Friday, February 29, 2008

Drowning Prevention

Go watch this video. It is completely amazing! You have to see it. Just go.

http://www.childdrowningprevention.com/index.html

Oh, Great. February Is Even Longer.

Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November.
All the rest have thirty-one
Except February
Which has eighty.

Isn't that how it goes? Huh. Sure seems like it.

This morning I thought that February was finally over. Dang. Happy Leap Day, everybody.

Once, when I was a kid, I had the word "February" on my spelling list. "Mom! Look! They spelled this wrong!" I said.

"No, that's the way it's spelled." she replied.

"No, because it's supposed to be 'Feb-yoo-ary'! This has a 'r' in it and that's not right!"

"The 'r' is silent." she said.

Which, of course, I accepted without question.

I have persisted in my mispronunciation of the name of the second month of the year out of stubbornness and habit. When someone points it out, I blame it on my Mom. I also spent the rest of my years in school watching for another word with a silent 'r'.

So, in honor of yet another day of the longest month of the year, I think I'll start drinking and work on putting the "brew" back in February.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Another Nomination...

...for one of those Bad Mommy Awards.

I was making supper tonight, distracted, thinking about other things. Jonah's been going from one mess project to another all day. He pulled a chair up to the basket that contains my silverware and utensils (as I don't have any drawers in my non-kitchen) to do some "organizing" for me. I just ignored him, knowing that my knives are all up on a magnetic strip over the counter.

At one point he got down and said he needed to go wash his hands. I thought this was a ploy to be allowed to play in the kitchen sink next and I told him to go use the bathroom sink. After a few minutes, he came back to the utensils, and I called a stop to it an put his chair away.

Still tuning him out, it took a while for his chatter to get from my ears to my brain: "Mom, it's painting! It's painting Mom! Mooooommmmyyyy...!"

Finally I looked at him. "What are you talking about?!? Can't you quit bugging me while I'm making sup... Oh!" He was continually wiping blood on his shirt and anything else within reach.

I had forgotten about the steak knives...

Upon taking him into the bathroom to clean him up (and delight him to his very toddler marrow with a bandaid), I discovered blood pretty much everywhere.

My silverware and utensils looked like they came off the set of a slasher-flick.

Where the hippy-hoo-ha was I anyway while he was bleeding all over everything???

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Turf Wars

A friend of mine gave me six Speckled Sussex chickens. We've added them in with our seven Bantam Black Silkies. Nobody's very happy about this arrangement (and lack of escape due to snow).




This tough guy didn't want to show his face...





...because he'd have to admit to having been beaten by a banty. Note the blood and swollen eye.




"Oh the shame!"




This brotha is smart enough to know better than to pick on a little guy.




The banties are currently in hiding, concentrating their defenses (they've shed more than a little blood themselves), and so refused to make a statement.

Stay tuned for extended coverage.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Yeah, Well, Who Do YOU Think it Is?



"Dat's Gwampa." he says.





Sorry, Grandpa.

Maybe it's the facial hair?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

To Butter a Bagel...

...you have to finagle
that hole in the center, you see.



Remember this book?



These are a recipe from that book, made with a bread sponge that I started yesterday.

Then this morning I got up at 6:30 and made bagels. Yeah, I know.

Actually I went to bed early last night because I wasn't feeling good and had slept poorly the night before. So the most natural thing to do upon waking up at a decent hour for a change (stop snickering) is to make bagels. That way they had time to rise and could have their time in the fridge while we were at church.

So when we came home, I poached and baked them and MAN! Are they good!

Mmmmmm... so yummy. Look, my eyes are rolling back in my head... mmmmmmm... poppy seeds stuck in the corner of my mouth... crunch, crunch... yum...

E-hem. Moving on.

I'm really enjoying this book. This is one of his "warm-up" recipes, using sponges as opposed to a hardcore sourdough starter. I'm getting to that part (since that's why I got the book in the first place), but this author is adamant that I must read and follow the book as if I'm learning to make bread for the first time. (He even claims that it's a "spiritual experience", but I think that's debatable.) I have to forget that I already can make decent yeasted and sponge breads and see bread-making with new eyes. And being a first-born and all, I have to follow the rules.

Not that I mind, because these are delicious (did I already mention that?), and tomorrow I'm making ciabatta.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sunshine!









My point-and-shoot may not know what to do with sun (poor cave-dweller... I should have brought the Minolta on our walk, I know this now.), but we sure do!


























No signs of life yet, but I'll take whatever sunshine I can get.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Winter Burnout



Does burning the Christmas Tree mean that winter is over?

Hey, a girl can dream.

(Maybe we should burn a snowman like they do in Switzerland.)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Dear "Family Dollar" Clerk,

Thank you so much for your kind help when I shopped in your store yesterday. Without your helpful commands, "TOP button. Top button. NOW your pin. Green button." I'm sure I would never have been able to manage the card-swipe machine on my own. What a pain those new-fangled things are. And they're just in ALL the stores these days.

Oh, and teasing the previous customer about not handing him his change? Hilarious. Really. Just priceless. It really made my day so much more delightful while I was standing there waiting with my hands full of laundry soap and two impatient toddlers.

Thank you again for providing me with such an enjoyable shopping experience.

Respectfully yours,
RK

P.S. Don't ever call me "Darlin' " again.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

So That Explains It

I've been wondering how Easter could possibly be SO early this year. Technically, it's in Spring, but it's really "Still Winter" (as in-- Four seasons: Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter, and Road Construction). I mean, we hardly got past Christmas, and it's already Lent. It makes me think, "Oh! It's almost Easter! That means Spring!" But now. Still Winter.

So here are the interesting facts about why this occurs (well, not the looong winter thing... the early Easter thing).

Easter is always the 1st Sunday after the 1st full moon after the Spring Equinox (which is March 20). This dating of Easter is based on the lunar calendar that Hebrew people used to identify Passover, which is why it moves around on our Roman calendar. Found out a couple of things you might be interested in! Based on the above, Easter can actually be one day earlier (March 22) but that is pretty rare.

Here's the interesting info. This year is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see the rest of our lives! And only the most elderly of our population have ever seen it this early (95 years old or above!). And none of us have ever, or will ever, see it a day earlier!

Here are the facts:

1) the next time Easter will be this early (March 23) will be the year 2228 (220 years from now). The last time it was this early was 1913 so if you're 95 or older, you are the only ones that were around for that!

2) The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will be in the year 2285 (277 years from now). The last time it was on March 22 was 1818. So, no one alive today has or will ever see it any earlier than this year!



More Fuel for my Search for the Perfect Bread


I'm very exited. I just got this book from the library (click on the picture to check it out on Amazon.com). With my local library, I can now go online and find any book in libraries throughout the state, order it, and my library (in a small town 5 miles away) will notify me when it arrives.

It's near heaven for a broke book-lover such as I am!

I've been on a search to make delicious, traditional, natural-yeasted (sourdough) bread. Unfortunately, I don't have a brick oven to bake it, as in this wonderful book that Mom got for me, even though I've tried to convince Nathan to build me one... At this point, I guess I'd be glad just to have a kitchen, never mind a brick oven. Some day...

Anyway, I did make great strides in my sourdough abilities this past week (after puzzling over it for months, and feeding many sour bricks to my poor husband and son) and I hoping this book will take me a little farther.

Here's hook from the preface:
"There is a form of writing called object poetry. The idea, when writing object poetry, is to describe something not with similes and metaphors, but in very concrete terms. Like peeling layers of an onion (a simile that, ironically, could not meet the criteria), the more deeply you explore the actuality of an abject the more it seems to transcend itself and become universal, archetypal, and ideal. This book was written to capture that spirit. Rather than try to build metaphorical bridges between the real and ideal, ... I have focused on the actuality of bread. I want this book to be an object poem that takes you deeper in the subject as it broadens your experience."*
Mmmm... that's what I've been looking for.

More to come as I get further into this book.

*Peter Reinhard, preface to Crust and Crumb

They Should be Millionaires

Despair Wear Kids

I'll take one of each. And a couple of these for myself.

Oh, and since it is still February, and thus winter, I'm using a Frowny without paying royalties. :-(

Monday, February 18, 2008

The View from my Porch

...it's very wintery.

All that rain and melted snow made a lake in the hay field.






Sunday, February 17, 2008

With Appoligies to my Brother

I'm a pirate. Stealing some one else's photographs and posting them on my blog.

I don't steal. I'm only borrowing them for practice, Gimping them up a little. And showing them to you. But I'll credit the lovely photos to my dear brother, who's bumming around Switzerland (too far away to give me a bloody nose for stealing. Not that he would, cuz he's sweet that way).

So, Kris, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, you should be flattered. Or something.






















That last one, I didn't actually do anything to other than a little cropping. I'm just including it because I like it. And I like red. It's just a really sweet little pic.

To see his original photos, see this post.

Puddle Fun

It's warmed up to a balmy 44 degrees here. S'posed to be 20 again tomorrow, but we'll take what we can get. It rained and rained and rained. This morning, church was postponed until 1:00 to give the ice on the roads a chance to melt. I ended up staying home by myself due to the worst. Sinus headache. Ever. I'm no stranger to headaches, but that one takes the cake. Aiee.

A little while ago the sun broke through and my nasal passages gave it a rest. Jonah and I seized the opportunity and booted up and headed out for some obligatory (and refreshing) puddle splashing. We walked down to the drainage ditch and I impressed on him the danger of it. He looked a little pouty like he thought he was in trouble. Well, he's scared of it, anyway.

We walked back and sailed little grass "boats" on the rivulets of water everywhere. Jonah's boots were full of water but he didn't care. Soon the clouds and rain returned, so we headed in.

It reminds me in all my spring fever, the season after Winter is Mud. Sigh. I'll take it, though. Just so long as we can actually go outside!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Look Mom! A Sqaure!




I'm not even kidding! He made it himself and brought it to me and announced that it's a square. Dang, he's smart!

Course, I'm his Mom and all he has to do is, I don't know, blink, and I'll say he's brilliant.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mmmm-Hmmmm.




Hello sweet chocolate.

I changed my mind about the chocolate pie. I had a nasty headache and didn't feel like listening to the whine of the mixer in my hand for 20 minutes. So I made this wonderful bittersweet chocolate mousse. It was so fast and easy! And mostly raw, too, as the egg yolks really don't get cooked and I used my fresh Guernsey cream from my neighbors. (When I went to get milk the other day, they had it sitting in big buckets and the cream was rising up. She used a big measuring cup and gave me the top of the milk, so one of the gallons was half cream! Oh heaven!)

It's delicious. I know because, as you can see, I had already started licking the spatula when I decided to take a picture. We will eat it with more whipped cream later (probably while watching the latest episode of Lost. How romantic. Aren't we terribly shallow?)

For some reason (headache-induced trippiness?) while I was making this stuff I was thinking about the ads I've seen for those Yoplait Whips. It's Yoplait's standard yogurt to which the have to add a ton of sugar and probably high fructose corn syrup because they've removed most of the good stuff, the fat. Except now they're charging more for it because they've added air.

Happy Valentine's Day! Make sure to spend it with chocolate!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Two Links, Completely Unrelated

Or maybe they're just opposite... One healthy, one sooo not, but so what?

First of all, I think that I can't help but make this chocolate pie for Valentine's Day tomorrow. Oh, Sweet Piles of Chocolate. The only drawback would be standing there holding the mixer for 20 minutes. Since I have no stand mixer. I mean, come ON, I think stand mixers are a Basic Human Right. My life is hard. I have mentioned that, I believe. Eh-hem. Anyway, I think it might be worth it. The mixer-holding, I mean.

On a completely different note--

If you value your health, you must read the info on this website. It's just WOW. I think I need to get that book. (Along with this one) Reading this stuff, I felt the same way I felt when I first read Nourishing Traditions. Just blown over by how much sense it makes. How can the mainstream "diet dictocrats" be so blind?

Okay, so maybe that was four links. Whatever. It's my blog.

Dino Bite




I found this one morning recently while I was cleaning off the table after breakfast.

Hungry much?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Speaking of Punk-Spawn

Here's mine. Please ignore the clutter in the background... our living quarters are a little cramped these days.













Sheesh. Somebody wash his face. Who is this kid's mother anyway?

Bad to the... Feather

See the skull-and-crossbone bandannas? These are the bikers birds. They're bigger, tougher, meaner, and just generally badder than all the other birds.





When they show up, the other birds just go ahead and give themselves black eyes.

And according to my bird book, they don't even belong in this neck of the woods. But when you ride a Hog, you can go wherever you want.




They even bring their punk-spawn with them, indicated by the lighter colored bandannas.






Don't ask to see their tattoos.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Of Forks and Sticking

...them in me because I am SO. Done. With winter. Really. Enough already, lets get some Spring going here.

These bright, shiny faces are looking out my window too, hoping to reach for just a leeeetle more sunshine. Good luck to them, I say, and let me know if it works.












They're dreaming of spreading their toes in some warm, fluffy dirt. Me too.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Crispy Crunchy



My Mom gave me Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook for my birthday. Oh. Yum. The pictures are so fantastic that I have to keep wiping up drool spots on the pages.

Today I made the Rosemary Parmesan Crackers, Sans Rosemary because IT'S FEBRUARY, PEOPLE! I have no fresh rosemary. Yes, I mulched in my herb bed with Christmas tree branches, just like Mahhtha says. But I am not about to go dig through the snow to see if there are some green shoots left. Because there probably aren't. I'm just hopin' the dang thing survives.

Anyway, they're yummy (to the extent that I didn't actually make supper tonight). And I even used white flour.

That's the major drawback to this book. I want to bake EVERYTHING. But all that white flour and sugar goes against all my sensibilities. And all the butter... aiee. Don't get me wrong, I love butter and truly believe it is a very healthy food, but a pound per recipe is gonna eat up my grocery bill in a hurry.

Not that that'll stop me.

Tongue-Tied

I've always been known to be somewhat shy. "What's a-matter? Cat got your tongue?" har, har, har. (I love my Dad's characteristic response to that sort of thing-- "It's better to keep my mouth shut and let people assume I'm stupid, than to open it and remove all doubt." My Dad is nothing if not pithy.) No, in typical firstborn fashion, I prefer not to be the center of attention (in contrast to my middle-child brothers, Neal and Seth, who feed on attention).

So this blog? Completely out of character for me. Which is why it is nothing but drivel --purely the result of some February malcontent-- and bound to remain so. Be surprised, be very surprised, if you find any cogitations here. You can assume, if you like, that I have none, and you may be right. But if I do, I probably can't share them with the world.

I know of all these thoughtful blogs full of acumen and perspicacity (heh! Look it up.) that I love to read for their insight, but I just don't have the guts to expose myself that way. I'm chicken.

Just wanted to warn you.

Come to think of it, this post is getting a little too close for comfort.

Friday, February 8, 2008

I Miss the Swiss

A number of years ago (incidentally, my original flight date was Sept. 11, 2001. Guess how that worked out?), after I graduated from high school, I traveled to Switzerland and stayed with some friends for 5 1/2 months while I traveled around Europe and just generally soaked up the culture. My brother is there now, and hearing about his adventures has triggered a bit of nostalgia on my part...







Here's a photo I took in Zurich. I dredged it up and did a little Gimping, trying for something of an ink and watercolor effect (not nearly as good as REAL ink and watercolor, of course. Maybe I should spend less time playing with the 'puter and more time making actual art...).

I dunno, maybe the original photo is still better. Here's the SOOTC (straight out of the camera) shot:





Hrm. Now that I think about it, perhaps it just needs some enhancing, but I should leave it looking like a photo:





Opinions?


P.S. May I briefly vent? Oh, of course I can. It's my blog. Anyway, I'm really frustrated with Blogger! The photos are not nearly large enough to actually show much of anything. Also, it keeps shrinking my header, no matter what size I make it when I upload it! I mean, c'mon, they don't need to be huge, but a few more pixels would go a long way! I might dig into the template markup to try to fix the header. *sigh* You get what you pay for, and Blogger is free, so I guess the only real fix would be to actually pay for blog hosting.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Old Cowhand


Here's a picture of Jonah that I took last spring. Tonight I pulled it out and Gimped it a little.

I learned how to use a layer mask with a texture to add a film grain. That was fun. Then I used an inverted selection to burn out the edges, adjusted the color and contrast and called it a day!

I know-- Gimp is an illness.

A Convesation at the Supper Table on the Topic of My All-Day Sinus Headache

Nathan: Maybe when the weather changes, your head just has difficulty equalizing the pressure to match the atmosphere.

Me: Are you saying my head is a barometer?

N: Well... it's just all plugged up and takes a while to adjust.

Me: So, how do I unplug my head?

N: Roto-Rooter.

Snow-- at Least it's Pretty

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Unusual Day at the Diner

All the usual customers, enjoying their breakfast in a quiet, small-town mom-n-pop:






Including the nervous Nuthatch who takes off with all the sunflower seeds:






And along comes a punk-rocker:





With his girlfriend:




You should have seen the regulars drop their forks and stare.

Happy Birthday to My Only Sis

Here's the graphic I made to comment on her MySpace page:




We're only sisters and we share 5 brothers. I'm 10 years, 1 day and 24 minutes older than she is.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Ice Breaker



Ain't he cute?

I know.

Post the First

Here it is. My first weblog post.

Why?

I just need a place to splash some virtual "paint"! I've been playing with Gimp and having so much fun with photos and graphics, I need a place to pin them up. Maybe a few videos to share with friends and family will end up here... Random thoughts might also...

I'm a little afraid of what might come out here, but I guess I'll just see how it goes! I need a little creative motivation. I don't care if my stuff isn't any good at all. I have fun with it. Here goes!