Monday, June 13, 2016

If You Love Something...Set It Free

So, I was with some young people this weekend who were graduating from college and moving out of their college apartment.  Said apartment was partly furnished with things I used to own.  I fobbed the things off on them (couch, dining table and chairs, dishes, appliances, etc) when I moved out of the Plummer single-wide.  The couch I had bought (through the mail, cheap), the rest were gifts either new or pawned off on me when I set up housekeeping decades ago.

Let's trace the life of the table and chairs. 
When I was 8, my family bought a house and contents from a distant relative who'd either died or gone to the home to wait to die. 
Among the contents was a table with 4 chairs.  It was covered in ugly paint but super sturdy.  Eventually I moved out to go to college.  At some point during my thorough college career, this table and chairs came to live with me, paint stripped off.  I think it was when I was in grad school so about 1989.  I've had it until then and used it a TON.  Eventually put varnish on it (sorry Mom!  I used it without varnish for a while).  Moved it hither and yon, back and forth across the country multiple times.  All the while acquiring more dining sets.  Now that I'm smallify-ing my life, it was time for the table to find a new home.  When a young friend was getting his apartment with a girlfriend I thought "BINGO!" and helped him move, bringing along the couch and table/chairs, various plates, dishes, appliances, and etc that I no longer needed.  Don't worry...I still have several tables so if anyone else is starting up, I can donate more.

They've used it for a few years.  It's showing its age.  A leg is cracked, the chairs need to be reglued.  BUT, still a good solid oak set.  They could not move it or the couch with them. The couch was pretty well shot (cheap, mail-order, flat-pack so lasting 12 years was really good anyway).  The couch cushions were all that was left.  These went in the dumpster...next day they were no longer in the dumpster and we saw one a few blocks from the apartment. It had gone rogue. Perhaps trying to find the couch cushion mating area or the  burial grounds.  We don't know.

Anyway, on Sunday morning, it was the final push in the move so we set the table out by the dumpsters.  Within an hour it and the chairs were gone.  They'd found a new home and I'm sure whomever found them will enjoy them and pass on whatever portions are left when he/she is done with them or moves on.

This to me is one of the joys of a college town/neighborhood.  Things don't often go to waste.  They move on.   As we were hauling the mattress out one of the young people suggested we put it near the median where they got it.  Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repeat.

They did move some of the art, the good blankets, and the favorite bugs bunny waffle iron.  I was honored that some of my cast offs and gifts were among the things worthy of being kept and differently honored that some of the things were passed on.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Dear Women, You Are Flawed. Love, Fashion Media / Society


Have narrow shoulders?  Here's how to look like you have broad shoulders.
Have broad shoulders?  Here's how to look like you have narrow shoulders.
Big butt? "Minimize" it.
Flat butt?  Add padding!
Big boobs?  Crush them hide them.
Tiny boobs?  Add padding!
Big thighs?  Hide them.
Small thighs? Add padding.

and on and on.

I keep wondering if these hints are like shampoo:  lather, rinse, repeat.
Do you make your wide shoulders look narrow, then add shoulder pads to broaden them up?
Then you decide you have a flat butt and add padding, which you can now minimize under your spanx.  Athletic thighs? Hide them so well they look like small thighs, then add padding.  Then hide the padding.   Then add more padding.

Eventually we'll all be wearing 3 alternating layers of padding and spandex.  Crush it in.  Push it out.  Crush it in.  Push it out.

What if we LIKE our narrow/broad shoulders?  Big/flat butt?  Big/tiny boobs?  Big/small thighs?  What if we have SOMETHING ELSE TO DO than worry about what society says we should look like and what crap media say we should do to meet that crap expectation?  Like say school, jobs, reading, staring into space?

The saddest thing I heard of late had to do with "resting bitch face."  I was talking to a younger woman, late 20s, maybe early 30s.  Anyway, a career woman with a kid and husband and home and life.  STILL she was concerned about her "resting bitch face" and told me she was "working on it."  WTF?????  WHY????  Who applied this label and why on earth would anyone worry about it?   She apparently believes that she can't even just relax without making sure her appearance, right down to her facial expression, is pleasing to some undefined audience.  Will this anonymous, probably nonexistent, audience eventually let her know that she's done it...she's conquered her resting facial expression?  Of course, if one must constantly pay attention to that sort of thing, one is not resting.  Society has convinced her to harass herself at all times to .....  to what?  No one cares.  There are no consequences for having "resting bitch face." 

And what about men who have "resting ass face"? Shouldn't they try to have a pleasant expression just in case someone, say ME, happens to glace over at them while they are resting, and think "That is not an acceptable expression, he's probably an asshole"?

This sort of thing gives me  active bitch face. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Bee-autiful

I'll try to stop with the bee puns, but it's just so easy (see..I didn't say "bee-asy" and I totally could have).

I have an invertebrate ecologist friend...well, his wife and I are on the radio together, and so I know him.  It's not like we hang out on Saturday nights.  Is that what friends do?  I don't know.  Can't be bothered with humans.  Too much fun with the bees.

ANYWAY (any-bee?), he came up and took some boudoir photos of the bees while I was feeding them and inspecting the hives a few weeks back.  Here are some highlights in no particular order:


 Using the hive tool (like a tiny flat crowbar) to remove a frame.  I think you can click on the photos for biggification, but I'm not sure and in trying to check that out, only some of them biggified. 



The frame.  The bees are doing a good job!


 Another Frame.  Another good job.  The black bit where the bees aren't is the foundation that is already in the frame.  It is plastic (sigh...I would like to avoid plastic but decided not to complicate my life the first year so just take it and say thank you and learn to work without foundation in the future) with a layer of beeswax on it.  The wax is imprinted with hexagons to inspire the bees to build comb.  Or to make sure they don't screw it up.



Taking out another frame.  Like my bee ensemble?  I went with just the pith helmet (which is hard plastic and doesn't fit that well) and a net veil (which is strange and exposes the back of my neck sometimes but I'll get used to wearing it), a light t-shirt (which I have swapped out for a white button down shirt (from thrift, obviously).  That shirt works better because it is huge and I can put it on over whatever else I'm wearing, and I can turn up the collar and button it tight, with my pony tail or braid inside the collar.  This is a bit gaggy, but means the veil stays down over the collar.  With the old system of t-shirt and veil, I had one bee get up inside the mesh by my face.  I chased her out but clearly she was not amused, neither was I.

The bees!  And you can see the frame feeder.  It is the black bit I'm pulling out. Fill  1/2 to 3/4 full of 1:1 sugar water until the bees have enough real nectar to survive.  Since this is a totally new hive, both hives, with no comb built upon arrival, the advice is to feed lots. Next year when the bees have the left over comb from this year, they may not need to be fed so much for so long. 



Another frame.  Nice shot Tim!  (Photographer: Tim Hatten of Invertebrate Ecology).  Shows the burr comb...those lumps.  At least I hope it's burr comb and not new queen cells.  I'd hate to have a coup my first season of bee keeping. 

And let's close with a nice close up of the bees.

No, how about a view of the beeyard as the closing shot:
Bee yard...now with more finger!  (Sorry Tim, couldn't help myself).  You can also see the gallon jug (heh heh...I said "jug") with the sugar water feed, and the yellow hive tool I forgot to pick up.  Thank goodness it's yellow or it would be lost by now.  The bees face east for the morning sun to wake them up.  I stacked those cinder blocks myself.  One of my more successful construction projects.  If you ignore how the one hive lists to one side.  You can see one of my apple trees in the background...just below the finger.  The flowers are on hawthorns.  Bees seem to love hawthorns.

Thank you VERY MUCH to Tim and his Mrs. for coming up for the photo shoot.  Nice to have a professional bugman in one's circle of acquaintances.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Bee-yonce'

Too easy with the pun today. 

I saw a bee doing the bee dance!  The one where they dance in a figure 8, shaking the money maker, to tell other bees where the food is.
I didn't get it filmed, but many other people did.  Here's an example:


I didn't check the angle of the sun as I was holding up a frame of comb and had just filled the feeder.  I didn't want to keep the hive open while I dinked around trying to record on a crap phone while wearing bee gloves. (Those are heavy leather long gauntlets, not gloves made of bee-hides.)

Still, pretty exciting to see it so soon after becoming a bee keeper.  For the record, it was one of the Italians, not a Carniolan. 

The bees have the 2nd deep hive body, 8 frame, on top of the first now on both hives.  They are starting comb up there.  Of course I read the instructions for putting those on properly after I put them on improperly.  You do just set the box on top of the old box and cover as usual.  BUT the book says I should have "baited" the top/new hive body with a couple of frames of brood from the bottom hive body.  Oh well.  The bees found their way up.

The Italians also seem to build lots of burr comb that I then remove or think "I should take that out.  It will make a mess if they fill it with honey and I have to tear it up to do extraction."  Of course, this year I won't be extracting, and they are building it between the first and second hive bodies.  So, even in future years, they would get to keep that for winter food.  If I take it apart and clean it up a bit in spring, it will probably be empty of honey or babies or anything else.  So why force them to conform?
I'll read the section of the book on that after I've let it go too far to correct.  That's just how I roll.

And now...from the original Beyonce':


( I think this means the food source is about 200 yards at a 58.3degree angle from the sun. )

Friday, May 20, 2016

This Is Pretty Much What My Floor Plan Has Become

I keep trying to redesign my floorplan.

I've been basically in love with this one:

Level 1

for years.  I like the single wet wall (sink backs up to the bathroom water so only one wall with plumbing).  Simple.  Lots of south glazing for passive solar.  I'd do a shed roof, higher to the south/front to allow for a loft up there for the hot water storage (passive solar on roof/southwall), maybe a greenhouse on part of the front.

I have decided I don't need the 2nd bedroom, but likely need a bigger kitchen.  Eliminating the 2nd bedroom lets me spread the kitchn into the "dining/living" areas as needed.  Anyway, someday I may or may not post a sketch.

BUT then today I ran into this floor plan which is another dream of mine:

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/be/12/e6/be12e602f5974695da0eb89a6442067d.jpg

























A bedroom in the back of the library.  A private bath and somewhere to cook.  Everything I need.  I think I could go ahead and sleep in the kitchen and use the bedroom for the rare books collection.




Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Added Sugar Rant part Deux

That's "part 2" for those who don't speak paristalk.

Anyway, interesting results so far with the added sugar avoidance experiment.
First, I feel better so I'm continuing on with it.  My cousin is also continuing on so we send each other supportive texts which helps.  At least it helps me.

The thing is, I've lost weight even though I've kept the calorie intake up, even with extra exercise because it's summer and I'm planting stuff and doing stuff, I'm eating plenty of calories.  I use an app for that (I know...odd for someone who doesn't have a smart phone.  I have a used ipod and my sister loaded the free version of "loseit" which I've used for years to track calories eaten and expended each day.  It works for me.  Boring for others.
The point here is that according to the app, I'm consuming enough calories to support 5lbs more than I weigh.  What gives?

I don't mind, though I don't want to get any thinner.  I'm still above what the old charts say I should weigh, but I'm as thin as I care to be.

I wonder how much is the sugar and how much might be added muscle mass from working out, digging holes, and living on a hill with no road (I have calves that could crack walnuts) that I climb multiple times a day.

I climbed that hill last year and didn't lose weight. Something is going on with the lower added sugar intake.  I end up eating fewer grain products just because so many of them have added sugar, but last week and this I have gotten locally produced (and delicious) breads that are just flour, water, salt and yeast.  No sugar/honey/whatever.  And I've added a brand of crackers where I've found a few different options with no added sugar.  Sardines are better on crackers.  Since adding in those grains, I lost another pound.

My fiber intake is in the same range as before, maybe 5-10 grams more a day but no where near vegan levels.  I eat plenty of fruit so it's not that there is NO sugar (that would not even be smart).

And I'm not a complete purist with the no added sugar.  There was a day where a woman was getting offended because I didn't want a stupid popsicle.  It only had 40 calories so even if it was mostly sugar, it wasn't much.  And I was hot.  So I ate one to shut her up and to be polite.  I've had a BLT too and I'm sure the bacon and bread at the restaurant had a bit of sugar.  And of course, when I spilled some runny honey from the bee hive on my glove while working the hives, I licked it off before it became a giant sticky mass.  You can't really leave the bees mid-hive-working to go wash a glove.  Easier to lick it and finish the job. I'm sure there have been other slip-ups too.

So what gives with the loss of tonnage?
Anymore and I'll need new bras and pants. Annoying. It doesn't do the neck wattle any favors either.

Oh well. I don't have a mirror up at my place so I don't have to look at it.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Current Plant Sources


 I said I'd review the two places I've gotten most of my plants.  I like local folks and I like people who really KNOW the plants.  That said, if anyone wants to give me free plants I will love them and be ever grateful no matter where they came from.


Here are the two places I've gotten most of my orchard and ground cover plants for the land
Fiddler's Ridge

Real Food Gardens (at least that's the name of their blog)

We'll start with Fiddler's Ridge.  Potlatch, ID.
They are super close to where I live (like 10 miles which in north Idaho qualifies as next door neighbors).
They don't seem to have a website and the facebook is pretty out of date.  These are my kind of people.  (I know...ironic since I have a blog.)


ANYWAY: They are awesome and during planting season they have an outpost location in Moscow, ID in the parking lot of the old Tidyman's.  If are within range of Moscow, you already know where that is.  If you aren't in driving range, then you don't need to know where that is because you aren't coming.  Shop local.

These folks KNOW the area, the climate, the soils, and of course the plants.  They are extremely helpful with what will most likely grow in your location, if you are from the area.  They've helped me out with proper plants.  I dropped some change their in fall 2015 and they gave me flat after flat of ground cover (various thyme, sedum, catmint, buckwheat, etc), about a dozen fern bush (hadn't ever heard of that), chokecherries, a currant, and a rabbit brush.  ALL that they sold me lived through the winter.  And they gave me one heck of a deal on everything.
The year before, I think or maybe spring 2015, I got gooseberry, currants, hazelnut, currant, blueberry, and a variety of other things.  The summer of 2015 was absolutely BRUTAL and I had no well.  Tried hand carrying water but alas, some of the plants didn't make it.  The currants from that year DID come back!  Not a leaf on them in 2015, but this year 2 or 3 of the 5 (I thought I bought 6 but can't find one.  Sometimes the deer help me with orchard planning) are showing leaves on new shoots from the roots.  WOW.
A blueberry I got from them and stuck in a container for lack of knowing where to put it is doing great.

This year I've gotten a variety of raspberries (10 starts in all), 2 blueberries, different varieties, and a bush cherry start.  All are doing wonderfully.  If I get the well going properly, we'll be in business.

The advice they give is priceless.  And the plants are super healthy.  I've also bought various soil amendments there and because both owners know right where my land is, they know what I'm coping with soil-(or lack there of)-wise.  This year they are also helping me choose things the bees will love.

The one thing Fiddler's Ridge didn't have that I really really really really wanted was fruiting quince.  I like to rock it odd-school (not a typo).  Some day I hope to market things that are just a bit off the norm.  Everyone has jam and apple cider and apple butter and the usual on sale at the farmers markets around here.  So I'm going for niche markets that probably don't exist in my imaginary future food sales business.  I also like odd things.

I searched the usual outlets for fruiting quince, local garden centers, nurseries.  Nothing.  I turned to the internet but most of the fruiting quince starts would be shipped from Florida or southern California.  Yeah.  Like that's going to work.  Quince interests me because it's tough.  I didn't want a version that I'd have to coddle and try to acclimate to the area.  I want to stick it in a hole and leave it. (That didn't sound good).

In desperation I typed "quince" into a craigslist search and 2 ads popped up.  I sent inquiries.  One had grown their own.  One was shipping in starts and potting them up.  Guess which I chose.  Yep.  Growing from seed in the region.

The place is Real Food Gardens.  It is near Hauser Lake, Idaho.  Bit of a drive from here but the prices are crazy low so compensates for the price of gas.  I've made 3 trips and sent multiple others up to them. I know one woman did go and got nice starts.   These folks are lovely and amazing and start their own plants.  We also seem to be on a page about getting out of the rat race and the like.  Alas, I'm still rat racing but planning for the day when I can step off the wheel and just enjoy my place and my plants.


They have an extremely wide variety of options.  I didn't even get to the herbs and other "garden" type plants.  Too busy getting trees and berries in this year.  Many tree/shrub starts are only 5$.  Their website gives the rates and availability as well as excellent descriptions of the varieties.  Their soil is very different from mine, but they are in a chilly location so that's a good thing to have in common.  With the low prices, I can do some test runs.  I plan to report back to them which things seem to thrive in my heavy soils.

This couple also is happy to share their extensive expertise.