Friday, January 29, 2010

Yay for Friday!

Dude, check out the birds. All that black out in the field across the road? Birds! This wasn't even as big as most of the flocks that come through. It gets a little creepy when they all line up on the phone lines and the neighbors' roof and watch me get the mail.
Smudge helped us sort our seeds this past weekend.

I can't wait to get my hands in the dirt! I think gardening might me like a snowballing kind of hobby. At first I hated it, but now, I'm really looking forward to doing it some more. Weird.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I'd like to go back to being awesome now, thank you.

On Monday I woke up with one of those stiff necks that feels like you might have actually injured yourself in your sleep, and can't turn your head more than a fraction either way... so frustrating!

I decided that maybe it would be best to keep moving in spite of it, and maybe it would losen up, but I don't think that's the right prescription in that situation since it didn't feel much better at all Monday evening. So, yesterday I spent much of the day on the couch with a heating pad, and it feels a little better this morning, if slightly sore.

So, between being sick last week, and having such a bad neck this week, I'm feeling like a mess! I haven't worked out all that much, and just want to get back to doing that and feeling good again.

I have a few small goals for this week, and now that I can move my head and all, I'm hoping to get some fun things done.

Today, I have chicken breasts and hamburger to cook up and freeze, since we bought extra during some good sales this past weekend. There's laundry to do, and I have some articles to write and submit for AC.

Other things I want to accomplish this week include finishing that project for Adam. My sewing machine broke about ten minutes from the end last week, and once I pick it up from the shop, I can finish this right up and send it out.

I'm in the middle of an experiment making fermented ginger soda. My starter hasn't gotten bubbly yet, but I've moved it to a much warmer place, so I'm hoping I can get that mixed up and fermenting in the carboy this week. I'll definately update more on that when I see how it goes.

I'm planning to get some seeds planted. I've recently read about a technique called winter sowing, where you plant seeds in "mini-greenhouses" (containers covered in plastic) outside in the winter, and let them do their thing till it's transplant time. This makes so much sense to me!! Seeds sit on the ground all winter and then they grow on their own, so it doens't make a ton of sense to trick them into coming up early in the house, and then struggle for 4-6 weeks to give them light, and keep them warm, and keep them from growing fungus, and keep them watered, when all I have to do is let nature tell them when they want to come up and make sure they have water occasionally.

I would like to try another batch of soap, this time with some fancier ingredents and add-ins, for using in the bathrooms. I don't know yet if I can do that this week or not though, since I haven't picked a recipe. It'll depend on whether I have the ingredients on hand or not if I wait till next week.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Celebrity Collage by MyHeritage

MyHeritage: Celebrity Collage - Geneology - Genealogy software

Because girls who wear glasses are interchaneable... ;D

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Wishbone Intro

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Friday, January 22, 2010

Guess what I did today...

No, I didn't remove asbestos laden insulation. Or explore an alien ship in my backyard. Or map the human genome.

I made soap!

So here's why all the safety gear:

Ben thinks I'm accident-prone. (I will never understand where he gets that idea!) So, the deal was that if I'm gonna work with lye and make soap, I have to suit up in all the safety stuff he deems necessary.

Everything worked out fine. Though those darn safety glasses fogged up a lot by the time I hit trace with the mixing. How exactly is it extra safe not to be abe to see?

I used the recipe here for soap made with Crisco. I used generic Aldi shortening that I had around that tasted so bad it wrecked frostings and cookies, so I retired it to cast iron seasoning only. It's a very simple beginning recipe with only three ingredients, so I wanted to use it for my first try, since it's the easiest soap there is. I'm planning to use it in the laundry soap instead of Fels Naptha. Next, I'll try some nice smelling soap for us to use.

I do think that my pot may be too wide, and so the liquid wasn't quite deep enough to keep the stick blender from whipping in a lot of air. I'm not sure if that'll be a big deal to the finished product or not.

My soap's all wrapped tight in an all towel in my orange juice carton mold saponifying away. On Monday I'll post some pics of the un-molding and cutting process and the finished soap. There was no way I was going to be able to take pictures while I was doing the soapmaking it's self for the first time.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Woke Up Sick

This morning, I woke up sick with gunky nose and ears, a sore throat and cough, and sweating and shivering. Unpleasant.

So, I'm under orders to stick to the couch and drink at least one pot of the rooibos echinacea tea that I concocted for The Boss when he was not feeing well last week. (wonder where I picked this bug up then...)

Good thing I was at the library last night! I have a stack of books all about soap making and herbal medicine to study. So, I can still be very productive while sitting still in this case. I'm planning to spend the day studying, and maybe napping if the mood strikes. I hope I'll be feeling better tomorrow, so I can get some actual making and doing and cleaning done!

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

One of Those Good Feeling Sort of Days

You ever have a day that's just like every other day, but for some reason is just a wonderful day?

So, other than feeling just plain great, today I'm dehydrating some tangerines that we picked up on Saturday for a great price at Soulard Market.

I started a lacto-fermented soda base today. I don't know much about it, but it looked like a fun experiment to try.

I'm thinking I might set up my new sprouter that just came in the mail from Amazon. I'm very excited about that.

So, things here are going well, and I'm feeling cozy and insulated by all this fog!

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

My China

This year, my mom gave me her wedding china. I'm thrilled to have it, I've always loved it so much. When I was middle school/high school, we'd use it every year at Thanksgiving and Easter. I'd always tell her that I'd pick a pattern just like it, if I were to get married. So that's why she wanted me to have it.

Isn't it pretty! I just love the way it's sliver trimmed instead of gold, and the blues and greys were my very favorite colors for the longest time. Still are up on the list.

Anyway, it's a huge amount of china, a seven piece place setting with service for twelve. With serving pieces. My mother in law has these cool little vinyl cases for storing her different china sets in, and I thought they were just the niftiest things. Well, when she was here at Thankgiving, she was admiring my new china, and I think she could tell that I was maybe a tiny bit overwhelmed with the responsibility that I'd just inherited. So, being the lovely woman she is, for Christmas she got me a nifty set of china cases.

Of course, it being the largest china set in existence (lol), I had to get another smaller set as well to hold it all. But the ten cases hold every bit of it safely and well.

Now to just figure out where the cased up china will go.

For those of you interested in china patterns and such....
I know there are people who really are interested in pattern names and companies but it's something I just don't know anything about. Anyway, this china was made by Mikasa, and the pattern is named Barbizon.

The story my mom told me about the set goes like this:
When she and dad where engaged and the wedding was coming up (which was the whole engagement, they were only engaged from the middle of July to the beginning of October) she worked at Northern Tube, as a receptionist, I think. So, they had this catalog sort of deal where other companies would give discounts to employees, and this china set was in there. She just loved it, so she bought the entire set (which is why it's a full set... it wasn't put together piecemeal, like a lot of wedding china is). At her bridal shower they displayed a place setting of the china, so that everyone could see what it looked like and know that any gifts of money would be going toward paying for it.

I'm just loving the font that the nifty china case maker people use on their inserts. I think I need to monogram something with that font.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Might I Suggest...

Say you'd like to
-eat healthier food
-save money on your grocery bill
-eat organically grown food
-eat home grown, or locally grown food
-have green vegetables in the winter time even if some Damn Bunny ate all your pea and bean plants last spring and you never did get enough to freeze or can....

Growing sprouts is the answer. Here are some of my favorite benefits:
-you only have to keep them alive for a week or so. That's about my limit with house plants, so it's perfect for me! :)
-they're super cheap. That regular sized salad spinner full of sprouts started out as 2 Tbs of mixed sprout seeds which cost about $.70 at my local health food store, though plain alfalfa sprouts woud only cost about $.30 for the same amount.
-though the seeds aren't locally produced, they take up much less space and processing and transportation than, say, a bag of salad would, since they're food in a fairly compact form.
-They're great on sandwiches, in salads, on wraps, or tacos, or just plain.

I sprouted these in a jar, which is plenty easy. The trick is remembering to rinse them at least twice a day so they won't get sour or moldy.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Bed

It's where all the cool cats go to hang out.

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Friday, January 08, 2010

Happy Birthday, Elvis!

It is such a cold and snowy day! A little better than yesterday was, I suppose, but not much. It's very windy out, so I'm doing my best to stay inside where it's cozy and warm. The chickens won't come out of their coop either, so I figure I can be at least as smart as a chicken is, and stay snug in my coop.

I'm working on a project for Adam that he's wanted me to get done for a while now. I just had to make the time to work on it. It's a fun one, I even got to use my projector! I can't be specific or post pictures yet, though, just in case some people who are supposed to be surprised by it happen to see my blog today.

After I finish sewing and my Friday chores, I'll probably settle in with a movie and some knitting. I still haven't finished Ben's mittens, and I've decided that the hat I made him for Christmas is slightly too small, so I'm feeling compelled to make another one a bit larger.

One thing I won't be doing today is making dinner. Yay for pizza night!

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

I have an Agri-Crush on Joel Salatin

On Monday night, Ben and I watched Food Inc. It's a fascinating film, and I really recommend it. It was a lot like a movie version of The Omnivore's Dilemma, which is a pretty good thing to have. It's easier to get people to watch a movie to read a book, so I'm actually thinking about buying it and making everyone I know watch it.

Anyway, the filmmakers visit Polyface Farm and interview Joel Salatin. It's amazing to see him speak about his farming system and food production. One, it's just great to see someone who is so passionate and excited about something. The fact that it's his own farming system that gets him so geeked is pretty endearing. I get pretty geeked every time I explain about Polyface to someone. And secondly, it's not too often that I hear someone say things that I think. I've hardly ever read anything or saw anything quoted from him and have not agreed.

I wonder if he has many farm-groupies?


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Monday, January 04, 2010

No More Christmas Vacation

Well, my self-granted winter break is over now, and it's back to work. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday, and I'm wishing all my readers and friends and family a blessed and joyful year ahead!

I certainly took advantage of my vacation, and had all sorts of relaxing, eating candy canes while watching movies, playing with nieces and nephews, visiting with sisters and brothers, hanging out with my parents, tv marathons with Ben, going out to the movies, random crafting, junk food eating, zoo going, museum seeing, walking in the cold sunshine, going out with friends, spending time in prayer and at church, good book reading FUN!

I don't generally make resolutions for the New Year, since I (like Sister Mary Martha) think that if there's something to start, or something to change, it should just be done now, whenever now happens to be. But I do find myself making lots of plans at this time of year, since the holiday busy-ness is over, and winter is a slow time in the garden and with the outside chores, January and February are my times for reading, learning, planning, sewing, writing, etc. There are a few things I'm planning to learn/practice/accomplish in the next couple of months, that I hope to share here on my (slightly neglected) blog.

Coming Attractions:

  • Learn to make soap! This is something I've been wanting to do for a while, but I was intimidated by the lye. Well, it was more that everyone else I know seems to be, so I was hestitant to try something so many people thought was ridiculously dangerous. I've come to the conclusion that though it is dangerous to work with lye, it can be done with precaution and common sense without anyone getting killed. Something soapmakers have always known.
  • Get some sewing done! I have lots of fabric available for workout pants and t-shirts, plus a worn out pair of pants to cut up and use as a pattern. Nothing stopping me now but procrastination.
  • Use a planner to put in place and implement a cleaning schedule. This is so not my style, but I'm going to have to start using a planner/binder soon anyway, because I'm any officer in my HCE chapter starting this month, and my deep cleaning seems to get out of hand easily, especially during the summer months when I'm also very busy outside. Having a written schedule will work much better than the hit or miss approach of planning to clean the bathrooms every week, but not really doing it till they're dirty or company comes.
  • Finish knitting a sweater and a pair of socks for myself, and a pair of mittens for Ben. These are the bare minimum knitting goals, and I'm hoping to have them done in the next two weeks or so.
  • Learn more about writing articles for AC. I resist learning keyword density/SEO stuff, but I think I could really make a lot more money on Associated Content with just a small effort to try those things.

Those are a few of my winter goals which I'd like to get done before it gets busy in the garden again. I've got spots ready for lettuce this year, so I should get to start planting in Feb/March. Short (but so cold!) winters here.

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