Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Good Day for the Machula Family!

Thursday was a day of lots of blessings for our family!  First, Laurie had her baby – Arianne Mckelle.  She arrived at 1:10 in the morning, and was 7lbs 11oz and 21 inches.  She’s GORGEOUS!!  (I’m not happy to have another niece or anything… tee hee!)



She looks a lot like her brother, Michael – and has her Great Grandma Machula’s nose!

Second – Dad had his follow up appointment for the radiation treatments.  All is well!  The Dr. said that the numbers are going down just as they expected, and that they should continue to do so.  He’ll have another visit in six months to monitor that they are continuing to go down – but for now, this is the news we wanted to hear!!:)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

It’s FAIR time!!!


Several years ago, Randall and I took Dallin to the Gila County Fair (this was before Emory was born), and were shockingly disappointed. There were hardly ANY exhibits – the hall was practically empty – except for basically the school and 4H stuff, there would have hardly been anything to see. We resolved that we’d always try to enter things in the fair from then on – if nothing else than to make sure that there were at least a few things to look at. Apparently lots of people resolved the same thing, because it’s been a great show since then!

We took a few years off, but we were back on track this year. Randall and Dallin entered some collections (Dallin’s Star Wars toys and Randall’s hot air balloon stuff), I took a few pictures (including the one Laurie’s husband, Matt, took of Dallin holding the rainbow) and baked my spiderweb Halloween cookies. Randall also convinced me at the last minute to enter the Prickly Pear Jelly (see previous post for more about the jelly).

Jeannette Voelker and I went out on Wednesday to volunteer to help for judging day. We were delighted to find out that we were going to be helping in the food entries – especially so, because as it turned out, after the judges taste each item, they allow the volunteers to taste them as well! AND imagine my surprise when the judges awarded Best of Show in the cookies and the jellies to MY entries!! That just made it extra fun! I’m already thinking about what to enter for next year!

Dallin Showing off his and Daddy’s Collections (Randall recieved a 2nd place, Dallin a 3rd):


Dallin with the pic of himself:


My spiderweb cookies before delivering them:


Here’s a better view of the pictures we entered:

Flowers in St. Thomas – Participation


Mt. Hood, Oregon – Third Place:


Matt’s pic of Dallin – First Place


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Prickly Adventure


For years, I have looked at the lovely prickly pear fruits that come out on the cactus this time of year and thought, “Someday I need to learn to make jelly out of those…” So a few weeks ago, I decided that I’d just jump in and learn by experience!

I made myself an "expert" by reading about it on the internet. (Why it didn't occur to me to ask people that I knew make it, I'm not sure...) So after I picked up Dallin from school that Friday, we went out and picked a peck of prickly pears. We used heavy gloves and tongs of course – no prickles for us, thanks!




Then we took them home and burned all the prickles off with the gas stove. This took well over an hour, since we went a little crazy with the picking. Later, a friend of mine said that when they would make it, they’d use a weed burner before they picked them to burn off the pokies. Yeah, that would have made it easier…


Next, I put them all into my biggest pots and boiled them for about 15 minutes. Then you mash them like masked potatoes and strain the seeds and pulp and any possible stray prickles through cheesecloth. (Didn’t get any pics of the straining. Sorry…) After which I was left with about 18 cups of lovely prickly pear juice!


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At this point, I had to take a break for about two weeks due to a round of Flu (we think it was probably the dreaded swine flu…) my son so lovingly brought home from school and shared with us…

But then it was time to make the jelly –SANY0783 and that was about the same as you would do to make any other jelly. Boil the juice with sugar and pectin, bottle it, and seal in a water bath. Voila! Lovely homemade prickly pear jelly! I hope this lovely story has inspired you to look in your own yards or areas and try some little crazy ideas yourselves!