Thursday, April 25, 2013

M is for Meat...

Just a quick note to brag about my husband's grilling skills...and my farmer's meat raising skills...and my meat eating skills!  This morning, his "sageness" said, "Who knew you were such a meat hound?" This was after I declared that maybe my favorite food wasn't lobster tail drenched in butter...but steak.  Then I decided that the ultimate meal would be surf and turf, with a kale salad...and then maybe skip the salad...just give me the meat.  Yep, I'm a meat hound.

Flank steak marinated in wheat-free tamari, garlic and red pepper...grilled hot and was juicy, delicious...I had to make myself stop eating it so we would have some for lunch today!  What time is it?  Darn...only 8 am.  Steak and eggs?!

Monday, April 15, 2013


First of all, Happy 72nd birthday to my dad!  This post is a few days late since his birthday would have been April 13th.  Although the sun was shining, it's been cold and I doubt it would have been a good day to "hunt" morels.  Every time I see an aluminum beer tab on the ground I think back to the special call we made through them to summon the mushrooms!  Never seemed to work for me...maybe it would have if I'd focused harder instead of wandering off to pick wild sweet William! I never knew that's what they were REALLY called...thought they were self-named.  :)

I spent the day embedding metal dust into my hands and sanding off my fingerprints in dad's honor.  I've been making a box weave chainmaille bracelet for our annual auction at, I'm "in the mode" since I'm also doing chain mail with my favorite art group ladies this weekend.  And for the second time this year, I've finished a project over a week ahead of schedule!  My handmade charms are finished, 9 will follow later as I don't want to put out any spoilers just yet.

Box chain is simple once you get into the groove.  I decided to make a man's bracelet because I feel they are very often left out of the personal adornment scenario!  Sure, a woman could wear this...I like heavy bracelets, but I'm hoping it ends up on a man's wrist. I call these bracelets "free range"...the copper lived in the wild (TV's, power lines, old electronics, etc) before they were bracelets...this wire was not new from a spool.  It's "composted"!  Recycled, upcycled, repurposed...WILD.

Using the odorific liver of sulfur, I darkened the copper and then polished the outside edges.  I love aged, antiqued, weathered things.  But now...I must admit, I'm addicted.  There's something about the repetitive action of making chainmaille that is taking over my mind.  I spend so much time thinking about the state of the modern food supply, that I hit a brick wall this past week and had to leave that mode of thinking and go back to my natural  Busy hands...making "things out of other things".   Which leads me to AR=ID/WD....or aspect ratio equals inside diameter divided by wire diameter.  In other words...mathematical purgatory. 

I'd say mathematical hell, but I know THIS will end!  Eventually, I will figure it out or give up and that's ok.  Dad, if you were only here to explain this!  Fractions, millimeters, AWG, SWG....decimals!  My high school algebra teacher called us "mental midgets" when we couldn't understand what he was talking about...and I've had mathematical baggage ever since.  This chart made my brain start smoking this morning...give me teaspoons, cups and even liters...I'm fine, but this is going to take some thinkin'.   I want to understand helps you figure out what wire gauge and ring size to use in different chain weaving applications to get the perfect density of chain.  The above bracelet is slightly loose, smaller rings would have made a tighter weave.  I started making it with thicker rings and it did not bend at all!  Incorrect aspect ratio....*sigh*...this too shall pass...!

Monday, April 8, 2013

No-till gardens, setting rocks and Joel Salatin...

If happy was a flower, it would be growing out the top of my head right now.  I've got dirt embedded in my nails. I've had my shoes off all day long.  And not only did I lay a 2" by 10" no-till garden bed AND a carefully selected, painstakingly leveled, paved rock path through my old herb bed...but I did it in the same time it took my neighbor's son to pace the porch and talk on his cell phone.  While my two adventurous, curious monkeys were eating dirt, escaping down the driveway and trying to kiss the dog...I was happily digging up wild onions, rummaging through the compost heap and trying to tuck my hair behind my ear with muddy fingers...AND, trying to keep my kids from doing all those other things!  So, I was out there a while.  This whole time, the neighbor boy paced and talked on a cell phone...and Joel Salatin knows why.

I started reading "Folks, this ain't normal" last night and by page 6, Joel had validated my upbringing.  Things I used to grumble at as a kid have, in the past 10 years, become great parables.  Moving bricks from this side of the that side of the one of the "pointless" dad-invoked exercises that have shaped who I am.  One of these "exercises" that WAS fun at the time was when dad and I built a stone bridge to fill in a deep ditch in the path we used to drive down to the lake.  We collected rocks from all over the property (and probably other people's property too!) and slowly filled in the ditch, repositioning each rock for maximum flatness so it wouldn't pivot and pop a tire.  It was practically flat once we were done and sadly, I'm not sure I have any pictures of this work.  But it made my task of building this rock path through my herb garden a very simple and fun activity.

There was other childhood "drudgery" that I'm thankful for that old Tecumseh lawnmower with the 50 foot knotted rope attached that I used to mow the back of our 2 acre lake by lowering it down the dam and then pulling it back up again...I'm proud to say I've gathered and stacked wood with my dad while learning about which woods burn hot and fast just like Joel describes in his book.  Reading "Folks, this ain't normal" also made me realize that I'm not the only one that is bothered by the time-wasting aspect of computer games.  I reveled in the shared sentiment of how video games (I know, us older folk say VIDEO....*computer* games then....) are not only an absolute waste of time, but are also to the detriment of the mind, body and soul.  When I see a male-child sitting on his rump, getting all bent out of shape about a computer game while he's quickly inputting "data" and valiantly obliterating every moving object on the screen I think..."Is this the best he can do with his time?"  Even more of a shame while his mother is washing his pants...and making his dinner, while the trash can overflows.  And while we need play as humans...what about playing WITH someone else?  Interacting IN reality?  Getting fresh air, Vitamin D...or, maybe helping your family with chores?

Oh, how I could go ON and ON about that...*sigh*...and we all get caught from time to time on the computer...hence why I don't blog every day.  Anyway, I wanted to sit down today and devour "Folks, this ain't normal" but decided instead to go outside and jump feet-first into my gardening.  It doesn't look like much now, but I started my first no-till "lasagne garden bed" right up against the garage wall.  It's a layer of wet cardboard to deter weeds, then grass, dry leaves and some top soil.  I have a lot of layering left to do, and since the water off the garage roof will drain water right onto the bed...I've decided to make it a flower bed.  I've got a pine tree to dig up, and a pesky lilac that you see sticking up by the corner of the garage.  Not only did it shoot out roots within 5 feet of itself in every direction, but when I kicked over the "dead" had termites inside.  Oh boy!

I've been "lamenting life in the city" lately...I know there's nothing I can *really* do about that right now except try to make what I've got look more like what I want.  Starting is always the hardest part...and today I stepped over that hurdle...

Friday, April 5, 2013

Fatbrain...this is for YOU!

That's right...I'm talking to you!  (You know who you are...) It's can ditch that high fiber cereal and have bacon and eggs for breakfast...cook it in butter, put cheese and avocado on top too!  I felt your "pain and loss"...all those mornings and no eggs, no bacon...I grieved for you.

(Holy Thursday...we had slow-cooked lamb, bacon and kale apple salad)

Your brain, which I believe to be a very good one, needs needs healthy fats.  Mary Enig's book, "Eat Fat, Lose Fat" was one of the first books on the subject that I read and it made a lot of sense.  (I have it if you'd like to borrow it)  And Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint is a great "paleo compromise".  While he has wonderful food recommendations, he doesn't go to seed on the food thing...he talks about other equally important things like sleep, and stress and play! And of course there's the scientific reasons that we should eat certain foods and avoid others that are toxic to our bodies, no matter what the food pyramid tries to sell us.  The Perfect Health Diet explains that to a T.   And back, back...WAY Dr. Price and his "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" where he studied primitive cultures to find out why they didn't have the diseases and death rates that modern men did.  Oh, that modern world!  ;)  The Weston A. Price Foundation says we can be "Happy, because we eat BUTTER".  It's so true.

There was a certain priest that we had around St. Vincent's for a while who used to talk about how evil things work into our lives slowly...that's how they sneak in without us noticing!  He had an analogy about someone sitting at a table, and if the table was just taken away, they would notice....but if the legs got shortened a little tiny bit each day, all of a sudden one day the table is GONE!  He equated that with how the devil operates.  And that's what the food industry has done...companies add a little more sugar into products every year...they tweak the "design" of wheat a little more here and there to produce more yield...they start using cheaper oils, the gradual change never registers until one day we read the label and, what junk!  One that I heard the other day was Kashi cereal (who claims on the box to be healthy!) who uses 3 different types of sweeteners so they are in smaller amounts and can be listed farther down on the ingredients list making you believe there's not a big pile 'o sugar...but rather, 3 types in smaller piles!   Things weren't always this way, the changes came slowly...and that's the best way to "send it back" to the food industry...slowly walk back to real food, back to farmers, back to ingredient at a time.

In related news....we're only into the first week of Easter and Lent seems so far behind me.  I think I ate my weight in einkorn chocolate chip cookies and honey caramels, and even though not a peep, or jellybean, or Cadbury egg passed these lips...I'm ready to detox from sugar!  Thankfully, I do not consider myself to be a person with sugar addiction, I used to be!  But yesterday, I saw the wedding cake all cut into conveniently snackable pieces and I wasn't interested in it at all.  I've passed many a birthday cake this past year, and the only thing I missed was an unnecessary insulin spike.  

I've come to believe that other people think I'm suffering greatly...while I actually see THEM as suffering.  I'm not a puppet to sugar or flour or Kraft or any of those things, and what other people see as an ooh-aah indulgence, I see as a set-up for a miserable, unhealthy, prescription drug supported future!  Plus, Word on the street is that our bodies will only take our sugar bombing so many times before it gives up waiting for eggs and bacon!  It doesn't bother me anymore when people give me the, "WHAT, no cake?!" face when I say I don't want any...but they'll get quite a different response when they try to "push their wares" on my kids.  Addicts want everyone else around them to be addicted too...misery loves company.  And for some when you "don't eat a piece of their birthday cake" it's like you refuse to commune with them. 

I used to be the one who would go to a wedding reception, suffer through the long-winded toasts and be impatient to get out of there but would suffer through it all just to get the wedding cake!  Fortunately, this wedding yesterday was quite pleasant and I was happy to be there, cake or no cake!  This time, Gen and I put a dent in the cheese plate and spent the rest of the time outside sitting in the grass soaking up the vitamin D.