It's been too long since my last update. I started work on a new project at Company O. a couple weeks ago. As I finish the transition from the old work to the new, I find that the new work is very rewarding, but very intense. It is new software technology that we are attempting to pair with pretty much state of the art new computer hardware. That sort of thing is generally a recipe for trouble, and this project is proving to be no exception. We're making progress, but we are also fighting for every step because of poor documentation, incompatible hardware, and the learning curve associated with new technology. The intensity of the project is starting to intrude on my sleep; I awoke early in the morning with lots of thoughts (some work-related, some not) running around in my head... and I cannot fall back to sleep.
Things haven't been all work recently though. I got to go visit with friends D. and J. last weekend. The city where they live was having a blues festival, and their house is located not far from the location of the main stage. So, I went over there, got to drink some good wine and beer, got to eat some good BBQ, and listened to live blues from their front porch.
I was asked to bring a dessert item, so I made a blueberry pie from scratch:
I was grateful for the excuse, because I spotted the fresh blueberries in the produce section of the market a few days before and had been dying to make one.
Blueberry pie is always associated with a special set of memories for me. My grandmother often used to make pies from wild blueberries (which we called huckleberries) that she used to either pick at a local "u-pick" farm or buy at a local farmer's market (before they were really called farmer's markets.) I even remember going to pick huckleberries a few times, in a relative's back yard. There are two kinds of huckleberry bushes, those close to the ground ("low limbers") or those that get to be a couple feet tall ("high limbers"). The berries I remember picking were generally low limbers. My grandmother used to take these and turn them into these marvelous fruit pies, that I used to relish because they were a "summertime only" seasonal item.
I didn't have the family recipe for blueberry pie filling handy, so I dug out the 1970-vintage copy of "The Joy of Cooking" that we inherited from Mrs. Geek's late mother. After recently re-watching the "Urban Preservation I" episode of Good Eats, I discovered that a berry pie filling is essentially a thick jam, with fruit, some sugar, a thickener to assist natural pectin, and an acid. In this case, the fruit was two packages of fressh blueberries, the thickener was a cornstarch slurry, the sugar was cane sugar, and the acid was a little lemon juice.
The pie was very well recieved. D. commented that she didn't like the amount of salt I put in either the crust or the crumb top... which lead to some debate between D., J., and myself. On the other hand, D. noted that she went back for a second slice of pie... and she doesn't like berry pie and NEVER does that. J. and I. just loved it. I took some leftover pie home with me and it didn't last 36 hours once it got back here.
So that's it. Things have been busy, very busy. But there has been some time for fun too. Now if I could just sleep a little bit better.
on 2006-07-16 at 12:54 p.m.
The Wayback Machine - To Infinity And Beyond