Monday, December 31, 2007

A Southern Tradition


Tomorrow, Stephen (aka Yankee Boy since he ate Ritz Crackers with his chili the other night) and I will partake of an old Southern tradition. We will eat black eyed peas on New Year's Day. Usually I make a big ol' pot of black eyed pea soup. That way I can add some tomatoes, cumin, onion and what ever else suits my fancy in order to give the peas a little flavor since they don't have much of their own. Dried peas are starchy and bland but contain a fair amount of protein and, like all legumes, are often used as a meat replacement.

This year, I asked Stephen to pick up some peas at the store and he brought back a couple of cans since that is what he saw first. That's OK with me. We never eat all the soup and I end up throwing a lot of it out. Anyway, with canned peas I can make Texas Caviar. This means that I drained the peas and added red and green onions, read and green sweet peppers, some red wine vinegar and really good olive oil along with a little salt and pepper. It is now marinating in the fridge overnight and will be a quick and easy side dish tomorrow.

The tradition of eating black eyed peas on New Year's Day dates back to the Depression. It was said that if you still had peas by the first of the year, you were lucky. Some traditionalist insist on adding turnip greens and cornbread to make the meal complete but I have always settled for the peas. I make cornbread if I make the soup. You just have to have something to soak up the juice.

A man who lived in the town in which I grew up had been a young man during the Depression. Until the day he died, he said that he always tipped his hat to a pea patch because peas kept him and his family from starving to death during those hard years.

Tomorrow we will eat the peas because it is a tradition and because it is said that to do so brings good luck during the coming year. We will be reminded that there have been times when people in this country were not as fortunate as we are now and we will be grateful for our peas and for everything else we have. Mostly, we will be grateful for each other.


Photo of peas from http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www1.istockphoto.com/file_thumbview_approve/547632/2/istockphoto_547632_black_eyed_peas.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.istockphoto.com/file_closeup/%3Fid%3D547632%26refnum%3D315636&h=304&w=380&sz=64&hl=en&start=2&um=1&tbnid=bG0WH1mvckhQhM:&tbnh=98&tbnw=123&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dblack%2Beyed%2Bpeas%2Bplants%26svnum%3D10%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26rls%3DGGLG,GGLG:2005-47,GGLG:en%26sa%3DN

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Meyer Lemons

Several people have asked about meyer lemons so here is a little information about them from Wikipedia:



The Meyer lemon (Citrus × meyeri) is a citrus fruit, native to China, thought to be a cross between a true lemon and a mandarin orange or sweet orange. The Meyer lemon was introduced to the United States in 1908 as S.P.I. #23028, by the agricultural explorer Frank Meyer, an employee of the United States Department of Agriculture who collected a sample of the plant on a trip to China. It is commonly grown in China potted as an ornamental plant. It became popular as a food item in the United States after being rediscovered by chefs, such as Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, during the California Cuisine revolution. The Meyer lemon is also known as the Valley lemon in southern Texas due to its popularity in the Rio Grande Valley region.


Here are the ones we bought this morning at the farmer's market. It seems that this is the prime time for them here in Texas and that they are a some what freeze resistant variety of citrus. These are grown in a near by town by a man who has only one tree. I have been buying from him for several weeks now. I plan to buy my own tree and keep in in a large pot.


Monday, December 17, 2007

A New Drink

I was tired and frustrated last night after the all day soap making disaster. I decided I needed a little cheering up and felt the need to create something to prove to myself I still could. I also wanted a little something sweet. Here is what I came up with:

Fill the well of a margarita glass with you favorite tequila...I used Antiqua Cruz which is so mellow that it has no bite at all making it dangerous stuff.

Squeeze a little meyer lemon juice into the tequila.

Drop a piece of candied ginger into it.

Fill the rest of the glass with Reed's Extra Ginger ginger beer.

Run the meyer lemon around the top of the glass and enjoy the drink.

The piece of ginger began to fizz as soon as I dropped it in and continued to do so until I had finished the drink.

I am sure that this would be OK with a regular lemon but nothing tastes quite like a meyer.

I would not bother to make it with regular ginger ale.

I have not thought of a name for this cocktail and am open to suggestions.


Soundtrack for this post: Herb Alpert's Tequila and I don't want to hear about Pee Wee.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I'm a Lyer

Yep, I just confessed to not always being honest so I may as well come clean.


About six years ago, Stephen said that he had always wanted to try making soap. I had been wanting to try it for years but had been discouraged by a friend who had tried to make part of her living doing it and had told me that you have to had a set of pots and pans that were designated for soap making and that it was a hassle and I don't remember what else. She made it sound like way to much to deal with. However, when Stephen started talking about it, I got on line and started reading up on it. Turns out, you can use any nonreactive cookware that is big enough to hold your soap and any nonreactive vessel to hold your lye solution. After making our first batch, we were addicted to home made soap. It doesn't dry your skin since all the glycerin remains in the soap rather than being milled out like in commercial soap. (Actually, most commercial soap isn't really soap and doesn't claim to be if you read the label.)



Stephen has pretty much lost interest in the making of soap but I have continued to make it. I give away as much as we use. (I have to so that I can keep experimenting. I love working with different combinations of essential oils to come up with new scents.)







Making soap is a process that has to be approached with a certain amount of caution. In order to make true soap, you have to mix fat, water and lye. As the saying goes: no lye, no soap. When the lye and water are mixed together, it puts off noxious fumes while heating up to at least 150 degrees. I always to this outside. Then I mix my oils in my big enamel pot and heat them to 100 degrees just about the time the lye water cools down to 100 degrees. Then I get my trusty stick blender and stir until it traces (this is when it is the consistency of thick pudding and a drop makes an indention when it hits the surface). At this point, I add the essential oils that I have decided to use and pour it into molds. If I have used box molds, I score the soap as soon as it it set enough, usually between three and eight hours. The next morning I turn it out of the molds and set it in cardboard boxes lined with wax paper for about four weeks. By this time it has saponified which means that the acids in the fats have neutralized the alkaline lye and the ph is around 9. Sometimes I use plastic molds to give my bars a prettier shape. In this case, I put them in the freezer the next day and leave them up to 2 hours so that the soap will pop out. Then I put them in the boxes to cure for four weeks. I have a tried and true recipe that has never let me down. This process is known as cold process (CP) soap making and the soap looks something like this:








Today, I tried hot process (HP) for the first time. It was a dismal failure. I screwed up by not putting a lid on the soap while it was in the oven. I used my usual CP recipe as several sites I looked at said I could do but I think that may have been part of the problem. I got a big mess that looked like this after messing with this stuff all day. It looks like this:





It is funky and gunky and illustrates the old adage about home made soap and ugly. I have put it in the garage and will grind part of it up and rebatch it some day when I am really bored. I will try this again with a different recipe and this time, I'll keep a lid on it.




Soundtrack for this post: SS Bathtub, David LaMotte

I Been Tagged!

Konagod has tagged me for this meme:

I never use the word never except in past perfect tense as in " I have never....." Same with always. Never and always imply absolutes and there are seldom absolutes in this life.

I rarely assume that people like me when I first meet them. I'm usually a little surprised when they do.

I cry so seldom that I don't remember the last time I did. I know that there is value in crying and have gotten really messed up when I needed to cry and couldn't. I'm talking about not eating or sleeping for days at a time and really wishing I could just cry and get over myself.

I'm not always honest. There, I said it. If you ask me if that shirt looks good on you and I can tell that you really like the ugly assed thing, I'll lie and say that it looks great. If you ask me if someone said something nasty about you and they did and I heard it, knowing that it will just hurt you if I tell you about it, I'll say that I don't know anything about it. You get the picture.

I lose my reading glasses at least a dozen times a day.

I'm confused and I like it.

I miss Austin the way it was ten years ago before it doubled in size and I could afford to live closer to the center of town.

I need...I can't think of anything that I really need. Now if we are talking about things I want or would like to have, that's a whole nuther thang.

I should... Should is another word that has little presence in my vocabulary. It implies that something is lacking or less than perfect the way it is and that there is a certain discipline missing that needs to be adhered to in order to make things "right".

I love...my life in this 'big 'ol goofy world.'

I pass this meme along to anyone who wants to do it.....I'd really like to read whatever Flip would come up with.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

How to Get ARTZ Ribhouse Garlic Soup When...




it isn't Friday night or it is Friday night and you aren't in South Austin.





ARTZ Ribhouse is one of my favorite hangs. There is always live music and a good time is had by all. I usually go on Monday nights when it is kinda like Cheers and everybody knows my name. However, I occasionally go on Friday nights just to get me some garlic soup, since that is the only time Art makes it. (On Mondays we have to make do with the best baby backs it town.)
A couple of years a go, I got a craving for the garlic soup on a Tuesday. I decided to do a web search for some recipes and to my surprise, found the ARTZ recipe posted on several sites. I had me some soup that very night. As a service to all of you who aren't in South Austin on Friday nights, I thought I'd post this version. It tastes authentic but I have never had it served with lemon slices at ARTZ.
Recipe By : ARTZ RIB HOUSE, AUSTIN, TEXAS
Serving Size : 6

Ingredients


1/2 C Butter


2 heads garlic -- peeled & crushed


1 lg onion -- chopped


1/2 c flour


1 tsp paprika


1/8 tsp cayenne pepper


1 tsp white pepper


1/2 tsp thyme


6 c chicken broth


1 lemon, 1/2 juiced, 1/2 sliced


1/8 c fresh parsley -- chopped


Croutons
Melt butter over medium heat in 3 qt saucepan. Add garlic and saute` until barely browned, about 3 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside. Add onion to pan and saute` until tender, about 3 minutes. Add flour, paprika, cayenne, white pepper and thyme and cook stirring constantly, 3 minutes. Add chicken broth and bring to boil over medium-high heat stirring often. Reduce heat to low. Remove 1/2 c broth from pan and process in blender with reserved garlic until smooth, 2 to 3 seconds. Return to pan. Add lemon juice and parsley and stir well. Simmer 10 minutes. Serve with croutons and sliced lemon.




I used a meyer lemon since I had one. Oh my, Mamma!




Soundtrack for this post: Guy Clark's Texas Cookin'
(I tried to post a viedo from YouTube and just could not figure it out.)



Monday, December 10, 2007

Just a Little Bit Confused

I'm not a big fan of seasonal music. I do have a few songs that I like a lot. Here is my very favorite: Christmas in the Ashram written by Chris Rosser and sung by Tom Prasado Rao.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Message

"I don't like his music and I sure don't agree with most of what he said, but anyone should be able to walk down the street in this country without being shot."

This is what said my father 27 years ago upon hearing about John's death.
(Of course I told him that he most likely heard John's music every day and started naming some songs. He decided that he did like the music after all as long as someone else was doing it.)

I have to marvel at the irony that so many of our most peaceful people have such violent departures from this planet. I think that may be one of the ways in which they go on teaching us. John was certainly a great teacher/messenger. His message continues to be heard even though he physically left long ago. Maybe it still rings so clear because he left after he had stated it as clearly as he could and, having no more to say, exited in a way that put a big exclamation point at the end.

It is up to us to imagine the world the way he did.

No need to name the soundtrack to this post.

Stuff

I came accros this at Taexalia and feel it is just too good not to pass on to you.

http://taexalia.blogspot.com/

Enjoy.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Hooter Update

I called today and was told that the little owl survived the weekend and has been taken home by one of the rehab specialist who thinks he will eventually be OK.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

In the Trees



All summer, we heard screech owls in our back yard and in the woods just behind our house. A few times, we saw a young owl in the live oaks. We searched the limbs with our flashlight a time or two. When the young owl in the tree was startled, it would fly down to the ground. We even saw a young owl on the ground a couple of times late at night. This puzzled us as we did not think that staying on the ground was safe owl behavior. (I have since learned that baby screech owls leave the nest long before they can fly and spend a lot of time on the ground. It seems that the parents still feed them and keep an eye on them. They get buack up on the branches by climbing the trees.) It has been a few weeks since we have heard the owls, probably because cooler weather has kept us in doors at night most of the time.

Friday morning around 9:30, Stephen left for work as usual. He came back to the house almost immediately. "Honey, come out here quick," he said as he opened the front door. I dropped the toast I was eating back onto my plate and hurried out. At the end of our next door neighbor's driveway sat a small owl. Seemingly oblivious to our presence, it slowly turned its head from one side to the other and back again. It did this continually. I left Stephen to watch it while I ran back inside to get my phone. I dialed 311. I just love 311. It is the best thing since 911. Both of these services do things that the phone company did when it actually had operators to whom you could talk by picking up the phone and dialing "O". The 311 dispatcher hooked me up with the local wildlife rescue.

By now, we had gotten within four feet of the owl who continued to turn its head from side to side and seem completely unaware of our presence. Kim at Wildlife Rescue asked me if I thought I could slip up on the owl, throw a towel over it and put it in a box. I said I could because I was almost close enough to touch it and it was not reacting to me at all. She warned me not to use my bare hands because owl's talons are very sharp.
We got the owl in the box and taped it up as instructed. Stephen left for work and I headed for Wildlife Rescue. Kim had told me that it sounded like the owl had a concussion. She said that it is not all that uncommon for them to fly into things and bonk their heads. Sure enough, she was able to find a head injury that I could not see even when she showed it to me. She had no idea if the owl would survive but said that the first 24 hours are critical and if it made it that long, it would have a chance. I called back yesterday morning to find that it was still alive (the person I spoke with sounded a little surprised that it was) and that they were going to try and feed it something later in the day. I'll call again tomorrow (Monday) and check on it again.

This is not my first experience with odd owl behavior. For years, I worked at San Angelo State School which is not really in San Angelo, TX but is about twenty-five miles out of town in Carlsbad, TX. Originally built in the 1930s & '40s as a sanatorium to treat TB patients, its art deco styled buildings are made of poured cement. You can still see the ridges where the frames were removed. Several of the buildings have cement window boxes which at one time housed flowers but are no longer used. Some years ago, an owl decided that one of these old window boxes was the perfect place to nest. The nest was built,, the eggs were laid and all was fine in the owl world until the eggs hatched and the sun beat down on the chicks. The nest box was on the west side of the building with no shelter. Momma owl would leave the nest and the babies would start to fry. Then they would jump out of the nest onto the ground. This would be in April, usually when our survey team was on campus. People would take bedsheets and stand under the window trying to catch the hatchlings when they jumped. They would take the ones they could save to the local animal rescue. This happened for two or three years in a row. Finally, someone in the maintenance department decided to build a roof to put over the nest. We did not know if the momma would come back to the nest with the roof over it but since the hatchlings were jumping out and having to be rescued anyway, it seemed that there was nothing to lose by giving it a try.


They waited until the eggs hatched and the momma left the nest. Then, they took a cherry picker and placed the roof over the nest and we all waited to see what would happen next. To our delight, she returned and fed the babies, raising them to flying age. After that, the yearly routine remained the same, let her build the nest and hatch the eggs, then put the roof over the nest. When I left that area almost nine years ago, she was still raising her hatchlings in the window box.

I have a souvenir of the owl. One early spring morning I went to work before day light and heard the adult owls calling to each other from the roof tops. Just as it was getting light, I took a fire escape to get into the back door of one of the buildings and found a tiny pen feather from one of the owls. I still have it. It is wrapped together with a hawk's feather (another long story) with a red chord. I keep it is a special box made by a friend and take it out for meditation ceremonies and sometimes for energy work. I consider hawks and owls my strongest totem animals and am very appreciative of their guidance and support.


The photo of the owl is from http://www.cnr.uidaho.edu/expforest/images/Wildlife%20in%20forest/Screech%20Owl.jpg As much as I wanted to make a picture of the little guy, I did not think it wise to take time out to do so.

Soundtrack: I Am the Owl by the Dead Kennedys




Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Game

I hae been playing a game for quite a while. This is unusual because I don't usually participate in games. It is just not something I like to do. However, this one is special and I'd like to share it with anyone who might be interested. Here's the link:
http://choosingprosperity.com/

The game is at the bottom in the center of the page.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanskgiving

I haven't made a Thanksgiving meal in years. I used to make huge meals every year for people who, quite frankly, did not appreciate my efforts. I would slave for a day and a half only to have at least one person complain loudly that this or that dish was not made the way grandma used to make it. One of the things I am most thankful for today is that I no longer have any those people in my life. I eventually retired from making holiday dinners and have had some varied and fun experiences since. Thanksgiving dinner at Threadgill's is something everyone should try at least once. A couple of years ago, we went to San Antonio and walked around the river walk on Thanksgiving day. The weather was warm and most of the businesses were closed so we got to walk and look at everything without having to deal with a crowd. It was Stephen's first trip down there and we has a blast. Happening upon a hotel that had only been open for two weeks and had very few reservations for their Thanksgiving meal, we got to eat from a gourmet buffet with no planning what so ever.



This year is a little different. I have a chicken roasting in the oven and will roast or saute some of the vegetables from last Saturday's trip to the farmer's market. Since I made mozzarella a few days ago, I had whey with which I made bread yesterday. I have been doing this on a regular basis because store bought bread has way to many things in it that I can't pronounce and the last loaf we bought stayed in the cabinet for a month without going bad. That scared me!



I found meyer lemons at the farmer's market and Mistrel Boy reminded me of this recipe that I had been wanting to try whenever I was fortunate enough to find meyers. I had tried making a Shaker pie years ago with a recipe that I had come across somewhere. It tasted like citronella and left me thinking that I would never make another one. I have to agree with MB. It Rocks. Out. Loud.


I cheated on the crust but the rest of the recipe is exactly what is on his site. Next time, I may put some candied ginger in it or substitute some ginger syrup for part of the sugar.








soundtrack: Joel Raphael's Lemon Grove or anything from his Woodyboye or Woodeye cds 'cause it is good to remember that not everyone is fortunate enough to eat like this.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Eating Local

In her new book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingslover and her family chronicle a year of eating only things that were locally grown. They made a few key exceptions, such as olive oil, coffee and flour, for which they could not find local sources. The book is a very interesting read. I don't think that it is practical for most of us to try to get that much of our food locally but Stephen and I were inspired to try to increase the amount of locally grown food in our diets. Not only does this mean that the food we buy from local producers will have more nutrient value, it means we are making a smaller carbon footprint. We saw a program on TV the other day in which it was stated that the average meal in our country travels 1500 miles by the time it gets to the table. That takes a lot of that stuff that a war is being fought over right now.



I have been trying to include at least something local in every meal. This has meant making an effort to get to the farmer's market every Saturday. Last night a friend came over for dinner and most of my haul from the farmer's market was sitting on the table. It is just to pretty to put in the 'fridge until I have to. Most of it won't last long enough to need to be refrigerated anyway. My friend said that I should take a picture of it and I decided that she was right.






I have been overjoyed to find so many fall tomatoes. We had very few this summer due to too much rain. I have eaten so many that my mouth has gotten sore and I have had to stop eating them. I got some last Saturday anyway along with baby eggplants, various colors of sweet peppers, apples, and Meyer lemons grown only a few miles away. I also scored some wonderful oak leaf lettuces, sweet basil and garlic. I missed out on eggs and mushrooms this week. When I got there just after 11:00 they were already sold out. Oh well, there is always next week.

If I really did not want to get out to the market, I could have Greenling deliver local organic produce to my door. We can also get locally produced olive oil, although right now it would be cost prohibitive to buy enough for cooking and soap making. Texas wines have come a long way in the past few years and if we chose, we could get as much wine as we could drink from no more than 70 miles from home and not feel deprived. We don't drink enough wine to make that an issue. Wheat is also grown here but I am not sure where it is processed into flour so I will do the best I can for bread making.

Of course, the best way to 'eat local' is to have a garden of your own. So far, I have not had a place to do much of that. I hope to remedy that in the next year or two. In the mean time, I have a blast at the farmer's market where I can take Lani if I choose and listen to live music while munching an organic pastry as I do my shopping.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thirteen Goofy Signs

1. The sign on the lawn of a local church recently read:
Stomp the Devil

2. Another church sign: Jesus is your only life insurance.
(Does he work for Allstate? Prudential?????)

3. Yet another church: Eternity:Smoking or Non-smoking?

4. Another: Give Satan an inch and he'll be a ruler.

5. Yet another: Stop, Drop, and Roll doesn't work in hell.
(How does anyone know?)

6. Another church:Forbidden Fruit Creates Many Jams

7. Common on several church signs that I have seen:Join us for a new beginning
(Can one have an old beginning?)

8. On a plumber's truck: We'll get you out of a jam

9. On a porta-potty truck: Austin Outhouse
(This one is not really so goofy but it pains those of us who have been here long enough to
remember a really cool club by the same name.)

10. Hair salon: Mane Event

11. Another hair salon: Scizzors of Oz

12. Anther hair salon: The Greatful Head
(This could also be on a porta-pot is any one ever thought about it.)

13. A steakhouse that is now long gone: A Raw Deal

Just thought of the perfect soundtrack for this post: Berkley Hart's 911 Jesus

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Lani's Obsession





At first glance, it appears that there is a red oak tree two feet off out patio. A closer look reveals two trees that have become one, their roots intertwined and their trunks wrapped together never to be separated.

It has provided wonderful shade for us this summer and our electric bills have been low . It also provides homes for squirrels, toads, snails and fairies.





The fairies have lived high in the branches during the summer sheltered by thick leaves. As the days have grown shorter, the leaves have begun to fall affording less cover for the fairies. They have been slowly moving down to their winter home at the base of the tree and under its roots. Lani is keeping a sharp eye on their movements through the space at the bottom where the trees have stayed just far enough apart to remind themselves of their individuality.








I think the fairies have enchanted her because she cannot stay away from the trees. She is so obsessed that she can hardly stay indoors long enough to eat. As soon as we open the door for her, she races around the trees to look into the hole from the other side then creeps back around to look in from the side nearest the house. She will chase the squirrels who are feasting on the bumper crop of acorns but always comes back to the patio where she lies on the concrete and stares at the gap between the trees. We have peered into the gap many times and can see nothing. However, if I listen closely, I can sometimes here the faint flutter of tiny wings.

Soundtrack for this post: Into the Mystic, Van Morrison

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

We Might as Well Laugh About It




We saw a bumper sticker the other day that cracked us up.









It apparently got started here:http://www.goats.com/archive/030808.html






It seems that the Democrats are now have a candidate of equal standing:



Sunday, November 4, 2007

Natural Faces

I think the Ent Wives live in my back yard. What do you think?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Manifestation Happens

If you have been reading this blog for very long, you know that I have been studying the Law Of Attraction for the past few months and trying to consciously implement its principles into my life. Basically, you have to get clear on what you want and allow yourself to have it. It sounds simple but it takes practice. If I create my world then I have to take responsibility for everything in my life, even those pesky back-up beeps. I'm still working on that one.


For quite some time now, I have wanted a kayak. Women who paddle a lot have fabulous upper bodies. I can always use more upper body strength for what I do for a living and I don't particularly like working out. When we moved into this house, I knew I had a good place to store a kayak so I started looking for one on craigslist. I did not really want to buy one, I wanted to barter for one. I had a couple of 'nearly got one' experiences. Yesterday it happened. I manifested a kayak!!!! I am very excited and can't wait to take it out on Town, I mean, Ladybird Lake.




The thing I like most about the kayak is how it came to me. I am serious when I say I manifested it. I also say that about the house we live in, which is a mansion compared to the place we moved into when we first moved back to Austin five years ago. We have moved three times since then, each time to a better place than the one before. This house is a quantum leap from the first one. It took five years to get this house but only a few months to get the kayak. Both times, I was very clear about what I wanted and just waited for it to come to me in the way that it came. The rent on our house is a couple of hundred dollars a month less than what we thought we would have to pay for a house with a lot less yard for Lani. I got exactly the car I wanted in the same way for a little less that what I thought I'd have to pay as well. That took less time than the kayak. I think that was because I was more focused on it.


When I started working with the Law Of Attraction, it was all about my financial situation and things that I wanted. It is becoming more a way of life with me because it works on all levels. I am becoming much more aware of my thoughts and the thought patterns that govern my life. Once I become aware of a thought pattern, I can usually figure out how it is affecting me and make an effort to transform it into a pattern with which I am more comfortable. I look forward to attracting more wonderful people, things and feelings into my life.
Soundtrack for this post: Creedence Clearwater Revival's Proud Mary 'cause I'm gonna be rollin' on the river real soon. Feel free to substitute Tina Turner's version if you like.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Thursday Thirteen: 13 Reasons To Stop Complaining

1. It just calls attention to things you don't like.

2. It can make people think you are a negative person.

3. It can make you feel that you are a negative person.

4. Focusing on negative aspects of a situation attracts more negativity to the situation.

5. Focusing on the negative aspects of a situation may very well attract more negative situations.

6. It's a waste of energy and you often feel guilty about it later.

7. Complaining about what you don't have just emphasizes to your self that you don't have it.

8. People get sick of listening to you complain.

9. You get sick of listening to yourself complain.

10. Getting sick of listening to yourself can cause you to actually get sick.

11. Most of the time, things are not as bad as we make them sound like they are.

12. Focusing on the negative makes it easy to overlook the positive.

13. It really is not very much fun. It does not make you feel good and
nothing is more important than feeling good.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

21 Days

Christine Kane writes one of my favorite blogs (as well as some of my favorite music). I got this idea from her. She says there is a book about it but I think I will give it a try without the book.

The challenge is to go twenty-one days without complaining. That is right, twenty-one days. That is until November 14. However, if I slip and complain, the twenty-one day period starts over.

I have tried for the most part to keep this blog from becoming a running rant, in fact, I have made a conscious effort not to write bitchy, whiny, complaining blogs. Feel free to bust my chops if you feel that I have done otherwise. Now I will try to bring that over into my every day life. The main point of this exercise for me is to break a habit. I realize that this is likely to cause a mental shift and I will find fewer and fewer reasons to complain by the end of it.

Who is with me?

Soundtrack for this post: What a Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong

Monday, October 29, 2007

Much, Much Too Early

Going downtown yesterday morning, I took a different route than my usual one. I usually take a 'surface' street and avoid I35 which is just as likely to be a parking lot as a freeway. However, on weekend mornings, it is usually not crowded and I can get downtown in fifteen minutes rather than thirty.

Entering downtown from the interstate means that I hit the east end of 6th Street and drive it toward Brazos hoping to find parking in the block just east of Brazos and avoid valeting my car.

As I turned on to 6th yesterday, I thought I might be hallucinating. Could that really be Christmas decorations hanging over the street? It is not even Halloween yet! I know that retailers have had some Christmas stuff up since August but why on Earth has the city decided to hang green tinsel and guitars over the street so early? There is a big Halloween party down on 6th every year. The street is closed off to vehicular traffic and the crown gets so thick that all one can do is make a circle up one way and back the other. It is going to look bizarre with Christmas overhead.

In the past, the city has hung the decorations the Sunday after of before Thanksgiving. I think someone has lost his/her mind.

It is sooo trashy the only soundtrack for this post has to be: Robert Earl Keen, Merry Christmas from the Family and its sequel, Happy Holiday, Ya'll.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Blame It on the Stars...or Planets


Is anyone else experiencing weirdness the past couple of weeks? Things have been pretty weird around here and I found out a few days ago that Mercury may be the problem. It seems that the combined movement of Earth and Mercury around the sun make it appear that Mercury is moving backwards. This is known as retrograde and, according to astrologists, it can have a negative effect on communication, mechanical things and new projects.
I have experienced no shows, clients forgetting appointments, concierges thinking I said yes to a session when I had emphatically said no. I have also sent emails to several people from whom I have not received a reply. This is a little unusual, to say the least.

Mercury goes into retrograde about three times each year and stays there for three weeks. This time it began on October 12 and will not go direct until November 1.

Until then, we can blame all our screw ups on the Red Planet. After that, we are on our own.
Soundtrack for this post: The Age of Aquarius by the Fifth Dimension.
This site also has lots of info on Mercury in Retrograde.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thirteen Odd or Little Known Things about Austin

1. Austin sits on a fault line knows as the Balcones Fault. We have actually had earthquakes but the most recent ones have been in the panhandle and did not seem to be related to the Balcones Fault.



2. A lot of the city sits over caves. That is right, caves. We don't think about it very much until someone gets lost in one.



3. The 3oth Parallel skirts the southern most part of town. (Some maps make it look as though it runs right through my house.) It also runs through the Great Pyramid.



4. The downtown hotel where I work is haunted.



5. Although Austin is known far and wide for its live music scene, it is also the breakfast taco capital of the world. You can get both at the same time if you know where to go.When people move away from here, breakfast tacos are usually high on the list of things they miss most. It seems that in South Austin, there is a taco trailer on every other corner. We is damn serious 'bout our breakfast tacos.



6. South Austin is hippy central. We call anything north of where Loop 1 and 183 meet "North Dallas."



7. Loop 1 is referred to by locals as 'Mopac.' This is because it runs along the Missouri Pacific railroad tracks.



8. Manchaca is pronounced "Manchack".



9. Pecos is pronounced "Paycus".



10. I can't phonetically spell the way Pedernales is pronounced.



11. Our mayor's name is Will Wynn. Can you imagine running for office against someone with that name?



12. Austin is now the 16th largest city in the nation after having at least doubled in size in the past ten years.



13. Real estate here is no longer all that much cheaper than California.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Hill Country Wine

We are finally having a little bit of 'fall' weather here in the Texas Hill Country. Today was a breezy 87 degrees. We took advantage of the near perfect day to visit a couple of wineries. This was our second time to make a 'wine tour.' A few months ago we headed toward Fredericksburg and stopped at Woodrose Winery and Becker Vineyards. We did not know that there was no food of any consequence on site at the vineyards. We stopped first at Woodrose and tasted their wine then went on to Becker. After tasting the wine and buying a glass each, we were in serious need of food. All they offered for sale was goat cheese and crackers. We tried to eat the cheese but, what can I say? It tasted like the goats from which it came. We cut our day short and went to find food. We discovered that the vineyards have beautiful picnic areas and people are encouraged to make use of them.

Armed with the knowledge of the picnic areas, today we packed bread, cheese, prosciutto and some other munchies along with a few bottles of water (drinking wine can be dehydrating), and headed out toward Wimberley.

Our first stop was Bella Vista Ranch. This combination vineyard/winery/olive orchard is off Jacob's Well Road. We wound around the small county roads and almost missed it. Texas wines don't have the very best reputation. However, every bottle we tasted could hold its own with just about any wine I have ever had. We bought a bottle of cabernet sauvignon that was the best we had ever tasted. It was the only wine priced over $15.

Bella Vista is the first olive orchard in Texas . We got to listen to the last part of a lecture on how it is pressed and got to sample a little. I now know more about olive oil than I thought there was to know about olive oil. We bought a bottle and I am looking forward to using it on pasta and as a dipping sauce for bread from Phoenicia Bakery. They also had some wonderful balsamic vinegars. We sampled the blackberry pear infused balsamic. YUMMMM!

We took our food out to one of their picnic tables. They do not have the best picnic area of the wineries we have visited so far but, we got to watch a mama cow try to keep the vultures away from her calf that had been born this morning. I'm sure that they were wanting the afterbirth but she must not have known that. She was aided from time to time by a gelding who was in the same small pasture. Wine, lunch and a show. Can't beat that.

Next we went to Driftwood Vineyards. The view from their picnic area is fantastic. We sat in the chairs pictured on the website and the view is exactly as it appears in the photo. The wines from this vineyard were more tannic than we would have preferred. The owners were very nice. We bought a stopper system to keep wine after it is opened and got some advice on how t o keep it fresh for a few days. This was worth the stop for us because we never finish a bottle of wine at one sitting and ,therefore, don't drink very much of it. I have started some red wine vinegar so I will have a place to put left over wine and won't feel as though I am wasting it.

We did all of this and never got more that forty miles from south Austin. There was another winery we had thought about going to but decided to do it another day. A trip to the Salt Lick followed by a side trip to a winery is ad adventure to look forward to.

If you decide to go a winin', you need to take a little cash. Most of the tasting rooms charge
$3 to $5 for their tastings which usually consist of five to six wines. I heard the woman at Driftwood tell a couple that they could share but I have not heard that anywhere else. Becker Vineyards will let you taste some of their wines at no charge but you can pay a fee and taste the premium wines. They also have a lavender farm but I have not been there in the spring when it is blooming. Their wines are very, very good.



Soundtrack for this post: Red, Red Wine, Roy Drusky version.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thursday 13: The Last 13 Books I Have Read

The most recent thirteen books that I have read:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle Barbara Kingsolver
I grew up in a farming family and still learned a lot from this book. It gives a great picture of the journey our food takes to get to our tables. You will not view food the same way after reading it.

The Symbolism of the Tarot P.D. Ouspensky
He treats the Tarot the way Joseph Campbell treats ancient myth.

Illusions Richard Bach
No surprise here, huh? This is one of those books that I have to read again every few years. I always find something new in it or something that relates to where I am right now.

The Good Remembering Llyn Roberts
I study with Llyn every time I get the chance. She truly is a modern day shaman.

Skinny Legs and All Tom Robbins
I just have to go back and read a Robbins story every now and then. I laugh so hard I almost cry and still learn a few things.

The Astonishing Power of Emotions Abraham – Hicks
Ask and It is Given Abraham - Hicks
This is the original law of attraction stuff. However, it is much more than that and it is only that at the same time. If you can’t wrap your head around communications from non-physical beings, you can still appreciate the information given here. It picks up where Seth left off by giving practical ways to overcome your self-sabotaging behaviors and thoughts.

Anatomy of the Spirit Caroline Myss
Sacred Contracts Caroline Myss
This is an ongoing study for me. I am fascinated by the idea of only one entity of self although most of us have been taught to see a division between our bodies and our spirits with our minds as some kind of go between. With my work as massage therapist, craniosacral therapist and Reiki master, I am very aware of this connection and use it to facilitate improvement in my clients’ well being. I really want to study with Caroline Myss.

Coyote Medicine Lewis Mehl-Madrona
Coyote Wisdom Lewis Mehl-Madrona
Coyote Healing Lewis Mehl-Madrona
This author is an M. D. who is half Native-American and is very connected to Native American shamanism. I read a lot of books on shamanism and these are some of my favorites to date. He uses old stories to facilitate healing and explains the use of stories told for others as well as the way we use the stories we all tell ourselves. One of my favorite passages in these books is in Coyote Healing where he applies the story telling concept to MLMs. Having been lured into one of those for a short time, I was amazed by the similarities. He is another person with whom I would love to study.


I’m having a hard time figuring out which book I read 13 books ago. It was either:

Law Of Attraction Abraham- Hicks or

The Architecture of All Abundance Lenedra J. Carroll
I have given away several copies of this book. It contains wonderful insights on dealing with yourself, other people and life in general. The author is the mother of the singer Jewel. or

The Mermaid Chair Sue Monk Kidd
I seldom read light fiction but I like this author who also wrote The Secret Life of Bees. I guess she is more mid-weight than light.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Cheesy Update

The ricotta turned out fine although there are only a few tablespoons of it. All of the recipes I found called for starting with two gallons of whey. I only had what was left of the gallon of milk after I made the mozzarella yesterday. I had to play around with it as far as the cooking time and the amount of vinegar to add. That's OK. I was mostly playing around with this anyway. I knew that there was a possibility that it would not make cheese at all since I had added citric acid to the milk during the cheese making process yesterday. I could have added milk to the whey and next time, I will.

The hardest part of this whole process is finding milk that has not been ultra pasteurized. This process makes for a long shelf life but kills the bacteria that are necessary for making cheese. I have found it at Wheatsville Co-op and getting there takes about 20 minutes. Hopefully, it will become more widely available soon.

The soundtrack for this post would probably be the theme from the Adam's Family. With the sourdough starter, the vinegar that I am making from red wine and all the cheese and soap making, my kitchen is starting to resemble Uncle Fester’s lab.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Easy Cheesy


Starting new things in the fall seems to be a pattern in my life. I took my first belly dancing class last week and I just finished making cheese for the first time. I was surprised at how easy it was to do. I used a recipe called '30 Minute Mozzarella' that I found the Barbara Kingsolver's new book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.

I had ordered a cheese making kit last year and because it was on back order and took a long time to get to me, I was out of the mood to try it by the time it arrived. All the recipes in it look pretty complicated anyway. Because I had purchased the kit, I already had the rennet and a cheese thermometer. I had citric acid because I make soap and got some to give lotions a try which I have yet to do.

The recipe really did take only 3o minutes. I now have just over 17 ounces of yummy mozzarella made from regional organic milk. This is despite the fact that I screwed up one step of the recipe and added the citric acid directly to the milk before it started to get warm. I then added a fourth cup of water just to get the liquid level right. Also, I have rennet tablets rather than liquid rennet and had to look up the conversion online.

I also have a large amount of whey left in the pot on my stove. Tomorrow I will try making ricotta with it.

I think I will have to get my sour dough going again so that I can make a great pizza dough. If the ricotta turns out, cheesecake or lasagna may be in my future.

If anyone is interested, I got the kit from The Cheese People. As I said, it took a long time to get to me. You might want to try else where.

The citric acid and other soap supplies, including the best quality and lowest priced essential oils ever, usually come from Texas Natural Supply.

Soundtrack for this post: Anything by String Cheese Incident since most of their songs are about 30 minutes long.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Is it Autumn Yet?

According to the calendar, autumn is upon us. That just shows how much one can rely on calendars. Summer has decided to make up for the time she lost to the rains of mid-year and bless us with 90 degree days in October. We have had several so called cool fronts already. The best the impotent little puffs have been able to manage has been temperatures in the mid to high 80s.

It has been a little puzzling to me to tell just when autumn gets here the past few years anyway. When I was growing up, it was the smells that signaled its arrival. Our little town was thick with pecan trees. Every yard had at least two or three. Our yard had about a dozen. All of the kids (and some of the adults) made a few bucks picking up pecans and selling them. Raking the leaves off the yard (we never called them lawns) made it easier to find the pecans. Once the leaves were raked into piled, the best way to get rid of them was to burn them. They burned quickly and easily. I never heard of a serious fire getting started because someone let a leaf fire get away. You just raked up a pile out of the grass, which was brown and dry by then, cleared a small area around it of any combustibles, and dropped a lit match into it. The whole thing was over in five or ten minutes. The smell of burning leaves filled the air on autumn afternoons.



The other smell that wafted over the countryside was that of burning cotton burrs. The cotton was taken to a gin where the fibers were separated from the seeds and the dried burrs and other debris. The seeds were saved for replanting or cattle feed while the hulls went into a towering incinerator or burr burner. On chilly nights, the cool air kept the warm smoke close to the ground. It could be smelled for several miles.

The EPA decided that burning leaves and cotton burrs was polluting the air and I am sure that is so. Still, I miss those autumn smells. (I don’t know why they haven’t decided the same thing about burning rice straw from the fields in Arkansas and Missouri.)

Cotton is a very labor intensive crop. The ground has to be worked in late winter to get it ready for spring planting. Once it is planted, it has to be rolled. This means that a tractor pulls a set of rollers over it to cover the seeds. On big farms, they use tractors powerful enough to haul the planters and pull the rollers but on our little east Texas farms, that was not the case. Once the plants are up, you have to be diligent about keeping the weeds out of the crop. This is done was done by walking up and down each row with a hoe and chopping or digging up the weeds. Of course, herbicides are used as well but some things have to be done with the hoe. Then you have to keep the insects off the plants as best you can. This involves the use of more pesticides than you really want to think about. Then there is all the fertilizer. You get the picture.

When harvest time comes, a defoliant is sprayed on the field to kill the plant and make the leaves fall off so that the ‘stripper’ can take the cotton and what few dried leaves are left on the stalks off in one pass. The chemical smells for all the world like skunk spray. The old strippers were attached to the tractor and spit the cotton and debris into the trailer that was pulled behind. To keep the cotton from piling up in one place, someone had to ride in the back with a pitchfork and keep the cotton spread out. That was usually my job. I weighed no more than ninety pounds so I got bounced around a lot. The full trailers were taken to the gin where the cotton was graded, processed and baled. If you have ever heard the phrase fair to middlin’, you heard a cotton grade without realizing it. The grades were based on the length and condition of the fiber as well as how much debris was in it.

The harvesting equipment has evolved and now a huge cage fits over the tractor and catches the cotton. It then is compressed into big rectangles that are covered with tarps until it is moved to the gin on trucks. This requires much larger tractors and small acreages are pretty much a thing of the past. Most cotton seeds are hybrids and have been genetically prefabricated not to reproduce so saving your seeds for next year is also a thing of the past.

Little if any cotton is grown in the area of northeast Texas where I grew up. Huge old buildings which once housed the cotton gins dot the landscape as they slowly rust away unless a tornado or other high wind sends the sheet metal flying into the surrounding fields.


The soundtrack for this post has to be Those Old Cotton Fields Back Home.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thursday 13, Music

Here are thirteen of my favorite musicians of whom you may never have heard:

1. David Lamotte

2. Chuck Brodsky

3. Beth Wood

4. Tom Kimmel

5. Stephen Taylor

6. Darryl Purpose

7. Brian QTN

8. Steve Fisher

9. Diana Jones

10. Lowry Olafson

11. Chris Rosser

12. Chip Raman

13. Adam & Kris


It was hard to stop at thirteen. These are in no particular order. Follow the links and have fun.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Good Listening


I got a cd yesterday that I have been waiting to get for years. Chip Raman (pronounced Raymon) is a talented artist and musician whose writing I won't even try to describe. You can check him out on his website or look him up on myspace. I have listened to the cd 3 or 4 times since yesterday. It has been a long, long time since I have done that with a new disc.


If you get the cd, stick it in your computer so you can see the dvd. It is hilarious.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Goin' Home

Thanks again to all of you who have kept vigil for the little baby in Flagstaff. I am happy to report that he went home with his parents a few hours ago. YEAH!!!!



Soundtrack for all these baby posts has to be James Taylor's Sweet Baby James.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Lani's Friend

I have no idea how people can do it. I'm talking about disposing of animals as if they were garbage.


A friend of ours just got a Dobie Fellowship. This means that she gets to live in J. Frank Dobie's house out on his ranch. The ranch is on the outskirts of Austin on the end of a gravel road. There are houses and other businesses on the road but it dead ends at the entrance to the ranch. When our friend and her husband arrived at the ranch, there was a dog hanging around the gate. No one had been living at the ranch for a few weeks at least. This means that the only people to go there were the grounds keepers who go out once a month to check on things and mow the grass. Our friends left for a few hours. The dog was still there when they returned. It was obvious that someone had dropped him out there because they no longer wanted him. After putting up signs, posting on craigslist and contacting the local shelter to see if anyone was looking for him, they decided to adopt him. They call him Punkin' because of his color.



They had a few obligations to attend to so Punkin' is visiting with Lani for a few days.



I ask you, how could anyone discard this sweet six month old boy?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Thirteen Reasons to Live with a Dog


1. Dogs always make me laugh. Our deal with Lani is that she makes us laugh and we pay for everything she needs.


2. Someone is waiting for you when you get home.


3. A good reason for leaving a boring party is that you have to go home to let the dog out.


4. If you collect enough dog hair, you can stuff a pillow. I could have probably stuffed three small ones or a very large one by now.


5. Your yard will be safe from squirrels, deer and other wild life.


6. Sometimes the dog is the wild life.


7. You will always be warned whenever someone goes by on a bicycle or on foot in front of your house.


8. Ditto if someone pulls into your driveway.


9. You will most likely get to know your neighbors. People are usually comfortable commenting on a dog and conversations can continue on to other topics.


10. You get taken on walks frequently.


11. Free fertilizer for your yard.


12. You get to watch them sleep. There is no better picture of contentment.


13. You get unconditional love.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Can You Help This Horse?

Or do you know someone who can?

Please take a minute to read this post at Guilty with an Explanation.

What I Saw

Stephen and I have been thinking about clearing out of Austin. We love the town and all our friends here. Howver, Austin has gotten to be a much bigger place than either of us is comfortable living in. It would be different if we could live a half an hour out of town and be able to be in the country or if we could drive for a half an hour and be out of town. As it is, it takes at least twenty minutes to get downtown or anywhere else we want to go from out place in the south part of town.


One of the reasons for my trip to Santa Fe was to check it out as a possible place to live. It is about the right sized town. You can pretty much get or do anything you want or need there. The climate is nice. It may get a little colder than I like in winter but the mild summers make up for that. The best part is that you can be anywhere in town in about fifteen minutes. I am sure that it takes a little bit longer during peak traffic times but not nearly as long as it takes here. You can be fifteen or twenty minutes out of town and be in the country, beautiful country at that.


One of the areas that we have been thinking about is Pecos. My friend and I drove down there and the first thing we saw there was a horse that was out and eating grass right in the entrance to the village. That has to be a good sign.


I did not make very many pictures. Here are a few on the Pecos River near its head waters.






Sound track for this post: Jerry Jeff' Walker's Leavin' Texas

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Oops!

I have come to realize that by my asking for prayers for the baby, I may have inadvertently spread worry and concern about him. These feelings are natural to all of us in these situations. However, since I believe that we get what we concentrate on, I am doing the very best I can to envision him as a healthy and whole child. A child who laughs and smiles at his parents and who is thriving in this world. I ask that you join me in seeing this vision.

Peace to all.

More on the Little One


Our little guy is fighting a nasty infection. We had hoped that he would be home by now but that is not going to be the case for some time now. Your continued prayers and good energy are appreciated.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Update

I'm back home after a twelve hour drive. Our little one seems to be doing well. Thanks to all of you who have kept him in your prayers.


Going to bed now.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Santa Fe

Ojo Calliente was great. I highly recommend it. I did not get to spend much time in the pools but I think I spent a few minutes in every one of them. I feel as if I met a long lost sister in the woman I was sent up there to meet. I am sure that I will keep in touch with her. We have a lot in common and the meeting felt like a reunion.



The Pecos area was beautiful. This is the first time I have taken a vacation by myself. I have traveled for classes and spent a few days at workshops near home, but this is my first trip with no agenda to speak of. I am having fun. I will be glad toget back to Stephen and Lani, though.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Road Trip

I am sitting in a coffee shop in Santa FE, not the most wired city. The trip out was great....80 mile an hour speed limit on I-10. Wooohoooo!!!. I thought that people might be driving 90mph but they weren't. Everyone was staying pretty close to the posted limit. There was not much traffic on Sunday. I was really surprised by the lack of big rigs. It made for a pleasant drive. I left the interstate at Ft. Stockton and took US 285 the rest of the way in. I saw lots of Cooper's hawks once I left the interstate. I was on the road about 12 and a half to 13 hours. It is about twenty degrees cooler here than in Austin.

Yesterday, I went downtown and looked around in the shops on the plaza. I am not much of a clothes horse but I could spend thousands of dollars on the clothes they have in those shops.

Today I am going up to Ojo Calliente to meet a friend of the friends with whom I am staying. She is going to show me around the area and I will definitely get in a good soak.

Tomorrow my host is going up to Pecos with me so that I can check that area out. I had planned to visit museums on Thursday and come home on Friday. However, my best friend is in Flagstaff right now. Her first grandchild was born prematurely and is now trying to decide if this is the planet he intended to land on. She is having a tough time and I may drive on up there tomorrow afternoon and spend the night with her. If that happens, I'll be leaving Flagstaff around mid-day on Thursday so that I can be home by Friday evening. I ask that everyone send up prayers, energy or however you express the requests you send to the Universe. There is a little baby boy and his family in Flagstaff who could really use your positive thoughts.

Peace and happy trails.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Crystalized Ginger, Day 5, The Finished Product









I had to be at work early this morning so last night, I strained the syrup through a coffee filter.


As I was pulling my massage table across the mezzanine at the Driskill, my phone rang. It was the delivery man from the appliance store telling me that he would like to deliver the new stove between 11:00am and 2:00pm today. Since Stephen was at home, I told him that that time would be fine. We have the world's best landlord!



When I got home, I put the syrup through the coffe filter again. Then I put it in a pan on the beautiful new stove and set it to medium heat. While it was getting up to a boil, I got out a plastic shaker container with a screw on lid. I put a small amount of ginger in it, added a heaping table spoon of sugar and shook it up and rolled it around. Then I poured the contents back onto the rack. I repeated this process until all the ginger had been coated with sugar.


I let the syrup reduce to between a third and a half of the volume I started with. I may have used more water than necessary when I started this process. This was due to the size of my pot. It took a lot of water to cover the ginger and have an inch and a half or so on top.


I will put some of the ginger in a white paper bag and make a cutesy label for it as part of the gift basket I am putting together for my friends in Santa Fe. They will also get the nice bottle of syrup. There is still plenty for us. It is in a small jar. The syrup has quite a bite so I think it may be a good idea to mix it with maple or cane sugar syrup to use on pancakes or waffles. It may be a little bit too hot by itself. The ginger has the perfect texture and a nice bite as well.








Thanks for all your help, Mistrel Boy.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Crystalized Ginger, Day 4

I had to get started early again today because my afternoon was booked with a corporate massage gig and Lani has to have her walk as soon after Stephen leaves for work as possible. If her leash were kept where she could get to it, she would probably try to put it on herself and drag me out the door.

I took the lid off the pot and brought it to a slow boil. Then I turned the burner down to 5 again and pretty much followed the same procedure as yesterday. I think this took about 45 to 50 minutes. I then extracted the ginger and placed it on the rack. I strained the syrup through 2 different strainers but it still looked a little cloudy. When I returned home this afternoon, a lot of sediment had settled to the bottom. I am going to strain it through a coffee filter tomorrow. I may heat it up and boil it a few more minutes. I think it could be a little bit thicker. This is actually a 5 day process anyway. Tomorrow I will put the ginger pieces in a bag with some course sugar and give it a good shake.

In the meantime, here is what it looks like.




In case you noticed that I have not been adding a sound track to these posts, there is a reason. I refer you to Harp & Sword's Friday Random Ten.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thursday 13

MY 13 favorite blogs (in no particular order):

Christine Kane

Heart In San Francisco

Harp & Sword

Blog It Like You Mean It

Truth Cycles

I Gallop On

Littlel Pea

The Road Lester Traveled

Soul Collage Journey

Open Window

Little Wing

Running on Empty

As If You Care

I did not put links to these because they are all on my side bar.

Sound track : Get By With a Little Help From My Friends Beatles or Joe Cocker, your choice.