Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Back on the Chain Gang

You know how in the last post I wrote about my two day a week Science teaching gig? That's out the window, as I've been asked "pretty please" to take on a class full time for the first few weeks of third term. Being a casual, and never knowing when and where the next job is coming from, I've said "yes". This means, though, that everything not involving work and family goes on the backburner for a while. So I will be back to weekly posts for a while.

I like teaching, but I really don't enjoy doing it full time. Even though I think it is a hackneyed term, the "Work-life balance" goes straight out the window. I get that mouse on the spinning wheel feeling, as AM and I juggle two jobs, children and their needs, and the jobs that need to be done around here. Things like exercise just don't get done. Social life, that's a laugh. I spend most of my time mentally and physically exhausted.

If I had to pinpoint one area of life that needs addressing it's this. I would love to find permanent part-time work (hard to find in this high unemployment area of Aus), so that I didn't feel the need to take whatever is offering, and I can get more control of what happens, both for my own sake and for the family.

Enough of the whingeing!

We've just had some houseguests from the UK for the last few days, two young girls, distant relatives of AM who have been travelling around Australia. The last few days have been spent showing them around the natural delights of the South Coast. It's great to do this every so often. It really makes you appreciate where you live.


Sincerely, Emily said...

Hi Paola, You sound busy, but good. I have been visiting my parents in Minnesota for the past week & I am now home and catching up. Just finished reading your posts for the past week. (I am a cat person - don't hold that one against me please) we have just always had cats growing up & I just wouldn't trade them in for anything. Someday would like a dog, but we just aren't around enough to give one the attention it needs. I have a question about your marmalade post. I want to start canning when we get our garden going (tomato, beets, etc), but I am having some confusion. I know there is hot water bath canning, there is pressure canning, and then.......what you did with you marmalade (set it on the counter)...that is the part that confuses me. So you reused a jar that maybe jam came in from the store. You washed/sterilized and put in the over - I know that sterilizes the jar and heats it up. You are boiling-simmering your mixture. I am not really sure what my direct question is...why would one hot bath jam (say raspberry jam) when they could do this method of setting it on the counter. Does it depend on the item (type of berry, orange, tomato). I know someone told me she does her tomatoes this way (set one counter). So why would one spend 10-20-40 minutes over a hot bath when they could do this??? I know pressure canning reduces the time. I have also read that one should do hot bath for one thing, but pressure canning for another. ahhhhhhh. Just trying to figure some of it out. I know you are busy and I know this is a long and drawn out question, but maybe (when you have time) you can shed some light on some of this for me. Thanks. Emily

Paola said...

Emily, whew, that's quite a question! I'm afraid I can't shed any light on the advantages of hot water baths as against what I do with my marmalade. Perhaps it extends the life of the preserve? I'm not sure. And I've never felt the need to try out the hot water bath method, because the method I use seems to work fine. I have to say, though, I did a batch of pickled beetroot earlier this year that soon became mouldy. Perhaps a hot water bath would have been the go here. Do you read Rhonda's blog Down to Earth? I'm sure she has written about hot water baths here. Perhaps she may be able to shed more light.
Thanks for your comments, Emily.

Sincerely, Emily said...

Hi Paola, thanks. ya I know that was a big long question....thanks for your impute. I do read Rhonda Jean's blog and I need to go back and look at everything she does with canning. I think she does the same method you do on jams/preserves. In CA I had citrus all around me, so right now I wish I could walk across the street and get some oranges & make your marmalade to try it out. I know Rhonda Jean has done posts on refrigerator pickles and mustard pickles. I know how to do that stuff and will learn to pickle them so they can sit on the shelf (and beets like you mentioned too - YUMMY!). thanks again. Emily

Paola said...

Good luck with it all, Emily...