winter

winter

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Productive day!

So far today, I have folded and put away four loads of laundry. I have sorted out all the clothes that the boys have out grown and put them aside to go to Goodwill. I have gotten out their outfits for tomorrow and their pajamas for tonight. (It's bath night, so things are probably going to get a bit wacky this evening.) I had a quick visit from my Auntie Adrian and my paternal Grandmother.

I have gotten a lot of yard work done also. I repotted some paperwhites. I'm hoping that they'll perk up and put out flowers now that they're in full sun. If not, there's always next year. I put up the hook for hanging plants out on the front porch. I have gotten the first layer of material down for the flowerbed that I am making and in doing so, tossed my used soil from last year. I also have potted my basil and oregano plants. I then pulled a bunch of weeds and a great deal of dead wood out of the edges of the back yard. I am going to work to push back the brush to the property edges.

There is a spot where previous folk had dumped things. I am going to turn that area into a composting heap. Right now, there is just a big ol' pile of sticks there. I plan on taking some of those sticks and using them to make a partition under the deck so that one section can be for yard care tools and the other for more social uses. I also made another bird feeder. I filled up both the feeders and hung the second one up in a tree.

I made a point of putting twigs into the feeders so that the birds have a place to perch when they use them. I think that will make them more attractive to the birds. I am seriously considering putting a few birdhouses on stakes in the flower bed. I think it would be charming and help make the spot have more vertical appeal.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Ugh, it's Monday.

It was a very long Monday. I didn't get the devotional prayer time that I was hoping for. At the same time, however, I did get a 2 1/2 mi walk despite the drizzly weather. The trees are beginning to get a blush of green to them. The maple out front is in bloom and wafting pollen everywhere. As such, Snuggle Bug and I have been having fun with allergies. I'm pretty sure that as the season progresses, this will just become more intense.

After a conversation with Beloved, I think we finally have hammered out what we're going to be doing for food. I don't think OAMC is going to be our silver bullet. It works great for some folks, but between my small freezer and what our cooking choices are, I have to stick with predominantly fresh materials.

Our meals (in not particular order)
  • Hamburgers & salad  (Mon)
  • Pizza (Fri)
  • Pasta Bake / Spaghetti  (Tues)
  • Pasta salad (wed)
  • Pot roast, potatoes, hot veggie (thurs)
  • Soup & sandwiches (sat)
  • Momma's choice (sun)
We're going to be making a minor change to the weekend schedule to accomodate this and I'll be doing laundry in the middle of the day, rather then the evening. I'm fairly sure that this will not cause any problems, as this will be when Snuggle Bug is napping and Cuddle Bear is reading books or playing quietly. It's at that time that I go and do my grocery shopping on Saturdays.

I am thinking about how to get more vegetables and fruit into the diet. I'm pretty sure that my stomach discomfort earlier today was due to two things. One, the fast food that I ate over the weekend. Two, my not having enough fiber in my diet. I figure if Momma is having tummy issues because of this, it's quite likely that the whole household is dealing with a manifestation of this on some level.

My success today was getting the kids to eat fruit laden crisps (envision smushed fruit between crackers) with dinner. I know that those went over well because Snuggle Bug was carrying his around the house as he chewed on it. And Cuddle Bear polished his off right after he finished his sandwich tonight. I think it is going to take more efforts like that to get them to eat healthier. 3 to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables is the goal. In eating those three crisps, they got three servings of fruit. I'm not sure what I'm going to do next.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Recycling teapots!

So, I have one tea pot that I turned into a planter. In the pot, I have cuttings from the white wandering jew that I have trying to conquer the world. The boys (namely Snuggle Bug) have kept pulling out the bit that I had put down the spout. I'm going to try Supermomnocape's trick of putting some soil down the spout and putting my cutting in that way.

I have another tea pot that I am going to plant with a combination of wandering jew and ivy. The planters are probably going to sit out in the project room/office for hubby to keep them safe from small hands. I have been flirting with the idea of acquiring another to make into a planter with the geranium that desperately needs a new pot into. It is not so much a matter of the pot itself is the problem or that the plant is growing too big for it.

The problem with the geranium is that my youngest child finds the leaves fascinating and loves to pull them off. He likes the tactile sensation of the leaves pulling off and the fact that his hands smell different after doing so. This makes me concerned for my herbs this year. I'm pretty sure that he will be delighted to decimate my mint. (And the typo just a moment a go was 'mind' not 'mint.' LOL)

One of the planters is going to go to my MiL. The other is going to be a joint gift to my Mom and my paternal Grandmother. If I do a third planter, I'll be keeping it for myself to add a touch of whimsy to my gardening efforts on the back deck. I have been eying the glazed giant sized tea cup planters that Walmart has. I'm seriously thinking about getting a pair to grow some miniature tea roses in.

If I am going to do that, I will most definitely be putting them in that bed that I am going to be doing this year. I will make a point of putting flowers in them that will be showy and exciting for the children. And making the bed look like a tea party for giants. Because whimsy is always a great thing in gardening.

Junk food for lunch, because I can!

Today started off uncomfortable because of my knees. I took something for it, but they're still just terribly painful. It's not as bad as it was the first thing this morning, which I am thankful for. I really, REALLY hate the fact that I have arthritic knees. At the same time, I am really, REALLY thankful for the fact that I now know why my knees hurt and give me problems. I have no words for how reassuring it is to know that it's not something that is 'just in your head' as I was told in the past.

I am being bad and having junk food for lunch. I will admit, my version of junk food doesn't entirely match up with other people's vision of it. The things that came closest to that are the sweettart jelly beans (I have a new candy love!) and the potato chips. I've also been indulging in pickles and my sauerkraut. So, a lot of salt and a lot of sugar. Oh, and let us not forget my gummy bear addiction!

I'm pretty sure that this isn't a warning sign of a migraine but just a random whim. In the event that this is my body gearing up for a migraine, I've already got my battle plans for this afternoon figured out. We're going to be reading books and playing with quiet toys (trains, cars, etc.) rather then having the boys howling around the house with their guitars at the top of their lungs.

According to my menu, dinner tonight is slated to be tacos. Since I used a crock pot liner yesterday, I can just throw the meat into the crock pot and let it cook down. I'm considering using another crock pot liner because it makes one less thing to wash. I'm going to be using a version of this recipe for dinner tonight. I'm going to use my handy dandy jar of chili powder, rather then mixing up the spices. (Because why do more work when I don't have to, am I right?)

We're low on soft taco shells, but I think Beloved will forgive me that. We've got some large tortillas in the freezer that I can just warm up. I'm looking forward to trying my fermented salsa today. It looks really tasty. It's a very basic, very mild salsa. I'm pretty sure that even the kids will eat it. I'm going to have some of the hard shells for my tacos and I am going to try giving the boys some for their dinner tonight.

They looked at the soft tacos with suspicion the last few times I tried serving them. I'm hoping that maybe the hard tacos will be more to their liking. It may just be that they're not interested in tacos.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Productive day, yay!

I have dinner going in the crock pot. I'm pretty sure that the boys will be delighted with pasta bake, even if it isn't out of the oven. I am going to be using it later this week to whip up taco meat. My goal is to use the crock pot for at least one meal a week. Since the kids have decided they love pasta bake, I am going to have a fairly easy time with that, I think.

I purchased a package of crock pot liners a little while back. I have to say, they are quite handy. At the same time, I feel that I need to come up with something that is more eco-friendly then the plastic bags. My crock pots both have enough texture to the inside that just spraying them with some oil isn't going to cut it. I am sure that as I scope out the different places I can find tips and tricks for how to get the most out of my crock pot, I'll stumble on to something.

I took three garbage bags of old clothes and toys that the kids no longer play with out to the thrift store. I confess, I was a little bit bad and I picked up a scarf, a wooden crate (tiny sized), and a tea pot. The tea pot that Heartfullofstars gave me a little while back was missing a top. It is a beautiful tea pot, but it just wasn't working right for me. Then, as I was window shopping through the aisles, I stumbled onto the PERFECT tea pot. It was just the right size, it looked beautiful, and it had the most important element, a lid. I am still going to use the tea pot that Heartfullofstars gave me.

Just as I took the tea pot that Snuggle Bug broke and I turned it into a planter, I am going to do the same with this one. I have a few plants that are trying to conquer the world. Taking some cuttings and rooting them should be incredibly easy. And since they're plants that like to be damp, the lack of drainage won't be a problem with this potting arrangement.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Knitting for fun and profit!

I've cast on and got a few inches knit of a shawl. I'm using a really basic pattern. It's just knitting a triangle. I'm using size 10 needles. My yarn is the Peaches n' Cream Ivy League color way. I'm optimistic that the two large balls that I have will be enough for this project. If not, I am fairly sure that more of this colorway will be easily available.

I've decided to take a break from my crochet squares for this month. I have been working on my crochet socks and I just started this knitting project. My goal is to get the shawl finished by the end of the season. I keep looking at my pile of squares and feel a little guilty for not seaming them together. I'll probably work on that next week. I really want to finish my socks before it's too warm for me to be wearing them. They're wool done in the bright pink colorway that Lion Brand calls 'cotton candy'.

My efforts with my fermented pickles have yielded results a little faster then I had expected. Snuggle Bug tried one of the carrot pickles and declared them to be yummy. I think I may have somebody to share my delight in these pickles with. :) The salsa is beginning to fizz a bit. I'm hopeful that it will prove especially tasty. Like a good witchy poo, I am writing down the recipes. I figure after a year of experimenting and such, I should have enough heritage recipes and techniques to put together a small cookbook.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ginger, clove, and carrots!

I have a recipe that I was encouraged to try from some folks that I chat with via Facebook. It is another fermented pickle recipe. I had a bit of ginger that originally I was going to use to make a 'ginger bug' and then attempt a fermented beverage with it. When Beloved voiced is disagreement with my taking up brewing at this time, I pounced on the next thing I was planning on doing with ginger - these carrot pickles.

I guess it was about two months ago that I stumbled on to the Vlasic Farmer's Garden pickles. Now, I'm not usually one to bandy about name brand products. I must confess, when I picked up these new pickles it was expecting an indifferent to disappointed response. The cucumbers that were in the batch were like normal pickles. Then I got to the other vegetables and made an extraordinary discovery. I LOVE pickled carrots.

Last year, when I made the fermented pickles, I was quite delighted with how they came out. I remembered how easy they were to make and I decided that I had to try out making some fermented pickled carrots. Upon reading some of the directions that folks have shared for how to make 'em, I took out my supplies and whipped this together. The carrots have only just begun their fermenting period. The directions that I have been reading says that at their earliest they'll be ready in three days. I am eagerly awaiting when they are ready.

In the meantime, I have my sauerkraut to enjoy. If I can find where I put the other quart jar, I am going to whip up a batch of fermented salsa. I'll probably inoculate the salsa like I did the carrots, with a tablespoon of the liquid from the sauerkraut. It has the lactobacillus culture that I want in my pickles. I've read about other people having success in getting their ferments going well based off of an inoculation from another ferment, so I'm hopeful that this one will be successful as well.

Here's the recipe (approximately).

1 1/2 in ginger, cut into slices
5 medium carrots, cut into slices
1 tsp whole clove

Combine all the above into a quart sized jar. Add 2 tbsp salt (or a bit of the liquid from another fermented pickle you've got going). Let it sit at room temperature, covered with a bit of cheesecloth for 3 days. Weigh your carrots down to keep them from acquiring mold.

I'll post my results from this 'experiment' in a few days. I expect it to be delicious.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Doing some housekeeping.

I am going through stuff I have posted on Triond to pull the material relating to The Red Chair. This is in preparation for getting the manuscript ready to send off to the editor. The project has been languishing for almost a year because I hit a block. Now that the block is cleared, I think I can have it completed in a few weeks.

I'm actually taking a break from working on it right now to eat lunch. A cup of tea and some ramen noodles makes up my lunch today. Tonight was supposed to be pizza night but I have discovered that we're missing some of the ingredients that I usually use for making the pizza. So, we're going to be having tacos, which was originally on the menu for yesterday but it got skipped in favor of taking the kids out for ice cream. Yes, I spoiled my boys and on the day that it was 75 in April, we had ice cream for dinner. And you know what, it was glorious!

I would have preferred to do home made salsa for dinner tonight but I don't have what I need for that either. So, it is a good thing that I bought jarred salsa when I got the taco fixings last week. I am pretty sure that Beloved won't miss the lettuce that I usually put in it. I completely forgot to get it when I was buying groceries. Some how I remembered the sour cream but forgot the lettuce.

I have started another batch of sauerkraut. This time it is using red cabbage. I know that the last batch was delicious. I'm hopeful that this one will be equally awesome. As I have been looking at recipes for different kinds of fermented pickles, I am finding myself strongly tempted to make ginger carrots. I accidentally discovered that I really enjoy pickled carrots. Since I like my homemade pickles, I am going to give making the carrots a try next week.

Beloved has quite firmly stated that he doesn't want me to take up brewing. To be honest, he has nothing but good reasons for his objections. With the possibility of the bottles exploding and making a disaster of the apartment, I can't exactly argue against his logic. I am seriously contemplating asking my friends who do brewing to make up a bottle of something special for me in return for some pickles and jam. I think it would only be fair to trade home made goodness for home made goodness.

I am not entirely pleased how things turned out with my second attempt at sourdough. That, however, was because of mistakes I made in how I was handling the starter. I got one good loaf of bread out of it. And then I forgot about the starter and it went bad on me. I think I need a better way to contain the starter then just a bowl. I am going to look into my options, but the prospect of using one of the wide mouth canning jars that I have kicking around is looking better by the minute.

I am planning to get an iced tea jug with a spout when those things go on clearance. I'm probably going to hunt down one of the plastic ones. I drink a lot of iced tea during the warmer seasons. Rather then dealing with a milk jug, I'm thinking that if I have one of those gallon jugs with a spigot that it will be easier to fill and tend and such. I have been looking at various flavored water recipes floating around on the internet. (See what I did there? LOL) While I am intrigued by them, I can't exactly justify buying a whole watermelon for that (for example). I am thinking that if I do a little planning, I can possibly get stuff that would do double duty.

But that's what's rambling around through my mind right now. Now I must gather up the pieces that I will be submitting for the art show and make myself another cup of tea. Then it's back to writing I go!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I'M PUBLISHED! W00000T!!!

Here's the link to the book. Please consider purchasing a copy! It is under one of my oldest pen names, Lady Brythwen Sinclair. This is the first of what is going to be a collection of work produced under this pen name. I am in the midst of compiling religious/mystical poetry that I've written. My plan is to publish this as a companion book to Rose Petals. Look for that in a few months.

I also plan on publishing some other material via this method. I have an old manuscript that I hand bound years ago for my cousins. I am going to recreate it and publish it. My plan is to send them copies for Yule. Considering that it is a children's book, I think that my cousin Alicia will get a lot of mileage out of it with her little boy. And the idea of this being something that gets carried on to another member of the family tickles me pink.

Folks who are following my erotica literature, by the end of the year, there will be a collection of short stories available. I will still be adding material to the blog. Some of the previously published material from the blog will be expanded and additional content will be added. It is my plan to have this finished by December of this year.

I am totally stoked right now! This is so exciting!

Thoughts on Boston Marathon Bombing.

I am fairly sure the blogosphere is entirely a twitter with people's thoughts and considerations on the events of yesterday. I have been thinking about it and about the way Facebook lit up with exhortations of people to pray for the victims (and first responders). I don't want to come off as a callous bastard but I sit here and all I can feel is disgust. Disgust for the people who perpetrated this heinous act, disgust for the knee jerk responses on Facebook, and disgust for the inevitable hatred that people will spew as they attempt to place blame for the act.

I recognize that what happened yesterday was a horrific thing. I feel badly that it happened but I can't bring myself to feel the awful sense of mourning that others seem to put on like an old coat, if you go by the frequency of requests of prayers, virtual candles, and similar sentiments posted on FB. I am relieved that none of my direct kin were affected by this. I am disappointed and disgusted by the act and the carnage. I am proud of those who put themselves into danger to help complete strangers. I sincerely hope that casualties will be limited and that all injured make a full recovery.

All of this said, what good does it do to post for quite possibly the 200th time in your friends' feeds that what happened was a bad thing? It is a statement of the obvious. Why are you asking them to pray for gods knows what iteration of that request you are? For the love of everything holy, refrain from this and put your sense of need to take action to rectify the problem into ACTION. Don't use pat statements to assuage your survivor's guilt or to assuage the nebulous sense of guilt that you feel obligated to have for not being directly affected by the events. Don't use FB posts to express your desire to have those harmed by this helped and leave it at that.

Pick yourself up and DO SOMETHING! If you feel obligated to pray for the injured parties, then pray. Don't announce to the world that you are doing it, spend your time engaged in it. It's one thing if you are letting people around you know that you are organizing something (ie 'hey guys, i'm going to donate blood, who's coming with me?' or 'i'm fund raising for the Red Cross, pls donate!' etc.). That is fantastic! Keep up the great work! Let more people know about your efforts offline to recruit as much assistance as you can for your cause. (I'm pro-activisim, even if it's for the opposite side of the causes I believe in because it means that you are standing up for your beliefs rather then paying lip service.)

With my ranting done, some may wonder just what I am doing in the wake of the tragedy. Some may ask if I don't want to help ease the suffering of those afflicted or if I don't want to see the perpetrators punished. I recognize that given the current circumstances of my family and life, I can do nothing more then pray for these people. I have done so. As for the punishment of the perpetrators, my feelings on that are the same as my feelings regarding ANY crime: the perpetrators should be apprehended and justice should be done. Note, I said justice. This means we allow the legal system to give them their day in court with a trial by jury, as is required by our laws.

Some may press the matter farther and demand that I agree with them that the offenders should be executed for their crimes. I would retort that their arguments, especially emotion based, are nothing more then a petty attempt at revenge, which is ultimately useless. Even the enormity of this crime does not make me support capital punishment. I refuse to support petty revenge, state sanctioned murder, or the execution of innocent people upon accident. So far, the arguments in favor of capital punishment boil down to approval of these things, if not the encouragement of the first in the list. I adamantly reject them.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Garden pics.

 Here are my tulips trying to come up.

 Yet more tulips and a few daffodils. I also have a wee bit of hyacinth trying to come up off to the side.

My daffodils trying to come up.

It's raining outside today. When the weather gets nice again, I am going to start cleaning up the flower bed. Then I am going to deal with my pots of soil and such. My plan is to get everything prepped for planting when the weather gets nice. I figure if I start on it now and work on it a little bit every chance I get, then I'll have a nice looking bit of container gardening and such in no time.

Monday, April 08, 2013

It's beginning to look like Spring!

I'll be posting pictures tomorrow, but my tulips, daffodils, and hyacinthe are sending up shoots. The lilac has put out green buds and the coltsfoot is blooming. I recognize that my allergies are going to be punishing this year, because they have already started bothering me.