Thursday, December 31, 2015

365 Things

I've tried everything but hypnosis and I have yet to manage to stick with a plan to de-thing my life.  The little hoarder that lives inside me gives me nothing but lip service.  Well, hehe, I think I've got A Plan.  Shame!  That's what it will take!  I am going to put on (limited) public display the painful process of my de-thinging.  And you all get to witness it!  Doesn't that sound like fun?

(Insert the sound of crickets...)

Starting on January 1, 2016, I will be shedding a thing a day.  I think, trying to keep this in some sort of manageable shape, I will be putting them out there - seven things - every Monday.  I may also take full advantage of the material to muse on these things and the process of shedding them.  Be warned.  It may either be as boring as watching paint dry, or it may give you the heebie-jeebies (how much stuff DOES she have, for natssake!)  I expect you all to hold my feet to the fire and to needle me unmercifully if I show signs of slacking off.  I was going to start a page and have it all categorized, but I suffer from ADD, not OCD. 

I will use Facebook, Freecycle, Craigslist, Goodwill, and the curbside (which, for some reason, local folks use with reckless abandon - piling a bunch of junk by the road with a "free" sign on it.  And it sits and becomes a gelatinous pile of unrecognizable flotsam over the months that it is there.  There ought to be a law...), or, finally, the transfer station, my very last choice.

Truth be told, I have been working my way up to this.  In the month of December, I shed a nice little pile of things.  It didn't even make a dent. 

Along with the de-thinging, I am going to shed a few pounds and a few bad habits.  I like to think of the coming new year as the Year of Light(er) and Possibilities.  I have prepared my support systems so that I won't be inclined to backslide as easily as I usually do.  I am also trying not to cram every last bad thing into tonight as if it's the last fun day of my life.  I had to turn away from the potato chip aisle, the chocolate aisle, the adult beverage store.  That's not saying that I don't have enough adult beverages at home to tide me over to the new year.  I. Can. Do. It.

Any other Resolutioners out there?  Do tell.....

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Tuesings (or Monday Musings a Day Late)

I'm still trying to figure out how, when I spend an hour clearing off a surface, less than a day later, someone, SOMEONE, has cluttered it up again.  Dang poltergeist. 

One of these days, I am going to totally give up planning anything.  I had decided to take a vacation day yesterday so that I could get some things done around the house.  I did not have much time over the holiday weekend and I was rather desperate to have some down time.  Hardyharhar.  I had a much later start in the morning due to the afterglow of my sisters descending upon me to form a "Sisters' Day and Overnight Pre-Birthday Bash" on Sunday.  It was a ball!  - face masks, hair masks, hand masks, champagne, lobster, Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia, music, laughter, movies.  All three of my dogs are depressed - Pepper got to sleep with Aunt Connie and I get the feeling that he thinks it's my fault she is not now living with us.  Pfft.

Anyhoo, late start in the morning but totally worth it.  Planned to swing by and drop off a carton of eggs with my favorite egg customers and make the schlep to Trader Joe's.  Instead, sat and had coffee for an hour with my customer.  Decided to just make my post office run to mail a couple of Christmas (hahahaha) packages only to find that every post office I stopped at took their lunch hour right smack dab in the middle of my free time.

Headed back home and decided to get gas, since I didn't want to gas up on my way to work.  (This was before hearing about the impending ice storm).  While I pumped, I tried to call my hay guy for the sixth time.  Got him!  But I had to act that very afternoon!  Called my neighbor, who also gets hay from my guy, and beat a hasty retreat home.  I managed to let the dogs out and change clothes before my neighbor's truck and trailer came into sight.  Up the mountain we went.  I love my hay guy (I do actually have a crush on him) - he saves hay for me at $3/bale.  He sells to everyone else (except my neighbor because, well, it wouldn't be fair) at $4/bale. That would make quite a difference to my budget.  Then he stores the hay in his barn and helps us load when we need it.  Unfortunately, my neighbor with the trailer has only one speed.  Slow to the point of reverse.  Four and a half hours later, we were wrapping tarps around the hay in his trailer because it was getting dark and said ice storm was coming.  FOUR AND A HALF hours to move 106 bales.  I think the actual loading took a half hour.  The rest of the time was spent in painful ponderous-ness strapping and quadruple strapping the hay to the trailer.  Needless to say, nothing else got done, other than feeding all the furries.  I also discovered, mid-hay-loading, that I had forgotten to remove the egg-of-the-day out of my down vest pocket.  Plus, the weather plummeted from spring-like to raw and frigid and I got so cold it took me hours to warm up.  I had barely enough time to change clothes again and scuttle over to another neighbor's holiday party, where I mumbled a few words, tossed back a glass of wine, ate as many bacon-wrapped scallops as I could grab, and left.  I am not exactly a shining example of the perfect party guest.

Now I am all about my New Year's Resolutions.  I usually am all humbuggy about resolutions, but I think I need to take myself to task this coming year.  If one more wheel falls of this cart, I might as well call it a sled and downhill we will go.  The biggest problem is keeping the list to under 20 resolutions!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Best Christmas present ever!  Meet Daisy, Jasmine's heifer calf born just before the holiday.

May you all get exactly what will make you happy this holiday season!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Patience is my middle name. Not.

My birthday present arrived!  I can't open it for a week!  (Will she make it?)

Monday, December 21, 2015

Monday Musings

I was grocery shopping with my mother (92) not so long ago and, as we inched up the line towards the cashier, I started looking at the contents of everyone's carts.  Three out of four held 95% processed, packaged foods.  The woman in front of us plopped an endless number of canned, boxed and frozen processed food-like things.  My mother had fresh romaine, fruit, whole grain bread, vegetables.  No wonder she is 92 and sharp as a tack.

I started making The List for 2016 and realized that more than half of the items were carried over from 2015.  Sigh.  One of the things on the list that was moved to the top was to Plan the Garden.  This year was a hodge-podge of reckless abandonment, when it came to planting.  And it showed.  I have already pulled out the binder with my graph paper and I am determined to have it planned no later than the end of February.  Let's hope my focus can hold.

I've also started to think of my resolutions for 2016 and this year I've only got three.  More about those later.

More and more of the people I know are stepping away from the commercial side of the holidays.  I think this may be because we are getting to the age where we have more than we need and don't want more "things".  Even my friends with grandchildren are backing off - because their parents overload them and why over-overload them?  There is nothing more off-putting than watching children rip through piles of gifts, glancing at them and flinging them aside, looking for something better.  Gah.

This year the only overloaded residents of the Little Lucky Farm are four-footed/hoofed.  Santa Jane once again made all their dreams come true.  I came home from meeting a friend for a drink to find a big box on my doorstep.  This sort of threw me because it was Sunday and it wasn't there yesterday, which I thought was Saturday, but now I wasn't sure.  It was a USPS box, so - are they now delivering on Sunday?  Are these the same people who will not cross the road to deliver a package and sit in their car, honking their horn until I am roused to don rain gear and trudge out to get it?

Anyhoo, after I dragged the box in and let the dogs out, I put on the kettle and busied myself with some of the things I ought to have done two weeks ago...  When I let the dogs in, I ignored them for a few minutes until I heard the sound of cardboard - which should not make a sound.  Sure enough, Miss "Nothing Escapes My Nose" Lovey had sunk her fangs in the box and was dragging it off to a quiet corner.  I quickly opened it and stored the goodies.  This morning, I had to count my fingers after dolling out the salmon treats.  Even the sheep and llama (Santa Jane is good to ALL the LLF critters - including me) got special treats.  Norman and Apria almost trampled the fence line in order to get theirs first.

I was hoping for snow for Christmas, but it seems we will be getting spring.  In case I continue in the sloth-like manner (vis a vis posting), I will wish the merriest of Christmases to you all now!  If I manage to drag my carcass to the computer before The Day, I will wish you even more merriment!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Gleaning lunch.

While it makes me almost giddy to be able to amble out in the darkish days of December and harvest a salad, it is also appalling.  Count me on the crazy side, but it is wrong - WRONG!  Where is my snow?  Why am I forced to view brownish vistas every stinking morning?  Blech.  I want winter during winter, dammit!

Now that I've calmed down, I will share my surprising little harvest with you.

Volunteer mustard - the plant that keeps on giving.
I may never have to plant it again.  I just have to relax about it growing
where it wants.

Mixed spicy blend in the cold frame.

Kale.  'Nuf said.

Swiss chard has battled through a couple of
freezes and has - so far - eluded the voles.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday Musings.

I do wish there was more truth in labeling.  Squash.  I was lulled into a false sense of ease when approaching my buttercup squash.  After wrestling like a crazed sumo with the thing, a more apt name would have been "Alligator Squash" or "Rhino Squash".   Somehow (hahahahaha, snort) I ended up with a bushel of winter squash.  After giving away another half bushel.  I just. can't. help. myself.  It was all I could do to keep my hand from picking up the phone, reading that my favorite winter vegetable stand was closing for the season and had BUSHELS of pie pumpkins for FREE.  But I did sit on my hands until the hysteria passed.  I mean, really.  I had thought about climbing Mount Big Bertha this weekend, but the closest I'll be getting is to continue giving her the google-eyes as I pass by in the cold storage room (aka guest room).  I have mustard to make.  (Colonel Mustard in the Dining Room with a Rope!)

People who think dogs are two dimensional are so limited.  If you spend more than ten minutes with a dog, his/her personality is bound to shine through.  My boy, Scrappy, has an amazing amount of personality - when he wants me to give him something, or come over and hug his noggin, he gives me the big Moo-Moo eyes.  I can feel them on me, even with my back towards him.  And of course, I do whatever he wants.  Lovey is guileless - what you see is what you get.  She wears her emotions on her face, her backside and those ears!  Of course, the Pepperoni is a whole nuther thing.  He is 4 pounds drama and 4 pounds manipulation.

I was roused out of a sound sleep (and a very nice dream, thanks a lot) by the pre-attack cry of an owl.  If you've never heard one, count yourself lucky.  I lay there, in the dark, with my heart pounding.  What must it feel like to be some unlucky small creature, not hearing the danger gliding above you, then, WHAM!  I bet that scream will freeze any prey to the spot.  Guess that's the idea.  All that was left of whatever became dinner was a bit of coarse fur on the deck.

I am having a heck of a time this year, getting into the holiday spirit.  It might be the combination of unseasonably warm weather during the day, followed by tree-cracking cold at night (perfect combination for sap gathering if it were spring.  Which it ain't.)  Or it could be a severe case of the grumps brought on by too much Christmas noise too soon - pre-Halloween, for natssake.  It is probably all of these things, plus something I can't quite put my finger on.  As I get older, I get a longing for a simple celebration of it all.  It's almost, dare I say, a longing for a Hallmark holiday.  This is odd, because I haven't ever had one and I am not the type of person to like sappy stuff.

(Sensitive Souls Alert - proceed with caution if you have good hygiene sensitivities - coughcoughmamapeacoughcough) As I was happily munching away on my from-home lunch recently, my coworker stuck his head around the corner of my office door (I am inconveniently close to the office kitchen and everyone seems to need to tarry around my door - sometimes bringing germs - while their coffee brews) and asked me about my salad.  I had just picked it that morning - December! - and I carefully identified all the greens:  tatsoi, arugula, mustard, kale - and the homemade pomegranate molasses vinaigrette.  I also noticed:  cat hair, dog hair, which I left out of the narrative.  That made me wonder about just how much foreign, non-food matter I ingest in a week.  I shiver to think.  Then, again, I could consider it a free source of fiber...

Friday, December 11, 2015

On the 20+ Question Band Wagon

Here is more than you'll ever need to know about me...

1.  Do you like bleu cheese?  OUI.

2.  Have you ever smoked?  Yes, unfortunately.  Quit 17 years ago.

3.  Do you own a gun?  Is this a loaded questions?  Hehe.  Yes, I do.  Watch your step.

4.  What flavor of Kool Aid is your favorite?  Has to be lime - 'cause it's green.

5.  Do you get nervous before dental appointments?  I've been known to bite.

6.  What do you think of hot dogs?  Love me my Pepperoni...and any natural-type hot dog is okeydokey in my book, as long as it's covered in onions, relish and mustard, eaten outside in lively company.

7.  What's your favorite Christmas movie?  Polar Express

8.  What do you prefer to drink in the morning?  Lattes!  Pumpkin Spice Lattes!

9.  Can you do push-ups?  The only push-ups in my life involved undergarments. 

10. What's your favorite piece of jewelry?  My great-aunt's pseudo-engagement ring.

11. What's your favorite hobby?  Knitting!

12. Do you have A.D.D.?  What?  What?

13. Do you wear glasses or contacts?  Glasses to read.

14. What's your middle name?  Carol.

15. What are your thoughts at this minute?  What?  What?  I'm thinking that this is a long list.

16. Name 3 drinks that you regularly consume.  Coffee, tea, adult beverage.

17. What is a current worry of yours?  That I won't be able to retire in four years.

18.  What do you currently hate? Congress.

19.  Where is your favorite place to be?  Home, sweet home, with my doggies.

20. What do you plan on doing on New Year's Eve this year?  Not a hotdang thing.

21. To where would you like to travel?  Parts of the USA that I missed while thinking Europe was more interesting.

22. Name three people you think will do this questionnaire on their blog.  Carolyn, if she still exists.  Anyone (like me) desperately in need of inspiration!

23. Do you own slippers?  Yes, I do.  And they are totally disreputable, as slippers ought to be.

24.  What color shirt are you wearing?  Black.  Call me Johnny.

25.  Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?  Did once, slid off.  So, no.

26.  Can you whistle?  Only managed to once.  In choir.  Mostly, I spit noisily.

27.  What is your favorite color?  See 4.

28.  What songs do you sing in the shower?  I can belt out Joni Mitchell or Adele.  Not that you'd recognize either.

29.  Would you be a pirate?  No, I get seasick.

30.  What's in your pocket right now?  Lint and cat treats.

31.  What's the last thing that made you laugh?  A blog post.

32.  What vehicle do you drive?  2007 Hyundai Tucson- manual, baby.

33.  What's the worst injury you've ever had?  Broke my left ankle.  I now sport 14 screws and a couple of plates.  I can make most security scans very musical.

34.  Do you love where you live?  Sometimes.  I'd love it more if it was not in New York.

35.  Would you change your first name if you could?  Oh, yes.  I have it all picked out.  Imogene.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

A Decorating Hack

(I bet some/most of you are surprised I knew that term!  Interesting, isn't it, that a word that once meant something sub-standard, now is all the rage.)

While last year's attempt at winterizing my living room windows was a success, it was a marginal success.  I had sewn flannel-lined shades that did, indeed, block most of the cold that vibrated into the room, but they were awkward to fold up and tended to block a lot of the already puny wintery light.

After mulling it around off and on, I came up with another (bright) idea.  Fleece curtains!  While I am sure that there might be some who develop a nervous tic at the mere thought of fleece as window dressing, I managed to find a nice, medium-weight dove gray fleece on sale when my DS Connie and I hit JoAnn Fabrics some weeks ago.  Since there would be a small amount (less than a yard) on the bolt after my purchase, I got a larger discount for buying the whole thing.  Woot!

I decided to make it as easy as possible, with minimum sewing so that, in case it was just awful, I would still have most of the fabric with which to make jammie pants.  It pays to be one step ahead when you know not what you do.

The result?

LOVE THEM.  And they required no sewing whatsoever.  I measured the window, cut them to length, and folded the top over an inch and a half, then cut small slits at regular intervals, through which I threaded the tension rod.  Omg.  They are so warm and cozy and don't look half bad.  As a matter of fact, in order to help Slimbo work through a relapse (this vertigo stuff is never-ending, it seems), I dug out a piece of dark brown fleece with little white paw prints and did the same thing for the cat room window.  When light comes through the little paw prints, it gives the room a rather dappled effect and lets just enough light in that it's not cave-like.  Cool.  Slimbo has rallied, although I am sure it's not because of the curtain or that he's developed a liking to the antibiotic sludge I squirt down his gullet twice a day. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Weekend Chow

The prep.

Little Hasselbacks.

Chobani was looking for willing participants in their #MadeWithChobani Series (lots of good recipes!) and, while I do make my own yogurt, I rarely have the patience or presence of forethought to make my own Greek yogurt.  Ergo, Chobani.  I use Greek yogurt as a replacement for sour cream.  I use it in my mashed potatoes.  I use it in pancake batter.  So it was an easy yes.   After I dragged my sorry self home through the pea soup fog on Friday night, I was in the mood for comfort food.  Balance and nutrition had absolutely NOTHING to do with my quest for comfort.  I had wanted to make these little Hasselback Tater Tots (find the recipe here) and it seemed like the perfect time to make good on my promise to Chobani and rustle up some little tatery morsels. 

After sifting through the last of my own potato crop, I gleaned a little pile of small potatoes.  They were thoroughly washed and dried, then cut into thin slices just shy of the bottom.  I tossed them with EVO and salt and pepper and put them in a hot oven (425*) for 30 minutes, pulled them out, brushed them with a little more EVO and then back they went for another 30 minutes.  While they were having their crisping up session in the oven, I whipped up a dip - Chobani Greek Yogurt and a heaping tablespoon of Pensey's Green Goddess mix.  I added a titch more garlic and pepper, let the tater tots cool slightly and dipped away.  Heaven!  While I could have used my homemade ketchup, I tend towards the tangy rather than the sweety, so this dip was perfect.  And, yes, I felt MUCH better after consuming a few of these cuties. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Another go at it.

Poor, poor lonely ear warmer...
As the previous winner has seemingly dropped off the edge of the world, I drew winner #2 - Susan from Canada!  Please email your mailing address and I will get it off to you.

Another giveaway is in the works - stay tuned.

On the subject of AFOs (Almost Finished Objects), the Baby Blanket from He(double hockey sticks) is finished - all needs done is weaving in the 100 ends.  Then blocking and wrapping and off it goes to swaddle cutie pie Adrian.  Just in time, too, as the holiday is too-fast approaching and I have a list that looms!

Other than a challenged "B" and a little pattern
lapse, I am satisfied with it.

I've also been plugging away in the processing department.  After spending so many years in terror at the mere thought of pressure canning, I have come to find it's not rocket science.  It also allows me to free up freezer space and populate my (over-stocked) shelves with glorious colors!  I processed two and a half gallons of turkey stock, four quarts of sweet potatoes and three quarts of butternut squash.  Still to rassle with - Big Bertha, my 8 pound Hubbard squash.  She will take an entire weekend, me thinks.
Turkey stock, sweet potatoes and
squash - the possibilities are endless!