Chasing the rainbows end

;) - I get my heart full here

Off to Dad’s for good eats that lead to groaningly full bellies. I successfully made stuffing turnips and 3 pies yesterday – no left over work for this morning, I’m quite proud of myself. I will leave you with a pic of the girls in the new aprons that AUntie Kari brought for them, they’ve worn them for 3 days!

girls-in-new-aprons

I’m going to go take a minute and appreciate just how lucky a girl I am.

Toots

When I think it could be nicer being red, or yellow or gold…

;) - When green is all there is to be

 

The Crone hit me up for this, something to do with bees and penguins…

The Guidelines:

2.Link to whoever tagged you
3.Include meme number
4.Include these guidelines in your post
5.Answer questions (erm – that bit’s quite important)
6.Tag 3 other green bloggers.
1. Name two motivations for being green: 
My kids.
Their kids
2. Name 2 eco-unfriendly items you refuse to give up
I have to go with the Crone on this one and say toilet paper. I would also have to add my washing machine. On the plus side for those 2 things, we have a low flow toilet, a mellow yellow philosophy and a well and small septic tank. So, we’re not relying on town water or sewer systems.
3. Are you at peace with, or do you feel guilty about no.2?
I’m sure if I really dredged the heart there would be a shallow pool of guilt but we do so much more around here than the average American household that it doesn’t bother me on a daily basis.
HA! – some how this one got deleted before I posted and I’m just noticing :)
4. What are you willing to change but feel unable to/stuck with/unsure how to go about it?
The vehicles mostly. Pat works about a 35 minute drive from home and I work about 10 minutes away. If the local buses ran early – I leave the house at 6:15am – and more than once an hour I think we might use them, well that and the mile walk to the nearest bus stop.

5. Do you know your carbon footprint for your home? If so, is it larger/smaller than your national average?
110 tons is the U.S. average for a four-person household.
22 tons is the world average.
There’s a calculator here, and our household of 4 comes in at 59.2 tons per year or 14.8 tons per person in our home. Of course I’ve figured into our calculations the fuel we burn in the sugar shack each year and I slightly overestimated our heating fuel, commuting miles and electricity usage – kind of a 5 year average.
In my Plant biology class 3 years ago we figured our footprints and wonder of wonders, little ole’ married with 2 childen me came up with a better footprint than most of the college kids in my class. Score!
 6.What’s eco-frustrating and/or eco-fantastic about where you live?
Eco frustrating: 
Lack of serious public transportation outside of the 5 college area
the BIG car mentality of most americans 
the obsession with manicured green lawns – we mow, maybe, 4 times/year 
towns that don’t recycle
Eco fantastic:
The Local Hero movement in the Valley
I saw 2 Smart cars last week. 2!!
A pile of friends that feel the way we do
Hungry Ghosts’ local wheat program
The ongoing and usually successful, land conservation movement in our area.
7. Do you eat local/organic/vegetarian/forage/grow you own?
We do eat locally though not exclusively. We hit the farmer’s market when in season, we have our garden – it’ll be bigger next year. And hopefully in the spring we’ll have a few chickens and…rabbits. The rabbits are not bunnies, not pets, they will be raised for food. Our land is zoned agricultural but we have less than an acre and therefore, technically we can’t have any “domesticated farm animals”, we’d need an acre for each animal but rabbits are considered pets. I’ve spoken with the town inspector and he says as long as no one complains about us having chickens that we can have as many as we want – the rabbits are backup. Plus I think its healthy for the kids to understand where our food really comes from.
8. What do you personally find the most challenging in being green?
Its a shitload of work. All the recycling, composting, all the work that goes into the garden and raising animals. But mostly its all the work that goes into steering the kids onto the right path, and helping them understand that the life society points us at is NOT healthy or sustainable.
9. Do you have a green confession?
yep, sugar – love the stuff.
10. Do you have the support of family and/or friends?
yeah, petty much. We all work at it a little differently but we’re all getting there.
Bloggers whose answers I’d love to read:
Toots

From the mighty to the meager things

;) – What’s been going on, around here

I have a wikkid cold today, head full of cotton, drippy nose, blech.

Patrick says its because I don’t have to work today. Like its some sort of karmic punishment for not earning money today, nice logic huh. I like to think of it more as a Karmic “get out of jail free” card. I figure I’m bound to get sick at some point this year, why not when I have a 3 day weekend. I’d much rather be home in bed all comfy a cozy and miserable than having to get up at 5:30 in the freezing cold and go drive a bus with 45 kids for 2 hours. 

Last week was crazy. We were down to one car while the Beetle was in the shop for bits n’ pieces. I had a class to teach and parent-teacher conferences and having to bring Patrick to work after I’d finished for the morning and then go pick him up again after the girls and I had had dinner. And last Tuesday was Veteran’s Day, the girls didn’t have school but I had work so they were on the bus with me…I felt smushed – not a drop of me time. Saturday I decided was all for me. I slept late, and didn’t bother getting dressed till, like 3 HA! Then I went down to Webs where my friend Kristin had been teaching color classes and was doing a book signing.

kristins-book

I’m gonna make these :)

kristins-mitts-to-make

Then I headed off to Malea’s housewarming party, where we all got to needle felt coasters for her, and because I brought her a bottle of wine, I got to pick out one of her wine glasses – to keep! She’s a potter and makes some great stuff.

wine-glass

After that I got some girly time with my buddy Annie. We stopped by a housewarming for another friend, talked a bit about chickens and played a few rounds of hungry hungry hippos with the kids before she and I went to the movies. We saw The Secret Life of Bees at the Amherst Cinema – oh tear jerker, but yummy man candy , dirty, ignorant, and angry but deliciously convincingly, southern man candy. Not all that much like the book, but an OK film. Good music though.

It was a nice release, and this week has felt much more normal and better paced. Next week I’ll be in pie mode for turkey day, I’m in charge of desserts and turnips (Dad will not allow them to be cooked in his house and my BIL loves them so they get cooked up here with the pies, though not at the same time) I’ll also be putting the final touches on my 3 designs for the Twilight inspired Knits book and submitting them, then I can dive whole hog into holiday making of things.

saebs-mitred-mittens1

Oh, on Wed I craft with my buddy April and I usually make some kind of baked goody for us, this week I made apple cake. She said I should take pictures and post the recipe, so here:

apple-cake

Apple Cake – serves 8

Preheat oven to 325

6 Med apples – cored, peeled and sliced      1/2 C brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon                                         1 tbs melted butter

mix together and spead in the bottom of a 13×9 baking pan.

4 tbs melted, cooled butter                          1/2 C milk

1/2 C sugar                                                  1 C flour

1 egg                                                            1/4 tsp salt

1tsp vanilla                                                   1 tsp baking powder

Cream the butter and suger, add egg and mix till light in color and thickened. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl, add to sugar mix alternatly with milk/vanilla beginning and ending with the milk. Pour over the apples and bake 25- 30 mins. Enjoy!

This is whats left.

apple-cake-dregs

I’m gonna go have another cup of tea and climb in bed for a bit. Have a great weekend!

nice-hot-tea

Toots

Don’t be tempted by the shiny apple

;) - Hunger only for a world of truth

I did a favor for a friend the other day and in the process heard something that’s been buzzng around in my head since.

My friend’s youngest was sick and she asked me to pick her oldest up from pre-school. No prob. I ran into a couple friends from knitting we chatted a bit while we waited till school was over. In the last few minutes, as kids and parents were filing out, i heard one Mom ask another if she was looking forward to her child going on to kindergarten next year. Reasonable question that. Its the answer that floored me.

“Yes! I can finally begin to put back together the shattered pieces of my life.”

Seriously? Seriously!

OK. Maybe it was meant in jest but it had such a ring of truth and desperation to it that I was sad and angry at the same time. Then the boy was ready to go home and I packed my thoughts away till I’d have a time to really chew on them.

Well chew I have. I actually allowed myself to consider a sympathetic and dissenting argument.

On the sympathetic side, she was older so maybe she was really set in her ways, I don’t know if she has older/more kids and this is some swiftly approaching endpoint for her, I don’t know the state of her current partner relationship having to juggle multiple/separate homes can really mess with your life, maybe she’s had a schizophrenic multipersonality break and is actually not the same woman who gave birth to the child.

Yeah, sorry, sympathetic loses.

How can you really think that children have broken your life? Man, I DO NOT have the easiest time with my kids and I absolutely treasure my alone time but nothing about my life broke because of my kids, if anything my weaknesses have strengthened – because I can’t get whipsnap psycho mad at a child, I can’t swear at them (and get the kind of reaction I’m looking for if I’m employing the F word in a madness induced rant so what’s the point), I can’t ignore them for days on end, I can’t just leave, I can’t drink them away. My kids have made me better, stronger, everything. I have the care and keeping of 4 lives in my hands each day and I made two of them – I made 2 people, I’m still helping to make them, helping them become…whatever they will be. Sure I get angry with my kids sometimes, exasperated, frustrated, completely flummoxed and fucking bewildered but those are not the majority of my experiences with my kids.

All I can think of is the stories of the worst customers in the world from back in my retail sales days, you always remember the truly horrible customers, you never remember the great ones or the 1000′s of average mediocre ones. If all you ever do is talk about and remember the bad experiences then you have a tendency to forget that they are a fraction of your actual experiences and you begin to give the hairy eyeball to each person that walks in the door because you have convinced yourself that they are all assholes. You have to let it go.

Now, in truth, you cannot know what it is to have the raising of a child until you actually do it and it is HARD but HOW HOW HOW can you resent in any way a being that was YOUR CHOICE to bring into existence?!?! That child that broke your life? YOU MADE IT! YOU BROUGHT IT HERE! YOU!

If your life is shit, thats on you not your child. How dare you. How dare you.

 

Things you may not have known about me: I swear like a trucker

 - rant done. You know I don’t bitch too often so thanks for sticking with me.

 

Want pretty pictures and crafty goodness? me too.

rp-cowl1rp-mitt-back

See, while I was chewing I was working too. Cowl and fingerless mitts that will pass on to someone this holiday ;)

Toots

Hold on, hold on tightly

;) - You’ll run and not grow weary

All sorts of projects are falling off the hooks now. See

aurelia-ganomy

That’s the hat that goes with the mittens from the last post, she doesn’t know that stuff is for her for the holidays. She thinks they are samples for the store – ha! I pretty much made the whole thing while we watched 3 episodes of Doctor Who (Tom Baker years) on Saturday night.

saebra-felted-cloche

That’s Saebra in my new hat – um, ok she says its hers now. Felted crochet, really dense stuff and it really does fit her better.

to-green-shoulder-seams

and I’ve started another sweater, top-down raglan, its a test knit for a friend. Its slow going on the sweater simply because she has no deadline and I have a pile of things to make for friends and family for the now swiftly approaching gift-giving season. 

I have also doomed myself to a bit of additional holiday rush by signing up for my third year in the Ornament Swap. Can I get away with chickens again?

of course I can – besides my sister wants a chicken mobile for the new baby so I can mash it all in together as one big project. It’ll be great – I love lying to myself!

I had a parent teacher conference with Aurelia’s teacher last night and it was everything I expected it to be. I think I may adore this woman as much as my daughter does. My kid is smart, so smart she’s sometimes spinning her wheels while she waits for the rest of the class to catch up and she ends up staring out the windows or whisper-chatting up a storm with one of her neighbors. Yes, Mom, it sounds JUST like me in 2nd grade. Oh, and she’s horrible about turning in her homework – the homework I watch her do everynight, the homework that is in her bag, in her locker instead of in her teachers homework box each day. uh-huh.

Miss Henneman says that her biggest problem with Aurelia is just that she dissapoints her sometimes, she throws a bit of ‘tude around because she knows she doesn’t have to work as hard as some of her classmates, but Miss Henneman loves that even on days when she has to call Aurelia out for “bad” behaviour my kid still makes it a point to give her teacher a hug at the end of the day and say thanks for being a great teacher.

sigh

its reassuring to know that we’re doing something right.

I have Saebra’s P/T conference on Thursday. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Toots

It depends on where you’re sitting

;) -  it could go either way for you

AH

No more zombie computer. Thank you Left-Click!

Patrick and I both experienced a bit of interwebs withdrawal while the computer was in the shop. He dealt with it by playing with a calculator, I watched all the xtras from the 2nd Season of Doctor Who

Fool that I am I did not realize David Tennant was a Scot! or ladies, I’d have been all over that years ago – Kate, wouldn’t he make the perfect elder Ian Murray!?! just a tad too long and lean

triptych-dt

Patrick just came in the house and caught me watching an interview with DT where he explaind his reasons for leaving the show this year. Patrick chuckled and said, “You know what I’m getting you for christmas this year? I’m going to go find a recording of a Scottish guy reading the Oxford English dictionary.”

I love this man.

We start watching Season 3 on Monday, you know, when the next Netflix envelope arrives. :)

Just before we watched the last episode of that season I got a hankerin for dessert of some kind so I rifled through the recipe box. I came up with two old family recipes, gifts from my aunt Heidi a few years back. One was my Nanny’s Swiss Chews – I haven’t had these bad boys since I was about 10, right before her alzheimer’s kicked in, soooooo good and so simple! The other was Gramma’s Baked Custard – which I jokingly refered to as the Baked Custard of Billie’s Demise – since we were watching the last episode of Doctor Who with Billie Piper – for a few seasons at least – I make me laugh. Anyway, make yourself some dessert this weekend!

Nancy’s Swiss Chews – these are like the best chocolately nutty cookies evar!

1 12oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate morsels(chips!)   1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs                                                                           2 tsp vanilla

1 C packed brown sugar                                                1 C chopped nuts

melt chocolate and cool 5 minutes. Beat eggs until thick- and almost buttery in color. Beat in sugar slowly until very thick – when ribbons form as the batter runs off the back of a spoon into the bowl. Fold in remaining ingredients – 1/2 C of sweetened shredded coconut added at this point is extra yummy too! Drop by tsp onto well greased cookie sheet. Bake at 325 for 10 minutes. Cool for one minute and remove to cooling rack. It is important to remove the cookies from the sheet while they are still warm and pliable! Makes 24 cookies.

swiss-chews-1swiss-chews-2

Gramma’s Baked Custard

2 eggs                       2 cups whole milk

1/4 C sugar               1/8 tsp salt

mix ingredients well, stirring until sugar and salt are dissolved. Pour into a well greased casserole dish, sprinkle with nutmeg and bake in a water bath at 200 for 1 hour. Check consistency and bake an additional 15 minutes if necessary. 
This could easily be flavored with your favorite liquer or chocolate. It is wonderful warm and cold all by itself but would work well with fresh fruit, a nice unfrosted cake – like gingerbread or pumpkin, or shortbread cookies. mmmm

Project wise I have whiled away the time working on 3 projects I still can’t really talk to you about, if you are on ravely you can check them out here. I have also started the holiday gift making. A pair of fraternal mittens for Aurelia are done and I have started a Ganomy hat to match, there will be a similar set for Saebra. I haven’t found the right hat pattern for Patrick yet but I’m working on it. As for the rest of the family – I think this may be the year of the slippers. Seriously, I must have like 25 patterns for slippers that I want to try. Quick, easy, inexpensive and useful – what more could you ask. 

aurelias-mitered-mittens

Hopefully the blog content will return to normal volume in the days to come. I have lots I want to share with you and talk about. Thanks for stickin with me chickadees!

Toots

i always gotta have my way

;) – oh little girl!

Oh the frustration.

I am sitting at my computer, using it, but its not my computer, its some zombie version that looks and sounds like my computer but is totally missing its brain and is only driven by mad need.

My computer is NOT running from its harddrive, it is running completely from a CD, a 2 year old version of Ubuntu. I can access the interwebs and that’s about it – and I can’t do that very well because this 2 year-old program just doesn’t recognize a huge chunk of the java script that most pages are built with now

Argh.

Halloween was also tough for me. So much crammed into the day and we almost missed trick-or-treat all together and I never got pictures of the kids. :(

ugh.

I think I may try to participate in this whole november blogger writing thing but I’ll get into that more later in the week when my computer is cured of it’s current Zombie state.

man, I can’t even link to anything….

toots