Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Nook, Nook

When I was little, my Dad's nickname for me was Snoot. It rhymed with Nook, not shoot. Then I went through those teenage years when I thought the nickname was stupid. I remember being really mad at him for calling me by my nickname.
My nickname came about because we had pigs when I was younger. Apparently when I was very young I was unable to make pig-snorting noises so I would say "snoot snoot" to the pigs. Or at least that's what I think the origin of the nickname is.
What does this have to do with my Nook? Nothing, except it rhymes.
And I see my Dad everyday now and sometimes I miss being called Snoot.
I was also going to tell you a little bit about my Nook. My brother and I both received Nook Colors for Christmas from our parents. This is something I never would have bought for myself. I have the Kindle app on my smart phone and it worked for what I needed it for. I used it to free read classic books. For current books, I went to the library and checked out hardcopies.
I read a lot of fiction books. I also read magazines and cookbooks. (I realize it's weird to read cookbooks, but it gives me ideas!) I've decided that getting magazines and cookbooks on the Nook are not for me, though. I like to write on the pages when I make a recipe, notes about how to improve the taste next time, who liked it, how to make it better, etc. I put sticky notes on pages with recipes I want to try. There are options for highlighting and notetaking on the Nook, but it's just not the same. Magazines and cookbooks are items I like to share with friends. When I finish an Organic Gardening and it has tips on chicken-keeping in the city, or fall gardening, I pass it on to friends who share those interests. Right now, I'm living with my Grandma, and if I passed the Nook over to her to read the latest Organic Gardening issue, I'm pretty sure she would hand it back to me and say she's not interested. She doesn't even know how to use a computer.
There are several things I like about the Nook, though.
If I don't know a word, I can look it up, even without wi-fi access. Sometimes that feature wouldn't work on my Kindle app without cell service.
I can crawl into bed with the lights out and not have to worry about getting back out of bed later, and getting chilled, just to turn off the lights. I just adjust the brightness of the screen so it doesn't hurt my eyes in the dark and pretend like I'm a kid reading a book with a flashlight under the covers when I should be sleeping. Except my head is still outside the covers.
It's lightweight. Even with the protective cover I bought. I have fifty or more books on my Nook right now and it still weighs the same as it would empty. I wish I had this in college. That 20 pound art history book would have been a lot easier to lug around.
I also like that when I finish a book, I close it on the Nook and open up another one. This will be really handy on vacations, so I won't have to contemplate "Do I need to take two books or three?" I won't have to worry about books taking up valuable luggage space anymore! (Unless of course I purchase a local cookbook to bring back home!)
I haven't had the opportunity to try it out yet, but I'm also able to "borrow" Nook books from the local library. They're free just like checking out hardcopy books.
All in all, I'm pretty stoked to have the Nook.

Friday, January 27, 2012

History Lesson: Fort D

I'm a little embarrassed to admit this. I was raised in the Cape Girardeau area, I'm 27, and just within the last 2 months I learned about a Civil War Fort here in Cape Girardeau.

The property is City owned, and part of my job these last couple months has been evaluating City owned properties for code compliance and maintenance issues. Fort D is maintained by the Parks & Recreation Department.
The fort itself is just the earthen berms.

The limestone building was built in the late 1930s as a WPA project.
Now the grounds are used for Civil War reenactments.

I guess if I was a history buff I would have known about this sooner, huh?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Earthquake preparedness

 Today I am going to bore you with an item I find fascinating and scary.

Moving back to Cape Girardeau means I am not only still in tornado country, but also smack dab in the middle of earthquake country. The New Madrid fault zone is over here on this side of the state.

I've never been in a big earthquake, but I remember one in kindergarten. Grandma Ettling babysat me in the morning (I had afternoon kindergarten) and I thought she was passing gas but it was an earthquake. The tectonic plates were moving. We ran and stood in the doorway like they teach in school.

I've always been told that we're overdue for an earthquake. I didn't realize just how overdue until I read this information.The last big earthquake was in 1895 and they typically occur every 70 years +/- 15 years. We should have had a "big one" by 1980 at the latest. It's 2012.

These photos are part of our disaster preparedness manual at work. As a City employee, after a natural disaster I'm expected to take care of my family first and then come to town and help evaluate structures for their safety.

There's also a section in the manual on what to do to prepare for an earthquake. When we were relocating offices a couple weeks ago we came across an earthquake kit that was full of bottled water, flashlights, batteries, Sharpies and other things. There's even a list of items you should have in an emergency kit in your car, at all times. Guess I need to work on that!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Garden List 2012

A couple weeks ago, Mom asked me to write down a list of the vegetables and fruits that I want in the garden.

I'll warn you, it's a long list.

This is the first year in almost a decade that I'll be planting at the farm. In a huge garden. I could plant everything on my list and possibly not fill the space up.

I have plans for lots of canning and freezing this year. A lot.

I've divided the list into three categories: veggies, herbs and fruit.

Here we go with veggies:
Asparagus (needs a permanent bed)
Green beans
sweet peppers
hot peppers
radishes (for Grandma Betty)
acorn squash
butternut squash
tomatoes for juice/sauce
tomatoes for canning whole and eating fresh
tomatoes, cherry or grape

I also have some artichokes that I started from seed last year that need to be transplanted. I have leftover seed for a lot of these veggies, but some of them date back to 2009 so I'm not sure if they'll germinate.

Fruit (Including nuts. Varieties listed are what I found at Stark Brothers, a nursery in Louisiana, MO)
Apples (Starkrimson Red Delicious, JonARed Jonathan)
Blueberries (Jersey, Earliblue)
Cherries (North Star Pie, Royalton Sweet)
Peaches (Polar peach special: Intrepid and Reliance)
Pears (Bartlett, Starking Delicious)
Strawberries (a june bearing variety not an everbearing)

Chives (I have this in a pot but it might not survive the winter)
Epazote (for beans)
Lemongrass (I have in a pot)
Mint (I have peppermint in pots)
Rosemary (I have in a pot, but it also might not survive the winter.)
Sage (I have a pretty big sage plant in Springfield but I'm afraid it might not survive a transplant. And it's kind of been a tradition since the Hubs and I started living together that I buy a new sage plant at each house. We're on plant #3 now.)
Tarragon (I started this from seed but I don't think it's getting enough warmth/light.)
Thyme (I have in a pot)

I have seeds for many of the herbs too and most of them are only from 2011.

I've also been in discussion with Grandma and Dad about getting new chicks this Spring. I want fresh eggs again, and I want to learn how to butcher chickens. I know that's kind of a gross thing to admit, but I figure while I still have Grandma around it would be easiest to learn. She raised and butchered a lot of chickens when she was growing up. 

I may need to purchase a new grow lamp and seedling heat mat as the ones out in Springfield are packed and lost in the abyss of the storage unit. Guess I need to start hunting soon because the nightshade family of vegetables will need to be started soon!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Running Update

Running has been a bit of a challenge since I moved to the farm. The gym is on my way home from work, but the motivation has been lacking. I started going again because I want to work up to a 5K. I'm also motivated by a request to be a bridesmaid for a friend in early June.

I'm still doing the whole run/walk thing like I was before. But I'm learning that I need to walk a longer warm-up otherwise my calves and shins get really tight and sore while I'm running. Last night, I did:

.25 miles at 3.0 mph
.25 miles at 3.5 mph
.25 miles at 4.6 mph
.25 miles at 3.5 mph
.5 miles at 4.6 mph
.5 miles at 3.5 mph
.25 miles at 4.6 mph
.25 miles at 3.5 mph
.25 miles at 3.0 mph

I ended up running a mile and walking 1-1/2 miles. It took about 45 minutes.

A 5K is 3.1 miles. I wanted to do that last night, but I also knew that even though I called and reminded Grandma that I would be late getting home due to going to the gym that they still wouldn't eat without me. Sure enough, I got a text message from my brother on my way home to the tune of "Why aren't you home yet?"

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Garden Report

 This weekend while I was in Springfield, I went ahead and pulled up some of the veggies in the garden. Who knows when I'll get back to Springfield, and by the time I get there the house may be sold and someone else wanting to eat my leeks and parsnips.

Well maybe not, but we can only hope that someone sees this house, gets a nice tax refund and buys our house.

 There are still onions and garlic in the ground because they aren't big enough to harvest. But I did get 14 oz of leeks.
16 oz of parsnips and
2 oz carrots
 And apparently the flower bulbs are as confused about the weather as I am. Yesterday we might have hit a high for January in Springfield. I heard it was near 70 degrees.

These hyacinth and tulips need to retreat back into the dirt!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I had a three day weekend (due to working for a City and yesterday being a government holiday. This job has some definite perks.) I went to Springfield to clean my house and list it.

 Something very sad but exciting about seeing a realtor sign in your front yard.

 And a key lock box on your front door.

I forgot to show you how good the back porch looked after we replaced the siding.

If you're interested in looking at our house, it's listed here: http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/1819-W-Lee-St_Springfield_MO_65803_M77868-51855 or look for 1819 West Lee Street, MLS #1200648

This is the perfect home for somebody wanting a two bedroom home with a raised bed garden and greenhouse. 

Friday, January 13, 2012


 I know you're probably getting tired of seeing doilies. I still have a few to make. I started a new one last night. And I still need to finish the one for my mom... I ran out of thread and can't find any to match, so I think the last couple rounds will be a different color with a made up pattern out of my head.

 This one isn't blocked out yet, but I finally finished it. All those double crochet clusters take forever. They are pretty but a pain!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Oh wait! That was a month ago!

But there's snow here today, and it's still coming down outside my office window. Rather heavily, in fact.

This is how I was greeted this morning: 

 About 1/2" to 1" of snow, with frozen sleety stuff underneath that on my windows...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Today I am going to share a weird relationship I discovered with numbers. This is something I discovered because I always sat in the middle of the backseat of cars growing up, and stared at the clock for long periods. I also looked out the window a lot at county road signs.

What I discovered is that any series (that I've encountered so far) of three or four digit numbers will eventually equal zero if using addition and subtraction. I know this sounds weird, so bear with me as I explain.

Take, for example, the number 347.

The numbers in bold font are the original numbers. The regular font numbers are the result of the addition or subtraction.

Let's look at another one: 529.

As you see, it matters whether you use addition or subtraction as the first action. If you use the wrong action first, the number will get increasingly larger or increasingly smaller and not equal zero.

Here's a four digit example: 12:21

Surely I'm not the first person to notice this. However, if anyone else has, I don't know if there is a name for this phenomenon or if it means anything. I don't know how this would be useful to apply to any situation. It's just a weird thing of nature, like the golden section (or golden rectangle) that works because it works.

I invite you to try this with a series of numbers and let me know if you find one that doesn't work.

For awhile I tried to also use multiplication and division, but that got a little difficult.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Smokin' Turkey

So my mom has this problem. A good problem. When she sees a turkey on sale she has to buy it.

For example, this Thanksgiving we went grocery shopping and the turkeys that were typically $1.50 per pound were on sale for 67 cents per pound if you bought $50 worth of groceries. That's a pretty good deal on a turkey. That made a 23 pound turkey about $15 instead of $34.

The only problem is that we got home and there were three other turkeys in the deep freezer. So, Daniel (my brother) and I are on a mission to learn to smoke turkeys.

Last weekend Daniel took the turkey out of the freezer and put it in the bottom of the fridge. Yesterday, we mixed up this spice rub, which I adapted from a recipe in Bon Appetit's November 2011 magazine.

Cajun Spice Mix
5 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp oregano
1 Tbsp thyme
1 Tbsp pepper
1 Tbsp onion powder

Then we had to tackle the turkey. A 20 pound turkey would have to smoke for 12-14 hours. We didn't want to get up at the crack of dawn to start the smoker, so we cut it in half. This should take about 6-7 hours. We're smoking half and baking half.

Cutting the turkey in half was quite the adventure.

Wait, back up... yeah, we broke a knife

Mmmm... This is in the fridge as we speak.

Half is going in the smoker at noon, the other half in the oven at 1:30/2. Then the giblet dressing is going in the oven about 4:30. Mashed potatoes, some kind of vegetable, and we'll have a semi-Thanksgiving dinner in January.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Doily-ied again

Think since Christmas is over that doilies are done? Think again! Christmas with my Mom's side of the family isn't until late January. I'm still "needling" away (those are the words of my Dad.)

Yet another doily from the Magic Crochet magazine. I think this one is from June 1985.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Random thoughts

One thing that concerns me about no longer working in an architecture office that I don't design anything anymore. As much of a nerd as I am, I enjoy reviewing building plans to see if they meet code. But I also want my name on buildings. I don't want my education and license to go to waste.

This advertisement is in several architecture magazines, and it kind of portrays what I mean.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


This is the last time I'll be updating this post. For the next year, I'll list what I've read under the "Reading List 2012" tab at the top of the page. 

Since purchasing a new phone, I started reading more because it has a Kindle app. This post is going to get updated everytime I finish a book. I'm also taking full advantage of the library near my house, and the feature I discovered online where I can request a book from another branch of the library to pick up at the one by my house! I can even order books through Mobius (the state-wide library system) to pick up at my local library!

Currently working on:

Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain

The May Day Murders by Scott Wittenburg


In 2011, I read:

Dracula by Bram Stoker
Powerful words from this book: "The common people know me, and I am master. But a stranger in a strange land, he is no one. Men know him not, and to know not is to care not for." Chapter 2 (unsure of the page number!)

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart

The Fence My Father Built by Linda S. Clare
A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
"Nature never appeals to intelligence until habit and instinct are useless. There is no intelligence where there is no change and no need of change." Chapter X.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (I started reading this series while I was on vacation in Puerto Rico)
The Girl who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson

Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell

The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

The Black Echo by Michael Connelly (If you've heard of the movie The Lincoln Laywer, The Black Echo is the first in one of his other series. The main character's name is Hieronymous "Harry" Bosch, named after a painter I studied in college. Check out his painting Garden of Earthly Delights.

The Last Coyote by Michael Connelly
Void Moon by Michael Connelly

Sustainable Construction: Green Building Design and Delivery by Charles Kibert (This is an educational book because I'm working with a client who wants sustainable features in his building and I haven't done a green project since the LEED Platinum Habitat for Humanity house...I'm brushing up!)

The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly
The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly
The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly

Sage by Debora Clark

Scarpetta by Patricia Cornwell (Ended up taking this book back without finishing it. I was 1/3 of the way into it and could not get "into" it. So boring and wordy.)

Week by Week Vegetable Gardener's Handbook by Ron & Jennifer Kujawski This book was so awesome, I'm buying it!

City Farmer by Lorraine Johnson I didn't read all of this book...

Farm City by Novella Carpenter This was a pretty entertaining book about a woman who lived in a ghetto area of Oakland, CA and raised chickens, turkeys, rabbits and pigs in her backyard. In the MIDDLE of the city!

City of Bones by Michael Connelly

Angels Flight by Michael Connelly

Growing a Farmer: How I Learned to Live off the Land by Kurt Timmermeister

The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food and Love by Kristin Kimball

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly

The Reversal by Michael Connelly

9 Dragons by Michael Connelly

Chasing the Dime by Michael Connelly
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