Monday, August 27, 2012


So, Its been a while hasn’t it?  I can truthfully say, it has been a long hard 8 weeks!  The department where I worked, closed down, and I chose to realign with another.  Doesn’t sound so bad on paper.  In real life, it has been a rude awakening, an awakening that has left me mentally and physically exhausted on a daily basis.  I have attempted to write a couple of times, but have not cooked anything worthwhile, or newsworthy.  Normally, I would have come up with something to cook and write about, but I would just sit at my blogger screen and stare.  Two things happened, the end of training/transition period….and the best mental health day EVER!!!  Any of you out there down in the dumps?  Feeling blah?  Stressed out?  HAH!  I have the cure my friends…..Paintball!
I was invited to a pickup game this weekend, and at first I looked for reasons not to go.  My back hurts, I just want to sit and read my kindle, blah blah blah!  Give me enough time and I would have.  So I made myself buy boots and pants to go play, packed my gear bag and away I was.  When I showed up to the field, yeah my back hurt, yeah I was emotionally drained, yeah I was physically exhausted.  But I will tell you this.  Once the ref yelled “ Blue Team Ready, Red Team Ready, GAME ON “ that all went away.  No back pain, no discomfort, no nothing.  Just a pure feeling that I can not even explain!  Yes I did things that if I were to attempt again I would probably break every bone in my body, but man oh man what a rush!  Its been a good 13 years since I have played.  I got out of the sport because of some of the politics at my local paint ball parks.  Sold my markers, and said peace out.  I don’t think I will make that mistake again.  Thank you soo much Big Daddy!  You my friend, are a godsend!!
Now.  As I am nursing muscles that I did not even know I had, counting the nickel sized bruises on my body, I figured I would sit down and try to write.  Hey…my back doesn’t hurt anymore, I don’t feel emotionally drained….and my back doesn’t hurt any more.  Imagine that….yesterday was spend acting like I had a 20 year old body that was in shape…I actually have energy, I am not emotionally drained, and I am not in pain ( well other than my obvious war wounds ).  Hmm..something to be said for shooting people with a projectile at 170 feet per second. 

Late night Packing

Two fisting it with Midget Pygmy #2's chest plate

Yeah...I did that to Big Daddy.  Sorry man...shouldn't trip over bushes when you are charging me!
Not too flattering picture of me...but who's gonna see this right??

One other good thing came out of playing paintball.  3 flats of wild blackberry's!!  Last week I was given 1, so I bought 3, and out of that 3 I actually will get 1 and a half.  So that leaves me with 2 and half flats of wild blackberry's!  Now…what do you think the ole Jelly Man is going to do?  Well, I guess you will have to keep reading!

Aint they beautiful!!!

Since I do not want to mess this up, I think I will start off with one of my classics.  Wine Jelly!  As my Aunt has told me from her grandson’s mouth…..” If its not Kelly's Jelly, its not Jelly “.   I couldn’t ask for a bigger fan!  I have been given a couple of bottles of some good wine from a friend that I shoot with, who works at Renwood Winery.  It’s a red wine, not exactly my normal, so we shall make it, and give it to my new official taste tester. The wine I will be using today is going to be 2008 Zinfandel, Old Vine from Renwood Winery!

MMMM Smells good!!

Its my old standby, and nothing went wrong.  It all sealed nicely, and smells great!

Now.  The big chore.  SO right now, I have 1 ½ flats of blackberry's, and a gallon size Ziploc bag of Berry's in the freezer.  I decided to put the frozen berry’s and the full flat through the squeezo.  Whats a squeezo you ask?  Its only the neatest thing since mason jars!!!!  Imagine a meat grinder, with a big hopper, and a screened cone on the end.  You grind and mash the berries up, and it spits out seeds and skins.  AWESOME!!!!

There in all it's glory!
MMM all that gooey berry goodness!
Skins and seeds for the composter!

The rest of the berries, I just mashed with a potato masher, and mixed it all together in my big yellow bowl!  I ended up with 18 cups of juice/puree.  I decided to make one batch today, and the rest goes into the freezer.  All I have to do is thaw it out, add 7 cups of sugar, some pectin, and blam!
Today was very constructive, tried one completely new Jam, and a change to an old standby.  I did a better job of cleaning as I went than I normally do, so cleanup won't be that big tonight.  Hopefully. 
It never ceases to amaze me, on how much better I feel after a day of constructive work.  I have 13 jars of Jam and Jelly, the stuff to make a couple more batches in the freezer, and the feeling of being dead on my feet.  But it was well worth it!
I have spent the last 8 weeks kind of in a blur.  Focusing on a way of life in my job that is no longer there.  I wouldn’t say that I gave up, more like gave in.  I was willing to let everything that was going on cloud, and disrupt what I liked to do.  For a while, I found it easier to live in the clouds of funk, rather than the clouds of steam my pots and canner!  All it took was the people I surround myself with to give me a gentle kick in the pants, dragging me out to play paintball by my ears….and the perfect shot from 25 yards away, through pine branches and huge manzanita bushes, wham!  Straight in the junk from Mrs. Lorna!