Thursday, July 31, 2008

What I've been up to

I've been doing a lot of crafting lately in an attempt to "get back to normal".

I learned to knit using needles. This is the first thing I knit with needles. I have a few other things I'm working on.

I've also been working hard on a cross stitch project. This is the biggest project I've ever finished! I think it is adorable.

I'm currently working on a cross-stitch chicken. And Logan wants me to knit him a chicken to go with the sheep I knit him for Christmas (using the loom).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Independence days

1. Harvest - I harvested tomatoes and basil. That is all.

2. Plant - yes! I actually planted some stuff this week! I transplanted 3 tomato plants to bigger pots and 1 brocolli. I also started some brocolli and cauliflower for fall harvest.

3. Preserve - no

4. Prep - I got the supplies to make a new, hopefully more effective solar cooker. I also got a fine mesh strainer to sift wheat after I grind it to hopefully get a finer flour to use for baking. And I got a good bread pan so that my bread making can improve.

5. Cook - it isn't really something new but I did make bread after my bread lesson. It turned out excellent! My bread lessons were very successful.

6. Manage your reserves - the freezer is now almost empty, we are doing well at working our way through everything.

7. Work on local food system - John's Farm Stand opened this week! John is an older man who lives 3 miles from me. He has a large garden in his backyard and sells produce every summer. He hadn't opened as of last Wednesday and I was getting worried. He finally opened and I visited him Saturday. I got corn, green beans and good conversation.

8. Compost - I added more shredded newspaper to the worm bin Saturday.

9. Learn - nothing new this week

10. Store something - nothing new this week

Monday, July 28, 2008

So thoughtful!

Twinville gave me this wonderful award! It is the share the love award for people who need a little extra love right now. I really appreciate it! These last 3 months have been really trying. I've vowed to not talk about the whole house thing until I can share good news. I'll just say that nothing has changed. We've had close to 50 showings and 5 second showings. Every one of our second showings bought a bigger, more expensive house. And that is the last I will say about the house until it sells. But do know that the extra love is very needed.

We went to Ocean City, MD today and had a great day playing in the ocean and eating junk food. I got a cool T shirt that I'll post a picture of soon. I also finished a cross-stitch project that is adorable and I'll post a picture of that soon too. This weekend, Logan and I will be going to Virginia Tech for a get together with my fraternity. We'll be staying in a dorm and Logan is really excited about it!

I'll do my Independence Days update tomorrow.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Blackberry picking

Logan and I went blackberry picking last week.

Here Logan is on the hay ride out to the field.
Logan takes blackberry picking very seriously.
Our haul for the day.
With our blackberries we made 5 jars of jam...

A blackberry crisp... And we have enough frozen for another crisp when my dad comes to visit in a few weeks.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Independence Day

1. Harvest - I harvested tomatoes and basil this week. They were both used in a pasta dish last night. Logan and I also picked blackberries this week.

2. Plant - no

3. Preserve - Made and canned blackberry jam.

4. Prep - No

5. Cook - nothing new

6. Manage your reserves - I didn't do my inventory of my food reserves this week

7. Work on local food system - Same stuff as usual

8. Compost - Same stuff as usual

9. Learn - I had bread baking lessons with a good friend of mine this week. I now know why my bread doesn't rise well.

10. Store something - I picked up some jelly jars off of freecycle and picked up more lids for jars. I also bought a cheap bottle of vodka for making tinctures someday. And I got a few jars of spagetti sauce that was on sale. Mark prefers store bought to my home made.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


This isn't the best example of a local meal we've ever had but it is very typical of how we eat.

This week we had chicken and potatoes in red curry and blackberry crisp with vanilla ice cream for dessert.

The breakdown:
Chicken - Locust Point Farm - 7 miles
Potatoes - Calvert Farm - 15 miles
Rice - Not local
Spices - Not local
Coconut milk - really not local

Blackberries - Linvilla Orchards - 35 miles
Vanilla Ice Cream - Trickling Springs Dairy - 100 miles
Oats - Not local
Sugar - Not local

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My cats

I realized I've never introduced my cats. And while no one may care, and I think I'm breaking some blogging rule here, I thought I'd post pictures of them. Logan took all these pictures.

This is Everest. We've had her for 3 years. We fostered her mom and siblings before adopting her. She spends most of her time outside, but when she is home she is an incredible lap cat.

This is Rainier (we're really into mountains here). We've had her for 2 years. We adopted her from the adoption center Logan and I were volunteering at. She is an indoor cat that sometimes goes out with us when we are out back. She loves to cuddle on my shoulder, but is NOT a lap cat. She is very loving however, and loves to chew on my hair. Whenever I get my hair cut they always comment that it looks like something has been chewing on my hair. I should probably make her stop but it makes her very happy.

You can't really tell from the picture but she is a gray tabby that is covered with orange patches. We call her a torti-tabby. She is very pretty because of her orange patches.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Homemade PB&J

Logan decided it would be fun to make a totally homemade PB&J, so we set out this weekend to make that happen.

I had already made strawberry jam to use. So, I made a loaf of whole wheat bread, that didn't rise very well. And we decided to make our own peanut butter. I looked up a few recipes and it turns out to be pretty easy. We used 1 cup of shelled roasted unsalted peanuts, mixed it with 2 tsps of oil and a dash of salt. It all went into the food processor and we processed it until it got smooth. Unfortunately, the amount we had in the food processor was too small so it never got totally smooth. So, we ended up with a more old-fashioned gritty type of PB. My smaller food processor is packed up and I didn't want to hunt it down so we made due.

It all combined together to make a fairly decent sandwich. The bread was a little small and dense and the peanut butter a little gritty, but it was certainly edible.

I'm going to a friend's house tomorrow to get bread baking lessons. My bread always tastes fine but doesn't rise well so it ends up dense.

Our ultimate goal is to make a totally home grown PB&J, but that will be a few years in the making.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Independence days

Again, I'm not sure what week of the challenge it is, but I actually did some stuff this week!

1. Harvest - I harvested tomatoes and basil. It was exciting to get to harvest something, tomatoes and basil will be all I have to harvest for quite awhile.

2. Plant - No, probably not until we move

3. Preserve - not this week, but it looks like blackberries will be ripe soon and I'll be making blackberry jam.

4. Prep - Nope

5. Cook - I made peanut butter for the first time, and made a new bread recipe. Both were ok but not great. I'll write about the peanut butter later this week.

6. Manage your reserves - I've started to inventory my food stores in the basement. I prepared a weekly menu to try to decrease the reserves in the freezer

7. Work on local food system - I went to 2 farmer's markets this week and picked up milk and chicken from the local farm

8. Compost - Nothing new here, still keeping the worms and the bin out back. The worms are doing fine and don't need anything extra right now.

9. Learn - I've been reading about solar heating this week. I've also been trying to figure out why my bread never rises well after shaping.

10. Store something - A number of things were on sale this week so I stocked up on peanut butter, pasta and cereal. I also investigated what things that I normally buy from the buying club are available by the case on Amazon. I'll be able to do more stocking up after we move even without the benefit of the buying club.

Not a bad week considering. I'll work on doing an inventory of the food stores this week. Having a list will be helpful.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

OLS - Week ?

I've lost track of what week it is since I've only been participating off and on. This week we had a mostly local meal, but not completely.

It was a pasta dish we call Guidos.

Tomatoes - my garden - 0 miles
Basil - my garden - 0 miles
Jalapenos - my freezer, frozen last fall - 0 miles
Onion - Deitweillers Farm - 6 miles
Pasta - not local
Garlic - not local
Not my best example of a local meal, but typical of what we eat on a normal basis.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tomato Harvest!

I harvested my first tomatoes of the year last night.

Here is the tomato jungle as of last night.
My harvest with some basil thrown in for good measure.
These are my sweet olives that I harvested. I'm in love with this plant! They grow quickly, need very little care, never seem to dry out and wilt, and develop and ripen quickly. My hungarian paste have some green tomatoes on them and the amish paste still haven't made any tomatoes. They flowered but nothing else yet. I also really like the taste of the sweet olive, they are very meaty, which I like. I usually don't like raw tomatoes, but these are pretty good. I'm planting a lot more of these next year. Thank you Danielle for introducing me to these!

I made them into a pasta dish which I will post about later for my OLS meal this week.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Back home

We're back from our trip. It was a good, but very long trip! We started in Seneca Rocks, WV. Mark went rock climbing for a day while Logan and I road a steam train up the mountain and did a tour of The Greenbank Observatory. It was a wonderful day. I feel in love with WV. It is so beautiful! I'd love to live there.

We then headed to GA, which was a long drive. We spent 2 days looking at houses. We found 2 we liked and are trying to decide between the 2. I have to say I found it annoying looking at houses there because almost none of them had painted before putting their house on the market. Even worse, almost none of them had even bothered to clean before our showing. They had 2 days notice we were coming but I think only 2 houses out of 20 had actually cleaned! It made me mad because our house is spotless when we have a showing. We even stage it before we leave, we put on music, we light candles, all that stuff. To go into houses that didn't pick up the toys, or make the beds or even sweep was so frustrating! We're going to end up buying a house that did nothing before putting it on the market, but our perfect house sits here month after month not selling.

Anyway, we did find 2 that are what we are looking for. Both need repainting top to bottom and new carpet, but they will work for what we want. I may end up posting pictures of both if we can't come to a decision soon.

We then headed to the mountains of NC for our family reunion. It was so much fun and so relaxing! I laughed a lot, something I honestly haven't done in months. I took Logan to a square dance and we had a blast. Then we all stayed up until 3 am drinking and playing charades with a bunch of the relatives. I laughed so much, we all did. It was the 50 and older people against the 40 and unders. It was nice that I knew what the 40 and unders were talking about more than the 50 and overs since I was the oldest in my group. They came up with a bunch of stuff the older crowd had never heard of, but I had! Yeah, I'm not that old!

As for this house, we had 2 second showings while we were out of town. One of them decided to go with another house in the neighborhood that is 200 square feet bigger and $15,000 more. The other is trying to decide between our house and 2 others that are bigger, with bigger lots and $50-60,000 more. Obviously our price isn't a problem! Our house is 2200 square feet, I can't see how it is too small, but that is the most common comment we get as to why people don't want the house. If neither of these 2 people buy the house we are back to square one with no prospects on the horizon.

It's a bit depressing being back here with no end in sight, but I'm trying really hard to hold onto the good feelings of the trip.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Good wishes/positive energy requested

We are having a great trip. Tomorrow we'll look at houses. We have 2 second showings this week, so if you have positive energy/prayers etc. left to send, we could really use them this week!

I'll have internet access tomorrow night and then will be totally out of contact until Monday.