speckled peach smoothies

N and I love to have yogurt-based treats for dessert: we'll mix nuts, chocolate, vanilla extract and a stevia-based sweetener in plain yogurt--that's the most common variant.

Recently, I bought a bunch of peaches and they started to go mushy the day after purchase, which was odd as they were relatively firm when I bought them.  So I froze them a la Jeff's peachcicles.

Frozen peaches are yummy all by themselves, but I also tried making them into a smoothie, which was similarly delicious. Simply blend milk, vanilla yogurt (or plain/greek yogurt, vanilla extract, and truvia), and peachcicles together.  Proportion-wise, it's totally subjective.  I did about equal parts peach and yogurt and then added milk to taste to thin it out.  If you leave the skins on when making the peachcicles, you get a lovely speckled smoothie!

garden update, etc.

The rabbits have still been getting in regularly, taking a bite out of the occasional tomato and demolishing my previously flourishing swiss chard.  I've been patching the holes they make with weeds; I'll pull up a sucker that's several feet tall that's growing outside my fence and then fold its centimeter thick stem in half, maybe twice and then stick it in the hole.  I'll do that a couple of times with most of the leaves and dirty roots sticking out, and eventually the opening is pretty bunny-proof; it's harder to eat through weeds than plastic fence.  I've started weaving some of the weeds where there are no holes as prevention, but I might need to go back to the cayenne pepper/oil mix I tried a bit ago (it's washed off since).

The rabbits seem to steer clear of the yellow pear tomatoes, so they've been the crowning achievement thus far.  I discovered the one-an-only cucumber growing up in an odd place, so we'll see if that survives to maturity.  Beets, carrots, and swiss chard are all developing well enough.  The lettuce has gone to seed, and there's enough of it to establish a strong strain of my own if I can save the seeds for next year; we'll see how that goes.  The tomatillos, which almost came out of nowhere, are exploding with young fruit.  N wants to grow sunflowers and corn next year and he's insisting we call it "our garden" (as opposed to "my garden"), so I'm excited that he's excited about it.  I'm going to ask the folks in charge if I can build a cold frame for starting the tomatoes, etc. next year.

Speaking of building things, I think I want to learn better carpentry skills.  For example, we bought a tall wooden shelf to act as a pantry, but it was surprisingly poor quality for the price, and I think it'd be nice to be able to build things like that without buying a box set.  Unfortunately, unless I need something it's wasteful to just make things for the heck of it and people don't like to commission something from somebody with no experience, so practicing is difficult.


another moment of feeling justified

I've always thought Thomas the Tank Engine was a little creepy.  I mean, there's the fact that Thomas is a noble little he-engine pull around two ditsy she-coaches, but there's more to it than that.  Jessica Roake explains some of the subtexts here, and I think she does a pretty good job of identifying why I've never really like the show.  It's nice to know I don't have some obscure phobia of anthropomorphic trains.


tomato quiche

What to do when you come home to a carton of eggs needing to be used up?  Quiche!

7 oz flour
scant 1/3 cup water
7 tablespoons butter, chilled
1 teaspoon garlic powder
generous pinch of salt

Mix ingredients together (wooden spoon/hands if needed) until no clumps of butter remain.  Spread evenly over 10" tart pan.

5 eggs
1/2 cup milk
nice vine-ripened tomato (~7oz)
a few dashes of salt
dash of pepper
teaspoon oregano
1 oz hard cheese (e.g. Parmesan or similar)

Beat eggs, add milk and spices and beat until incorporated.  Chop tomatoes to about 1/2 inch in size and add to egg mixture.  Pour into prepared crust and top with grated cheese.  Bake at 375 until golden and enjoy immediately!


Today, not so much with the complete sentences. Forgive me.

Down from the mountains.  Goodbye family I've recently acquired!  Goodbye great aunts and second cousins once removed.  Goodbye raft guides and Penny the cantankerous old mare.  Goodbye elk, mountain rabbits, and magpies.  Goodbye mosquitos.  Goodbye asters, forget-me-nots, and columbines.  Goodbye marsh marigolds, Indian Paintbrushes, and the ever-so-tiny Fairy Candelabras (yes, I did see you; don't be surprised, you're not invisible!).  No more crossing through knee-deep freezing water.  No more red sandstone.  No more energy.

Carrying things piecewise to the airpot.  Giant hat and gift from Grandma Marie.  Thunderstorms on both sides: here and there. Turbulance like I've never before experienced: rollercoaster.  Swollen left knee.  Checking for signs of the sinus headache that pestered me way back at the peaks.  Is it...?  I don't know.  N ran up the mountain: ten miles in three hours, my hero.  Picked me up, my delirious self.  Maybe that's never changed.  Back to the present.

Home again.  Here, there is mess everywhere.  Still not moved in, not all things have places.  Unpacked wonder sprawls over all surfaces like morning glory in the garden which harasses the giant tomatillo plant endlessly.  David and Goliath.  Where was I?  Mail spills out of the mailbox, but not as abundantly as it could.  Package on the doorstep.

The garden is overgrown.  Lettuce going to seed like it needs to reach the sky before nightfall.  Rabbits stayed away, mostly.  Maybe the cayenne oil mix worked.  I ate the only ripe yellow pear tomato standing in the sun sweating.  Gloriously sweet, should have shared.  Fellow gardener passes off tomatillos; he has too many.  That's for dinner tonight, for the pantry is bare.  Heat like a cancer.  Sore shoulders; immunizations.  Pick it up.  Put it away.  Back to normal.  Tighten our belts.

lesson of the day

Riding a bike with a busted knee is excruciating.  That is all.


more rabbits

Caught another rabbit in my garden today.  This one didn't squeal when I caught it.  Instead, it played dead in my hand, which was a bit scary, but not nearly as startling as the squealing.  This one I was able to remove from the entire garden complex.  I spotted at least two other tiny guys elsewhere in the garden.

I patched the new hole and lined the base of the fence with an cayenne pepper/oil mixture I made yesterday and let soak overnight.  We'll see if that (and the traumatic chasing) keeps them out for the week we'll be out of town--there will be a day of testing for me to see.


rabbits squeal and a confession

Warning: Bunny lovers may not want to read this post.

I went out to the garden today and found a baby rabbit inside my fence, and not for the first time.  It ran out as soon as I came, and I went about inspecting the damage.  Last time, I put a giant cinder block over the opening it had gnawed (yet another lesson learned: no plastic fencing in the future).  This time, it had made an opening right where I usually step over to enter, so I patched it up with a couple of rocks, a brick, and some sturdy twigs, and went about inspecting the rest of the fence for gnaw-marks.  I matted down the weeds on the outside to make it harder to access and then decided to do some weeding.

I was pinching some new growth on my tomato plants when I heard rustling.  I rustled the plants back, and Lo!  Another rabbit!  And these suckers aren't the full-fledged ones, no.  They are the adorable tennis-ball sized fur flumps with bright shiny eyes.  I chased it a bit, thinking to myself that this would be the best way to figure out if there were any holes I missed.  But, no, it was stuck.  That left me in the odd situation of needing to remove a rabbit from my garden.

Back home, a fellow told a tale that the story of the tortoise and the hare was true--that is, rabbits got tired pretty easily.  He said that if you chase them for a bit, they'll get so tired that you can just pick them up by the ears.  Armed with that in mind and leather gardening gloves, I decided to just chase the poor beast until I could pick it up.  Let me tell you now: rabbits never get so tired that they will let you pick them up by the ears.

I probably spent fifteen minutes chasing that poor beast and it was pretty clever.  It would hide in the bushiest parts of the marigolds or behind my tall, delicate tomato plants.  I didn't want to tromple (yes, tromple.  Trample is something a horse would do.  Elephants tromple.) my garden, so I had to be slow and careful, and the little beasty was fast.  I may have been mumbling things about being a regular ol' Mr. McGregor the entire time.

Eventually, it got stuck trying to press its way through the part where the fences overlap (and me thinking, Nah-uh sweetie, I thought of that when I built this sucker; it would be a bunny pancake before it got through.).  So yes, it got caught, and in order to get it out, I kept my right hand hovering behind its backside and used my left hand to scare it out.  I got to press its cute little nose, even.  Anyway, I caught it by the back legs and started to lift it out when it gave a piercing, frighteningly pitiful squeal, at which point I plumb dropped it, being startled out of my whits.  (I'm almost overly gentle in handling animals, so I'm pretty sure it hadn't been hurt.)  And so the chase began again.

After a bit more time and with drops of sweat literally falling from my forehead to the soil, I caught it again, this time with a less desirable hold.  (How are you ever gunna get a hold as good as by the back two legs?)  I caught a single rear leg and capped it with the spare hand, like you do when playing baseball, except I didn't exactly want to pull it in close to my body.  I started to stand with this precarious hold, thinking about how easy it would be to kill the poor creature then and there with a snap of the neck.  Heck, I had just flouted the hare-skinning section of the Joy of Cooking to N last night; bunny stew, anyone?  But it wouldn't have provided much meat and it could be laden with disease, though I'd put money on the fact that most of its diet came from this here organic community garden.

These thoughts were starting to form when out came two more piercing squeals and a couple of solid kicks.  Out flew the rabbit from my hand, making a giant rainbow arch, up, out of my garden, and neighbor's garden.

And this is where my confession stands: I left it there.  I looked over the garden, and there wasn't much the beastie would have been interested in.  They had high tomatillo, tomato, eggplant, and pepper plants--I was mostly worried about the eggplant, but I think it will be pretty uninterested the selection (it was feasting on the carrot and beet greens in my garden).  On top of that, their fence is relatively low and isn't buried in the ground (some places have a half inch or so between fence and dirt), which is to say the beasty can get out if it really wants to.

I felt kinda bad, but honestly, their tomato plants were so big that we'd be playing ring-around-the-rosie all afternoon and 1) I didn't want to do that and 2) I didn't want to tromple their garden too; the rabbit would likely do less damage than I would.  Yes, I know that there are justifications galore, but so it goes.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was my afternoon with a squealing rabbit.  Next year I'll get a proper chickenwire fence.


The Holy Ghost and Heavenly Mother

When the in-laws visited a bit ago, I had a conversation with my MIL in which she conjectured about the Holy Ghost being the enigmatic Heavenly Mother.  It was an interesting discussion and given that the conjecture again appeared on FMH recently, I decided to articulate my thoughts on it (in written form, my MIL already got an earful), because while it's nice to have the Godhead be a family, LDS doctrine doesn't simply slip into that mold.

The first thing that came to mind was of the conceiving of Christ by Mary.  In this aspect, the concept of the Heavenly Mother coming to Mary for her to act as a surrogate is really beautiful. opposed to the creepy Brigham Young quote: "if the Son was begotten by the Holy Ghost, it would be very dangerous to baptize and confirm females, and give the Holy Ghost to them, lest he should beget children, to be palmed upon the Elders by the people, bringing the Elders into great difficulties." (JD1)  Oh, Brigham Young.  Anyway, there's some weird sexual tension in the immaculate conception, and this would fix that for me, with one mother passing responsibility to another.

The second issue is that in LDS doctrine, the Holy Ghost is disitinct from Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in that (s)he doesn't have a body.  From
The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. He is a personage of spirit, without a body of flesh and bones. He is often referred to as the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the Lord, or the Comforter.
We obtain the doctrine of embodiment from the first vision, where Joseph Smith sees God the Father and Jesus Christ.  This is backed up by the fact that the resurrected Christ is touchable in both the New Testament and The Book of Mormon.  Much later, Joseph Smith gives instruction on the nature of the Godhead, which is recorded in D&C 130:22:
The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.
The nature of D&C130, however, seems to be more conjecture than anything else--prophets are entitled hypothesize too.  JS backs up his assertion with logic (as did BY in his above quote), which to me indicates that it is possible he came to that conclusion on his own (well, it's possible he came to everything on his own, but that's another story).  Of the LDS Godhead doctrine, I find the Holy Ghost's required disembodiment to be the least convincing.  Still, however, it would be a major obstacle in any sort of official consideration of the Heavenly Mother-Holy Ghost theory.  (Hey, that sounds kinda like the Adam-God theory.  Maybe we just need a wacky prophet in order to swing it.  Packer, I'm counting on you.)

The third issue I want to consider here is the role of women in general: what would Heavenly Mother as the Holy Ghost imply for the rest of us?  There are sufficient reasons for not wanting to propagate a doctrine of Heavenly Mother at all, namely that without a divine role model, women have more choices; as long as society is patriarchal, having an archetype may not be the best for women.  If the Holy Ghost were the female archetype, though, would that imply that women are inherently comforters, that they bring wisdom and peace?  Would we dispense with the fire metaphor as being too masculine?  Given that we know little about the Holy Ghost, would it take on an even more obscure and less understood role?  Would we impose feminine characteristics on the Holy Ghost?  Would doctrine such as this humble the patriarchy enough to enable true equality between men and women?  Or would it encourage further pedestaling of women instead of giving them any real say?


takin' it in

My mom went shopping with my Grandma recently (mom swore that gma hadn't renovated her wardrobe for something like twenty years) and in retelling the happenings to me, mom said that Grandma had small shoulders and in pointing this out to her, Grandma had responded, "Oh, I've always had small shoulders, I'm used to taking them in." (Or something to that effect.)

Since I have a pretty standard body, or at least one that doesn't need much tailoring with modern fashions, this kind of blew my mind; my grandma had altered her clothing all her life, and not in the I-pay-someone-to-do-it-for-me kind of way.  She's so awesome.

Alright, now for a tangent: N and I got called to be ordinance workers at the LDS Manhattan Temple this weekend and we need all-white attire for the job.  I was fine since I got temple clothes a bit ago, but N needed to piece together his outfit.  Sometime last year we picked up a white dress shirt for him at Costco, but it turned out to be a little big around the waist and thus it puffed awkwardly in the back when it was tucked in.

Having recently heard the above Grandma story and faced with the need for a white dress shirt, I decided to try to take in N's Costco shirt.  It was the most complicated alteration I've ever done and it didn't go over too badly. (Most of my past stuff has just been hemming which is pretty much straight lines.)

Here are the gory details via photo documentation, including a very messy interior/back (what do you call the side that goes towards the body?). And don't tell me it's not messy, 'cause I cherrypicked the nicest don't wanna see the bad parts and you're never gunna have to, so there.  It fits him nicely, which is the important part.


biking in skirts

Now that summer's heat is in full force, I enjoy wearing skirts pretty much every day.  The only problem is in biking to work: my bike has no guards on the wheels or gears.  The last time I tried biking in a skirt, the skirt got caught in the back wheel and was reduced to scrap material.

I didn't want to change my bike at all and barring that, most of the online solutions for biking in skirts deal with skirts that just make it over the knee.  Unfortunately, most of my skirts are pretty solidly mid-calf and below, which is to say I'm worried about the skirt getting caught and not about modesty.

I've biked in aladdin pants that tuck in below the knee, and those worked fine, so I decided to try a method where I temporarily tie the skirt together between my knees with a hairband.  I gave it a first shot today with a skirt that came a few inches above the ankle and it worked really well: my knees were covered and nothing got caught.  Nobody gave me funny looks, even.  I'll have to try a few more lengths, but this might be my solution.