Sunday, July 18, 2010

Slacking off already!

Sheesh, I got off to such a whiz-bang start on my blog, and then I let a whole week go by! Oh, well, I never promised it would be a daily thing.
Life gets in the way. I'm dehydrating as fast as I can (I have 8 trays now) and trying to eat the rest. If you are what you eat, then I'm turning into a squash.
Foot present for size-comparison purposes.

I also did a major clean/declutter of the dining room:

You'd be much, much more impressed if you could see the "before". Alas, it didn't occur to me at the time.

Also went to book-club on Friday night for discussion of "The Outliers". We all gave the book a thumbs-up.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dehydrating Veggies & Growing in Containers

Here's my 2nd squash dehydration experiment. As you can see, my dehydrator is not huge. This is a Nesco American Harvest dehydrator, which comes with four trays. You can buy more trays and the directions say that it will handle 12 trays at a time, but so far I've made do with the original four.

I was able to fit one 8-ball and one crookneck squash on this tray. I brushed them with coconut oil, and lightly seasoned them with a parsley, salt and garlic powder mix. It will take about 10 hours to dry these.


I have a big garden area out back, but I hadn't finished planting my veggies when I broke my ankle a few months ago. I really didn't feel like mucking about in the dirt with my compression boot, so I decided to plant a couple of stragglers in two half-barrels I have right outside the kitchen door. The one on the left is an Armenian cucumber, the one on the right is a yellow crookneck squash. So far they're doing just fine in their limited growing areas.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Squash Chips

Squash production in my garden is in full swing. In the past week I've been fixing stir-fried squash. Raw squash "spaghetti". Squash fixed pizza-style with marinara, cheese and pepperoni (or "squizza".) Julienned in spring rolls. I do love squash, but I've been struggling to keep up with the supply.
Seemed like the perfect time to try making squash "chips". This morning I filled four dehydrator trays with 1/4" slices of zucchini and yellow crookneck squash. I decided not to use any seasonings at all this first time; I wanted to see what just squash would taste like.

10 hours later, I wound up with the jar you see me holding. (Minus a few that I taste tested.)

Not bad! I should have left the larger slices in for another hour to make them crunchy; some of them are decidedly chewy. They should be great with dip; hummus, perhaps.

Next time I'm going to season them and maybe try one tray with a bit of coconut oil to see what happens.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

MY Book has arrived!

Last November I participated in NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month. That means I cranked out a minimum 50,000 word novel without any outline, premeditation or editing! It's not Shakespeare, but by golly I did it! One of the "prizes" was a promo code to get a free proof copy from CreateSpace. You won't be able to find it at your local bookstore, but if I decided to make it available to the general public, you could get it from Amazon. Luckily for the general public, that's not going to happen! Not without some major editing, anyway.

What's it about? I guess I'd call it an Urban Fantasy. Fate and coincidence. Mythology from South America and Egypt. References to H.P. Lovecraft and Henry Kuttner. Seances with a Scrabble board. Fights to the death against hordes of rats, both human and rodent. Aren't you biting your nails in suspense just thinking about it?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Zippety-doo-dah!


Rob and I went zip-lining today!

Last week at the Wednesday Night Market, there was a woman handing out brochures about zip-lining through the redwood forest:


This place just opened up to the public last month. It's only about 45 minutes away from us, the price was right, Rob was available today, and I figured it was now or never. It's been in the back of my mind ever since I saw it for the first time in the movie "Medicine Man".

Rob and I were the only people signed up for this time slot, so we had the two guides all to ourselves. It was a series of seven zip lines (up to 1,000 feet long and 300 feet off the ground), one spiral staircase going up into a tree, two suspension bridges and an 80 foot rappel down from the last tree.

Was I scared? YES! The first couple weren't too bad because they were fairly short, but then my subconscious brain kicked in and started telling me how stupid and dangerous this was! My legs were getting wobbly, and I probably would have chickened out on the rest if it were an option, but it wasn't. I mean, we were in the middle of the forest on a platform a couple hundred feet in the air, and the only way out was to finish zipping. Besides, what sort of wimpy dragon would I be if I had to be carried out by a rescue team? So I just kept forcing myself to look straight ahead and not focus on how high up we were.

I'm glad I did it, it was quite an experience, but I'm not planning to do it again. (Oh, and it was rather annoying that Rob wasn't the least bit nervous about it at all.)

Well, here's the proof: Me, on the zip-line:


video

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Rob, Rod, Ron, Robert and Bob: Strange Coincidences

Wow, three comments on my first post! I'm going to consider that a huge success, even if the first one is my husband.

I'm still half-asleep. Slept till 6:15, haven't done that in ages! Yesterday I tackled a major gardening project in the midday sun, and it kind of wiped me out. We've been letting our lawn die, and I filled in a strip along the front with bark and tree stumps and rocks. Looks pretty good if I say so myself.

After I finished, I decided I needed a bike ride to the thrift store to reward myself. So I got my bike out of the garage and hopped on, and it wouldn't pedal. I figured something was jamming the gears, but I couldn't tell what. Rod, the guy across the street, sees that I'm having problems and yells for me to walk my bike over. He looks at it and sees that a screw and a wire from my bike rack got jammed into the gears. (Then I remembered that I felt something shift when I unloaded groceries from my last bike ride.) So, he's fixing it for me when the guy next door to him, Ron, walks over and volunteers to help or bring out his bike repair kit.

I started laughing because it reminded me of that old joke, about how if your car breaks down in redneck country, you can barely get your door open before a dozen guys hop out of pick-up trucks to push you to the side of the road; they live for that sort of thing.

Well, this was the Sonoma County version of that joke; your bike breaks down, and a dozen guys show up to help you fix it! I was very grateful for that; I am not mechanically minded, and I would have had to cancel my bike ride if they hadn't fixed it for me.

Notice the similarity of names? My husband is Rob, the guy across the street is Rod, and next to him is Ron. Not only that, but our letter carrier is Bob, and the letter carrier who delivers to and lives around the corner from us is Robert. (Cue Twilight Zone music.)

Plus, we have the great triumvirate of mail delivery in our block. My hubby is a carrier for the US Postal Service, one of Rod's tenants delivers for Fed Ex, and the lady two doors away is a UPS driver. The coincidence amuses me.

Any strange coincidences going on in your lives?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

First Blog Post Ever

I really have no clue what I'm doing! If anyone is lurking, please be patient as I stick my toes into the water one inch at a time.