Psyching Up For a December Whole 30 Graduates


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Your magic carpet area does sound perfect for your sacred space for movement. And this: 

1 hour ago, hollysmokes said:

I haven't figure out a way to make that happen unless I banish my husband to the basement.

made me scream. Seriously. I set up my yoga area in our bedroom, with the downstairs living room having possibilities, as a back-up. For months I've had half the living room cluttered with Mom's storage that I haven't been willing to go through yet. So on occasion when hubs sleeps in the basement if when one of is up much-later than the other, I always love having the yoga space to myself! I need quiet, too...I could do my thing as he sleeps, but for close to an hour after he's up, the news is on, and I have pushed through that, but it's not ideal. As it happens, I decided to organize Mom's things last night while rare multi-tasking, listening to the candidate's debate. Later this morning I'll take all the now better-organized boxes to the garage, and have an adequate space downstairs. Downstairs is my second choice, but it will be quiet when he's up. Maybe I can make it better somehow, with practice.

It's a big deal, having a place of one's own. In the last house, I had the massage room set up as my Virginia Woolf's Room of One's Own. Now i don't have that, so I have to share. And you have a beautiful oriental rug - that must be the spot. If you had time for a full mobility/workout/yoga session, about how much time would you need? Is time the issue? I like what you said here, 

1 hour ago, hollysmokes said:

...sometimes you can't do all the things all the time.

That is a factor in Food Freedom, and the whole thing, right? Can you get the full session once or twice per week? I guess that's what I'm looking at/psyching for right now. Meanwhile I'm going with the wisdom of 10 minutes per day being more beneficial than an hour once per week.

I've seen those Asian beetles you're talking about, back in Chicago where I'm from originally! We have a bark beetle (also resembles the humble ladybug) here that is preying on the thirsty trees that can't defend themselves with sap on account of the drought...and this is the cause of the mass die-off of trees in the Sierras that you may have read about. But knock on wood, we haven't had anything like that in the house. Like you, we are rural, so there are lots of bugs and spiders. It's not hard to imagine how quickly nature would take over human dwellings with the help of spiders and insects, right? That book does sound terrifying!

Your house and deck sound so lovely! Which area is your hang-out bar in? I'm thinking about putting a small fire pit in the center of the patio. Oh God, I was up late including taking a deep drink of Pinterest for the first time -something I have rejected along with other social media territories. Down the rabbit hole. And reading about big boy hanging out out there makes me think about future life with cats....maybe indoor/outdoor next time. Cats don't always make it outdoors because of the predators, but many do, and those seem like really cool cats to me! Spooky is hanging in there, but she is not eating much. For a while she was making it to the box almost all the time. But since I cleared Mom's boxes away (and AS I was sorting through boxes), she is liking the fireplace hearth to pee. Ugh. I don't doesn't seem like active dying time, but a very steady decline, in a jagged downward slope, up and down, but steadily down. I know you know exactly what I mean. 

I'm taking the day off today to sort and clean and organize, then have an afternoon meeting at home with an acquaintance who may want to partner me on a community project...hubs does not like to entertain, which is mostly fine with me, so these one-on-ones make my heart happy. In bygone days I would serve fruit and favorite crackers and bread and cheeses (even caramel with sliced apples) and today will probably be tzatziki with cukes and peppers and olives and a few slices of chicken gyro. Ha.

I have eyed that Lizard Sauce for an age - it sounds great for basting, good idea. I also go through periods where I lose momentum on vegetables. It doesn't hurt anything! Freedom.

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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! 

On 8/1/2019 at 10:32 AM, LadyLisbette said:

I'm going with the wisdom of 10 minutes per day being more beneficial than an hour once per week

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! :D 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.


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I've just made the biggest grease-splatter mess in the kitchen, of any kitchen that I've ever lived in. The idea was to cook this morning, to save time tonight. Ha. I scored the bottoms of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, marinated them in an Asian sauce (MJ's shrimp patties sauce), and "grilled" them on my new stove-top grill. Even with a cover on top, a very big mess. After resting, I sliced them, and had some for breakfast, put some on my salad for lunch. It's tasty, but man there has to be a better way!

It was a frenzy of cooking and making a decent lunch to get back on track after a cookie monster day yesterday. 

We had a family friend who had at least two dogs at any one time, and he wore the same shirt, re dogs: let dog in, let dog out...= )

It's just going to be a messy day: I'm off now to install some shelving I inherited from another local business that is renovating - it's all very dirty and dusty, so I'm just going with it, and will get dirty, again...

How is the tomato paste coming along? Wishing you a nutritious, peaceful day! 

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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! 

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It seems so obvious now how messy it would be for this particular pan has no sides, just a flat griddle on one side, and a grill on the other, like a large, non stick frisbee. Is yours like that, or does it at least have sides? What was I thinking? I thought the cover would keep things contained, but this was silly. We have a glass top range, and the largest burner runs really hot, so that is always a bit unruly. The non stick coating worked well. Oh well, trial and error! The final product is tasty, if not slightly blackened in places because, just as you said, it cooked unevenly!

I have leftover pita for hubs, so I'm about to make another batch of bison gyros. And with real yogurt for tzatziki. Lately the gluteus maximus salads have been veggier than ever, so that makes it feel very summery at lunch time.

Speaking of summery, Holy Tomatoes! I haven't had a fraction of the experience with tomatoes that you have, but I imagine to peel them, are you shocking them with a score across the bottom, then a flash of hot, and ice cold water? I did that a few times, and what a handy trick! It must be amazing to have all that home-grown, homemade goodness in your larder - good for you! A++

HEY! Did you know that we had the exact same experience a few months ago with the built in closet coming out of the wall on one side? Oh, I'm so glad you found Maybelle so you didn't have to worry about her being under heaps of clothes and shoes! We came to the conclusion that it couldn't be bolted into the studs which is why the otherwise really smart and capable person who lived here before us put it in the way he did. My husband found a free-standing system that we like a lot and that didn't break the bank. If the other side also falls in we will get another one, but so far so good. And lightening your load by giving away clothes and shoes is always such a good feeling. Room for new shoes! Yay!

I got SO much done last night. I was at the store until 11pm and didn't get to sleep until about 1. So I've rearranged my day today and things are a little zany, but I'm very happy with what I accomplished! With all the activity I had an idea to upsell our aromatherapy diffusers by getting one going on the counter - I'm taking all my EOs into the store later and will invite the staff to pick out a blend for customers and all of us to enjoy. I'm still digging the lavender/rosemary/mandarin, and am kind of stuck on that, so it will be fun to inhale someone else's concoction, and see if it helps sales, too. I'm having fun at the store these days. I guess I'll get a good night of sleep some other time LOL

Spooky followed me upstairs yesterday, and patrolled the entire area like a boss. I got down on the floor with her and she purred and let me pet her. I snapped some pics to text hubs. Then this morning she reached out with her paw and batted my husband the way she used to in more youthful, spunky days, which really lifted his spirits. The pictures I took of her show a very old, sick looking cat, but she's still got that Spooky thing.

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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. :o 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! 

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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 B) 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!

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I remember when you made that lasagna for your husband's birthday! Yay for a triple-win - it sounds deelicious! I've never made cashew cream before - a couple of times I have brought home a Costco-sized tub of cashews, with intentions of making cashew cream, and we end up snacking on them! I like your ambitious cook-up plans. Ground duck! Ooh, that sounds very intriguing. I will look for that at my meat place next week! We just finished brunch - I made a salmon scramble for hubs and I had gyros "tacos" in pretty little lettuce cups that are my new favorite thing from the grocery. Still, reading your plans makes me hungry! The slow roasted onions, garlic, tomatoes sounds very savory indeed - is that the base of the tomato sauce? Once upon a time a friend of mine prepared oven roasted epplant, sliced real thin, and rubbed with sliced garlic, and I have never forgotten it. It's another iffy thing from my childhood, eggplant, but I might try my hand at replicating what my friend did. Plus, they're so pretty! Aubergine = one of my all time favorite colors.

Did you get your nice soak in the tub this weekend? That sounds like a nice balance after all the household chores. And just on principle, too! I am needing to re-commit to some fundamentals of self care. I'm vowing to return to early-to-bed/early-to-rise ways, and get out in the garden. My IF practice was going great and I felt myself slimming downall through July - but it devolved into some sloppy habits, and shazam I feel puffy again. Also I've not been eating enough vegetables. I know you went through that recently, did you recover and get back in veg mode? So those are my goals for this week: re-engage with a better sleep schedule (and morning movement even if it's just puttering in the garden, sweeping, and 10-20 min. of yoga!) and eating at least two template meals per day. I can do this! I know it will also give me a mental health boost, and I need that, too. A little forward momentum across the spectrum

My recent, aforementioned bison gyros batch was less sausagey and more meat loafey, and lots of juices ran out of the loaf while it was edible and even tasty, but not sure what I did wrong! Next time will be the chicken version, which went better, and I also think it's time for some plain old (less fuss!) delicious Greek sliders as a variation on the theme. Shrimp is on my shopping list also to make wonton meatballs in the next week or two. Your tomato tales have inspired me and I've been buying cherry tomatoes for the last few weeks and enjoying them with all the good Mediterranean vibes. Hash sounds good, too, that will be on the horizon.

Thank you, joyful day to you as well = )


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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!


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Cashew cream for the win! I got a vision of you surfing in waves of tomatoes, and looking out at the horizon at the rollers coming in, in the form of peppers. Keep paddling and swimming - you can do it! i'm kind of treading water over here, but staying afloat on leftovers of grilled chicken and the funny bison gyros. I got a great 3.5 hours in the garden yesterday, and felt tired as a result, but still didn't sleep so well. But I'll keep at it! It took one hour working with well prepared cardboard, to get one of the garden beds covered in cardboard...I'll do three more before the landscape guy comes with a truck load of fir mulch. It's cheaper by the truck load but we don't have a truck, so it's a good savings in time and convenience. It cooled down to the 80s, which has us all very cheery and hopeful. It's been a good summer - AND knock on wood (sorry if I've already mentioned this) there has been no high pressure system to lock in the dust and air pollution, so the air has been good all summer, too, which is almost unheard of. Yay!

I like your plan for tonight - that sounds like the smartest, safest thing to do, absolutely: keeping your needs met so you aren't tempted by un-nourishing food. Good job!

I'm in a rush now, all discombobulated from lack of sleep. And my face is breaking out, not sure what is up with that. Hubs is marveling at my energy levels even when not properly rested. He is tired a lot. But he is also fit and trim, and I would like to be that, too...meanwhile, no allergy issues, and no rosacea, those are two of my great measures of how I'm doing, and that is something.

Are you a fan of Kate Bush?

Rest well, and enjoy the fruits of your labors! How is Squeaky? Today Spooky came upstairs again to scold me with that empty-dish look in here eyes, and as we went downstairs, she had her tail up in the air. I haven't seen that in a long time. She is a wonder to me. Have a good time tonight!

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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 :P I hope Spooky has a great day, too.

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Well, the beat goes on. I've been making your tzatziki sauce every week for some time now. I skipped picking up my usual ground dark-meat chicken last week, so I'm jonesing for some more, and when I get it on Wednesday I'll make wonton meatballs. Til then it's leftover roast chicken and gyros. New for me this summer are cherry tomatoes and snap peas -- I'm buying and devouring them each week. I have so many spinning plates in the air that food and cooking is slipping to less urgent priorities and that needs to change! Your slow roasted, raisin-y tomatoes, garlic, and onion sound heavenly. It must make your house smell so savory and home-y. I'll bet your on to pepper-ing now, too, or soon enough.

Spooky is really giving me a run for it lately. She's been gradually letting us know that it's too long a walk from her favorite hangout spot by the front door to the cat boxes in the mudroom. She's been using the hearth more regularly, and unfortunately the carpet, too, near the hearth. Duh, I should have done this way sooner, but after work on Saturday I went down the hill to get a big tarp, a third litter box, and a shop-vac which was on my list, anyway. So our living room, which has been my back-up yoga space is now a big blue tarped area for an additional kitty litter box. A nice look for late summer. She's using it, and also moseying back to the mudroom at her leisure, so it's just clean clean clean all the time. We have to shut the door to our bedroom upstairs because she likes to go up there to pee in the shower. So we keep the shower door shut, also. Today I forgot to shut the door, but hubs did shut the shower door, and she surprised me - I can see that she went upstairs, jumped on the upholstered chair beside the claw foot tub, and jumped in the tub to pee, and somehow was able to jump back out, which she doesn't seem fit enough to do. Ah the mysterious ways of a cat. I'm touched by your story of Squeaky - sweet that you are letting him have his solitude and reign of the house. I tortured myself at the pet store by looking at adoptable kittens. When she's gone, I think I want to take a nice, long break...

Not sure if I mentioned that we are having tree work done - one entire tree has to be removed - a mature old cedar that grows right up beside the house and the biggest branches are directly over the house. That went today, and there will be some more trimming's unsettling to be here for all of that noisy work and the tromping on the roof - I was glad to leave the house and come back to more or less finished work. We will have plenty of firewood for the fireplace, and the firepit that I'm planning on the brick patio.

Any tips on cleaning cat urine from carpet? So far I'm using 1:1 vinegar solution, but I think I could do better. It's wool, so I can't use Nature's MIracle - the spot test removed some color, and it's a dark color.

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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.



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I love your sensitivity to black cats -- I think at one time I had heard that black cats are harder to get adopted, but I appreciate the reminder. i'll definitely tuck that away. Oh! That image of Maybelle's imprint on the pillows is a heart wrencher  = ( I feel your pain, with that, and your dad's birthday. When grief comes, it can take over and color everything. Do you have a little altar or something to remember Maybelle? I find that helps sometimes, a way to comfort ourselves with small ceremony. You don't have to share more, just thinking through the keyboard.

Your hamburger helper is inspiring me to make a big pot of hash which I kind of use as you describe - adding whatever vegetable material I have on hand. To keep the tzatziki flowing I think I'll also make some Greek sliders, too, or something of that kind from Mel J. Our back-up place next door, the Mexican place has been having a lot of trouble including the fact that the septic system and leach field for the entire shopping center (small, but still...our store, the grocery, the Mexican restaurant, some offices, and a pizza place) is on their property, and has pretty much collapsed. Eew. Long disgusting story, but the tanks have to be pumped out every few days while a permit request to re-build is tied up at the county; we're on orders not to let customers use the w.c. which we like to do because it's good for business and also the right thing to do  (we're short of public restrooms for a tourist town, but now there are porta potties in the back)...and now there is an E.coli outbreak in town (several of our customers confirmed), and one of the waitresses next door is sick. So, we have not gotten sick, and through all this, we have wanted to support our friends who own the business, but I think I'm going to avoid going there, as it seems to be getting worse. Is it possible that one can be exposed to these bacteria and not get sick? We eat there about twice a week, even through their issues, so I really wonder...

Now if I haven't ruined your appetite...I'm wondering, notwithstanding the trouble and time of making your salsa, how is it? I'll bet it's delicious! I think tomatoes and onions and garlic all together will always remind me of you! 

Oh drat, off to the races. Sweet day to you! xo

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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 :D) 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?

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I know that the health department has been notified of the situation, but am not sure if they've done an inspection - it does seem like just cause for one, for sure.

I'm taking a half day, and sorting laundry, thought of sweet Maybelle. Funny, her affinity for the contents of the laundry basket. It's good to get a little whirlwind catching up to do, as I am really seeing the results of not being so on top of cleaning for just a couple of days.

You have been a busy woman! A lot of work...will some of your efforts go towards Hoedown? Are you catering again this year? I've always thought the shirataki noodles sounded good - did you use a new brand? Funky has no place in a flavor profile, eh?  Have you ever spiralized cukes? The tahini dressing sounds good, and I am going to have to make some - a nice complement to the Greek theme, I think.

I thought of you yesterday when I did my first real cook-up in a long time. I went to add spices to the hash, only to discover -gasp - the Lebanese spice blend was almost out. :o So I turned to my other two frequent flyers: Merguez seasoning, and shawarma seasoning, both from Mel J. They were also almost out (like my momentum of late!), but between all three of them, I had about enough, so I THREW it all together. That was fun. Do I know how to live it up, or what? It's pretty tasty. I also made Greek sliders (bangers were too much trouble although I had wanted to shape them that way to fit into my lettuce cups) and a big batch of coleslaw. I have plenty of yogurt, greens, and vegetables on hand, so I am feeling rich and secure. I haven't felt that way in a while.

In light of the poop nightmare next door, I've been paying extra attention to my gut, and to food safety overall. As I said, I believe that I have not had food poisoning - though I have probably been exposed - yay for an available immune system, as you explained, even though my food freedom has admittedly involved being too often off the path. At any rate, it's time for me to do some new experimental eliminations to help me account for why I get sick to my stomach with diarrhea 2-3 times per week. The suspects are eggs, coffee though it is very infrequent, iced tea (only on Saturday, or during the week for a treat), and kombucha. I think it's the eggs, really, but time will tell. So this will be interesting...I am ready, just as we prepare for W30, by having a kitchen stocked with sensible choices to shore me up for a 4-6 week elimination. I've been terribly undisciplined all summer, so I hope I can do this. I do love eggs. But, I need to know. I understand sensitivity to eggs among other things can accompany menopause. Finally, I realize that I've formed a not great habit of eating scrambled eggs with mayo and a splash of coconut aminos (so good with the Lebanese spices)...that began as  pre-workout snack...but I'm using that as a meal, with no workout or proper breakfast...and I suspect that has been hard on my stomach.

I might stay home with kitty while my husband goes backpacking next weekend. I can't bear to leave her alone or even with our kind neighbor - she's too needy right now. And he needs the time in the mountains. I'll make good use of the time, and it feels right when I imagine it. He wants me to come with him, but I think we both know this is better. Also, I've not trained for it all summer! It's a pretty steep climb, that would certainly give me a fitness boost, but would be better if I were ready...

We can see the Milky Way now from our bedroom veranda now that the one tree is gone...and the other two trees look a lot better. What a difference a good tree expert can make, not like the hack job that the utility company does on the trees along the highway...yikes. Now, I'm dreaming of autumn and winter rain.

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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! 


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Ah, I recall now that there was a question mark about Hoedown for this year - hopefully your friends can gain the momentum they need to resume. It seems like your energy output and huge efforts harvesting the garden, canning, etc, etc,  give you a pass on related enormous activity such as the catering. Just reading about it makes me want to take a day off on your behalf!  Yay for lots of live music! Funny, Snarky Puppy will be at Monterey Jazz Festival again this year, so we must be catching them on the same tour. I love Mark Knopfler. Dire Straits' first album is one of my all time favorites. Mandolin Orange is new to me, but I'm so far appreciating their cross-genre approach, and listening on YouTube. I'll keep listening, really nice, thanks.

It's been a long time since I kept a food journal, but I figure I may as well give it every shot I can to understand what's happening. So far so good with the tummy, but I need to get that journal going.

Oh man, I'm with you on wanting more time at home - our modern set up seems contrary to what we actually need and thrive on.

I used to like soy sauce on a hard boiled egg, so coconut aminos seemed worth a try - I hope you like it! I will dream.

Here's to happy tummies. Have a great weekend!! 

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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:blink:


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Monday update:

No on the relish and the duck sausage. Yes on the smoker- enough salmon to go with my scrambled eggs w coconut aminos (YUM, by the way) and Lebanese spice blend. Not sure if I'm crazy about the chipotles in adobo but they're done, too. Hubs got the kitchen and main hallway vacuumed and mopped so that's a start on the floors. Didn't get in the garden except to pick and do a little weeding but it's been raining and that will make it easier to pull out the 4-foot stakes that are holding the tomato cages in place. Made it to the farmer's market and got a great deal on some meat they had on special (too late in the season for corn but that was a blessing in disguise). They've been pushing their pet food so I ordered some heart to mix in the ground chicken I've been putting together for Squeaky and it's two whole beef hearts!!! It was only $3 so I thought it would be a 1-lb pack of ground up hearts but it weighs over 3 lbs and now I have to defrost it and grind it. Another 5 gallon batch of tomatoes cooked down and turned into a giant batch of creole gravy plus we canned 7 quarts of plain sauce last night. There's still a bunch of sauce leftover and I think I'm going to make more Creole gravy since it uses peppers, too and it came out so good. Shrimp Creole for dinner last night. I got my roast in the sous vide last night so it'll just need a quick browning on the grill this evening and dinner will be ready. I finally got a bunch of cherry tomatoes into the dehydrator, too.

I did some serious off-roading this weekend. Super delicious stuff but I managed to put the brakes on last night and am not feeling any cravings or other lingering effects. Mexican food & margaritas for lunch/dinner on Saturday- I ate the chips and corn tortillas but subbed vegetables for the usual rice and beans. I ate pastries! Plural! There's a guy at the farmer's market that makes real French pastries and my husband went nuts. I had a fig tart Saturday morning for breakfast then we split a caramelized peach and marzipan tart that evening and split a cheese Danish Sunday morning. From now on, he can only buy one pastry and he has to eat it on the spot! Or hide it. :lol:

Overall, we had a productive weekend and managed to squeeze some fun in, too. I knew we couldn't possibly get to everything but we did pretty well. I'm feeling good and even slept pretty well last night. I know it's only Monday but I'm looking forward to a three day weekend this weekend. Are you still planning on staying home?

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Wow! That was fun to read. And French pastries! Oh my, those tarts do sound worth it! Yum. And you recovered so quickly, YAY! So productive - good job all around. 

On Saturday evening my husband packed up his telescope in the backpack and trudged up to the public lands (where I used to hike all the time!) to set up camp for the night and enjoy a better sky view than what we have at our place. I was planning to work late cleaning the store, and pass on joining him, and enjoy a quiet evening at home. But I finished up about an hour before dark, so I zoomed home to fill my bottle of water and change clothes, and I hoofed it up to surprise him and hang out for awhile. That was really, really fun. I wasn't as out of shape up that steep climb as I thought. Also, I had never been up there in the late day. There were tons of owls hooting and crickets etc The rosy color on the mountains was so pretty, and we felt it cooling off - just a delight.  I know those trails better than he does, and I was doubtful about a good, flat spot, but he found a great spot that was totally off my radar!  I will go back with him some other time and camp out, too. I got to my car just in time before dark, which was a really fun, short hike, all the colors and shadows I had never seen on the otherwise familiar, beloved trail. I took a bath and made myself a cold plate, and got caught up on my show (I'm back to Outlander after all). I had picked up some fincocchiona (I'd never had it before - I really like it), a couple of cold Greek sliders, an apple, and for a treat my favorite Akmak crackers and some soft cheese, olives, and a few pistachios. I was careful not to take any iced tea as I usually do on Saturday, and i was still up very late. Hubs came home at 6am after only sleeping for an hour because of the new stars that came we both slept very late on Sunday, and with the exception of brunch and a few chores did close to nothing but read and nap. The crackers and cheese did give me some stiff fingers the next day, but I'm back on the path and it's all cleared up. I'm sleeping better, too, whew!

The painters are out there power-washing the house - the trim and eves need paint desperately, and when we see how it looks after the water dries off, we may opt to have the entire house painted. When that's done, I'll treat us all and the house to a visit from the window-washer, and that will cheer me up a lot - I doubt it's been done in many years. 

Last week's hash and sliders are winding down, so time to do some planning. I have some wild Alaskan pollock burgers in the freezer that we'll try out for the first time. Maybe a pot of chili, and orange dijon chicken thighs...and for hubs some bucatini and meatballs. I've been food journaling since after my last post on Thursday...It's way too early for conclusions, but so far so good with the tummy. 

Oh, yes, I'm definitely sitting out the long weekend of backpacking...a friend's husband is loaning me a measuring wheel so that I can map out our property and garden areas! I'm thinking about asking our young friend who is a high schooler if she will be my assistant in that task - seems it may be easier with another point of view and helping hands. I should get on that now!  How will you spend your long weekend?

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What fun! It sounds like y'all had a wonderful weekend. Good for you plus another one coming up! A stay-cation with some short hikes sounds grand. We don't have any specific plans for the weekend except that we don't want to turn it into a three day work-ourselves-to-death marathon. It looks like we're going to have great weather, though. Highs around 90 and lows in the upper 60's so that will be great. I'm envisioning lots of deck time (that starts with cleaning the tree debris off of it). I'm trying to get a lot done in the evenings so we feel like we have some breathing room over the weekend to chill.

Akmak crackers were always a favorite of mine, too. I love having cheese, salami, nuts, fruits, pickles and olives in any combination for a meal. I have a little piece of salami that needs to get eaten to I'll probably bring that for lunch tomorrow with a variety of yummy things to go with it. Do you get nomnompaleo's emails? She sent one out yesterday that has curry turkey patties that really looked good. I defrosted a pound of turkey for my breakfasts this week but went with the salmon instead so I have some in the fridge calling to me; I just need to pick up a sweet potato on my way home. I only had enough salmon for three meals and I think those curry patties would be pretty awesome for breakfast. It sounds like it would make enough to get me through the next week as well since it's only going to be a 4-day workweek. I might make a batch of egg salad to go with them for a change of pace. I had to rely on my emergency stash of baked chicken thighs in the freezer for my lunch today- so glad it's there. Cherry tomatoes, raw brocc and ranch to dip in made for a super easy to put together lunch today.

My husband's thought about painting one thing like that is that, once it's done, everything else looks shabbier and you have to paint it all. Are you opting for some color on the trim or the house? We have some crazy-high windows that desperately need washing as well. There's a giant swath of cobweb that blows in the breeze hanging from the window next to my side of the bed that torments me. I've done the ground-level windows a couple of times but they are definitely due for a good washing. Unfortunately, it will have to wait until the garden quits kicking our butts.


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I should sign up to get Nom Nom's emails...those curried turkey patties sound good! I think curry was the last treatment I gave to ground turkey, but I don't remember which recipe I used. At any rate it sounds delicious. Egg salad also sounds good, and also makes me think of curry! Yum. For now I will live vicariously through your egg adventures - tell all. Aaah, cold plates.... You make me realize I want pickles in my life, which I never keep on hand - I know yours are homemade - i should add them to my list and read the labels...tomorrow is shopping day, and I'll have to factor in all the good home-time for the holiday weekend. I'm taking Thursday off, too...

I think we're about to make a swap of activity levels! I'm so glad you are intending to chill and not work  yourself to death! And a comfy weather forecast to look forward to! On my end of the continent, it's time to get busy! There's that measuring wheel, for one thing, though it is going to be hard to recruit help in the triple digits. To be honest, nothing on my to-do list comes close to the hard labor you have put in, but I want to fill my car with all the recycling I've been collecting in the garage and get that out of my hair - I've found a place to take styrofoam so I have been collecting my friend's and staff's styrofoam, which is very gratifying to me but it is piling up! I also have to prep all the cardboard I've been collecting and peel off all the tape and labels, and eventually organize my home office which I am still not totally comfortable with, and some administrative tasks for a community project that I have been procrastinating since we moved. All the backburner stuff. 

Kitty is changing: there is less blood, and she is drinking more water (so, greater output, but still frequent). I believe she is still in discomfort or pain from watching the way she walks and settles down from standing to lying, which I think is from the inflamed bladder...Hubs is a bit rosy in his view that she is better because of the reduction of visible blood. He hasn't known a great deal of loss, but he is smart and compassionate, and I believe he will not delay when it's really time...she is our beloved, but really his cat, or his "sidekick of 18 years" as he calls her, having adopted her at age two, so I am being careful to suspend control. When my mother's and stepfather's last family dog was dying, and she was very sick, herself, with dementia, they went to battle about whether or not to put the dog down. He refused, and it was a very sad and painful time. This is up for me right now, but no looking back, or future tripping! 

We really like the color scheme of the house as it is, white with lots of wooden shingled areas at dormer and verandas, pretty wooden doors, and just a touch of red at the shuttered upstairs bathroom windows. In theory I agree with your husband completely, but when we look at the house, there is only one area that needs paint, and that is the one original exterior wall from the "old" part of the house, on the side, where the patio will be. The rest is a very new white wooden siding that still looks great. If the color match is right with the trim, we think it will be seamless. They're at it now, can't wait to see it complete. Meanwhile, the power washing upset the hiding scorpions apparently, because I have a little invasion on my hands...just a few, but still, more than normal in the house. I used to wrangle them, but now it's up the vacuum they go. Go with God, little stingers. They're not dangerous, just like a bee sting, but still they are not welcome inside.

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Future tripping- that's my MO! Not a good thing. Drinking for kitties is a big deal so maybe it means she's feeling better. Are you still giving her some CBD? I got some CBD treats for my big boy yesterday. He's a bit gimpy on his back, left leg and I'm hoping it will help. He's not usually very picky but I was worried he'd turn up his nose at them. The other ingredients in them are really good and he wolfed them down but they're pretty pricey. If they give him any benefit I'm good with that, though. I'm trying a new tincture to help with sleep so that's a work in progress. When I picked up the kitty treats I also got a CBD tea with turmeric, chamomile, spearmint, orange and lemongrass  and I'm looking forward to giving that a try; it smells wonderful. The also had some epsom salts infused with bergamot and CBD that I think sounds amazing. I might treat myself to that the weekend my husband's out of town next month.

The colors on your house sound great. I don't think I'd mess with that either. We need to paint our deck and the inside is looking pretty tired. It hasn't been painted since right after we moved in almost 14 yrs ago. Last fall my friends that do Hoedown kept saying all projects would be ATF- after the festival. Ours are all ATG- after the garden! I have never seen a live scorpion. And inside?? No way.

I have my cold plate lunch today: salami, turkey, olive salad, cherry tomatoes, pickles and a little broccoli for good measure. I haven't had a plain old pickle in a while and when you mentioned them it gave me a craving. I've never tasted them but Bubbie's pickles are supposed to be good and they're compliant. They're even fermented instead of vinegared so they're in the fridge section at the grocery. Good for you taking an extra day off! My head is all over the place when I start thinking about what we're going to do vs not do vs accomplish this weekend. I'm thinking we need to bump some of the house projects that we've been neglecting up the priority list. Sometime when I start getting overwhelmed and can't figure out what to do, I just start doing some little thing so I feel like I'm chipping away at the bigger picture. It usually works so instead of tackling tomatoes or peppers last night, I did a million little things for a couple of hours. I feel like it clears clutter out of my head as well as out of my house plus it gets everything in place to be able to dive right into the bigger projects.   

Have a fabulous day!                                             

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