Saturday, June 18, 2011

What The...?

wow, first, posting two days in a row for me posting? definitely some kind of record. second off, i am flabbergasted by my local newspaper. not in a good way. we were trying to figure out if there were any areas around here where we could shave some more money off...or into...our budget, however you'd like to look at that. so, we were thinking of canceling our subscription to the local paper. we only get sunday anyway, for the coupons primarily, but we thought maybe we were spending more than we saved annually. so, we let the subscription lapse, didn't pay to renew and they stopped delivering a paper. ok. that's what we were looking to do. so, yesterday i decided that we should get the paper for a year, see how much the coupons saved us over that year and then reassess next year at this time. i went online and tried to do the renew function but it wouldn't let me because it said my subscription had been canceled. so i clicked on the subscribe button. i was floored by what i saw next. the bill to renew my paper for a year was $88. if i was not renewing and starting a subscription, my bill was going to be...drum roll please...$45 and some change. this prompted me to the "what the...?" title you see above. that's pretty much double the price. why? obviously because i have been a loyal subscriber for the past oh, ten years or so. gee, thanks. i see how you reward my loyalty. i really appreciate it. i went ahead and did the subscribe thing and then i got an e-mail from someone at the newspaper today saying that i couldn't do that and they will restart my paper again but that it won't be paid for the whole year. i almost felt like telling them to refund my money, that i didn't want it at all until they stop charging me double what a new subscriber is. aargh.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cooking From God's Bounty

cooking in the summer. i absolutely love it. ok, i should rephrase that. i don't love cooking in the summer when it's all hot and sweaty out and i've refused to use our air conditioning because i would rather save some cash and it's like 95 in my house. what i do like about cooking in the summer is the freshness of things that you can cook with. we live in an area that is so full of farms and road side stands that during the spring, summer and early fall months you can practically find any type of produce you are looking for that has been grown right around the corner. one example is strawberries...really yummy strawberries. i took the kids strawberry picking on a cool morning this past week. it was lovely and we came home with eight quarts of really yummy berries. mind you, we had already gotten about four or five quarts off of our own plants here at the house but, well, we ate them. what can i say. we're fiends and they don't last long. so, the berries we went down the road to pick were slated for homemade jam and freezing for later uses like smoothies and muffins. we ended up with twenty two jars of freezer jam (yes, i take the easy way out but i really do like the way it tastes better than the cooked kind and i also think it has way less sugar) and about eight bags of frozen fruit. the jam will last for awhile but i doubt the frozen fruit will make it past the end of the summer. that same day we went to a friends house down the road and picked five gallons of the tastiest snap peas. the pattern seemed to be "one into the bucket, one into my mouth." it was so good to see the kids adopting this pattern too. they just love these fresh peas. we were able to share a couple of bags and then freeze quite a few for ourselves. then, last night, (ok, here's where the real cooking part comes in) i made a yummy dish with chicken, tomatoes, mushrooms, parsley from the garden of my friend beth and spinach from my back porch. even the kids liked it and sometimes that is quite a miracle. it was so pretty and colorful and i simply loved how i knew where all of the produce came from...ok, aside from the mushrooms. we have been trying to figure out how we can do more of this lately and one step we have taken is to replace our dying silver maple tree in our front yard with an apple tree. we got a newtown pippin variety. we chose this type because it is a semi-dwarf and is self-polinating, two very good things when you live in a development and have a lack of space. we also have plans to put in some raspberry bushes and a small garden in a corner of space we aren't using. it feels good to finally be doing some things to the yard which will benefit us down the road. now to find somebody who has a tiller to get these tomato plants in the ground...