Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Score--In Which I Pull Ahead

I made spaghetti sauce with meat yesterday. The meat takes up more room, thereby using a satisfyingly large number of jars. So, using the totally arbitrary and yet endorsed by The Man "one dozen=12" formula, here's where I stand.

Total number of pint jars used so far: 25

Total number of pint jars left to use: 11

Tomato Threat Level: Orange.

I'm winning! I even lowered the Tomato Threat Level because the huge dish pan is only a little more than half full, instead of totally overflowing. So I only have about 20 pounds of tomatoes sitting on my counter right now. Progress.

Friday, August 29, 2008

My Dog, the Moron

I know I already posted today, but this was too good not to share . . .

So there I was in the kitchen this morning, gearing up to make a shitload of spaghetti sauce for canning. Mia was in there with me, sniffing around the recyclables on the floor. And I turn from the stove to see this:

A little help here, Mom?

Being the concerned dog-parent that I am, I stood there laughing for about five minutes, then ran to get the camera and took two pictures before I finally freed her head from the oats container. She just stood there quietly, turning her oat-encrusted face towards the sound of my laughter, waiting patiently for me to rescue her.

I'm going to hell.

Kristin's Kool Kitchen Tricks--Brownie Edition

I gave in to temptation yesterday and made brownies. Now I have to resist the urge to dive into the pan with a fork. I can hear them calling my name.

Kriiiiistiiiin . . . KRIIIISTIIIN. C'mon, you know you want us.

God give me strength.

Okay, moving on. You know how when you cut nice, moist, fudgy brownies (I'M NOT LISTENING TO YOU, BROWNIES), the knife gets all gunked up and shreds the brownies? And then, of course, you have to eat the gobs of brownies that end up all over the place (SHUT UP, BROWNIES) because you couldn't just cut neat squares? It's such a shame when that happens. Allow me to help you with that.

Use a plastic knife.

That's all. It goes through the brownies like buttah. No shredding, just pretty, Martha-Stewart-worthy squares.

And that's the end of the lesson for today, children. I have to go now. I need to find some cotton to stuff in my ears.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Score (and My Stupidity)

I did indeed manage to make salsa yesterday without getting hot pepper juice in my eyes, so let's hear it for Kristin's smartnesses! Except . . .

When I first announced The Pint Jar Throwdown, I informed you that the MiL had purchased three dozen jars. Which she did. And as we all know, one dozen=twelve. We all know that--except for me, apparently. In my own, math-challenged brain, three dozen became 30 jars. And that's how I've been calculating the score since then. I am no longer embarrassed by my complete inability to do any sort of math function in my head. I've accepted this defect, because I am so awesome in so many other ways. I may not be able to do simple addition, but do not challenge my freakish ability to remember song lyrics.

So, in the interests of full disclosure, I thought I had better inform you of my stupidness, and take this opportunity to correct the score. Here is the REAL score, based on the "one dozen=twelve" formula. Which is really pretty random, if you think about it. It's just an arbitrary number assigned to a word. And who SAYS that a "dozen" couldn't equal 10? But whatever--I'll follow the crowd on this one.

Total number of pint jars used so far: 17

Total number of pint jars left to use: 19

Tomato Threat Level: Red. Of course.

Que sabrosa

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Lest you think that my life is all tomatoes, all the time, please view the photographic evidence to the contrary.

Although the tomatoes are making their bid for total garden domination, there are other crops still hanging in there, demanding to be noticed. Like green beans and beets.

We matter, too!

The chickens have taken up residence in Casa Gallina (yes, I am still impressed by my cleverness), which means their square footage has been greatly increased. It also means they can run into the far corner to get away from the camera-wielding weirdo (that would be me).

I spy with my little eye . . .


You can't hide from the zoom, chickies.

I think at least half of them are roosters. Sucks for them. But yay for fried chicken!

And in more food news, last night I finally made Farmgirl Susan's Savory Tomato Pesto Pie, after staring at the recipe for a year. I added Finny's recommended sausage, because Everything Is Better with Meat. The crust is made from biscuits. I may refuse to make pie crusts, but I am a Biscuit Master (not to brag or anything) (except I just did). I think A. fell in love with me all over again when he saw not only a pie on the table, but a pie filled with sausage, cheese, and pesto (and tomatoes, but we're not talking about them). It was, predictably, delightful. And pretty. Check it.

Mmm, cheesy

Incidentally, you will never see one of those pretty food pictures with a nicely plated serving on this site. I'm not willing to stop to take a picture when there's food waiting to be eaten on my plate. My feeding time is more important than a good photo. So you'll just have to take what you get and quit yer bitchin'.

OH, ALL RIGHT. The tomatoes already snuck into this post, so I may as well just give in and let them hijack the next photo.

This is what I eat for breakfast pretty much every morning at this time of year.

This may be blurry because I was already reaching for the food.

Have I mentioned the MiL has begun making bread regularly? I encourage this activity, as it results in fresh homemade bread with no effort by me. Sweet! So that's the MiL's bread, toasted, with cream cheese, tomatoes, and salt and pepper. YUM.

And since I've already caved to the inescapable presence of the tomatoes, I may as well tell you I'm making salsa today. Let's hope I manage to keep the burning hot pepper juices out of my eyes.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Score

Total number of pint jars used so far: 10

Total number of pint jars left to use: 20

Tomato Threat Level: Red. Still.

I'll get you in the end, you bastards.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Gary Gives Birth

A long, long time ago, the cellar door at Blackrock disintegrated. And in the grand tradition of Blackrock, the old, splintered, rotted door just stayed there for a good long time, doing nothing to keep out rain, snow, and various critters. We wanted a new door, but it's not like we could just go to Home Depot and buy a cellar door. No, nothing at Blackrock is easily replaceable. We needed a custom door built for us. Do you know how hard it is to find someone willing to do one small job like that? Probably not, so I'll tell you--it's damn near impossible.

Then, at a political fundraising party the MiL held here, I met a man named Gary. Turns out Gary was a carpenter and did small jobs when he wasn't working his regular carpentry job. And he was willing to build a door for us. Alleluia!

This was in October. I was hopeful we might actually have a door before the winter set in. Gary started by repairing all the crumbling masonry in the stairway that led down into the cellar. It was then we noticed that Gary, while an excellent craftsman, was very, very, VERY slow. Meticulous, but SLOW. Progress limped along for months. He asked us what kind of wood we wanted, he brought us samples of stains to choose the color, he asked about handles and hinges and placement. But still no door.

Winter came, finding us with no door AT ALL on the cellar, because Gary the Carpenter had disposed of the old splintered one. Gary the Carpenter was allegedly working on our door at his house. I would call him about once a month for updates, only to hear that he was staining it yet AGAIN, because he really wanted the wood to be all uniformly colored, and he wanted to build a beautiful door for our beautiful house, and he wanted us to be satisfied . . . Know what we wanted? A goddamn DOOR already. But. Not much to be done except keep calling.

Then he stopped answering calls. From about March to June, Gary the Carpenter was MIA. We had just given up on him, when he called out of the blue. A. talked to him. He had been "working down south," and had gotten "held up." We figure he was in jail. But whatever. He was back, and was going to resume work on The Door.

He appeared sporadically, doing more masonry work, and then he actually brought The Door to the house. Progress! He set it up in the side yard, where he continued to apply coat after coat of varnish and sealant, and drill in 5 million brass screws. But now that we could see The Door, it was obvious that this was not just a door. It was a work of art. It was insanely decorative and beautiful for a cellar door.

But it still wasn't on the house.

After many, many more days, Gary the Carpenter announced he was ready to install The Door. Nine months after he began it, The Door was finished. He installed it this weekend. Gary the Carpenter gave birth to a beautiful . . . door.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Getting To Know Me

Getting to know all about me
Getting to like me, hoping that you like me
Because of all (all!) the (the!) beautiful and new
Things that I am lear . . . oh wait, this isn't a singalong. I got a little carried away.

While I would very much like to continue singing songs from "The King and I," I can't, because Sweet Bird gave me homework. I'm supposed to do one of these fill-in things that tells you all about me, but is really just an opportunity for me to show off how clever I am. It has a name, a special, techie name, but I hate the word and I won't use it. I also don't really like to do these, but, well, I dig Sweet Bird and it's Sunday, which means I have nothing much else to talk about (except tomatoes, and I think I've exhausted that subject--until tomorrow) and am lazy. But if anyone else is thinking of assigning me this type of homework, don't. You will learn all you should ever need to know about me right now, and so there is no need for me to ever do this again.

And awaaaaay we go!

1. Last Movie I Saw In A Movie Theater? Sex and the City. How frivolous of me.

2. What Book Are You Reading? Uhh, wait, lemme check . . . okay, it's called "Everything Changes," by Jonathan Tropper.

3. Favorite Board Game? The 80s edition of Trivial Pursuit, because I have a lot of the answers memorized, so it looks like I'm smart. Also, every other entertainment question is about Star Wars, which I find hilarious.

4. Favorite Magazine? Lately "Farm and Ranch Living," even though I always feel like a lazy bum when I read about all these people getting up at 3 a.m. to milk cows or whatever and working all the livelong day till the sun goes down.

5. Favorite Smells? Tomato plants, fresh basil, lilacs.

6. Favorite Sounds? The little sigh the dogs make when they stretch in their sleep, the popping sound of canned jars sealing (success!).

7. Worst Feeling In The World? Losing pets. Poor James.

8. First Thing You Think of When You Wake? Is it really time to get up yet? (I wake up at random and annoying times, like 25 minutes before the alarm goes off.)

9. Favorite Fast Food Place? I'm quite partial to Wendy's, for their fries and Frosties.

10. Future Child’s Name? Pass.

11. Finish This Statement—“If I Had a Lot of Money,” I'd buy a new car, one that has a working antenna and maybe even air conditioning. Wild, I know.

12. Do You Drive Fast? Faster than A.? Yes. Faster than the MiL? No.

13. Do You Sleep With a Stuffed Animal? No.

14. Storms—cool or scary?Cool.

15. What Was Your First Car? A 1987 (I think) Honda Prelude that I shared with my brother.

16. Favorite Drink?Alcoholic--gin and tonic. Non-alcoholic--mulberry juice and seltzer.

17. Finish This Statement—“If I Had the Time, I Would…” I do have time, as my blog clearly demonstrates.

18. Do You Eat the Stems on Broccoli?My favorite part, though it's getting increasingly difficult to find anything but the crowns at the grocery store. What's up with that?

19. If You could Dye your Hair Any Other Color, What Would It Be? I have never dyed my hair, but I will eventually have to dye it, due to some unsubstantiated reports of a few gray hairs. But I'm so boring, I'd probably just keep it dark brown.

20. Name All the Different Cities In Which You Have Lived--Be careful what you ask for . . . Sacramento, CA; somewhere in Florida (my parents would have to chime in here--I'm a military child and don't remember all the places I was hauled to while I was still drooling into a bib); somewhere in New Mexico (I think); Valdosta, GA; Mililani on the island of Oahu, HI; North Pole, AK (stretching it to call that a city); Tucson, AZ; Flagstaff, AZ; Phoenix, AZ; Albany, NY; and here, which isn't a city so I don't have to tell you where I live. Keepin' the mystery alive!

21. Favorite Sport to Watch?Don't like to watch, only liked to play. Except Olympic sports, and I'll watch pretty much any of those.

22. One Nice Thing About The Person Who Sent This To You. She takes very pretty pictures.

23. What’s Under Your Bed? Lots and lots of dust. Don't look.

24. Would You Like to Be Born As Yourself Again? Why not? The devil you know . . .

25. Morning Person or Night Owl? Morning.

26. Over Easy or Sunny Side Up? Blech. Scrambled or fried. No runny yokes, please.

27. Favorite Place to Relax? Bed.

28. Favorite Ice Cream Flavor? Perry's Chocolate Piece of Cake, which is now impossible to find (BOOOO), so now, Perry's Chocolate Panda Paws.