"These happy golden years are passing by, these happy golden years." Laura Ingalls Wilder

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Near Beer Ale

Sodee pop, 'tis not! In my 27 years of practicing Home Economics 101 there is little I've not tried. The family has endured being my laboratory 'rats' having tasted and tried countless tricks of the trade. There have been more successes than failures ... but I do have to add one more item to the round file: Homemade ginger ale. Travel back in time (a few weeks ago) with me. I started searching the www for root beer recipes. On a trip to Pennsylvania one year, we bought a jug of Amish root beer from a farm stand. It was delicious. So in my 'planet saving efforts' to buy local, I decided to give a shot at making my own brew. The first try was a miserable failure. A recipe I tried (called Amish root beer ... and btw readily available via google), included a teaspoon of yeast and setting the liquid in a jug out in the sun for 4-5 hours ... then storing it in a cool place for 4-5 days. Much anticipation grew ... and, and and (drum roll .......) the 'brew' smelled like rotten eggs, bleck! Back to the drawing board. I decided to follow the directions for beginners that came with my root beer extract. It called for only 1/8 tsp. of yeast and no hot sun. This resulted in a very fine root beer without the yeasty aftertaste... and we're waiting for our second batch to be finished by tomorrow.

On to the near beer: Years ago I read the Little House on the Prairie books ... and in one of them they made some type of ginger ale. So I searched once again on the www and began a single 2-litre bottle. The mix of yeast and ginger is much quicker to ferment than the root beer ... this bottle required only two days (again, I used less yeast than in the recipe). Warnings of not using a glass bottle were given and heeded ... (ka-boom ;) ... Last night I popped the bottle top and gave it a good sniff before trying it. I was shocked ... but there was definitely a near beer smell to it ... so I gave it try. Pouring it into my glass produced much froth ... and an even more near beer scent. This is not exactly what I had in mind for ginger ale. It was neither good ginger ale ... nor good beer, but I can now add lab scientist to my resume.

Rise And Shine (like it or not)

You know it's going to be a long day when:

  1. ... you're awoken from bed to change a stinky/poopy kid at 2:45 AM and hubby assists.
  2. ... it's 4:00 AM and you are starting a second load of stinky/poopy kid laundry!
  3. ... it's 4:15 AM and you decide to make a pot of coffee and enjoy the 'aloneness' one has in the house at that time of day.
  4. ... just thinking about being up half the night knowing that you will be providing 'granny day care' services about noon time.
  5. ... you get up before the birds.
  6. ... you eat breakfast twice.
  7. ... you're finished blog lurking and decide whether or not you should make a stupid post before 5:00 AM.
I'm in for a very long day!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Blogger Beware!

Warning: If you have a blog with a new version of the Blog Roll in your sidebar which automatically updates when your 'blog buddies' make a new post BEWARE! This morning while I quickly checked my blog, I noticed one of the Blog Roll link titles looked a bit 'off color' ... upon further inspection, by clicking on the link, it led to very graphic 'dirty' pictures. I'm not sure if this is a glitch ... or what. Blogger customer service is nearly impossible to contact (so I found out). So for now, I'm not using this feature. I have left my original 'blog neighbors' links in my sidebar ... these do not have the automatic update feature and should be safe to use.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Trip In the Making

It's been years since I have had a real vacation. The type you pour over travel books, chat with travel agents, book tickets, and board planes. Well, on our penny pinching budget these days, any trip we take will have to be closer to home, and be of a shorter duration. I'm not totally blowing off a nice far away destination, but any more of those far from home trips will have to be budgeted a few years in advance. Living in the Great Northwest affords lots of opportunities in about as many directions. Such trips can be done in less than a week if needed. A five hour drive will land you just about to a hundred or more great locals ... from the Pacific Ocean ... to the Rocky Mountains; east and west. From beautiful British Columbia to a place called Hell's Canyon in North Central Idaho (north, south). While throwing darts over my shoulder at a map last week ;) ... the dart landed at Glacier National Park in Montana. Having only briefly visited the park as a teen (and I mean brief) ... I'm anxious to get on the road. If you have any suggestions about sights to see along the way, please do share in the comment section. Oh Happy Trails!

Glacier Park slide show

Shown Photo website and information

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I'm Just A Green Waste Freak!

"Stop, don't you dare throw that melon rind away ... said I to my youngin'. Pitch it in the compost pail underneath the sink." What started as a small backyard project last year ... composting ... [and I had my serious doubts about the whole process being raised a city mouse] ... has turned our vegetable discards and often the grass clippings into a beautiful pile of rich brown earth ... Other than my dawg occasionally snatching a piece of watermelon rind, there have been no critters visiting the heap. No offensive smells. The finished product actually smells rather nice. No special barrel ... just a layered pile off in the unseen area of our back forty. Now that I've been "cooking" up several batches for over a year, the process is rather quick ... especially in the summer months. Not convinced? How much do you spend for a good bag of organic garden humus? How many pounds of green waste do you send off to the landfill? Probably more than you think. My next quest is to figure a way to continue the process of collecting green waste during the winter ... perhaps storing it in a barrel in the garage or just outside the back door. It should just become one frozen lump ... at least outside. Anyone every try winter composting in a cold climate?

Do's and Don'ts:

Do add all veggie and fruit peels and any garden grown products. Cut up watermelon rind a bit and any other tougher skinned produce to help speed up the process. Do add crushed egg shells, coffee grounds and tea bags including the filters. Untreated grass clippings will get the pile cooking. Layers of brown waste ... i.e. dried leaves, newspapers. Never add meat, bones, oily foods as these will attract animals ... that's another type of composting I'm not ready for ;)

Composting does not take much time. It's rather a nice 'hobby' and the results are beneficial. If you live in the city or the country, there is a composting method just right for you. There are many great websites that give details for starting your own soil amending compost.

Side note: Why is it that all the media types and Hollywood elites and left of center wing nut politicians believe that they 'invented frugal green living'? Long before anyone heard about their causes, before the media age ... new age ... etc. our grandparents scraped by with what they had, grew their own farm fresh food, ate local and organic, made their own clothes, built their own sod homes, cooked and baked and even hung out their clothes to dry. No gas guzzlers sitting idle in their barns, and they only owned two sets of clothes ... one for work and the other for church. They didn't have to pay income tax and didn't have to worry about getting a ticket for not clicking it or using their blue tooth. Time to return to Green Acres. Care to join me?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I love it when the weathermen don't predict the correct forecast (snicker). Today has been a rather soggy day ... much needed rain swept through our little corner of the world. Wet weather that was predicted to land a bit south of our area swept in with a gusto ... The way I look at it: free water for the lawn and garden. Upon getting up this morning, I said to the Mr. ... 'smells like rain' ... and not two minutes later we were shutting all of the open windows. This was just a tease for what came later. In the meantime, the last un-landscaped area of our front yard was scheduled to be hydro-seeded at 10AM. No watering the area until the next day is the general rule ... to let the 'glue' mixed with the grass seed time to dry. I'm pleased to see that it hasn't washed away yet. For the most part, in regard to building our new home, ... I can say: IT IS FINISHED (well almost;)!

Yes, 'Tis Me

Just imagine: Floppy hat with chin strap, long sleeved white linen blouse, bike shorts, white gloves, white socks and white oxford tennis shoes. Scent of sunscreen lotion ... and don't forget the sunglasses. What you might see me sporting while riding my bike around the lake this summer. Gosh, I'm turning into one of those delicate ladies that hides from the sun while out in the sun. I'm turning into my grandmother. Wait a minute. I am Jacob's grandmother. Oh joy!

Sunday, July 20, 2008


"Everyone on the plane was acting normal ... but I was acting like a nut in my head." As explained by Ann about her recent travel experience during a flight that included a thunder and lightening storm.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Since You Asked

... in the comment section of the "Dog-gone Thief" post ... I had actually planned my next post to be called: "Going, Going, Gray - Part 2" ... It's been six months since I stopped coloring my hair. Each month I've gotten the ends trimmed and have been adamant about not recoloring ... although I did have a dream that somehow my hair had been recolored and I was glad to wake up seeing the gray ;) ..
Here are two pictures my friend Christina took when she visited last month. The gray has grown out about 40% of the the length. Since I have layered hair it doesn't appear to be almost halfway grown out ... but it is. Most days I just put on a smile ... but on extremely bad hair days I wear a ball cap. No turning back now. The bang area is frosted snow ... progressing back to salt and pepper ... and dark brown at the neckline. It really hasn't been too bad ... the hardest time was the first month or two when it just looked like I was overdue for a coloring ... now it's pretty obvious that I'm letting it grow in gray. I'm not a gal that can wear short hair ... so you won't see me sporting a pixie ;)

Here is my original post

Sunday, July 06, 2008

In Need Of Rest?

Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Exodus 20:9-11

Saturday, July 05, 2008

A Dog-gone Thief!!

....Last spring I planted two strawberry pots with a total of about 22 plants. I've watched them take root from these lifeless gnarly bare-root plants and leaf out beautifully. By now I should have enough for my morning bowl of cereal ... but I've noticed that the berries I've been watching with anticipation have been disappearing one by one. Yesterday I watched in disbelief as my DAWG snagged a treat for herself. She's on my doo=doo list now and that's not a pretty place to be. Hubby suggested I place the pots just beyond her "invisible" fence line so she gets zapped should she dare take another treat.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Shhh, Grandma's Baby Is Sleeping

Last night was my oldest daughter's final class of dental school. She's been burning her candle from both ends for quite a long time now. I've tried to help out with 'free granny daycare' (a luxury I somehow escaped years ago). Her schedule has included opening at a local eatery (leaving home at 4:30 AM) ... coming home after her shift ... taking a nap ... studying and homework ... and off to night school. Somewhere in there she took care of baby and her husband. To reward her for her efforts, I offered to take the baby for the night (not that I don't see him enough ;) ... so she could have a 'date' with her husband. Of late the baby is very fussy when they take him to a restaurant. Gone are the days of this quiet little fellow content to look at his toes from the comfort of his infant carrier. My home is not too baby friendly ... two stairways and no fenced backyard. So I'm closing for now to take a reprieve as he slumbers for the night. I hope your fourth was celebrated with great food, friends, legal fireworks, and appreciation for the country we call home.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Something Is Screwy

I did not disable my comment section in my previous post ... but I'm too busy to copy and paste it to a new page. My day has been spent cleaning up (and I'm still not done) the yard ... tons of debris and dirt ... I was side tracked and started pulling weeds . Meet me in the garden ;)

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

My Garden Will Be A Shamble

Tonight the sky opened up and touched the earth with a furious show. Hail the size of marbles rained down ... crashes of thunder ... flashes of lightening ... rain ... all of this lasting for over three hours. My beautiful flowers will, no doubt, be in ruins when first light appears tomorrow.