Wednesday, April 29, 2020

wishful Wednesday

in which our plucky heroine misses Earth That Was...

In the care package from my beloved Mud Bay folks, there were a number of key limes... (and since making key lime pie would involve both ingredients not in the Acorn Cottage pantry stores, and a need for guests to help eat said pie) So I decided to attempt making lime curd instead, that being a way to preserve the special citrus. I know from sad experience that lime does not make good marmalade, and that lemon curd keeps for a year in the freezer.

I have all the needed ingredients, citrus, sugar, eggs, and unsalted butter. What I do not have is a whisk. I once had a whisk, but is has apparently gone walkabout. Google tells me that a whisk substitute can be made by taping two forks together face to face. Okay, I have forks, and I have duct tape...
They are really small! Juicing these tiny limes was possible but challenging. Fortunately I was able to find a recipe that called for the 1/4 cup of juice that was all the 9 limes yielded.
I was shocked! Making citrus curd is an absolute doddle, it took only about 20 minutes, and the results were amazing. This will not be the last time I make citrus curd of one variety or another... (while it cannot be safely water bath canned, it will keep in the freezer for a year)

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an friend asked on FB: "Anybody else finding that with fewer trips to the (grocery)store, it's easier to succumb to impulse shopping?" While many answers involved Girl Scout cookies, or other junk food items, I've not been to a store of any kind in the last seven weeks. Back in the day, my impulse purchases were usually things like some specially delightful fruit, like a mango, or some strawberries or suchlike, or gasp! a bunch of asparagus. Or, if the budget had some slack, a lamb shoulder chop, or a nice piece of black cod!! (oh how I miss fresh fish, canned tuna and canned salmon are good protein, but not particularly luscious)
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"Ring around the Rosy" for our time...
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While in the shower today, my clever brain finally came up with a way to solve a challenge long standing. Most Recent Former Owners of Acorn Cottage have a lot to answer for, particularly in how they handled bathroom "upgrades" (see: plumbing putty debacle). When they chose to trim around the tub/shower surround with painted non-water-resistant MDF in order to save maybe $5 at most, it caused a cascade of issues, most of which I have managed to ameliorate. What I couldn't figure out, however, was how to attach proper molding to the same area, without 1. a way to clamp it in place, or 2. get it to fit the now irregular layers of repaired wall. A while ago, I solved #2 - use popsicle sticks as Very Thin Shims, which would both allow for variable depth and also fill in the gaps in a more sturdy fashion than mere caulk. Today, I solved #1 - shower curtain rods can be used across the opening as pressure "clamps"! They can be adjusted incrementally to fit, and will cause no further damage to the surrounding area, and can be left in place while whatever adhesive sets/dries. I know what the next housey project is going to be, (assuming that there is some suitable adhesive in the workroom somewhere)
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April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 dried mushrooms window rainbowdead Bernina
2 frozen mushroomssome pruningfive pounds
3 6 more masksmotion light yard waste bin
4 12 masks
lawn mowed yard waste bin
5 10 more maskssome more pruning pea plants shared
6 21 more masks green onions planted
-
7 tiny drawings peas protected
-
8 green CYRK lion printer interface x
9 35 masks cut out
x x
10 red CYRK lion x x
11 dog blockprint x x
12 38 masks sewn x x
13 drawing for Michele x x
14 key lime curd x x
15 x x x

today's gratitudes -Today I am grateful for tetanus shots. I got a horrible splinter in my index finger this morning, and while it seems to be fighting an infection ow ow ow, (despite my attempt to remove the splinter, soaks in Epsom salts/hot water, and bandaids + Neosporin) at least I need not fear dying of tetanus from a mischance encounter with a closet rod

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Tuesday tidbits

in which our plucky heroine unearths buried treasure...

I found a single Roma tomato in the freezer! and have combined it with one of the two avocado on hand, and have made a guacamole of sorts: added a bit of lime juice (in lieu of cilantro), some minced green onions, and the rest of my open jar of Awesome Sauce. Now I am going to make a cheezle* to eat with the pseudo-guac, and call it dinner
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I cook from scratch and rarely eat in restaurants. I had, in the past, shopped at least every other day and oftentimes every day. I live in a city neighborhood where that was an option. I shopped for staples much less frequently, more like once a month, when I could get someone with a car, and maybe a Costco membership, willing to drive me around to pick up things like a tin of oil, or the various bulk supplies I use, but my daily shopping was for produce and protein/dairy as needed. I adored being able to ride my bicycle to the store and choose what was best, at the intersection of in-season/affordable/appealing. All of this is gone now, as I would be in mortal danger if I tried to shop among unmasked (and possibly viral) people. I have not been to the grocery store (or anywhere else) in almost seven weeks, and aside from a dear young friend bringing me some fresh produce twice, I am cooking and eating from what I stocked up with prior to going into isolation. I am sad, worried, and alive.
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just started re-reading the novel "Earth Abides" which I first read as a teenager... Part 1 starts with a quote: "If a killing type of virus strain should suddenly arise by mutation... it could, because of the rapid transportation in which we indulge nowadays, be carried to the far corners of the earth and cause the deaths of millions of people."
- W. M. Stanley, in Chemical and Engineering News, Dec 22, 1947
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The nocino I made many years ago has been languishing ever since in an extremely large hermetic glass storage jar, and could be transferred into Grolsch bottles instead. This would free up the hermetic jar for storage of dry goods, and do the nocino no harm at all!
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beauty in the time of isolation, day 48 :
this Little Free Library had the most delightful Himalayan color scheme, which made me happy. I loved how the builders used stock carved brackets to give a very non-Victorian effect. It is obvious though, that the guardians are also thoughtful, as the library box is doubly tied closed currently and the sign in the door says that it is shut for the duration, for safety sake. This makes me sad. Yet another formerly harmless delight that is of necessity removed from the commons (for now).
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April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 dried mushrooms window rainbowdead Bernina
2 frozen mushroomssome pruningfive pounds
3 6 more masksmotion light yard waste bin
4 12 masks
lawn mowed yard waste bin
5 10 more maskssome more pruning pea plants shared
6 21 more masks green onions planted
-
7 tiny drawings peas protected
-
8 green CYRK lion printer interface x
9 35 masks cut out
x x
10 red CYRK lion x x
11 dog blockprint x x
12 38 masks sewn x x
13 drawing for Michele x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitudes - the novels I read as a youth and young adult


*1/2c grated cheese + 1 egg = 2 mini waffles... no grain at all

Monday, April 27, 2020

a dab of drawing

in which our plucky heroine exercises one of her superpowers...

~ 100 day challenge - day 11 ~
Quite a long while ago I promised Michele that I would do a drawing for her. She wanted "dancing rats and crows" to embroider on a gown. I decided to look at some manuscript images for inspiration:
When I realised I could turn the laptop, currently set on the end of the dining table, so I can sit at the computer and also see out across the front porch to the street. and have the laptop next to the drawing board that also lives on the dining table, there was no excuse to not move forward. I sketched out my ideas and she was quite pleased:
Then all I needed to do was create simple outline motifs. I set the drawing up so that the two open ends can connect, and form a long repeating chain of dancers. (this is easy to do if you just fold the paper to bring the two ends together)

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Aside from this small pleasantry, what was today like: I spent a lot of time on the phone to elders in my family, managed to Zoom a second time with my parents (which feeds in a peculiar way my sanity fantasy that I am on a spaceship), checked out another "gosh this isn't going to work" option for grocery delivery for my parents and did a few housey chores like putting laundry away.

I spent a lot of time on the computer. I ordered some ribbon for mask ties. The powdered milk and brown sugar that I ordered from Bob's Red Mill arrived. Today my primary care doctor's office phoned to tell me that my scheduled visit had been changed to an online visit.

I walked just about 3 1/2 miles today, mostly in the early morning when it was still drizzly, which was long enough of a sanity stroll that I was tempted to lie down again afterwards. But I didn't. It is close to seven weeks of seclusion, and I certainly do not feel at all safe to return to everyday life.
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beauty in the time of isolation, day 47 :
I was particularly taken with the contrast between the very cool pale pink of the flowers, and the warm dark bronzy-green of the moss atop the wall
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April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 dried mushrooms window rainbowdead Bernina
2 frozen mushroomssome pruningfive pounds
3 6 more masksmotion light yard waste bin
4 12 masks
lawn mowed yard waste bin
5 10 more maskssome more pruning -
6 21 more masks green onions planted
-
7 tiny drawings peas protected
-
8 green CYRK lion printer interface x
9 35 masks cut out
x x
10 red CYRK lion x x
11 dog blockprint x x
12 38 masks sewn x x
13 drawing for Michele x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitudes - I have two superpowers, one I developed, and one I came in with. In this case, it was the latter. I have been able to draw, in a somewhat stylised fashion, for as long as I can remember. According to my mother, I painted a recognisable "horse" when I was in nursery school.

(My other superpower has a story to go along with it... I was shopping at New Seasons the day before my first radiation treatment. My favorite cashier asked me, like they do, "how are you doing?" I told him that I was pretty scared about going into the radiation bunker the next day... he said "Don't you realise what that means?! Tomorrow is when you get your super power!!... what super power are you going to get?" Without even thinking twice, I told him that I was going to get the "Cheerfulness Ray", so I could zap people who were having a bad day and their day would immediately improve. He said that was the best super power he had ever heard of, because there was no way it could be used for evil purposes!)

Sunday, April 26, 2020

in exile for the good of the realm...

in which our plucky heroine cries some more tears...

Once again I woke up, after a rough night, feeling my way into the new reality. Feeling like there will never be a time again when there will be any progression beyond the second level of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Survival is good, compared to the alternative, but how I miss all that gave that survival it's savor. I've years of practice as a young person living on those two bottom levels, and eking out every drop of savor of the crumbs that trickle down from the upper levels. I have been doing my best to keep reminding myself that even though this exile feels interminable and permanent, that there may someday come a time when at least some of what I dearly miss will return.
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The microgreens experiment was a great success, yielding a small bag of crispy greenery in only 12 days of entirely minimal effort, plus some soaking time up front. I think that they would be great as an addition to a sandwich, or tostada, but what I did was add the leaves and finely chopped stems to some egg salad and call it dinner. Today I started a new batch of sunflower, and also started some field peas, for pea shoot greens. I know I could cut some from the snow peas that are continuing to grow in the back yard pots, but I would rather they get to where they actually give me peapods
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So, today Young Heather drove down here again from Olympia, to pick up all the masks I have been sewing for the northern folks. She brought me perishable groceries (fruits and veggies) and a bag of frozen shrimps so I can make more pot stickers, and the most darling little cubes of homemade butter! She also stopped at the Mud Bay folks, who put together a care package for me, a wonderful assortment of produce and dry goods, as well as a package of comb honey, a big piece of block carving material, some silicone drinking straws, and a special card with an artist proof from Mr Dawson, and drawings from Kestrel. . I miss them all so, and I can tell that they were thinking of me, which filled my heart so much that it overflowed as tears (after Heather left to return north)
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beauty in the time of isolation, day 46 :

homage to Georgia O'Keefe
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April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 dried mushrooms window rainbowdead Bernina
2 frozen mushroomssome pruningfive pounds
3 6 more masksmotion light yard waste bin
4 12 masks
lawn mowed yard waste bin
5 10 more maskssome more pruning -
6 21 more masks green onions planted
-
7 tiny drawings peas protected
-
8 green CYRK lion printer interface x
9 35 masks cut out
x x
10 red CYRK lion x x
11 dog blockprint x x
12 38 masks sewn x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitudes - I am gone but not forgotten, my friends love me, my family loves me, and in so many ways that is obvious. I hope that I have been able to let them know that the feeling is reciprocal...

Friday, April 24, 2020

Upson-Downs

in which our plucky heroine feels just a tad whiplashed...

Some things have been going fairly well in the last few days. I was finally able to navigate Zoom, in a sort of random way, and was able to see my parents for the first time in a year (in isolation all the way across the country) and this afternoon had a Zoom chat with my little sister (also a thousand miles away). It definitely adds to the "spaceship" effect, but seeing faces while hearing voices is an improvement.
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My experiment in growing sunflower microgreens is a success. Tomorrow I plan on harvesting them, and have started soaking more black oil sunflower seeds, as well as some field peas for growing pea shoots. This is going to necessitate emptying more of the small plastic storage boxes from the workroom, but in a worthy cause: transforming them into plant growing trays. I'll have to sort through the current box contents, now piling up on the standing workbench, and figure out a different storage solution.

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Sewing masks: 20 were completed yesterday, 13 more today. Another 5 are in preparation for Friday, and that should do it for my friends and relations. Then I will switch back to the masks for the women's clinic, since I am now out of ribbon and twill tape, but still have some elastic. I will have to either buy some more ribbon, or sew ties for making a set of masks for me, since that has yet to happen... ("shoemaker's children" effect)  Must needs remind myself that this is not a contest, that I can feel okay about how much I can accomplish, and that I needn't compare myself to other people's much higher daily totals. Their circumstances are not my circumstances.
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beauty in the time of isolation, day 43 :

pink dogwood, yesterday
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Yesterday's walking 4.8 miles; Day before walking 4.5 miles... I pace the streets to calm myself. Last night I received word that M's father had died. He was in hospital with COVID. I cried, and swore, and messaged M that the death left a void in the world, and my wish that good memories would eventually be a light in that void. Then I went outside and walked so long that I gave myself another blister.
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Yesterday I found four and a half pounds of black lentils (in good condition) at the bottom of the linen closet, where they had been stored in a pair of jewelry display boxes, as a beautiful backdrop. As they had been there for at least ten or more years, I wasn't sure that they would be any good, though dry beans and lentils keep for ages. I have never eaten black lentils, so am not sure if how they turned out was because of excessive age, or if that is just their normal flavor? I voted them "not tasty", they go back into storage as display media, not food.
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~ 100 day challenge - days 8, 9, 10~
.
Here is the portrait of Ruby the dog, carved into a block, and then printed onto some blue/white cotton chambray shirting. I didn't see any reason to print the parts of the fabric that will form the inside of the mask, since that would be less comfortable to wear. I'm going to stitch these two up tomorrow, and then it will be on to a different creative project...

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April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 dried mushrooms window rainbowdead Bernina
2 frozen mushroomssome pruningfive pounds
3 6 more masksmotion light yard waste bin
4 12 masks
lawn mowed yard waste bin
5 10 more maskssome more pruning -
6 21 more masks green onions planted
-
7 tiny drawings peas protected
-
8 green CYRK lion printer interface x
9 35 masks cut out
x x
10 red CYRK lion x x
11 dog blockprint x x
12 33 masks sewn x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitudes - I am alive, currently safe, currently healthy. Today, and indeed every day, that is enough.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

a change is as good as a feast

in which our plucky heroine rings some more changes...

Here is some delightful percussion:
.
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Pre-pandemic my life was mostly solitary, but sprinkled with daily small social contact and connection, rather like one might sprinkle pepper on breakfast eggs, enough to add savor, but not so much as to overwhelm them... Now my life is more like hot cereal without any butter, or sweet, or savory toppings, it is still enough to sustain body and spirit, but the small sparks that brightened the inherent flavor are gone. No way around this but through. And there were, at various times of the year intensely social gatherings, eagerly awaited visits, and other human festivity that now feels both impossible currently and forever fatally risky to return to.
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The gum surgery I had almost six weeks ago (just prior to going into seclusion) has left me with a partially exposed tooth root. This is now excruciatingly sensitive to anything cold or hot, and I didn't know that  would be a likely result of saving the tooth. As I still need to continue to drink liquids, my choice is either lukewarm water, or re-learn how to use my tongue and mouth to drink with. I have a great appreciation now for the efforts made by infants, and people with brain injury, 'cos this is not an easy thing to do, but our plucky heroine is nothing if not persistent.
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beauty in the time of isolation:
A few days ago, I was walking early, just after dawn, enough that the street along the edge of the bluff was not chock-a-block full of joggers, walkers, and bikers. I adore what is called "the marine layer" which as far as I can tell consists of cool mist that is created inland every morning under certain conditions, and softens the early part of the day in the springtime. Before the mist burns off, the view is almost picturesque (in bright sunlight it looks out over railyards and industrial infill along the Willamette).
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This song... I never tire of it, or of what it says.
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~ 100 day challenge - day 8~
Got a request this week to carve a portrait block for printing a custom mask to wear when dog walking. Should be pretty interesting! Or at least a change from my usual medieval aesthetic.
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April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 dried mushrooms window rainbowdead Bernina
2 frozen mushroomssome pruningfive pounds
3 6 more masksmotion light yard waste bin
4 12 masks
lawn mowed -
5 10 more maskssome more pruning -
6 21 more masks green onions planted
-
7 tiny drawings peas protected
-
8 green CYRK lion printer interface x
9 35 masks cut out
x x
10 red CYRK lion x x
11 drawing Ruby x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitudes - a house that has all sorts of craft supplies and equipment, that allow all kinds of theoretical options to become reality

Monday, April 20, 2020

Monday musings

in which our plucky heroine notices some changes...

Having lost much of my desire to eat, between dental surgery and stress, I have as a result lost over 16 pounds since going into isolation near the beginning of March. I've not been this size in over fifteen years. At some point, as this continues, I will again be able to wear my middle class Elizabethan clothing that I made to wear when I was autocrat years ago for Michaelmas Feast. This will may balance out the eventual need to do alterations on my brassieres, which are becoming too large as my cup size decreases.
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I was feeling sort of bored with my usual daily food choices, and the avocado from Young Heather last week was now ready to eat, so decided to make some tortillas (as one of the alternate things I acquired before isolation was some instant masa from the bulk food bins.)

Rather than do anything as exciting as chilaquiles verde, I simply turned them into a kind of tostada lunch on Sunday and today.  What I like about instant masa is that I can mix up just enough to make a few tortillas, instead of buying a whole package which I can never manage to finish.
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Still struggling to find motivation to finish the masks, which I have all cut out and waiting to sew. They will all be done by the end of Saturday, so they can be transported to the people waiting for them. But after this batch, and the one after that, I am looking forward to making myself something "springlike" even though the only person who will see it will be me. I'm going to swerve away from my all grey SWAP plans, and make a teal pinafore instead (indigotiger goes wild!!) as I am really feeling like something a little colorful will be be good for my morale. I've a chunk of cotton/linen chambray in a teal/black colorway, that will actually coordinate with a fair amount of my current clothing.

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beauty in the time of isolation:
according to my friend NĂ©na, this is a lacecap hydrangea...
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wondering why I awoke at 4:30 AM Sunday morning. Laying in bed, unable to get back to sleep, I figured it out... I told myself last night that I wanted to get up early enough to go for a walk before the streets were crowded! This actually worked, but I needed to wait until it was light outside... Achievement unlocked, two miles on the pedometer before breakfast. Monday I managed to walk both in the early morning and again after dusk was falling, for a total of over 11K steps which translates to 4.85 miles. Walking still feels fraught with danger, but less so than say, going into a grocery store, which I wonder if I will ever do again
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~ 100 day challenge - day 7~
and, the other tiny 1/16" scale CYRK lion poster is completed. I am if anything even happier with this one than the first. (the edges really are not curved like that, which is a camera artifact?) I will be trimming the edges of each of these, and sending them off in the post tomorrow to my pal Stacy for her 70's dollhouse
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April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 dried mushrooms window rainbowdead Bernina
2 frozen mushroomssome pruningfive pounds
3 6 more masksmotion light yard waste bin
4 12 masks
lawn mowed -
5 10 more maskssome more pruning -
6 21 more masks green onions planted
-
7 tiny drawings peas protected
-
8 green CYRK lion printer interface x
9 35 masks cut out
x x
10 red CYRK lion x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitudes - I have a tortilla press, acquired at the local thrift store shortly after the trip to Olympia a year or two ago, where Bill taught me how to make tortillas. So I am doubly grateful, for the appropriate tool, and for Bill's kind generosity, as is his wont, of sharing knowledge freely.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

a walk in the soft damp air

in which our plucky heroine enjoys some moments of relief...

It rained today, which always makes me happy. I love the grey rainy days, that seem to come less and less frequently, but are such a joy to my pluviophile self. On grey days the bright sun is muted, so there are no headaches to curse my daytime self.  By late afternoon, I realised that there were far fewer folks out and about, so I set out on a ramble. It was lovely, as I was able to walk about freely, almost but not quite as it had been before COVID was unleashed. My situational awareness will probably always remain ramped up from it's former state, but with fewer other walkers, no bikers or joggers, the streets were almost relaxing to walk along.

I only walked about 3½ miles, but as I took a new turning, there were plenty of new interesting things to look at. I found a house that the entire yard was a massive "farm",  with a large hydroponic setup as well as standard garden beds and espaliered fruit trees as fencing. I found a house with a yard full of glass art. And, as always, I keep looking at color schemes of houses, since someday Acorn Cottage will need repainted, and I do not intend to paint it Landlord White. It was a good day for walking!
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beauty in the time of isolation:
walked tonight in a different direction, and came upon these quite large and splendid glass flower sculptures. There were several more, and some interesting abstract sculptures, but these were the ones I could catch from the sidewalk... pretty nice eh?
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A while back, we transplanted the Figlets into the yard, (instead of the pots they all were living in (in the hope of no daily watering all summer long)) and they have settled nicely into their new home... with luck there will be figs later this year! I'm also going to study up on how best to prune them to encourage a larger first crop, as the second crop does not ripen here in the PNW
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Day 5 of my sunflower microgreens experiment...



there was obvious increased growth between yesterday and today


a view of the roots growing through the drainage holes)


Seeds from Johnny's are just as reliable as can be...

I'm hoping that this all will continue according to plan, and that in a week or so there will be tasty fresh house-grown greens for a "salad"! Fingers crossed!! I had long intended to attempt growing microgreens for resilience, as they can be grown quickly indoors using no inputs other than a small amount of soil, and a modest amount of water, to yield highly nutritious fresh greens to supplement stored food. Immediately after going into seclusion I ordered some pea seeds and some black oil sunflower seeds specifically for this project. No time like the present, cannot do it any sooner...
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~ 100 day challenge - day 6 ~
another day, and the blue and green portions are painted in. I am debating whether to attempt the fine line shading of the mane sections. Probably doing some sample attempts will make it clear if that is even possible at this 1/16" scale. The inherent irregularity of the colors painted on the mane gives a similar effect to the full size original.
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April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 dried mushrooms window rainbowdead Bernina
2 frozen mushroomssome pruningfive pounds
3 6 more masksmotion light yard waste bin
4 12 masks
lawn mowed -
5 10 more maskssome more pruning -
6 21 more masks green onions planted
-
7 tiny drawings peas protected
-
8 green CYRK lion printer interface x
9 35 masks cut out
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitudes - we have phone services (both land line and cell phone), we have internets. The power and water remain on, the garbage and recycling are removed. That part of the infrastructure remains intact for now. The weather is slowly warming as we move through springtime in the northern hemisphere. Yesterday it was warm enough that I was able to forgo heating the rice bags (which take the chill off the bedclothes) which is an every evening chore all winter long... I am gradually doing better at remembering to leave my outdoor shoes outside.

if I had $2000, or what a difference UBI would make

in which our plucky heroine cogitates a bit, on a different world...

Earlier this week the query was raised (in one of the FB group chats I participate in) of what would you do with it, if there was a 2K USD monthly basic income. These are some of my first thoughts on how greatly that would change my life... (Assuming that the 2K would not affect my SS pittance, or my EBT, and that I would still have at least the same minimal Medicaid/Medicare system currently in place, and assuming that it was now safe to be in public (ie we have found a way to coexist with COVID))

First off, increased personal health:
Get a good eye exam, and then get two pairs of glasses with a current prescription (current pair are nine years old).
Have the additional dental work done on my tooth and gum that needs to happen.
Getting the 4x a year maintenance teeth cleanings I should be having.
At least two pairs of new custom orthotics for my shoes (current ones are probably 20 yrs old).
Stretch goal, I would get a massage every other week, for increased bodily function and stress reduction/immune support (when I had arranged my life so this was a part of my schedule, the difference it made in both my well-being and my health was astounding)

Next, food improvements:
Be able to eat fresh fish several times a week.
Build a chicken habitat in the yard that would both keep the chickens safe from predators, and make it easy to have neighbors mind the chickens when I was away. This way I could have backyard hens with all their use as egg providers and garden tillers that entails.
Plant asparagus! (seriously, whyever did I NOT do this when I moved in?!)
Build in accessible raised beds that would allow me to do more gardening.
Buy a small Excalibur food dehydrator.
Acquire better/additional food storage containers.
Increase storage foods, to maintain them at a rotating 3 to 4 month capacity at all times.
Research and acquire both a home water filter, and a bugout water filter.

Housey improvements:
Create a mattress support platform, so I can use my new mattress (which is still in box)
Repair all the holes and damaged bits (wall behind pantry shelves, missing sheetrock, gaps in bathroom walls, etc
Make or commission window-fan arrays.
Better lighting in the two bedrooms
Replace crap electric stove with good gas stove.
Remove remaining crap carpeting and replace with flooring.
Begin insulating house exterior walls, one room at a time.
Check attic insulation and add more as needed.
Paint exterior walls and trim.
Outdoor tool cupboard/mini shed for yard tool storage.
Privacy fencing along alleyway
Get the big ornamental plum trees in the front yard professionally pruned
Get someone to prune the plum thicket in the back yard
Stretch goals: solar panels, water storage and distribution

Life/work goals:
Get bicycle tuned up on an as needed basis
Be able to visit my Aged Parents at least once and preferably twice a year.
Research and install good workshop ventilation.
Travel 2x a month to visit dearloves who do not live nearby
stretch goals: research other local transportation options, IE better bike, electric bike, sport utility bike, motor scooter etc

Generosity goals:
Create at least one artwork every month to donate to, or to auction to raise money for causes I believe in, and find out how to make that happen!
Teach one workshop or more every month to share my skills.
Create beautiful things to give to the people I care about and am connected to.

Save money as needed to facilitate getting what needs done to happen, and to allow for unforeseen disasters, continue to prioritse and shift effort towards desired goals as life unfolds. All of this is predicated on an ongoing dependable income/resource stream that is unrelated to drudge labor.

If/given that the 2K is not timebound, but ongoing/dependable, then as various infrastructure projects are completed, whatever resources were committed to them would eventually be freed up to instead go to generosity goals, such as various forms of world healing projects (ie donations to Heifer project, Seva Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, Kiva loans, etc)

Friday, April 17, 2020

Friday fragments

in which our plucky heroine is grateful to awaken in the bright world again attempting a life which is a combination of productivity and creativity...

Last nights dreams were all about contagion, unsurprisingly... the worst one though, was the one where I was inside Acorn Cottage, walking past the front door, noticed it was (closed but) unlocked, and went to turn the deadbolt... as I did so, the door started moving as if someone was on the other side wanting to get in, and though I threw my entire strength against the door, I wasn't strong enough to push back and latch it closed. I could feel my feet slipping against the floor... I woke up, with my heart pounding, and it was a long time before I managed to find my way back to dreamland.
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day 4 of the sunflower microgreens experiment... there are visible sprouts beginning to appear. I have been checking on them twice a day and misting the surface to keep it moist. They are growing in a kludged plant tray made from several identical fridge storage containers, one layer with drainage holes drilled, a lower layer to catch drips, and a lid layer that is usually on the surface and very slightly weighted, so the sprouts are kept from drying out. I am becoming hopeful that my experiment will be a success!
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~ 100 day challenge - day 5 ~
I've only put in a half hour on painting this one so far; the second layer of background paint will smooth out the irregularity in the red hue
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in other news, the cross alley view (formerly horrid pastel plastic playhouse trash) has been replaced with a shiny deep blue and chrome motorcycle. Somehow I doubt it is a discard on the way to the dump, and somehow, also, I do not mind seeing it there across the alley...
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April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 dried mushrooms window rainbowdead Bernina
2 frozen mushroomssome pruningfive pounds
3 6 more masksmotion light yard waste bin
4 12 masks
lawn mowed -
5 10 more maskssome more pruning -
6 21 more masks green onions planted
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7 tiny drawings peas protected
-
8 green CYRK lion printer interface x
9 35 masks cut out
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - one of the two avocados that Heather brought me is ripe, and today I melted cheese atop leftover cooked rice, and added cut avocado pieces, the last of the cilantro foliage, and some of the home canned salsa verde.. yum! Tomorrow I may try making some tortillas, and have some homemade quesadillas

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Thursday thoughts

in which our plucky heroine grasps at straws, and remembers that even straw can be twisted to form a rope, remembers that even straw can be twisted to fuel, when firewood is gone...

Here at Acorn Cottage, I am getting by, attempting to create some structures in my everyday that will provide me with some sustaining sparks in a life that feels like all the hopeful bright spots of connection large and small that carried me through are indefinitely gone. Taking small breaks for focused non-work-productive "artmaking" is as close as I get to meditation, and serves me the same function of allowing my brain to rest by absorbing all my attention in the doing. I am getting outside, and walking longer distances, than ever in the past, simply to allow my body the small comfort of movement, though pacing up and down the city blocks at twilight feels to my mind like a caged animal, the physical effort helps me to sleep. As I have often told myself in the past "can't make it didn't happen", and "there is no way around this but through"
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One of the people I personally know who has COVID, I have been following her saga online, her descriptions and thoughts about having a "mild case" makes me even more determined to stay isolated, despite the challenges
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beauty in the time of isolation:

Yesterday is history,
Tomorrow is a mystery;
Today is a gift,
That's why it's called the present...
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April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 dried mushrooms window rainbowdead Bernina
2 frozen mushroomssome pruningfive pounds
3 6 more masksmotion light yard waste bin
4 12 masks
lawn mowed -
5 10 more maskssome more pruning -
6 21 more masks green onions planted
-
7 tiny drawings peas protected
-
8 green CYRK lion printer interface x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - humans are art-making beings. All around the world. All around the neighborhood. I am filled with delight, in the midst of all this difficulty, to see the signs being shared of hope, of bright blessings, of remembering that we are all in this together...

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Welcome to Kludge Kingdom

in which our plucky heroine hacks through the jungle of outdated outmoded tech..

Since I was finally able to get the venerable printer to work properly (instead of printing and spewing dozens of pages each with one line of machine language) when re-connected to my semi-dysfunctional desktop instead of the laptop,  I decided that the best thing was to acquire some more printer ink, and a second trackball mouse, so I don't have to also  move the trackball between laptop and desktop, and I can print out postage labels if needed, and so I do not need to purchase a new printer!

Instead, all I need to do is get up and walk three steps across the living room, to move the data manually between laptop and desktop using a memory stick. This will also allow/encourage me to do some of my writing and image processing at the old desktop which is configured as a standing desk, and has my *beloved* very old ergonomic Microsoft keyboard (why does no one make those any more?!?)
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~ 100 day challenge - day 4 ~
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I started this morning painting in the lion's mane... later in the day I really needed another break, so I decided to finish painting the lion. Finally, I re-inked all the outlines a second time. Once I cut out the artwork from the page, the edges of the red border will be much smoother. I think I was able to get the effect of the original poster, even though this isn't an *exact* copy

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beauty in the time of isolation:
mural outside Chief Joseph School, sky still holding light after sunset; today I walked just over 5.4 miles...
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April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 dried mushrooms window rainbowdead Bernina
2 frozen mushroomssome pruningfive pounds
3 6 more masksmotion light -
4 12 masks
lawn mowed -
5 10 more maskssome more pruning -
6 21 more masks green onions planted
-
7 tiny drawings peas protected
-
8 green CYRK lion printer interface x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - I didn't grow up canning food, but learned as an adult. Thank you to Britta for the encouragement, and also to Tigress in a Jam for the year-long CanJam that stretched my canning experiences. Also extra thanks to the Three B's for sending me the big box of Harry and David pears, more than half of which were turned into canned pears. I adore canned pears, and now in this difficult time, their sweet taste is only sweeter as it brings you three to mind...

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

A 180 turn and other Tuesday tidbits

in which our plucky heroine reaches a small milestone...

...so while I've no intention of turning this into a diet and lifestyle blog (that not being the focus of my life either macro or micro), I have been going through some continuing changes in my relationship to food. As I found out during two prior episodes of intense stress, despite my little teapot configuration, I am not a stress-eater... but rather I lose my appetite. In this case, the stress of COVID was exacerbated by my gum surgery just prior to isolation; I was unable to eat my normal types or quantities of foods for weeks, and eating is still physically a challenge.

Because eating very small amounts of food at a time is all I could and can manage, (being careful that what I am eating is particularly high nutrition (ie like adding extra whey protein powder to my custard cup full of yoghurt and fruit puree)), the situation has encouraged me to notice when I am actually full, which is long before my mouth is tired of the taste of food. I'm approaching this as an experiment: what will happen if... It turns out that what happens is that two sets of numbers start to change. The numbers I am seeing on the scale every morning are trending downward, since the beginning of March I have lost approximately 15 pounds (my current weight has dipped a toe into the edge of the 180's, which I have not seen in over a decade!) As a concomitant  benefit, my daily fasting blood sugar is also improving. It will be ironic if I come through this difficult time in better physical condition than when I started.
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~ 100 day challenge - day 3 ~
This is what a half hour first thing in the morning looks like. I started painting the background, leaving room around the outer edge for a very narrow red border, just as in the poster-size original. It will be fun, and challenging to fill in the various colors of the lion body and mane!
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Today the sunflower microgreens countdown begins. I soaked a third of a cup of seeds until there was some sign that they were thinking about sprouting. This morning I took one of the plastic containers (formerly shop storage) and drilled a bunch of drain holes in the bottom, partially filled it with potting soil, and set it inside another of the same, to catch any drips. The seeds are spread atop, then covered very lightly with more soil, watered, and covered with a slightly weighted lid, to keep them in contact with the substrate. I put them in a darker place and will check them once a day. If all goes well, and I follow the protocol, in less than two weeks I should have tasty sunflower microgreens!
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beauty in the time of isolation:

atomic flowers, creative transformation of graffiti
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April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 dried mushrooms window rainbowdead Bernina
2 frozen mushroomssome pruningfive pounds
3 6 more masksmotion light -
4 12 masks
lawn mowed -
5 10 more maskssome more pruning -
6 21 more masks green onions planted
-
7 tiny drawings peas protected
-
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - minor tragedy narrowly averted: when I was putting the washed laundry in the basket to take out to the clothesline to dry, a sock was stuck... partway in between the edge of the washer drum and the edge of the machine housing! And even worse, one of my most venerable kerchiefs was almost all the way wedged into the housing!! Both were not salvagable, being rather torn and abraded to shreds, but it would have been a great disaster should my washing machine (or the downline plumbing) develop issues of indigestion. I shall have to be much more careful about what goes into the maw of wash, and perhaps some additional washing bags will be useful? (although this also explains why/how some of my dainty washbags have developed what look like shredded holes??)

Monday, April 13, 2020

Monday minutiae

in which our plucky heroine pretends to be a gardener...

I also declared it to be still the weekend, because it doesn't really matter right now! Well more it was the weekend because I took yesterday off to rest my wrists, and decided that another day of rest would be good for my mind and my body.
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~ 100 day challenge - day 2 ~
Yesterday my creative time was spend in drawing these wonderful CYRK lions:
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Today was all about inking in the designs. Maybe tomorrow I will begin painting them; I've got some gouache which is splendidly opaque and should be very suitable for tiny posters!
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started my sunflower microgreens today, by soaking the seeds, and changing the water several times... tomorrow I will assemble some growing trays from plastic storage boxes, which will necessitate finding some storage of the former contents.
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My baby snow peas are beginning to look like little plants! This is my not very professional setup to keep the baby peas from being eaten by birds or ripped out of the ground by squirrels... two venerable tomato cages on the two end pots, with the smaller pot sandwiched between, and the whole kaboodle wrapped in bird netting
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beauty in the time of isolation:
no walkies* are happening at present, so here is a bouquet of assorted springtime, from the flowers in the front walkway garden bed...
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April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 dried mushrooms window rainbowdead Bernina
2 frozen mushroomssome pruning-
3 6 more masksmotion light -
4 12 masks
lawn mowed -
5 10 more maskssome more pruning -
6 21 more masks green onions planted
-
7 tiny drawings peas protected
-
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude -  that I had the three smallest sizes of Micron pens in my scribal box. No running out right now to the great art store only a few blocks away to replenish my supplies!

*my blister is very slow to resorb, so I am on a temporary sabbatical from my daily walks, until it is healed.