Monday, October 24, 2011

Sheer Madness

This is a crazy, crazy, crazy insane state. Want proof? Exhibit 8,465,942

I realize this is small, click on it for the entire effect.

This is a list of items for the kids sixth grade camp. Now I went to camp. I enjoy and appreciate camp. I can still sing my camp song. However, these kids have to go to camp in NOVEMBER. In the FROZEN TUNDRA!!! In the SNOW! And the COLD! I guess at least there aren't mosquitoes and ticks then..

But let's review the above list:

First the warning that is can be cold and change temperature suddenly. Right from above zero to below zero.

Then the notification they need long johns, parkas, wool socks, scarves, hats, gloves. Boots. Seriously people, this is camp! They're dressing as though they're joining the rebel forces stationed at Hoth and then going out to ride their TonTons to the last marker. I mean, I understand the warm clothes, I don't understand the camp in November. Why not just send them in January? If they're going to be exposed to bitter temperatures why not go for life threatening ones?

Besides what will they do at camp? Stalk and kill a deer? Ice fish? Study the frozen pond water? All the birds have flown south. All the small creatures have fled. The leaves are off the trees. All that it proves is that people are insane enough to think that going into the woods in November in the frozen tundra is fun.

We're offsetting this by knitting hats and scarves and shopping for wool socks. In reality I think homeschooling may be a better option.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Nothing But Cute Puppy Photos

Awww, she's so cute.. (happy now Ramya?)
I know this picture is way dark, but look at what a happy puppy he was
with 3 new tennis balls!

After a bath

Wearing his topknot up

Seriously, enough with the pictures, look at all the toys!

One more with his topknot

Friday, October 21, 2011

October Evening

It was a beautiful fall day here. After raking leaves this afternoon, we rewarded ourselves with a trip to the tennis courts. We're getting better, the other people playing didn't laugh at us - much.
We were rewarded with a gorgeous sunset over the courts.

Clearly the cats think we're crazy. What's new?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

If I Was a Farmer..

I would totally have horses like these.

And I would completely, and totally have a 'plow competition' to get all my neighbors to plow my field. Genius, total genius.

Yes - there really was a sign saying it was a plow competition.
And I'd have a little old barn, like this. To keep the horses.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A few Pumpkin Laden Photos

We went to the apple orchard on Saturday. Somehow this has really turned into a corn maze trip, which the kids love. I have no pictures however of the corn maze, as I stayed inside as the kids romped through it. It was cold. The shop was warm. Besides, unless I had accompanied them into the corn maze, I would have had pictures of corn stalks. Not exactly exciting.

But I did take some photos of the pumpkins which were everywhere around the shop. I love pumpkins. Don't they just make you feel warm and cozy, while at the same time you can crave pumpkin seeds, pumpkin pie and Baby Ruth? I'm assuming the Baby Ruth craving comes from the fact that there is trick or treating involved. The kids are going again, we have to make their costumes. Some are not too happy about that. I on the other hand feel that they are only kids once. You can't turn back time, but you can enjoy it while you can, and not rush them growing into adults - or worse - teenagers! Besides, trick or treating means free candy. Bring on the Baby Ruths!

The kids were absent. But look at the cute puppy!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Twisted Threads: A List

Twisted Threads: A List: I am not really sure where the last 10 days have gone. Somewhere between today, yesterday and tomorrow is my best guess. So let me expla...

A List

I am not really sure where the last 10 days have gone. Somewhere between today, yesterday and tomorrow is my best guess.

So let me explain, no there is too much, let me sum up... Which reminds me, I must find my copy of The Princess Bride..

10 - Ramses is 17 weeks old. 17 week old puppies are charming. He's housetrained mostly, is big enough to go on longer walks, loves car rides, ice cream cones, sleeps through the night, and basically never sleeps during the day (which explains where I have been).

9 - Kids are in school. Homework sucks, especially when they dislike doing it. They have 2 days off this week, which means so do I. YAY!

8 - I've still been eating mostly vegan. Really liking it. Still miss Gruyere cheese, but I don't miss the actual taste, more the idea of it if that makes any sense.

7 - Cats are much happier now that they have us trained to buy them the most expensive cat food, potentially in the world. Obviously I was being a bad cat caretaker by feeding them the 2nd most expensive, cause evidently free range chicken is much better tasting. Who knew. But the house is more peaceful now.

6 - I love that it's cold enough for soup. Soup makes me happy.

5 - I do not love the fact that the temperature is dropping 10 degrees a week. I am not sure why it simply can't stay in the 50s for awhile but evidently mother nature and I disagree on this.

4 - I am still making fresh bread every day. Love it, it makes me happy, and goes wonderfully well with the aforementioned soup.

3 - I broke down and read a book on the Kindle. That's all I'm saying about that.

2 - I have managed to exercise every day this month except for 2. That makes me happy. Tennis is fun afterall, so is walking a puppy through fall leaves.

1 - I love fall. I just don't understand why it has to be followed by winter - or at least winter with snow, ice, cold, freezing hands... Now I am depressed.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Falling Leaves

This fall is slipping by fast, today the wind started up, and the leaves started making their way to the ground in earnest. Soon it will be a barren landscape of browns, grays and whites. We are determined though to make the most of every second. Today we started playing tennis. Not that any of us know how to play Tennis, but hey, it's fun right? In reality I was better at using the racquet to make the ball go farther for Ramses..

Throwing the ball farther is a good thing - he is FAST!

Flying Poodle!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Walking with Old Friends

The weather has been so absolutely gorgeous here. The kind of weather that if it was like this all the time I would stay here forever. I know this is a passing phase between mosquito season and snow season, but that just fills me with even more of a desperation to be outside as much as I possibly can. Combine that with a puppy to socialize and train has led us to a daily park trip where we play games, work on obedience training, and of course take a walk.

The other day, in the evening we headed down a spectacular trail. It reminded me so much of Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables, and how much she loved trees and wooded trails. Anne has been a lifelong Kindred Spirit to me, and I know she went with me on this evening walk.

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it?”

"They all sat down in the little pavilion to watch an autumn sunset of deep red fire and pallid gold."

“I couldn't live where there were no trees--something vital in me would starve.”

"they found a road leading into the heart of cares of glimmering beech and maple woods, which were all in a wondrous glow of flame and gold"

"There was a delightful spiciness in the air and music of bird calls and the murmur and laugh of wood winds in the trees overhead."

“Why must people kneel down to pray? If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I'd do. I'd go out into a great big field all alone or in the deep, deep woods and I'd look up into the sky - up, up, up - into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I'd just feel a prayer.”
Thanks Anne, after all, “Kindred spirits alone do not change with the changing years.”

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Bread and Tomatoes

Since exploring more vegan foods coincided with the weather changing, I have been baking up a storm. Most people would probably use the new Vegan cookbook Happy Herbivore to explore Vegan main dishes. Me? I am fascinated by the baking section, which uses no oil, no eggs, and on and on. So this week we have been living on Apple Crisp muffins, Blueberry oatmeal muffins, vegan chocolate chip cookies, and on and on. They are all amazingly delicious and really, you don't miss the eggs, oil, etc. Seriously you don't! And of course since I bought yeast at Costco, I took out the breadmaker to start making bread. Have you seen bread prices? Insane! And frankly there is no comparison between homemade bread and what stores claim as bread.

Now I know that many people are against breadmakers, classifying them as an evil object, but for a busy person who tends to forget things or multitask too much, they're great! They aren't set and forget items though, here are my tips for using them:

Be prepared to make a lot of bread. This loaf was just couple hours old.
I blame the cats.

  • Buy yeast in bulk. I can get a large container of yeast for just a few dollars at Costco. It's insanely overpriced in the small packets. Keep it in the freezer and just measure it out as needed. 
  • Use water that is slightly warmer than it should be. Not hot, but bathwater warm. It will cool as you're putting in your other ingredients, and it needs to be warm for the yeast.
  • When you turn it on watch it and be prepared to add more water or more flour. You want to make sure it's forming a ball. The ball shouldn't be sticky, just a firm dough ball that will feel tacky to the touch. I typically go light on the water, and add another 1/4 cup or so, slowly as it's mixing the first time.
  • Find simple recipes, and don't be afraid to change them up. I switch whole wheat and regular flour a lot.
  • Be prepared to bake a lot of bread. I know I have 5 people, 3 dogs and 3 cats who all like the bread but seriously we go through a LOT of bread this way! But it's ok, it's cheap and everyone is happy.
  • When the bread comes out of the maker, immediately take a bit of oil on a paper towel and rub it lightly all over. This will keep the crust from drying out and add flavor. I use olive oil for it, since I use olive oil practically for anything. My grandma used to use Crisco. 
  • Don't have a breadmaker? Look on Craigslist. Mine came from there, in the box, never opened for 10.00. Score!
Speaking of olive oil, since I'm trying so hard to cut out saturated fats, I'm not using butter on bread. Instead, I placed a small bowl of olive oil in the fridge with a bit of garlic salt added to it. Olive oil hardens up when cold, and I can spread a small amount on the bread, using a healthy oil instead of a saturated one. It's also amazingly good. I think I was Italian in another life.

What? Doesn't everyone arrange their tomatoes in crystal candy dishes?
No? Weirdos.

Finally, we went to the farmers market today. There is still a ton of food available, even here in the frozen north. I went a little wild with the tomatoes, but who could resist them? They are such a beautiful thing, they just make me happy! This may again relate to that Italian in another life thing.

Happiness in a bowl