Kitchen Calamity

Okay, well, jumping back to yesterday, you might already know that I was chomping at the bit to get at some watermelon jelly that caught my canning eye. All was going along just fine. Since I had no idea how much watermelon it would take to accumulate 6 cups of pureed juice, I purchased one of the standard-sized seedless melons. I'm guessing it weight about 15 lbs. And you know, even seedless melons have seeds. The recipe said to remove the seeds before pureeing. I figured I could puree away and just strain the resulting juice to remove any seeds. It had the added benefit of straining out any large chunks of melon that escaped my food processor blade of doom. Eventually, I had six cups of nicely pureed watermelon.

Less than half of the watermelon was used in this process, and so I decided to puree another two cups to make some sorbet. We can take that along on our camping trip next week. It's sitting in the refrigerator ready for the ice cream freezer as I'm writing this. Watermelon sorbet is delicious. In the early days of blogging, I wrote a post about making sorbets from all different kinds of fruit. (I've linked to it back there.) When you have dinner guests, it's kind of fun to make several different flavors and give them scoops of each. Their flavors are intense, and your guests can attempt to guess which flavor they are eating. Mango is especially confusing. They get that it's something tropical, but they're hard pressed to figure out what it is.

So, continuing on with the calamity in the kitchen, I chopped up the remainder of the melon (oh yes, there was more) to eat for breakfast for the next six months. Then, I decided to throw all the rinds out onto the compost pile and so I loaded them into my largest bowl. While I was at it, I was going to toss a jar of daikon radish pickles. They weren't as good as the first time I made them, and so nobody was eating them. They're tasty, but very, very stinky. As I took the expensive Weck jar out of the refrigerator, I bumped the door with my hand and dropped it right in front of the refrigerator, breaking the jar. Then I panicked at the realization that all of that stinky pickle juice was just about to run under the fridge. I grabbed the first towel I saw and threw it on the whole mess to prevent Armakitchengeddon. (Phew. Saved.) Nevertheless, I still had a sticky mess full of glass shards, and I was dealing with it all the while I was cooking the jelly.

During that process, I threw the now wet and very stinky towels into the washer and got that running. Absentmindedly, I noticed that the washer was starting to whine on its spin cycle. "I must inform the Resident Engineer of this development," I told myself.  Unbeknownst to me, the washer was issuing its warning that a belt was burning up. It smelled as if something was burning, and I wondered how it could possibly be the jelly when I was stirring it frequently.

About that time, the washer signaled it was finished. When I looked inside I found the towels were still all sudsy with soap. I tried to run a rinse cycle, and that was when I figured out the washer belt had burned up. It filled the tub (conveniently), and then refused to agitate, spin, or (and this is the most important part) drain the tub of water. I might add that the Resident Engineer was in town during all of this, and so he was to be of no help until he returned home and managed to fix the washer all in a single afternoon. (Yay!)

Now, I have a concern about all of this, and here it is: Possibly I've seen too many Terminator movies, but I am growing suspicious of washing machines. I've heard of several abroad that have also joined the Global Washing Machine Resistance Movement. (GWMRM) In fact, you might know that Samsung had to issue a voluntary recall of its top-loaders recently because of this problem:

The drums in these washers may lose balance, triggering excessive vibrations, resulting in the top separating from the washer. This can occur when a high-speed spin cycle is used for bedding, water-resistant or bulky items and presents an injury risk to consumers.
And a picture is worth a thousand words.

So, anyway, I'm just sayin' keep a close eye on your washing machine. And I'm not so sure about the dryers either. Call the authorities if you must.

Heroically, if I do say so myself (and I do), I managed to finish the jelly while simultaneously mopping the floor three times to get the mess cleaned up.

Coincidentally, a nice diversionary package arrived from my friend Karen, who sent me some stuff from her mother's collection. There was cat fabric, embroidery hoops, yarn, embroidery floss, needles, crochet hooks...

and this card game, which gave me quite a chuckle.

"Being catty pays off!"

And, hey, I graduated junior high school. "Catty" is practically my middle name! This will be fun for Mike and me while we're traveling in internet-free zones. So thank you, Karen. You are so sweet. She even sorted all the floss by color!

So despite a rather harrowing day in the kitchen, I did manage to get some sewing done. The second corner has been rounded on the Wheel Estate quilt. It's a little more than halfway to the finish line.

Also, this week's Marvelous Monday Mini block is finished now, and I'm officially all caught up on these.

And I need eight more square-in-a-square blocks for the Welcome Home Mystery Quilt. I have the pieces all cut now, and so it should be short work to get them all sewn together today.

As for my jelly, it has not set up. I've been conversing on one of the Facebook canning groups about the jelly, and I'm convinced I need to cook it longer and add a little more pectin. One person in particular seems to know all about this and sent me some helpful images to check for doneness. I tried this "saucer test" using a different explanation. This one describes it better, and I'm fairly certain I misinterpreted mine.

Also, these descriptions of spoon tests:

There are jars in the dishwasher right now, and as soon as they're finished, I'm going to get it boiling again, add just a little more pectin and then, "boil the hell out of it" as my Facebook expert advises. That jelly will set up or else! While I'm doing that, I can get the sorbet into the ice cream freezer. I'm feeling a little hot and cold about these tasks. Ha! (Did you see what I did there?)

Aside from these kitchen tasks, I'm getting a haircut this afternoon. Nevertheless, I'm hoping to get some time in the sewing room.

19 comments from clever and witty friends:

gpc said...

We had a whole season of grape jelly that had to be rebranded as grape syrup after it passed all the listed tests and still didn't gel. Dang grapes. Who doesn't love to play card games with cards that have that 'luxury snap and feel'!

Claudia said...

oh wow.. that story about the washing machine scares me.. I just bought a new top loader.... I will remember to shut the door to my laundry room.

Lee said...

Yikes! What a day! You seem so calm in your post.

Quilting Babcia said...

And if your watermelon jelly continues to run rather than set just call it sauce and have watermelon sundaes. I love my front loader washing machine, we inherited a top loader when we moved in here and I was never so glad to see an appliance leave for the landfill or recycling center.

Lyndsey said...

And relax. Remember days like that need to be gently wiped from your memory by doing something you enjoy such as gently stroking an adorable kitty. I thought my day at work was bad but yours wins on the stress stakes.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Sorry about breaking the pickle jar. I dropped a whole gallon of milk, earlier this week, but, thankfully, it was in the driveway, not the house. There is something to say about the older, less techy washing machines (and dryers). Simple breaks less often.

DeeDee said...

You are a multi-tasking ninja! I love your Wheel Estate quilt. It makes me smile every time you post it.

Debbie said...

I know it was a tiring and trying day in the kitchen, but your description gave me a heart attack, hoot and giggle....all at once! So glad those days only happen every blue moon or so. The washer or dryer always without fail will break a leg, whine, scream or fall apart when you are the most occupied and busy. At least mine always has. So glad the engineer could fix it. As for jelly, I thought it was all in how you stirred it....somedays it set up perfect and right away, the next time with the same amounts and recipe the dang batch refused to come together. Can't count how many batches went down the drain in my life. Hope you conquer it!!

LeShawn said...

The color of the Jelly is so pretty. Loving your quilt. Enjoy you sewing today.

quiltzyx said...

Oh no! Not the WECK jar!! Color me so sad :(
Glad you did manage to contain the runaway stink juice before it made it under the fridge. Yoicks! I think I may have told you about the pomegranate jell...er sauce that my friend & I made in our one & only canning attempt. If was delicious over ice cream. Maybe, if boiling the hell out out of it still doesn't make it straighten up & fly right, you could use it as a sorbet topping.
Cool stuff in your goody bag! I love playing games - started playing cards as soon as I could "count the dots" on them. (Dad once supported a family of 4 for a month or so playing Pinochle.)

Onward & upward!

Brown Family said...

The jelly has a pretty color. I did the same thing with a jar of pickles! Not home made, but it was still a sticky mess!

Have you ever made or eaten watermelon rind pickles? They are an acquired taste, not mine though!

Dorothy Finley said...

I agree--simple is better then new tech--when it comes to appliances.
I bought a new washer/dryer system when I moved into this "new" old house. They lasted 2 years-but I loved them-I now have a used washer/ dryer set that was built in the 70's and both are still going strong.
Yes I know they are not "efficient", but they do what they are suppose to do-wash & dry clothes-and in the summer dry months I dry my wash on the clothesline outside in the sunshine and fresh air. And have sweet dreams with the real fresh air smell in the sheets and pillowcases :-)
instead of the pretend fresh air smell of dryer sheets

Kathy H said...

What a day! Is that a hole in the drywall from your washer! I think it is too dangerous for you to do laundry anymore. You might have to give it up!😀 And I love how you will be right in the middle of luxury with those cards! I will have to check out that game. Sounds like fun, especially for those of us with kitties.

Dana Gaffney said...

I'm pretty suspicious of all appliances, we are dependent on them so they have the power. I had been admiring one of those Samsung washers when the explosions started. I'll be sticking with the one I have which plays a cute tune that sounds like the ice cream trucks of my youth.

piecefulwendy said...

I'm sorry about the loss of the WECK jar, and for the chaotic day topped off with watermelon sauce sans jelly. You should've saved the rinds and asked for my grandmother's watermelon rind pickles recipe. I haven't made it (ever) but I have fond memories of eating them! I imagine the kitties must've scattered quickly when the chaos in the kitchen ensued. Glad your washing machine was fixed quickly. Yuck. What a day!

SoCalGal said...

Love your blog - It is my favorite and I look forward to it every morning. Like you, I love cats and quilting, however, I do not cook.

Rosemary Rivas said...

When we were remodeling, on the advice of our appliance salesman, we ordered GE products as we had heard the horror stories about Samsung washers/dryers. We are very pleased with our top-loader, but it is a little noisy. As far as the jam/jelly goes, I made rhubarb jam last year and finished it up, so I made more just a few weeks ago. I also made blackberry cinnamon and even after the saucer test, some jars came our syrupy while others were more like sauce. I also made several sorbets last year and used them for parties we had and served them with Prosecco. They were real winners.

Natureluvr57 said...

When it rains, it pours as they say. You survived! YAY! In the past it seems like everything modern, computer/smart tv/ etc decides to revolt like Stephen King's Maximum Overdrive. I seriously thought about buying a treadle sewing machine (still on my list) and a wringer washer machine like we had when I was a kid. Where we live now the drain would overflow every time we emptied out washer so we would have to empty it with a bucket. When it died we started going to the laundromat which I dislike but I have to do what I have to do. Hopefully things will turn around for you.

Motherdragon's Musings said...

What a day! Think I would have gone back to bed!