Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Garden report 04.26.2011

The only artichoke that survived the winter.
Bachelor's buttons. I planted seed in my asparagus bed last year, and the flowers reseeded themselves.

The flood has receeded!

Look at all those flower! That means lots of strawberries!

The irises set on buds while I was gone, and the allium bloomed.

The onions are poking through the straw.

Mental note: peonies bloom their third year. These are some I took from the farm.

The root veggies, spinach and lettuce are doing well.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Music Monday: Adele - Someone Like You (Live in Her Home)

I don't think Adele has a music video of this song, other than this one of her singing in her home. This entire CD, 21, is incredible. I listened to it almost the entire drive to St. Louis this weekend, and almost the entire drive from St. Louis to Cape.
I think we all have at least one person we could sing this song to. I can think of someone specifically.

April showers

I went home for Easter. I think the reason I get cabin fever in Springfield is because on the farm there is always something to do, even if walking around and reminiscing is the only thing to do. This weekend was not short on boredom, though. There was lots of rain, and lots of family time. According to weather.com for this last week in Cape:
4/19: 1.18"
4/21: .32"
4/22: .94"
4/23: 4.85"
4/24: 2.97"
4/25: 3.62"
That's 13.88" of rain in the last week in Cape.

We weren't short on rain here in Springfield though either:
4/21: 1.08"
4/22: .57"
4/23: .58"
4/24: 2.86"
4/25: 3"
So far: 8.09"

Here's some random pictures from the weekend. I forgot my camera inside so I didn't get cow, calf, or kitten photos. Maybe in two weeks when I go home?
Friday evening, my brother decided we were going fishing. Step one: catch a frog, to catch a catfish with.

Mental note: remember to take my own galoshes home next time. I wore Dad's boots that he wears when he's feeding cows. They worked, but were a little big.

A huge tree fell over at Grandma Ettling's house. That's my cousin Jacob, who's probably pushing 6'-0" tall.
This is what I came home to... our back yard has some low spots around the greenhouse. I need to truck in some dirt. Part of the problem is that our neighbor's yard is 4" taller than ours and is only separated by a chainlink fence. She doesn't have any low spots in her backyard at all.

Luckily there wasn't any water inside the greenhouse. The floor inside has several inches of 3/4" gravel.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Record Player

Several months ago, a coworker gave me a record player (Garrard GT-25) and a milk crate full of classic rock records. Around the same time, I volunteered to help a friend sell his dad's record collection on Amazon or Ebay. Maybe I should revisit my first sentence, this was before deer season last fall, so at least October or maybe even September.
Since then, all the records from his dad have been sitting in our enclosed back porch, in front of the deep freeze (making it extra difficult to get meat out of the freezer). I intentionally put them there so I would trip over them and get around to selling them quicker. Obviously, that didn't work out very well since it's been six months and they are still sitting there... The record player and milkcrate of records from my coworker have been sitting in the Cloffice (Closet/Office, I'll explain in a different post someday) until about three weeks ago when the Hubs asked me why I hadn't hooked it up to the surround sound yet. Well... because I don't know how!!! So I cleaned off a space in the entertainment center and hauled the record player into the living room. the Hubs hooked it up. I selected a pretty good album, AC/DC's Dirty Deeds Done Dirty Cheap, put it on the record player, and NOTHING HAPPENED!!! The record player buzzed, but there was no turning, no music, just sadness.
I asked my coworker if the record player was still working when he stored it years ago, and it was. He suggested we take it apart and check the belt. 

Today I come home from work and find this note from the Hubs:

So I open up the back and this is what I see...

A HUGE mouse nest of pink batt insulation!

So I pulled in the trash can and scooped it out, then pulled out the vacuum with the handy dandy nozzle/tube thing and now it looks like this:

Maybe I'll come home tomorrow and it will be all hooked up and working and I can rock out! (Hint, hint!)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

More photos from Curry's Hot Rod Spring Fling Show

The car that was parked across from us, an old Suburban. The Owner hasn't restored it yet, and he lets his kids play around with it, hence the finger painting on the inside of the hood. The passenger side of the truck has a tic-tac-toe game scratched into the paint.

This is our baby, a 1968 Chevy Corvair. I said Corvair, NOT Corvette. The guy in the photo is our friend Jesse.


This show is at Curry's Hot Rods in Nixa. He restores old cars and does amazing paint jobs. I'm not sure which of these motorcycles he painted; I forgot to look for his tag.

The seat on this motorcycle says "Half Breed."

This is the Heaven/Hell motorcycle. This is the Heaven side. There are Bible verses hidden in the paint.

If you look toward the middle and bottom of the waterfall, there are two Revelations verses. The one at the bottom of the waterfall says Rev 22:1.

On the building above Jesus's head, it says Rev 3:20-22, and Eph 1:7.

This is the Hell side. I couldn't find any Bible verses, so I didn't take any close up shots.
Actually, I just found one, in the chain link on the dragon's collar: Rev 20:1-2.

Do I need to say this motorcycle is owned by a preacher?

What's growing!

Here's my bed of lettuces and root veggies. On the right toward the middle is spinach, which will probably be ready for eating in the next week or two!!!

Here's my asparagus/herb bed. From the left: Greek Oregano, the small bunch in the front is asparagus, the large bunch to the right of the asparagus are bachelor buttons, then flat leaf parsley toward the front, golden oregano is the small yellow clump, and the far right is curly leaf parsley.

Baby strawberries!

On a side note about bicycling, I rode 2.08 miles in 12.5 minutes, 9.8 mph! I felt like I was going pretty fast, and then I was passed by a guy on his bicycle and I pretty much ate his dust...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Beef Burgundy

Here's another recipe from The Joy of Cooking It wasn't a recipe on my cooking list, but it was something I'd wanted to make for awhile. Last year was my Grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary and we made beef burgundy (you can't say "beef burgundy" though, you have to say "boeuf bourguignonne" in a French accent, like you'd imagine Julia Childs to say it), but we put it all in a big foil pan, marinated it overnight, and then baked it. The beef didn't get browned like it does in this recipe.

As with other recipes in this book, the ingredients are mixed in with the instructions. 
Here's the huge piece of chuck roast I used. It was at least 2 pounds, maybe 3. We have half a dozen of these in the freezer, so I'm trying to use them up. We are down to very few cuts of meat and the Hubs is thinking of ordering another cow soon. (My next recipe will probably tackle one of the half dozen ham hocks we have... What do you make besides ham and beans with ham hocks? The Hubs doesn't like ham and beans...)

Cut 2-3 pounds of stew meat into 2" cubes.
Place in a large bowl (or 9x13 if that's what you have!) with:
2 c. dry red wine (I used Yellowtail Pinot Noir. It took almost half a bottle.)
1/4 c olive oil
1 onion, chopped (I used a large yellow onion)
1 carrot (seriously? ONE carrot? I used about 18 baby carrots.)
1 garlic clove, chopped (seriously? ONE garlic clove? I used 3.)
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp fresh parsley (this is one of the random herbs that decided to reseed itself from last year.)
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

Stir to combine. Cover and marinate for 1 to 24 hours in the fridge. The above photo is before I stirred it. If you use a bowl, you'd need at least a 4 quart bowl. The good thing about using a 9x13 is that I didn't have to stir the meat up periodically, as it was all on the bottom of the pan.
The following photo is post-marinade. Everything was purple!

In a large dutch oven (or something that resembles a dutch oven), brown 4 oz diced bacon. Remove the bacon, saving for later, and leave the grease in the pan. 


Add the beef, browning on all sides. Cook in batches. Add oil if needed.

Mmmmm. beef. It made the whole house smell amazing.

Put the veggies in the pot, without the marinade, and brown for a few minutes. Stir in 2 Tbsp flour. Then pour in the marinade, the beef, and 2 c. boiling onions, peeled. (My grocery store sells a bag of white pearl onions that was a perfect amount. It was about 25 onions.)

Have you ever peeled boiling onions? If you pull off the outer layer of onion, it takes off 1/4 of the onion! So I just peeled off the papery skin.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat and cook until the beef is fork tender, about 1 hour, covered.

Then add 8 oz mushrooms, quartered and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Add 1/4 c. fresh parsley, salt and pepper to taste. If you want the broth thickened, add 1-2 Tbsp flour.

I didn't add any extra salt and pepper at the end, and it seemed seasoned enough.

The recipe says it makes 6 servings. That's probably a good estimate. I ate it for lunch today, and it made the whole office smell good. I sensed some jealousy...

Music Monday: Jason Aldean - Relentless

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Bicycle helmet!

I bought a helmet today! It's made by Bontrager, the same company as my new bike tires. It's a universal fit and it adjusts with a dial, similar to how my hard hat adjusts.

I know, you're jealous... I still need to adjust the straps, but at least I finally bought a helmet!

I also took back the air kit and exchanged it for a kit with a few more accessories:
Patch kit
two CO2 cartridges
tire levers
all in a pouch that mounts under my seat.


I also put a spare tube in it. Hard to believe all that stuff fit in that pouch!

Random knowledge: the type of valves on my bike tubes are called Schraeder valves. They are the same kind as car tire valves. There is another type of valve called a Presta valve. The valve core can't be removed on a Presta valve, so you can't put anything like Slime in your tubes. Which I won't be doing with my tubes anyway...

I still need an allen wrench (for my brakes) and a small crescent wrench, and then my kit will be complete. I guess I need to remove this kit every time I park my bike. Currently, my bike is parked in the greenhouse, but the CO2 cartridges aren't supposed to be exposed to temperatures exceeding 120. Earlier this week, outside temperature was 70 and inside the greenhouse was 100. I have a feeling that this summer we may exceed 120 inside the greenhouse...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Today's bike ride results

1.99 miles in 13:09 minutes, average speed of 9.08 mph!!!

I'm starting to get the hang of this shifting thing, which is making riding a lot easier.

And since tomorrow is payday, I'm going helmet shopping. Today a woman wasn't paying attention and gunned her gas pedal backing out of her driveway. Luckily, I was paying attention and stopped for her, otherwise she would have ran right over me. My only fear with riding my bicycle to work is having a bicycle wreck and being left on the side of the road by a hit-and-run dumbass.

I have several reasons for riding my bicycle:
1. Gas prices. I saw an article today with a photo of a gas station in California where gas is $5.40 a gallon, and diesel is $5.77. I filled up for $3.59 today. I can find other ways of spending $45 every two weeks.

2. Exercise! I only live 3.5 miles from work. Why am I driving? I only need to drive when I need to go on site visits out of town.

3. Yesterday, I found out that the parking garage at my office will be closed for the summer for structural repairs. It's a concrete, 3 story garage that was built in the 1970s. Last summer an engineer came out and painted every crack and problem area with bright yellow paint. Our parking garage looks like it has chicken pox... Since our garage will be closed, we will have to find alternate parking. There's a meeting next week to discuss alternatives.

Our lawn mower guy came today (The hubs has really bad allergies, and I can't start a pull string tool for anything, so we have a lawn mower guy.), and I'm glad to say the garden is so far intact. That's not saying much, I know, since there isn't anything hanging over the beds. However, I was afraid he was would mistake the native plants behind the greenhouse as weeds and weed wack them, but he didn't!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Training for my ride to work!

I downloaded an app for my phone awhile back called Endomondo. It tracks your workouts. I turn on the GPS on my phone, then start the app when I start biking and stop it when I arrive back home. I'd put the map on my blog, but I don't want any stalkers at my front door! The reason I chose this app is because Endomondo has heart rate monitors that sync to your phone.
Anyway, it's a pretty nifty app.You can choose what kind of exercise you are doing: cycling, walking, running, skating, kayaking, downhill skiing (!!), etc. Then at the end of your workout, it tells you how far you went, average speed, time, and it gives a map of the route you took.

Saturday was the first day I used it and I forgot to tell it I was cycling, so it assumed I was walking. I went a mile in about 10 minutes.

Tuesday, I went 1.29 miles in about 11 minutes.

Today, I went 1.89 miles in about 15 minutes.

My average speed varies between 7.3 and 8 mph. I think it will take me about 30 minutes to get to work.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

French Onion Soup

I love French Onion Soup. When I go to Panera Bread Company, this is my choice of soup, unless of course they have the Cream of Chicken Wild Rice soup and then there's some competition...

The Borders in my town is going out of business (great sadness!) and I went there to check out their deals. I got The Joy of Cooking 20% off. I've wanted this recipe book for awhile now, but I never realized the recipes are written differently than your typical recipe. Instead of an ingredient list at the beginning and the directions below, The Joy of Cooking integrates the ingredients into the recipe:

Here are some step by step photos to go with the recipe
Heat in a soup pot over medium-low heat until the butter is melted:
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
Add and stir to coat:
5 medium onions, thinly sliced
pinch of dried thyme

Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. After about 15 minutes, when they start to brown, reduce heat and continue cooking, covered, stirring until a rich brown, about 40 minutes.

Stir in:
2 Tbsp Cognac or dry sherry (I didn't have any, so I didn't do this. I don't know if it makes much difference.)

Increase to high heat, stirring, until sherry/cognac evaporates.

Stir in: 
3-1/2 cups beef stock
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

The recipe then calls for topping each bowl with french bread and Gruyere or Swiss and broiling the soup in 8 bowls until the cheese is melted. We have a gas stove, and the broiler is a drawer on the bottom. I am always afraid of putting anything in the broiler other than the broiler pan, so instead I made croutons. Also, I don't really like Gruyere or Swiss cheese.

I bought a loaf of asiago cheese bread from the grocery store, cubed a couple sliced, and baked at 350 for about 10 minutes. Then I put the cubes on top of the soup and put the whole she-bang back in the oven for a little bit.
And yes, I made that bowl in Ceramics class in college.... :)

And that's how I tackled the first recipe on My Cooking List!

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