Monday, September 30, 2013

100% Homemade

For breakfast, I had some of yesterday's peach preserves on some homemade bread.


Delicious! And the preserves turned out nicely thick and well-set. I'm really pleased!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sticky is Everywhere

We were productive again today! Dan put up the new shade and two sets blinds as well as worked on installing our fireplace screen and I processed about ten pounds of peaches!

Sliced Peaches

I did another batch of preserves as well as some sliced peaches. I'm not 100% sure the sliced peaches will work out, though, as apparently enough water boiled off (& splashed out because my pot was too small but the big pot just won't freaking boil) during the water bath that the very tops of the cans weren't covered by the end. Boo. It looks like all of the lids have popped though, so maybe they are going to be okay?

In still productive but less edible news, I have officially finished my latest pair of socks!

Fault Line Socks

The weather has cooled a tad so it took a long time for them to block (three days!) but they are all done and happy now. They are a little difficult to get over my heel (apparently I have thick ankles) but with a little wiggle they go on and fit great, so I'm pleased with them. I will, however, have to make a mental note to go up a needle size on sock patterns that aren't stretchy (like lace or ribbing) so they go on easier. It's only taken me two pair of hard-to-slip-on socks to figure that out!

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Because life isn't unfriendly enough right now, when Dan & I got up this morning, Dan discovered that the freezer in our garage had stopped working. You know, the one that we put half a cow into a week or so ago.

Fortunately, we were able to save all of the beef and most of the pork that we had in there. Some of the venison was lost but we did save a few pieces (some that we will have to eat this week). Lowe's was really great, though, and let us exchange the freezer and upgrade to a model that has an alarm on it. Because it would not be fun to lose $800+ worth of cow. Next time the possibility comes up, I'd like more warning please.

My parents came down to let us use their truck for the exchange/upgrade so we were able to get the new freezer in and running today, meaning that all the stuff we had wedged into our inside freezer and stuffed into ice chests was quickly back in a freezing-temperature box. At least that turned out mostly okay.

The rest of the day was hectic (especially after cleaning up after leaking meat - yum) since we had to pick up our food co-op box. I picked that up while Dan was dealing with freezer things and the box was filled with all sorts of goodies. Including eight small bell peppers. Sigh.

Co-op Basket

But I had promised my parents dinner as thanks for their help and we needed to use some of the pork sausage that had defrosted too much, so I used the enemy bell peppers to make olive and pork stuffed bell peppers. So not only did I get to give our helpers a good meal, I used all of my bell peppers! Yay!

And more news on the cheerful side of things: I had my first attempt at canning today. Specifically peach preserves.

Peach Preserves!

I think it turned out quite well. The preserves were nicely thick and tasted delicious prior to being put in the jars, so as long as the whole preservation water bath process of the canning worked, I think this one will be a win. Tomorrow I'm going to try to can some sliced peaches (as we bought 22 pounds and the preserve recipe only used four... though we have eaten a fair number of them, too).

Busy day today. But honestly, maybe it is best to stay busy.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Even Blurry, Olive is Hilarious

Olive is really starting to settle in. She's not quite the lovey kitty she was when she was on the streets or when she first came in the house, but she's calmed down some where she doesn't seem so ADD kittenish so I'm taking that as a step in the right direction.

That doesn't mean, however, that she's still not a bit insane and overactive with toys and other kitties' tails. But it's moved into the realm of funny, not exhausting.

Olive & Octopus
Olive & Octopus
Olive & Octopus

Well, funny at least for the humans in the house. The kitties might have another opinion on that. I'm pretty sure Cocoa does.

Monday, September 16, 2013

I Made a Salad!

Dan and I did the food co-op thing again last week. It's really encouraging my culinary creativity because there are always random food things in there that I've never cooked before. The box we picked up on Saturday had: honeydew, cauliflower, green onions, bananas, pineapple, lettuce, some stuff I'm currently forgetting and some Hatch chilies.

Now, we aren't rabid Hatch chili fans like some folks down here are but surprisingly, I like them. 'Surprisingly' because they remind me of bell peppers. For that reason alone, I've never wanted to buy any, but if they are on offer I will eat them. But I had no idea what to do with the eight or nine we got in our co-op basket. I had defrosted a venison backstrap, so I figured I might as well use them for that. I wrapped the venison in sliced Hatches, then wrapped everything in bacon. Cooked it all up (baked then broiled) and served it with a Hatch cream cheese dip. It was awesome. The thing that made it though was the dip. Dan even gave it five and a half stars (out of five) so I'm happy with it. Pretty good for flying recipe-less!

In case you ever have some Hatch chilies and no idea what to do with them, I shall share what I did (and maybe this will help me remember it so I can repeat it!). I cooked four (cleaned, trimmed and deseeded) chilies in the toaster over at about 375°F until they were soft and the edges were a bit charred (25-ish minutes?). Then I used the immersion blender to blend them with eight ounces of soften cream cheese, a quarter cup of mayonnaise (I would have used sour cream but we didn't have any so mayo it was), some onion & garlic powders and some salt. Then I served that with the venison. Amazing. I even put it on the salad we had (because I really can't figure out what else to do with the lettuce we get from the co-op so yeah, I made a salad even though I'm not a fan of them... at least I also added mushrooms, squash, cucumber and green onion so it wasn't a totally lettuce salad) and it made a great ranch-like dressing. Num.

Sadly, the dip doesn't take a good picture (I mean, it's a faintly green blob), so instead I will give you a fluffy kitty yawning in a box.

Box of Fuff

ETA: I now have a picture!

Hatch & Bacon Venison

Monday, September 9, 2013

Where is My Celebratory Marching Band?

It's the end of an era! Our first home has passed into other hands. That's right, we have officially sold our old house. Eight days after it was listed, it has sold - papers signed, money in the bank, keys handed over, sold.

Honestly, even though proof of this event can be seen merely by looking at our bank balance, it still feels a bit unreal. I feel like balloons should drop from the ceiling or a marching band should stomp through the living room. We were anticipating this long, hassle-filled process but we ended up with a contract on the house on the second day it was on the market and closed on it a week later.

It still just feels unreal. I'm very glad it is real, though! I'm happy! Especially since that means we get to shop around for pool companies now. Yay!

Thursday, September 5, 2013


My last post I shared a picture of the socks I am working on, but it was kind of an outdated picture. So I thought I'd share the current pic of where I am today.

Fault Line Socks

The leg on one is done so the next step is to get the other sock to the same point, then start on the heel flap. Very exciting! Well, at least to me it is.

Aren't they going to be delightfully obnoxious when complete? The yarn colorway is called Hawaiian Sunset and, I have to say, I'm sort of absurdly addicted to it. I love how it is pooling and the pink is utterly delicious.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Weekend Please!

Gosh, we are still busy. We've finally gotten all of the paperwork done on the house - the survey and related affidavit, seller's disclosure, etc. Otherwise, there is no real new news on the house sale. The buyer had the inspection tonight but haven't heard anything on that yet. Honestly, nothing should pop up (well, a corner spald needs covering, but we had the same thing on this house and it's not a big deal) but I have an irrational fear that they'll come back with some massive foundation repair that's needed and will cost twenty grand or something. It won't happen, but hey, that's why it's irrational. Fingers crossed that it all goes smoothly and a week from tomorrow, we will be down to one house.

In other news, last weekend Dan and I participated in a local food co-op. We got a box of food that included all sorts of goodies like mango, kale and cantaloupe... and my nemesis, bell peppers.

My Nemesis

I'm really not a picky eater. I mean, I've eaten pickled baby squid, goat, natto... I do draw the line at eating bugs, but maybe I'm just saying that because I've never been offered any. Anyway, as much as I have a try-anything-twice attitude about food, I cannot stand bell peppers. Just walking by them in the grocery store makes me wince. Their smell. Bleck. Nails on a chalkboard to me. And I was presented two of them in my little food co-op box. But I refused to let them defeat me though. And they didn't.

I Win

I stuffed them with pork sausage, olive, onion and tomato then topped them with fresh mozzarella. I was actually pretty worried about how it would turn out, especially with the olives, but it was awesome! I think it was the olives that really made this work for me since it melded really well with the taste of the bell pepper and helped temper them. Dan even gave it a five out of five! Yay! I win! I imagine we'll do the food co-op again in the future so at least I know I can survive if and when we get bell peppers.

Speaking of olives, kitty-Olive is doing great. We had a vet appointment last week and her kidney levels were half a hair high which means she is likely a little dehydrated so we are working on that. She's still out in general pop and doing great. She does like to playfully annoy the other kitties but it's nothing problematic. The other kitties mostly ignore her.

Double Decker Tabby

She has amazing energy levels though. As I told Dan, she has three speeds: flat out, passed out and preparing for one of the first two speeds.

In other kitty news, Happy's report from the vet wasn't as positive as Olive's. Her kidney levels were across the board high, as was her phosphate and her potassium was a bit low. Which means she's at the beginning stages of kidney disease. Not surprising given her age but still sad. I'm not overly worried though - Ashes started having decently serious kidney issues when she was the same age and she had another ten years before she passed away. We're going to try out a new food for Happy - canned, even - so we'll see if she likes it and it helps. Fingers crossed!

Earlier, I mentioned that we had found a dresser for the bedroom but were still looking for something for our dining nook. Well, Monday, we found it! I'm really pleased with both pieces.

Bedroom Dining Room

The piece of the left is the cabinet we got for the bedroom - it has socks, underthings, knitwear and our bedsheets. It's not a perfect match to our bedroom furniture (not quite red enough in all lights to match perfectly) but it reminds me a lot of my lingerie chest so I kind of love it. The piece on the right is for linens in our dining room. It needs a little love, but I adore it. I'm pretty darn pleased with our new additions! I am eying a couple of more things for other areas of the house, though, so who knows how that will go.

And in the last bit of news, I've finally been able to pick up my knitting again. I'm still working on my cardigan but I found a sock pattern that needed test knitters, so I'm alternating between the two. For the socks, I'm using some yarn I bought for my birthday. It's delightfully obnoxious.

Socks To Be

The pic is a little outdated - I've gotten the full leg done on the first sock and am working on the ribbing of the second. This weekend, though, I had practically zero knitting time. Hopefully I'll have some downtime this week. I can't think of anything other than ironing and cleaning that needs to be done this week, but that could be because I'm a bit brain dead after such a crazy last few days.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Day Two

So... we just accepted an offer on our house.

The other couple wants to close next Wednesday so the option period is short - just long enough for them to get an inspection and for us get all the paperwork together. Which means now we get to hold our breath to see if the inspection finds anything bad. It shouldn't - our house is in good shape with no indications of problems - but there's always the fear that something will pop up.

As I told Dan, I'm trying not to count our chickens before they hatch but I'm pretty much standing over the eggs chanting, "Hatch, hatch, hatch!"

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Gratuitous Sam

Sam Lemon

This weekend (week, month, any of these work) has been kind of crazy. Dan and I have finally gotten our old house on the market - we even had our first showing today (and we only picked the realtor last night!). The showing went well - they spent an hour at the house - but sadly they want a larger backyard. Yeah, our old house's one downfall. But that's okay, at least it shows well otherwise, right? Eventually we'll find someone that doesn't want much lawn to mow!

We've also finally made some headway in the third bedroom. We've moved all the beer boxes out of there (Dan now has a beer & technology closet in his office) and put up the bed. No mattress yet, but we don't have a shower curtain in the guest bathroom either so it's not like we are billing the house as guest-ready. Hopefully we'll get the guest bath taken care of this month though. I'm sure we'll have 685 other things to do before we get around to the third bedroom's mattresses, though.

Something else we've managed to check off of our list: we finally picked up a dresser for the bedroom.

Cocoa in a Drawer
Don't let Cocoa's expression fool you - she likes it.

We still have our eyes out for one more piece of furniture (for the dining area), but at least our six or so visits to antique stores and malls have paid off with the dresser. It's not been loaded up yet but it's been all oiled and the drawers are back in it, much to the kitties' disappointment.

Bitty in a Dresser

Speaking of kitties, last night was Olive's first night to remain out after bedtime. She even stayed in general population today while we were out. She's doing really fantastic. She likes to play with gray kitty tails a bit too much (Chloe gets rather squeaky and distressed) but Olive never moves beyond playful pestering when interacting with the other kitties. I think she might actually be making friends with Sam! (Which is good, because when we first started letting her explore outside of her room, Sam liked to go in there and pee on the towel she was using as a bed. I much prefer them playfully batting at each other from opposite sides of a box.)

Friday was a vet appointment for Olive, too. Other than having ear mites, she was given an all clear health-wise. She's now current on all of her shots and has gained a lovely 1.2 pounds since we took her in. She's a little over 8 pounds now, which the vet says is great for her but I'm still giving her a bit extra food at mealtimes since I think she has a little making up to do. Oh, and the vet puts her age at about one year old (younger if her teeth tartar on the fast side). Having such a young 'un around really drives home how old our other kitties are. Bitty, the baby of the family, is nine years old! Chloe is 11! I can't believe that much time has passed.

Speaking of time, I'm glad tomorrow is a holiday since Dan and I still need more time to get stuff done around the house! I'm hoping that my stove hood will be installed, maybe even the thermostat if we are feeling productive after our grocery-related outing (so Dan can see what goodies are offered by the stores now surrounding us). Even if we do get those things done though, our list of to-dos seems fairly never ending. I have hope that we'll eventually settle in though!