Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mercury direct, December 29th 2010, Fairies and unicorns, monsters in the dark

Mercury stations direct today.  And then something wonderful happens. We have   1 whole month where ALL the planets are moving forward.  Its been a couple of years since this has happened.  So enjoy  the balance and freedom for a few days.  Saturn is the next planet to go retrograde at the end of January on the 26th. But its OK because this is Saturn's normal cycle.  It will feel like an old friend tapping us on the shoulder and reminding us of something we need to do.   We all get a month to plan  and put things in place without too many frustrations  before Saturn sets us to the day to day work of maintaining what we put in place.   Its not going to be  a time of fairies and unicorns and things magically happening (it might feel like it though).  Its going to be a time  of having our feet out of the mud.  That great idea that popped up a few months ago?  You can act on it now.   Cant find a job? You can now. Need an answer? You will get one.   This could prove to be a great time to be a grownup.  Things are still going to happen but we will be able to deal with them.... problem solve and so forth.  The last five months have been an obstacle course of  roadblocks, spiked pits and monsters in the dark..... for everyone.  Anything that has been held in check will be allowed to move at this time.  (even if something not so pleasant happens during this time you should be able to land on your feet).. You have until April , when Mercury RX's again for three weeks to readjust your course and then forward again. 
So, yes, you can come out from under the bed now.

Monday, December 27, 2010

zombie apocalypse survival kit, night vision monocular, rat poison, homemade body bag, Alien wars in our atmosphere, UFO detente

Okey dokey!  I'm back and relatively ok..... post holiday season.   But from now on I will no longer refer to christmas as  'christmas'.  One of my favorite bloggers  has dubbed the whole season chrisoween.  George over at can be a real hoot sometimes. 
Jimmy was the hero this season.  Now to tell you a little about Jimmy.... He is  regularly a crabby old man.  He was 23 going on 55 when we started dated dating.  His response to anything new is to be cranky, suspicious and acerbic.   He enjoys complaining almost as much as my mother does. But he hates it when I exhibit the same traits.  When my world goes awry enough for me to me to start talking about putting rat poison out for the neighbors or digging a hole in the back yard and moving into it. ...... He switches into damage control mode.  This holiday season was such a time.  So dearest love and heart of hearts.... searched the world over (our part of it anyway) to find the perfect gift to show me that if I bow to the prevailing  social paradigm and bend just a little... that Santa will bring me something nice.   In my stocking chrisoween morning was a  gleaming black night vision monocular that he finally found at a pawn shop. Why this particular item?  Because for the last two years I have been reading (on the net of course) about the UFO battles going on over our heads that can only be seen with night vision goggles.    Pure silliness...... I know.  But his plan worked.... I found myself on chrisoween morning  giggling like a 7 year old.   And I can say it was probably the first time since I was 7 that I ran outside in my pajamas on a Christmas morning to play with a toy Santa brought me. (it was 6 am and  an hour before sunrise, so still dark enough to play with it).   Just an FYI, the aliens above us must have been enjoying a yule ceasefire...... cuz I didn't see anything. But still ...sooooo....coolll!
What did I get Jimmy to show my love for him?  I made him up a Zombie Apocalypse  Survival Kit. It included a pickax, wind up radio/flashlight, magnesium fire starter, body bag and many more items of that ilk. He ,of course, insisted on trying on the body bag I made and then got stuck in it.  I can only imagine what  the Gladyse Cravitze  down the street was thinking as she peeked through her curtains at the two nutjobs on the corner running around the front lawn in a body bag  looking at the pre dawn sky and  laughing like maniacs.  Considering some of the other silliness Jimmy and I get up too ....She might be justified in thinking the crazy people on the corner bear watching.......for every ones safety!    

Saturday, December 18, 2010

100 year old Amish sugar cookie recipe, Christmas sarifice, Gift of the magi, social and economic obligations, air fresheners

Ok....So, I'm done with my three day silent temper fit over xmas.  Now I'm ready to grudgingly co-operate with the social an economic obligations of the season.  I have too. In a sacrificial  gesture worthy of the magi, Jimmy brought in scented candles and cinnamon pine cones.  He said maybe the traditional holiday stinks  would get me in the mood. To let you know what a magnanimous gesture this was on his part...... Jimmy hates scented candles , air fresheners and  that sort of thing.  After his sacrifice I had to bend just a little bit, so I hunted through all of my obscure cook books to find just the right cookie recipe.  My father gave me an Amish cook book  many years ago and I found the following recipe for soft sugar cookies.   It is a large recipe so if you need to make  a huge amount of cookies for some reason this is a great one to use.  The cookies? ...they are melt in your mouth yummy.   The only problem with the recipe is that it did not give an exact temp for them, it said 12 minutes at 350-400 degrees. It took three cookie sheets to get it right. 350 degrees  at 8 minutes was the  sweet spot.  Don't wait for the cookies to brown  they will be all dried out. Even if they don't look done, remove at 8 minutes.

100 year old Amish  sugar cookie recipe

1 pound butter
3 cups  sugar
4 well beaten eggs
8 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp soda
4 tsp baking powder
2 cups heavy cream
1 tbsn vanilla

Cream together butter,sugar,eggs and vanilla. Then add your cream slowly.  Then add all other ingredients. Roll out dough to about 1/2 inch thick and  cut  desired shape.  Bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees.  Do not over bake as this will dry out your cookies. You may need to experiment with the temp a bit as each oven differs.  

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lazy sunday, Purple and blue cookies, How could you do something so appalling? Flour sack cookie recipe, Seattle sand bagging

Rainy, floody, western wa.  So, what do you do when everyone around you is sandbagging their driveways?  Why..... make sugar cookies in your pajamas, of course.   That was yesterday..... We never changed out of our pajamas. Jimmy might have moved all of about 6 minutes between 9 am and 5 p.m. yesterday...How do I know this? Because every move he made disturbed my semi-dozing state.  I rousted myself  at about 3 o'clock  to go make cookies. But only because I wanted a cookie and for NO OTHER REASON.  In a fine nose snubbing of the holiday, I  made the frosting for them baby blue and purple!  Cuz I'm an artist and  they are MY cookies and  I can paint them any color I want.  Anyway.... no stirring could be found in the Frankie and Jimmy household  until 5 pm when the hyperactive neighbors showed up.  These enterprising folk were up and dressed and out of their house by the crack of noon for some frenzied xmas shopping. When we slowmo answered the manic  tapping of the door.... There they stood, appalled at the scene before them. Unwashed and undressed, sitting in a bed of cookie crumbs is how they found us.(shamelessly grinning from ear to ear no less) .  Waving her arms frantically the neighbor lady chirped "You haven't done ANYTHING all day?" I replied ..."I made cookies....want one?".  And then all hell broke loose..  OH MY GOD THEY ARE PURPLE AND BLUE!  THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE RED AND GREEN! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!?!?!!!!!!!!
And then she started to cry......ok..... not really, but she did look disappointed and in an admonishing tone of voice said "you are such a grinch."
I verbalized no response because the only thought in my head was  "really?... .. took you five years to figure that out?". 
I heave a heavy sigh here and hold the delightful image of the laziest Sunday in recent history.....Hoping it will be enough to get me through all the crap I have to get done today.
And just an FYI  for those who care. The recipe I used for the sugar cookies? .... I got off the back of the flour bag.  How lazy is that?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Xbox 360 Kinect as anti-aging device, xbox Kinect infrared, Infrared antiaging, infrared for plants. Amazing and fun wrinkle cure, Playing Kinect naked

Dear Microsoft....You are about to owe me one big-ass commission. 
Dear Ladies .... Get ready for the easiest and most fun anti-aging routine you have ever experienced.
Dear plant lovers...... get ready for your indoor plants to go full on jungle on you.

What am I talking about?    The infrared light used in xbox 360 kinect to track your movements.  Back when I was in the medical field we used infrared light for everything from wound healing to mood alteration to wrinkle cure.  There are many expensive  infrared light therapies on the market right now for anti-aging. The optimum word being expensive. They are expensive because they work.  They also take some patience to sit around doing nothing for  a half an hour a day,  so most normal folks, with lives,  who spring the whopper price eventually peter off in their usage. Do the research ladies.... you will see what I mean.  Wanna look younger and feel better? Soak up some infrared rays.

Plants need NIR for healthy  growth.  Indoor plants usually require some kind of  infrared lighting to maintain health and vigor  (too much and they will go into blooming mode, not enough and they get spindly).  This is a common and well known fact.

Stay with me....I'm getting to the point.

The Kinect floods the play space with  NIR. The infrared light is used to track our movements.  Its what makes the machine work. Knowing what I do about infrared...... from my medical days.... when Jimmy told me how the Kinect works and showed me  night vision goggle shots of the infrared rays shooting around the room.  I wondered if there would be unforeseen  (or at least unmarketed)  advantages of using the  game device.  So , I kept quiet for a month.........     Ladies...2 days ago my daughter said  "Are you using a new face cream ? 'Cause the creases around your mouth are going away"  What?" I squealed, and ran to the mirror to see for myself. Sure enough...she's right.  ( I trust her because she did not addend with a request for a loan from the bank of  mom&dad)  And an extra perk?  Those almost jowly things  on my chin are getting smaller.   I am usually covered from head to toe in clothing (not modesty... I get cold)....only my arms  and head are exposed. Even the skin on my hands and arms look better.  Now , maybe its just from playing the thing everyday and getting a lot of exercise, but I will keep watching.  If I keep seeing these results, I don't care how cold I am.... I will be playing the thing naked!

On to plants my Dieffenbachia,  which sits next to the sofa started crying about a week ago.  Dieffenbachias only cry when they are very, very, happy.  There are  also 6 brand new leaves forming......not bad considering it only grew 4 over the last year.  I will be  bringing in some new house plants and making sure they are in the NIR area. 

Between my morning  tai chi with  the fitness game and Jimmy   bowling with the neighborhood guys, We have been  exposed to the Infrared for a minimum of  2 hours a day  for the last month..  I  will keep you posted  on living in infrared light.   This bears watching. If anyone else has a Kinect and has noticed any of the above  please let me know...... 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Gulf of Aden Vortex, wikileaks, Christmas Sucks, Yes, I am CRANKY today. Christmas cookies made with chicken broth and garlic.

I keep waiting for new info on the Gulf of Aden Vortex.  But with the Wikileaks founder in custody I don't think he will have the time or interest in confirming/debunking  this one. Darn! I'm needing some 90's style escapism here. Christmas is looming like a big old black cloud  on the horizon.  All the neighbors have gone full on Griswolds on me. I cant sleep at night for all the twinkly lights beaming good cheer  through the cracks in the blinds of the bedroom window.  Anybody know where I can get some classic WWII black out blinds?  The nappy homemade dog/cat hair filled cookies and candy should begin coming through the door anytime now.  Crap!... Guess I'll have to fight back and make some cookies of my own to hand out.. In the true spirit of the holiday I'm gonna make sugar cookies with purposely overdone edges and waaaaaaay to much frosting.....maybe I will add a little chicken broth to them..... Hmmmmm there's an idea...I'll make them gross on purpose and stand there with a childlike  expectant look on my face  while they eat one.  Or maybe I will just make cookies so I don't have to hear it for the next 11 months.  I AM looking forward to putting the giant holly wreath on the door.  I figure if I make the front door all poke-y and dangerous then people will be too afraid to knock.
Yes... I am CRANKY today!  I tried for about the first 10 minutes to fight it and then decided to embrace it.  So..... BAH! HUMBUG!!!!!! and in the immoral words of my childhood hero 'The Grinch (the real one, not lame-ass Jim Carey one).... "I must stop christmas from coming"

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Crop Circles, Alien invasion, interdimensional visitors, HAARP, Orbital microwave laser

Crop Circles. Todays topic. 
NO.... I don't have anything better to do or  to think about today.   So today I will present MY theory on crop circles. For many years I thought crop circles were a hoax (and some were) Your standard  basic crop  'circle' is pretty easy to make with a piece of hemp twine and a long board.
 The Phenomena ,according to the INTERNETS began in 1966 in Australia.  For those of you out there who are dogs about sources.... I will tell you now that ALL of my information was gleaned from the internet cuz everyone knows that the internet is never wrong and this is the age of Mercury phosphorus..... The morning star of information. 
So, Australia 1966... not much happened for a while and then they started showing up more in the 70's.... pretty much still just circles at that point.  But then in the 1990's  the whole thing exploded.  Crop circles were no longer just circles, they started using complex imagery. Each circle became larger and more complex.  As they became more complex it became harder and harder to attribute them to a couple of drunk guys in a field one night.  Then video cameras got really cheap and everyone had one...which resulted in folks capturing crop circles being formed by bright 'balls' of energy ( giving rise to discussions of sentient St.Elmos Fire)... Go to you tube... there are several of them there.  The instant conclusion most jumped too was that the  'nice' aliens are talking to us and we are too stupid to understand the message. (I don't know about the rest of you...but when I'm talking to folks who  exhibit lesser intellect than mine I  dumb down my communication  so they can understand me).
The new millennium crop circles are mind boggling. There are geeks out there who dedicate their entire lives to interpreting them using sacred geometry, hieroglyphics,  pseudo- physics, numerology, channeling, bible prophecy and any number of other abstract methods of ordering the universe..
I'm pretty sure they are all wrong. Here's why.
One day in the deep of the winter while casually surfing the web I came across this site
This is a great site..... Its has the obligatory "THEY" are trying to communicate with us stuff  which is not remarkable in itself but what the site does have is a  fabulous library of crop circles all photographed and dated  ....documented crop circles going back years and a loose chronology.   It was the first photos  at the  top of the page that made me think .... "that is obviously a computer generated graphic" Then I scrolled to the bottom of the page and there is this great  grid of more than a hundred photos  of crop circles side by side......and a light went on.  Before we go any further I have to give credit to an ex boyfriend from the early nineties.  He drove me nuts by running a fractal program on the computer that would take hours to complete a graphic (it was the early days of  cumbersome, slow  pc's, that kind of wouldn't do much of anything other than word processing and we had to learn DOS to use it )   and lock down the pc so no one else could use it for hours at a time.  I was forced to watch these things form in my living room on a monitor.  So I recognise them  when I see them.  Looking at the grid it was obvious to me that these images are fractals.  And then I knew......Its us...we're doing it.  Its probably a gang of computer geeks sitting in a basement of the HAARP facilty  controlling a laser experiment from one of the many satellites orbiting the planet that we know nothing about.  This is some serious  technology  they are developing here and fine tuning (all the while reading the tabloids and laughing at the general populace who is attributing it to aliens and interdimensional travelers.)  The applications are I don't even have a word for it...everything from military  strikes to  changing the trajectory of NEO's  They have obviously been working on it since the seventies and made major  breakthroughs in the nineties. Now they are just fine tuning our orbital microwave laser. I don't know who is doing it but I suspect the military or a NASA offshoot..... Who knows could even be a telecom company.  What I do know is take away the impossible and the improbable and what remains is probably true.  While aliens and inter dimensional visitors are not impossible, they are improbable.  After discussing my theory with a few others here are some supporting thoughts.  1. Crop Circle Season: They really do show up mostly from April to August...Jimmy thinks this is due to the orbit of the satellite(s) and appropriate windows. Probably has something to do with positioning for solar power as well.  2. Mostly in England...Well they are our closest allies and we probably have a deal with them.  Either straight forward currency exchange for the rental of their country or a promise that we will use it to protect them since they they are an itty bitty land mass and  2 well placed nukes could probably wipe them off the planet.  3. Other areas......We have to make sure it is mobile and that we can use it anytime anywhere.  Areas less populated than wiltshire have probably been  targeted....  its just that no one has been around to see them. 4. Bait N Switch...... They get to work with almost no oversight because we  ordinary humans  like to think that some higher being is watching over us and grooming us for a polite meet & greet.
So, that's it...That's my theory. What do you think?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Backyard chickens, moulting chickens , molting chickens, chicks ,naked girls, nekked girls

My poor girls!  They are moulting (or molting if you prefer... both spellings are acceptable seems) and its the saddest looking thing in the chicken world. Photos below. They are all moulting, but one of the reds has gone into a hard moult.  My back yard is covered with feathers especially in front of the studio door cuz that's where they hang out waiting for me to emerge from my mystery cave... (its a mystery to them cuz they are...well...chickens).  They are now on a diet in which I have added high protein  cat food (recommended by other chicken owners and how- to sites)  because feathers are mostly protein and to grow back good ones they need lots of it. Don't worry I checked the label and don't use the stuff with chicken meal.  Not because I have an aversion to cannibalism , cuz I don't. But because I eat their eggs and I don't want to get some weird genetic mutation disease like mad cow.  Anyway, they have stopped laying completely to take their annual winter rest. I did some research to make sure they are getting proper care. The WA.Gov site said the better the layer, the harder they moult. So that's new info for me.  This is the third  seasonal moult that the reds will have gone through which means they have had a 30% reduction in laying since we got them.  It sadly means they will be rotated out this spring and new ones added.  RIR's , at their peak, lay about 230 eggs a year. Every year that drops off 10%..  I usually pay the $20 for laying pullets but I think this year I will get chicks..... Just because I want to play with them.Here's some photos of nekked girls. 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

100 year old Apple Fritter Recipe, quick and easy apple fritter recipe,

Jimmy has a new Kinect.  And all the guys in the neighborhood have been hanging out at my house to play it.
A few days ago I turned to Ida for a simple snack to feed them while they were Javelin throwing in my living room. I came across a fritter recipe .  Like all of Idas recipes, this one is very flexible.   It is also uber easy and fast.
After they were all exhausted and ready for their afternoon nap,  Jimmy said  "thanks for the fritters.... could you add more apples next time?".  So, the recipe below is the one I made.... but the next time I will add 2 cups of apples to make it even more ...... apple-y.

100 year Old  Apple Fritter Recipe

1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp salt
1/2 cupful milk
2 eggs
1 tsp oil or butter
3 tbsp sugar
1 cup diced apple

Beat eggs extremely well (until fluffy).  In a bowl, put your dry ingredients and mix them well, then add milk, butter/oil, eggs......Mix well until you have  a thick batter, then add your apples.
Heat your cooking oil to 350 degrees and  drop batter by spoonfuls into the oil.  (Don't make them too big or they will not be done in  the middle.  Watch them closely  and do not walk away while frying.  1-3 minutes on each side.  Remove from oil and lay on a paper towel or brown paper to absorb excess oil. 
They are ready to eat plain but you can sprinkle them with powdered sugar.
Also ... if you like you may add 1/4 Tsp  cinnamon to the recipe.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gulf of Aden Vortex, stargate, web bot, new conspiracy, aliens, ufo's, interdimensional visits, Physics experiment

My heart swells at the thought of a budding new conspiracy.   The gulf of Aden Vortex has shown up just in time... when we are all exhausted from talking about which friend or neighbor has lost their job or house or is sick and cant go to the doctor because they have no health insurance. We are all tired of being afraid of losing our jobs and homes. We are tired of being afraid that our food is tainted. We are sick of knowing that TSA is a giant step forward in a police state and there is not a damn thing we can do about it. Every step we take, every choice we make is being tracked by the bank cards we use , the internet sites we visit, the GPS in our cars and phones.  We're Screwed!  .... We KNOW it!  We REALLY know it....... So can we talk about something silly and completely unreal for a moment?  Can we take a trip back to the 90's when chupacabra, crop circles, the 2nd shooter, cattle mutilations, Elvis faked his death and alien abductions were all hot topics  ..... not because  we are gullible idiots but because  life wasn't that bad and we had time and energy and resources to dedicate to contemplating   a good mystery.  Our 'what if' scenarios  didn't include how to make a cardboard box  waterproof under a bridge or figuring out how to get black market antibiotics  for  a case of bronchitis.... because  a visit to a doctor costs a weeks wages for the simplest malady. So for just a few moments  lets get in the way back machine and pretend like the most pressing topic of the moment is  'what is going on in the gulf"  The Gulf of Aden ...not the tragedy and extinction level event caused by BP in the gulf of Mexico.
The Gulf of Aden Vortex.   So......... this magnetic vortex anomaly thingy, showed up in the Gulf of Aden in 2000,  discovered by 'scientists' (of course it was discovered by scientists cus a camel herder with 2 wives and 16 kids would have just said  to his camels  'huh that's wierd....wonder whats for dinner?' and wandered home with a good story to tell.)  Story goes that it remained relatively stable until  the web bots tipping point and then became very active even to causing anomalous earthquake swarms (possibly triggering the volcanic activity in Indonesia and even a few shakes in Yellowstone).  Supposedly  all the ships in the gulf of Aden, sent there to  discourage piracy and representing almost every country in the world, are really there to observe the phenomena and  to greet or battle whatever comes through the vortex, whether its aliens, time travelers or other dimensional demons or in one theory the return of the original  god RA (who, in this theory, was a girl).  It is said that wikileaks hold the classified info on all this and the guy is threatening to release it to the internet.  WELL HURRY UP ALREADY. So more information is due to be released.  In the mean time , speculation is rampant on what it is.  My favorite ....of course.... is that it is a real life honest to god .... STARGATE!  We stargate fans are so gasping for breath desperate  for  some gate action after the ending of SGA and SG-1  and the massive failure of  SGU to provide us with adventure, heroism and other worldly ...worlds.... that we have decided to just build our own gate, Cuz that's what Sam and Rodney and Jack would do, if they were in our situation.  
The collective mythos around this seems to be that the countries in attendance of this birth of new conspiracy are just as confused and befuddled as we are. None knows what this thing really is or what it is gonna do.  Which is, I believe, a projection of the archetype of chaos.   We the  little people who have been swirling helplessly, down the vortex of economic and constitutional  destruction for the last few years  are creating a scenario in which  the TBTB  are getting a taste of their own   (making up words again here) SUCKAGE!
We are just going to have to wait and see which aliens come through the vortex...... UFO's have been sighted in the area ...(sort of) , The colored swirls that have been sighted in the night sky across the world in the last few months have been attributed to it.. And someone started an internet babble about a  20,000 year old prophecy of some kind of 'earth gaurdian' coming through to come to the rescue. (more likely coming through to  harvest the human cattle they seeded that are now 7 billion  strong and decimating the  grazing lands). The prophecy is about an  'earth gaurdian'... not a 'people gaurdian'. We are the biggest problem  this planet has right now.  So the  'gaurdien' is coming to do WHAT?.... Think it through people!
So, all that said.... here is my two cents.... IF ....and its a really big IF there really is some sort of magnetic, swirley, sucky, thingy in the Gulf of Aden....WE DID IT.  With our satellites and cell phones and air conditioners and tvs and gps , jets, HAARP, radar ,CERN, wi-fi  and gazillion other ways we have screwed with the natural world, we did it.  This thing...if its real, screams  physics experiment gone horribly wrong.  Which brings us back to hubris. But Hubris is a topic for another day.   I was going to link to all the GOAV sites but then I decided that if you care... you can google it like I did.

Tommorrow I have a great recipe for Ida Baileys  Apple Fritters.  ALL  the boys in the neighborhood loved these. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Venus Retrograde 2010 update, Mercury retrograde December 2010

I know you are all feeling beat up from the Venus retrograde we just went through , but its time for another heads up... Not so extreme this time. This one is a tri-annual Mercury Retrograde.  Mercury rules all things communication, transportation, immediate environment, close friends,siblings: Day to day stuff if you will.  Normally I wouldn't even mention it but this is following on the tail of a very difficult Venus transit and  a lot of stuff stacked up on us. Little things we would normally deal with if we weren't so caught up in the VRX vise grips. Its hard to deal with that whining noise coming from the engine when all you want to do is drive the car over a cliff. That appointment you were supposed to write down but didnt because your heart was breaking..... or you didn't think you would be at the job long enough for it to matter?  Those things are now going to come back to bite you on the leg. Unless you start organizing and cleaning up now. You have until the 10th of December to take care of stuff. Get the car in the shop so you don't have to be towed  on the 19th.  Fix the leak under the sink so the kitchen doesn't flood after the 10th, right in the middle of your christmas party. You get the idea ...... Look around you  and take care of anything you have neglected to do in the last three months. And now for the biggie. This is falling at the worse time. Christmas shopping time. Even the most beginning of beginners in Astrology know not to make major purchases ... especially electronics, automobiles , plane tickets and that sort of thing during the Mercury Retrograde.  Normally its not  too much of an issue, you just wait three weeks, do your research and when its over go buy it.   But we are, en masse, forced to buy things we normally wouldn't every December.  Only advice I can give you is.... do your shopping between now and the 10th. No one wants tears and frustration on the morning of the big C.  So there's that.
Now For an update on the Venus Retrograde. The shadow period of the VRX gave us a glimpse of what was to come. The VRX gave it to us full monty.  Now we are in the look back period. We are shaking our heads and able to make decisions, but we wont be able to put it completely to bed until December 20th.  The uncomfortable itch left behind   might even hang around until January 8th. But when we wake up on January 8th we will feel as if the ground underneath us has changed. Attitudes will be different and the whole world around us will be in a different frame of mind. Venus has been in Scorpio since September 9. Venus usually spends less than a month in Scorpio each year.  So , four months is just exhausting.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

SNOWBAKE! Seattle Snow, New Kinect, Kinect Games, HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Today's Blog will be short because ... to be perfectly honest.....there is nothing new in my world  to blog about.The all consuming thing right now is the snow and ice up here. I already talked about chickens and their unhappiness annnd the stiff little sticks I once called a garden.
I told you yesterday that my neighbor is driving me nuts by running around wildly screaming 'SNOWMEGGDON! (or however you spell it... come on its a made up word) Last night he changed it up to 'SNOPOCALYPSE!'   In case you are wondering what the neighbors are doing at my house constantly .... Jimmy bought a Kinect.  Its the big neighborhood draw. They are all dropping by to look at it and ooh and awww over it. And no one is going to work cuz of the snow AND the holiday week.   So, for the most part EVERYONE I have seen in the last two days  are baking (and I don't mean pies and cakes) and playing  video games in between walks in the fluffy stuff.. So, I made up a name  of my own for the Thanksgiving storm of 2010........  SNOWBAKE!      (awwww come on... its funny!)  So, when it goes 'viral' on the internet remember..... you heard it here first!
Everyone have a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING... see ya Friday

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Backyard chickens in Seattle, Snowmeggeddon 2.0, Ax murder, Mr Heater, Kinect, Sci-Fi is here now, Xbox

OH Crap! ITS COLD!  Woke up to 6 inches of snow and 19 degrees. Like a real trooper I got dressed, made the girls a hot breakfast to warm 'em up and took it to them.  OH!!!!! they are mad at me. They think I did it. They wouldn't even come out of the coop to eat the leftover hot rice and a slice of corned beef I made them. For you backyard chicken folks  up here in Seattle.... Its a good idea to give them a warm breakfast when it gets this cold. Its helps to get their body temp up. Pretty much any leftovers you have... thrown in the microwave will do it....Anyways.... I had to shovel the snow out from under their little coop porch.(When we made the coop we put a 3 foot over hang so they could get out of the rain and snow.) And then shovel an area in their pen. Then I threw down some wood chip bedding under the overhang and dumped a pile of scratch.  It worked.... they finally came out when they figured out what I was doing. I'm going to have to monitor their water today  because the fresh water I put out an hour ago is already starting to freeze.  Elphie was brave enough to wander out in to the yard.... Maybe the others will follow her lead.  They might even discover that I am doing laundry today and hang out under the dryer vent. 
The garden... The brussel sprouts are going strong but everything else is frozen stiff.   Yep! winter is officially here.
One problem I have griped about for the last five years.... Not being able to work in the studio in the winter because its so cold. Jimmy solved the problem by getting me a  'Mr Heater'.  Some of you are going to say 'duh'  But for those of you who don't know  'Mr Heater' is an attachment ($19.95 at lowes) that fits onto the top of a  propane tank.  It puts out some serious  warm and cozy.  This is  a good solution  only because my studio is so well ventilated (which is why it is so cold).  I'm hoping I can avoid snowmeggedon cabin fever this winter because of it. (sorry for the use of 'snowmeggedon' but its been shoved into my brain by my neighbor who uses it in every sentence.  I keep trying to teach him other big words ...but he really likes that one) The last time we had a big freeze up here I almost  went after everyone in my path with an ax. Jimmy didn't do any better but at least he had his video games. This time we are prepared..... mostly.  Oh and Jimmy bought a Kinect to go with his XBox (he's such a junkie).... That thing is some serious sci-fi! I'm loving the bowling game and I keep  whoopin' Jimmy at it.  Ping pong is pretty good too.....Can you tell I like the sissy games?  Soooooo.... work to do, chickens to watch out for, games to play... shouldn't be too bad this time......right?........ right?????

Here's some pics of the girls.

Monday, November 22, 2010

TSA horror, stop TSA now, screaming 3 year old, strip search a child, TSA the Neo American S.S.

I'm not even sure how to begin this post.   I REFUSE to line up in an orderly fashion for the boxcars to the showers.  For my younger readers... that was a historical reference.  I'm talking about TSA or as I like to call them... The Neo American S.S. This crap has gone to far.  I've heard all the comments on how this is Obamas doing.... and the other side that says Bush started it.  Yes! Bush STARTED it! But Obama is not STOPPING it. Silence means consent.  The politicos role in this doesn't matter. What matters is that WE THE PEOPLE are lining up in an orderly fashion and doing what we are told. We are actively participating in the  loss of  freedom and the mutilation of the constitution.  TSA has become an entity unto itself. The head of the TSA has  said that regardless of the complaints  they will continue in this fashion.  They have made themselves the law, the judge, the jury.  My Luddite self has had a change of heart.  I now say  thank god for iPhone videos! Everyone please get one and record,record, record. Do NOT let this horror go undocumented!
Please watch these videos of TSA torturing babies
And please re post them where ever can


Sunday, November 21, 2010

The earth has gone to sleep, winter projects, shuttle, mastadon, cheesy historical romances, couples bonding, eating on the floor

Woke up to an almost unmentionable amount of snow this morning.  And while the snow is not worth talking about... The 5 minutes it took to let the girls out and scatter scratch for them taught me that I cannot tend the chickens in my bathrobe and slippers at 6 am anymore. Cold boys and girls.... Very cold!  But this is why  we do what we do in the most ancient sense.  The earth has gone to sleep for the winter and we are warm and cozy and well fed. Our activities have moved indoors.  Now we have time to do those sit-down things   for the winter......  A little couples bonding in front of the fire, some art, some sewing, crochet, cooking and a couple of writing projects for me..... (and some time to read  cheesy historical romances). A little home bound engineering for Jimmy.  He's been planning on rebuilding his mammoth computer during this time since June. It means we will be dining on the floor in front of the fire for a week while all usable surfaces are taken up by his carefully organised  bits and pieces. I cant wait to see what this thing will do .... Right now it sounds like the finished product  will out compute NORAD.  And of course he is back in the solarium working on that. " The Shuttle" as it is fondly referred to by the boys, was one of the best projects he's dumped money into in a long time. He's hoping to get more lemons and pineapples this year. We had to move the rubber tree  into the studio during the summer because it went from 1 ft to 4 feet in less than a season. It was really happy in there  ..... An ambient 78 degrees, humid and bright. Its a great place to hang out on these dark and cold days.
While the mastodon is in the living room in pieces , I am going to paint the computer room.  Yeah I know one is supposed to paint in spring and summer but  we  have to take the opportunities offered to us, even if they are not seasonal.  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

100 year old red cabbage recipe, old family recipe,

Cabbage: Undeniably the most humble vegetable you can grow effortlessly in your garden. It is sturdy, prolific, nutritious, stores well and a single head can feed the masses.  The ruling classes should drop to their knees and give thanks for cabbage. Cabbage is the reason the working class folks are still there to serve their every petty whim (potatoes run a close second).   On that note... tonight we are  having braised pork tenderloin  with  a family recipe for red cabbage that is  at least 100 years old.

100 year old red cabbage recipe

You will need 2 cups chopped red cabbage
2 tbs diced onion
1 diced  apple  (I recommend granny smith, but any apple will do.  Peal or not peal ..its up to you)
1 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs vinegar
2 tbs oil ( I like olive oil myself but I've experienced it with bacon fat and..  surprise its just as yummy)
1 tbs butter (optional)

Put oil (and butter)  in a skillet and heat it to medium  When butter is melted add all other ingredients and saute until onions are clear.
This recipe takes to canning very well without turning to mush... but I recommend  a pressure cooker for sealing as  a water bather does not get hot enough 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Venus Retrograde 2010, Venus retrograde results, Disturbed Muse, rocky resources, rocky relationships, what did you learn?

We are told its going to snow in Western WA this weekend. Duh... I could have told them months ago that Thanksgiving will be an 'over the river and through the woods' kind of holiday this year. Venus is readying to station direct on Friday the 19th. Yes boys and girls its almost over.  The  situations we have found ourselves in  since August  will finally BEGIN to resolve themselves. Life and love will again start to move will shake itself loose, relationships (whats left of them )will find a medium ground, that persistent cold will go away, the job will be landed and so forth.  All assuming that when  Venus cracked the dominatrix whip.... you did the work. But back to the snow.....  When Venus retrogrades it keeps the world in a sort of suspended pocket (for lack of a better explanation)  It creates the conditions it wants us work in and then holds them.  So when Venus finally takes off the ball gag and hand cuffs and says 'you can go now"  there is a need to get to a safe place  and resume normal functions.  While we have been distracted by all things  Venus-y, other work has piled up ... (Decembers 3 week Mercury retrograde will show us just what we missed while we were tied up in the basement) Weather conditions are not exempt. There will be some catching up to do.
On the 19th Venus will complete its mission to re-orient our relationships, emotions and resources.  Then we will have a few months to learn to live with our new head and heart spaces. We will once again be able to understand what is going on in our own head and hearts and possibly those of others.   And all those wonderful ideas that our disturbed muses thrust upon us during the retrograde? We will finally be able to sort through them and begin to turn the viable ones in to  master  pieces.
And please... don't forget to take a moment and examine the lessons that VRX was trying to impart.  Cuz if you don't.... You are doomed to repeat the class in 8 years.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Extinction level event, torturing baby girls, national security, Messenger from the Gods

So .... Sometimes things happen that are very confusing.  Yesterday I was working in the house and I noticed the usual background noise  from our little suburban  backyard mini farm dropped to nothing... so I thought I better go check.  I looked out the window and  a huge Blue Heron was hunched over my pond.  I grabbed the camera because this was an extraordinary event.  I managed to snap off 2 photos before it opened up into  a giant 6 foot wide  span and flew off.  I immediately checked the chickens and found them huddled in the coop looking at me  like "its about time you got here! DID YOU SEE THE SIZE OF THAT THING??????" Then I checked the pond and discovered that every single fish in it was gone.  Now, I know they are just fish... But they were MY fish.  I mean really MY  fish.  Jimmy and I bought them as feeder fish for the turtle and we decided to put some in the pond about 2 years ago.  They started out as tiny, barely visible  brown  specks and over 2 years grew into  4 inch,  gold and black, beautiful creatures. They were curious, friendly and interactive (which is what probably got them killed).  But even the stone cave Jimmy built them couldn't save them from natures ultimate fisherman.  So, I'm kind of mad about the fish.

On the other hand  One of the most stunning birds I have ever seen graced my  humble  space on this planet with its presence. A Royal visit if you will.  A royal visit which resulted in an extinction level event for my pond.  Had I not witnessed the event   we would have had a Roanoke type mystery on our hands .   And suspicions would have fallen on all present.   The chickens, the cat, the squirrels,and of course the local neighborhood raccoon, which is occasionally seen  but eludes capture, would have been looked at askance. The equivalent of the backyard Patriot Act would have been enacted to the detriment of one all. Freedoms suppressed, the innocent tortured for information and one and all feeling so victimized they would eventually rise up in revolt. Much  like what is happening in America these days, Please tell me you caught the 15 second video of the terrified screaming 3 year old girl being violated by TSA...... AND you are as horrified as I am by the realization that the land of the free has sunk to torturing baby girls in the name of national security.
But I digress and we have avoided that scenario in our private little space.  The Circle of Life goes on. New fish will replace the old  and perhaps someday  the Blue Heron, the messenger of the Gods, will be back.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Backyard chickens, fertilizer, organic weed control, Fresh free range eggs, gardening, composting, organic pest control, zombie cows

Its been a while since I waxed poetic about backyard chickens. But yesterday a friend  FB'd that she may be adopting a couple .  Then I remembered the excitement of our first flock. In the beginning it seemed like there was so much to learn and now its old hat.  Chickens integrated into our lives so easily I couldn't figure out why everyone doesn't have them..... especially gardeners. The benefits are many and the  drawbacks are few.   the first benefit of course is the eggs. Nothing tastes better than a fresh egg from a healthy free range  chicken and  the nutrition is very high. Grocery store eggs are an  average of 2 months old by the time you get them home. Many commercially produced eggs are as old as  four months before getting to your fridge. I don't want to eat old eggs. I'm not gonna. You cant make me.
Chickens are great gardeners. They forage through the yard and keep the bugs way down. They dig through garden beds all winter and keep the soil turned over looking for yummy things to snack on.
They dig up and eat your weeds. We have the most beautiful well fertilized lawn in our back yard. And all Jimmy does is mow. When we first moved in here the  lawn was a sea of  waving dandelions. Now after two wintered of free ranging the girls,  their scratching, aerating and pooing have left only the occasional weed popping  up.  And its all organic with no watershed damage. And we get eggs.
They love the compost pile. Year before last they took an  8 foot by 8 foot  area piled up 3 feet high  with organic materials and reduced it to  a stunning  rich garden bed ready for planting in 6 months. They did all the work between October and March while Jimmy and I were sitting warm and toasty in the house in front of a fire. And we get eggs.
They make great pets.  After a while they recognize you as one of their flock and treat you accordingly. They live well with cats. And as long as you have chickens.... crows and blue jays will avoid your yard and sparrows , hummingbirds and other songbirds will visit daily and play with the chickens. They  are a viable part of any backyard ecosystem.
And the poop. You will never buy fertilizer again and everything you pull out of the coop can be composted or used to make  'hot' beds for growing peppers and other vegetables that need warmer soil.

The drawbacks?  They get up at the crack of dawn.  They argue over the nests (even if you provide one nest per bird they will have a favorite and fight over it).  Any unprotected garden greens are just snacks to them. (we fence off the winter  beds when free ranging them.).  They will poop on the patio cuz they don't care. And they will hang out on the back porch  under the dryer vent in the winter to get warm.  And when it snows they will bitch at you like YOU did it to be mean. And when it rains hard they will give you dirty looks.   In the end they are delightful  creatures and provide a grounding  that one can only strive for in yoga class.
Now if I could just talk Jimmy into one of those miniature cows for the front yard! I just have to figure out a way that  mini cows could be useful during the zombie apocalypse

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Venus retrograde 2010, coping with Venus retrograde. Stop crying and create, Its almost over

Many letters, many tearful phone calls,  And some folks just showing up on my doorstep.  All of them asking the same desperate question.  When is it going to be over?    I wrote a response to  a very close friend this morning and realized after reading it that everyone could use this advice right about now.  So, I lifted and edited  a personal letter to a friend  and  I'm offering it to you as well.

The really nasty crap ends on the 19th but we get to revisit it in 'lite' form until after venus completes its transit over the point to which it went retrograde which is December 20th.

When Venus retrogrades... especially in Scorpio. We have to deal with our own subconscious crap, old worn out relational patterns (our patterns not others). Our own culpability if you will. After the 20th we will be offered a gift if we learned our lesson well. For most of us that gift... be it person, thing or situation has already been hanging out around us during the VRX, but we are so caught up in our own shit we cant see it. I don't usually tell people about this silver lining because they wont listen anyway. I mean... who listens when they are in pain or angry or obsessed ?

Whatever this Venus retrograde has brought  down on you.....Its meant as a lesson. The planets teach if we are willing to learn. The planet  Venus rules  love, money and art.  My best advice is to focus on a creative project. Get out those art supplies (whatever they are) And dive into it. Art/creativity is Venus gift to us. Its our 'out' when shit goes bad. Its the place to pour all those raw feelings so we don't implode when the universe is teaching us something. Art organizes feelings and manifests them externally so we can see them objectively (hows that for a definition of art that you wont get in art school) So, start writing, painting, sculpting, dancing or whatever you have used in the past as a creative outlet and don't put too many restrictions on it. That's the other part... It has to be something you have done before, something you already have a reasonable proficiency in because VRX wont let you start something new. Do this now  so when  the post venus retrograde gift  makes its self known, you will already have dealt with your baggage and can  start fresh , clean and relatively baggage free.
I know a lot of you are confused or in pain right now . I am doing the best I can to help alleviate it by giving you this advice.  Please take the advice. It is offered with love and good intent.

And I'm not just saying this to get everyone off my ass.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Web bots , tipping point, apocalypse, zombie lessons, RPG value, clif high, hard copy library, backyard chickens, TEOTWAWKI

Clif High of was giving an interview yesterday  on an internet underground radio station about the latest web bot predictions. Chilling at best.  I was involved in one of the most daunting tasks in our household......  retrieving and re casing all the DVD's and CD's we own.  When I was done we only had  about 15 DVD cases that were minus their innards. Fortunately Jimmy could account for all but one when  he got home. The CD's? Now that's a different story, Between 2 cars, the studio,the computer room, the living room and Jimmy's  shuttle/solarium  ....... god knows where everything is. But I will NOT  stop until every piece is accounted for and organised.  Even if that means  a pile for
'cant find the case" and a pile for  'Damn I really liked that CD... where is it?"  I worked on this tedious but needful process for a good 6 hours before I rolled over on the floor and gave in to pure 'where is waldo ' exhaustion.  But I digress....... I was listening to Clif throughout this entire process and in an attempt to distract myself enough   from the tedium and frustratration  of the chore to keep going I made lists in my head of all the things I have done that will save us  from clif's coming TEOTWAWKI apocalypse.

Yes Clif,  I was listening  when you said either way  the web bots are offline for a while whether you are right or wrong because  the web bots are no longer a hidden observer.  So I feel safe referencing the bots.  I've been reading the bots since they first came on line waaaaay back.  And I understood  from the beginning  that referencing them would create a feedback loop and compromise future runs..... At the very least, magnifying the  linguistic  values of any possible  event or on the major downside  creating totally  fictional scenarios  that build on themselves by virtue of participation like the classic children's game of sitting in a circle and whispering something to the first person  and watching how it changes from the original speaker to the end announcer.  That said I now feel at liberty to blog about it  since you said you were done for a while.

Now , while I really hope we will get  the equivalent version of 'webbots lite'  due to the aforementioned  feedback loop.... Clif has had a great record for accuracy. 
I will be the first to admit that this latest prediction has made me a little nervous and my first response was OMG ... But then in true Frankie Fashion I resigned myself to the idea that everything was going to go to shit so I better  have a plan.
I did the    'what do I have.... what do I need' list thing.

Fortunately I have been living with Jimmy's Zombie Apocalypse obsession for a very long time and have on several occasions turned it to my advantage.  Like the time I convinced him we needed a high quality dutch oven to survive the zombie days. Or when I explained to him that chickens would be a great subsistence food source   and alarm system..  You get the picture?
By indulging his favorite RPG on a real life scale, we are actually pretty prepared for a run of  'jesus this sucks!'
We have a three months supply of basic food stuffs: flour,sugar,salt , baking powder,yeast,cooking oil,  canned milk and so forth.
We have  a winters supply of canned goods.
We have  a pretty decent winter garden of high vitamin brassicas and hardy greens
We got chickens and eggs,
We have jars and jars of herbs, spices  and medicinals and sturdy resources for more
We have classic hand tools and my great grandmother's treadle machine
four cases of candles left over from my neo hippie commune days
Enough homemade wine and other assorted hooches to take the edge off for years (and to barter for the toilet paper we are going to need)
A seed bank
a winters supply of firewood
a garage full of odds and ends of needful things.
But the best resource we have is a library of books we have actively collected over the years on DIY ....
books on gardening, soapmaking, medicinals, animal husbandry,sewing, canning, cooking, carpentry, distilling (gonna come in handy when the water supply is tainted).  Any classic home art you can think of and all from pre-electricity experts.   When we were collecting all these ... plenty of folks laughed and made commentary of the availability of info on the internet (some folks are not going to adjust well to being flung into the dark ages if clif is right)
If Clif is wrong.... Whats all this for?   Add  a little electricity, a great partner to share all this with and you get a pretty high quality of life.  So, thanks for the heads up clif  but even if  TEOTWAWKI never comes to pass in a lightening flash.... Jimmy and I are going to keep the Artisan Lifestyle alive.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Roasted Apples recipe, Roasted apples for two, very easy, Masala lamb companion, Happy Backyard Chickens, Seattle Firewood

We  winterized the yard during the creepy,  sunny, warm weather last week, put up a cord of firewood (OMG getting firewood delivered in Seattle was an exercise in patience!) , netted the winter garden beds and let the chickens ( happy happy backyard chickens) out to free range the yard.  The day after we finished all the work, the skies opened up on us.  We moved indoors  and had the first fire of the season in a well cleaned fireplace.  All is cozy at Jimmy and Frankies.  To make it more cozy I wanted to do a dessert  that was light and would follow  roast lamb. I also wanted to use the oven since I was already roasting a lamb.  I had about  a dozen apples sitting in the crisper for going on a month now (there were a lot more cuz Washington IS the apple state, but apple sauce, apple bread, apple jelly,  caramel apple dip and sliced apples sprinkled with lemon has brought our fall apple share down to  a manageable level) I opted for roasted apples... not baked,... big difference. 

These were a great companion to roasted masala lamb and  a good palate cleanser.
Super simple, Super easy!

Roasted apples for two

3 or four apples washed and sliced in half
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch allspice
pinch powdered clove

Preheat oven to 425 or 450
Mix sugar and spices well in a large bowl.
Put in apples and toss til they are covered with the sugar
place apples in rows  in  sided baking dish
sprinkle remaining sugar over apples
place in very hot oven for about twenty minutes or until very lightly browned on top
Important: don't put your apples in until oven is up to temp or you will get mush


Friday, November 5, 2010

Backyard chickens, winter gardening, Eerei Seattle weather, rites of passage, stations of christ, multi-purpose fencing, chicken tractor

Wednesday Jimmy and I took advantage of the eerily summer-like  weather we are experiencing here in Seattle and  'winterized' the yard.  We covered  the winter vegetable beds  with netting  and the main one  with our multi-purpose  6x6x4 ft chain link fence.  The multi-purpose fencing has been great. One of my friends mothers bought it... never used it and kept it stored in her garage for close to 10 years.  She passed it on to us after a  frenzied garage cleaning.  She asked if we 'might' find a use for it.  In the 4 years we have had it, its been a chicken tractor, a greenhouse (we wrapped it in 6 mil visquine and put it over the garden bed)  containment area for visiting pets,  containment area for  integrating new chickens into the flock, a summer chicken run and now its Mr McCregors garden fence to keep  the local wild life off the spinach, lettuce and collard greens.
We trimmed back all of the bushy type things around the house including the roses and butterfly bush.  I'm not sure why they call it a bush..... cuz the thing grows about 8 feet every year.  If we didn't trim it to 2 feet every fall it would go full on Feed Me Seymour on us!  We dumped the soil from most of the patio pots into the garden beds  so the girls could scratch it all under and poo on it over the winter.  Stored all the odds and ends that get scattered about the yard during the summer. Then we repaired or patched any escape hatches in the fence the girls might use in their quest for ultimate adventure.  Then in a ritual moment that could only be called a rite of passage we opened the pen and let the girls out to free-range the back yard for the winter.  They filed out one by one silently with their heads high.  Jimmy and I pulled out the lawn chairs  and watched as they slowly promenaded to each of their favorite spots in the yard.  It was like watching the acknowledgemet of the stations of christ at an easter pageant.  They spent about 5 minutes in each area before moving on to the next.  The whole thing took about an hour before they concluded that the opening day parade was over and gleefully headed into the brussell sprout bed  for a little lunch.  For anyone considering putting in a backyard flock.....  we leave the brussell sprout bed open  because the girls eat and trim the leaves,  munch on any and all bugs, worms and snails that might eat your crop and leave the sprouts completely alone. Backyard chickens are the best addition to  a garden.   We let them free range  fall, winter and spring,  They keep the garden beds dug up, fertilized  and turned over for us.  They dig through and turn over everything in the compost pile  (this is their favorite place to play). They keep the bug population  down so far that it is hard to find a snail in our garden. They aerate and fertilize the lawn and keep the dandelions at bay.. Altogether, they are a hard working bunch of girls. And the proverbial icing on the cake?   They give us free eggs!   

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

100 year old tomatoe bisque recipe, Ida Bailey Allen, Depression Kitchen, Home grown herbs

Its just an Ida Bailey Allen kind of day.  I found this blog on 'depression kitchen'  that features Ida
I am now a follower.
Dinner tonight will be Idas Tomato Bisque with homemade foccaccia bread and a salad from the  fall garden

100 year old Tomato Bisque recipe

3 cups stewed sifted tomatoes (I'm gonna puree with the food processor)
1/2 tsp baking  soda  (to lessen the acidity)
3 cups scalded milk
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 tbsp flour
3 tbsp butter

Mix baking soda into tomatoes and set aside.  Put butter and flour in a saucepan  on medium and stir til melted together. Add milk, salt and pepper and bring to a boil, stirring constantly for 5 minutes or until  milk thickens. When milk is thickened  add tomatoes and mix thoroughly. Serve immediately.

I'm going to add  a tablespoon of basil  since I went to all the effort of growing it, drying it and storing it.  Ida recommends adding a bay leaf and one slice of diced onion if you have it.  I'm going to add these three in the butter and flour and sautee' them before adding the milk.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Great Halloween, Shoreline Fire Department, Sewing, Antique train, Depression era Goverment issue manuals

Whew!... That was a lot of work!  But another successful Halloween is now behind us. The show was great, The kids were happy. The parents were happy. We were happy.  The fire department was happy.  Yes the fire department showed up and Jimmy and I thought we were in trouble cuz we had smoke and fog rolling all through the neighborhood.  No worries though... they just stopped by our house to hand out candy because they saw the group of 30 or so kids at our door. Kudos to the Shoreline Fire Department for public relations work.
We did a 'Cowboy' theme this year.  Tumbleweeds, vultures, cow skulls, dead cowboy with arrows sticking out of him and at the last minute .....  Jimmy made an Awesome locomotive train  in about 2 hours out of pvc, black visquine and a planting pot from the back yard. It rocked!  Once it got really dark the black disappeared and only the outline, fluorescent paint and back lit smoke from the smoke tower  showed so it was a rockin' ghost train! I did get some pictures... Once again the photos are not great but they will give you an idea.
Today we are back to real life. We have to tear it all down , recycle, and store the usable stuff. Then we have to stack a cord of wood in prep for the cold snowy winter the Old Farmers Almanac and the local weather guys are predicting. Then I have to clean the studio after the last minute frenzy of work and get it ready to get back in there and do  some ' fine art'.  We did all the sewing for the costumes in there and I am always surprised  at the mess sewing  makes.  I guess if I used patterns it wouldn't be so messy, but I don't.  So, it is.  Check out Jimmy's vest and my skirt. I designed and made them both. Maybe in my next blog I will talk about  all the great depression era, government issue, how to, materials my Grandmother saved for me. They might have seemed redundant in 1935 when everyone knew how to sew,can and garden... but in 2010 when basic survival skills are going the way of  dinosaur..... they are priceless!


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Venus Retrograde, Peak Point, October 29th, Be Cool in the classic sense

Just a quick update on the Venus Retrograde.  Peak Point.... The Sun/Venus RX conjunction is this Friday the 29th. Most of it was covered in this post about the VRX

But 6 weeks is a long time to remember something when a personal planet is retrograde.  Try not to freak out or lose your cool.  Its retrograde for EVERYONE so even though you may be living through your own  personal weirdness and possible  hell......... the other parties in your sphere are too.  Adding costumes and masks to an already charged situation will make this retrograde particularly potent Whatever area has been driving you nuts and making your reality prickly will come to a head this weekend.... then 3 more weeks and you're in the clear. That said...... Don't do anything stupid this weekend and don't make choices you cant get out of later. And Ladies especially.... don't make unsafe choices. Stay in well lit areas and for God's Sake.... don't meet that internet guy for the first time.  This is a dangerous time for  iffy sexual liaisons... Parents... keep a close eye on your kids  (especially your girls)  It will probably be a weekend of accidents and fights  and other..... well..... unsavory things.
Grown-ups.... consequences for loosing your shit will be difficult and costly to reconcile   when this is over.  As Sondheim put it so well in song.... "Be Cooley Cool Boy!"

Sunday, October 24, 2010

100 year old Cornish Pasties recipe, Ida Bailey Allen, left overs, Cooking for two, recipes for two, pork tenderloin

Cooking for two can sometimes be a real challenge. It takes some serious meal planning. Its not too hard with a twenty minute meal like pork chops or pasta... But when you want a roast (beef or chicken or tenderloin) it gets tricky.  Its nearly impossible to get a 10 oz beef roast.  When going for a food you know will have leftovers , the leftovers should be planned for. Ida Bailey Allen has a whole section for leftovers.  Tonight we will be having roast pork tenderloin.  Tomorrow I will use the leftover tenderloin to make Ida's Cornish Pasties.  I love this recipe and so does Jimmy.  Once cooked, the little pasties can be frozen for a quick meal at a later date.

Cornish Pasties

2 cups cold cooked diced potatoes
2 cups cold cooked meat
1/2 small onion,diced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Pie crust (as I said in a previous post..... I make nappy pie crust, so find a recipe from a RELIABLE source)

Mix potatoes,onions,meat, salt and pepper together in a bowl.
roll your pie crust thin and cut into 4 inch squares.
Put a spoonful of the meat mix in the middle of each square. 
Wet the edges with water or milk and fold them over the meat mix.
Brush the sides with milk or water
place on a greased flat pan and bake for 20 minutes.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Halloween Production, You damn kids get off my lawn

We are nearing Halloween and the BIG production. Other people 'decorate' for Halloween... not us. We are compelled to put on a production worthy of Ziegfeld!  We spend July and August planning, September and October building the pieces for it. Will you ever see us in the news? No! Cuz we put it all up at 10 am  October 31st and tear it all down November 1st. Cardboard, paper mache,chicken wire and duct tape painted with fluorescent colors, is what it is made out of. During the daylight it looks cheesy and cheap (cuz it is). But add 2 fog machines, some black lights, a strobe light , strategic eerie green lighting behind the fog, loud creepy music and when the sun goes down... TAAA DAAA!  4 hours of shrieking trick or treat madness ensues.  We do it for the neighborhood kids.  Its the one night of the year when we let  the little monsters in the yard AND we are nice to them. It makes up for the rest of the year when Jimmy is on the front porch shaking a stick and yelling YOU DAMN KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN! Seriously , I don't know why the neighbors think  I should think their kids are as precious to me as they are to them. So, we make one gesture a year to keep them at bay for the other 364 days after that   And maybe because Jimmy is secretly proud of being the 'cool' 'Halloween Guy'.  Ok.... Fine..... Its FUN!

Here's soem photos of last years set-up.  Sorry, no night photos, they all turned out bad.  When Its all over and the fog machines are boxed up and put away for another year. I hope to post some picures of this years big top show.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Candied Carrots Recipe, chick day, cleaning day, storing dried herbs, Boardwalk Empire, Steve Buscemi

Sunday was a chic-a-rific day with the good typist: astrology,massage, hot tub, art, poetry,dinner and fine fine fine girl talk.  So yesterday I had to make up for all the work I didn't do on Sunday. I woke up early, cleaned the chicken coop, dug up what was left of the potatoes in the garden, cleaned the back  yard, cleaned the house,dressed and stored all the herbs I hung  3 weeks ago, made Jimmy his pudding in his little pudding cups, got all the laundry done and made fried breaded pork chops with green beans and candied carrots for dinner, then sat down with Jimmy and watched Boardwalk Empire.  Jimmy and I don't watch a lot of TV, but what we do watch we really enjoy . Shows we are currently watching are Madmen, Dexter, Supernatural (gotta have my weekly monsters) and now Boardwalk Empire. Steve Buscemi is brilliant as always and the show is very well written ,directed and produced. So, we will be following this one as long as it stays quality.

Whats that you said? Candied Carrots?

We have a gazillion carrots in  our garden right  now (thank you extended summer).  If you have an orangy abundance as well, you might like this simple recipe

Candied Carrots

4 large carrots cleaned and sliced
1 small onion diced large
3 tablespoons diced parsley
2 pats butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 or 3 tbsp turbinado (depends on how sweet you want them)

Mix vegetables and parsley in a  baking dish, Lay on the the butter pats, sprinkle the sugar over all the carrots, drizzle the olive oil over it , bake covered  at 350 degrees..  until carrots are tender (about  20 or 30 minutes)  then uncover and allow to very slightly brown (about 10 minutes). I usually bake it til the onions caramelise a little.    

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Home made pudding, pudding bowls, Made In USA, Anchor Hocking, Domestic Dispute

Jimmy complained (quick... everyone look surprised!) about the homemade pudding I made last week. Not about the pudding but about the way it was served. I made it, poured it into a bowl and put in the fridge to cool. At serving time I used a large spoon to dip it into smaller bowls and  put a little whipped cream on each one.  This  according to the gospel of Jimmy was wrong.  His mother ALWAYS  poured pudding into  small individual containers for cooling and service.   We all know my only purpose on this planet is to make Jimmy happy, so I started keeping an eye out for appropriate 'pudding serving' bowls. ( this is the place where everyone should applaud my self control and attempts at compromise cuz my first instinct was to get one of those instant pudding things in the little plastic cups and  throw it at him........ cuz he should have said "Thank you my dearest soul mate for making me homemade pudding! It was so kind and gracious of you to take time out of your busy day to consider  my petty wants").
Domestic dispute aside, I did indeed find the perfect  'pudding serving' bowls  at , of all places, my favorite organic food store.  They had a 16 piece bake ware set by Anchor Hocking and it came with  four large custard cups with lids as well as an 8 inch baking pan which I had decided I needed a few weeks ago . All for the low price $19.99.  Normally I pass up these end cap deals but the glowing 'Made in the USA' stamp caught my attention.   I have a set of Manchester drinking glasses I bought from them five years ago (made in USA also) that have taken our baboon-like treatment and are still intact with no chips or flaws. (One of these spent  a winter on top of the chicken coop, exposed to extreme weather conditions for 5 months. When I finally found it, I brought it in the house, washed it and it continues in service to this day with no apparent compromises to the integrity of the glass)  
I did some research on Anchor Hocking and while they do 3  outsourced lines (which I will not be buying) Most of their products are still made in Ohio and Pennsylvania by folks right here in the USA.  A happy ending to what otherwise might have been a tragedy. Jimmy gets his  special pudding bowl and I get Made in USA quality kitchen ware. ................ And they lived..... Happily Ever After 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hot spice wine recipe, build your immune system, Grandaddy's recipe, homemade wine, moonshine, hot toddy

Tis the season.... here in the pacific northwest anyway....... Its cold , its rainy, its gray.  Cold season is about to begin and anytime we leave the house we come back chilled and damp.  The Artisan answer? Hot spiced wine. Takes the chill off, relaxes everything and builds the immune system!  Not only is it comforting... its 'medicinal'!
I'm always passing on Granny's recipes so today I thought I would give Granddaddy the spotlight.  This recipe is best when using a bottle of homemade wine but pretty much any wine will work. Moonshine will also work but it needs a little twist of lemon

'Medicinal' Homemade Hot Spiced Wine

1 bottle homemade plum or apple wine
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp whole clove (if using ground clove knock this down to 1/8 tsp)
1 tbsp sugar or honey

Take 1 cup of the wine, put it in a small saucepan, add cinnamon, clove,sugar or honey and boil for five minutes. Pour boiled wine back into bottle, give a tiny shake. Pour hot spiced wine into your favorite glass, curl up in front of a fire and sip slowly.

Grandaddy called this a hot toddy
To spice moonshine You will need 1/2 pint jar of moonshine. Pour 1 shot into a saucepan with 1 cup water, juice from 1/2 a lemon ,sugar,cinnomon,clove and follow process from above.  I recommend you take this in  very small quntities cuz it packs a seriously eyecrossing punch! 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

100 year old pickled beets recipe, pickled beets recipe, miracle food, diet aid, fat melter, lower your blood pressure naturally

Pickled beets.  Jimmy and I have had many discussions around this humble vegetable. I grew up eating my grandmothers pickled beets from a simple recipe taught to her by her mother. So, I love them. Jimmy grew up with an occasional offering of pickled beets which were commercially produced. He hated them. Notice I used the past tense?  It took me years to get him past  "EEEWWWWW beets are gross! They taste like dirt!".  He wouldn't take so much as an experimental bite.  He finally cracked and took a taste and now he's hooked.   I will be the first one to admit that commercially produced pickled beets are indeed gross. Commercial  picklers want a product instantly. Thier process.... cook 'em...add some vinegar.... throw 'em in a can... sell ' right up there with Thunderbird 'fortified' wine in the nasty categories.   Home canned beets on the other hand take a good 4-5 months to cure.  3 months  at the minimum.  But the benefits are are amazing.  Once a beet has cured properly the taste changes significantly.  And beets are the miracle food everyone is looking for. Adding  pickled beets to your diet on a regular basis will cut cholesterol, give you beautiful skin, lower your blood pressure (one of THE  best natural remedies for high blood pressure out there) and keep you skinny.  Ever wonder how our grandparents ate fried foods daily without ballooning up? Pickled beets.  Eat a few bites of PB with your fried chicken and gravy and enjoy your meal guilt free.  The antioxidants in  the beets and the apple cider vinegar help your body to metabolize the fats you need and get rid of the rest. For centuries beets were used as a medicine and not a food. They were prescribed for  'blood' problems.  I'm not going to go into the whole medicinal history of beets or apple cider vinegar (cuz you have the internet too and are smart enough to do the research)   I will say the combination of the two is a power house of health  benefits and properly prepared with time and love are tasty as well .

So, Here's Granny's easy recipe for 6 pints of pickled beets

5 pounds beets, scrubbed and trimmed. Leave 1 inch of the tops and leave on the taproot.  Put in large pot of cold water and set to boil. Let boil for twenty minutes.  Pour into collander (I just dump mine in the sink) run cold water over them and let cool for about 20 minutes. Cut off tops and taproots and slide off skins. Quarter and pack into sterilized jars. Put 1/2 tsp pickling spices in each jar.  Pour hot vinegar solution over them , seal and water bath for 20 minutes.  Put in cool dark place for 90 days.

Vinegar Solution

5 cups vinegar
2 cups water
1/3 cup sugar (I like turbinado)
1/2 tbsp salt  (I like sea salt)
five large cloves  of garlic
3 tbsp of pickling spices (McCormicks works great ) Put the pickling spices in a tea bag or tie them in a coffee filter for easy removal
Simmer solution for about 20 minutes.
Pour over beets packed in Jars

A Note: Many recipes call for using the water from the boiling of the beets. Don't do that. Its where a lot of the 'dirt' taste comes from. My grandmother says this comes from  people in dry areas who needed to save every drop of water. It became very common practice during the dust bowl era.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A day in the Artisan Life, Etsy (somebody buy something please), wake up the chickens, adventure at Joannes fabrics, aggressive relaxation, xbox 360 Borderlands, pickled beets, good wine, good food, good conversation

So, sometimes I have these days that are a deconstructionist's fantasy montage. Yesterday was one of  those.
5:45 am Up and refueling with a cup of Browns Mexico coffee (Jimmy likes new world products, I prefer Ethiopian) Sometimes I like to get the drop on the chickens and wake THEM up!
6:03 read internet news ( a daily occurrence)  checked email and various favorite sites.
6:30 listed a painting on etsy. Seriously, somebody buy something!.... my studio is overflowing!
7:00 Answered some emails
8:00 - ish Jimmy finally crawls out of bed (I let him sleep cuz he had a hard night of  xbox 360 borderlands)  I read a swillish historical  romance for the next half hour with my final cup of coffee and do a breakfast thing.
8:30 Cleaned kitchen
9:00  Cleaned chicken coop and retrieved yet another egg from the floor. After we hyper cleaned, debugged and winterized the coop 3 weeks ago (which included debugging the girls) The girls started laying on the floor of the coop. Cant seem to convince them to get back into the nests.
9:30 Cleaned and pickled 5 pounds of beets
11:45 finished beets and went with Jimmy to get lunch and then a trip to Joannes fabric for halloween and basic sewing supplies.  This was the roughest part of the day cuz tis the season at Joannes.  Wile I was comparing  threads and looking for appropriate machine needles I left Jimmy at the pattern book table to search for  a chaps pattern. Here it gets sticky cuz he was complaining long and loud about the primitive search  through books.  He thinks it should all be computerised. He wanted to be able to put in his search parameters and have everything pop up on a screen.  He pissed off all the little old ladies and one young hipster chick with his  bitching. I arrived back at the table just in time to stop a flash mob and save his life. Then..... had to listen while we stood in line for 20 minutes to get our fabric cut... and .... all the way home..... about how he dug through every pattern book, wasting a half hour of his life only to discover that Joannes had NO chaps pattern. The whole trip was exhausting!
2:30 We arrive home and I now need some ME  time (thank you Joannes for being designed to annoy men past enduring them).  Even though it is not yet grooming day I decide to mask, exfoliate, remove some fine excess facial hairs and do some tapping and qigong while listening to Steven Halpern balance my chakras with the assistance of  a stick of dragons blood.  Jimmy actively avoided coming in the house while I aggressively 'relaxed' for an hour (sometimes he shows great wisdom)
3:30 Made a sweep of  the house with a quick run of the vacuum and began to feel a bit more charitable towards the world
4:00 Put newly pickled beets in the canned goods section of the garage and started   a batch of homemade bread for dinner. Went out to my  'winter' garden and pulled some baby greens for salad.... effectively thinning the lettuce as I went.
4:30 Worked on some studies while the bread rose
5:00 The house smells great, I look great, I have accomplished  enough today to make me feel productive so I invite Jimmy to choose a bottle of wine and proceed to  actively work on a delightful pasta dinner
6:00 pm Dinner, wine and good conversation (with gratifying appreciation from Jimmy  over the homemade bread and home grown salad)
8:00 pm dishes are done, pajama pants donned, and we settle on the couch under the handmade afghan with the rest of the bottle of wine for two hours of selected programs (Boardwalk and Dexter)
10:30 pm Crawl into bed and read more of swillish historical romance before  heading into the arms of Morpheus.
  Yep!  Just a day in the Artisan life

Friday, October 8, 2010

Stargate Universe epic fail, SGU ratings tank, kill them all and start all over,season 2 episode 2 review, Bye bye Stargate,

For years I've been a big ole stargate fan.  What does this have to do with artisan lifestyle? Nothing. I just like the shows... until now. Stargate Universe.... is an epic fail.Why do I care? Because I enjoyed the first ten years of the  'franchise'.  If this had been a brand new  show,  I wouldn't have bothered with it past season 1 episode 4. But because they slapped the moniker stargate on it, I watched  it a lot longer than I would have.  Jimmy and I sat there last night and sighed heavily as the tedious characters on this show yammered away about tedious topics.  The situational opportunities  to be deep and profound were completely lost in the bad writing. Seriously.... is anyone on the writing staff of this show over 17?  And the crying?  jesus with the crying.... stop it already.  I don't like any of you enough to care! ( Just so you know this critique is not aimed at the actors, They are doing an amazing job with some truly crappy writing.)    The only good thing about last nights episode was the absence of sobbing inanities from the senators daughter. The drawback ?.... one or two episodes from now will be a whole hour of sobbing, babbling senators daughter.   The premise of this show is" these are the wrong people  in the wrong place". You are right about that SG producers.  It could have worked if you had followed through with what really happens to people who are untried, untrained, immature, completely self absorbed and have no self mastery at all.  They either learn fast and grow up quick or they die.   The only way to save this show now is to start killing off the main characters each week until only the strong, capable and willing to learn are still standing. Start by killing off Telford and Young. That will give Scott a chance for personal growth.  Then choose... Rush or Ely... cant have them both. I recommend  keeping Ely because he has the  potential to grow into himself.  Kill or ascend Chloe, she is a useless distraction and brought zero skills with her. Keep Greer, he's the only one who gets it. Then give his leash to Scott to keep a little control on his anger issues.  Put TJ in the infirmary and don't let her out. Jettison the stones and the Aleutian alliance (why did you need to introduce more extraneous characters when you already have a ship full of people you don't know what to do with?) Then start slapping anyone who sheds a tear because after a while.... crying is just self indulgent and gets really old and stale. Especially when its a daily occurance.  That said , Mallozzi already told fans "if you don't like it, don't watch it."  So , I guess I will do what he suggested and not watch it.  A lot of other fans must be taking his statement to heart as well cuz sgu is tanking in the ratings game........ Bye Bye stargate (sigh)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Feng Shui, art studio, bagua map, fountain, new wall lights, everything in its proper place, steven halpern, great results

I Feng Shui-ed the studio a few weeks ago. Actually I'm still doing it. Its an ongoing process. Its so much better out here (I'm doing this in the studio today cuz jimmy worked from noon yesterday til 5 am and I'm trying to keep everything as quiet as possible). I surfed up a bagua map ........ had great advice and help from feral Jane and the Good typist.and  tore up the studio for 2 days to make it match up.   My Studio door faces the east which is a good thing.  Straight across from the door is the very open entrance to the garage and all kinds of piles of crap.  I closed that off using just plain cardboard and painted with leftover white paint  from when I painted the studio. (I felt this change immediately). I put a huge painting over it.  After advice from good typist I put some tubed white string lights over it. I was storing finished work and extra  supplies in the relationship corner.... I moved the finished work into the wealth corner and organised it (also good typist advice). This was the corner I previously had work tables and  an easel in.  I also have two built in corner shelves in this corner that were piled with  "stuff I might need" cans of new brushes, shop towels pencils,   and just general crap that had found its way there including a coffee cup in the way back that could have been sitting there for up to a year (sheesh). How long? Long enough to have fossilized contents. So , removed the trash and  and everything else and  beautified this  corner with plants , a fountain  a small painting, some special stones (special to me, not magic or anything....... one I picked up  in a river in the redwood forest... sort of thing), a beautiful block of oak I bought for a project 4 years ago and never got around to, and a mojo bag...  I followed the classic feng shui advice and put a succulent there and a NOT pointy plant.
I put my easel and paints and brushes in the creativity area with a spillover into the career sector  which is in the middle of the room, where I I also placed a work table.  In the knowledge and wisdom corner I put tools and the laptop and  the stereo which I have recently been inspired  to fill with steven halpern subliminals.  I put a lovely  pinkish picture in the relationship corner and will work on this sector more because Jimmy often feels neglected when I'm out here working. I'm inspired to do a simple painting of mandarin ducks (not my usual thing) and put it there on advice of classic feng shui, so he will feel better about the times I shut myself in here.  I still need to work on the helpful people corner because right now it is a wall full of shelves that hold all my art supplies. They are built in and work perfect for their purpose and cant really be moved so I'm looking for advice on what to do there. and lastly Feral Jane said the space was too functional and sterile and that I needed to display my work gallery-esque.  I did the best I could and it looks nice, but I need her to come back over and take a look at it.....feel the energy so to speak.
I have had some great results since the change around, cool job offers, enhanced creativity, more focus, way fewer interruptions when I'm working and what interruptions there are... are not as jarring.   I no longer feel like I'm slogging through mud up to knees while being  zapped with a stun gun at every step. That alone is worth the effort. All the other stuff is Icing after that.
I burned massive incense  the whole time I was cleaning and rearranging, so it smells great in here too.
Yep altogether  a  great project and  a comforting work in progress.