hollysmokes

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Everything posted by hollysmokes

  1. You too! Here's something funny: My to-do list this weekend: make the relish I didn't get to this week and the duck sausage I didn't get to last week, smoke some jalapenos to make chipotles in adobo sauce and since I have the smoker going, throw in a salmon filet, braise/sous vide a beef roast, farmer's market to pick up meat and get some fresh corn to freeze at my hubbie's request, do something with tomatoes & peppers, tear at least one row of tomatoes out and maybe all of them, put the closet back together, finish putting up a light fixture in the basement, and MUST mop the floors Yeaaaah, if I (we) can get half of that done, it will be a major accomplishment. OK, now I'm tired just thinking about it
  2. Hahaha! Poop nightmare! Not sure why but that phrase got me chuckling. I'm with you on the upset stomach thing. It only happens to me at work and after lunch but not every day. I've never been able to track it down to a particular food or dish- very frustrating. I've kept a food log and sometimes I think it's a little too much added fat, or (horror!) tomatoes but then it's not repeatable. Maybe I have a sensitivity to work! Maybe I should quit and just tend my garden and kitchen. I think our mortgage company might have something to say about that. I haven't tried coconut aminos on scrambled eggs; it sounds delicious with the Lebanese spices. That might have to be my breakfasts next week. Unfortunately no Hoedown this year. After three years of very significant hits to their savings, our friends decided to take this year off and see if they can drum up more investors for next year. In a way it's nice to have the break but it's also sad. We'll make up for it by going to see a TON of music in September. We have four shows! Mark Knopfler, Mandolin Orange, Snarky Puppy (really can't wait- thank you for turning me on to them) and The Mavericks. Lots of variety too: rock n roll, string music, orchestra and Latin-influenced fun. I'm with you on staying home with your girl. I felt the same way. My biggest fear was that she would be alone when she needed me most. And, yes, it did feel right to stay nearby. Oops, gotta fly!
  3. I work in healthcare; you can't ruin my appetite with poop and E coli stories! I'd be careful, for sure. I definitely think that it's possible to be exposed to various infectious organisms and not get sick or get less sick. A healthy immune system is your best friend!! Still, minimizing exposure would be wise. I'm surprised the local health department hasn't stepped in. Canning salsa is SO labor intensive! I did a batch with 7 lbs of tomatoes, about 10 cups, and split it in half so I could do a taste-test of lime juice vs red wine vinegar. While I was working on that I also scrambled eggs for the rest of my breakfasts, fried bacon to make BLT wraps for lunches and cooked a quick dinner of salmon marinated in Nomnom's stir fry sauce and shirataki noodles in the same sauce with a little almond butter for creaminess-meh! I've had the noodles before and thought they were pretty good but these had a funk to them that I wasn't crazy about. I do have some leftover salmon now so that's nice and I didn't just snack my dinner which I often do when hubs is out for the evening. He picks up fast food- not MY responsibility!! When he got home he convinced me (and it wasn't hard to do) to save the actual canning process for tonight. This time of year Costco has wild caught salmon so I try to stock up. That's how I wound up with fresh salmon for dinner last night. It was an impulse buy and I thought it was funny that my impulse buy was fresh fish instead of all of the candy and junk they have up by the registers to tempt you while you're waiting. I have one more small, whole filet left and I think I'm going to make some salmon cakes with it. I like to run it through the food processor raw, season it up with whatever I happen to have then cook them like little burgers. I also like fish cakes done using cooked, flaked fish but this is nice when you can get good fish. I saw a suggestion the other day to use Italian dressing instead of water or lemon juice to make cashew cream. I bet that would be good on a fish cake! Tonight: can salsa, bottle kombucha (mixed berry with a couple of jalapenos thrown in for a slight kick ) and make tea for a new batch, get a green tomato relish fermenting that I've had percolating in the back of my mind for a few days. Grilled pork chops for dinner if the rain holds off but I wouldn't cry if we got rained out; we could use it. How is the tree removal project coming?
  4. I knew you had tree work planned but didn't realize the chaos had started. You're making so much headway on defining your outside space; that's so exciting. I hear you on those spinning plates! I'm trying to keep the cooking as simple as possible right now. We managed a 2-pound batch of "hamburger helper" this weekend so I'll get a bunch of mileage out of that. I use it as a catch-all for whatever produce I have that needs to get used up so it wound up being sort of chili relleno-ish. There were some bell peppers from the garden that were either crazy-shaped and not stuff-able or had bobos on them plus some poblanos from bushes that had split so we just loaded it up with pepper and onion strips, added a bunch of celery, garlic, chili powder and the last couple of cups of tomato sauce from the 3 GALLON batch we finished canning. I managed to get one batch of salsa done but it was only 4 pints so I really feel like it was a lot of work for not much reward but I had a couple of issues I had to work around and was juggling recipes while still trying to make sure it was safe to can. My husband will be out tonight so I'm hoping to make another batch that "should" be a little more streamlined than the last. It looks like the tomato onslaught might be coming to an end then it's pepper time. Fortunately I haven't had much experience with kitty pee and carpets, sorry. What's up with the tubs?? Ours use them for eating whatever they've caught on the hill. It's better than having that mess on a rug but still... Maybelle also had a thing for laundry baskets. Her litter box was in the laundry room so if you left a basket of clothes on the floor, she considered it to be a nice fluffy litter box and would pee in it every time. I don't know how she managed it, but like Spooky's burst of energy getting in and out of the tub, she managed to get inside of the laundry basket that was sitting in a big leather chair a few weeks ago, pee in it and get out without knocking it over. Now it hurts my heart that I can put a basket of clothes on the floor. I also tortured myself looking at adoptable kittens. My thought was to find a bonded pair of black kitties so Squeaky would have company but they would have each other to romp and roughhouse with. I also though it would be a double whammy for adopting because black cats are harder to get adopted and so are multiples but I think it's not to be for now. Last week was a rough one- my Dad's birthday and little Maybelle reminders like a little round body print in the pillows on my mom's bed where she like to curl up all snuggled into the pillows.
  5. And the waves of tomatoes keep coming! I brought a dozen big ones to work to give away but that's just a drop in the bucket. We canned 15 pints of marinara sauce last night and got about 20 cups of roasted tomatoes, onions and garlic into the freezer the night before. I roasted them a little slower than I usually do so all of the extra liquid would evaporate and they came out really sweet- kinda raisin-y so I'm thinking that might make a nice winter-time salsa. We had reached the point where all of the refrigerators were jam-packed so we had to finish all of the projects that were in the works to make room for further progress. This weekend is salsa weekend! All of the big cook-up last weekend really paid off. We stuck to our plan to eat at home the night of the benefit and there were enough cooked things in the fridge that meals this week were quick and easy to free us up for tomato-ing. Didn't we have a discussion about turning nouns into verbs?? Tomato-ing is a thing, you know as in "Are we going to tomato tonight?" Your beds are going to be so nice with all of that cardboard and fir mulch! We caved a few years ago and got an old truck because we needed one often enough that it was being a pain in the butt not having one. Yay for civilized temperatures and good air quality is great! I've never lived anywhere that air quality was a problem. We've had a pretty mild summer, too- nothing over 100 except for one day in April, of all things, but this weekend is supposed to be pretty miserable. Squeaky is being his big ol' bossy self. He used to be very chatty pre-Maybelle and now he's going back to being chatty again. We were worried that he would be lonely without her but now we're wondering if he's happier being a solo kitty. I'm lonely without her, for sure, but we don't want to get another kitty at the expense of his happiness. He's planning a big celebration tomorrow for International Black Cat Day. It will probably involve some chicken and a loooong nap I hope Spooky has a great day, too.
  6. No tub soak and no sausage but killed it on everything else. I didn't get to the salsa experiment yet either but I have a plan and all of the ingredients so that's on the agenda for this week. The weekend was a blur of all things tomato! I think the tomatoes are winning. We are seriously tired and I made the mistake of looking closely at the pepper plants and they are going crazy, too. Saturday was a 12 hour day of tomato processing, eggplant cooking and miscellaneous house stuff. The closet is even patched and painted! I never left the house and still managed over 12,000 steps! Yesterday was almost as busy but not quite as long- just under 12,000 steps including some work in the garden. We have a fridge full of tomatoes and peppers and I really want to take a night off tonight but we have a benefit concert tomorrow night for a musician friend that had a stoke last month so we won't get anything done then and the 'maters are ganging up on us. In spite of working so hard this weekend, we managed to eat at home all weekend and didn't succumb to the temptation to let someone else feed us. We've been keeping it simple but still yummy and better than going out. I'm doing better on my vegetables even if they've tended to be grilled peppers and onions with a side of tomatoes. For variety, it was grilled cauli and peppers yesterday tossed with some Thai red curry paste. I got a chicken roasted Saturday so that will help with meals this week. The place where our friend's benefit concert is being held is general admission so if you want a seat you have to get there early. The problem is that their food is really, really awful so the plan is to eat an early lunch then have dinner around 5 so we can be there for 6 when the doors open. At least we have a plan! The lasagnas came out really good even if I did overcook them just a touch- crispy brown cheese on top instead of gooey but my husband said it was delicious. Good thing too because it's huge! I made mine dairy-free and used the cashew cream again. It's good but a little lacking in seasoning. My husband tasted the cashew cream and went crazy over it; I was so shocked! He laughed when I told him that vegans call it "cheese" but then he had to call his brother to tell him about this new amazing stuff. Wonton meatballs sound really good right now. I've been wanting some shrimp and was going to make shrimp Creole (you know, tomatoes...) but the wonton meatballs sound better so I think I'll put that on the list for this weekend. I made some of NomNom's all purpose stir-fry sauce so I'd even have something yummy to dip them in. Hmmm, I wonder what happened with your gyros?? You've successfully used the bison before, haven't you? I didn't sleep well last night and am totally pooped out but really proud of how much we got done. I told my husband yesterday that this whole productivity thing is exhausting!
  7. Success on the to-do list yesterday afternoon! The beef ribs were deee-licious and a nice reward for getting down in the garden in the heat. I slow-roasted the tomatoes, onions and garlic and it made the house smell amazing. I can only do three sheetpans-ful at a time so it's not quick but it's mostly hands-off so not too bad. I have the last of my gyro meat for lunch today so that is sad. Since I now have access to reasonably priced lamb, I think that's one of the things I'd like to keep in the freezer for emergencies. I'll probably regret this at some point this weekend but I'm planning a lasagna cook-up. We, of course, have tomatoes to cook and I now have 5 medium-sized eggplants so I'm going to use some of the tomato sauce we'll make this weekend to make a regular lasagna for my husband and an eggplant version with cashew cream instead of cheese for me. I did it for his birthday last December and he just finished the last piece that was in the freezer ( I finished mine forever ago!) so I think I'm going to restock. Three-way bonus: we'll have it to eat this weekend while we're busy, it'll use up some tomatoes and I'll have some to stash in the freezer for later! I'm also going to experiment with canning salsa so that will be fun. Aaand, my meat guy now has ground duck so I think I'm going to make a little batch of duck sausage- hubby's idea. I did it once before but used wild duck- not my fave- so I think this will be pretty tasty. On the self-care front, I'd like a nice long soak in the tub at some point. I bulk order sea salt and got some scented bath salts with my last order so I've been dying to take a nice, long, hot bath. I'll report back on how much progress I make on this very ambitious list (not to mention the on-going closet project and a light fixture that needs to be replaced in the basement- the joys of home-ownership, right?). And the usual housework I have some Lebanese-spiced hash in the freezer. This might be the weekend to break it out for my breakfasts next week. Whew, I'm getting tired just thinking about all of this! Have a joyful day!
  8. hollysmokes

    Fresh vs Frozen vs Canned--Taste quality

    I never met a green I didn't like- unless it was canned. Ewww slimy! Frozen is good, too if you aren't up to the washing and de-ribbing of fresh kale/collards. We've gotten so used to the texture of other greens that we don't even care for cooked baby spinach any more. I'll add a couple of handfuls to almost anything: hashes, casseroles, stir-fries. The smaller leaves make a great salad, too. Slice them up in small ribbons (chiffonade) then massage with salt, garlic, a few red pepper flakes if you like a little spice enough olive oil to moisten and a DROP of toasted sesame oil. A little sliced apple is nice in there, too. I hope you find a way to enjoy them!
  9. Spunky Spooky! Yeah! It sounds like you're on a roll! Nothing like some productivity to give you a boost, right? What a great idea to have a diffuser running to promote you aromatherapy products! The lavender/rosemary/sweet orange is my new favorite combination, thanks to you. I love putting it in my unscented lotion as a change from my usual grapefruit. I'm so sorry you had a parallel closet disaster. What a mess but it sounds like your husband found a good solution. Our closet isn't very big so I think we're going to stick with the wire shelves that were already there even though we really don't like them (Bonus: they're paid for!). At least they'll be installed correctly this time so we won't have a re-collapse (at least not until the other side falls off)! We took a day off of tomato duty yesterday but it's back to it today. Tuesday evening we canned that third batch- 7 qts + 10 pints of sauce then a storm came through and took out the power when we were almost finished. Thankfully, we're on propane and our cooktop has burners that will still run without electricity. Also thankful that the sauce was already in the jars and in the pressure canner so we didn't have to do it by flashlight. The plan tonight is to fire up the smoker for some beef ribs, get down to the garden to pick 'maters and stand some cages back up after the storm blew them over then get a batch in the oven for roasting. It's a pretty tall order so we'll see how successful we are completing that list. Right now everything is so full that we don't have anything to put the ripe tomatoes in. We like to leave them in a single layer so we've been using the boxes that Costco gives us but they're all occupied right now! I know it's a good problem to have but, Holy Tomato! Gyro and tzatziki for lunch for me today, too!
  10. Ugh, greasy mess. I've used a grill pan before; is your stove-top grill similar? I wasn't crazy about it because it just didn't cook very evenly and was awful to scrub clean but nothing as messy as that! Not that I haven't had my share of greasy, splattery messes though. That's why I hate browning meat for braises and love serious eats idea about browning it in large chunks then cutting it up smaller to braise. When I make beef bone broth I feel like I get every pot, pan and surface in the kitchen greasy and have to really be in the mood to just tackle the clean-up afterwards. This weekend was a blur of tomatoes and cooking. We got our third batch of tomatoes cooking, about 5 gallons (but not canned yet) and I took a giant scoop of them to make shakshuka for my breakfasts this week. I also baked a giant batch of chicken thighs to restock my emergency supplies in the freezer. The first batch turned into 3 qts + 4 pints of marinara sauce ("Italian red gravy" if you're from NO). The second batch of tomatoes became 5 CUPS of tomato paste and 7 pints of diced tomatoes. They're a lot more trouble because the tomatoes have to get peeled but I really like having them. I apparently can't count, though. I swear I canned 8 pints but I can only find 7. I think I'm going to roast batch #4 with onions and garlic and take the easy way out and freeze them. I can sympathize with the dirty and dusty business, too but free makes it worth it, right? The walk-in closet in our bedroom picked Saturday night a week ago to collapse. The hanging rack on one side pulled out of the wall and took the rack below it out with it. At 130 in the morning I had to go search the house to make sure Maybelle hadn't gotten trapped in there. She hadn't but when I couldn't find her Sunday morning, I was glad that I had laid eyes on her a few hours earlier. My husband has gotten the holes in the wall patched and, as of yesterday, bought all of the new pieces to be able to install it correctly ON the studs and not just in the sheet rock but it's been a mess. We pulled all of our shoes out so we could really get in there and take advantage of the emptiness to clean the floors and baseboards. Thankfully, it also made it easier to clean up the sheet rock dust. I took advantage of the chaos to get rid of a bunch of shoes I can't (or won't) wear any more and filled up a bag with clothes to donate, too. My reward is a couple of new pairs of shoes that I can wear- one pair of platinum (!!) sandals and one pair that I can wear to work that look like a cross between a moccasin and a loafer- both are Unshoes which I haven't tried before. I hope you have a less messy evening!
  11. Sort, clean, organize and socialize- sounds like a nice day. I love sitting around the fire pit! The one we got came with a grill to put on top. It sounds good but, in practicality, not so much. You have to get a big, thick bed of coals to be able to cook on it. That takes quite a while but it was fun the two times we did it. I'd rather just sit and be mesmerized by the flames and flames aren't so great for cooking! My hang-out bar is right outside of the kitchen door over the flagstone and on my way to the compost bin- multitasking! Me, too! I've done 20 minutes the last two days. I'd love to get it up to 45 minutes to an hour. I keep saying that I'm going to do a long session on the weekends but we start gardening and canning and cooking and housework and farmer's market and I just don't. I've been paying for access to Katie Bowman's videos for months and haven't been taking advantage of them but I can't bring myself to stop paying for them because then there's NO hope that I'll learn from them. We installed a cat door so they could fly into the house if they felt threatened but I still worry; predators are very efficient and we have coyotes, foxes and bobcats. My big boy doesn't even use a litter box except under duress (AKA snow). After 13 years I think it's too late to change his routine now since he spends most of his time outside on the deck. Ideally I think I would like to be able to leave the cat door available during the day then call everybody in in the evening and block off the door. Of course, being the bossy boy he is, he prefers the people door and he has an automatic door opener- two actually! He sits there and stares at it and one of us opens it for him. Since we have glass doors, it works coming and going- often. When he's outside we make him say please, though. We're not pushovers! Years ago I saw a T-shirt that had a to-do list on it: let cat in. let cat out. let cat in. let cat out. I should have gotten it! Yes, sadly, I do know what you mean about the steady decline. I felt like I'd been on death watch for months. Ahh, Spooky. My heart is with you.
  12. Ode To The Tomato! Love it. Hmmm, Spooky might not be too crazy about the nail caps. I found this: https://nationalcatgroomers.com/nail-cap-myths/ and it sounds like you have to trim their nails first then glue the little caps on. I would be bleeding if I tried that with my boy! That pic was my little white-whiskered girl. They're both black- little girl and big boy. We didn't plan it that way; they just came into our lives. Now that I've learned that black kitties are harder to adopt out, I'll always favor them. I added a few more minutes to my mobility work this morning. I'm hoping that I can progress to a full-blown workout/mobility/yoga session. I just roll out of bed, throw on a T-shirt and start moving- no thinking required! There is a beautiful oriental rug on the landing outside of our bedroom that we call The Magic Carpet and there is just enough light so that I can see what I'm doing so I don't squash my supervisor. I've always wanted to get rid of the TV and small sofa up there (especially since we don't use them) to make a yoga space but it's a loft and open to the rest of the house and I really need & like quiet when I'm moving. I haven't figure out a way to make that happen unless I banish my husband to the basement. Oh, yeah! We have been overrun by hoards of bugs at various times so I have used the vacuum weapon on more than one occasion. Do you have Asian beetles out there? They look like lady bugs but they BITE and the totally infest your house. I've sucked up hundreds- literally- at a time. Another time we got an invasion of cardboard moths that came in a shipment of something or another and had the same scenario but in the basement instead of our bedroom. I try to catch and release when possible but the insect world makes that impractical sometimes. I read a science fiction book a few years ago and now I can't remember the author OR the title but it was about a group of scientists that got shrunk down to insect size and they had defend themselves from ants, parasitic wasps, preying mantises, etc as they tried to save the world. The science in it was good but it was pretty frightening how efficient insects are. Your plan for the ex-swimming pool space sounds wonderful! I love our small hardscaped area behind our house. Because we're dug into the side of a hill, we only have about 10 feet of deck then a couple of steps up to about 10 feet of flagstone and a retaining wall before you're hiking up the hill. The deck goes around three sides of the house, though, so it's huge, especially since it got expanded during the renovations last fall. We didn't need more space but it had been poorly designed and making it bigger was the only way to make it safe and structurally sound. We LOVE sitting out there and, like you, it's our only real usable outdoor space. Our big boy likes to hang out there, too so the little cushions on the chairs are always covered in black hair. There is a spot down by the garden that we've talked about trying to turn into a sitting area. It is connected to the back of the deck via a fairly steep trail but would be pretty cool if we could get it organized and cleared out. One of the many projects we fantasize about... Great news about the redwoods, too! And the chicken gyros. I like the fluffy pitas better then the pocket pitas anyway. We threw some chicken breasts on the grill last night and hung out on the deck with Squeaky (crazy name for a gigantic cat!) to keep him company. I grabbed remnants of a couple of different sauces to turn into a basting sauce for the chicken and it wound up being really good! I made MJ's Lizard Sauce a while back and I liked it but found it to be more like a thick enchilada sauce than a condiment so that was my base. I haven't been very motivated when it comes to fixing dinner and have been slacking off on my vegetables but at least I'm sticking to the template for breakfast and lunch. Like I told my mom yesterday, sometime you can't do all the things all the time.
  13. And life goes on... I spent my quiet day working on a double batch egg roll bowl, a triple batch of laundry detergent, cleaned off the deck- billions of tiny acorns and debris from all of the storms we've had, tended to some of my fermenty friends and picked up after my girl. That was hard. The battle of the fruit flies continues but I think we're starting to get ahead of their breeding program. I don't think I mentioned it but we've been inundated with fruit flies. The first round started under the basement sink and I finally discovered a leaky drain pipe that was attracting them. Then we got a shipment of canned cat food that had been beaten up really badly. The box didn't look too bad and I didn't open it right away but when I did, the cans were all squished and one had popped open, leaking cat food juicy stuff all over the place and it was full of fruit flies. It smelled like old meat and the juice had soaked into the labels so they had to be peeled off and all the cans got washed. Fun times! We made little traps and those are working pretty well but we've been vacuuming them off of the walls by the dozens and out of the refrigerator. Yesterday was the first day that we only saw a few and not a few hundred. Tomatoes everywhere! I want to try canning salsa and one of the recipes I saw from a trusted source uses a little tomato paste so it doesn't wind up too watery. So now I have to make tomato paste. I've only had enough tomatoes to do it once and it was before I got a dehydrator so it's going to be an experiment. Speaking of experiments, did you try the chicken gyro yet? I meant to send you my gyro recipe but forgot; I'll get to it. It has a little allspice, garlic and cumin but I can't remember what else. I'm having gyro meat, tomatoes and tzatziki for lunch along with some of my fermented pickled peppers- darn, I forgot olives! Oh, I think that tapenade sounds delicious. My mom used to smear it on croutons for Salad Nicoise, which has tuna. I bet it would be really good just smeared on the tuna after it's cooked, what do you think? I was in a rut. Now I'm kinda foundering around. Still doing stretching/mobility in the morning before work but not much else. Yesterday and today I had the assistance/supervision of a very large, black cat who is also feeling a little lost right now. How's Ms Spooky? Have you ever tried those little rubber caps that glue onto their nails instead of cutting them? I've never tried them because my kids are indoor/outdoor but they come in cool colors and then they look like they've had a pedicure. “I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.” ― Jean Cocteau
  14. Oh! Thank you so much for the poppy seeds; they arrived on my birthday! I can't wait to plant them but I want to chose their location carefully. From what I've read, I have a couple of months to decide. I have NOT heard of Suzanne Simard or Peter Wohlleben. I read an interview with her while I ate my breakfast this morning. Her research is fascinating and actually mirrors much of what biodynamics says about the connection of everything to everything. Mycorrhiza are the bomb! One of the best demos at the biodynamic conferences is when they pull up a plant and examine the roots. Are they nice and fuzzy? It really tells you about the health of your soil and the presence of mycorrhiza. I haven't run across recommendations not to amend or compost native species but I guess it depends on the general health of the soil where you are. We rely heavily on compost tea since it's essentially just adding beneficial microorganisms to the soil. The really well-trained biodynamic guys can look at the plants growing in a particular area and tell you what the soil is lacking by what wants to grow there. Because we are trying to rebuild healthy soil in the area where our garden is (obviously not native plants there), we had a soil test done and then had one of the biodynamic gurus interpret it for us. We were deficient in some of the less abundant minerals (copper, manganese and magnesium) and also have very clay-y soil. Last spring we added very small amounts of those as well as some of the biodynamic preparations and we're thinking that's why we're having such a bountiful year this year. Or we just got lucky ! I have a great mental image of your "haircut" and the improved mountain view. It sounds like you got a lot accomplished. Doesn't it feel good?! I don't remember how much the straw was but it wasn't terribly pricey. The hardest part is finding it. Everyone has hay but straw is harder to come by. We've found (by accident/laziness) that worms and such thrive under sheet mulch. We had a big piece of plywood that my husband was using to put tractor implements on and whenever we have to move it, it's beautiful underneath- moist and chock full of worms. Keeping the soil covered with anything helps retain moisture. I have never made tapenade! What do you use it on? I only know it as a component of Salad Nicoise. The relish I make with the green tomatoes uses thin slices so it's not your typical relish texture; I'll send it to you. I've never associated gyros with summertime but, yeah! Fresh tomatoes, cool cucumbers and yogurt. I have a Mediterranean picnic for lunch today: gyro meat, tomatoes with Kalamata olives, tzatziki and baba ganoush and zucchini slices to dip- can't wait. I'm going to have to experiment with freezing baba ganoush. I've read yays and nays about it so I'm just going to do it; I love the thought of being able to have some in the middle of winter and know it came from the garden. How's your movement/yoga/sprinting coming along?
  15. No you're not! I should have explained better! It's a fermenty thing. You can cut up green tomatoes and ferment them exactly like you would do Kosher dill pickles- brine, garlic, dill and a few peppercorns. I made a small batch last year and they got devoured at Hoedown. It's hard to find something to do with green tomatoes besides frying them and we had lots of them knocked off of the plants after a storm blew through and knocked everything over. I made a great relish one year with them and some variety of bell pepper that was pale green, green olives white balsamic vinegar and olive oil. It was/is amazing. It's one of those things that I tend to hoard and not eat because I'm "saving" it. I remembered to add the lavender/rosemary/orange EO to my lotion this morning and really, really liked that combo. I might try it in one of my foam soap dispensers in the bathroom; it's not so floral that guys would be put off by it. I also finally got my gyro on! Finally! Yum! I liked the method of baking it then slice and crisp. I'll slice it a tad thinner next time, though. I wound up making a salad with lettuce, tomatoes (of course-every meal!!), feta, bell peppers and Kalamata olives. Then I put a big blob of tzatziki on top with the crispy meat- really good and really filling. I season my meat a little differently than the serious eats recipe and I'm still working on that a bit. I liked it but needed a little more salt, pepper and garlic. I used Siggi's whole milk yogurt to make the tzatziki and it was really good; I had never had it before- really creamy and not too tart. I wish I had had homemade but I don't eat it often enough any more to keep it alive. Decreasing my dairy consumption is one of the things that has really stuck since our last W30. Except for this week, I probably only have dairy once a week or so instead of almost every meal. Ah! I didn't have a name for using cardboard as a mulch. Sheet-mulching makes sense. It works wonders from what I've heard. There is a lady farmer that comes to the biodynamic conferences that used that method to create topsoil on her farm. She bought some land in KY that had no topsoil because it was cheap and that was all she could afford then used sheet-mulching and permaculture techniques to build it up. Not knowing any better, we used black plastic one year. Last year we used a THICK layer of straw that had the added advantage of adding lots of silica to the soil to help break up the clay (the downside is that it still has seed heads and wheat starts growing) and it worked really well. Never leaving the soil barren and naked is one of the biggies for not letting unwanted things grow. We learn a little more every year about what TO DO and what NOT to do but then we have to implement those things and that's where we sometimes drop the ball- like not getting a cover crop planted last fall. I went to LA in May and my husband's meeting his brother in Taladega in September for a long weekend (I get a staycation out of it!!) but no trips planned for this summer. We talked about it and decided we were good just staying home and taking care of business right now. I think we're going to go to Savannah in November, maybe a trip at Christmas to see his daughter and grandkids in Alabama and we're talking about maybe going to Telluride next summer. Do y'all have the details of your big hiking trip worked out yet? Hopefully you won't get smoked out this year!
  16. I'm with you on that vicious cycle of not sleeping well! It's been awful. Last night I was so desperate for a good night's sleep that I took one of my husband's sleeping pills. We had a crazy-productive weekend that wore me out and being sleep deprived on top of that left me feeling awful. It also led to some "I'm too tired to care" food decisions. I feel much better today and can bask in the glory of all of the work we did this weekend. Tomatoes! Billions and billions of tomatoes! We got our first tomato sauce cook-up going- 16 quarts before they cooked down and run through the food mill! After I pulled some out for meatball soup and nom nom's Italian sausage and kale bake, we had two (!!) gallons of marinara sauce. That doesn't include the gallon of green tomatoes that I got started like Kosher dill pickles. Later this week we'll probably have a repeat performance. This is, by far, the most productive the 'maters have been in several years. I still haven't gyro-ed! Maybe tonight?? I'm so glad you like the tzatziki!! Yay! I need to work on a canned salsa, too. My husband loves salsa so I'd love to turn our bounty in to some so I don't have to buy the $5/jar stuff. Oh, your Renaissance woman sounds so magical. How amazing that she distills her own oils! Love and gratitude- best ingredients ever. I might have to steal that And I thought we were pretty out there making our own products! Ha! I got rose geranium by mistake a couple of years ago but it turned out to be one of those good mistakes; I love it. I add it to unscented Dr. Bronner's to shower with. I'm afraid to say it out loud but (maybe) Maybelle has gained about a half pound?? I stopped giving her ice cream because I was thinking that it might be making things worse but it's so hard to tell. More frequent poop? more watery? a little better today? maybe?? I don't know! She's eating and drinking a lot and has been hanging out on the deck and wandering the hill every day. My husband found chicken feet at Walmart! Now the broth that I make her is super chicken jello! Yesterday she got in that cat cave I got a couple of months ago! It made me happy to think that I got her something that makes her feel cozy even if it did take her forever to decide it was safe. How big are those redwoods? That's so cool but then not-cool that they aren't in a good environment to thrive. I don't know how big they are but would spraying them with a hose or mister help them feel more at home or would it just prolong an anguished life? Your invasive tree sounds much like the privet that we battle here. It sends out runners and turns into shrubs and trees. It's all over and it's just awful. My husband started chaining them to the trailer hitch on his truck, putting it in 4-wheel drive and pulling them out of the ground. He's got a couple of pretty good dents to show for it but it sure is gratifying when they're gone even if it is temporary. We need to have some trees removed, too but we keep putting it off because, yeah, ouch! The one we were really worried about falling on the house fell uphill and isn't a threat anymore. It still needs to be removed, though along with a few others. Like you, the previous owners didn't keep up. It's so fun to be able to add some native plants. That is something that I want to do but haven't been able to squeeze in the time/money/energy to make it happen. Every year we learn something new, though, and every year mother nature throws us a different curve ball that teaches us even more.
  17. I have all of the ingredients for gyros and tzatziki, too and I'll probably put them together this afternoon. I planned to do it on Sunday but the weekend got away from me. Saturday was farmer's market and grocery followed by two hours of weeding and picking vegetables (mostly weeding!) then I threw a bunch of vegetables and a pound of ground beef together to make what we call "Hamburger Helper". It involved tomatoes that we just picked but had little bo-bo's on them and needed to get used right away plus some other veggies that were getting tired. After that I got a couple of ferments going- a gallon of a slightly sweet spicy pickles (a couple of sprigs of stevia- and I think of it like using dates to mitigate the acid in a sauce so, in my mind it's compliant even though I know it's technically not) and three pints of hot banana peppers. Sunday my husband went back to the garden for more weeding and tomato support and I started cooking: chicken salad plus stock from the bones, baba ganoush with my very first eggplants, got some radishes fermenting with some coriander seeds and made a really nice crustless quick for my breakfasts with zucchini and coconut milk seasoned with rosemary and thyme. It's more custardy than what I usually make and I'm really enjoying it. That was the biggest cook-up I've had in a while and I was pretty well toasted after all of that. Your face wash and lotion sound amazing. I don't have mandarin but I do have sweet orange so I might try that combo in my lotion. I keep it unscented for my husband but I sometimes add some oils to it for me. Do you find much difference between the mandarin and the sweet orange? That sucks about getting a Staph infection from getting waxed. It always seems like anything on your face takes forever to heal, too. I wonder if a little dab of helichrysum between antibiotic doses might help? It supposed to be so good for skin and also anti-inflammatory. I've used it on rashes before and it does seem to calm things down. So glad to hear Spooky is doing so well. I think my sweet girl is winding down. She's still eating and drinking really well and behaving normally but yesterday she seemed to lose her balance a bit. I saw her wobble and have a hard time walking on two occasions but it only lasted a few seconds and then she was fine. I wasn't sleeping very well and was awake at 4 so I came downstairs to check on her. We had a nice little hug fest by moonlight so that was sweet. I think I might pick up some ice cream for her this afternoon; she's an ice cream fanatic and I figure a treat is in order. I'm pretty much feeding her and giving her broth whenever she asks (and it's often!) and a little ice cream at this point isn't going to hurt and, who knows, might help her gain a little weight?? Happy Gyro-ing!
  18. HAD a rotisserie; that bbq pit croaked. The new one doesn't have the rotisserie but I like it so much better than the old one that I don't miss the rotisserie. Traditional tzatziki is yogurt-based but a mayo-based version would probably still be delicious. The easiest thing to do is start with Greek yogurt so you don't have to strain it. Then add grated (peeled & seeded) cucumber, a little garlic, salt and a drizzle of olive oil. There may be a tiny bit of grated onion; I can't remember right now but I'll send you the recipe we used at my mom's restaurant. I think I need to rework it first, though. I had adapted it to be low fat because that's healthy, right? Now that I know better, I need to go back and fix it. I usually just wing it and haven't officially fixed the recipe. I think I'm going to give CBDistillery a try. Their prices are much more reasonable than some others and they have such a wide variety of products. According to the dose calculator you sent me (thanks) I need about 24 mg/day. I don't know why but I'm thinking that dividing it in half to take twice a day might work better than taking it all at once. I don't know why I have that idea stuck in my head but I do. Anyway, the tincture would give me the flexibility to try it both ways. They have a 100% pure crystalline form that is meant to be incorporated into whatever you want- salves, balms, edibles- but I think I'll let them do that work for me right now. I'm with your husband in the worry wart department and actually tend towards being a catastrophist but I work hard not to go off that deep end. Your face cream sounds wonderful. I've always battled acne but for the past few years, it's really settled down and I hardly ever break out any more. I don't know if it's diet (I think yes) or hormones (possibly) or a combination but this is the best my skin's ever been in my adult life and I don't use anything on it. At all! No soap, lotion or cream. I have a mildly abrasive sponge that I use with warm water to gently exfoliate but that's it. I did get an sample of an Aveda cleansing oil that they sell and I really like it but it's pricey and I don't "need" it so I use my sample as a treat every now and then- it smells yummy- but that's it. That pain relief balm sounds great. I concocted an anti-inflammatory lotion to rub on my hand and, like a dummy, I didn't write it down. I know it had ginger, ylang ylang and helichrysum (boy that stuff's expensive!) but now I can't remember what else. I didn't get my lotion made last week but what I want to do is make a full batch and make it nice and thick then divide it in half. One half will be my Faux Foot Relief (Aveda copy cat) and the other half will be the anti-inflammatory nerve pain version for my hand. Maybe I'll get it done this weekend. We do all kinds of things with the peppers and do roast some of them but we have had the least success with growing bell peppers. I love poblano peppers but they are a giant PITA to roast and peel. Of course, being me, I planted an entire row of them (16!!!) so I'll be cussin' myself out when I have deal with them all. One of the great things I like to do with the bells is to make a GIANT recipe of stuffed peppers then I individually wrap and freeze them so either of us can grab one for lunch or I can pull several out if I need something quick. I'm always so sad when I run out. Grilled peppers and onions are our go-to easy veg when we grill something and want something easy and quick for a side. As soon as the tomatoes start ripening I have them everyday with at least one meal and sometimes more than that. Yuck on grocery store tomatoes! Those would definitely scar a person! "Your mind will always believe everything you tell it. Feed it hope. Feed it truth. Feed it with love." - Paleobosslady
  19. OMG, broccoli!? Now I'm craving gyros! That recipe looks very similar to the one my mom and I concocted on one of her visits but I formed it into a log, chilled it then put it inside of the prongs on the bbq rotisserie. It was really good but only the outside layer had the yummy crispy bits. Making the loaf then slicing it to crisp it up sounds like the way to go. My grass-fed meat guy just started carrying lamb and it's only $6.50/lb so I was already planning on getting some this weekend! My husband isn't a big fan of lamb but I love it and will indulge every now and then but it was so pricey that I didn't do it very often. I think he'd be OK with it as gyro meat, though. I think it would be fine with bison. After it's all seasoned up, I doubt you'd be able to tell bison vs beef vs lamb. Are you going to make the tzatziki to go with it or is dairy a no-go? Aside from pickles, it's one of the few ways I can eat cukes without them fighting back. We don't share breakfasts and lunches during the week either. That's when I get to have the things he doesn't like or, on the downside, the things that I've either screwed up or made too much of. This week it's coleslaw. I made a stupid amount of it so now I get to eat it every day. Thankfully today is the last of it- 5 days in a row and it's pretty soggy now. Not sure what got my digestive tract riled up on Sunday (maybe I was channeling Maybelle, too!) but the red beans were warm and creamy and so comforting after feeling pretty yucky most of the day. Nope, I haven't seen Outlander and, after your description, I think I'll pass. I've been watching the Chef's Table series on Netflix lately and have been very moved by most of the chefs' stories. I find them very inspiring and empowering plus the photography is beautiful. The garden is starting to scare me! We've only gotten a few tomatoes so far but there are BILLIONS of them- peppers, too. This may be one of the years that I get to make tomato paste because I have so many. Homemade tomato paste is unbelievable; it has so much natural sugar in it that it doesn't even freeze solid! I think I might make some tomato soup this weekend just to use up some of the sauce from last year. I need to get a couple of ferments going, too. I've been sticking with having some kind of fermented food with my breakfast every day and trying to wean myself off of my berry habit. I've also been getting my 15 minutes of mobility every morning before work. I've dropped the ball on non-work days so I need to look at that a little closer. My excuse to myself is that I do so much on my days off anyway that it's OK. Hmmmm... Are you finding that the CBD helps? What results are you looking for (and what about your husband?) and why did you choose the capsules over the tincture? Lots of questions! I wonder about dosing also since there aren't many studies/guidelines other than to take it until the desired effect is obtained. I've been looking at https://elixinol.com/ but there are so many companies out there that all look like they're producing a good product. I'll check out the one you're using. Thanks. My husband made an impulse buy on the cream that he got and I would definitely have NOT gotten that brand; the first two ingredients are petroleum products. I told him to let me know when he's used it up and I will find a replacement that has good ingredients in it for him. Thanks to W30, my first instinct for everything is to look at the ingredients!
  20. Whew! It makes my hair stand up just thinking about it! I saw on the news that people were sleeping in tents in their yards because they were afraid to sleep in their houses. That would be me! It's so good to hear from you and know y'all are OK. Variety does seem to be the trick right now but I'm running out of rabbits! I'm trying a new canned limited ingredient food that doesn't have a bunch of junk in it and she loved the duck then refused to eat the duck but wolfed down the chicken or turkey but approved of duck this morning. Now my big boy is only wanting to eat her food and not the two cases of regular food that he's always liked. I think they're doing it on purpose! "Let's see if we can make mom lose what little mind she has left!" So, back to the pet store this afternoon to get more of this new food! I want to bulk order it but to get a better price on it I have to order it by the case and I'm afraid she'll decide she doesn't want it. My long weekend didn't go anything like I had planned but I did get some cooking done. I got the smoker fired up before our daily rain deluge and smoked two racks of ribs and a chicken. I also cooked a pot of red beans for my husband and indulged in them, too- once. They were SO good and no negative side effects. Red beans and rice was one of the first things I learned how to cook and it was such a strong memory and feeling of home/family/comfort. My stomach had been in an uproar all day so I had spent much of Sunday on the sofa bingeing Star Trek and it was exactly what I needed. I've been contemplating adding some beans back into my diet just because I dearly love them. As long as I don't overindulge, I don't think it will be a problem. I had a little bit of rice with them and decided that I didn't need it so I'll probably have the occasional bean but skip the nutritiously empty rice. My husband is trying a CBD cream on his elbow for tendinitis. I hope it helps his elbow and Spooky's bladder! I want to try it again to see if it helps me sleep but I'll try a different brand. The last one was just too weird- thick and gloppy.
  21. In a nutshell, yup! I like the airplane catastrophe analogy; that's pretty much how I felt. I'm going to try to keep that image in my head because if I can keep any one of the triggers in check, maybe I'll just buzz the treetops and my theoretical plane won't crash. I spent a ridiculous amount of time yesterday running around town looking for chicken backs and necks to make broth for my girl. I was actually told my one meat department employee that they don't carry them because they don't have "that" kind of clientele. I was a bit stunned by that attitude and wasn't quite sure how to reply. I finally asked him in as sarcastic a tone as I could muster if he meant the kind that makes their own homemade both. After a considerable pause he said, uh yeah. I should have followed it up by asking if he really meant people of lower means that actually cook with chicken parts because they can't afford the luxury of boneless, skinless breasts, which IS what I think he meant. I'm not very good at thinking on my feet like that or at confrontation so I walked away. The meat guy at the next store said they always have them and to come ask him if I don't see any on the shelf. Guess where I'll be shopping! I'm not sure how the fentanyl patches work but I'd guess that I'd have to create some bare skin for them to stick. Her fur has, thankfully, grown back but I could use hub's beard trimmer to trim some fur off of her belly. I didn't make the call yesterday but I did research pet crematories. For now, her weight isn't dropping and she seems to feel fine. I bought a bag of limited ingredient dry food several months ago but, since I switched them to raw food I had never opened it. Out of desperation, I decided to give it a whirl. So far, she's eating it and keeping it down so maybe it will help her to be able to graze on it through the day. We had always free-fed them up until all of this started. Zucchini goop is just plain cooked down zucchini. If they're gigantic, I'll peel and deseed them but then just dice them up and throw them in a skillet. They make so much liquid that you don't need to add any. If you want to save yourself time down the road you could sauté some onions in there first. Then just keep on cooking until they start falling apart and give up most of their liquid- it takes a while. When I can mush it up with a potato masher and it isn't watery, I call it done and either use it up or freeze it for use in the winter when I'm not sick of zucchini Oh! Another (and bigger) earthquake! Are they expecting more? I saw where they called that first one a foreshock. Stay safe.
  22. Once again, the threads of our two lives converge. Wednesday night we also thought Maybelle was in the process of active dying. I truly didn't think she was going to make it through the night. My vet told me that she could supply me with a couple of fentanyl patches in case I can't get in touch with her when the time comes. I can use the patches for heavy sedation so she won't suffer then make arrangements. I'm going to call her today to ask for the patches even though, like Spooky, Maybelle has perked up and is acting like her normal self. I even got belly rolls last night and what we call "poofy-tailed kitty love"! I know we're both going to lose our girls soon but we're all able to love them until the end and know that they had good lives filled with love. It's been a rough couple of days. On top of worrying about 'Belle, we bought a new car and that was beyond trying. The drama from that experience is resolving so now I can be super excited about my new ride. Toyota finally came out with an all wheel drive Prius and we bit the bullet when my SUV turned 270K miles. I took a pic of the odometer at 270K and it had 270,001 when I drove into the dealership. I've been driving that car for 13 years and I feel like I walked away from an old friend. I have a spiffy new red friend that gets double the gas mileage (and uses regular instead of premium!), though! The owner's manual is huge and, since my husband has to work today, I might be able to get my hands on it and learn about some of the tricks it can do. My husband saw the news story about the quake last night but he wasn't sure exactly where it was. That was close! I guess we all have the risk of some natural disaster or another no matter where we live. I've faced hurricanes and floods my whole life. Tornados are the biggie up here and those are pretty freaky but having the earth move seems so much more...severe. There are small quakes up here occasionally and we joke that we're the first people on either side of our families that have ever had earthquake insurance; it was required by the mortgage holder. So glad you didn't get any more than a good shaking up! Zucchini! I've already reached the stage where I need to cook it down and freeze it. I call it zucc goop and it makes a great base for casseroles. I need to gather my wits today and get some cooking done so I can stop sabotaging myself. We had some Thai food a couple of nights ago and I don't know if it was the rice or the slightly sweet sauce but it sent me down a road of bloated belly, swollen ankles, gummy bears, pizza and ice cream. WTF??!! Now I'm ready to woman up and stop that nonsense. With everything going on, we've been eating out more than usual. I've been making good choices but pairing them with a side of bad choices. We found a really awesome breakfast place yesterday and I got a gorgeous bacon and avocado omelette- with a side of cheese grits. Then, since my plan for smoking some ribs got rained out, we went to a bbq place nearby and I got a sausage plate- with a side of fried okra. More rain is on the way but I'm going to get those ribs smoked (and a couple of pork shanks since the smoker will be going anyway), another batch of broth for my girl, a stop in to my favorite used book store and a batch of lotion- all things that will make me feel good and help me regain control. Here's to Spooky and Maybelle
  23. Thanks so much for sharing that quote; I needed it, too. My larger sized pants are starting to fit a little too well and the next size down is a little too tight but instead of focusing on the negative parts, I'm totally moving forward on the positives. I am really getting into my short mobility session in the morning. I've never been one to hop out of bed first thing but I am now! Ongoing action is the ticket! When my girls' sailing team was participating in a workshop with an Olympic gold medalist, her big advice when faced with a dilemma was "Do something and do it with conviction!" Like minds! Last night I was thinking about reset vs repeat and feel like I've been doing mini resets since our last go-'round and am liking being able to find my own way rather just wash, rinse, repeat. We KNOW the rules and we KNOW it's not a W365 so being able to look at our progress (or lack of progress) honestly and doing something about it is what it's all about. Saladus Gluteus Maximus! We had a couple of big-ass salads last week-yum!! Or rather, one was yummy but the other not so much. I had some frozen crawfish tails that I added to it and they were awful. I ad-libbed dinner last night. Hubs was out so I didn't have to cook. I ate up all of the little bits of things that were taking up room. I fell short on protein but it won't kill me for one meal. I had a little dab of ranch dressing and a little bit of bernaise sauce left from my BIL's visit so I had each of those with some broccoli then I took the last of some cauli puree that I made with MJ's better butter, topped it with a little cheese and ran it under the broiler. So, not template but it sure made room in the fridge with the added bonus of being easy, fun and good. Lunch yesterday and today is that cauli puree (so good!) with some pulled pork and leftover zucc salad. The feedback of reality! Love it.
  24. Oh, I totally feel your husband. I don't think we've gotten as far as "frail" but "fragile" is definite. She's devouring the canned food but is having some repercussions from it. I found ANOTHER food that is limited ingredient without carageenan. I wasn't sure if she'd eat it or not because it is pate and little miss finicky girl wants her gravy. Wrong! She dove into it so quickly that the bowl banged against the wall! I'll be making a quick stop this afternoon to pick up some more to see if she keeps this down a little better. After all of the reading, researching and tweaking we do to our diets, it is beyond ironic that she will be done in by her diet and I can't fix it. She likes to lie across my chest when I'm on the sofa reading or watching a movie and I try to envision strength and love moving though my body into hers. I'm glad that "in the spectrum of terrible" was offset by "lovely and worthwhile." That's balance of a sort, isn't it? As long as it gave you no adverse physical symptoms, you'll be recovering in no time. Since I only have a three-day work week this week, I gave myself permission to do less of a cook-up this weekend and am trying to plan for a big one next week. I made some deviled eggs and a grilled zucchini salad with Kalamata olive and caper dressing to bring to a small picking party Saturday night and I have some of the leftover zucchini salad for my lunches this week. I am finding that late nights are really not agreeing with me. I didn't get to bed until almost midnight Saturday and was dragging all day yesterday- memories of my BIL's visit! We still managed to spend almost two hours in the garden yesterday, though and I got a fresh batch of kombucha brewing. I hardly ever get my second scoop of collagen peptides (I put my first one in my coffee in the AM) so I've been having some 'buche in the afternoons with my second scoop. I just have to remember to take it out of the fridge in the morning or the collagen doesn't want to dissolve. One more little piece in my self-care puzzle Yes, solidarity. And self-love! Here's to hoping your back-to-work onslaught isn't too bad!
  25. Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' Into the future... I wanted to send you happy travelin' wishes before you left but the days just flew by and it was Tuesday before I knew it. I hope your trip was a good one! This was visiting your brother and his family, right? I hope ya'll had better weather than we've been having; torrential rain and crazy winds resulting in power outages and intermittent internet access. It's a good thing we have camping gear; we needed our lanterns last night to cook dinner. Thank goodness we're on propane- cookin' with gas! My husband has taken the lead on the internet issues because he can't work from home without it. We have to go through the same levels of incompetence every time this happens so it's still a project in the works and really frustrating. That's a great picture. Poor little finch family; maybe she has time for another clutch. Oh! I keep forgetting; I would love some poppy seeds if you wind up with enough to spare. My zinnias are just starting to bloom. I get a ridiculous amount of joy from them! The cosmos are coming along but were slow to germinate. Zucchini! Holy baseball bats, Batman! It rained all week so I didn't get in the garden to pick. By Saturday we had three GI-NOR-MOUS zuccs. Peeled and seeded, one of them still weighed two pounds! I made Mel's zucchini soup and had it for lunch all week- yum! The other two got cooked down to mush so I could use it as the base for my crustless quiche breakfasts this week. If the weather hadn't gotten so bad yesterday, I would have had zucchini at all three meals but grilling was not to be. Maybe tonight. I bet Spooky's glad that you're back. How are the pheromones and calming treats working? Maybelle was being super finicky then stopped eating the raw food. Out of desperation, I tried canned food and she totally scarfed it down. I was worried about GI problems (carageenan and all of that) but I had to get some calories into her. I kept thinking about W30 but still kept thinking that, at this point, any calories are better than none. She's eating voraciously so we'll see if it's going to put some weight on her or not. She's lost more weight and she really doesn't have any to spare. I've recovered from overextending myself and I'm on a roll! I've set my alarm 30 minutes earlier than usual and have been spending 15 minutes doing some stretching/mobility/yoga-type moves very first thing as soon as I get out of bed. It's not a lot but it's a start and it feels good. I've been wanting to do this and have put it off and put it off so it feels like a major accomplishment that I'm doing the thing! Were you able to keep up any of your sprinting and moving while on vacation? I know the food situation with your brother's family is very different but also homemade, delicious and real. How did it treat you? Will you be able to take a day or two to get back in your routine or do you have to get back to work right away? I took off last Monday and think I'm going to take July 5th off so I'll have a nice, long weekend. I'm working really hard on maintaining the shiny-clean house; it makes me feel so much calmer and peaceful. New habits! I'm psyched! Welcome home!