elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Thursday, October 12th, 2017 09:02 am
Somewhere between sauteed and seared green tomatoes are just delicious. As the season draws to a close, i feel the need to be thrifty with bug-beset tomato fruits. I've suspected the critters hide in chewed up fruit and so i've been dumping them in the woods. But the nibbled on tomatoes i've been cutting them up (generally, for the grape tomatoes, simply a half that is good and a half that's been nibbled) and cooking them in the cast iron pan. Sure, really really ripe tomatoes are divine, but these are pretty good.

The greens are just beginning to be big enough to care about and not be too fussy when thinning. And the second planting of yellow squash is putting forth tiny little yellow fruit. It's hard to decide whether to pick them or not. Some i've picked and they've still been a bit green, others seem like they could have grown more.

We also have had some lovely rain: that should help gardening all around. I've planted some more beets and carrots to see if i can get them going before the first frost. I've seedlings of lettuce and particular brassicas in the green house that i should get out in the garden.

--== ∞ ==--
This morning i am reading [personal profile] sonia's writing about healing around the edges as part of getting back into the habit of following my self-help reading schedule. I put the items in the reading list over the past few years, but in Nov of last year i stopped using my to-do list software (emacs org file, for the curious). I am trying to get back into the list habit, but as i restart i find EVERYTHING is overdue. Anyhow, i will truncate this digression to just say, yay me, i'm getting a self care habit back.

So, at some point, i noted that there are two "traumas" i want to work through (1) the awful years at work when VP Z was in charge and was keeping the then New Director at his side, and (2) the effect of Christine's elephants.

I was working with my somatic experiencing therapist during the Z-hell to cope through it. Just thinking about that time brings tears and the need to go through a cycle of feeling and then distancing myself from the feelings. I'm impressed by how quickly i found that distress lingering. It's clear i may need to be somewhat intentional about resolving those feelings.

--== ∞ ==--

The spiders have mostly learned to stay clear of paths, it seems. They're still about: almost every window has a creature with a body at least the size of a quarter spinning a classic spoked web. Up above the front sidewalk a couple of spiders create their large webs. I suppose i'm going through some sort of exposure therapy, slowly reducing my aversion to the creatures. Maybe. If i think about them i find myself stressed. Breathe in, out, in, out.

After skimming through some resources, i think what has happened is that the spring baby orb weavers are finally big enough to make the massive webs by late August, creating spider web season. The females are probably getting as much food as they can for reproduction, and then, with the first frost, they'll be out of here.

It helps a little to understand why they aren't around all year.

http://www.martinsvillebulletin.com/news/weaving-a-web-fall-brings-unique-spiders-to-area/article_9e8ff0b0-77c5-54d3-b28d-e882ddfc5d48.html
https://www.thoughtco.com/orb-weaver-spiders-1968560
https://www.livescience.com/41550-garden-spiders.html
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Sunday, August 27th, 2017 08:36 am
I'm not sure when i last bought new to me music, but i bought Queens of the Stone Age's Villains and Iggy Pop's Post Pop Depression this week. We listened to tVillains last night. I quite enjoyed it, although i can't make out most of the lyrics. We listened with the Massive TV -- which is going to need a name ... ah, Humberto, big & bright ... -- playing the XBox visualizer. Carrie was entranced for a while, but i think when she concluded that an elder god was NOT about to jump out at us from the psychedelic tunnel she settled down.

I did enjoy listening, and it's a step towards not watching a show during every dinner. My newphew turned me on to QOTSA: I wonder if he will like Villians. Christine and i kept pointing out echoes of other rock bands, Led Zeppelin, "Canadian Art Rock" (our code for Rush), and ZZ Top.

I did battle with the stilt grass Saturday. There's so much of it, it's hard to see the win. Christine was delighted, though, so that keeps my spirits up. And underneath the apparent monoculture, some tufts of native grass and moonworts -- the most delightful plant i didn't know existed. Moonworts are in the Ophioglossaceae family, not a true fern, but no flowers, either. They raise their stalks with the sporangia on them high above the one solar panel, i mean, leaf. They depend on fungi, which makes me think of the lichens and their three family life form. With the current understanding that mitochondria and chloroplasts were single cell life forms separate from the single cell life forms they combined with, i can't help but think of lichens and Adder's tongues as demonstrating how important interconnections were in the early period of life.

There's probably some failed biological understanding in there that would make a scientist familiar with these plants cringe, but HEY, I'VE HAD TO LISTEN TO STUPID QUANTUM PHYSICS EXTRAPOLATIONS SO THERE.

Anyhow, tiny plants that i don't want to douse with glyphosphate to reward me for my manual labor.

Grilling: i don't think there's a value of threading mushrooms, onions, etc, on skewers since i happily have a grilling basket. Pineapple marinated mushrooms probably need more than an hour to absorb essence of pineapple.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Sunday, July 2nd, 2017 12:29 pm

It is a bit ironic, perhaps, that it's more likely for Donald Trump to be removed from office that it is for him to be removed from Twitter.



I made an excellent potato bake casserole last night, all things considered. (TVP is not the most delightful of vegetable protein sources, but whatever.)

Overnight, Carrie ate one of my flip flops. If i could walk around barefooted i would, but between Achilles tendonitis and plantar fascitis.... pfft.

Spending a bit of time thinking about posting photo galleries (and blogs) to Amazon S3. I have discovered an Evernote blogging platform, Postach.io. Here's my naturalist notebook transformed through their interface. Essentially, you create an account on their site, give their system access to a notebook, tag notes with "published", and boom!, it's been posted to your postach.io blog.

I've found another flow that can depend on evernote notebooks as well, both more flexible and more technically demanding. I'm not sure i have an argument for blogging (beyond here) any time soon.
elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Monday, June 26th, 2017 01:19 pm
On the back porch because it's a California like day with low humidity, mild temperatures, and blue blue skies. Hmm, i could probably dry the towel load outside today.

The weekend was pleasantly spent. The local library seems to have switched to Overdrive for eBooks (or i found their Overdrive link) so i did some casual reading. We had a pleasant bit of thrift shopping after a late brunch out on Saturday. There was a fellow selling Adirondack-ish furniture at the circle in Pittsboro, and we finally stopped and asked after the pieces. We've been talking about a bench for the back glade

I made tamales, which i was certain were failures but were, actually, just fine. The Great Northern beans turned out ok despite using the "rapid soak" shortcut. The pickled peppers i put in the squash weren't too hot (indeed, perhaps a bit bland). The amount of salty veggie bullion in the masa was not really noticeable after cooking. The masa wasn't stale, even though my nose kept saying it was.

One thing i wasn't worried about was that i used processed coconut oil instead of the traditional lard. (I didn't fluff it up first, though.) It's the first time i've used coconut oil: it seems like a lovely replacement for the Crisco i grew up with. And then there's the thought of tropical tamales made with unprocessed coconut oil. Fish filling? It's been ages since i made tamales: i should do it again soon.

Meeting for Business did not need a lunch dish -- or such was asserted. Never trust someone who thinks their meeting agenda is short. I drove home pondering how i would clerk at this meeting. I was quite hungry when i got home.

I harvested the russet potatoes. There was a little wireworm damage, and they weren't as big as grocery store potatoes, but there's a good pile. I'm a little disappointed because i will need to use these damaged ones earlier instead of letting them keep. (I probably cleaned them all up too well, too. I know the advice says let the dirt dry and brush it off, but i want to see the pretties!)
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Monday, March 13th, 2017 03:08 pm
Apparently, when you boil the violets (Viola sororia) with the sugar to make a violet simple syrup, the color turns out emerald-y -- or as Christine put it "yellow striving towards blue." Recipes indicate i would have had more success had i steeped the violets in hot water, strained them out, then made the simple syrup.

Speaking of V sororia, there's no violet flavor to speak of.

We had snow! Started Sunday morning, we were able to gaze at it, go for a walk in it, make pancakes & hot cocoa watching it, and it was gone after lunch.

Sick on Thursday. Meh.

Took Wednesday off, in solidarity. Wasn't very productive (probably due to onset of cold). Drove to a historical oyster bar with my Dad & Christine and had a little bit more birthday celebration with a peck of lightly steamed oysters.

Didn't do much adulting on Saturday. Read two of "The Sharing Knife" series by Lois McMaster Bujold. I feel it misses the strength of the Chalion series, but it's an admirable series. Most of the demerits for the November-April relationship are redeemed by a comment about laundry in the second book.
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Sunday, November 29th, 2015 07:29 am
I happen to be quite fond of Optima as a font. Generally, when i do any styling of text (which is rare) I use Optima for titles and headings and Garamond for the body. (Day Roman was a free font i found that is quite similar to Garamond, but has far fewer glyphs.)

I became curious this morning about Optima, and was quite pleased to see it is a Hermann Zapf font, derived from Roman period engravings. Then I read the opinions of John McCain's use of the font in his campaign -- http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/optima-typeface/?_r=0 . Well, i like what i like and so it goes.

--== ∞ ==--

I did some "holiday" cooking yesterday. Friday was art preparation (artist's statement, framing, pricing notes) and Thursday was a blur. In the morning i fixed a gluten free, biscuit-recipe inspired "pastry" filled with the aging almond filling from the back of the cabinet. As i patted the last bit down i realized that this time i'd forgotten the salt.

In the evening i baked a stuffed squash (a kuri kabocha, i think), which turned out quite well. I think zapping the squash while the oven preheated and i sautéed the onions was part of the success.
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elainegrey: Inspired by Grypping/gripping beast styles from Nordic cultures (Default)
Sunday, May 10th, 2015 08:55 am
Rough morning for us.

I woke to very bad dream about my parents. It wasn't too early to get up, so i tried calling Mom to wish her a happy Mother's Day. No answer. I have a slight sense of disturbance that lingers, that will be better once i hear their voices.

I then messed about in the kitchen, preparing a vegetarian dinner loaf. I tried using the grinder on the nuts: too small an amount to make it through the grinder. When the chickpeas were done, i pushed them through, pushing out the pecans: in general, too much fuss for the effort. I think i'll just use the potato masher in the future. The (very very old, back of cabinet) quinoa cooked up with much more volume than expected. I thought i was being clever by steaming the loaf: i was not.

It tastes pretty good, at least, but even after having been in the oven in a pie plate for 25 min, it has the texture of refried beans. I suppose it will get me through the week.

Christine is having her own bumps.

Yesterday I took a friend for an MRI: that ran over long, as it hadn't started by the time i came to pick her up. I then saw my friend DP, who has moved to Seattle as it is less expensive there. She is in town to visit her mother who has dementia. She's coping with depression since her move away, and coping with her mother's decline.

I'm clerking both worship & meeting for business today. I feel tired.
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Sunday, April 5th, 2015 07:07 am
Happy Easter to those who observe ... we took down the Yule wreath, but i've not really refreshed the seasonal decorations in the little display area for a multitude of seasons. I'm trusting that i am recovering and that vitality and motivation are just around the corner. Today, at least, i am vital enough to be making an orange pie in the style of Shaker lemon pies with my coconut crust. I am very much looking forward to this pie. And i'm going to stir up a batch of North Carolina vinegar sauce. I've been wondering what it would be like to cook beans with it, garbanzo or white beans? Christine's been applying it to the vegetarian chicken stuff, but there must be some other way to get the flavor into my life. Some sort of pilaf?

Sadly, the pie seems to not be cooking enough, not setting. I forgot to add starch, and i think i cooked in too cool an oven. I'm trying to zap it to doneness now.

--==∞==--

A review of the new Nature journal on plants showed a botanical drawing of a root vegetable that i couldn't quite name. Not a brassica, i knew: but the spinach family. And so i deduced it was a white beet (probably a sugar beet). That led me to poking about in the related plants, which include the goosefoot i was observing in the baylands on my walk yesterday. I've no idea if i was looking at a escape from domestication or a wild type, but this article on the domestication of a variety of eastern North American plants pleased me.

Smith, B. D. “Eastern North America as an Independent Center of Plant Domestication.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103, no. 33 (August 15, 2006): 12223–28. doi:10.1073/pnas.0604335103.

[livejournal.com profile] bobby1933 posted a poem that mentioned shepherds purse and i finally had the common name that i confuse with lambsquarters in front of me. Shepherds purse is a brassica (mustards and broccoli, and so on) and lambsquarters is in the spinach family (or what i call the spinach family: Chenopodiaceae is more accurately known as the goosefoot family).

More thoughts on the edible landscape of weeds. Meanwhile, there's something growing in my untended planters. It appears to match images of leaf celery. I ponder a salad of nasturtium and those leaves.

--==∞==--

Meanwhile, i need to acknowledge that the elephant in the room is taking a toll. I'm strong and can manage, but i begin to ask whether i need to find some help. The thought of sorting through the mental health options available through my health care is not ... inspiring. Nonetheless, i suppose i should NOW while i am feeling the buoying energy of the seasonal light and the delight that i can have lovely days at work.

I think i have an evening out with a friend planned in a week. I think i can get some support from her. My sister is supportive as well. There are a limited number of people with whom i feel like discussing elephant issues, although i've made sure that people at Meeting are aware of what i am carrying.
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Monday, December 29th, 2014 07:00 am
My new year is with my birthday in early March. I'm in a much better position to be optimistic then with the lengthening of the days and the greening of the year.

But in getting the piles of reminders for December and early January sorted, i ran across an e-workbook for preparing for a new year, spread out over four weeks. Given my life, spreading it out over eight weeks seemed wise.

It starts with wishing.

I'm not sure how good a wisher i am, but i wrote out wishes for different parts of my life, scribbling away with the digital pen on my iPad. I do like the combination of tactile with digital!

Wishing does lead me to some awareness of being thankful. I am particularly aware that i am delighted to find that Travelsmith makes dresses that are consistently sized and cut in a way that is both flattering and fits. I have been buying them for a couple years now (gifts from the catalog, and then filling in as dresses come in at my budget price of $20 on eBay). Pants have never fit me right, not when i was a skinny stick as a teen nor as my full figured self now. In general, I am very comfortable about my appearance.

Not my fitness level: the last half of the year was even more sedentary than before -- and i would have had to describe myself as sedentary then. But my ankles and feet are mostly happy these days, and i have no excuse to not walk. Christine's got the bike back and happy, so even if (when, please) we have another spate of rain, i should be able to exercise. (We have a stand that converts the bike to a stationary bike.)

--==∞==--

One of the gifts received this year was Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London's Ottolenghi. I am not very good at following recipes, usually with acceptable results. Last night's attempt at making turnip dumplings inspired by the parsnip dumplings was as disaster. The first fail was not recognizing how important it was for the batter to be stiff and to follow the direction to steam off water from the mashed veggie. I made another fail by folding in crepe batter: this was also far too runny.

Even after adding much more dry mix, the batter seemed more fluid, like cake batter, than stiff, so i poured it all into a pan and baked it. I think i have turnip bread now. And it needs salt.

OK, overconfidence in the kitchen has now been adjusted to an appropriate level of humility.

Leek fritters are next from the cookbook.
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Sunday, October 19th, 2014 11:53 am
It was a demanding week to get to the Sunday install -- and we found a problem and had to roll back. I'm letting it go, in favor of trying to live lightly around one of Christine's elephants. In her worries, i know my over/work features highly.

I'm trying not to dwell on the "and next week i get to do it again."

Any news of a change in my role is still three weeks off.

Yesterday i made sautéd turnip greens for lunch: i'm happy it's greens season again, even if tomatoes are fading. I've a large batch of Tuscan kale: i may try kale chips. We've two winter squashes awaiting soup making. I suspect pressure cooking would be excellent for them, so i have ordered a replacement pressure cooker. The $10 yardsale cooker died some months back from abuse in the dishwasher. I spent a good deal of time shopping and trying to decide on which one. The inexpensive replacement of the abused one? The electric slow/pressure/rice cooker? The super-duper conventional one? I decided that the electric one with all the controlls was far more likely to experience a failure. The superduper conventional one will, i hope, last a very long time, especially if i take better care of the lid.

I've binge-watched Haven and read the Northworld Trilogy by David Drake.
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Sunday, August 21st, 2011 09:10 am
Cooking problems in need of solutions:

I need to learn how to cook potatoes in campfire coals. Also, onions, winter squash, beets? Current plan is cook one evening, eat the next day.

I need to learn to use rice paper wraps. I would love to fill rice paper wraps with various yum for lunch, but the wraps are so sticky. Are they meant to be eaten immediately after wrapping? If so, woe.
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