Wednesday, December 26, 2012


Things are changing around here.  As you may notice, fullfreezer is no more.  Since I'm going to be posting more often on my other blog and am hoping to use it as a springboard for my new business, I need to have better continuity across platforms.
Christmas was lovely and low key here. I15 has been wearing his fleece shirt almost non-stop since he opened the package yesterday morning.  K12 has been too distracted by new games to be too excited by his vest.  Justine was thrilled to get her quilt.  And Santa brought me a dress form so now I can have even more fun with designing things!  But by far the most popular gift of the season is from my SIL.  She sent a fez to each child.  They have been much worn around here... because "fezzes are cool".
I'm off work all week and hope to do some sewing.  But I did have to move my sewing machine and a few essentials up into the back room upstairs because we're having a visitor arriving tomorrow for the weekend who will be staying in the guest room that I also use as my sewing room.  Our visitor will be Justine's current beau, driving here 6 hours from Wisconsin to see her and meet the family.  Hmm....

I need to start thinking of an end of the year post and some goals for next year.  I've got lots and lots of plans in my head....

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

For your enjoyment, a few photos of our sledding adventures:

 V still has the right stuff!

 Justine valiantly tries to avoid a wipeout.  
Help me, Snowbi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope!

 The Princess is in trouble Han!

 I15 comes to a halt.  The saucer is almost too small these days.

 Ah... feel the love... it's cold and goes down your coat....

 Next stop... Mt Everest!

K12... Falling with style!

From our house to yours...


Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Solstice 2012



I for one am happy the days will be getting longer.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


A bit of a rant here.  V was out walking the dog this afternoon and stumbled across evidence of poachers on our property. Back in the little valley between the farthest two hills on the property he came across the carcass of a large buck with only the head missing.  Knowing that this isn't a good thing, he called our local DNR office.  They sent out an officer to look things over.  She agreed that it was most likely poachers out after a trophy.  grrr...

This makes me really, really angry.  Now don't get me wrong- I have absolutely nothing against hunters.  But... if you are going to hunt on my property, you had better ask my permission.  AND- just as important in my book- if you are going to take the life of an animal- especially a deer- at least have the decency to eat it!  Don't just leave its carcass to rot.

I'm also not thrilled at the other creatures this has drawn closer to home.  There is evidence on the carcass that coyotes have been gnawing at it and I'm not thrilled at having something luring them into hanging out here.  Nothing can be done at this point, but you can bet we're going to be a bit more vigilant for a while.

She's HOME!

My little girl made it home from college yesterday afternoon.  And what an ordeal she had.  Well, I guess it is an ordeal if you count being stuck in an airport with a delayed flight for hours as an ordeal.  She had no trouble getting to the airport in Philadelphia, getting through security or catching her first flight.  She made the connection in Chicago but sadly, her flight out of O'Hare had some sort of engine trouble and was delayed. They finally brought in a different airplane and 187 minutes late, they took off.

It's great to have her home, we all piled on the couch in the basement and had family movie night last night (although she fell asleep, the poor thing had been up really early!)
Now on to the festivities of putting up the Christmas tree, baking cookies and wrapping gifts.  Maybe it will start to feel more like the holidays now.

I'm working on another sewing project but more on that later...

Friday, December 14, 2012

I can't imagine...

I can't even begin to imagine the pain that the families of 20 children and 6 adults are going through tonight in Connecticut.  All I know is that we need to keep them all in our hearts and pray for healing.

I also urge you to keep in your heart the young man who reportedly did this horrible thing. I don't think any of us can imagine the pain and hell he was going through to make him able to do something like this.

I hope none of us ever experience a fraction of the pain that all these people have.  Hug your loved ones tight, say a prayer or two and live in peace.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dark days #2

A little of my world today...

 The view on the bus:  sunrise.

The view on arriving home:  sunset.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Dark days

I really, really detest this time of year.  Oh, not because of the holidays but because the days are so short.  With working outside the home, the sun is just coming up when I leave for work and setting when I return. I miss an entire day of light.
I feel bad because I'm having to rely on V and the boys to care for the chickens- It's never light for me to check for eggs or feed/water them.  I went out with a flashlight to water the greenhouse this evening. BLAH!
I have been sure to take my Vitamin D every day.  I never bother during the summer months because I am outside so much.  In fact, my MD had my vitamin D level checked last year and was surprised that it was actually fine.  So few people are able to have a good level naturally these days. But, I do take a supplement in the winter.  I find that I have much more energy and focus when I do.  And it's good for your mood as well.
Not much else going on.  I've got a bit of hand sewing to finish this evening and maybe I'll cut out something new.  We'll see.  I'm rather impatiently waiting until Saturday when Justine comes home.  I haven't seen her since August.  That's a LONG time to miss my baby girl.  Oh, we 'chat' on facebook or text on a regular basis but nothing like being able to hug her.
I just can't seem to get into the holiday spirit this year.  No decorations have been put up yet (we're waiting to do the tree until Justine gets home) and I haven't done any holiday baking either.  The weather finally decided to get cold- for a few days- but is now back into the 40's during the day and we haven't seen any snow at all.  Who knows, with climate change, maybe we'll have a non-winter like last year. We'll see.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Crazy sewing weekend

Whew!  I've had a whirlwind weekend in the sewing room.  I did manage to get quite a bit done.  I got the binding machine stitched on Justine's quilt and am about half done hand stitching it.  I got Karl's vest completed. And today, I managed to cut out and nearly complete a fleece shirt for Ian.  All I've got left is to hand stitch down the collar facing.  I've got a photo of it here.  It's made from that ultra soft fleece.
So, I feel pretty good about the weekend.  And, I've finally made a decision.  I'm tired of second guessing myself and playing the maybe/someday/never scenarios in my head.  I'm going to finally take the plunge into starting my sewing business on the side.  I'm currently recruiting models and will be sewing up a storm with the plan to do a photo shoot in March and have the website go live in April.  So I'll probably be updating much more on my other blog that has been rather neglected.
This business will either succeed or fail but it won't do either if I don't at least try.  Besides my (not always willing) family I've got one other model volunteer already and I just sent out the notice today.  I spent a few minutes pulling out the patterns I want and looking through the fabric stash.  I'm excited again about this idea.
Justine will arrive home on Saturday.  I'm also excited about that.  She is also ready to come home.  She's in the middle of finals this week so send good thoughts her way.
I've got to go back to work tomorrow.  It has been such a busy few days here but even with all that I feel refreshed.  It was a great change of pace.

Hope you all have a great week.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A new post

over at my other blog.  I finished the vest for K12 and I15 was a not terribly willing model.

Check it out here!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Friday kind of Thursday

I've got a couple of vacation days coming up so today was my Friday.  I'm kind of excited to have a 4 day stretch.  I've got a bunch of things to get finished this weekend so I've got a to-do list a mile long.  I've been hoping to have time in the evenings after work to get some sewing done but it just hasn't happened this week.
Last night I15 had a band concert.  It was a lovely concert but it's never a good thing when they have to call in the janitor with a mop between bands.  There is a stomach bug running rampant around town and someone in the back row vomited during the concert.  How mortifying for a teenager for something like that to happen.  The same bug is running through at work.  One of the units I frequent has been quarantined until next Tuesday because so many staff and patients are ill.  I was a bit concerned because I had been seeing patients on that unit on Monday morning.  At least I made it through the 48 hour incubation period and am still well.
I wish V could say the same. He doesn't have the stomach bug but is having sinus trouble again.  He has had such trouble for the past couple of years.  It wouldn't be so bad except he was up half the night- keeping me up in the process.   I do hope he figures this out or recovers soon.  It is getting really old.
I thought I'd give you a little sneak peek of my holiday project for K12.  I found this fabric in my stash last weekend:
Isn't it a lovely brocade?  The thing is... I have no earthly idea where it came from.  It's obviously a remnant from someone's project- just not one of mine.  There is a piece that's almost 2 yards and another good sized scrap.  It has had something cut out of it but no one I know cuts things out with pinking shears.  I asked my sister last weekend when I saw her if it was from her but... nope.  V wonders if it is something he picked up during one of his dumpster diving hauls- possible- or I thought maybe from his Mom. But he doesn't think it's from her.  It was stuffed rather unceremoniously in a plastic bag along with some brown tulle so I do wonder if it was someone's costume for something.  I'll probably never know.
Anyway- this will become a brocade vest for K12.  He has recently decided that bow ties are the most awesome fashion accessory and he is quirky enough to wear something like this to school, with a shirt and bow tie!
Now, I've gotta get to sleep- I'm weary.  It's been a long week for only working 4 days and I've got a busy, busy weekend planned.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Another Monday

Oh my!  It has been a week since I posted last.  Goodness, how time flies!  I'm becoming one of those unpredictable bloggers who only posts sporadically.
But... things have been busy here so I guess I've got a few reasons I haven't been blogging.  The boys and I were out of town all weekend at my parents house to see my oldest sister and brother in law who were visiting from Colorado.  We had a lovely weekend but I didn't get anything done at home- which puts me behind with all my tasks here.  V stayed home to tend animals and do some work at home.
Work has been busy.  Holidays are always rough times and this year is no exception.  Sometimes working in psychiatry has its drawbacks.  Most of the patients right now are really, really ill so it has made work a bit more stressful than usual.  sigh....
I've been getting some sewing done in the evenings. Justine's quilt is nearly finished and I've got plans for both boys- assuming I can get them finished in time for the holidays.  Justine will be home in 2 weeks so I really need to get cracking.  She has a new beau who will be coming to visit for a time between Christmas and New Years.  Hmmm... I haven't met him yet but he seems like a nice guy.
I'm still harvesting out of the greenhouse.  The weather has been somewhat of a roller coaster here.  Last week we had a day where we had a low of 12 and today it was near 70.  Go figure.  But even the really cold snap we've had didn't take out my greens.  Hurray!  We had lovely salads this evening with  lettuce, spinach and slivers of black radish from the greenhouse.  Yummy.  Egg production has been continuing low.  sigh...
I've been continuing to exercise regularly (yeah me!) but I'm at that awkward stage where I can feel my clothes are fitting more loosely but the number on the scale isn't really moving. grrr  But I'll keep at it.  July will be coming sooner than I think and I need to be ready to run.  It is going to be really hard to avoid all the holiday goodies around work but I'm working on my willpower.  We'll see how long that lasts when people start bringing in the fudge!

Now- I've gotta get going and see what else I can get done.  I've been wasting too much time online this evening.

Monday, November 26, 2012


I've been busy the past few days.  I've had some quality time in the sewing room.  I really need to finally finish Justine's quilt and I've got a secret project for K12 in the works as well.
I did finally finish up all the stuff for my ancient Handmade Pay it Forward challenge of January.  And it's not even December yet!  Must be success!  Of course, I'm having trouble with addresses.  I have three addresses and I've sent a message to a 4th (but haven't heard back).  However, I'm missing an email or way to contact Patty.  Your blogger profile isn't public.  So, Patty, send me an email with your address to fullfreezer (at) gmail (dot) com  so I can get your stuff in the mail.

Hope you are all having a good start to your week.

Friday, November 23, 2012


Yesterday was such a full day that I didn't have much computer time so I'm a day late with my Thankfulness.  But, since I try to find something everyday that I can be thankful I guess it doesn't matter too much.
We have so much to be thankful for here.  I have a happy, healthy family. We have a warm home, enough to eat and enough money left over to allow a few luxuries every now and then.
I'm thankful that my dear hubby and sons pitched in to clean the house on Wednesday while I was at work.  I15 did a grand job vacuuming!
I'm thankful that my baby girl, even though far away, was able to spend the holiday weekend with family out east.
I'm thankful that my parents are still with us and were able to come for dinner yesterday.  Mom baked the bread for the meal and brought pumpkin bars for dessert.
I'm thankful that my brother and sister-in-law came over for dinner- in spite of her pet allergies.  And they brought a fabulous butternut squash soup for the first course of dinner.
I'm thankful for good friends who consented to share the day with us.  Roger and Sharon (and Sharon's absolutely wonderful sweet potato pie) and Fred (who brought wine to share).
I'm thankful for lively conversation and many laughs.
I'm thankful that the cats decided that yesterday was NOT the day to decide to sleep on the dining room table!  And I'm thankful that the weather was nice enough yesterday (mid 60's!) that we could leave the dog outside during dinner and that he was well behaved!
I'm thankful that we have the means to provide a meal for our loved ones.
I'm thankful that I have a job that I love and wonderful co-workers.
I'm thankful that I am NOT shopping today!
And I'm thankful for all of you who come here to share our sometimes chaotic journey.

There is so much more,  but this is a good start.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Preparing for the feast

We're hosting Thanksgiving this year.  V and I and the two boys will be joined by my parents, my brother and sister-in-law and three of our friends. We will have 11 around the table tomorrow.  Justine is staying in Pennsylvania with V's sister.  Evidently she baked a pecan pie today for her contribution to the feast out there (I must have trained her well...)
I'm feeling good. The turkey is thawed in the fridge, the pumpkin spice bundt cake is baked, vegetables are chopped... even the good china has been pulled from the boxes in the hall closet!
I've got my plan of action for tomorrow morning. V and the boys spent the day cleaning today while I was at work so just a few more things need to be finished.

But before I go to make apple tarts for tomorrow I have one wish for all of you here in the US who celebrate with us:

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  In the midst of all the preparations, be sure to think of all we have to be thankful for.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Rustic Apple Tart with Lavender Glaze

Sometime this weekend, while picking up magazines, I saw a recipe for a lavender glazed apple tart.  Thinking that it may be something fun to try for Thanksgiving I went back to look for the recipe.  Of course, I couldn't find it anywhere.  I began to think I had imagined it.  So I looked online.  Even my friend Google disappointed me.  I did manage to find a recipe for an apple pie with lavender glaze so I let my imagination loose and got inventive.
The result was definitely a success!
I didn't feel like crawling up on the step stool to get the tart pan from the waaaay high up cabinets so I made a rustic tart.  Ok, I'll admit, I used a premade, roll-out pie crust (I had picked up a couple to make Thanksgiving prep a little less hectic) but you could use your favorite. I put it on a baking sheet and layered apple slices around it- only a thin layer- it only took 2 apples.  This I sprinkled with sugar (sorry, didn't measure) and a couple tiny bits of butter.  I popped the whole thing into the oven and baked it at 400*F until it was golden and the apples were just beginning to caramelize.  Out of the oven I brushed the whole thing down with lavender syrup that I had made earlier.  THAT was what I wanted the recipe for... and it was SO easy.

Lavender glaze/syrup:
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup dried lavender blossoms (PLEASE be sure to use organic blossoms!!)
Put all these things into a small sauce pan and heat until the sugar is all dissolved.  I let mine come to a boil for a couple of minutes, then strain.  The syrup should last indefinitely in the fridge.  It only took a few tablespoons for the tart.

I do believe this will be making an appearance on the Thanksgiving table this year.  It was DELISH!  In fact, there isn't any left!


How's that for an attention getting title, LOL!
I've been off for a few days and don't really feel like I've accomplished much of anything.  I keep flitting from one thing to another and never seem to finish anything.
We are hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year.  My parents are coming, my brother and SIL are coming as are 3 of our friends.  A grand total of 11 at the dinner table.  So, I've been plotting, planning and cleaning, as well as all the usual stuff I do.
I did manage to get a little sewing done but seriously need to finish my 'pay if forward' gifts and get them in the mail.
I also realize that I have been remiss in posting an Independence Days update.  Not as much going on this time of year but here goes a quickie:
Plant something-  hmm, it's been a while since I updated and I can't remember exactly when, but I planted another round of radishes in the greenhouse that are sprouting happily out there.
Harvest something- Lettuce, chard, kale, radishes and spinach from the greenhouse and a few eggs.  We've only got one hen laying now and she is only averaging about every other day.  sigh.  How I long for the egg glut of summer!  V has decided to have eggs for lunch and we will now have NO eggs in the house.  ACK!
Preserve something- Nothing really.
Waste not- The usual: composting, recycling, scraps to chickens.  Reusing some old 5 gallon buckets in the greenhouse- more about that later ;)
Want not- Only some cheap pasta for stocking up.  I'm counting my 'passive solar' project in the greenhouse in here.  I took two 5 gallon buckets (salvaged from drywall joint compound) wrapped them in black garbage bags, filled them with water and put them in the greenhouse.  I'm hoping that the water will heat up with the sun and then radiate heat at night.  Hopefully it will be enough to keep some of the tenderer things in the greenhouse going for a bit longer once it decides to get really cold.  It's all an experiment and the only sacrifice was a garbage bag so even if it doesn't work- not much lost.
Eat the food- broccoli from the freezer since the cold finally took its toll on the plants in the garden.  I'm  glad that we haven't spent that much at the grocery store in the last month or two.  We've been eating well out of pantry and freezers.  Not sure where to put this so I'll put it here.  The remodel on the pantry is nearly complete.  I painted yesterday.  And it looks so nice with everything sorted and organized.
Build Community- Nope.  I've been a homebody recently.  Although someone asked me about 'hosting' a chicken for them.  They would buy the chick and supply funds for feed if I supply them with eggs.
Skill up- Nothing. I really need to re-read sections of my 4 season gardening books....

So, you see, nothing much on the farmstead.  The Meyer Hatchery catalog arrived yesterday so I can dream of chicks for spring.

Friday, November 16, 2012


What?!!??  No more Twinkies??  Now what will we do during the zombie apocalypse??

Oh, wait, they aren't really food anyway.  Never mind....

I guess I'll be eating my usual fare.  Off to set up the heated base for the chicken waterer....

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Too lovely to not share

For all of you who work with your hands and 'put by' food.  Something new for you.  And quite lovely.

Carrie Newcomer- The Work of Our Hands

Healthcare quiz

After all the angst over an anonymous poster on my blog wanting to pick a fight about healthcare reform, a friend forwarded something on to me.  A quiz to see how much you know about the new healthcare law.
You can take it here.  It's from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

In case you're curious, I got 9 out of 10 correct.  How did you do?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


I'm going back to NOT allowing anonymous comments due to one obnoxious person who just won't let something drop and is becoming offensive to me.
It's my blog, my opinions.  If you don't like it. don't visit- but please, don't argue with me.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Simple pleasures

We just returned from K12's Jr High band concert.  For a bunch of 12-14 year olds, they were amazingly good.  The 8th grade band was recording this evening for an audition tape so they had to re-do a couple of songs. But I didn't even mind because they were that good. Sometimes it's nice to slow down and just enjoy the music.
It's the end of the trimester here so the boys don't have school tomorrow.  But I've got to go to work.  And I work Saturday.  blech.  I normally don't mind working the weekend but it is a home football game this weekend.  And I'll never know who thought it was a good idea to build the stadium right across the street from the hospital.  Traffic is awful and all the doors are on lock-down to keep the drunks out of the hospital.  sigh...  at least it's my last football Saturday until next year.

Otherwise, not much going on here.  The garden is put to bed for the winter, the chickens are molting, zombie fitness workouts continue and I need to find time to get into the sewing room. Soon... soon....

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Red and Blue

The election is over.  The votes have been counted... well, mostly.  The decision has been made by the people.

Regardless of whether your guy won or lost there is a lot of work that needs to be done.  I've seen and heard calls for revolution.  For the 'red states' to secede from the union.  Really?  How is that going to help bring together this deeply divided nation?  That is exactly the kind of divisiveness we don't need right now.

We are in a mess.  Both sides can agree on that.  Now is the time to put aside our red/blue differences and start working together to fix things.  We need to stop focusing on being red or blue and focus on being American, doing what needs to be done for the good of the country and ourselves.

Do you hear that Washington??  TOGETHER!!  We the people hired/elected you to do a job.  Now put on your boots and get to it.  Stop letting your pettiness get in the way of doing what needs to be done.  We are on the verge of disaster because you couldn't play nice together... but now the people have spoken- so get to work.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A weekend of photos

It's been busy here... but laid back as well.  The pace has definitely slowed with the shortening days and it's rather nice.  Rather than bore you with all the details, I thought I'd share a few photos of the weekend.
I ran my first 5k race in a long, long time on Saturday morning.   I'll admit, I did walk some of it and finished in a pathetic time... but I got my old, out of shape body out there and did it!  Look out zombies!  I'm getting ready for you!
V was helpful and carved the jack-o-lanterns into chicken friendly pieces with his sword.  I love the action shot with the falling bit of pumpkin!
 Spaz, the Mighty Hunter, was successful at stopping an unwelcome intruder.

And a little light demolition occurred in the pantry.  When the addition was built onto the house, they blocked up the original basement staircase and built the pantry and a closet on the other side.  Unfortunately, they didn't remove the original door lintel.
 You can see the top shelf of the pantry right underneath what's left of the door frame.  It was virtually unusable for anything larger than 6 inches wide.  But, thanks to the sawz-all and my honey...
 The old door frame is gone
 and the top shelf is opened up.
 A bit of plaster work- still currently in progress.
 And the newly opened top shelf is perfectly sized for the water bath canner and the stock pots.  Yeah!! The next phase will be doors over the top three shelves to protect the jars from light.  I do have larger shelves in the basement where most of our food stocks are kept but these are the 'immediate use' jars near the kitchen.  On the bottom shelf are my jars of dried beans and grains.  And underneath are cabinets that V built in that house small appliances, bread, potatoes and the cleaning rags as well as 'the junk drawer'.
 The chard is doing well in the greenhouse.
As is the leaf lettuce.  I see salads in the near future.

I hope you all had a good weekend as well and that all those out east are beginning to get back to whatever normal you call yours.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This night

Whatever path you follow, may it be a safe night for you all.

Happy Halloween
Blessed Samhain

And a blessed All Saint's day tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Girl

I've been keeping in touch with Justine through the horrific hurricane.  She fared quite well.  They never lost power, even though the eye of the storm passed right over them.  The worst they had was loss of internet service for a while.  But imagine the horror of an entire dorm of girls without internet service!  Oh, the humanity!!

I've been heartened to hear that people I know fared pretty well.  My sister outside DC lost power overnight but it is already restored.  Our friends in Annapolis had water coming into the house and will have to replace carpet and some drywall in their basement but are otherwise fine.  Others are windblown but well.
My heart goes out to all those who didn't fare as well as those near and dear to me.  The pictures of the devastation are heartbreaking.

But maybe now people will start taking climate change seriously.

Oh, wait...  probably not.  Oops- my cynicism is showing.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


What a week it has been.  Definitely a week of good, bad and ugly!
We've had trips to the ER (don't worry, everyone is OK), my brother had surgery, another friend was hospitalized in critical condition, and I had my conference in Des Moines- all in the space of three days!  But, we survived it all and everyone is on the mend.  I've been trying to keep up with my workouts to get zombie ready although I missed two days due to the conference.
I am still doing pretty well with my Independence days challenge as well.  A very quick update:
Plant something- Not a thing
Harvest something-Broccoli, kale, chard, lettuce, radishes, spinach, eggs.  Not too bad for the end of October.
Preserve something-  Froze a bit more broccoli soup.  That's about it other than the preservation of my sanity once again.
Waste not-  The usual recycling, repurposing, composting and scraps to chickens.
Want not- umm.... nothing.  Oh, wait, I did stock up on a few things at Aldi's last Sunday and got some chicken feed while it was on sale.
Eat the food- Tonight it is enchiladas with homemade sauce with salads from the greenhouse.  Hurrah!
Build community-  Eggs to work but I think that's the end for a while since I've only got two hens laying (Zeva and Micah)
Skill up- not much unless you count finding my way around downtown Des Moines.

I'm really hoping that this coming week is much, much calmer.  I don't think I can handle another week like this last one.

And to all of you in the path of Hurricane Sandy (that includes Justine!!) please stay safe!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Heading out

I'll be heading out of town tomorrow afternoon to Des Moines for the Iowa Occupational Therapy Association annual conference.  I've got a dinner meeting tomorrow evening with the speaker to go over her plans for the Friday conference.  I managed to find an inexpensive hotel room (and they have a pool and hot tub!!) that is between my dinner location and the conference site.  Hopefully less than 15 minutes to either.  I'm out of work tomorrow at 1:30 so I can get home to get the car, drive the two hours there, find my hotel, check in and get to the restaurant where we're meeting by 6:00 pm.  It's gonna be a full day since I've got back to back patient care in the morning, a lunchtime work meeting then only half an hour to finish all my documentation before heading out.  Whoosh.   It will be a wild time.
I've been doing well on my workout schedule for getting zombie fit for next summer.  I've started hitting the elliptical hard the past few days so I'm kind of glad I'll get the day off the workout tomorrow night.  But I plan to keep up with basic strength and endurance training while I try to find some good running routes.  I've also tracked down a few 5k runs coming up this spring and early summer so I can practice running a straight race for time without zombies or obstacles.
We've been having some lovely salads out of the greenhouse this week.  But very few eggs.  I've been getting only 1 or 2 eggs a day and most of the hens look exceptionally scruffy.
But the weather has been unusual!  We hit 80+ today!  In late October.  And we've been having rain this week.  Much, much needed!
Now, I've gotta go pack and get myself organized for the next two days.

Monday, October 22, 2012

I'm sure I'm gonna regret this

Remember waaay back when... you know, when I was talking about getting into better shape.  Yeah... that...  I haven't done a very good job.  But now I have some motivation.  Zombies.  Yup... for real this time!
I have let Justine talk me into registering both of us for Run for Your Lives.  It's a 5k obstacle course filled with zombies who want to get you.  At least the race we're registering isn't until next July.  In Minnesota.
So, I've not got 9 months to whip my sorry @ss into shape... or those zombies are going to eat me for lunch!

But seriously, having this deadline (lol- DEADline) will give me the motivation I need to get moving.  And it does look like awesome fun.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Sunny Sunday

Today was a glorious day.  Sunny, low 70's, light breezes.  Absolutely fabulous for October!  And many things were accomplished by all.
This afternoon, K12 and I cleared out the garden- well, mostly- I still need to get out there with a rake and gather up all the dropped peppers and tomatoes.  They made for squishy working out there.  Pulling up old vegetation is my least favorite part of gardening but it is one of those tasks that needs to be done.
While we were clearing out the garden, I15 worked on painting the library with primer.  Not a perfect job was done but he was much better at the end than he was at the beginning.  Painting is one of those things that you just need to learn by experience.
V was working on work for part of the afternoon and then managed to get the new door for the basement bathroom stained.  We got a louvered door for the closet in there since there is poor airflow that makes the towels smell mildewy at times.  It's one of those things that I've wanted for a long time but we had to custom order it since it's only an 18 inch door. We ordered it back in August when custom doors were on sale and it's been sitting in the shop waiting for stain ever since.
I also managed to get out and about to get chicken feed, bird seed for the feeders and dog food- as well as a few other odds and ends.  It was a great day for getting stuff done.
I've still got tomorrow off so we'll see what else I can get done.  I do want to spend a little time quilting if I can.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

For your amusement

I know I'm supposed to laugh with people and not at them but this one... well...


Friday, October 19, 2012

Another rainy IDC

Ah... a day off... and I don't feel like I accomplished anything.   And you know what... it feels great!
Well, I can't say that I accomplished nothing.  I did a few dishes and a load of laundry, V and I ran errands where we picked up paint for the library, more snaps for additional chicken saddles and.. get this, new upholstery fabric for the dining room chairs.  I love my chairs but the fake leather seats are showing their age.  Fortunately, JoAnn's was having all their home decor fabrics 50% off and we found a fabric that we could agree on.  One more thing to add onto my to do list...  Hurrah... I think....

But it is a chilly, rainy Friday and that means it's time for an Independence Days update.  Even though I have been busy at work I still managed to get quite a few things done here at home.  Not as much as I would have liked but that seems to be the way it goes.

Plant something-  A second round of radishes, lettuce and spinach went into the greenhouse and some of my cool Nero de Toscano cabbage.  I'm excited to see how long I can keep things going in the greenhouse.  The NOAA forecast has us warmer than average for the next month.  After that we'll see how much of an El Nino develops in the Pacific.
Harvest something- Eggs, kale, radishes, lettuce, a tiny bit of spinach and more broccoli.  It seems like most of the ladies are molting so egg production is way down.  Of course, that happens right when I've got people asking for eggs.  Oh, and I also harvested a few baby cabbages that formed after I cut one of my Copenhagen Markets.  I've got three of them- only about the size of baseballs- but they are nice little heads.
Preserve something- Made some cream of broccoli soup and froze it in individual portions for lunches.  That's about it.  I'm still working my way through the tomatoes on the counter and the few peppers in the fridge.
Waste not- the usual recycling, repurposing and composting.  Making soup out of odds and ends of veggies to keep them from going to waste.  It makes for great lunches at work
Want not- Ok... while definitely NOT a necessity we purchased a bottle or Templeton Rye, a locally produced, much sought after whisky.  It has been so popular that it has been virtually unavailable for the past year or more so we were excited to evidently time it just right at the store when they got in a shipment.  It is definitely something to sip and will be rationed well.
Eat the food-  This morning V and I had fabulous omelets entirely produced here.  Eggs from the chickens, peppers, onions and tomatoes for the filling.  Heavenly! Oops... I guess I did put in some cheese so it wasn't entirely produced here.  Darn.  Need to find that local milk and make some cheese.  We also had a lovely pasta meal last night with fresh tomato sauce and salads from the greenhouse.
Build Community- A dozen eggs to Jim and I've got requests for 3 dozen in the coming week.  I just hope the ladies can provide. Roger and Sharon are coming over tomorrow for a few eggs and I've got requests for 2 dozen at work.
Skill up-  Not a thing except making my first chicken saddles.
So, the week wasn't a total wash.  And I took it easy today.  I even took a nap this afternoon since it was cold and rainy.  Tomorrow the weather is supposed to start improving so I'll be back to busy for the next three days.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The game is afoot...

Hopefully... good things are happening here!  V is negotiating with a potential new freelance client.  Woot!  This would be a fabulous thing for us.  His freelancing work has been steady but minimal since he lost a subcontract (the original contractor lost the account because of the client's financial outlook) last year.
So, because of that finances have been tight recently, especially since we're helping Justine with tuition.  (Good thing we've got a pantry and freezer full of food!)  But, an additional source of income would be quite welcome.  So send good thoughts his way.
We're happy that Justine's package arrived yesterday.  She evidently has declared me 'the best mom ever', LOL!  Amazingly, the thing that touched her most of everything I packed in there was not the cookies or the package of dark chocolate... it was the little bit of candy from the HS homecoming parade.  Awww....

Other than that, not much is going on here.
Work has been busy and I'm looking forward to a 4 day weekend coming up.  We hope to be painting in the library since V has finished the drywall back there and it's ready to go.
Many of the chickens are molting furiously.  V and I got one chicken saddle deployed on River (who needed it the most)... he held her, I snapped it on.  We also put one on Abbi but it was too loose and she kept pulling at it, so we took it off.  I've shortened the straps but we haven't put it back on her yet.  I need to get more snaps and make a couple more.  I've noticed that Helen is looking pretty bare on her back as well.  Egg production is WAAAAY down.  I only got one egg today and only three yesterday.  But at least they should be feathered out again by the time it gets really cold.
It's raining again.  Hoorah!

Monday, October 15, 2012


Poor Justine.  And curses on the US Postal Service.
I sent a package off to her in early October.  I took it to the postal substation at our local grocery store rather than going all the way downtown to the post office.  First Mistake.  It was in an official USPS "priority mail" box.  I paid my postage and got my receipt.  I did not pay the extra for insurance or delivery confirmation.  Second Mistake.  I dropped the package off on the afternoon of the 4th, knowing that I had missed the pick up time so it wouldn't go out until the next day (Friday the 5th).  No problem I thought.
Well, third mistake was forgetting that there was the postal holiday for Columbus Day.  It is such a non-holiday since everyone else still has to work and go to school that I overlooked it.  But even accounting for the holiday, you would think that a priority mail package would have arrived by now.

It hasn't.

We are all frustrated but keep being told that there is nothing that can be done without a tracking number.  I even took my receipt to the grocery store hoping there was some way they could look up the time stamp to coordinate with the postal computer to get the bar code off the package.  Nope.  They can enter information but have no way to get information out.

Hopefully her package is just delayed somewhere and not lost forever.  It has cookies (now old!) some tea, chocolate, her knitting (plus extra wool), replacement bowls, a concert shirt and a few other odds and ends.  sigh....

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A rainy day

It has been raining today.  Hooray! This is the first real rain we have had in over a month again. We got less than 3/4 inch but I'm not complaining. Especially since I was at work all day- my 6th day straight.  Ugh.  And I've only got tomorrow off before I head back on Monday.  But I have a 4 day weekend to look forward to next weekend.  I've got Friday as my comp day for working today and next Monday is my usual day off.   I love it when they string together!  But I'm tired!  6 days of work is rough, especially when you throw in our late night on Thursday.  The movie/concert was fabulous!  And it was the opening performance of the celebration series for the Englert Theater's 100th anniversary celebration.
But, even with work at my paying job, I've been working around here as well.  Things are slowing down a bit but I'm still reporting on my progress on the Independence Days Challenge so here goes:
Plant something- Garlic, that's about it and that is later than I would have liked.  But at least it's in the ground!
Harvest something- hmm, eggs, a few herbs, radishes, nothing much more out there.  But I'm still slowly using up the ripening tomatoes and the last of the peppers.  And my lettuce in the greenhouse will soon be ready.
Preserve something-  Made a huge batch of broccoli/carrot soup and froze it in little containers for me to take for lunch to work. Not much else.
Waste not- using up last of the veggies before they go bad.
Want not- Got rice but really haven't done much shopping other than dairy and apples.  THAT feels good!
Eat the food- I've got some sauce cooking down (counter tomatoes and peppers) for enchiladas tonight. I ate one of my little frozen eggplant casseroles for lunch today and I've been having lots of yummy soup from the freezer for lunches during the week (not only the broccoli- I made some roasted tomato a while ago as well).
Build Community- Took eggs to Jim and have an egg order for next week.  I've been 'liking' several local organizations on Facebook (although I'm trying to not let it turn into a time-suck!) not that it means much.
Skill up- um....  I got nothing.

Other updates...
Our transplanted/potted pepper plants are doing well.  I cut them back pretty severely and they are happily shooting out new leaves and branches.
A few of the hens are looking rather bedraggled due to a combination of an overly zealous Magnus and moulting) I caught several of the girls ganging up on River yesterday afternoon and picking at her back so I'll be making some chicken saddles tonight- both River and Zoe need them badly.  I think I've got 4 or 5 hens moulting right now as well as Magnus. Poor rooster has lost almost all of his beautiful iridescent tail feathers.  With moulting hens egg production is down but we've still got plenty.
Tomorrow will be a day of laundry and trying to catch up on all my usual weekend stuff in only one day.  Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


A little excitement here this evening!  First (and sorry, no photos- it didn't last long!), the first harvest from the greenhouse:  A lovely, tasty radish!  Mmmm....
Next, and even more exciting, V won tickets to a concert tomorrow night!  The Alloy Orchestra (a three man group!) is doing a live performance of the score (with restored movie print!) of the classic silent vampire movie Nosferatu.  Isn't that the coolest thing?! So we've got a Thursday night date night! This is something we really had wanted to see but weren't willing to spend the money on tickets.  But it was meant to be!  I'll have to get to bed early tonight so I can stay up that late.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Weekend Photos

Yesterday was busy and productive- just not necessarily for me, LOL!  V really wanted to go to a train show in a town about 40 minutes south of here.  I agreed to go along... IF we then went the rest of the way to my parents to help them move furniture.  They got a new TV stand and were wanting help to move the TV and to help them carry out the old hide-a-bed from the den.  So, we got all that done. I snapped a few photos along the way.
Below is a series of photos of a treasured family heirloom.
 This is the original trunk that was used when Dad's ancestors immigrated to this country, handed down for generations.
 It's kin of hard to see (actually easier to see in the top photo) but there are grooves in the wood where the ropes cut into the wood when it was lashed down for transport.  And check out those hand painted flowers.
 And the original rope handles.
Such a family treasure!
Oh the way home, I snapped a few scenery photos.
A view down the Skunk River.  There was no other traffic so V could slow down for a better photo.  You can see how low the water is.  You could probably wade across and not get too wet.
All in all, a lovely day.  And V did get an engine and 2 observation cars at the train show.  Amazing how he conveniently 'forgot' his checkbook while I had mine.  Hmmm...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The last canning of the year

I had lots of tomatoes ripen at once from the ones I had picked green before the frost.  I mean, A LOT of tomatoes.  I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with them but I started out making puree.  I had about 18 cups of puree. What to do, what to do...   Let's see, I don't need any more plain sauce, or diced tomatoes, or enchilada sauce or pizza sauce... not enough peppers for salsa... what's left?  Hmm... barbecue sauce?
I did find a recipe that called for 20 cups of chopped tomatoes or about 16 cups of puree.  So... it was a go.  I tried the recipe as written... and then tweaked it.  I didn't like the way it was spiced so I played around with spices until I got it how I liked it.
I ended up with 6 pints of lovely, thick, sweet/spicy barbecue sauce.  Pulled pork, here we come!   Not bad for a last minute decision from salvaged tomatoes. But this should be the last canning from the garden this year.  I still have some green tomatoes but we should be able to eat them as they ripen-  fresh or sauced for a meal from here on out.  And I'm OK with no more tomato processing for the year... really.  I have had enough of simmering tomatoes for the year.  But no worries, by next August I'll be pumped again.

It was cold here today.  We had a high of only about 45 today after a low of 28 this morning.  Definitely fall-like.   But it was a great afternoon for a few chores. K12 and I cleaned out the chicken coop and put in new bedding for the winter while I15 was off at the State Marching Band Contest.  Brr... a chilly day to be marching.  It's supposed to be another cold night tonight.  Good thing V started the furnace.

Easily amused

I must be easily amused today.  I was out running errands while V was at Kum Do this morning.  I knew I needed rice but didn't want to go to the regular grocery store so I decided to stop by a little mediterranean grocery that is new to me but was near where I was driving. It has been there for a year or so but I have never stopped.  I was really hoping that they may have squid ink but sadly, they didn't.  But I did find this:
 A 10 lb package of basmati rice at a reasonable price, in this really cool bag with handles.
 And it has a zipper!  How awesome is that!!
Spaz was intrigued by it.  However, I spoiled his fun when I didn't let him use it as a claw sharpener.  I'm so mean.

Rice has now been safely transferred into my storage tub and I've got this nifty burlap bag.  Hmm.... I wonder what I can use it for??

Like I said... I'm easily amused today.

Friday, October 5, 2012

A chilly October IDC

Brrr... It's cold outside!  It's currently 39 degrees outside and we're predicted for a hard freeze tonight or tomorrow night.  Ok.  I'm ready.  Of course, we got low enough last time around that I lost just about everything so it's time.  The peppers are dug and brought in, the broccoli harvested and the last of the bell peppers salvaged.  And honestly, even though this borders on sacrilege... I'm ready.  I've got tomatoes to process from those ripening on the counter and I'm actually TIRED of dealing with tomatoes.  I didn't think I'd ever say that.  But it's time.  I've got plenty in the pantry and freezer for the next year and while I'll miss having fresh tomatoes to eat (I refuse to purchase tomatoes in the winter!) I'm good with the freeze.  Hopefully we'll have a few peppers off the plants this winter.
But, it's Friday and that means that, hopefully, I can get back on track with my Independence Days posts.  I do love this challenge (although it's not really a challenge, more a way to organize your progress) because it helps me categorize what I've been doing to see that I am actually making progress.  Here goes for the week:
Plant something:  Only a bit more mesclun mix in the greenhouse.  I used up old bits of seed last time and had REALLY poor germination so I replanted.  That's probably OK since this will put it a couple of weeks behind the lettuce I planted before.
Harvest something:  Dug potatoes, salvaged a few peppers and green tomatoes and cut my single fennel bulb.  I also harvested more from the broccoli that would not die!!
This is a 5 quart pail filled to overflowing.  I've lost track of how many cuttings this is... I think six or seven, if not more.  And still some good sized heads.   Truly amazing!  These are still the same little seeds I started waaaay back in March and have gone on through record heat and drought.
Preserve something:  Froze some spaghetti sauce and some enchilada sauce. Dried some Orange Thyme and English Thyme.  Froze some roasted tomato soup in lunch sized containers for me.
Waste not: um...  can't think of much other than the usual recycling, composting and scraps to chickens.
Want not:  Not much unless you count V's purchase of the air rifle over the weekend. It should help with pest control, especially since he has already taken out several chipmunks.  He noticed today that the ones he has seen recently look like scared youngsters.  Oh, I've saved some seeds this week- that counts.
Eat the food:  Oooo..... lots of yumminess!  Enchiladas with homemade sauce. Stuffed chiles,  Broccoli rice, roasted veggies with home grown squash, potatoes and thyme.   Cookies and biscotti with fresh eggs.  Mmmmm....
Build community food systems:  Eggs to work, that's about it. With my recent success at getting onto Facebook, I've been looking at linking with some local organizations so maybe I can get more involved.
Skill up:  Hmm... nothing I can think of.  I've been pretty boring this week.

Now, it's late(ish) and it seems like it's been a long week, even with a day off in the middle.  I don't know what I was thinking...  With switching my day off I'm now scheduled to work 6 days straight next week.  Blah!  Quilting will never get done at this rate!

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Yesterday V decided to try out his sniper skills.  He managed to bag three chipmunks, one even a head shot.  Impressive aim!  Especially for someone who has little experience.
I had the day off today.  My usual day off would have been next Monday but someone else needed Monday so we switched things up. It was pretty low key. I spent the afternoon baking.  Snickerdoodles and some biscotti.  I then packed up a care package for Justine with cookies, chocolate, tea, her forgotten knitting project and a few other odds and ends.  I included a couple of Corelle bowls since she managed to shatter the one she took to school with her.  She was lamenting the fact that she could no longer microwave her oatmeal.  Poor thing.  I've been collecting things for a few weeks or so but the broken bowl was the impetus for sending off the package this afternoon.
We had a cold front move through today with dropping temps, showers and wind.  Tonight should be fine but we're supposed to be down into the mid 20's tomorrow night.  Since we had discovered a couple of peppers still surviving out in the garden V decided that we should dig them up- LOL!  So, we found several big old pots in the barn and now have three new plants in the house.  His inspiration for digging them up was me saving seeds from the Volcano Hungarian Wax peppers.  It was a freebie 'experimental' pepper I got seeds for a few years ago with a seed order and we really, really like it.  I'm out of seeds and V was concerned that the seeds I was saving wouldn't breed true.  Poor thing, he likes his hot peppers.  He thought the best way to preserve genetic integrity was to dig up the plant.  LOL!  So, we now have a hot Hungarian Wax,  an Anaheim and a Sweet Italian pepper in pots in the library.  We cut them back quite a bit, some due to frost damage and some just to make them more manageable.  We'll see how they survive.  At least now I don't have to think I need to try to salvage something in the garden over the weekend when it freezes.  I can just let it all go... finally... until next year.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Did you know...

... that if you reply back enough times to the Facebook bot without giving them what they want, you eventually get a real person who fixes your problem... AND gives an apology!?  Pretty sweet.  Now if we can just get I15 through the process.
... that finding a dead boxelder bug floating in your morning coffee is a serious turn off!
... that nothing smells quite as good as line dried sheets.
... that a 125 lb dog makes a lot of noise when he has the 'puppy crazies' even when he's 7 years old.
... that bad tomatoes smell... well... BAD!
... that sneezing cats are cute, except at 3 am.... when they're by your head.
... that Autumn is definitely here.
... that there never seem to be enough hours in the day.
... that I never seem to get enough sleep.
... that I am grateful for each and every one of you along on this crazy journey with me.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

It's a step...

Early this morning I15 had to be at the stadium for parking lot cleanup.  He did his thing there and I got busy on my list for the day.  Since we had the band contest yesterday afternoon I didn't get as much done as I would have liked.  So, we were bad and ditched church.  So I did manage to get quite a few things done today.
V and I went clothes shopping this morning.  Let me tell you, he's not as much fun to shop with as Justine, but we got the job done. I have one department store credit card and that is at Kohl's.  Periodically they send out discounts where you get 15, 20, or 30% off your entire purchase.  This time around I happened to get a 30!  That's always the best time to shop.  I needed a couple new pair of pants for work and, since V was desperately in need of new work pants, he came along.  He has been really hard on his pants with all the construction in the past few years.  I even splurged and got myself a new outfit (pants, shirt and loose sweater/jacket) to wear at a conference I'm going to later in October.  I've been asked to participate in a panel discussion group at the state Occupational Therapy conference this year.  The featured presenter is quite well known (she used to be the president of AOTA!) and as she presents, she wants individuals representing the different practice areas to be available to discuss how what she is presenting is relevant to their practice.  I've been asked to represent all the OTs in Mental Health. EEEK!!  I'm a bit anxious about this one.  I do hope I can speak intelligently.
Anyway... back to today.  While we were over in that part of town, I wanted to stop at one of the local farm stores to pick up some new bedding for the chicken coop since it's about time for the fall clean out. While we were there, we got something that I never thought we would ever own.   We have been having such trouble with chipmunks this year.   I think the mild winter and early spring helped boost their population tremendously.  I don't want to resort to poison and they always seem to be able to outsmart the traps.  We have been joking about getting a pellet gun and picking them off from the deck.  Amazingly enough, V was serious- so today we purchased gun.  Well, an air rifle, so it's not a REAL gun.  But this is a huge step for V who vowed that we would never have a firearm in the house.
It even came with a scope for precision targeting, LOL!  V is going to have to do some more target practice before he takes on the chipmunks, though.
K12 came down to watch for a while.  Interestingly enough, neither boy is interested in firing it.  But, we had the firearm safety lecture anyway.  Even though this is just an air rifle it is still a weapon.
I've been saying since we moved out here that we should get a gun.  Being able to pick off a sickly wild animal at a distance is a good thing. Or to get a deer license and snag one of the deer who hang out in the meadow. But, V never been on board.  Maybe this is the gateway weapon, LOL!
After target practice I had hoped to spend some time clearing out the garden (the chicken coop is slated for next weekend) but instead I tackled the mass of ripening tomatoes on the kitchen counter.  I made a bit more enchilada sauce and some spaghetti sauce.  I've got enough enchilada sauce for dinner later this week and 2 batches for the freezer.  I've got spaghetti sauce for tomorrow night and another night that also went into the freezer.
I harvested some English and Orange Thyme to dry and did a bunch of laundry in addition to a few other usual weekend chores.  I still have not managed to get the deer netting around the plum tree,  get the tomatoes pulled from the garden or the garlic planted. I simply ran out of time.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Photos from the end of September

It is an absolutely gorgeous day here.  Sunshine, upper 70's, light winds... the perfect day to sit on bleachers and watch a marching band competition all afternoon... right??
Today was the Little Hawk Invitational band contest.  This is the 4th performance in 3 days for these kids.  And they did a fabulous job.  Since they were the hosting school they did an exhibition performance only and weren't in line for any of the trophies.  In addition to City High, there were 12 schools there in competition classes 2A, 3A and 4A.  LOTS of teens amped up!
 There is my oldest son:  Looking sharp in that uniform.  Band uniforms are certainly much more stylish now than they were when I was in high school!  And I love the sparkly plumes!
 Here they are, ready to begin the performance.  They did a selection of Billy Joel songs.
 In action!!  I was going to upload a video but my file is too big for blogger to handle and I'm not inclined to upload to YouTube at the moment just so I can post it here.  Maybe I'll update later if I'm so inclined.
Iowa City High School is lovely, rambling old WPA building set on a hill.
They just don't build schools like that anymore.  Off to the left, with the columns is the auditorium.
 Check out that lovely carved detail over the door.
Autumn is definitely here.  The trees are changing and the view from the deck is becoming colorful.
And the boxelder bugs are gathering.  It's time once again to start checking the coffee cup in the morning doe unwelcome visitors.  I like my coffee without extra protein, thank you very much.

Now, I've got tomatoes to wrangle and a squash (one from Mom) that looks like it needs used very, very soon.  I've got to get I15 through the shower since the homecoming dance is tonight... and he's voluntarily going!! No date since his 'girlfriend' broke up with him (although she still emails him nearly constantly, LOL!) but the fact that he wants to go indicates to me that my little boy is growing up. sigh....  they grow up so fast!

Friday, September 28, 2012

OK... another rant coming

I15 decided to try to create a Facebook account this evening to keep up with friends and his big sister.  For some reason Facebook doesn't believe that his name is his real name and are requiring a copy of a government issued ID.  Really?  So, since I have been thinking about biting the bullet and creating a Facebook account to keep up with Justine in college.  Guess what?  They don't think my name is real either and are asking me to send them a copy of my ID.
You know what?  Maybe this is part of their new security but I don't need Facebook that bad.  If they don't believe that I'm who I say I am without providing a copy of my driver's license they can F#&K off.  I mean really, I'm 50!  Like I'm going to pretend to be someone else.  I've got enough trouble being myself.

Here ends the rant.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pizza Sauce Recipe- by request

The masses have spoken- well, maybe not masses... but there have been a couple of requests for my pizza sauce recipe.  It is from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (with some tweaking).  It is really pretty simple but it takes time to cook it down thick enough.  Here goes the original recipe:
13 cups fresh tomato puree (from paste/plum tomatoes so it is thicker)
1/2 cup bottled lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp dried oregano

I actually use red wine vinegar rather than lemon juice.  I like the flavor better for pizza sauce and it's still 5% acidity.
You can play around with the spices as much as you want, just don't change the ratio of tomato sauce to acid  (lemon juice or vinegar). I added a bit of onion powder as well and rather than oregano I use an Italian Herb blend that we get from the Amish bulk store that has oregano, basil and rosemary... and maybe a couple other things- it's tasty and I use it in lots of things.

Bring tomato sauce to a boil and add other ingredients.  Continue to simmer until it thickens to the consistency of a thin commercial sauce.  The recipe says 15 minutes but it took much longer for mine to thicken enough.
Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.  Check for bubbles (although mine wasn't really that thick that I had to worry about bubbles), wipe rims and put on lids and rings.  The recipe calls for putting it into pint jars and water bath processing it for 35 minutes. I used half pint jars because there is no way I would ever use a full pint of pizza sauce at a time and I'd hate for it to go to waste. I guessed at processing time and did 20 minutes.

Hope that works.

We survived the homecoming parade this evening (but came home with a bag of candy).  Tomorrow will be a long day for I15.  Poor Boo.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I've been lax

I realized that I haven't posted an Independence Days Challenge update for several weeks.  Things have been so, so busy that my usual Friday posts have slipped by without an IDC update.
So here goes- an update for most of September.
Plant something-  Oh baby, yes!  Greens and radishes in the greenhouse. I also planted some oats in a pot for cat grass so Spaz doesn't munch on the houseplant too much.  Since I'm not very good at picking the blossoms off my herbs I noticed that the basil in the herb spiral had gone to seed and there were little basil seedlings out there. So, before the big freeze I dug up a couple of tiny seedlings and put them into a pot to bring inside.
Harvest something- tomatoes (both green and ripe), peppers, eggplant, zucchini, winter squash, cucumbers, eggs, herbs.  I still need to dig the last of my potatoes.
Preserve something- canned: salsa, tomatoes, pizza sauce.  Frozen: diced peppers, roasted peppers, broccoli, eggplant parmesan casseroles
Waste not- V rebuilt the old garden shed and we repurposed lumber to use for the foundation of that.
Want not-  V built me a greenhouse!!  Rediscovered canning jars in the barn.  Stocked up on shredded cheese on a one day sale at the grocery and stashed it in the freezer.
Eat the food-  Where to start...   We've been trying to eat almost exclusively from our stores.  About the only thing we have purchased in the last couple of weeks has been dairy products (including milk and the cheese stash), juice and apples.
Build community food systems-  I took a huge care package of produce and eggs to Jim.  4 dozen eggs went to work.
Skill up-  I've been reading up on 4 season gardening.  Imagine that!

Now I'm fairly caught up and can start fresh this week.  I hope I remember.


I was out in the garden for a bit today after work.  The weather is perfect- sunny and about 70- so I thought I'd start in on cleaning out the frost killed plants.  I could only work for a little while because we had to have an early (for us!) dinner because I15 has to be back at school by 730 for band rehearsal.  He has a super busy week with band activities.  Tonight is rehearsal.  Tomorrow is the City High homecoming parade. Friday the band not only marches in the University homecoming parade but also plays halftime at the high school football game immediately after.  Saturday there is a marching band invitational contest and Sunday is his last parking lot cleanup.  Whew!  Then he has a rest until next weekend which is the state marching band contest.  We're planning to go to the competition this Saturday since it is at City High and they're performing their entire routine (usually they do a bit at a time at the football games). I'll be sure to take my camera.
But, back to the garden.  I thought I'd start in on the peppers and eggplants since they are much less messy to pull than tomatoes.  Imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered that there are a few pepper plants that seem to have bits still alive!  The peppers became quite unruly this summer and several fell over each other or were in various stages of being engulfed by rogue tomato vines.  This shelter seems to have saved a few of the lower branches.  I've got a few branches left on an Anaheim, two hot Hungarian wax plants and a bell.  Sadly none of the jalapenos or sweet Italians made it.  And no tomatoes or eggplants survived.  I was also amazed that when I went to pick a few frost nipped little zucchini for the chickens that one plant, while all the leaves are frost bitten and brown, is beginning to send out new little leaves and blossoms on the end of the vine.  Life is truly amazingly resilient.

And of course... since my mind never stops pondering while I work, this resilience led to 'deep thoughts'.  I think we all need to be more like those little garden plants- overcoming adversity and doing things our own way.  I have been distressed at the level of angst among many bloggers I follow due to the election.  People on both sides are murmuring about doom and gloom if their guy doesn't win.  You know what I think? (since this is my blog I'm going to tell you even if you don't want to know!)  While the president does have power over some things. I don't really think the outcome will be vastly different regardless of which candidate wins.  We have the responsibility to take charge of our own lives and be resilient no matter what befalls us.  The country will not suddenly end, life as we know it will not cease to be,  we will not suddenly be forced to roll over and play dead. The government will not determine the values I teach my children.  I decide.  I am in the driver's seat of my life.  I may not always like the road I'm given to travel but the journey is mine to make.  I need to work on making myself more like my peppers.  Able to stand up to a frost or two along the way and still be productive.   And if there are things I don't like, it becomes my responsibility to work on changing them as much as I can in my life and my corner of the world.

Honestly, I'm more worried about climate change and big ag (and how little seems to be being done about any of that) than I am about the election.  I just wish the ads would stop and that the campaigns would be honest.

Monday, September 24, 2012

No Doubts

If I had any doubts about the end of the main season garden, they were erased with the dawn.  We a record low temp this morning and it was just barely above 29 degrees F when I got up this morning at 6:15.  Brrr!!  So, after that, the garden is officially done. It didn't matter if anything was covered, it was frozen.  I even had to wait for a clump of ice to clear the hose this morning when I went to water the chickens.  This is such odd weather.  We don't usually get temperatures like this until sometime in mid to late October. Global weirding strikes again.
I thought I'd share a few photos of my Manic Monday (and last night)
Last night's dinner- affectionately known as Zombie Smush.  It's really enchilada casserole made with blue corn tortillas.  It's built like lasagna: layers of tortillas, a mix of corn, chili beans & hamburger and cheese. With enchilada sauce poured over all.  (for a vegetarian version, just leave out the hamburger)
The blue corn tortillas make it totally gross looking but it tastes fabulous.  And the boys love to eat it.
The tomatoes have come full circle.  I've got green tomatoes ripening on my seed starting racks, nestled in flats.  They end where they began.  Somehow fitting.
And what's a girl to do on her day off when she can't play in the garden and has TONS of salvaged peppers?
Make fire roasted peppers, of course!  After a frosty morning, it turned into a lovely day- a bit windy but not too bad. It was too windy to fire up the grill on the deck so I  worked in the little 'porch' under the deck by the back door.  Sheltered enough from the wind but still enough air circulation that I didn't get smoked out.
And... I'm sure that none of you, nor I, have any personal experience from our misspent youth to be able to answer this question but I'm going to ask it anyway:  Did you ever notice that chiles on the grill smell kind of like pot?  Just a thought.  Not that I know what it would smell like from college days......
The peppers got chopped and frozen into little recipe sized packages.  While I had the grill hot I also grilled a few eggplants.  One I had for lunch and the others I made into little single serving faux eggplant parmesan casseroles:  grilled eggplant layered with roasted peppers, cheese and tomato sauce.  I had one for my Meatless Monday tonight while the guys had spaghetti.  And I've got more tucked into the freezer for later.  Hmm, I've finally got a use for all those little pyrex dishes from college that I've been lugging around for 20 years.
And finally...
the pathetic end of the garden.  If the weather is nice, next weekend I'll probably pull everything except the broccoli, fennel and kale and put the garden to bed for the winter.  Of course, we probably have enough warm weather left that if I till now maybe a bunch of weeds will sprout only to get frozen off, Mwahahaha....

So, with the end of the garden season and only straggling tomatoes inside it looks like I'll be able to get started on quilting season early this year.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The fat lady sang

You know that saying "It ain't over til the fat lady sings"?  If that's true she must have really been belting out the tunes last night.  I woke about 6:15.  The thermometer on the front porch read 33 degrees.  But....  further away from the house it must have been much, much colder.
Things in the garden that weren't covered were frozen stiff:

 Now that they are beginning to thaw they are becoming limp:

and the air has that smell of frozen foliage.  Even the plants that were covered took a hit.  There may be a couple of peppers that survive but most everything is history.  So, I guess that effectively ends the 2012 main season garden.
 But there are tiny lettuce seedlings up in the greenhouse!
And a view of the new garden shed (pre-frost when the squash vines were still trying to take over the world.
I'll have to go out again later to see what, if anything, is salvageable.  sigh...  I wasn't expecting this for another couple of weeks.