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I finally got in my applesauce canning before the apples froze over here in DC. The friendly farmer at the farmers market saved me a box of small apples that were too sour to eat by their lonesome-it took me quite some time to cut them all up and rid them of cores and bugs before they were ready for cooking in the big stock pot. I added ground cloves, sugar, nutmeg, lots of cinnamon, and tons of love. Once they had boiled enough that they were browning and the peels were coming off, I chucked them in the blender and WHIIIIIIIIR! APPLESAUCE!
I adore applesauce with the peels included. First of all- I’m a firm believer in brown applesauce, and second of all, isn’t that where all the good stuff is? I think your mom would agree.

Thankfully all the canning held- except one. That one lonely can was taken to a Chanukah latke party to top off potato cakes. It was my first latke party, and I hope many more are to come! The applesauce was a big hit. One guest came in to the kitchen to ask me if I knew the location of the “older lady who made the applesauce.” I pointed to my 26 year-old-self with a big ‘ole smile. Go canning power!

Now the cans are getting wrapped up for Christmas presents. There are the perfect presents for “Oh-no! I forgot…” Who doesn’t like food?


Meanwhile the Georgia peaches I did earlier are diminished by half, but still going strong. They should last until spring!


I frequently find myself being overly jealous of my sister who is a canning fiend! She had a share in a farm co-op this year and was putting out cans every day, it seemed. Meanwhile, my mother was busy canning all the sour squirrel-bitten apples of our backyard. Does anyone else have pesky squirrels that take one bite of the apple and throw it to the ground? What inconsiderate rats! Mom also went around to the neighbors and asked if she could have their crab apples off their tree. Of course the neighbors were delighted to get rid of them. It made for some beautiful pink jelly! I got a few cans from them when I visited last fall. What a lovely gift they made! I felt so special receiving their hard work. (I’d show you a picture of her chocolate-mint crab apple jelly, and her apple chutney, but Ive already eaten it all!)

I now have an adorable hedgehog watching all that I do on my computer. It’s all thanks to Firefox Personas. They are little images or colors you can attribute to the top part of your browser window. It’s like painting your desk a new color whenever you like! Isn’t he precious?

Mission San Gabrielle

While I was in Pasadena, CA this October, I took a number of photos at the Mission San Gabrielle that I wanted to share.
The mission-style church is fascinating to me. These churches were built on the blood of the natives by order of the Spanish Padres. This one in particular was built in 1771 by the Franciscan order under Father Serra. He is connected to other missions in California, too. There are 21 missions that are considered of this “trail” that begins in the south and winds its way up the California coast. I’d been to the Carmel Mission before, and now I’m eager to see them all!

The saddest part about the missions is certainly the anguish it must have caused the indigenous people at the time, and the deaths by measles, abuse, and gifts of harder lives, but I’m also saddened by the loss of interest and money that Spain had in these missions, leading them to crumble and fall into mass disrepair. It wasn’t until 1826 that the Mexican government freed the natives from the missions, and in 1833 they passed the “secularization” act which separated Spain from the churches. The Padres were called home. By then, all the natives who hadn’t left the mission-system were abandoned, and the Mexican population along with East-coasters didn’t make room for them.

They are now all run and maintained under the Catholic church, 4 of them remain Franciscan. A good number of them are still in sad states. George W. Bush signed a bill in 2004 giving the missions 10 million dollars to repair and restore them over a 5 year period.

Someday I’d like to hike the trail to see all 21 missions. They are 3 days apart on foot, each, or one day by horseback. Knowing the good weather in California, I’m sure it’d be a gorgeous experience. Anyone interested?