Psyching Up For a December Whole 30 Graduates


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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.


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On 7/2/2019 at 7:59 AM, hollysmokes said:

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.

Now we're in the place of know thyself, right? That's big school, the best kind! I love the emphasis on taking action with conviction. Yes!

I am amazed at how much better I feel after just a few days. Psychologically, and physically. I am exploring the intermittent fasting. I quickly realized that my morning meal needs to be a little more food, but not too much, so I'm playing with that. I am doing that two days in a row, but not every day, I think that would be too much. I'll switch it up depending on activity and life circumstances. But for the first time in a long time, I have the feeling of knowing where the gears and levers of control are, to guide myself to where I want to be, healthfully.

Holy $&*t we just felt a big earthquake --  shook and rattled the whole house for a good 5-6 seconds - a 6.6 in the Mojave Desert, just over the mountains, and south of us by about 200+ miles by car, or 60 miles as the crow flies. Wow. I'm catching my breath. There are a jillion visitors in town, and with all the windows open, I can hear them hooting and hollering along the river. Funny how some quakes feel rolling, and this one was rapid and jagged, like a martini shaker.  Oh mighty Mother!

Spooky sure gave us a big scare yesterday. We thought she was in the beginning of active dying. Not eating, hiding out in a cave-like space under an end table, super fragile to pet her even gently. She would purr for us, but it really seemed like the end, I thought. Hubs said it was too soon, and she might recover, as she has done before, and he is right. She is back to the latest normal with the exception that she is still retreating to her cave-like place. It spurred us on to learn the euthanasia options, and the vet is willing to make a housecall for us when the time comes, if necessary, which is a great comfort. I will not break my promise about never going back to the vet. I am mopping the floor pretty much every day now, but I don't mind. Going to love the dickens out of her as long as she is with us! 

A friend gifted me a big bag of various zucchini, right on call! ... to make MJ's silken zucchini soup! Also Persian cukes, yum. So I'll be making soup, coleslaw, and bison burgers today. Also steaming up a 2 lb bag of haricot vert. The watermelon is chilling, too, and hubs' favorite beer, so we'll have a nice summer table for the 4th. Woo hoo!


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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. :wacko:

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 

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Wow. Poor Maybelle, sweet girl; we really are on a parallel path, aren't we?  I'm interested in the fentanyl patches. Does she still have a semi-sheared patch, or was that your other cat? If not, will you have to cut back or shave her hair to use the fentanyl? Curious. Deep sigh! = ( I know you'll keep me posted. We are happy that Spooky has rallied, but like you, sort of still holding vigil, and savoring every moment with her. I hate to leave the house, and I know that coming home will be of great anticipation to see her and learn how she's doing...Hubs is indulging her love of dairy, and she's been enjoying moments of cheese, sour cream, a little butter. For sure, hospice time. I know food is the center of all the Maybelle woes, but does she have any favorite treats? Is she still drinking that rich broth?

Congrats on the new ride! You know that expression, it's your movie. The windshield always reminds me of a movie screen in proportionality, and a new car always gives me a feeling of a new lease on life, a new way to engage in the world, a stab at new behaviors, new self image, a new chapter in the movie. The gas savings is exciting! And they are so quiet, those hybrids, what a pleasure. Did your SUV make a good trade-in? So much change.

Tell more about your zucchini gloop. Is it pureed, or just scooped out? Sounds like a handy trick. The way you described making good choices paired with a side of bad choices sounds like my story. Yep! Thai food is so rich and delicious, I can totally see how it could tempt out the sugar dragon. Hey, did you ever hear that whenever an airplane goes down it's never because just one thing went wrong? There are always multiple things that would cause such a catastrophe. Was it like that? Stress, grief, not having cooked, and having the dragon tempted, all at once? I hope you are gentle and forgiving with yourself - you can start over, easy, and be feeling good again in no time.

I got all the cooking done that I posted I would, and we'll be eating coleslaw for several days. Lots of soup, too, to go with whatever chicken I cook up, and plenty of green beans, and salads. I still have any eye on my one-exception allowance, such as the slaw having a bit of diced candied ginger for heat and an occasional change of texture, just a little. Hubs didn't even notice it. I'm also allowing a bit of cheese, occasional gum, but otherwise, on program. Today and tomorrow will be long days, so I'll be able to come home to a safe kitchen. The long day on alternate Saturdays, such as tomorrow,  is often a danger time because I'm alone in the store, and that is when I have indulged in not-even-very-good-candy. Like a junkie getting a fix. So I'll keep myself well fed, and if I'm tempted, just coach myself to get through the day, "just for today", not such a tall order.

Oh, enjoy your days off, your smoker, the rain, the cooking, the kitty love, the lotion lab, the new car, and all the sweet at-home time to ground and self-love,

Yes, to Maybelle and Spooky. 

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17 hours ago, LadyLisbette said:

Stress, grief, not having cooked, and having the dragon tempted, all at once?

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.

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Wow, I seriously sympathize with your plight when faced with that meat dep't person - their remark was so elitist and ignorant! I think your comeback was great, though! You certainly made your point.

Does Maybelle continue to eat the kibble and keep it down? I realize that every day can be a nail-biter. It sounds like variety is the name of the game, and you keep pulling rabbits out of your hat. Good job! Spooky is holding steady. We decided that it is a safe bet that she is hurting (inflamed bladder can't be much fun, right?) so we've added CBD oil to her daily treat of fresh cream. We'll see. She's favoring a new spot on the front hall rug over the hiding spot. It's probably too hard to jump on the chair where her bed is, so we moved it to the floor, but a cat's got to do what a cat's got to do, and this new spot it is. I'm also watching her tail, which she's holding pretty low. Normally it's straight up like a shark fin. We call her Spooky shark when she circles the coffee table / our reading area at night: all you see is the tail. = )

My comfort food now is the chicken apple sausage patties, yams, green beans...but it's time to put my thinking cap on and get something else going soon. I worked like a fiend on Friday and Saturday (Friday was a record day!) and after cooking breakfast for us on Sunday, I spent the whole day on my back reading. Lovely! This morning I was a whirlwind with cleaning and cooking, and went in a little later, which I love - the day goes by so fast, and it's a balance of home and work.

Was your weekend everything you needed? How did you lotion turn out? Any new EO blends or favorites?

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Oh, about the earthquakes! I worked late on Friday night so I wouldn't have to stay so late on Saturday, and I was just pulling into our driveway for the end of that really big 7.1 and didn't feel it, but hubs did, and those were his first big earthquakes. Like you with hurricanes and floods, I have felt many big quakes, including the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in San Francisco, which displaced me from my home. Maybe one day we can swap tales around a campfire. It's been quiet since then. The aftershocks made it hard to sleep - part of your brain knows you are perfectly safe, and the reptilian brain doesn't get the memo, and there is fear, speaking for myself, and you feel it out with every cell in your body wondering on high alert -  how big is it, how long will it last, what should I do, where do I go? My husband is SO rational, he says it doesn't scare him at all, but it makes my hair stand up, and I always grab him in the night and wake him up, "earthquake!!!" LOL.

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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.


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I'm with you on adding beans back in - I think garbanzos or kidney beans are heavenly in salad! If it wasn't the beans that hurt you on the weekend, what caused the stomach uproar? Are you better now? Your Star Trek binge sounds cozy and fun. I need a day like that, too! I recently binged on Season One of Outlander. DId you ever watch that? I loved it, but there was so much sadomasochism at the end of the season, when I was so invested in the story and characters (otherwise I would have turned it OFF!), that I felt sick, and I have not gone back to watch more.

Spooky is now channeling Maybelle, and turning her nose up at the cream - what's up with that? I hope your husband gets good results from the CBD cream. We like and the tincture is not offensive at all - I use the capsules, but hubs uses the tincture and I've tried the low dose tincture once (the one we're giving Spooky). It has a rosy tinge, and no flavor. I always think of your description of the stinky, swampy tincture you tried once! I hope you find one that you like. 

How are you doing with the morning movement and stretching? I have only had a couple of good movement days since we got back. I am feeling good about the food part of my routine right now, but have been having a tough time sleeping and hence getting up extra early to make it happen. Tomorrow's an early call, but by the end of the week I want to get at least one good morning in.

I spent some time tonight  with my favorite recipes, and one of the things I'll be shopping for tomorrow is ground lamb, for something that I haven't made in ages, maybe ever pre-W30: oven-gyros. I know you're a charcuterie wizard, so I wondered how you like this approach from serious eats, which is the recipe I've used before with great results: (Forgive me if I have shared this recipe before!) My husband doesn't like lamb on moral grounds, and in the past I have wickedly made it and fed it to him and not told him (sshhhh). Well, I can't in good conscience do that again, as he swears, with a fierce face, that he would rather eat broccoli. And he really does not care for vegetables. So as my niece asks, "guess what??" I'm going to make it for myself. I'll eat it for breakfast and lunch since those are meals we don't share during the week, anyway. :D Problem solved. I'm getting de ja vu - I think we've posted about this before, because now I'm wondering how it would work with bison, which is my red meat of choice as I'm sure you've noticed, and I think I've asked you that before (and then I never tried it, I don't think). With lamb, or beef/lamb this recipe has turned out for me exactly as described and photographed in the serious eats page - so yummy!!!

Also next up I think I'll be making orange dijon chicken, and balsamic sheet pan chicken with loads of veggies (!) and probably hash too since I have kale on hand.

How does your garden grow? Also, If you direct message me your mailing address I have seeds to send you!!

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OMG, broccoli!? :lol: 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 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!

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You have a bbq rotisserie! That's so awesome! Thanks for the encouragement on the bison - I'll keep you posted, because I forgot to get lamb. Oh, that is a good price on lamb you've got there.  I might use Serious Eats' recipe for tzatziki made with mayo and yogurt as I don't seem to have any issues with the past I have just made a very lemony and garlicky mayo, and that was good too. The more I think about good Greek yogurt, though, I want to get some. I don't think I ever re-intro'd yogurt specifically, so maybe I'll just do that. What about you, since you can tolerate the cukes in tzatziki, what will your recipe be? Gyros for everyone!!

Do you roast your peppers? The tomato paste has me very intrigued! It all sounds divine. I've been getting organic cherry tomatoes at the market and this is kind of new for me this year - historically I haven't had a taste for fresh tomatoes - probably had too many mealy unripe tomatoes put in front of me by an unnamed person in my childhood - but I am learning to like them, yay! Harvesting must keep you pretty busy - is that a fun process as I imagine? Or, is that what's scaring you: keeping up with it? I'll bet! Did I tell you about our fruit trees? Turns out one is a plum tree, the other pear. They are both very small, and not ripe yet even though others in this community are ripe by now. Should I be worried?. Interestingly, our California poppies bloomed late and stayed late, too.  Maybe this is just a late blooming place, no wonder I love it here, I'm right at home :P

Hubs and I both use CBD to help with good sleep. He gets better results than I do. As a bonus, he finds that it helps him stay calm and patient with customers etc the next day, too. When we traveled recently, he noticed he was calmer than usual in the airport, etc. He's not anxious in clinical terms, but kind of a worry wart. We tried both the capsules and the tincture since we are carrying it at the store. At first I used the capsules in case the tincture tasted weird, but now I'm using the capsules just out of habit. Hubs thinks the tincture works faster, which stands to reason. As for dosage, here is a link that he found and likes because of the dosage calculator (you have to scroll down):

Hm, I wonder if you could use the capsules to make your own balm? Maybe small batches that wouldn't perish? Not sure if that would work or not, but it sounds tempting. I just made a new face cream/balm using a white shea butter I've never used before. I ad-libbed the ratio of shea butter to almond oil, and was a little heavier-handed than usual with the lavender, and it's my favorite one yet. I should ask my friend about her recipe for a pain-relief balm she makes for her husband. She mentioned helichrysum for its analgesic properties, and some other things I'm not familiar with...makes me realize how grateful I am not to live with pain. Knock on wood.

Sweet day to you!

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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


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I like this quote a lot, and have been reminding myself of it regularly.

I see you read that website way more thoroughly than I did! I hope you get good results from the CBD oil, keep me posted. I'll be curious about the results, including if it helps curb or calm the worry wart ways...wouldn't that be great. My friend who has a lot of anxiety and trouble sleeping is loving the CBD capsules and sending all her friends to buy it, also. I feel a little jealous that it doesn't help me with sleep. The valerian root works, though, so I should go back to that. Of course, my best sleep aid is was over 100 again today = (

I'm impressed with the beautiful simplicity of your skin care routine, and salute you for giving yourself permission to try such minimalism, to such great results. I keep in the spectrum of minimalism out of necessity, too, on account of rosacea, which first flared up over 20 years ago. It was really liberating to discover (it took me 7 years to discover!!!), how much control I have with lifestyle choices. Those were my first steps on the road that led me to W30. As for that lotion, I've never blended ginger with ylang ylang before, but they are both so tropical, I'll bet that is divine. In fact, I have ginger in my stash but haven't used it yet. Last night I blended lavender/rosemary/mandarin for an oil face wash, and this morning doctored up some unscented Alba lotion with fractionated coconut oil and lavender/clove/fir needle/lemongrass. I'm having to be extremely gentle with my face care these days because I have been treating a really stubborn staph infection after getting a lip wax. Argh. The tech globbed some of the wax into the nostril opening (that was embarrassing) and the next day I had a little sore that wouldn't heal. I thought I had skin cancer! Of course I'm very glad to not have cancer, but this shit is creepy. It has spread up one side of my nose, and it's just hanging on, and hanging on, and won't go completely away. Once I thought it was gone and let up on the Rx antibiotic ointment, and it came baaaccckk. So, I'm being very careful because I don't want to inadvertently spread it even more. I'm dying to give my whole face a good scrub with a hot wash cloth.

Those stuffed peppers sound so good. I'll have to try that some time - the grab-and-go has a lot of appeal. Hey, you're going to be up to your peepers in poblano peppers :P

I am thawing out the bison to make gyros tomorrow morning!! And I'll get yogurt tomorrow night after work so I can make tzatziki later, too...can't wait to try your recipe - thank you!

How is Maybelle? Spooky is hanging in there, and we wonder to what extent the CBD is helping. Today she is chipper, and has a clear, strong voice, AND I only had to mop the floor once instead of twice, so it was a good day. Sigh.

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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!

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Hiya Holly, I'm back. Whew! Rough week. Are you enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of your labors from the weekend? Nourishment to sustain you! It all sounds divine. How was the gyros? I seasoned the meat on Tuesday night, mixed and made the "loaf" on Wednesday morning, then sliced and broiled it to order last night for dinner. More juices ran out during cooking than I remember - the meat dough wasn't as pasty, I think, as it should have been, but I couldn't tell until after I sliced it. Also the bison is way leaner than the beef/lamb combo of before (I didn't add bacon as per that recipe). At any rate, it was tasty. But: the TZATZIKI was the star of the show, and by far the best I've ever made at home! I followed the recipe you gave me, and since I had non-fat yogurt, added some mayo. Since it is so hard to find full fat yogurt, there must be a lot of fat-phobic folks still out there. Meanwhile I have found a place where I can get 2%. I served it with cucumbers and red onion, in a wrap for my husband, and like an antipasto plate for myself with a heaping side of coleslaw, and did I mention a metric ton of that tzatziki. Yummmmm.

Some time ago I wanted sweet orange EO but I had access to mandarin so I bought that instead, and never did buy any orange - but - I think they would be nicely interchangeable. I don't have helichrysum in my supplies, but I will put in on my wish list for a future splurge. The other day I happened to meet a local woman I have been hoping the meet - she's a Renaissance woman who makes and sells her own honey, gorgeous elixirs, lotions and balms, etc, and is also a painter and properly repped and featured in galleries in Santa Fe, Los Angeles, etc., and who knows what else. I was so glad to meet her and thank her for the goods that I have enjoyed. I about fell over when I asked her where she gets her EOs. She grows her own plants and distills the oils herself at home. OH! Of course! The next day she dropped off a little present for me, a face cream and serum in a blue velvet drawstring bag and a sweet note. Gush. Looking just now at the ingredients, here is the helichrysum introduction you prompted me towards! Also frankincense, rose geranium, hemp seed oil and a host of other lovely looking things, and finally, love and gratitude at the end of the ingredients list. I've never used a serum before. It's (green!) lucious and oily the way I like it, but it all soaks in better than my balm. I think I'm hooked.

Is Maybelle loving the ice cream? We think that giving the cat cream has given her new reason to live (besides creating a monster).  We are scratching our heads and wondering if she is actually getting better. I'm not needing to clean as much, and her mood is much better. So we're keeping up with the CBD thinking it is helping with pain. She gets CBD each morning and night in a little cream, and she is eating her regular food in between. Hubs is also hand feeding her cheese or a little turkey if she comes around with those big eyes when we are eating. Like you, we figure some treats can't hurt.

I've pulled myself out of a big funk. I was in a vicious cycle of not sleeping well, and not getting any movement. But I've broken the pattern, and after visiting the nursery yesterday consulting with an acquaintance of mine who runs the native plants section, spent a couple of hours in the garden yesterday, and feel ready to take some steps with planning for fall planting. Did I tell you we inherited four coast redwoods on our property? They're not suited for this climate! What a heap of mixed emotions. It's too low elevation here for any of the conifers, and the coast redwoods rely on fog for a great deal of their water, which we certainly don't have here. It seems like torture for these trees. Sure enough, they started showing distress. So I'm soaking them with the hose at a drip, and will go out there today to lay down cardboard and mulch over the entire area where they are (there's a drip irrigation system in place, but it needs work, and we've not been using it, just keeping our eye on things to see what we want to keep, get rid of, and hope to use the system only minimally once the native garden is in place). The solarizing and mulching will be good practice as I will be doing a lot of that in the fall after I get my native plants in. I'm a beginner with ALL of this.  Also had a local landscaper over this morning to go over plans to pull some shrubs out, and areas to clean up. There's a super invasive tree that is taking over the whole town. It sends runners underground. I've been hacking away at them, but the previous owners let some of them go, and they are tall, crowding out everything. I'm getting some momentum out there...and it's helping me to sleep on lots of levels. And we're looking at spending some big money (ouch) on tree removal and trimming to satisfy our homeowner insurance people...we are actually happy to do it, because NO ONE wanted to insure us out here in remote high fire danger territory. the first three cancelled us once they came out to look at where we are. No wonder either of us has trouble sleeping!!! It's been a nail biter.

sorry this is so long!!!

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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.

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OMG that is a lot of tomatoes! And marinara! Mm, pizza casserole, what time is dinner?? LOL. Summer abundance is upon you! How do you account for the bumper crop of tomatoes? The rain? TLC, love, and gratitude, right? I'm sorry you had trouble sleeping! I finally broke down too and took some of my hubby's sleep aid. It works. Ach.

9 hours ago, hollysmokes said:

the gallon of green tomatoes that I got started like Kosher dill pickles

Huh? I'm too dim to understand this...forgive me, please explain.

Yes, I need to send Renaissance woman a beautiful ty card! I know, distilling the oils sets a new standard of domestic goddess-hood. AND she makes jewelry, I learned. She's so humble and poised, too, that's what I also really love about her. Rose geranium sounds very intriguing...I have splurged on some rose absolute and am waiting for it to arrive = ) Once I had some perfumey rose EO but it wasn't the real thing, it was for candles and such, but I used it anyway, and came to think better of it, and gave it to someone for her candle-making. I LOVE the idea of custom scenting unscented Dr. Bronner's and have yet to do that. I think the peppermint is my favorite of all their varieties, though I haven't tried them all - hard to beat the tingling, especially in summer. Speaking of soap, I am due for a bath right about now after a long, sweaty, hot day. Jeez it's hot. But I wanted to say...

Yay, little Maybelle!!!!! All that uncertainty about what's making things better or worse sounds very familiar. It sounds like she is happy and feeling good in her body, getting up the hillside and hanging out with her peeps. That's so encouraging! And chicken feet for bone broth! And she's hanging out in the cat cave, that's awesome! You guys are doing a great job taking care of her. A cat has her mysterious ways, and her own timing. You must be very gratified, as I think you laid down some real dollars for that, in addition, right? You did good!

The redwoods aren't getting worse, so that's good. They're 40-50 feet tall! Sigh. A little too high to mist, but I like the way your brain works, and it gives me a yearning for the foggy landscape from whence I come. We're giving them the best shot we can, and really hope to not lose them. I think they'll be okay.  I am learning so much, and about what I'll have to do in the fall and winter. I'm going to do a LOT of sheet mulching. So I'm saving up a lot of cardboard (oh, THAT'S why I still have our moving boxes in the garage!), and I'll lay it down in the beds and cover it with mulch, and let the winter rains soften it all up, to kill the weeds, and then I'll be able to dig right through it when it's time to plant. I'm excited about that part, as it will help get in front of the unbelievable weeds. But I'm sure you know all about solarizing, because you're an old pro at gardening. 

Wah! Your husband pulling the privet out with the truck! Yep, that reminds me of the nuisance Chinese heaven, or trees of heaven they are sometimes called. They send those runners, and if it weren't such a nuisance, it would be terribly impressive, wouldn't it, mother nature at her most determined. I just looked up privet, and it's from Asia, too! Of course, a lot of common horticulture varieties come from the Asian world if I'm not mistaken.

Tonight I made Nom Nom's orange dijon chicken, which hungry husband polished off, and I barely have enough food to get me through breakfast and lunch...I think shrimp patties are next up, and maybe a pot of chili, since I have all the ingredients on hand and I haven't made it in a while. But I made another batch of tzatziki yesterday so I should also make something I can use it with...did I tell you I finally made the Turkish Doner kabobs right after the gyros, and they went very well together. Maybe it's time for some Greek sliders. 

Will you guys be taking any summer trips?

To the bath! 

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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!



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Oh, that makes sense! And it sounds delicious. The relish has my attention, too. You are a domestic goddess! The ingredients in the relish are reminding me of tapenade, although I know that's different...since olives in great quantity are so good for us, you have given me the idea to make some tapenade. 'Have kalamatas on my shopping list for tomorrow, too. OH! The gyros sound so good! What is your spice profile like for the gyros you're making? My husband finished the gyros leftovers when I was working late on Saturday, as he really likes it, too. I will look for a full fat Greek yogurt, it sounds so good. Yes, it's fun to play around with slicing the meat to different sizes and seeing how it crisps up. Sometimes I don't have the patience to broil both sides, and in that case, each bite is slightly crispy, and lots of's all good! Right after the first batch of tzatziki ran out, we went to the fancy sandwich joint in town, and her special was "Artemis", basically a gyros sandwich but with sliced, roasted lamb instead of gyros, with all the usual toppings. It was delicious, though I prefer a much more garlicky tzatziki such as the one I have at home right now from your recipe. I thought about ordering it as a salad, but I indulged in the sandwich on a soft, perfect pita and it was heavenly, juice running down to my forearms. I have been thinking that as chili is a winter thing (really I love chili all year!) gyros is a great summer thing, having all those crisp vegetables and the fresh flavors just feels summery. I'm basically a walking garlic bomb these days.

SO glad you like that EO combo, yay!

Today the landscaping guy came with his team, and took out some of the shrubby non-native things I wanted gone, and that obnoxious stand of invasive trees, finished off the weed whacking, including the messy looking stuff poking out of the mortar of lots of stone mason walls that line our garden beds, and a large terraced area...and it looks so good!!! Like a good haricut, LOL. It's It also improved our view of the mountains, which I hadn't even thought of. It's easier for me to imagine what I want now, but really what I need is less dreamy, and a more scientific approach: a few hours measuring all the garden areas around the house and making a diagram with exact measurements.  I was thinking about what you said about soil being barren and naked  leaving it vulnerable to weeds. What I have now is a lot of such barren soil...the oak trees drop their leaves in summer to conserve water, so the soil won't be barren for long. Do you think I should sheet-mulch now, or wait until the rains? Hm. I'm now worried about all the little creatures in the soil! Argh! That's funny about the wheat growing from the straw you laid down! Is the straw very expensive? I have some big questions about what my soil is like here. Given the mountains, I know it's mineral rich, and should be well-suited for the native plants I'll bring in, but I see differing opinions about whether or not to amend the soil. Mostly I'm reading NOT to amend the soil OR compost with natives, which makes sense (I can use the compost on the fruit trees. We just discovered that we also have two small pomegranate trees!!!). My instinct is not to amend. I'll be looking for plants that have lots of mycorrhiza as I've been reading about, to help everyone in the plant community connect. Are you familiar with the wonderful research of the Canadian professor of forest ecology Suzanne Simard? Of course you are. She is one of my heroines. One of my favorite books is based on her research:

Being a homebody sounds good to me! Normally, we would have done more day hiking and backpacking, but the house is keeping us home-bound, and also money conscious (hiking is cheap, but payroll for a substitute pharmacist is not!) However, we are looking forward to our Labor Day weekend camp out, yes! Oh, that's right! There was so much smoke last summer! Knock on wood, so far so good this year! We'll go to Jazz Fest again in September. 

Sweet dreams,

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Oh! Thank you so much for the poppy seeds; they arrived on my birthday! :D 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 :o!

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?

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Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday!! How charmed is our rapport that the seeds arrived on your birthday? Yay, I mean, ahem, I intended it that way, you know. :P Suzanne Simard gave a wonderful TED talk that you can find too, if you haven't already. Most everything I know about gardening and mycorrhiza is theoretical so far, and I can't wait to get my hands dirty. It is certainly keeping me up at night, planning and designing, and so many questions, and also worries. I'm even out-worrying the doxylamine (half tablet) that usually knocks me out.  I may decide to get my soil tested, too, I haven't gotten that far yet. I'm learning so much from you.

I'm thinking I should lay the cardboard down and mulch it now, and water it down a little bit to get the solarizing going now <KILL the weeds!> and spend the rest of the hot season planning for when the rains start. I know that during the first year all the action will be underground, and I want to give it all as much head start as possible, so I'm thinking of winter planting instead of spring, as many of my compatriots in this area do. 

Honestly, I haven't eaten tapenade since pre-W30, and I loved it on crackers and crusty bread...but your relish gave me the idea to try eating it like chutney with whatever meat I'm eating, or dipping it in crispy vegetables. I love chutney, but of course it has so much sugar. I haven't made tapenade before, but I'm looking at this recipe as a starting point, and will likely intuit my own ratios:

As for movement and yoga, sigh, I have scarcely done anything in the way of that awesome morning routine. At least I've got the food part in good shape...I'm liking the intermittent fasting, and I'm managing to not undereat, so that is something. I have been getting a little movement in the garden, but not usually enough to be sore. It's always hard in the summer here when it gets so hot. I know that's no excuse! I could be doing yoga...and I have friends who get out hiking and walking early. I'm in a rut. What about you?

Spooky caught a lizard by the tail! I found the tail yesterday. If she's not dying, looks like I'll have to start brushing her again and cutting her nails, which she hates, but if she can stalk a lizard, she can endure some grooming, right? She's still not eating as much as usual, but there is not as much blood so she is holding steady. How's MB?

I'm going to try making gyros with ground chicken! We'll see...

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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. :unsure: 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

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Working inside and outside the home - so grounding. Aah. My heart is heavy thinking of Maybelle.

We haven't had storms, but we, too, have kajillions of little tiny acorns all around the house right now. I've never seen them so small. No barefooting out there right now, ouch! The flies! OMG. Sounds like you've done a great job of getting rid of them. And who knew that a case of canned cat food could be so fragile! Some delivery entity/person seriously mal-practiced you. I'v never heard of such a thing. As if your plate is not full enough. Where we live, yellow jackets would go to the meat - do you have those? One time I will never forget, I plopped down on the bed to see a million tiny newborn spiders crawling all over the ceiling, and we used the vacuum on them, to find the mama right on the headboard on my side of the bed. I always feel haunted to commit such a wipe out...but then again. Me, dominant species, my house, my vacuum.

I flattened out the chicken loaf a little too much...and I overcooked it, but hardly any juice ran out, and it's super sausage-y and tender, and pretty tasty. Having learned from the last one, I blended the dickens out of it. I haven't broiled it to a crisp yet, but it was good on a Greek salad at work yesterday. Today I found a little stove-top grill/griddle on sale, so I'll try it out tonight instead of using the broiler to crisp it up. I also found a decent looking pita (non-pocket) for hubs, AND full fat Greek yogurt for the next tzatziki- yay! I think tapenada on the tuna sounds YUM. I see we're both riding out the Mediterranean theme - more, please. I warned my co-workers that I would have garlic breath until further notice and they are good humored about it.

My other encouraging news is that the redwoods are looking great- I think we caught it in time, and know what we have to do now. LIke you, I've pulled out of the movement rut, and am doing a little better. I'm holding plank til I shake and sweat x 2, then yoga. I'm not doing headstands, but I'm doing difficult (for me) inversions, and it is making a difference in the way I feel and my headspace. The 3d piece of news I've been saving for you is that In the last 48 hours I've had what I think is a winning idea for the side yard where the old pool sat in the center - it's about 8-10"  sunken in this giant circle. Poking around yesterday morning, I discovered a thick plastic liner (of course) just below the surface which will not be ideal for plants, or easy to dig I'm designing a circular brick patio area. Besides the verandas, and the small spot where the BBQ lives, there's no other real useable outdoor space. From the patio, we can enjoy the garden and have a nice view of the house etc...hubs agrees, so I am off and running with design. I can do yoga out there, we can sleep out there in good weather, maybe entertain occasionally, and otherwise have a good hangout place, moon baths, etc. This is the first garden-plan idea I've had that feels just right. 

I kept thinking that Maybelle was a Siamese, did I make that up (blushing, I do that sometimes)? The black cat in the photo is your boy cat who is species confused because he was raised by you and the chow? It must be hard to see him missing her, too. When my cousin and her partner moved in together, the dachsund and the tabby cat they each brought into the home didn't get along so well. But they came to be best friends, and when the dog died, the cat would bring mice to his grave in the yard.

Hey, I've never heard of the little rubber caps for the cat's nails...I'll look into that!

As for the tomatoes, are you a fan or Pablo Neruda? Here's one for you:

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Ode To The Tomato! Love it. 

Hmmm, Spooky might not be too crazy about the nail caps. I found this: 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.

14 hours ago, LadyLisbette said:

Me, dominant species, my house, my vacuum.

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.

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