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Not So Wordless Wednesday

 

I know what you are thinking. I know!! And you are right. You are thinking: “I knew it couldn’t last.” There was no way she could do any more Wordless Wednesdays. It is a miracle she ever did three. There are just too many words in her. She always has some thing to say.”

Today I am sharing some pictures of Columbus showcasing how much rain we have gotten this year.

It was so wet this spring that Columbus and Central Ohio farmers were 8-10 weeks late planting corn. Their fields were under water. I wondered if we would even have any corn. Fortunately, we did. And it was sweeter than any in recent memory.

We had a wet summer too. And then we had a very wet fall. It seemed like for every day of sun we had three or four days of rain.

Columbus and the entire state for that matter, received RECORD rainfall this year. We are all a bit soggy.

As Examiner.com wrote:

If you feel like we’ve had a little more rain than usual this year, you aren’t wrong.  2011 will go down as the wettest year on record for not only Columbus, but the entire state of Ohio

In Columbus, as of 5pm Thursday, December 22nd we have seen 53.74” inches of precipitation for the year.  That puts us ahead of the old record of 53.16” set back in 1990 and nearly 16 inches above normal for the year. 

It wasn’t just Columbus however. Cincinnati smashed their all-time rainfall record of 57.58” also set back in 1990 with a whopping 72.17 inches of rain as of 5pm today. [Emphasis mine.]

Cleveland broke records too; Cleveland had 64.25 inches of rain this year. Compare all of these numbers to Seattle,WA, which got a paltry 34.41 inches of rain. The rainy city NOT.

However, we were lucky in Columbus, as there was not much flooding. Cincinnati and south eastern Ohio had some flooding but not as severe as in Northeastern United States. So for that we are all grateful.

All of the pictures below were taken in the last four days. I took a little over 200 pictures. One-hundred-four were good enough to save to my hard drive. Trying to narrow those down to a 10-12 picture photo essay was very dificult.

Rain Rain Go Away

FARMS

This is not a lake. It is not even a pond.

It  is a flooded corn field.

OLENTANGY RIVER

Columbus, Ohio was founded at the confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy Rivers. In my fall folilage photo essays, Colors and Palette,  I showed the Scioto River; never the Olentangy. The following pictures are of the Olentangy.

I wish I could get pictures of the Olentangy further up river. It is so picturesque and beautiful.  The Old Olentangy River Road follows it and is a two-lane Ohio Scenic Route. There is no place to safely or legally park and few safe palces to stand and take photos.

What you see in the next few pictures is part of the ever-growing Olentangy Bike Trail. You can also walk it as I did to take these pictures. The city is trying to link all of the various river trails in the city together into a network of connected trails and parks. You can read and view a video about it at this link: Bike Trail.

It rains a few days and the river gets flooded. Then the sun comes out for a few days and river goes down. Then it rains again and the water level gets high again.

Runoff from the swollen Olentangy into apartment complex yard and picnic area.

SCIOTO RIVER

This next set of pictures was taken at the Hayden Falls Park less than 3 miles from where I live. The water from this falls drains into the Scioto River, which is 15 inches higher than normal this year.

The Scioto River is 15 inches higher than normal. The river is much wider than normal, and  water is touching the tree branches on the river banks is how I can tell.

HAYDEN FALLS PARK

From the City of Columbus Parks Website:

This park includes a unique gorge habitat that only occurs along the western shore of the Scioto River. This ecosystem is home to a beautiful 35-foot waterfall and also rare and endangered plants.

I was going to do a Photo Essay here next spring because of all the beautful plants in this gorge.  However, the rain has turned this usually small falls into a torrent of beauty. 

I have never seen the falls this large before and I have lived here 25 years. If you click the park link above,  the very first picture of the falls shows you what it normally looks like. Normally it is only about a third or less wide than in this picture.

However, with all of the rain the watersheds are so deep and even flooded this is what we now have. Magnificent.

View from above or street side. This park sits below one of the busiest streets and intersections in Columbus.

Normally the waterflow from the falls into the Scioto River is at best about 12 inches wide. This year the water has flooded the area.

 

I am going to do another Photo Essay on Friday on just Hayden Falls Park so you can see more of the incredible gorge and more of this magnificent park.

WISHING YOU A HAPPY NEW YEAR
Featured Recipe    Pork with Sauerkraut and Mashed Potatoes

One of the finest and most delicious of  German traditions is eating pork and sauerkraut with mashed potatoes on New Year’s Day. German tradition and folklore has it that eating pork and sauerkraut on the first day of the New Year brings good luck and prosperity. 

The more likely explanation is the harvest season. Cabbage is a late fall crop. One of the best ways to preserve cabbage is to brine it. It takes about six to eight weeks for cabbage to turn into kraut. So if the cabbage was harvested in late October the sauerkraut would be ready just as the New Year approached.

Hogs were often slaughtered in the fall as well so that a family would have meat throughout the winter months.

However the tradition began the combination of pork and sauerkraut is definitely a delicious one. Any kind of pork will do. Many people make a pork roast. For some reason my mother used pork spare ribs.

OUR SECRET

The best part of this recipe is how easy it is to make. Everyone will think you slaved and worked all day. Don’t tell anyone anything different. It is a secret just between you and me!

This is what you will need:

About 1 pound of baby back ribs for each person (I have almost 3 pounds)

About 32 ounces of jarred or packaged sauerkraut

1 large onion

Salt and pepper to taste

For the Mashed Potatoes:

1 potato for each person being served

About 2 tablespoons butter, maybe more, depends

1-2 tablespoons milk or cream, maybe more, depends*

Salt and pepper to taste

*NOTE: Milk is perfectly fine. I had cream already in the fridge so I used some of it up. That is the ONLY reason I used cream this time. Normally and usually I use milk.

Here is what you do.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Salt and pepper both sides of the ribs.

Cut the onion in half, and then into slices.

Place them in a roasting pan.

Add the sauerkraut. (I used up the left overs from the Mini-Reuben’s too.) Spread it evenly on top of the onions.

Place the ribs on top.

Place in the oven for about 1 hour give or take a few minutes. Do not over cook as the pork will dry up. Dry pork is not tasty. You want nice and juicy ribs.

Turn the ribs twice during the cooking. You may also need to add a bit of water to the sauerkraut if the liquid dries up too fast, so be sure to check.

When done remove from the oven and tent some foil over them for about 10 minutes to let the juices redistribute.

While the ribs are roasting put enough water to hold all of the potatoes up to boil.

 Peel the potatoes and dice into cubes. I do that the following way.

Cut the potato length wise into 4 pieces.

Then cut each of those pieces into 4 slices. Then cut those slices into cubes.

I like to cut the potatoes into small cubes. My mother cut them into big chunks. And it took forever for them to cook. The smaller cubes take much less time. Depending upon the type of potato cooking time is around 15-20 minutes or so. Test them with a knife or a fork to be sure. They should be tender enough to mash easily.

When the water is boiling add some salt and the potatoes and cook until tender.

When the potatoes are ready here is what you will need to mash the potatoes, unless you want to use a hand mixer. A mixer is best if you are making potatoes for lots of people. But for 2 or 3 like I am making I prefer by hand. For that you will need a large bowl, a hand masher, and a wooden spoon.

I prefer real potatoes to boxed or packaged. Tatses better and less expensive.

When cooked through drain the potatoes.

Add a little of the butter to the mixing bowl, then add the potatoes. Start mashing. Mash until the potatoes are as smooth as you can get them. By the way, mashing potatoes  is a good way to get rid of stress. Just mash those sweet things and you will feel stress melt away.

Then add the rest of the butter, some cream starting with about 1 tablespoon and some salt and pepper.

Using a wooden spoon, (I have found a wooden spoon to be the best way to whip the potatoes.) whip the potatoes until smooth and fluffy. You may need to add a bit more butter and/or cream.

This next picture is how the potatoes look after whipping with the wood spoon. If necessary to get out any lingering lumps mash with the masher again and whip a bit more with the spoon, adding a bit more butter and/or milk if necessary.

Now is the moment you have been waiting for ~ Eating this lucious meal.

Place everything on a plate and dig in. You can use a fork (picture 1) or use your hands to eat the ribs. I do a little of both. I start with a fork, but to get all the meat off the bone fingers are best.

Bon Appetit!!!!
Wishing you lots good luck and prosperity in the New Year!!!!!
Cost

Baby back ribs          $9.95

Sauerkraut               $3.29

1 large onion            $0.99

Salt and pepper

Total Cost = $14.23
Cost per person for 3/1 pound servings = $4.74
Cost of Mashed Potatoes

2 potatoes                    $1.49

2 tablespoons butter      $0.51

1-2 tablespoons cream   $0.37

Salt and pepper to taste

Total cost = $2.37
Cost per person for 2 = $1.19
Total cost of entire meal = $16.60
Cost per person = $5.53

Quote of the Day

Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.

Hal Borland
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