Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Alex and Oil

So, Hurricane Alex is heading towards the Gulf Coast and bringing with it oil from the leak in the Gulf.
I have stored my water and food preps, and added several face masks to my preps.
I am not directly in the path of the storm, but I worry about those who are.
The beaches will be destroyed by the oil. The clean-up will be of gigantic proportions and will take years.
Recovery for the wildlife will take decades, possibly a century or longer.
But right now, Hurricane Alex is pushing more and more of the oil sludge towards the shores of Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. Even though the storm itself will not hit the shores in some areas, the increased waves and wind that will reach all those shores, bringing all the crap from the Deepwater Horizon oil leak.

Maybe this is Mother Nature, Gaia--however you want to personify the planet and ecosystem--saying "You want oil, you bastards?!? Here, here is your damn oil! I hope you choke on it!!!"
Anyway...I have my hurricane preps about you?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Finally, We get some Rain!

Cooler today with thunder rumbling and rain falling and breezes.
I love a good rainstorm!
I especially like how it has cooled off my area.

I have been living on cool salads and sandwiches the past month as the weather has been too darn hot to do much cooking.
I did use my crockpot a lot, but I mainly filled up on Waldorf Salad and cole slaw.
Today, I am making hummus, a staple around my house.
My recipe is kinda simple and since I can't always get to the better grocery store to pick up tahini (sesame paste), I sometimes use sesame oil to add flavor and no one seems to notice.

Here is the bulk recipe I make:

3 cups cooked garbanzo beans (chick peas)
1 large clove garlic roasted (just wrap it in aluminum foil and stick it in the oven at 250 for an hour)
2 to 4 tablespoons sesame oil (I use toasted sesame oil--better flavor) OR 1/2 cup sesame seed (tahini)paste
salt to taste
3 teaspoons lemon juice

Mash all that together--use as a base for dips, spread on pita or flatbread and top with raw veggies for sandwiches, etc.

I like to mix it 50-50 with sour cream for a dip for chips or raw veggies. You can add other flavors as well...cut sesame oil in half. replace that with extra virgin olive oil and add 1/2 cup finely minced olives.
Roast one or two red bell peppers, peel, mash *meat* of pepper and add to hummus and mix well.
Hummus is good stuff.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Still Unpacking...

Since I moved the first week in May, I have been unpacking...slowly.
Every time I open a box, I find a surprise---"OH! THAT'S where that was!!!!"
I had one box that was not labeled, so I left that box for last...
Inside was the best of all surprises!
There is about 30 yards of braided fabric strips, all ready to turn into a rag rug, a whole bag of quilt pieces I had cut out to make a quilt---enough for a Queen sized quilt!--another quilt project---just the quilt top, no batting---all I have to do is pin in the batting, do my edging and quilt! Also 3 or 4 purses I started and never finished and a few other small sewing projects.
I suppose some of them I got bored or frustrated or just too busy to complete. I can look at them now with fresh eyes and am enthused about completing them!
I think the rag rug will be first, since it is closest to completion.
I am rearranging my room tonight to better be able to sew and do my crafts and artwork. Right now, it just isn't working for me.
Will post pics of the rug when it is complete!
Now go search out those unfinished projects you have and GET BUSY!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Random Thoughts and Ideas for Today, Plus --DOGS!

Walked the dog to the store, making sure to walk her mainly on the grass. It is a hot day in Southeast Texas (heat index of 100+) and my doggie girl needs cool grass under her feet, not scalding asphalt !
Which brings me to...what the heck are people thinking when they walk their dogs on hot streets? THEY wear shoes, do they think that their dogs paw pads are impervious to heat or cold or cuts, etc.?

Yes, a dogs paw pads are a bit tougher than most peoples bare feet, but I have seen (when I worked at a vets) dogs who's paw pads got blistered from being walked on hot streets and sidewalks!
Similarly, I have seen dogs with frostbite on their pads from being walked in snow while their owners strolled along in comfy warm boots, oblivious to their companions suffering.
And since it is summer in Texas...always, BUT ALWAYS remember to have ample water for your dogs at all times, but especially in the heat!

Speaking of heat...I am working on container gardening for on my fire escape. Bad news...those suckers heat up to damn near thermo-nuclear levels during the day! So, while my seeds are sprouting inside...I am experimenting with methods to make the fire escape micro-climate more conducive to seedlings.
I put a bucket of soil out yesterday and jammed a thermometer in it to see just how hot the soil got during the day. At 2:00pm, the soil temp was 135.
So, this morning, I flattened out some cardboard boxes, put 2 layers on the fire escape landing, put the bucket of soil on the cardboard and waited. As of 1:00pm the soil temp was 100.
Not bad!
This may work....

Other problem I am now confronting...when I moved here, I found my box springs would not fit up the stairs, so they have been downstairs in the garage since I moved in and my mattress is on the floor in my room. Now, while I am not adverse to sleeping on a mattress on the floor as I did during my younger years, I find the comfort of my box springs to be very desirable at my age!
So...I have measured and considered, considered and measured...they won't fit in my window--even if I used a block and tackle to hoist them up here.
My final option...which I will attempt today---partially dismantle the box springs, move them upstairs, them reassemble them.
Wish me luck on that! Will attempt the endeavor around sundown...too hot to go out in the sun and do this!

Dinner tonight...crockpot! I love my crockpot during the summer! Doesn't heat up the house like the stove does.
I dumped in some navy beans, some chunked up ham, a few pinches of tarragon and will make a pan of cornbread to go with it later.
All my meals for the next few days will be crock pot meals. Today, beans...tomorrow those beans will be good leftovers to pair with a cool salad.
Monday, cabbage, sausage and apples in the crockpot.
Tuesday leftover cabbage/sausage and apples, slice up some french bread, grill it, add a slice of tomato and an over-easy egg.
Wednesday, wild rice and chicken soup in the crock pot
Thursday, add some more rice so the leftover soup becomes very thick, add some spices and roll up in tortillas, pour enchilada sauce over all, add some grated cheese and pop in the oven for 30 minutes.
Friday, Lentil chili in crockpot, serve with jalapeno cornbread
Saturday, leftover chili gets poured over tortilla chips...add grated cheese, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce and maybe some avocado slices and salsa for super nachos!
So there's my weeks meal plan!

Maybe my next posting I'll tell you how I used to make one chicken stretch for a weeks worth of meals....when I had a houseful of kids!

Friday, June 11, 2010

It's FRIDAY!!!

So glad the week is almost over...and today is my son's payday...since I am currently not employed, I do errands for him on Fridays when he gets paid.
Today, I have to put his computer in the shop, get a new power cord for the internet router, find him a desk and possibly, a chair, grab some flea treatment for the dog and a few items for him.

Tomorrow, I go dig some more dirt for my container gardening. I have already found a couple of good places and have several buckets of dirt...I may pick up a bag or two of potting soil as well.

For my little patch of ground outside, I need a garden rake, so I will price those today and may even buy one if I find a good deal on one.

The rest of my weekend is pretty much planned out...only so many hours in each day!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Back to the work at hand...

Well, after giving everyone a week to let the bad news about the economy sink in, I have been making plans here among the tree-tops (third floor apartment, I look down at the trees!)

First things first. Going to be doing some container gardening and there is a small patch in front of the house and another beside it I can use. I have also found some vacant land down by the railroad tracks that would be great for some "guerilla gardening".
Whatever gardening I did back at the rooming house was abandoned when I had to move and I understand that the new manager thought the plants were weeds and cut them all down...ah well...

I have a huge fire escape here and I am thinking of using containers + fire escape for trellis to grow some late vineing cherry tomatoes and other like minded veggies.

Herbs can be easily grown in containers, too. I have plenty of room mate works at a fast food joint and brings home 5 gallon buckets!
Plenty of seeds as well.

All I need is dirt! Plan on investigating that later today. There are quite a few vacant lots around, a large expanse of land down by the tracks and other assorted places I can go to dig up a bucket or six of dirt to start my endeavor.

I will post progress reports on my gardening!