Thursday, April 28, 2011

random Thursday thoughts

REI finally restocked the emergency radio that I ordered. It is delightfully small, and the hand crank seems to work to charge it up a bit for short term intermittent radio listening. The weather band option pulls in one channel, if the radio is turned in a peculiar orientation angle and held there. (I thought it did not work at all, and tried turning it at various angles and orientations till suddenly a faint mechanical voice started talking about the coastal and mountain weather...)

Shall have to see how the solar option works, as the reviews seem to indicate that as a better option. Unfortunately, the "charge your cell phone" option does not seem to work at all. (I had already acquired a suitable USB cord, and tested it by using the port on the computer to charge the phone, which worked perfectly) Running the hand crank creates some very odd sounds from the phone, but not the ones that indicate the battery being charged...

I'm thinking that eventually finding a solar charger for the phone and for AA and AAA rechargable batteries might be a good idea; the reviews on Amazon are rather discouraging, but it sure would be useful to have, for the phone and for flashlights. More research is definitely needed, and this is not a top of the list priority this week. (Next up on the list of emergency backups is to actually order some inexpensive online glasses) If anyone out there has experience with solar chargers for small batteries, chime in...
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oops - in the last few weeks I've been getting some studio work done (yay!), and I forgot about Crafternoon Sunday (boo!) ... I know there are a number of events this month (Fair in the Grove, May Crown, etc) that might preclude such fol-de-rol, so maybe just skip it?? I need to continue with my progress on the extant regailia projects due at the end of May, but if I go for a whole month without any real social time, I might not be a happy human...
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Backyard Bartlett peartree covered in white blossoms, the tiny Akane appletree has clusters of pink buds, and the feral rosebushes, on the other side of the yard, are looking extremely wild. My new idea is to create a hen-run along the south side of the yard, and let the rosebushes sprawl across the top, thereby discouraging overhead predators, not to mention getting the very prickly rose canes away from my tender flesh. First step, screw-eyes in the fence, which can anchor tiebacks to encourage the roses to grow up rather than out and across the yard.
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Has anyone seen my sewing mojo? Might the fact that my fabric stash has reached total randomisation and angle of repose, thereby requiring much effort and imagination to transform it back into the orderly supply depot that actually encourages use, have something to do with the lost mojo?? Not only do I not feel like sewing any new clothing, I am not even interested in checking out any sewing/costuming/design sites or magazines, a sure sign of some internal shift
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So, this weeks tasks, in addition to regularly scheduled work, are to: find/acquire some screw-eyes, measure my current frames and order glasses online, and look for the small angle brackets for my internal window covering project... Dealing with fabric will wait till the regalia projects are finished. Planting the boxes on the back deck will happen this weekend (rain or shine, I've let this go too long)

Friday, April 22, 2011

earth day

I remember Earth Day from when I was in high school, never thought that things would just go along from bad to worse over all these decades, but then it is easy to underestimate the power of inertia. Nonetheless, have always tried in my own life to make choices based on what is now called sustainability.

With that in mind, it seems rather delightful that today is the first day dry enough to hang laundry outside, and there, on the pear tree, amidst the white froth of blossom, is a busy honeybee... Happy pollination day! (Very lucky it is that there are two neighborhood beehives) Perhaps this year the tree will have developed enough roots to sustain a few fruit to maturity. The apple tree, with only three branches, is still very small, but has a few, yet unopened, flower buds. If life and work allow, I hope to get out in the yard and start digging, and setting up henyard fence. Though there is still frost each night, and it is still quite cold, spring is here.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

the green path


Why did I have a hard time returning?

It really is springtime, and there are green pathways to follow into the woods, where all sorts of beauty is visible... That vivid viridian just beckons: come and look... pay attention... there is something new each moment, each glimpse, each step deeper... breathe in the moist rich air...


the moss lives here


in a myriad of varieties


wherever you look,
there is new growth


trillium bedecked,
moss-carpeted


look up along the branches


and bark of mighty yew


but do not walk carelessly;
there are folk who live here


on the hill,
or by the river


through the green tunnel
is another world,
a world alive...

home again...

The woods are full of beauty; coming back to PDX is always a bit of culture shock, that first few blocks when coming off the highway into my neighborhood...

The nighttime trip down from visiting G is a needful transition, ensconced in the vehicle we talk the miles away, our conversation ranging farther than the all too short journey back to Acorn Cottage; then each must head back to our respective workaday worlds. There are more pictures and tales from this last trip, but I need to spend time today dealing with offline things

Saturday, April 9, 2011

slow but steady....

Playing catch-up at work whilst recovering from being ill is difficult but possible. Each day I feel a bit better. This morning was the first in a week that I did not wake myself up coughing. Progress, eh? Having to go to my housekeeping jobs on my ostensible days off is not fun, but necessity is a mother, and somehow most of my own necessary chores will be squeezed into the timespace available.

Yesterday I did Mondays job, which was almost a weeks worth of worse dirty/dusty... Not usually something of note, but in the House Of Five Dogs (now six) that adds up to a mort of additional dog hair and a thicker layer of the fine mud dust from twentyfour paws that drifts over all and much needs be wiped down. It was slower going than usual, since I am not yet moving at my normal speed.

Took several hours longer than normal, actually, but it was astonishingly Sunny and Warm outside when I was done. That was a good thing, for while not my favorite weather personally, usually... one, I am like everyone else, tired of being chilled and raw from the cold, and two, it was past time to clean out the henhouse! Now hen-house-keeping is much simpler than human-house-keeping, but it is much nicer to scrape out the dirty shavings and replace them with fresh if you are not doing it with cold rainwater running down your neck and sleeves!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

ya don't ever know...

Nimblefoot is gone from the driveway, sold to a good new home - where he will be brought back to good use again as someone's beloved transport. I am glad for that, rather than the simple recycling of the junkyard. Glad I am too to have the very small start of a nest egg, for when it is possible to fix my left hand. But sorry too, for it is the end of an era, in a very different way than when I had to say goodbye to TigerTwo. TigerTwo, my beloved microbus camper, was the vehicle of my young adult life, and had been our family van before that, so we had years of history, and mutual adventures galore. I had promised TigerTwo a forever home, intending for him to end his days up on blocks, as a guesthouse. I cried and cried after selling him to a delighted new owner. I'll not be crying over Nimblefoot, the wagon of my middle age, the faithful conveyance of my SCA years; the era that feels ended is vaster than my own, but instead the era of ready individual transport. I am just doing it a bit earlier than many, and selling the car makes it a bit more actual than simply pulling it off the road...
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The Wheel
,

Words by Robert Hunter; music by Jerry Garcia and Bill Kreutzmann
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Today at the grocery store, they were offering free bone density scans (with the hope, to be sure, of encouraging vitamin sales) and I decided that more information was all to the good. The "Achilles Express" scans your heel, and I was pleased to find out that my bones are sound; not only are they in excellent condition compared to an adult in their thirties, but compared to women in my age range, my superior bones are off the chart! I guess that despite various health challenges that I struggle with, there is something that I am doing right, (that would be the combination of vitamins and all that walking)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

even more grumpy...

In my next life, can I have paid sick days, please? (stayed home yesterday hoping to feel better today... nope, feel worse, fever higher) Bleah!

Am definitely sick, head feels all 'spoldy, and cannot afford to take another day off, the only reason could do that yesterday was that I could swap Monday's work to Friday. If it was any part of the year other than just before tax time, I would just take the time off anyway, and lose the income, but not early April...

Fortunately cleaning house is not very challenging. I will certainly not do any other work today, no studio work, no sewing, just cleaning, and come home and sleep some more. But I really wish that I didn't need to...

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Got as far as the bus stop. Was having trouble maintaining forward momentum. Decided to go home and go back to bed...

Monday, April 4, 2011

grumpety-grump

you would think that if you called a shop, and asked if they had a particular item in stock, that they would check, rather than just saying "yes we do"; or if actually walking over to the spot on the shelf where it should be is too much effort, that they could at least look at the computerised account of what is in stock. But no, why bother with that, even if the person calling makes it clear that they are looking for a very specific item...

am miffed, wasted almost three hours today of the few that I was feeling well enough to run errands, as I'm still feeling crummy, coughing and headachey. Bah!! Time for another nap... On advice from A, I have started adding cayenne to my tea as well as to my broth. Hope it helps, this is a busy week, more so since I swapped todays work to Friday, with the thought that by then I'll feel more perky.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

pebbledash* jam tart

Baked a jam tart today for Crafternoon, using the new recipe; changed it only a bit, substituting almond meal for cornmeal, in the interests of using what is on hand. I figured that since the recipe calls for almond extract, it would work, and it definitely did... My hens are not vegetarian, and it shows; their eggs are vividly colored, that bright gold that comes from eating bugs. (chickens are not naturally vegetarians, but omnivores just like us) The pastry with egg added is much easier to handle, and is sturdy without being at all tough; there are some medieval pastry recipes that similarly use egg yolk as a strengthening addition.
Being rather in a hurry, I didn't let the crust dough cool off for very long in the fridge, so instead of slicing discs from a top crust cylinder, I simply cut it into small chunks, and shaped the dough into small discs instead, placing them all around and over the layer of jam. I did make certain that there were plenty of places around the edge covered, since hot jam has a way of expanding. The dough also expanded, and the whole process worked very well. My only advice is that when the recipe says "Let the tart cool thoroughly" they mean it. I passed on taking pictures of the slices, since the jam was still very oozy. But still, peach-apricot jam with balsamic vinegar, baked into a tart, makes a mighty tasty teatime treat


*...oh, are you wondering what "pebbledash" is?

antimony, among other things...

"To see that your life is a story while you're in the middle of living it
may be a help to living it well."
~ Ursula LeGuin


The front yard is dappled with pink snow, as wind and rain gradually remove the blossoms from my ornamental plum trees. The rhubarb is up, and there might be enough this year to harvest a few stalks. There is new growth on the lovage, the euphorbia is blooming, and there are buds on the tulips in the front walkway border. I'd have to say that spring is here, and the birdsong in early morning confirms that.

I bustle about, tidying the public parts of Acorn Cottage for Crafternoon Sunday. Not sure who will be heading over here, as many folks are either out of town, indisposed, or otherwise occupied. Still, it gives me a chance to keep the dust bunnies under control, and a chance to do some othewise unlikely baking. In the interest of using up some of my vast store of jam, I'm going to try this Easy Jam Tart, which should leave the kitchen smelling tasty indeed...
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I found this as a post in Wendy's "Surviving the Suburbs", and it is too amazing not to share; heartbreaking, and beautiful. Ta'Kaiya is 10 years old. The song she wrote made me cry. Consider all the choices we make, every day...