Monthly Archives: April 2007

This one’s been building a while

I’ve got a lot of stuff I want to fit in tonight so this will be a long one.

Last night we made won tons and ate those for dinner. I know, it’s a strange dinner, but it’s a great way to clean out the fridge and introduce some new foods. Plus, kids like being involved in preparing the food they eat. We boiled some, steamed some, and baked some. I think baked turned out the best followed closely by the boiled with steam being last. Sneakily eating won tons is a good way for me to sneak some greens into our food too. We’ll definitely be eating them again in the future. Child #1 wasn’t that thrilled about them, but we couldn’t keep them out of child #2’s hands. He was double fisting them!! I think we can bring #1 around over time too.

This past weekend we had some friends over for dinner and I cooked up a pork based snipshot_e41fs4tke3b6.jpgbarbacoa with spicy soup and homemade tortillas. I got the barbacoa recipe here. If you look in the comments you can see a link to the rub I used on the shoulder. The meat turned out pretty good. I was disappointed with the soup as it tasted mostly like greasy water. But I will definately make the shoulder again. This was the first shoulder from the pig we recently purchased. The tortillas turned out much better this time around. I took more time to roll them out and also let them rest while I was rolling them. That helped them stretch more and get a lot flatter.

 

I’ll be heading to NYC this weekend for the annual NFL football draft. A friend of mine won a free trip to go to it so we are heading out Friday morning. It should be a good time. It’s my first time in NYC. On top of that we are hitting a Yankees/Red Sox game Friday night (tickets are hard to come by) and we’ll see Dice K’s amazing gyro-ball. (or not so amazing from what I’ve heard)

I checked out purchasing some carbon offsets for the plane flight (they are only $10) but I’m still determining what to do. I can’t figure out how they can offset the emissions from my flight for $10 when it’s almost impossible to buy a single tree for less than $10, and they would have to plant 36 of them according to my calculations. Can someone explain that math to me? It sounds like Enron math to me. I’ve got one opinion that thinks the $10 might buy a bunch of seeds to start but the failure rate is rather high on trees and no one is sure if they take that into account. On top of that, those trees would take forever to get to a large enough size to even make any kind of difference.

I think I’ll use the free links at this site to get my 36 trees for free and call it even. Plus I’ll click on the other free things and it will cover even more area. I would much rather prefer to save already existing forests that are working their magic than plant new trees that will take 30 years to get to full majesty. Plus I’ll keep doing what I’m doing to reduce my footprint.

http://www.ecologyfund.com/ecology/_ecology.html

Tomorrow is child #1’s birthday and since I’ll be out of town we’re celebrating it today. We don’t really do a whole lot for birthdays around here, but we decided it was time to get the little guy one of these…

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This one will replace the yard sale bike he’s outgrown…

I wish I could say that the picture was taken at a grandparents house but no, that’s our 50s style paneling in our family room. ..

My wife and I recently purchased a new dryer. I know, I know, that’s nothing special really, but the funny thing is we spent a month agonizing over it before we did it. Our other dryer works, it just makes a god awful squealing noise while it’s running, and the cost to fix is only $50 less than to buy a new one. We could have lived with it even, except the dryer runs at nights most often, or during nap time, so we can’t run it and worry about waking kids up. So after much consternation we decided to buy the cheapest one we could find. We figured this will work fine for us since we typically only dry 2 loads of laundry a week, and the extra amount we are saving will allow us to get a better washer that is extremely efficient when that needs to be replaced. Did you know that a front load washer uses 16 gallons of water rather than the typical 54 gallons a top loader uses? Interesting fact that came out of this. But I’ll be tossing the dryer up on freecycle or craigslist soon for someone to come and get. So at least it’s not hitting the landfill.

Our ducks have recently been joined by another male. I’m not sure what kind of crazy love triangle is going on there, but my experience with Grey’s Anatomy tells me nothing good comes of love triangles. I hope the female isn’t using the yard to lay eggs or anything. I’m not prepared to be a foster parent.

We also spent the past few weeks agonizing over our house. We appear to have some water leakage problems in our garage around some windows. So we immediately started worrying about what was happening in the rest of the house behind the walls we couldn’t see. We must have had 6 or 7 contractors look at it and while they all had different opinions and ideas the most consistent idea was that the windows were horrible and needed to be replaced and all the rot fixed. We’ve decided to go with that and we’re very relieved about that. We were considering yanking off the siding, checking for rot around the house, blowing in insulation and residing the house. While I really, really want to insulate the sidewalls, the cost of the siding work was around $13K, not including any damaged that needed to be replaced. Our pocketbook is much happier with this solution. Unfortunately my plans for a solar water heater will be put on hold while we tend to this immediate need. And our house is still poorly insulated on the walls (the ceilings are all R-38 and up so they are fine) but we’ll get to that eventually. I just have to figure out how to do it without leaving pockmarks all over the walls from drilling the holes.

My friend Aaron has a great post up today. Check it out. Make sure to check out all the links he provides.

http://poweringdown.blogspot.com/2007/04/only-in-pet-food-hogwash.html

So does the Expat Chef. And Ka-Bar at the Moral Equivalent of War has yet another good one up. Perusing my Bloglines account Ka-Bar wins the award for most posts that I’ve marked as “keep new”. He’s up to 23, which is even more than Treehugger.

Now I’m spent. I’ll talk to you after the weekend.

FGLB

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New Pollan article

Here is a link to a new Michael Pollan article about how the Farm Bill that subsidizes our agriculture leads to the obesity problem in America.  It is so true.

Hit the link for more.

Ht: Cleaner Plate Club

If you still haven’t read The Omnivore’s Delimma get off your butt and read it.  It’s way worth the time.

FGLB

Now I know

Yesterday was our first farmer’s market of the year.  As expected there wasn’t a lot there.  Mostly starter plants, which were way cheaper than the garden centers.  There was something there though that I wanted.  Asparagus.  I’m not really a huge fan of asparagus.  Mostly because it takes like gr(ass).

Apparently that’s only true for stuff that is shipped here.  This fresh stuff was crazy good.  Incredibly good. I couldn’t believe how good it tasted.

Now I know what all the hub bub is about.   Oh my God.  It is good. I feel bad because I bought the only bunch there.  At least he said it will start coming in more this coming weekend.  I can hardly wait.

FGLB

Visitors at our house

This week we had a couple of visitors at our house. We seem to get two of these each spring and fall. It’s kind of strange.
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In other news, we’re getting the attic in our house drywalled, finally. It only took three years after move in. We tore the original junk down to insulate the attic as well as we snipshot_e4e7l3q2i6d.jpgcould. The space will be quite different that is for sure. I’m also excited to have the option to send the boys up there too when they get too loud.

While I would like to say I’m the one doing the work that would be a lie. But I have been creating my own mess outside.

snipshot_e41akqdis3xl.jpg I cut down these ugly evergreen bushes and planted two blueberry and two blackberry bushes in their place. Tomorrow morning we’ll be putting in some strawberries to act as the ground cover in that area. Hopefully everything works out really well. It’s such a pleasure to work in the dirt around here. I know I have it good compared to most people, but it takes hardly any effort to break up the soil and dig holes and move stuff around. It’s really great. Of course there are a few areas that are still tough to break up occasionally, but that’s usually because they’re hard baked from the sun.

After these bushes are planted that leaves me just one more 100 sq ft spot to dig up and get planted. Those are all after the last frost plants though so I’ve got some time. This is fun stuff!!

FGLB

Day in the sun

I spent yesterday outside doing yard and garden work.  It was great.  It’s so fulfilling when you’re all done to see how much you’ve accomplished.

I spent most of the day raking leaves and moving dirt and compost around.  And boy are my arms tired.  HA!  HA!  It’s amazing how as the day goes on the trips around the yard take longer and longer and longer.  Oh well.  It’s springtime.  By the summer I’ll be back in form.  It’s like getting back on the bike in the spring.  It’s takes a little while to get back up to speed.

I’ll write more later with pictures of a few things.  Gotta run right now.

Links

I’m getting ready to start posting some things.  But first I wanted to clean up a whole mess o’ links I’ve been saving up for a while.

Here is a news story from almost 2 months ago from the Onion that you might enjoy.  And don’t think he wouldn’t do that if he could.

This is an interesting read.  I can’t tell if it’s the real deal or not.

Ka-bar has another good post up with good links to check out.  And a couple of good thoughts from Sharon here and here.

Make sure to read this story by Aaron at Groovy Green.

FGLB

Potpourri of things

I’m not sure what’s up with me lately. I haven’t really felt like writing. Really, I haven’t really even wanted to be on the computer all that much. I know enough about myself to know not to force myself to do something or eventually I’ll lose interest in it stop doing it. And I really don’t want to do that with this. It’s strange being this way. I’m doing a lot, but most of it seems kind of like a “been there, done that” type of activity. But I’ve been doing a lot. Not to mention reading through Gaia’s Garden, Food not Lawns, Forest Gardening and Diet of a Small Planet (among others) as fast as I can.

We recently bought a pig, which I was excited to do. I’m excited to cure the ham and bacon myself. Quite excited about that actually. I think I’ll just do a wet cure/brine type of thing since they will be refrozen when they are finished, but that’s something new to do and try and learn. I really plan to try a dry cure next this coming fall so I can take advantage of the cold weather to preserve the meat over the winter. I’m excited to fire up old smoky and smoke up all the shoulders too and make up a ton of pulled pork. I just love pulled pork. The price of the pig worked out to about $2.20/lb, plus I ended up with 12 lbs of lard to use.

We cooked Easter dinner at my house and had some people over. Of course I cooked bread again, but it was a little different. I had the ham in the oven and the bread and the ham didn’t correspond temperature wise, so we ended up cooking the bread in a toaster oven, which we had in the bathroom on the counter, because the kitchen was out of room. I’ve never made bread before in the bathroom so that was interesting. I also decided not to score the top and the bread ended up being very soft and pillowy on the inside. I have no idea if the scoring or the toaster oven caused that. Or if it was a fluke. Or the fact that I couldn’t fit in any water to steam it like I have in the past. Who knows. I’ll try everything separately until I figure out what causes it to be so soft on the inside.

We’ve been outside getting the gardens ready when the temperatures aren’t crazy low. So far I’ve gotten onions and radishes, rutabagas, turnips, parsnips, tons of carrots, broccoli, bok choy, peas and fava beans, lettuce, swiss chard and maybe a few more things planed that I can’t remember right now. The garlic seems to be doing great this year, even if I did accidentally cut down some of the tops last year when I was weeding that bed. The potatoes went in last Sunday (I missed Good Friday because it was so cold that day) using a modified leaf/tire method of growing. The last thing for me to do with the gardens is get the 3 sisters garden planted (or I might do peanuts there), build a few beds to train some crops up a privacy fence to use my vertical space and build the last big bed which will be a key hole bed and hold the tomatoes and peppers among other warmer weather crops. Oh, and I might be doing some sunflowers and sunchokes along a patio to offer some natural shade to that patio when it gets unbearably hot in the summer.

We’ve also been busy ordering up some fruit plants. We’ve ordered 5 raspberry bushes, 2 cherry bushes, a pear tree, a peach tree and some asparagus to plant. Soon I’ll be buying 3 or 4 blueberry bushes and adding some strawberries over a hillside. I just don’t like digging up the yard outside when it’s 25 degrees.

On top of that we yanked one kid out of a day care that wasn’t up to par and my wife and I are working opposite shifts for now so she can be home with him during the day while I watch them both at night. This month can’t get over fast enough. My poor wife is running on very little sleep right now.

In other news, this here is a picture only a mother would love.

And here is an interesting video that shows the historical prices of houses through the use of a roller coaster. (HT: Lawns to Gardens)

FGLB