Tuesday, July 17, 2018

cucumbers, salad and relish

Our garden is putting out cucumbers daily.. and I found a few little recipes to do something more than 'slather in mayo'.. which is generally what I do with the first flush of produce, and it works well until there are just too many to eat that way.

Cucumber mayonnaise salad
Wash, peel and chop up  cucumbers, you could salt them for a bit and then  drain it later, but I usually don't when it is just for lunch the next day etc.  Layer the cucumbers into a dish that can be covered with a lid.  Take real (like Hellman's) mayonnaise and slather about a tablespoon and a half over the top surface of the container.  Put on the lid and the mixture will become a salad overnight.  Good with turkey on a sandwich, or beside curry rice.

But now I'm branching out a little and trying to preserve the cucumbers as a relish or pickle without going through all the trouble of canning a big batch.  I've tried 'refrigerator pickles' before, and didn't really like them.  So I'm leaning more towards the relishes.

Did a Japanese relish last night that is meant as a side dish to rice and vegetables.
Ccumber cut up fine, salted and let sit for 10 minutes, rinse and drain.  Combine in a pint jar 2 tablespoons of white sugar, 4 tablespoons of rice vinegar and a little ginger.  Add a cup to two cups of diced cucumber.  Mix up by covering and shaking the jar until all is combined.  Let sit overnight in the fridge - keep for up to a week I would think.  These turned out sweet and sour, good beside some fish sticks and cantaloupe, but still very cucumber-tasting.

I'm going to try this one tomorrow - it is a bit more involved. I like the celery seed and turmeric in the recipe.  Even the Japanese relish with different spices in it could be a really good way to use the cucumbers.

This is the base recipe I'm going to try:
Spruce Eats sweet relish

It requires the cucumbers to brine for 24 hours... which means not any progress until tomorrow night.  I'll come back and update the post with what I _actually_ put together in my jars.. as I never actually follow the exact ingredients.

Mark says I need to get more pumpkin recipes, as we have a dozen pumpkins coming on the vines.  I actually have a cookbook for that!  I need to do more with the peppers, too - probably pick them and save a few for the relish but mostly bring them to work for a giveaway.  They go over really well.

//In the meantime.
We have almost all of our school shopping done.  Esme wants to tie dye some t-shirts so we bought a kit and some shirts.  We got her shoes, and I have almost everythign washed and ready.  A few school supplies are still coming in the mail, then we can put the binders together we are supposed to have.  We went to the library again today and she exchanged her Warriors books for the next in the series.  She has read four of them now, and the Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, which Mom insisted upon (because of the vet series Callie Vee, she read one of).  She is also getting into The Sixty Eight Thorne Rooms.. which I tried to read to her but it lost the magic when you aren't right at the keyhole with it... trying to explain things, trying not to skip over but not take forever reading a paragraph - it is different than reading it yourself.  We also stopped for ice cream with her certificate from the summer reading program.  We're both playing with new mods from Minecraft - IndustrialCraft is the big one.

Friday, July 13, 2018

bit o bits

School starts back August first, so I am worrying about getting all the things done before then... took a good chunk out of the shopping last week and ordered a lot more online this year than we have before.  Finding Esme jeans that fit was the hardest part this year, and I still don't think I did really great but we found something in junior petites that fits with a belt.. and isn't too small, so if it is a little loose now she has room to grow into it instead of just out of it... and I ordered a few that she has been wearing off the website since there were none in store...  We'll have to do shoes next week.

Esme went to a pool party on Wednesday and sleepover, and I crashed that night.  I had an early morning at work today, and a late one tomorrow.. so I'm fighting crashing for sleep right now.

Was listening to the book 'Black Rabbit Hall' by Eve Chase.  Some poetic melodic language in there...  was falling asleep to the lady's English accent but some oddly pronounced words just kept jerking me back.  It is a sad and mysterious tale that so far, I'm not sure what the point will be, but will see.. 1/3 of the way through that and I have two other books that have come up on my library wait list that I need to read soon, too.  Haven't finished the mystery I got from the actual physical library, or spent time looking through the dinosaur book, yet.

I've been playing a lot of Minecraft 'empire mode'... which isn't a real mode, just me making house after house across the map into each new territory, making each new place into its own 'estate' with resources and a name and its own flag etc etc... It's all on survival mode, monsters on, advanced hunger mode which makes you scrabble to create a steady food source or starve ... my favorite way to play, but again, it falls to not really having anything solid after all that time spent...  It is interesting to see the complexity grow over time as resources are found, spread around, technology becomes available (by finding resources) and how the latest houses are three stories and grand instead of little two room quick-builts.  The importance of a full kitchen in these is showing, too - a well, all the bakeware in a cabinet, taking the time to make the salt and the dough and grow the spices to pickle the cucumbers and etc etc...

Cooked several things in REAL life - peach soy ginger sauce for stirfry, and 'refrigerator-canned' peach and strawberries in syrup which we had on pancakes last night.   Planted some extra beans and zucchini in the garden the other day, have to do some more carrots but need to revamp three hard clay pots to do so, so, haven't yet.

Mark and I made a new chicken shelter by putting a split barrel over an A-frame of wood on legs.  It kind of looks like a fat hollow pig without a head.. and the chickens might be using it .. hard to tell if they understand it is to be their 'roof' in their cage to keep out of the rain - until it rains.. hmm.

Work was crazy today, nonstop, and all over by 3:30... which made it even weirder.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Minecraft seed with Jungle Temple near spawn

Another interesting Minecraft seed to share.

We have mods 'Plenty o Biomes', ' Pam's HarvestCraft' on.  I also have Hunger Overhaul on, but that won't affect the seed the way the other two do.  The number is -2845701347600687085.  The negative sign is very important.

It spawns into a Eucalyptus Forest on the edge of a Rainforest. There is a Jungle Temple (shown in pic) not far to the North. There are several food trees nearby, sheep and pigs in case you're running the 'Hunger Overhaul' mod, which I am, which requires you to actually gather food like in a real survival situation as every bit of work you do (mining, digging, jumping) wears on your hunger bar and requires you to eat at least a meal a day or face consequences.

There is also a rare Sacred Springs biome just to the north of the temple - right behind it in the picture.  With monsters on it is dark dark and scary, but it does have regen pools.

I have not been in the temple or far into the Sacred springs yet, because I have monsters and survival mode and no cheats on.. and I'm scared!  A creeper already chased me under one of the trees and I am squishy with an iron sword and no armor.  I worked last night to make a big food garden and a safe house and a small mine down to bedrock... I'll be looking for more iron and redstone before I go wandering over there.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

End of vacation

Lots and lots of banana peppers.  And the pole garden has everything merrily climbing, the flowers should be beautiful when they come.  The elephant ears are really taking off.  I planted all of my birthday plants (save one) here as well.

I go back to work tomorrow.
I started doing both my Welsh and my French again last night... only forgot a little bit of the French and it has been many months.

Thursday, June 21, 2018


It's not about actually seeing the sunrise, although that can be part of it, and it is a thing of beauty.  It is about watching the shapes become distinct objects, seeing color return where there was darkness and gray, about listening to the world in its entirety as the light changes over - the rain in the leaves, the wind, the birds and bats and bugs and all other animals that signal to each other as the light returns and the darkness lifts.  It is about delving deep into thoughts, connections, communication with the world and with this moment over years continuing forward and back.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

June Nineteenth

We finally set up the tent we bought on clearance long ago.  It didn't get the girls to sleepover in it last night like planned - but they did spend a lot of time outdoors chasing frogs and fireflies (and a praying mantis).

The tiger lilies are blooming.

I am on vacation this week and go back next Monday.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

park walk

Esme and I took a walk in the park today with Lucy.  They both enjoyed it.  Then we stopped at Sweet Jordan's and had some strawberry ice cream which we ate on the way home.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Painting Potential

These are all photographs.. but studies towards what I'm trying to capture in painting

I painted a little the other day but was using someone else's picture.. haven't finished it yet, probably can get into it soon I have a few days off.  I could have kept going that night until it was done but I had an early-early shift and didn't want to rob myself of the sleep... and for several reasons I haven't felt I could get back into it until I didn't feel rushed again.  Went out in the early morning light and took some of these pictures (thanks to dogs waking me up even though I'm on the late shift today)... tried to capture some of the sunlight coming down and making the greens light up brilliant...and the dappling, feathering etc..

I liked the greens here and then Daphne in the little pool of sunlight up at the top of the road pointing towards some big trucks she was hearing

I like how the light pools in the geranium 'cups' of the leaves... and the flourescent red of the flowers.

Commander Lilies have been teasing to bloom for a week and now they are beginning.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Shepard Lane Garden

We went out and did some weeding today, planted a few new things, took pictures of all the bounty that is getting ready to bloom soon!

The pole garden (new for this Mother's Day) is coming along well, weeded out the grass and put cedar mulch from our chicken pen around all of the new things.  Several lilies getting ready to bloom here, too.

 elephant ears, moon flower vines, cardinal climbers and morning glories


watermelon vines!
I saw a giant spider in here, carrying her egg case.. let her have that space for a bit and pulled grass elsewhere for a little while!

Friday, June 01, 2018

Door to Night Minecraft world (Drws i'r Nos) huge cave, mesa biome, mineshaft

'Door to Night' (Drws i'r Nos in Welsh) huge cave in Minecraft, savannah biome
mod : PlentyofBiomes and Harvestcraft
 World seed -3782039027719029110 at coordinates x,y,z  59,199, 68, 210.769

This 'door to night' cave is huge and actually is a network of caves.  This is not exactly at the spawn point but visible from a very cursory look-around.  I was ripping through a set of new worlds to hide a world I was actually playing in from a visitor (who loves to blow stuff up but doesn't look at the bottom of the list) who was playing on my computer... and then when I saw this world I knew I had to keep it.  

Although, I have to admit, I was scared to approach the cave with monsters on for fear of the sheer quantity of monsters that might be coming out of those depths of dark!  Hence, the name 'Door to Night'. 

And there was a lot more as I explored - notable of publishing the world seed and some coordinates for you, if you are finding this.
There are ebony trees and jungle trees with cocoa plants not far off, as well as nearby sheep, a village, and most uniquely, a mesa biome with an exposed mineshaft.  

The village coordinates are : 95.68, 67, 7.247 (it is pretty ordinary, didn't photo it)

But - the mineshaft in the mesa biome.. that is something I had not seen before!
The coordinates for the bottom pic are -142.97, 67, -496.333
It is quite a large mineshaft with chests and a spawner and more.


I hope you enjoy it!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Garden day

 The bleeding heart root has taken very well

 Mikey's canataloupe grown from seed is doing well

 Chickens in the playpen 6 foot by 6 foot we made from PVC and wire

 Little Dark Galaxy tomato seedlings have made it through the adjustment period.

 This is Gwen's cabbage, planted here by Mikey.  It is getting big enough to eat birds!

 The lambs ear has tiny purple flowers.  We didn't even know it had flowers!  We were all a little urprised.

Esme proud of her lambs ear plant, standing in front of the shade garden

 Liatris coming up



 Out in the heat talking about weeds and chickens

 Purlsane and petunias

 Miss Irene in her sun hat

 The double tiger lilies are starting to bud to make blooms

 A tomato budding out

The tomatoes and peppers and two new places I planted pole beans

Esme and Grandma looking at the things in the raised bed

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Chickens in pen

Well, one of these aren't a chicken.  Esme moved her chickens into the new playpen for the day.  They were a bit worried at first, especially when she walked away and left them alone for a bit... they weren't sure what to do.  Then they started eating grass and digging for bugs and exploring.  

There is a sunshade on top, and they had their barrel cage and a bucket that provided more shade in one corner.  When I got home from work half of them were lounging in the shade by the barrel cage and the other half were scratching around in the grass. 

I helped her clean out and change the bedding in the barrel cage before we caught each one (fairly easily, compared to Gennet chicken) and tucked them back into the fresh bedding.  They all worked themselves down into the wood shavings like it was a blanket.. and that was pretty funny.  We brought the barrel cage back inside to the hallway again and they will get more outside time today when I'm at work.

Also last night Esme asked me to make the onion she had gotten at the store.  My dad used to caramelize an onion for me (rarely, he didn't like to, but sometimes I would beg really hard) at the grill at the restaurant he worked at.  Esme had asked me if I could make soft sweet onions like the onions in an onion ring the other day, while holding a giant onion at the supermarket.  I told her I could ... and we bought it with the groceries.  So, even though I was really tired last night, I was making her fish sticks and that takes a while.. so I put the butter in the pan and slowly sauteed the onions to golden.  We cooked a couple of frozen pancakes and put the onions over them with the fish.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018


We were building this the last two days out of 1 inch hexagon chicken wire and 1/2 inch 600 psi schedule 40 pipe.  We glued the panels together, then zip tied the 4 foot chicken wire to the frames.  There is one corner open that we can close with bungee cords, and we will be working on a netting roof to clip on.  This way our chickens have a mobile place we can move them around - like a chicken tractor.  Mark is going to be working on a house and nesting box for them that is light enough we can move it around with the pen.  The pen is also expandable this way, so we can add more panels and make more space if we need it.  Then our chickens can get plenty of grass and weeds and bugs and we can move it when an area gets too sparse for them.  The nesting box and house will give them a place for shade and to get out of the rain.  I have this weekend off and it shouldn't rain until then.  They still fit inside their barrel cage for roosting but they are getting to the point they need more space and they need gravel and grass.

Friday, May 18, 2018

bit o bits

It is officially the last day of school - Esme was off this morning and will be back on the bus this afternoon.

I made a thing.. a mesh bag.  I haven't made anything in a while, and I wanted to use up this remnant yarn I had untangled and balled up the other day.  The colors could have been better matched.. but I ran out of the other green and there was a skein of the camo to use up, too.  It fits my tablet and thus, many books - and could probably carry lunch or frisbees etc etc..  I wanted it to sit down on my hip, and it does.

Mark rescued a mud turtle the other day that was trying to lay eggs by our fence.  He said she was digging in the leaves with her back legs and dripping 'snot'... so he was pretty sure that was her intention.  Not a good place for it, though, Mama!  The dogs were doing their 'snakebark'... they can't tell the difference between turtle and snake.  They really thought he was going to chase it and were confused it didn't 'run' as snakes do.  Mark picked it up and put it in the woods a bit down away, towards where it could find water and a better place to start a family.  The depth of field he caught on the pictures is beautiful, and the expressions on the dogs' faces, as well.

Catahoula leopard dogs - at least all we've ever had, have a very distinctive 'snake bark'.. it is short and choppy and repetitive and different than they bark for anything else.  The problem is they can't tell a turtle from a snake.  It all just smells 'reptile' to them.  They look at you like "These 'rock snakes' are very strange.. can you explain those?"

Monday, May 14, 2018


Esme is off to picnic day.  I bought her a pair of Bermuda shorts, hopefully they meet the code.  They were the longest non-leggings I could find.  Things are coming up right and left in the garden.  Morning glory seeds I planted just a few days ago are up in one place, but not in others, and zinnia and cosmos seeds are trying, as well.  The borage is still alive.  The  corn and beans have not popped up.. its over due for the corn.  I do have a few cucumbers!

The rose bush bloomed!

 And the  centerfold lily, too :)

I bought a Jarv active track pedometer - the kind you wear on your wrist - and I think I have the weight and stride settings done correctly.. but I know it is not accurate.  Less than 5,000 steps per day is sedentary..and I'm active running across the store, up and down ladders, carrying stuff.. I know our steps in the house are 23 steps.. and it has me at less than 14 after two trips.  So.. its not a loss (I broke the last two within days just USING them.. they failed completely).  It is giving me between 2,800 and 3,100 steps per day over three days.  So, I'm going to use that as a benchmark.  If I get on the higher side of that I'm doing good.  If I'm on the lower side, then I needed to step up a bit.  It'll still be a good five dollar purchase *heh*  I guess I should have thought better of that cheap price, eh?

We are going into town to look at some trees Mark saw on sale.

 Peach trees, and a plum
We caught these on the clearance for about 10 dollars each... when they were 23.00 to  begin with.