, all well written and so creative. I love the writing contest because of the encouragement it give our local writers. Seldom is there a place for them to showcase their work and this provides an opportunity to do that as well as meet other writers. Again, no photos--my camera got left behind in the rush.

Sunday we took it a little slower. We did a little work in the yard to get things ready for winter and Larry pressure-washed the cabin logs. He'll be treating them for termites this week, and then he can begin chinking. Work on the room will slow down now because this is a do-it-as-we-have-money projec. Now that it's under roof we can breathe easier. The door will go in this week and he may get to some chinking, or he may stucco the chimney if the weather holds.

I cleaned out flower beds and the herb garden, put away yard decorations and straightened up inside the root cellar to make room for the food we could not fit in there earlier. I love cleaning out the herb garden, although it is sad in a way to say goodbye to the sweet-smelling plants.

 I came inside redolent of rosemary, parsley, sage and lemon balm. There was more room on the cellar shelves than I thought which was a good thing because the apple butter and later canning was piled in boxes in the floor waiting for space to be cleared. Larry usually carries out the jars I can, and he's not as finicky as I am about how to put them on the shelves. By stacking smaller on top of larger, I found a good bit of space. I still have two boxes to be put on the shelves, as soon as more space becomes available.

There is nothing as beautiful to my mind as a full cellar. Mine still has bushels of apples and pears for me to can (they won't keep all winter), a basket of tomatoes wrapped in newspaper so they will hopefully ripen before they rot, hot peppers hanging from the rafters to dry, and soon I'll be adding geraniums hung to dry for replanting in the spring.

I cooked squirrel gravy for dinner, along with some fresh broccoli from the garden, and brown rice. Here's my recipe for squirrel gravy (which is really a sauce and not a gravy).

Squirrel Gravy

Cook the cleaned squirrel in water with 2-3 bay leaves and a chopped onion. Cook until the squirrel is tender (time varies based on the size of the squirrel, how many you're cooking, and how old they are--older takes longer).

Cool the squirrel and remove the meat from the bones. Reserve the cooking liquid.

In a skillet, saute chopped onions, celery and sliced mushrooms. When the onions are clear and tender, add rosemary leaves to your taste, diced garlic, and dried ramps if you have them. Add the squirrel meat, salt, pepper and Worchestershire sauce to taste and the reserved cooking liquid. Heat over medium heat to a boil; reduce heat and simmer.

Remove some of the cooking liquid (or use warm water) and put it in a bowl or liquid measuring cup. Add some corn starch and stir until it dissolves. Then add this mixture back to the skillet, pouring it in slowly and stirring constantly so that it does not lump.

Simmer until the mixture comes to a boil; continue to simmer, stirring often,  until the broth is thickened.

This has a wonderful aroma and flavor, and seems to remove any "wild" taste. I used the same basic method sometimes with venison and the result is rich and delicious.

(As for eating squirrel: when I mentioned this on Facebook, there were some surprised reactions. How cold anyone eat such cute little critters? I have no issue with it; I never fed squirrels or regarded them as a tame animal although I know that some people who live in more populous areas do. To me squirrels are like deer--also a beautiful creature but one that supplies the bulk of our winter meat. I have always managed to stay at an emotional remove from any animal we have raised for food, as I think most country dwellers do. And I believe that this wild meat is healthier than anything I can buy in a store, and better for us if we are to eat meat. And I have never been able to eat rabbit! I think that is because we raised them once and they became pets. The barrier was removed--ack! Each of us has to make our own decisions as to what we eat and be comfortable with our choices.)

Copyright 2012 Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Michelle said...

You are a seriously busy woman. I love the look of your cellar.

Nance said...

I don't have a root cellar but plan to in the next few years. I love the looks of yours, too. I had wrapped tomatoes in newspaper and kept them up until Thanksgiving Day, last year. I checked on this year's wrapped tomatoes just earlier this evening. 75% had rotted. I was so disappointed! guess it was beginner's luck last year. I enjoyed this post!

Mimi Foxmorton said...

Um.....did you sleep......? lol

Lovin' that cellar!

Have a wonderful week!


hart said...

I am amazed by the amount of food you've put up. I read about it bit by bit but to see the total--Wow! And it looks so beautiful too.


Anonymous said...

Did I read that right? You pull up your geraniums and hang them to dry so you can plant them next year. I've never heard of that. More details please.

Tressa said...

Did I read that right? You pull up your geraniums, hang them to dry, and replant next year. I've nver heard of this. Please tell more.

George Ford said...

Making the squirrel recipe now, smells great! Grace got a couple this afternoon.

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