Friday, March 31, 2006

The Orange-Gooey Taste of Success

My second attempt at the famous family orange roll recipe was successful! As you can see, they are beautiful, gleaming with the orange-sugar-butter goodness that makes them what they are.

I have been a little afraid of making them. The fear worsened after the last attempt failed. I felt like I should be able to make them, since I make Grandma Winnie's Butter mints....

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And now I can!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Chickies have arrived!

It's a little scary, worrying if they are warm enough... Are they sleeping or did they die? (If they're sleeping I don't want to wake them up, so I can't check on them.)

My 4-year-old wants to name one Quack and one Mack (he said I could name the third Chickie). We've been reading Make Way for Ducklings lately if you wondered where his names came from).

Welcome Quack*, Mack*, and Chickie* to our home.

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I'm likely to just call them all "chickie" until there's a way to tell them apart.

*Real names to be determined.

Spam Mail Avengers Unite!!!

My first success! This email just came through my local freecycle (or freecycle spin-off) site:

If you do find the need to forward on information:

1) Check it out at the snopes site that was just posted.

2) Copy the body of the e-mail into a NEW E-MAIL

3) Do not copy any of the addresses where the e-mail has come from

4) Use the BCC to put names from your address book in the To: line.

5) If you want your friends to be happy to see e-mail from you, use your forwards sparingly!

6) Forward petitions are worthless! Remember they are like a family tree, you are not losing the names that were just forwarded to 73 people if any of them sign their name and send them on. They do not have much affect when they reach their destination though. Do what you will with them.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Mister's Birthday!

My Mister is 29 today. He said he feels old. I say he is maturing nicely. I feel lucky to have him in my life, and can't imagine it without him.

Happy 29th Birthday Mister!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I'm sick

I've been sucking zinc lozenges, which usually keep my from getting full blown bleah's, but bleah bleah bleah.

My preschooler has been bringing me tissues and looking at me funny when I stick them up my nose (there's a nice mental picture...maybe I needed some tissues at that dance last weekend...).

Have I mentioned that I'm a little bit of a hypochondriac (okay not "actually" but whatever...)? I like to say that it's my dad's fault (don't remind me of my views on personal responsibility). When my siblings and I were smaller, he used to buy us toys when we were sick. I specifically remember getting a my little pony toy where the ponies could shower with real water under a cloud. It was great. I always felt better sooner, I think. I like attention when I don't feel well. I'm not completely sure that the Mr. has figured that out yet, since if I complain about not feeling well, he in his desire to be helpful asks if I've "taken anything yet".

I kind of miss having someone take care of me when I'm not feeling well. I also kind of miss the days when I could stay in bed and watch the Andy Griffith show all day long. There's no such thing as staying in bed all day when you have kids to take care of. They don't understand "I'm sick, leave me alone" when they are suffering greatly with a partially empty stomach. The bright side, is that when I'm old and they are grown up, they can take care of me. It's a nice idea, but not as nice as staying in bed and playing with new toys...

Those were the days. At least I don't have to go get my own tissues...

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Young at Heart

I was babysitting 9 teenagers for the weekend. It was actually really fun, but on friday night there was a dance for all the youth at the conference. The Mr. took my purse out to the car (it was getting in the way when we were dancing). So there I was standing against the wall, all by myself, when a slow song started.

A skinny 14-year-old approached and despite my ferocious eye-avoidance, he asked me to dance.

I had a couple of thoughts... I could just dance with him and hope that he never found out I was an advisor (because if he did find out, he'd be pretty embarrassed), or two, I could just tell him I was an advisor....

So, I said, "That's really sweet, but I'm an advisor and am just waiting for my husband to come back". Then I was going to point out the cute non-advisor girl a few feet away, but the kid said "sorry, I didn't know" and took off.

Apparently I look like I "senior" (that's what the kids in my group said later).

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Shields for our families

Here's a link to download my talk from church on sunday.

click here

I'm a Democrat because of my religion...

I found this really great article, check it out if you have a minute.


I really dislike email forwards. Really! I also really dislike getting sent email forwards when the information the forward contains is a hoax. Please, if you are in my reading audience, forward this to everyone you know (just kidding)....

I belong to a freecycle group. I used to belong to a food storage group. I dropped out of the food storage group because of people using the email lists to send forwards. I am seriously considering dropping out of the freecycle group. I know that the people who sent the forwards had good intentions. They were passing along information on computer viruses, telephone scams, and missing children.

It is not difficult to verify the accuracy of an email forward. Next time you are tempted to send something, check out first. Or, if you don't want to do that? Try google. It's helpful!

I'd appreciate it.

Organic Lawn Care...Part 2

Part two in a series by organic-lawn-care guru Glenn.

Mow high:

MYTH: "If I mow short, it will be longer until I have to mow again." False! Your grass needs grass blades to do photosynthesis (convert sunshine into sugar) to feed the roots. When you whack the blades off, the grass has to RACE to make more blades to make sugar. It then grows amazingly fast. This fast growth uses up a lot of the grass's stored sugar, and weakens the plant. It is now vulnerable to disease and pests! Tall grass is healthier and can use the extra sugar to make rhizomes (more grass plants) thus thickening the turf. Have you ever noticed that short grass in the summer is always riddled with dead brown patches?

If you have a serious weed infestation, consider mowing twice as frequently as you normally do. The sensitive growing point for grass is near the soil. The sensitive growing point for most weeds is near the top of the plant. So when you mow, it's as if you are giving your grass a haircut and cutting the heads off of the weeds.

Finally, when mowing, be sure to leave the clippings on the lawn. It adds organic matter and nutrients back into the soil. If you don't leave the clippings, your soil will begin to look more like "dirt" than soil. Soon it will be a form of cement that nothing will grow in and you will have the world’s most pitiful lawn. Some people are concerned about "clumping" - that only happens when you mow too short or when you don't mow often enough. A dedicated mulching mower is recommended. The blade and deck are designed to cut and re-cut the clippings and then blow them into the turf so they form an almost invisible source of nutrients.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Organic Lawn Care...Part 1

This is the first in a number of segments on organic lawn care. Written by my good friend Glenn.

Organic Lawn Care, A Basic Primer
Must do:
*Depending on types of grasses set your mower as high as it will go (3 to 4 inches for cool season blends).
*Water only when your grass shows signs of drought stress and then water deeply (put a cup in your sprinkler zone and make sure it gets at least an inch of water).

*Fertilize with an organic fertilizer in the fall and spring. Either a good quality brand such as Ringer or Espoma or use protein feed meals such as canola meal or alfalfa pellets.
*How much topsoil do you have? See how deep a shovel will go into the soil. How deep can you dig a hole in one minute? If you have less than four inches of soil, you must add or build topsoil. Adding is quick and requires work, building is slow and requires work spread out over years.

This is a game of competition. You want to make things favourable for the grass and unfavourable for the weeds so the grass will choke out the weeds, naturally.

Organic lawn care concentrates on the growing of turf grass, not the killing of weeds.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Gold Leaves and Brown- Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

This poem was written in 2002 at by pjwould.

Gold Leaves and Brown
--with apologies to Dr. Seuss, who was born March 2, 1904

Gold leaves and brown!
Gold leaves and brown!
I do not like gold leaves and brown!

I do not shred leaves, gold or brown.
I do not spread them on the ground.

Would you shred them here or there?

I would not shred them here or there.
I would not shred them anywhere.
I do not shred gold leaves and brown.
I do not spread them on the ground.

Would you shred them at Tom's house?
Would you shred them with your spouse?

I would not shred them at Tom's house.
I would not shred them with my spouse.
I would not shred them here or there.
I would not shred them anywhere.
I do not shred gold leaves or brown.
I will not have them on the ground.

Would you toss them in a box?
Would you mix in guts of lox?

Not in a box.
Nor guts of lox.
Not at Tom's house.
Not with my spouse.
I would not shred them here or there.
I would not shred them anywhere.
I would not shred gold leaves or brown.
I will not spread them on the ground.

Would you? Could you?
With annp?
Try it! Try it!
And you'll see.

I would not,
could not,
with annp.

You may like it with annp.
You may like weeds from the sea!

I would not like weeds from the sea,
Nor with annp! You let me be.

I won't shred leaves! Nor do I wish
To mix them up with bits of fish!
I do not lay them in a trench.
I do not stash them 'neath a bench.
I do not shred leaves here or there.
I do not shred them anywhere.
I do not shred in Hingham, Mass.
I will not have them on the grass!

A bin! A bin!
A bin! A bin!
Could you, would you,
in a bin?

Not in a bin! Not with annp!
And not with weeds plucked from the sea!

I would not, could not, ever wish.
To mix up leaves with scraps of fish.
I will not throw them in a pit.
I will not mix in bunny ****.
I will not shred them here or there.
I will not shred them anywhere.
I do not shred gold leaves or brown.
I do not like them on the ground.

With Marty_H!
Would you shred with Marty_H?

I wouldn't, couldn't with Marty_H.

Would you with professor dirt?

I could not, with professor dirt,
Nor Marty_H, nor till it hurt.
Nor with annp, nor near the sea,
I won't shred leaves at all, you see.
Not at Tom's house. Not with my spouse.
Not with a box or bits of lox.
I will not shred leaves here or there.
I will not shred them anywhere!

Then would you heap them whole, like Sand?

I do not want leaves on my land!

Would you shred them as you wed?

I would not,
could not,
as I wed!

Would you add a crow that's dead?

I could not add a crow that's dead,
I could not, would not, as I wed.
I could not with professor dirt.
I would not cache leaves in a yert.
Not with annp! Not near the sea!
Not in a bin heaped to my chin!
I won't mix leaves with used-up grounds.
You will not see me making rounds.
I won't go on a nightly raid.
I will not join your leaf brigade.
I will not shred leaves here or there.
I do not want leaves ANYWHERE!

I do not shred gold leaves or brown!

I will not have them hanging round!

But would you shred them in New York?
And could you fluff them with a fork?
I could not, would not, in New York.
I would not, could not, with a fork.

Then could you shred them in B.C.?
Or up in Calumet, U.P.?
I could not shred them in B.C.!
I would not shred in the U.P.!
I could not shred at dusk or dawn.
I do not want leaves on my lawn!

Would you, with Alfie, in Zone 6?
Could you grind them up with sticks?
I would not, could not, in Zone 6!
I could not grind them up with sticks.

Or would you mow them up with grass?
And could you take a second pass?
I would not mow them up with grass.
I could not take a second pass!

You don't shred leaves
Or so you say.
Try it! Try it!
And you may.
Try it and you may, I say.

Oh, geez.
If you will let me be,
I will try it.
You will see.

I like leaves shred and down!
I do! I like them on the ground!
And I would mix in horsey poop.
And I would mix it with the Froup!

And I would shred leaves with Bill_G,
And even moisten them with pee.
I'd shred with Monte, East or West!
I'd even shred with LeslieS.

I'd shred with Alfie, in Zone 6!
I'd gladly grind leaves up with sticks!
And I would mow them up with grass.
And I would take a second pass.
I'd mix them up with used Starbucks.
And happ'ly trade my cars for trucks.
And I would murmur Oui, j'adore,
As I shred leaves forevermore....

I do so like gold leaves and brown!
I do!
I'll spread them on the ground!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Olympic-Inspired Tree Pruning

I took advantage of the wonderful spring-like weather this afternoon to take care of a few things in the yard. The compost needed some attention, and I mixed the leaves which I had placed on the top into the matted grass clippings underneath.

After that job, I collected the pruners and walked around the yard pruning things that needed it. The raspberries, the grapes, and the fruit trees.

Pruning fruit trees has always seemed to me more of an art than anything else. I walk around the tree, examining it from all angles before cutting anything. This is followed by a second pass, slower, trimming out the obvious branches. Finally a third circle is made around the tree. Stopping at each side to carefully shape the tree into a thing of beauty which will grow strong enough to support the fruit that it will produce.

After I finished, I stepped back and admired my work. It wasn't until later that I noticed something...


The way the trees look when they are pruned nicely is a lot like an ice skater doing a layback spin. The picture in the link isn't quite the image I was looking for, but it's close.