Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricaine Jam and Pickles...

We survived the storm, maintained power the whole time, the usual water in the basement, but actually not as bad as it's been at other times.

I'm working from home today, this photo of the Raritan Valley Line courtesy of  The Bridgewater Patch will show why

RVL Flooding

So Saturday we made some jam and Sunday we made pickles...

I'm not really sure how this turned out, it tasted ok, and it definitely set, which is a nice change of pace from the usual runny jam I end up with. I think i may have slightly burned it, but it didn't taste or smell burned. I also couldn't find purple basil, I have no idea where to get something like that.

Recipe yielded about 2 pints of jam

recipe attempted was this one...

Peach Habanero Basil Jam

The habanero peppers at the shop-rite are always green, I'm not certain if green or yellow or orange is hotter, Wegman's always seems to have a nicer selection of habanero peppers, but worse selection of jalapeno's, but for this recipe we had light green ones.

The pepper smell was overpowering in the house, so i took them out about a half hour into the cooking. 

Still some pretty big pieces of fruit in there. 

Jackie provided some constructive criticism during the process...
I think it may have over set, but that could just be based on the jar i half filled and put in the fridge. I was worried it was too spicy on Saturday, but after it sat for a day, it was toned down a bit. It came out pretty good, I may try the recipe again in the future to see if we can get better results. I think I'm done experimenting with spicy jams for the time being, I'm going to try some more normal sounding stuff for a while. I think maybe I'm too inexperienced to be trying these grand experiments all the time. The peaches came from the nice folks at Melick's Town Farm at their Bridgewater farm stand.

The pickles I think came out great.... though our house smells like pickles still. I mean... we'll see how they taste after they season a bit, but they look 10 times better than the last batch, and those had generally favorable reviews.

We picked up cucumbers at a local farm stand off route 202, not sure the name. The next time we drive past I'll make a note and update the post. They were pretty good though, and that makes a huge difference. The last time we made pickles, the cucumbers were store bought and sat in the fridge a couple of days, they were getting a bit soft.

Thanks to my Mother in Law, we have a nice mandolin slicer that got way better results than the kitchen aid slicer attachment we used last time. That thing cut them way to thin, and sort of shredded the cucumbers at times, with the mandolin we got nice consistent thicker slices, they really look great and I'm hoping the end result is crispier than what we had last time. That's a tough result apparently with the hot water canner, but we'll see when we open them. One thing I can't figure is why the heck they sell these half gallon canning jars? They don't fit in the hot water bath, and apparently your not supposed to use them for much. I'm hoping they don't spoil, we tried the best we could, but we had so many cucumbers, that i underestimated the number of jars needed. I had extra quart jars, but thought I should try the half gallon jars, only realizing after i stuck it back in the pot that it was too big.

Fresh cucumbers

Soaking the cucumbers

The cucumber water... this reminds me of the beginning of the movie "The Dark Crystal"
Jen and UrSu making dill pickles 

I'm betraying my supreme nerdiness again....

So we had a busy weekend of storm prep, food prep, and having fun with Jackie and Rocky. I still have a pile of peaches that we're maybe going to make into a pie tonight.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hurricaine Saturday

It's around 3:30 PM on Saturday, and we're all set for Irene to come through. We're probably over prepared, the most important thing, we're missing which is an alternate power supply to the sump pump. I tried to run it off the inverter i have for the car. Some times it stinks being an engineer, since I knew it wouldn't work before I attempted it, once I checked the nameplate data on the sump pump, but we gave it a try any way...failure, or course.

We got an early start to finish prep work for the storm this morning, we have plenty of water put aside, we have tons of food in the pantry, a cooler full of ice, baby food, milk, dog food, all the stuff on the basement floor is now off the floor on shelves, everything put away outside... we're in good shape.

I have decided that during this natural disaster, we ought to increase our disaster food stores, so I plan on spending the weekend making peach jam, and pickles. We took a tour of some of the local farmers markets this morning, and bought a ton of local ripe peaches, and cucumbers, so I'll add some posts as we complete each experiment, perhaps a peach pie, cobbler or something could get made along the way... we'll see.

We also made a side trip to the devil's playground (walmart) hoping to score a 400 or 600 watt inverter that I could run my sump pump off, but they don't carry them in store we can only order them on line.

Here's some pictures of Jackie checking out the People of Walmart

Enjoy the hurricane everyone, stay dry and stay safe.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Jacqueline!

What an incredible year it has been, I can't even believe we're here already. I'll have a more substantive birthday wrap up with pics and videos of parties, and presents, cakes being smashed, and maybe some deep fried grape catchup pulled turkey later in the week, but I needed to memorialize the day a little bit.

and more cake!

and it's bed time....

Jackie did not make it to the Birthday presents tonight, we got a little bit of a late start on the dinner, and she was ready for bed, so we get a third round of birthday tomorrow.

Been a little delinquent with my posting in the last week, we were super busy getting ready for her party, which was a great success, I think a good time was had by all. I totally missed the blog anniversary, so i'll have my postscript to a year of blogging, or Volume I of the Bridgewater Bugle in the next few days.Thanks for reading along everyone... and once again, Happy Birthday to Jackie, what joy you bring into our lives. We can't wait to see what the next year brings for you.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


So...felt the earthquake here in the city, waiting to hear if everyone is OK down in DC.

My building has not been evacuated... at least they have not told me if has has been.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Tonight Jackie had some Ravioli for dinner, and made quite a mess. I'm sure everyone will want to see it anyway though...

Just wanted to share a few quick pics for the night, since she was being so cute. She cheered me up when I got home. It's certainly a nice way to end the day when you spend part of the rest of the day at this dreary place...

Wards Island Waste Water Treatment Plant, actually not to bad as far as these waste water treatment plants are concerned. We're doing some work out there, and I'm sure I'll have more to share as the project moves forward.  But the smell of the waste water plants... always so inviting on a hot, humid, summer afternoon!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Jackie's First Steps

Well...well...well... I do believe we are now officially in trouble. Jacqueline just delighted us with a romp around the living room, motivated by a delicious can of Vintage Seltzer! I hope they pay me, I found them a marketing campaign. Vintage Seltzer, It Has What Babies Crave! This is shamelessly stolen of course from the movie Idiocracy, which, as I bet you can guess, I was watching this morning.

Anyway... roll the tape!

Here we have an earlier aborted attempt.

First official steps

First Steps: Part 2

I looked up before and she was sort of doing the Frankenstein walk towards me, and she also did it a little bit the other day, but this is the first official walk, that gets logged in the baby book since she went across the room without falling after a few steps.

Congratulations Jackie! 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A New Friend

Congratulations to friends Joe and Stephanie Willis on the birth of their daughter Kathryn Scholten, she was born last night about 7:23 PM, weighed in at 6.12 lbs, and is cute as a button! We hope we can meet her soon.


The numbers in the post title represent the teeth coming in... just in case anyone is counting, bottom molars started coming in the other day. Jackie is slightly grouchified this morning. Honestly I didn't realize she had so many already, I sort of lost track. Alison tells me when they come in, but usually you can only see the four on top and four on bottom that are in the front so I don't think about it, except when she is grinding them or biting her mother.

Anyway, it's time for the truth to be told...

I would like to introduce everyone to Jackie's real father.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Almost Walking Part Deux

It was a little too active to capture some photos with the phone, so we took a few videos... so here you go.

Very...very... close... in fact, maybe she took a few steps that we didn't catch on video....

Almost Walking...

It will be any day now I'm sure... She was a little wobbly last night, but getting more and more adventurous, standing on her own and attempting to move forward unaided. Then she falls over, but she's so very close.

Maybe Alison can get some photos of her standing later to upload for all to see.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Bored At Costco

Haven't made a post in almost a week, but it's mostly because I've so completely and utterly swamped with work. I got drafted to do a high priority energy modeling assignment for a school in Queens, it's a rush because the design is finished, and project went out to bid today, so the client needs to know if they will have to issue an addendum to address any issues they have with not meeting energy savings goals the city has. 

Alison has been holding down the fort mostly lately. I set up my work station in the lovely basement with all the post-apocalyptic food supplies, and the creepy crawlies that sometimes pay me a visit down there. This was a much better option than what I used to do which was work in the kitchen. Now when I do that Rocky has other plans for me. When I try to work in the living room, Jackie has other plans for me. In the basement, Only the centipedes have other plans for me. I can crush them...

Anyway, we made a side visit to Costco yesterday to pick up a few things. As we pulled into the parking lot, I realized I left the stroller(s) in the shed, so Jackie had to make due with the kid seat in the cart. She is so big, I can't believe she is sitting up in there. She's done it before when she was out with Grandma and Grandpa, but the first time I have ever used it. She was so well behaved, and got a lot of compliments on her general cuteness. 

I am so bored...

Can we go home now?
While I was there, I picked up a DVD of the old Disney Fess Parker Davy Crockett movies... only two of them, but I am going to enjoy the heck out of them some time in the near future. Lot's of flashbacks to my youth these days, recently Cartoon Network has aired a re-imagined version of Thundercats, and I've really enjoyed it. Looking back on the original from my childhood (going back to 1985), it's just terrible. I saw some re-runs recently, and it's amazing how we sugar coat things with nostalgia... the new version so far is much more entertaining.

We have a lot of work to do over the next couple of weeks to get ready for Jackie's 1st Birthday... also coming up on the anniversary of the first post here. Maybe I will come up with a special post to commemorate the milestone. I keep asking this, but where has the time gone?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Sunday BBQ

As I mentioned in the last post, we attended a nice BBQ on Sunday with Aunt Katy. Jackie got to meet a new baby friend Maddy, and we were treated to some delicious food.

Jackie was decked out in her nice sailor dress, and got to spend some time playing with all the doggies. They love her.

Let me down from here Mommy!

Clap Hands!

Always on the move !

How can i get outside?

No does thing work?

Jackie with Maggie the dog. It was Maggie's first birthday, maybe she will lend Jackie her bandanna in a few weeks, when Jackie gets to celebrate. 

Jackie was giggling like crazy with the two dogs on the other side of the door.