Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Today, I used some Thanksgiving leftovers to make a casserole.

Leftover cooked white-meat turkey
Leftover roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon & walnuts
Sliced mushrooms
1/2 an onion, diced
Egg noodles
Olive oil
Heavy cream
Flour and turkey gravy seasoning

Heat the oil in a pan, and stir in the chopped onions.  Cook until translucent, then add the flour/gravy mixture.  Brown for a couple minutes, then add the heavy cream and some hot water.  Heat through, then add more flour or more water until you have the consistency of cream of mushroom soup.  Alternatively, use a can of cream of mushroom soup.  Add in the chopped turkey and heat through.  Add salt and/or pepper to taste.

At the same time, cook the egg noodles according to the package directions.  Heat some butter in a separate pan, add the mushrooms, and cook until browned.  Then add in the Brussels sprouts and heat through.

When everything is heated, mix it together in a casserole dish.  Sprinkle crushed cracker bits, dried cranberries, and Parmesan cheese on top.  Put it in a 350 degree oven until the top is slightly browned, about 10-15 minutes.

Sorry for the poor picture quality; one of these days I will get a real camera.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I just purchased 25 pounds of local beef from Rising Moon Farm.  I was a little worried that it wouldn't all fit in my freezer along with the three chickens I have left and all my frozen soups and stocks.  But it all fit perfectly.

That's 12 pounds of ground beef, a couple roasts, short ribs, and several different cuts of steak, all on the bottom shelf with my three chickens.  Everything up top is pre-cooked.

[This is post #91, by the way.  Leave a comment with the day and time you predict I will post my 100th post, and you will win a TBD prize!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Next Year's Garden (and a CONTEST!)

Last week I ordered some seeds from Seed Savers Exchange at 50% off.  From left to right, starting in the top row, I have beans (dry), beans (snap), beets, blue corn, pickling cucumbers, purple basil, Greek oregano, leeks, lettuce, peas, peppers, pumpkins, and tomatoes.  So I'm very excited to grow things next spring.

Also, this is my 90th post on this blog!  I am holding another contest: whoever most correctly predicts when I will post my 100th post will win a chance to guest post here at WWWW.  Or I will guest post on your blog.  Or I'll write you a limerick.  Basically, the prize is negotiable.  Start guessing the day and time I will post the 100th entry on this blog!  I don't even know myself (I don't have it planned out or anything), so we'll all be surprised.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Book review: Coop

Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting
by Michael Perry

What a fun book!  Perry has a great way of making his writing funny by using much more complicated vocabulary and sentence structure than is warranted by the situation.  He is also very skilled at bringing out the emotional complexities of starting a small farm: in his relationships with his family, his neighbors, his livestock, and in his ambivalent attitude about "work" that pays the bills versus "work" that feeds the family.

A quote for Susan:

"I wrote the word reverence into our vows in honor of the way my father has always treated my mother.  Dad taught me that reverence wasn't fawning, nor was it always delivered in hushed tones.  I saw it in the goofy way he doffed his fur-lined Boris Yeltsin hat when he opened the van door for her on Sunday mornings; the way he quietly abstained when we kids teased her for not getting our jokes; the way he never failed to leave the dinner table without thanking her.  And there was the reverence between them: lest we be deceived, on many occasions-- together and separately-- Mom and Dad made sure we understood that their marriage had rough patches and disagreements, but that they had long ago promised to work it out quietly behind closed doors.  It didn't hurt that they sometimes made sure to let us catch them kissing.  Nothing off-putting, just a hug and peck in the kitchen or in the sheep barn during lambing.  In this I believe they were extending their reverence to the children-- letting us know that when we went to sleep it was in a house headed by parents joined at hip and heart."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wednesday Pizza

I made pizza yesterday.

First, I mixed up and kneaded the dough.  Then, while it was rising in the microwave (it was off, of course), I went for a walk/jog.  After I returned and took a shower, it was time to punch it down, preheat the oven and pizza stone, and start making the toppings.  Here's how it went down:

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Abby, the Cat

This is Abby.

She does not technically belong to me, but to the owner of the house I live in, who has been away on vacation for the past month.  Thus, I have been her primary source of food, water, love, and non-autonomous grooming.

She likes to walk on me, knead me, and lie on my chest.

This sometimes makes it hard to breathe, as she is (and I say this with the love of Christ) something of a fat cat.

She also likes to bring me presents.  Last night, I woke up to the sound of crunching.  At first I thought, "Oh, that's Abby eating her crunchy food."  Then I thought, "Wait, I didn't give her crunchy food tonight..."  And then I realized that she was eating a mouse.

I figured I probably didn't want to witness that process, so I stayed in bed and tried to go back to sleep.  No dice.  After the crunching stopped, and Abby apparently left the room, I finally had to turn on the light, get out of bed (very carefully, so as not to step on the corpse), put on my glasses, and remove the head and tail and other remains of her midnight snack into the garbage.  (Be glad that I did not have the presence of mind to take a photo.)  Then I went downstairs to get the Resolve carpet cleaner (to clean up the blood).  Sprayed that on the carpet, waited the requisite five minutes, then blotted and wiped it clean.  I washed my hands, then firmly shut the door (to keep any further snacks out of my room) and went back to bed.

The Death of Jack

Halloween is over.  Time to get rid of Jack.

Here lies Jack, atop the compost.

Sock update

I didn't forget about my sock project; I was inundated with other projects that for various reasons (schoolwork, paid work) took precedence over crafts and hobbies.  But never fear; I have gotten back on the sock-horse.  Wow, that sounds strange.

Anyway, remember that lovely green alpaca yarn I bought?  It is finally de-skeined (Is that even a word?  What do people really call the process of turning a skein of yarn into a ball?) and I have begun turning it into a sock.  It's slow going, because the yarn is so thin and the needles so small, but it's going.

I've found I like to knit in the morning, after feeding the cat but before changing out of my PJs.  Who am I kidding, I'm still in my PJs right now, and it's almost 1:30.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A New Way to Run

While browsing my blog feed yesterday, I came across this article from Root Simple, which linked me to this NY Times article about barefoot running.  (I just typed "barefood" by accident.  That should tell you something about me.)

I should explain that I have always been overweight, and have always hated running.  In gym class, I could never complete the required number of laps at a run.  At best, I could run half of each lap.  I couldn't understand how my classmates were possibly running so fast, and for so long.  I figured it must be that I was fat, and not built for running.  That has been my line every time the subject comes up: "I don't run.  I'm not built for running."

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Return of Jack

He's waaaaay scarier now that he's decomposing.
And getting chewed on.
Kinda like that guy from THE MUMMY, which was on TV the other night.

Ideas for libraries?

We had a guest speaker last night at my Library Science class.  She talked with great enthusiasm about all the wonderful ways that libraries could and should be using technology and social media.  The talk started with her request (more like a demand, actually) that we all give our "elevator speech"; a very brief self-introduction that would "sell" our skills and potential assets.  Also, apparently "Google is now your resume."  If you're not visible on the Internet, you are unhireable.  Then she went on to talk about all the wonderful iPhone apps she uses, how Starbucks, hackerspace, and TED talks are stealing business from libraries.  Her mantra for the evening seemed to be "Why isn't the library doing that?"

While I agree that libraries should use technology and online trends (like social networking) to bring in more patrons and help them do/learn/find what they need, I resent and reject the idea that everyone must be connected in these ways.  If people want to be on Twitter, or have a blog, or create or use apps, that's fine, and the library should support that.  But it should not expect or require patrons or staff to do so.

After class, I was giving my friend E a ride home.  We talked about how this culture of technology and social media and "selling" yourself is not what we want.  We are intelligent, informed women, and we would be perfectly happy to be married, stay at home, cook, garden, and care for children.  Being a housewife does not preclude us from being smart, or from being valuable assets to any organization.  Just because we choose not to hang our names all over the internet, just because we choose not to be tethered to a smart phone or an iPad or any other device, does not mean we are not qualified to work with or for those who do so choose.*

Our culture is trying to tell us that we must be connected, we must be visible, we must be extroverted.  I reject these values.  I was particularly angered by the "elevator speech" idea, although I did manage to come up with something to say.  What I wanted to say, though, was this: "Hi, I'm Laura C., and I am not the type to initiate conversation in an elevator.  Thank you."

This isn't all about me, either.  While E and I choose not to identify with the tech culture, there are others who are excluded from it based on economic and linguistic barriers.  It's fine to include apps and social media in a library's repertoire of services, but the minute those high-class projects start taking funding and staff hours away from more basic services that benefit under-served patrons, it's a BIG PROBLEM.  Who needs our help more, the Abercrombie-wearing teenager whining about how the library should have an app for that, or the single mom trying to learn English so she can get a job?  Seriously.  Let's get our priorities straight here.

*Yes, I appreciate the irony inherent in my using a blog to discuss this issue.  Thanks.