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Jan. 24th, 2010

I have a new blanket that's lined with fuzzy microfleece and the cats love it. Right now Torii is curled up next to me, cutely snoring, sharing the blanket.

So there's this game on today. Last week I did the grocery shopping on Sunday, and on a lark I bought Kurtis one of those big, drowning-in-frosting cookies from the bakery. It was decorated like a Vikings helmet and had a big, globular frosting horn on it. I got myself a cupcake.

Kurtis was pessimistic about the game, so I thought the cookie would be a consolation, if not a celebratory treat. But the Vikings won, so Kurtis is convinced it was the cookie that did it. He told me to buy him another one this week.

When I went through the checkout, the guy bagging my groceries said "Go Vikings" when he saw the cookie. I told him how my husband said the Vikes won because of last week's cookie, and the guy said my husband had excellent logic, and would now get himself a cookie, just to be sure the Vikings win.

I'm not sure what to think about the whole Favre thing. It ticks me off when someone goes back on their word. Retiring, then trying to un-retire and oust the guy who'd been waiting to have his position with the Packers, then the next year stringing the Vikings along just so he could skip training camp, because he hates training camp. The whole thing strikes me as petulant, childish behavior. Not at all the kind of behavior that makes one a good part of a team.

But then he goes and leads the Vikings to the playoffs. Does making a bunch of Vikings fans happy justify disillusioning a generation of Packers fans? Does it matter that he's had a good season?

What Today is Like


No to-do list today, no goals. Just reading and enjoying the kitties. Content, peaceful, enjoying what I have.
12:20 pm 46 pounds of tomatoes are washed and ready to be skinned.


12:27 pm Tomatoes take a quick bath in boiling water (I had two pans going at the same time. Talk about hot and steamy.


2:34 pm The skinned tomatoes are ready to be cored and cooked. Between this picture and the previous one, I ate lunch and checked Facebook.


I didn't photograph the coring and cooking stage - too messy.

5:25 pm The tomatoes are quarted and cooked for 5 minutes in several batches, and poured into jars. There are 26 pints.


6:18 pm. The first batch (14 jars) is in the canner and I've started the processing ... process. Here the canner is venting steam. You do that for ten minutes before putting the weight on ... some safety thing, I forget why, but I do it.


9:37 pm The second batch is processing now and should be done in about 15 minutes. Then I have to wait 'til the pressure is reduced before I can open the canner, which will be another 45 minutes or so.

Cherry Upside-Down Cake

The University has a farmers market every Wednesday. My new office is incredibly close to the market, like, practically underneath it, so all I have to do is go upstairs and voila.

I've been eyeing tart cherries the past couple weeks, so today I went and bought some, even though I wasn't sure what I'd make with them. I started thinking about a clafoutis but we didn't have enough milk, and I didn't feel like having the oven on for an hour. I flipped through a recipe book and found a cranberry upside down cake. Perfect: cranberries are tart, so the recipe was already geared to sweeten up sour berries.

I washed and pitted all the cherries, then arranged them, cut side up, in the cake pan. Like so:

Cherries arranged in cake pan

Then I whipped up the batter (a whole stick of butter, you can't go wrong) and poured it over the cake.

Bake for 30 minutes, let it cool, turn it onto cake stand and:

Tart Cherry Upside-Down Cake


The sad thing is, I'm still getting used to this oven though I've lived here four years. It gets hotter than the dial says. This weekend I overcooked a cake (not badly), so I turned the heat down a little. I did the toothpick test when I took it out, and the toothpick looked clean, but it turned out the cake was still gooey in the center. Damn. I stuck it back in the oven but of course I'd cut a slice out, so it didn't cook perfectly.

The outside part tasted reallllllllly good, though. I'm totally making this again. Just gotta watch the oven.

Here's the recipe. I omitted the seasonings, swapped 1/4 cup of the sugar in the topping for turbinado sugar, and of course substituted tart cherries for the cranberries.



We bought chairs tonight. I'm so flippin' excited. We have two side chairs in our living room - an Ethan Allen wingback that Kurtis got from Freecycle 8 years ago, and a comfy little chair that's been in my family since I was little.

I wanted to replace the little Robinson chair and move it into my sewing room so we'd have a quiet place to read, so I've been putting aside some cash to buy a new one. I found a perfect little La-z-boy number that would work well in the living room:

(omg, Pippi is stalking a bug. Even though she's almost two, she's so kitten-like, oh, it's just adorable. Squee)

chair picsCollapse )

Garden Update

I'm done with the south side plot, unless I decide to put in edging (or Kurtis does it).

This was my plan: (note, this picture is taken from the opposite side that the other pictures were taken from)

fabulous rendering of garden

We started off with this:
South Yard
(This pic is from June 18 of 2008)

Then I bought tomato plants waaaaay before I had the plot ready, so I just stuck where I planned for them to go, but really it looked like I'd just planted tomatoes in the middle of the yard.


After a few weeks, I'd dug out space for some tall grasses and planted them, and knowing that the digging process was going to take a while, I put a strip of landscaping fabric over most of the spot I wanted to dig up. It made a good outline, anyhow.


Then it rained a lot, and then for a week it got really hot outside, so I left it alone. Yesterday we peeled up the landscape fabric to find the grass below nicely dead.


We started digging, and got the whole plot turned over. Damn that's a lot of work. Next year I'm going to put in a vegetable garden, and I'm going to rent a tiller to do it. No more digging for me!

Today I picked up a few flowers to finish off the bed. I probably over-planted. Things tend to spread more than I think they will. That's okay, I like the bountiful look.

So here we are today:

The three plants closest to the camera mark the ends of rows of lettuce. I know it's late for lettuce, but the rest of the summer is supposed to be cool, so maybe it will work. The lettuce is basically for the bunnies. I like yard bunnies. I complain a little when they chomp my flowers, but I'd much rather have the bunnies than the flowers.

And I got these because I figure if there's an apocalypse, these plants might confuse the zombies for a while:

Things to Garden With

Thanks to the generosity and brawn of my darling husband, the south garden plot is now dug up. I'll post pictures later, I need to take an "after" shot and a "finished" shot. There's some space to put in something else, and I have some lettuce seed, so I think I'll grow some for the bunnies. We're having a cool summer so lettuce should do well.

Here are some of my favorite things to help in the garden:

wagon, cat & umbrella

First, there's my radio flyer wagon. I bought it this year to replace the one I had as child. I was hoping my parents still had that one, but my mom said it had rusted through. My mom has a tendency to lie about stuff, and a tendency to give things away without asking us, so I don't know if that's the truth or not. Anyhoo. I have a shiny red wagon, it helps me haul stuff around, and I love it.

Further back is a patio umbrella I picked up. I hate sitting in the sun. It was on sale. 'Nuff said.

Plus, it makes a very good shade for Mr. Bertram Puddypants, who loves to be outside. That's him in the Kittywalk pen. We love that pen, too.

Flowers, Feet

Today my big toe starting making a popping sound when I walk. I have lots of problems (arthritis, seismoiditis) on my other foot, this one's just been acting up this year. I'm keeping it up tonight and I guess I'll try to keep off it this weekend. We'll see how I do; I was hoping to do some house stuff tomorrow.

My flowers are still doing well. The poppy has bloomed, it's orange! The tag showed red. C'est la vie. I don't mind garden surprises (unless they involve poop or dead things).


I still love my cosmos
I think I need to fill the yard with them.

I'm already excited for next year's garden. I think I'll till up the section next to the driveway and plant vegetables. I haven't talked to skutir about this yet. I'll try to ease him in to the idea, but it shouldn't be hard. He likes vegetables and having less to mow.

Not that this year's garden isn't great. I planted sunflowers and some of them are going NUTS. The one on the right has gorgeous green leaves the size of dinner plates.


Also, cats are really cute when they yawn.

Pippi Yawn

New-to-us restaurant

We ate at Obento-ya tonight. It's so hot I didn't feel like eating anything heavy, so Kurtis googled for nearby sushi places. This was within walking distance and fantastic. I love how content Japanese food makes me. It's not filling (even the deep-fried tempura doesn't feel heavy) and it's so tasty.

My favorite discovery was their creamy Japanese potato salad. It looked like mashed potatoes, but was surprising in your mouth because it was cold. And instead of being sort of creepy, like cold mashed potatoes would be, it was delicious.

I found a recipe on this site, but the one we were served had almost mashed (not chopped) potatoes, and no carrots.

State of the Garden

I haven't posted pictures of my garden lately, and it's changed so much!

lots of photosCollapse )



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