Archive for August, 2011

conversation last night

Wesley [singing]: goo goo ba goo.

Me: Are you the walrus?

Mary: Wesley, can you say, “I am the walrus”?

Wesley: You are the walrus!


tomato heaven

So, between our garden tomatoes and the fantastic deal on canning tomatoes at the local farm market, we had a lot of them to can. I decided to make one batch of spaghetti sauce, because I made some a couple of summers ago and it was fantastic. It’s a ton of work for a small amount of product, but I think it’s worth it. Mary agreed to help.

We got our tomatoes ready for peeling and coring, then Mary helped me by handing them to me so that I could drop them in the boiling water and then into the ice water. She was fascinated.

We got everything into the pot…then we waited. For a long time. Our house got very steamy. And the stove got very dirty from spattered tomato sauce.

Mary volunteered to taste it for me.



Here’s the recipe I used, in case you’re curious–it’s a combination of a bunch of different recipes. It’s very meat-heavy, though. If you like it more tomatoey, I’d cut the meat in half.

Spaghetti Sauce

1/4 cup chopped bacon.

4-5 onions, chopped.

2 pounds ground beef.

5 cloves garlic.

8 pounds peeled, cored, chopped Roma tomatoes. (This is the weight after they’re prepared; it was about 12-13 pounds to buy. I’d probably aim for 9-10 pounds if I were using regular tomatoes, because they’re more juice and less flesh.)

1/2 bottle of wine (I used red).

Leaves from three stems of basil.

Cook the bacon and onions until the onions start to soften. Add the beef and garlic and cook until browned. Drain off any grease. Add the tomatoes, wine, and basil. Cook until sauce reduces to about 1/3 its original volume (usually a couple of hours). This freezes well.

another mysterious speech

Mary just picked up a remote, held it to her ear, and hissed into it, “I told you never to call me here!”

back to normal

…or as normal as it gets here. David, Nina, and the kids departed on Wednesday; Mary and Wesley are slowly coming back to their ordinary routine.

We had a lot of fun during this visit.

A little family history:

They ate all of the tomatoes in the “free produce” pile.



They played.



Then we took a little walk. Don’t they look pastoral?

Then we went out and ate crabs! The visiting contingent assured us that they didn’t mind eating them two days in a row.

The next day, we had a crab feast at our house!

Jack pulled Mary around in the wagon until she looked like this:


Wesley had a joyous afternoon with the John Deere ATV.

Mary imitated a garden fairy.

Molly swung.

On the last day, we went to see the airplanes:

Wesley was floored.


Doesn’t Mary look old these days?

We also had a lovely day at the beach, but there are no pics because I couldn’t figure out how to take a camera and not ruin it. It was great, though. We got there in the early afternoon, swam and played, went to lunch when a thunderstorm blew up, and then went back after the storm to swim and play some more. The kids loved it. Mary was fearless and learned how to jump when a wave came in, and even Wesley got brave enough to let us carry him out to get his feet wet and to play in the little pool that Jack dug near the shore.

It was a really nice visit. I can’t believe how big my niece and nephews are! We miss them.