I didn't want anyone to think I fell off the face of the earth. I've just been very, very busy. The worst part is that I can't really say what I've been busy doing - just that the days and weeks seem to be flying by.
Jerry had a good trip to Illinois and back. The morning that he was returning home there was an earthquake there, as I'm sure everyone has already heard about. Jerry was in Virginia heading home at that time and didn't know about it until he got here. Later that day he called the Amish man (he has a phone on the side of his barn in Illinois) to see if everything was okay. Since their house isn't built yet, they were sleeping on the ground in the barn. They said the earthquake definitely woke them up as the barn was shaking around them, with roof rattling, and the ground was shaking under them. It turns out that the epicenter of this earthquake was only 37 miles from where they were. They said they rode around later in the day and saw that some buildings had fallen and others were damaged. Jerry asked them if they were ready to come back! He and they were thankful that everybody was okay and that the barn was still standing.
The weather has been beautiful. I had an attack of spring fever last week. I bought a bunch of herb plants and a hibiscus. Yes I know - you can't eat the hibiscus, but it looks beautiful on my front porch. I love cooking with fresh herbs. Last summer I had rosemary, basil, sage and chives that the boys and I cooked with all summer long. Only the rosemary and the chives survived through the winter but that's okay. I was pleasantly surprised about that. The chives were up early and we were having chives on our potatoes in March. I have basil, dill, lemon verbena, thyme, rosemary, oregano, and a few others that I'm forgetting. There is nothing better than fresh herbs in a summer dish. You can't eat it, but my lavender is doing beautifully. I like to brush it with my hand when I'm walking by - a lovely scent whooshes up to greet me.
Some time soon I'll need to go through all my jars and get my canning gear ready for another canning season. My pressure canner needs a new gasket so I'd better get that ordered. Once canning season starts in earnest it is difficult to get canning parts or accessories as everyone sells out. I intend to buy new lids this year. While I do appreciate all the lids that were given to me by Hilda when she moved last year, I was embarrassed by the number of non-sealing jars that I ended up with. I thought the lids she gave me were ones she had recently purchased, but now I don't think so. I believe they were kind of old when she gave them to me. No, I'll stock up on new ones that I buy myself this year.
We are very proud of Tom. Habitat for Humanity contacted his school to see if any of the students would do some design work for them. Tom submitted some samples and Habitat contacted him and asked him to design their T-shirts for the crew working on a condo project in Virginia. The design he created for them is really cool. Since the design hasn't been officially "unveiled" yet I can't share it here, but I will as soon as I can. Tom is building up his portfolio which he will need for graduation next year and this is certainly a feather in his cap for that.
Andy is still cooking away. We were excited about finding that the Culinary Institute of America has "boot camps" which are from one to five days (and priced accordingly!) in which you can learn LOTS of stuff. I wrote to them about it and asked about ages but they said you had to be 21 to attend, as there is wine tasting involved. We were pleasantly surprised though to find a professional chef's magazine in the mail a few days later, published by the school and sent to him. He hasn't decided which culinary school he wants to attend. Who knows - maybe he'll decide not to attend any at all and just cook for himself. He's got plenty of time to think about it yet.
Well, I'm off to do stuff now. I don't have much time for writing these days but will try to at least spend a couple of minutes putting in a blurb every couple of days or so. I've said that before, though haven't I?! Happy Sunday, y'all!