Wednesday, April 28, 2010

nuts!

No. Not the kind you grind up with cilantro and sea salt to create a devastatingly good pesto.

I mean me. I've grown tired of our furniture. Every. Single. Piece of it.

Every time I turn around there's an inadequate bookshelf. Dated hardware. A not quite so comfortable any more couch (or three.)

Last night my favorite dog peed on one of those not quite so comfortable couches. And then I declared war on our ugly furniture.

This morning, I pulled the covers off of the couches and rubbed their edges with stain remover. After an hour in the washer, they are clean and bright, swinging in the breeze from the clothesline. Those couches are cleaner than they were the day we bought them. I do hope that makes them seem more comfortable. Not that the children will notice. They aren't allowed to sit on them anymore. Zoe managed to get four colors of magic marker on the love seat before 8am this morning. No-kids-on-the-couch seems more reasonable than a lot of other options I considered.

Also, I hate every single one of our lamps.

So I've been painting, priming, digging through the basement looking for the yellow paint I know is hiding down there somewhere. My favorite paint brush ran away from home, so I have to go to the hardware store (again) and get another one. Looks like a bomb hit my kitchen.

Random ambition is a dangerous thing.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Makes the hair on my head stand straight up.

Well, that may not be quite valid. My hair is always sticking straight up...



Anyway, I just saw this little bit of news. Seems Alice Waters (foodie/locavore queen) is pondering a TV show on PBS. She's a purist. No compromise. Local food in schools? That was her idea. She has a farm to table program at a middle school in Berkley to prove it. Food issues seem so clear cut with her. She says that good food is a good investment. I think she makes a valid point. Which is why I cringe when I hear even the most well-to-do of my aquaintances complaining about what it costs to join a CSA or buy really good heirloom tomatoes at the farmers market. I say, "Look at a carrot seed. Put one in your hand and really stare at it for ten seconds. Now hold up that purple carrot you just paid seventy five cents for. How did the seed turn into the carrot? Well, it was a miracle. And a farmer worked their tail off for it. It's seventy five cents!" See, now I'm Rush Limbaugh....quoting myself.



Yes. The show. Alice Waters is to food what Martha Stewart is to home-making. I can't wait.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

and this is what we did today.

after...
before....



I am very tired and I smell like compost. But when you have little girls, and you have an empty fountain, something must be done. See, I'm such a mess I can't even get these pictures flipped around so you see "before" and then "after." Now I need to go shower so I can cook supper and not infuse it with poopy dirt.

Oh Yes We Did!






There will be blood....and swearing*.....and arguments over technicalities (a 2x4 is not 2"x4"----Who Knew?) but there will also be raised gardens and a tremendous sense of accomplishment.

These are made with 2x10's and 2x4's (again, the name of the lumber is only somewhat indicative of it's actual size.) They come pretty close to being 4'x8', 10 inch tall raised gardens, though.

It took us all weekend to build and level 2. If you aren't into the bickering, bleeding, and swearing, you may be able to shave half of a day off of our time.

Oh, it's good to live here!

*No children were hit with a shovel, sworn at, or otherwise harmed during the making of these gardens.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

End Times

I keep getting these posts that pop up on my little face book account. "Our Food Is Killing Us." and "The Organic Manifesto" followed by how evil Monsanto is, and how buying conventionally grown produce and feeding it to your children is sterilizing them. I can't solve any of that. But I can react to all that the way I react to the show, "Hoarders; Buried Alive." I just clean up my own house.

We put in two 4x8 raised gardens this weekend. There was swearing, bleeding, arguing, and meandering trips to the wrong landfill that took up half the day. But they are in. They are full of compost and dirt and ready to be planted this afternoon. Zoe wants to grow purple carrots. We'll do it the organic way. Not the perfect way, but we won't spray them with anything that will sterilize her. I hope.

It seems the time I spend sitting on my bright blue porch swing used to be more about relaxing than worrying. Now I look at my yard and wonder if I need to put a privacy fence in to keep my neighbors from seeing my illegal chickens. Which I am still to chicken to get. I wonder if Chem Lawn blows across the street and contaminates my hot peppers. I sit and silently hate my neighbors complete lack of regard for my clothesline. Tree Trimming Services? Ever heard of 'em? I have random anxiety about volcanic activity. Watching the movie 2012 by myself in the middle of the night did not help matters. That meteor that fell all over us the other night? I won't even start....

I just hope the end of time can wait until after my next tomato harvest.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Gluten-Free fake Pita Chips

Bob's Red Mill makes a Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Mix that rocks. How much does it rock? Well, my kids didn't notice that anything was different about their cheese pizza last night.

I made little squares of something that remind me of Pita Chips out of the leftover dough. I miss Pita Chips.

If you add a tablespoon of fennel seeds and a tablespoon of cumin seeds to about 1/3 of a prepared batch of the pizza crust mix, roll it out as thin as you can with the help of some brown rice flour, sprinkle it with garlic powder and sea salt, bake it in a 350 degree oven until it starts to brown around the edges a bit, and cut it into squares.....voila! Pita Chips!

I'm eating them now. People who can eat food with gluten do not understand how very happy this makes me.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Progress....


has been made.


The dog's gate is fixed, seven bags of mulch have been spread in his "area." I got groceries, donated a backseat full of stuff to Goodwill, and put gas in the car.

Our dear sweet little girls will be back home in three hours and I must clean up around here a bit in order to maintain the illusion of control. I did the family budget for the year (yes. I am a nerd.) and we are spending more on food starting May 1. Boring? Or Revolutionary. Hm....


Also, we got number one daughter's pictures back and this is my favorite one. They are all really good. I do not have permission to put her picture on the Internet. But for the record, I am willing to ask for forgiveness if necessary.


That was all just a really long prelude to the only thing that's really on my mind today;


It's good to be Rachel.


Peace-

R

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chicken information


This is so cool.



They have it all. Your questions will be answered. They ship their baby chicks with special heat packs so they don't die in the cold. Not that it's really all that cold right now....


GO there!


OK, Highlander is outside working hard on repairing the gate that Max tore off of its hinges. I should at least get up and do something productive. Or go bother him about the next three things I want him to do.


Hooray for chickens!

Friday, April 9, 2010

This is proof that I lived through the night.

And woke up hungry for spaghetti. I haven't had the real, old fashioned, fever/body ache flu in years. We seem to have come through it, though. Tori's back at school today and Zoe is in the sun porch pretending to be Hannah Montana. All is well.

My feverish night left me with remnants of some pretty interesting dreams. About chickens, of course. I think it's coming down to this: we are going to go ahead and get ourselves some "illegal" chickens. Have you seen what the media is saying about Iowa egg operations? It's ugly. It's embarrassing. As if I wasn't already firmly planted in the land of NO GROCERY STORE EGGS.....

http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2010/04/07/humane-society-hits-iowa-hen-operations/

My little brood of egg-eaters is cracking six dozen a week right now. No Joke. If you buy "real" eggs at New Pioneer Coop (thanks, New Pi....for offering us "real" eggs) you pay around $6/dozen. Now, that may sound like a lot for eggs. But that's because we have been eating immortality itself. You should be paying $6/dozen for eggs. That's a fair price for knowing FOR SURE that the hens are treated well, fed well, and that the eggs themselves are actually going to nourish your family. OK, so we have about a $150/month of our food budget that should rightly be going to eggs. Luckily, I am acquainted with three small time farmers that keep chickens as pets and between the three of them, we can score eggs for between $1.50 and $2.50/dozen. That's very good for our food budget. I'm willing to pay more. If the cost of "real" eggs goes up, I'm still on board. Even if you don't have access to a hobby farmer with pet chickens, now that you know about where our grocery store eggs come from, you are obligated to stop buying them. It's an issue of moral behavior. We can become more aware and respectful of what's on our plates, or we can die while we maintain our entitled attitude towards what we eat.

I really like my kids, even when they are puking all over 1000 square feet of my home. I want them to live longer, better, and healthier than I have. I will not feed them crap.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Puke Chapter

Last night at 12:30 I woke from a peaceful cozy slumber to the sounds of my seven year old freaking out in her top bunk. She decided to wait for me to get up and tell her to get out of her bed before she attempted to crawl down the ladder. By then, she had puked down the side of the bed (in all the drawers) and had managed to hit the other set of drawers on her way out the door. She then proceeded to puke over the side of the stairs, across the hall, through the bathroom and landed one last projectile pile on the lid of the toilet.

Did I want to kill myself?

You bet your sweet ass I did.

Highlander slept.

While she was chained to the toilet, I scrubbed. Zoe, who was Wide Freaking Awake by then, helped me by pointing out each and every time I "missed a spot." Thank You Zoe.

By the time I had it all put together and had moved Zoe from the room to finish the night in a puke-free spot, I had my own stomache ache. So I headed downstairs for some couch-time. Guess what I stepped in. My dear sweet daughter had managed to lean over the railing upstairs on her way to the bathroom. Awesome.

I would like to note that I had it all cleaned up and disinfected by 2am. I then proceeded to watch "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" on HBO. I went back to bed with a stomach ache of my very own at 3:30. "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" is a dumb movie.

I say, screw environmentally sound cleaning practices. I scrubbed every square inch of hardwood floor with some nasty, toxic, disinfecting crap in the middle of the night. Glad I had it in the house. I threw the towels in the trash. The image of picking puke chunks out of the terry cloth just reminded me that I never liked those stupid blue towels, anyway.

And ya know what? I was supposed to meet Nanny Jo tonight. Like, for real.

How ironic is that.

Over and out--
R