Yesterday was probably the last of our beautiful fall weather. Mike and I have lived in the Pacific Northwest since October of 1978. We've just recently celebrated the 38th anniversary of our arrival in Portland. (Incidently, our cats at the time were Benjamin and Peanut. I just knew you'd want to know that critical piece of information. Oh yes, and we'd not yet gained any two-legged children.)
In our experience, the rain starts falling in September, but we usually get one or two more weeks of sunshine before the murky lurker sets in for the winter. Yesterday's red sky at morning was prophetic because the rain started in earnest overnight. We won't see the sun again for at least a week. At some point, reality sets in and we know the sun is gone until Spring.
Despite my claims that it was going to be a day of NBS (nothing but sewing), I found plenty to distract me. For one thing, I took a walk around and was thrilled to see that the "Pow Wow Wild Berry" echinacea has bloomed. You can't see it in this image, but there is another bud below the one pictured here. If the rain doesn't wreck it, it might bloom again before the season is over.
Also close to blooming is this traditional pink variety, and it too has another bud coming.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have many quarts of apple pie filling sitting in my refrigerator. I had trouble with the pie filling boiling out of the jars when they were removed from the canner last week, and so they are safely stashed in the refrigerator for quick consumption. The lids are sucked in as if they are safely sealed, but I know there is pie filling under those seals. With that in mind, it seemed like a good day to bake an apple pie for two.
If you'll recall, the cooking of the pie filling last week created such a sticky mess that I declared I'd only make it again if it was delicious. As it turns out, it was very, very tasty. I checked in with daughter-in-law Mae to see what she thought of it. She was adding it by spoonfuls to her morning oatmeal, and she likes it too. So, I guess it's safe to say that I'll be giving this another try. Usually, I wouldn't bother with canning pie filling since I usually bake my pies with fresh fruit. This one was tempting because of the addition of butterscotch schnapps to the mix.
So I'll link to the recipe here with these suggestions: First, leave 1-1/2 inches of head space. One inch wasn't enough, and that caused the filling to boil out of the jars even though I left them in the canner for five minutes after turning off the heat. Second, I'd cut the apples into one-inch chunks rather than slices, and then load them into the jars, adding the syrup to the fruit-packed jars. By slicing them, they tend to stack up on one another, which makes it hard to get the syrup around all of them. I made the mistake of trying the alternative method of adding the apples to the syrup before packing them into the jars. That made a big mess because it was hard to get the sliced apples through the opening of the jar (even using a funnel), and I ended up with sticky apple pie filling pretty much everywhere in the kitchen and all over myself. You can try this yourself while fresh-picked apples are still available, or you can wait for me to try it again next year. So far, I'm sticking with my canning-season-is-over commitment.
With all that wandering around outside and apple pie baking going on, I didn't leave myself much time for sewing. Nevertheless, I did manage to get one row (three blocks) completed, and I've started on the next row of blocks.
It's pretty slow going with that micro stippling, but I love the fact that I can do almost the entire block without cutting thread. Also, I'm happy to report that my silk thread/monofilament bobbin combination is performing marvelously well. I've never tried quilting with silk thread before, and it is living up to its reputation for being very strong. Since figuring out the breakage problem last week (a burr on the spool), I've had not a single episode of thread breakage. Yay!
This morning I'm going to get an early start. I need to head into the post office, pick up some medicine, and do a short grocery-shopping trip. Then, I'll be back to my NBS day. And since I did no housework yesterday, maybe I'll do a little today. Anyone want to place a wager?