Welcome Distractions

Now that  the holidays are long gone the winter has settled into it's holding pattern. The days are starting to get slighter longer again but the walls seem to be closing in. I was starting to feel the pressure until this arrived in the mail:

Yay! Time to think spring.

As if that wasn't enough then this happened:

20 lbs. of apple 5 cents per pound

For the past day I have been so busy that I haven't had time to focus on my cabin fever. Last night was one of those nights where my eye were closed before my head had a chance to hit the pillow. I love those kind of nights where the body is too tired from the day to allow the brain to ramble for the sake of keeping busy. I ended my day feeling satisfied with the dehydrating, applesauce making and canning that I experimented with. 

Ready to go.

I was given the dehydrator as a gift for Christmas and when our one of our local orchards decided to dump all of their extra inventory of apples for 5 cents a pound I could finally put it to use. Armed with over 20 lbs of apples I started by slicing them thinly, leaving the skin on some of them. The slices were then layered on the trays and the dehydrator was started. It took between 4 and 8 hours for the apples to dry depending on how thick the slices were. My slices were not so consistent so some of the thin ones were done long before the thicker ones.

All finished.
Applesauce was another fun adventure for the day. I have never made it before and was surprised at how simple the recipes are. A big pot, water, apples, heat and you end up with plain old applesauce. After the applesauce was prepared then it was on to canning it all up. I always get so nervous when canning. I feel pressure for everything to be just right. The kids have to be either out of the house or in bed so that I can concentrate otherwise I tend to forget to add ingredients. The rush to get the hot food into the hot jar and into the pot leaves me fumbling and muttering under my breath at my lack of coordination. This time however, I finally felt in control of the whole process. I am starting to get my own routine and rhythm going and I can finally see how some people can enjoy the activity of canning. Also, I have discovered canning in cooler weather is kind of nice in that it humidifies the air in our home which is bone dry at the moment and adds a little extra warmth that is appreciated. I have one last batch of applesauce to prepare today and then I might try my hand at apple butter.

What going on where you are? Are you suffering from cabin fever or are you find wonderful distractions to help make it through the coldest longest part of the season?

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