Sunday, April 22, 2012

Biting off more than I can chew

Every year, I think, "I should really change my vegetable garden", and every year I procrastinate long enough that it's too late to do anything about it.

This year, I decided to make a change.

First of all, I get vacation, plus I still work stat holidays on occasion, which means I have to take those off as well.  I'm also getting an income tax refund that will pay for the cost of the work.

(I know if you're all about the math that it makes more sense to adjust your income tax so that you don't get a refund.  However, life is more than math, and I'm OK with getting a refund.)

The plan started as an easy project, which then morphed into a more difficult/expensive project of building 4 raised beds using landscaping stones. I've been doing some shopping online for the stones I'll need, but I needed to see them in person before I could make a final decision as to which way to go.  On Wednesday, I checked out a couple of places.

Did you know that garden centers opened this weekend?

In other words, most garden centers weren't open on Wednesday.  Still, I got some ideas. On Friday, I went out again and checked another couple of places.

Yesterday, I got up, determined to stake out the areas for the beds.

Naturally, it was raining.

I waited (im)patiently for the rain to stop, then went outside and measured and staked the area.  Once I had the dimensions, I went back to the store and placed my order.

It arrives on Saturday, and I have the next week off.

Wish me luck.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dear cold virus, I have stuff to do. Please go away.

I'm taking a sick day today. I think this is my first sick day since 2007.

Of course, I've been sick since 2007, but I usually just work from home. Now, though, I have sick time, I didn't have anything critical, and my eyes felt like someone had sanded them while I was sleeping.

(I'm pretty sure no one actually sanded my eyes while I was asleep.)

I was sick all weekend, which was really, really boring. I spent the weekend reading/watching stuff about the Titanic, playing Super Mario, and moaning about how sick I was.

I'm feeling better today (except for the eyeball thing), so hopefully I'll be able to go back to normal life tomorrow.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Cabbage roll update

On Saturday, I made the cabbage rolls.

I mixed ground beef and ground pork and added some minced onions (the dried ones you buy in the spice aisle - I'm way too lazy to actually mince onions) and rice.

Then I started rolling.

Some of the cabbage worked well, but some of it was too stiff and broke, so eventually I gave up and made lazy cabbage rolls. I layered the cabbage, then the meat, then cabbage, then meat.


I then stuck the whole thing in the fridge.

On Sunday, I pulled it out and poured a can of tomatoes over it. I then stuck it in the oven for a couple of hours while the turkey roasted.

It was very good.

But it's possible that that casserole dish will never be the same.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

They're in my hair!

I can always tell it's spring when the spiders move in.

For some reason, they live in tiny webs up where the wall meets the ceiling.

I'm not a huge fan of spiders - unless I'm at camp, then I'm all "oh, the spiders live here, this is their home" - so I usually try to weasel someone else into killing them, but if that's not possible, I'm quite capable of doing it myself.

The thing is, though, when the spider is on the ceiling, there are really only two choices:
  • vacuum
  • broom

The broom is easier - it's usually closer, to start with, and it doesn't require an electrical outlet, but if you take that route, you end up with an angry spider on a broom, and that tends to end with an angry spider in an undisclosed location.

I usually go for the vacuum.

Or I go for the unofficial third choice - pretend you didn't see the spider and go somewhere else.

On Tuesday night, I took the relocate approach. You see, I went into the kitchen. In one corner, there was a spider. In the opposite corner diagonally, there was another spider.

I assumed I'd stumbled into some sort of turf war.

I backed away and hoped they'd settle it without my involvement.

When I came home yesterday, the kitchen was spider-free.

At least, I hope it was.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sour

A couple of weeks ago, I had the brilliant idea that I wanted to make cabbage rolls for Easter.

Now, in my family, cabbage rolls are made with sour cabbage, so the first step would be to make sour cabbage.

I called my mom and explained my plan. She reassured me that making sour cabbage only takes a week, and she gave me the recipe for sour cabbage, which I wrote down on an extremely secure location - the back of last month's water bill.

I planned to make the sour cabbage in the crock of my crock pot, so when I did my grocery shopping I bought a head of cabbage. I came home, only to discover that it was too tall for the crock pot. I needed another location to make the sour cabbage.

I went out to the grocery store again and found a set of stacking plastic canisters. I brought them home, and the head of cabbage fit in the third biggest one.

I followed the recipe, which involved hacking out the core of the cabbage, adding salt and vinegar, and filling the container with water. I'd share the proportions, but am unable to do so due to the extremely secure location of the recipe.

When that was all done, I weighted it down with a plate ... except I have wimpy Corelle plates, so I added a bowl to keep the cabbage under the brine solution.



I waited a day, then hauled the cabbage out of the water and rinsed it off. Back in the brine it went.

I repeated that every day, pulling off loose pieces of cabbage whenever possible. It was a slow process.

On Saturday, I forgot to rinse it until I got home from a movie. That's the day it really started progressing - a bunch of leaves loosened that day.

Today, I was able to loosen all of the leaves, which made the cabbage much bigger than the jar.

I stuffed the cabbage into sterilized jars and filled them with the brine. When that was done, I processed them in the canner.

Now I'm sitting in the living room, listening to the pop of the jars sealing. (We're at 5 of the 6 so far).

This weekend, I'll open a jar and make cabbage rolls. I've never done that, but I have a recipe.

It's in an extremely secure location.