Rhubarb Processing is Finished

On Wednesday, I was up in the Palmyra, Maine area and got a Subaru Baja’s bed full of rhubarb.  I am lucky that my sister’s neighbor has a huge rhubarb patch that they don’t use at all and every year or so, I get to go get as much as I can carry back to the house.
One of these years I will get a picture of the patch and how much I throw in the back of the Baja or the truck.  Anyway it was a little later than usual this year and we were under pressure to process the rhubarb into useful food or drink products.

We usually make the rhubarb into a non-alcoholic cordial, sauce, freezer bags and keep some stalks in the fridge, for whatever. Below is a photo collage of the process.

The first batch to chop up

Tools of the trade

More chopping

Straining after boiling

Protection from the critters who shed hair in the house, while letting the strainer work its magic

2 of the 6 reasons that we cover everything, if we are not working on it (Domino & Joey)

Hurricane Isabelle sitting in front of the strainer protection – no matter how much we run them off, they, just keep coming back 🙂

My wife Mary (SWMBO) boiling the juice and bottling it.

I never realized how red/pink rhubarb juice/cordial is until we started doing this a few years ago.

The Joey protecting our hoard.

The final product

It took us 3 days of very steady work to process nearly 50 pounds of rhubarb. As a result of this we got 39 jars of rhubarb cordial, 4 jars of sauce, 9 quarts of chopped rhubarb in freezer bags and lots and lots of practice washing dishes over and over.

It might not look like much, but these are probably a two year supply for the two of us as long as I am not using a small glass instead of the cordial glass, which I usually do.  I really like the tart flavor and it adds something to a meal in the middle of the winter, when you drink something that you made and know exactly what is in the drink for ingredients, besides it tastes great.

Now to get some thank you samples back to the owners of the patch and give dad his due share.

We just wish that our rhubarb patch was as nice, but we are working on it. It sure would be a lot easier than having to travel over an hour to get the rhubarb, but the price was right and the result is delicious.

Next week is strawberry week and we will probably find something to do with those rhubarb stalks still in the fridge. Strawberry-Rhubarb pie, muffins, mmmm, loosing weight is tough, with Mary’s great cooking going on around me. I just don’t have great will-power – guess that I will have to start moving more.

By the way (SWMBO) She Who Must Be Obeyed is from Robert A. Heinlein’s books and is a joke.

Re-Imaging My MacBook Pro

I have thought long and hard about re-imaging my MacBook Pro over the course of the past week and last night I decided to go ahead and do it. So I spent time backing up my photos, files and music that I wanted to bring forward when I was done re-imaging.
Below are some of my reasons:

  • I am really trying to simplify my life and I use my MacBook Pro more than any other tool.  I spend far too many hours a day on it, so it seems appropriate to really take a look at what software I need with regards to my new simpler lifestyle of semi-retirement.
  • While teaching I used my personal MacBook Pro for a lot of school stuff.  I want to make sure that I have gotten any of the school or student related stuff off my computer that I don’t need or don’t want access to anymore.
  • Over the course of the past year I have experimented with way too many different desktop software applications and it is time to ensure that any leftover files are no longer on the computer. Just good housekeeping habits, some files just seem to be fairly well hidden and while they may be harmless, with all the privacy issues going around the Internet today, why take any chances.
  • Re-imaging forces me to look at what software I actually like, need, want or use on my Mac. I have too many programs that duplicate what other programs do and want to reduce the clutter.

Here are the programs I am starting with:

I would probably get rid of Front Row, Dashboard, Chess, Image Capture, and maybe iDVD if I was sure that there were no negative consequences for doing so. In the 18 months I have had my Mac, I haven’t done more than just open these programs to see what they were – I never used them.

I am sure that this list will grow, but when I add another desktop application, I want to do it for a reason, not just because it came with the laptop or because I thought it was a good idea earlier and found that I never used the program after the initial few times. I know that I will be adding NeverWinter Nights II and Sophos sometime this afternoon, but other than that I think I will wait a few days before adding more software.

Below are screenshots of the software that I had on my Mac before I started this re-imaging.

You will notice that iPhoto, Garage Band, iWork Suite, Microsoft Office for Mac and a bunch of other programs have been left off my Mac for now.  I am going to see if I can survive with just Google Docs and Evernote as my primary Office (Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Slideshow and Notebook) & Productivity Suite (Mail, Address Book, Todo list). Less choice also means that I will have to learn how to use the software that I have kept at a higher level than I am presently doing or switch it for something else that might work better/differently.

I have noticed a definite improvement performance on my Mac.  It feels snappy, instead of sort of sluggish and I haven’t been seeing that Spinning Wheel of “Time to Wait” stick around nearly long or as often as it had been over the past couple of weeks.

When was the last time you re-imaged your Mac? Is it time for you to do it?

Okay it was a bit of a pain to go back and add programs back, remember old passwords (stuff that I never added to LastPass) and some of the other “little” things that you forget about when you re-image your laptop.  In the long run I have a feeling that I will be very glad that I decided to re-image my Mac.

Yes as Apple moves to iCloud and Lion over the next few months, I will probably have to add iPhoto, Keynote, Pages and some other Apple programs back into the mix, so that I can try all the new “stuff” out. Until then this should be a pretty decent chance to see how minimalist I can become on this laptop.

Is there any software that I “have to have” that isn’t on my current list?  Why do I need it?