Archive for May, 2011

weekend in review

May 23, 2011 2 comments

its getting to be where i’m just blogging about my weekends. my weekdays tend to be confidential. we just had a lovely heavy rain, a little hail, no harm done beyond the straight pipe to one of the rain barrels blew down.  i had just put the finishing touches on my outside projects and thought the timing good. i was hot and sweaty and thought the rain would be cool when i went downtown. john’s yaris had a flat and it took me some time to figure it all out, the murphey’s rule about finding all the tools you need. i was going to ride my bike and deal with the tire on wednesday but it wasn’t in the garage so i assumed it was stolen as i also hadn’t been able to find the circular saw. when i called john on the yaris missing lug wrench he told me the bike was in the hallway to the crawlspace. i have vague memories of loaning out the circular saw. if i did i need it back, kevin wants to build some shelves in the garage.

downtown was very wet, it rained hard and there was some hail. i am becoming blase’ about hail since moving here. used to be a big deal. it was fun watching the people. extreme weather brings out the best in people and thins out the crowds. there was glee in people’s eyes or a fierce determination; a controlled hurry. i was soaked, my memories of being hot quickly replaced with soaked to the bone chilly. i got my beans, a pound of a single source columbian that’s better then the other which is kaldi’s passport selection and a pound of the papua new guinea i’ve been enjoying. it may be my last. john is bringing his roaster and picking up an order of beans from sweet marias and is going to teach me how to home roast. can’t wait.

when i walked from kaldi’s to el rancho for a steak burrito and horchata (yum) i was soaked enough to draw looks of concern from strangers. it was all good though, just put the heater on for the drive home. still had the energy to pick up the buns i needed for my burger grilling tomorrow.

in spite of the rain it was a pretty nice day. got a lot done. i planted one of the forsythia i got from henry. i split it in two and put the bigger of the two in my back yard hedgrow. i’m going to put one more in which will connect it with my witchhazel. someday i’ll mulch or plan to turn it into one big bed, its getting closer though. i put the other up by the northwest corner of the house by the other ones. involved me cutting out some shit bush growing by the house and just gave a little attention to the whole area. weeded the little lilacs and noted one of them was wilty, i bet the satellite dudes stepped on it when they were messing around the area. i’m hoping with a little tlc it’ll bounce back.

i pulled out the last lily i had there. it looked like it was starting to get a little web going so i was glad to be transplanting it. the lady who gave them to me told me to move them every year that they depleted a certain nutrient and its proven to be true. there were some little ones coming up near there so i let them be because they’re in a different spot. i trimmed up the other forsythia and its looking pretty good over there.

at that point i hit a wall, and dozed through the tiger game. the kid pitched 8 shut out innings and the tiges are back at .500. when i got up i planted the lily right in the dog run that goes through the strawberries. when i harvested them i had to work to not begrudge the losses to dog trampling. i had to remember i like Fido and i’m glad he has a friend and remember from the first strawberry of the season that every strawberry is a treasure. next year i’m doing fencing. the lily should help and i will put up the fence there if i leave him unsupervised with Olive. nonetheless i got probably a good pint and a half and have enough to make strawberry shortcake for Nance and Peg tomorrow.

i also put in two thai chile peppers i got from the thai lady at the market and i put in another herb whose name is escaping me, hmmm. its a relative of oregano, ah yeah marjoram. i put it in between the oregano and tarragon. i have some dill going there and i thought the established plants would help minimize dog trampling for the baby dills. they are looking good and if half make it i should have plenty for my uses and enough to let some go to seed. that whole plot is coming in nicely and i have been mixing in other stuff in the edges to bring out the bed into a straighter line.

all of the planting was aided by the fresh compost that i’m pulling out of the big wooden bin. its nice stuff, very earthy smelling, could be more finished though because smokey likes to try and eat it still. but there’s a ton of it and it made me nostalgic for dad, it was his last construction project. harry came over yesterday and i got an audible wow when he saw the backyard. its looking good, the tomatoes are coming along and the cabbages are really big. the broccoli has gone to flower which i think is bad but its awfully cool looking.

i made strawberry pancakes for harry yesterday, best i ever made. i couldn’t find the bisquik so i riffed off of an internet recipe from scratch. i whisked 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup brown rice flower, 3 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 tbsp sugar, pinch of xantham gum. made a pool in the center and added 3/4 cup i think of milk, a local egg and 3 tbsp melted butter. i melted it in the cast iron skillet and kept it hot for the cakes. i whisked that together and then added as many strawberry pieces as it could hold. fried those puppies up with served with real maple syrup, honey butter & a couple of eggs over easy. a of course a press pot of kaldi’s brazillian. most excellent.

it must have been a day for cooking because i also grilled out a stuffed pork loin and candied root vegetables. the pork loin i sliced open like a swiss cake roll, not bad for my first attempt. i had made the stuffing early and let the flavors merged. i put in a red apple, celery, fresh sage and fennel, sweet onion, couple cloves of garlic in a plain yogurt. after i cut up the loin i seared the outside after patting it with flour in olive oil and more garlic. then i stuffed it and wrapped it with cotton string and wrapped with foil. the vegies were these little white heirloom turnips and baby carrots i did with lots of fresh grated ginger, some sesame oil and local honey. i put a lot of soaked hickory chips on the fire and slow roasted them about 50 minutes, an hour would have been better. kick ass if i do say so myself. also did an all local salad with mixed greens, spinach, radish, thin sliced zucchini, and greenhouse tomato. i made the dressing too which also rocked: tahini, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, agave nectar, an inch of fresh grated horseradish, and a splash of braggs.

all in all a good weekend. i could’ve mowed the lawn before it rained, walked the dogs a second time and perhaps cleaned the bathrooms but there will always some things i didn’t get too. i am learning to be ok with that. i am learning to be ok with just about anything.

Categories: cooking, dogs, gardening

a little knowledge…

Eschatology fascinated me as a teenager. It suited my imaginative fantasy driven outlook on life from reading a lot of science fiction, fantasy, mythology, all that stuff. end of times just faded right in. i was rooted in all kinds of books 666, hal lindsey, that weird anti-catholic guy who did the Chic Tracts and bunches more. Then I plunged into the original sources. i had read it all when i plowed through the bible in eighth grade but i went back to the prophets and tried to make since of all that stuff. revelations it was mind blowing. It was also all a little bit scary. i remember in middle school during gym there was a fire drill and there was an impending storm with black roiling clouds and the feeling of electricity in the air. I wondered if if was the end. I don’t have to tell you it wasn’t, it was a storm.

I read more and more for a few more years and was always scrounging books at garage sales. i read some of the older ones and they were dated and the world was supposed to have ended. i found them all the way back to the fifties decade by decade wrong after wrong. i found one in the library from the fourties. it seemed more real, more to fit. I read some history and the millenialists of the year 1000, of the 19th century, in fact every generation has thought they were likely the last generation.

I thought the restoration of the state of israel and man’s new power to destroy the earth made our generation special. israel has been here for 63 years and the ability of man to destroy the earth 66 and it hasn’t happened yet. i looked into one of the books and checked back to their scripture on the israel thing. its a verse about figs. Vague fear mongering seems more likely to sell books, draw attention, and baffle the young and gullible and perhaps the mentally ill. and yet the prophets mean something don’t they?

In some sense they serve as a warning to make the most of every day. to treat it like it could be your last even if you are young and healthy. the promise of the return is part of what makes jesus jesus. but if i know jesus at all the return won’t be like anything anyone in the established church is saying, or how else will they all miss it, and i guarantee they will. they always do or we wouldn’t need divine intervention.

i think talk of an antichrist and a mark and such reminds us of the continual threat of totalitarianism. when one man controls all power to buy and sell there is total control and it is indeed time to flee to the mountains and prepare for the rivers to run with blood. i believe there will be a narrowing and consequences for our misbehavior, my god we’ve broken the weather. spurned the gift of a functioning biosphere and poisoned what we’ve given. katrina, might have been a warning, did we heed its warning. not some simplistic anti voodoo and drunkenness nonsense, i am talking about the sin of destruction. i can see seeds of the apocalypse, but also seeds of the beauty that is to come when we come to our senses and start living right. we’ll get sustainable or we will die by definition. my vote is for life and i choose every day to look for the signs of hope so that i can nurture them. that i can light a fire or provide a little air, a little fuel so it burns brighter and it spreads and throws its light and its warmth and its cleansing.

chilly saturday

it was a pretty good saturday, rainy and cool, but after a taste of the heat and humidity it was kind of welcome. we’ve had an extra dog for a few days, a short term fostering kind of thing. he’s a scottie that we’ve been calling Gitmo. he’s uncut and pushy so he was running the pack for a couple of days, then they all started calling his bluff. shadow (my brother john’s aussie) kicked his ass john reports. even fido isn’t intimidated now and smoky has been pulling back her lips and snapping her jaws at him. he’s mellowed out now that he’s settled in. we were worried how he’d do with max the uncut old pit next door with only a dilapidated chain link fence between them but they got along fine. max is mellow. Gitmo likes to fetch and with smokey and fido in chase it gets pretty chaotic. fun though.

got out early to run errands and go to the market. saw an old client walking in the rain and gave him a bit of a ride. he was taking a bicycle riding class to earn a free bike. gotta love columbia. it was drizzling a bit but stopped before i made it to the market. stocked up on my local food stuffs. had to go up to a quart on the honey so i could get it in a glass jar. hard to eat a quart of honey before it stiffens, but we’ll do our best. listened to an older lady rave about bee pollen and the suburban type lady standing next to me asked if she ought to get a jar as well. i just shrugged. he had some literature out, “nature’s most perfect food” that i’d seen as place mats a truck stops of my childhood looking largely unchanged. the honey guy, a german immigrant by accent, talked about the vagaries of pollen collection its variance based on flower availability and some years the bees only make enough for themselves.

noticed chicken and beef up substantially, probably following the prices in the grocery store. got some ground round and whole chickens. going to bake one of the latter today. planning on stuffing it with lemon and apple wedges and sage, oregano, tarragon, & wild onions from the back yard. maybe some little pats of butter under the skin. throw in some red potatoes and cauliflower the side. also unfroze some extra pumpkin i froze and baking a pie.

and of course i got my spring veggies, chard, lettuce mix, asparagus, bean sprouts plus eggs. also trying marjoram again, going to ameliorate the soil a lot more. don’t want to pay $3.00 every year. i learned marjoram is kin to oregano and almost bought a cross between the two, but i have more oregano then i can eat already and put it in damn near everything.

after my errands i made chili. nothing better on a wet and cool day. i forgot to soak beans so i had quick soaked some pintos (boil for one minute, let set and hour or so, drain out liquid [less gassy]). i put them on to cook with some red curry powder, salt and cayenne and made john and me some poached eggs and cleaned up some of the strawberry seconds ($2 quart best deal ever) i got for desert.

when the beans were mostly done, chopped up some stew meat smaller and browned with vidalia onion and celery. added some canned tomatoes of various types, a can of kidney beans, chili powder, cumin, jalapeno, some smoked hot peppers, smallish onions with green tops (from the market they’re getting bigger every week), and a little agave nectar to soften the bitterness of the tomatoes. set that to simmer all day, came out good.

hung my clothes on the line even though it was cloudy and cool once i saw the rain was likely done. they’re still out they’re, i’ll bring them in after the wind blows out the morning dew. sarah and trevor came over and we drank a little champagne with strawberries (cleaned up the rest of my seconds and added a cup of my own, more then i expected for only the second pass). after chili and cornbread (thanks kevin, excellent) we went on a field trip to an abandoned mobile home park trevor had eye balled from the highway. the dogs enjoyed the excursion as well. we took a roundabout way home and it reminded me of explorations of childhood.

3rd best drinking water in the world

its been a really beautiful saturday. started it with a really good papua new guinea light roast from Kaldis. very yummy and read the paper, such as it is in this brave new world. kevin and i went to the market and got lots of great stuff: spinach, mixed salad greens [has little baby bok choy], asparagus, arugula (a smaller package a little goes a long way), and some other salad stuff. also got a pack of orange marigolds for the tomato patch and a Patric chocolate bar. hit them up for info on slave labor in the harvest of cocoa and they said only on the Ivory Coast and they don’t buy from there. i got a frequent buyers card in case they’re good. also got some apple butter.

stopped by nancy’s garage sale fundraiser and it was nice seeing everyone gathered for a good cause, got some books (mostly for work), some lavender dryer sachets, and wrapping paper. made steal cut oats in the rice cooker with some raisins. john was unimpressed so i’ll probably work them out of the rotation for the foreseeable future as kevin’s not much of a breakfast guy. though he is into the local bacon i also got at the market this morning and am going to make up tomorrow with some grits and eggs over medium.

it was beautiful weather wise and got two loads of laundry done on the line and managed to finish digging out the bed by east side of the house. i’m out of finished compost so i just added coffee grounds. the dirt there was pretty decent so they’ve had some stuff there before but its been a minimum of 6 years since it was worked. there was a lot of maple tree roots i had to dig out. i dug up the lilies i move every year out of the  front yard and planted them around the perimeter and then put in 8 brusel sprouts [thanks erica who sprouted them from seed and even delivered] . i think they should look cool together and i am hoping to use the lilies to keep the dogs out. i’ve got a couple more brussel sprouts i am going to weave into where the strawberries fade out buttressed by more lillies. gonna put in the rest of the lillies inaround the most dog trampled strawberries. speaking of one of them is pretty red so i should have my first one in a few days or so. can’t wait. i almost bought a $6 pint of them at the market but decided to wait for my own. got many gallons last year and there are more so i am optimistic.

my neighbor henry flagged me down while digging up lillies and gave me a couple of forsythia bushes and lopped for me. after seeing the ungainly clump that i put in the ground a few years ago from him he must’ve figured he’d better just do it for me. his yard is looking amazing, really coming along. i’ve got a fair chunk of stuff to get in the ground, wouldn’t mind mowing my lawn but will probably wait on that.

john has all three rain barrels operational now, hopefully. he added a washer and it seems like we’ve got it now. we walked through the garage and talked about an organizational plan. john has been knocking out the projects. he got a dog waste compost set up in the back corner of the yard that is really great. buried a garbage can surrounded by rocks with holes in the bottom. add poo until there’s enough and then added 1/3 of a package of septic tank conditioner. “i’ve never bought a bottle of bacteria before”, john said. has a lid. might move the hydrangia out into the new dirt pile by the composter to make room for the second of mom’s rose bushes. it will be nice to get them in the ground on mother’s day.

be kind to our one big mother, you know the one with oceans and stuff.

then i cooked dinner. parboiled crocker apple brats also from the market in Flat Branch brown ale, made red potato packets with red onion, and asparagus packet with baby garlic, green onion, a little tomato, lemon juice and a little olive oil. also did a nice salad and kevin got brat buns which were very festive. i served it with my first batch of sun tea with green tea and a bag of ginger.

i got a little too much sun but it was probably good to try to adjust to the coming heat. spring has been wonderful but summer temps are rolling in.

100th monkey

i recently heard reference to the 100th monkey and since the person is of some influence after the meeting i casually mentioned it was a cool story but its not true. perhaps you know the story; macaques washing sweet potatoes in the sea, a new thing taught by baby monkeys after they figured out the trick and taught their parents, proving even monkeys have culture. that’s the true part. the next thing is that this phenomenon suddenly passed to all macaques after 100 or so monkeys learned it. it was foundational for an anti-nuke book of the same name. cool story. not true. it took me 8 seconds to find the evidence. i just googled 100th monkey false and found the scholarly article debunking the story using the same sources as keyes uses in his famous book published in 1985 and probably the root of why i stopped using the reference (without the addendum its not really true). in case you want to check it out: i put it on my list of things i wish were true but are not. even keyes admits its not really factual. there is power in belief but probably not that power. i am still intrigued by the idea. morphic resonance captured my fancy and i’ve not seen the facts supporting that (rat swimming tests, crystallization of new substances) and i haven’t seen counter evidence. its the responsibility of thoughtful intelligent people to look at the facts and share their conclusions thoughtfully. lets continue to place the Truth as more important than our ideology and watch out for our own observational bias. i know i at least am a sucker for a good story, but not this time.

Categories: philosophy, primates


I got this in a chain email from my uncle mike  and made me a little nostalgic.


You get tired of hearing about Katie Holme’s love life.

You refuse to call it Westfield Shopping Center, because we all know it is really Franklin Park Mall.

You would freeze your butt off walking around The Toledo Zoo at 10 degrees because you want to see Christmas lights in the shape of animals.

You know what Meijer is.

You don’t ask, “What is that smell?” or “What is on Fire?” if you are on the East Side.

Your visiting Cedar Point is a tradition dating back to your elementary school years.

You have a favorite room in The Toledo Art Museum.

You can name three bridges that cross the Maumee River .

You know who Danny Thomas and Jamie Farr are.

You have gotten a ticket in Ottawa Hills.

You graduated at the Stranahan or the Peristyle.

You know the names of a local boxer and a local famous ice skater who were in the Olympics.

You get disoriented when you go east of Sandusky and the road starts to go up and down.

You know who says, ‘Turtle!’

You know what “Everybody’s Zooing It” means to you, and you can sing the song, weird accent and all.

You saw a giant, neon-colored, plastic frog sitting on the sidewalk is nothing unusual.

You remember that Ottawa Park used to be the only places for ice skating and sledding!

You know where the original Tony Packo’s is and you know what type of food famous people sign.

You can name at least three “Wood” streets in the Old West End.

You have been to a Mud Hens game, and you know what a “Mud Hen” is!

You have a mayor who decides to change the fire hydrant color.

You know all the words to the Erie Street Market jingle.

You know that your hometown has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the USA .

You know at least one person that worked for Jeep.

You think having all-girls and all-boys 4 Catholic High Schools is normal.

You have ridden an elephant, a panda, a buffalo and a turtle.

You know Major Magic’s was way better than Chuckee Cheese.

You know that the Toledo Storm is not the first hockey team Toledo had, and remember the names of the others!

You know who Opal Covey is, and want her to run for mayor again, just so you can watch the debate.

You remember the tunnel that used to go to the zoo and you jumped on the metal hatch at least 6 dozen times.

You go to food festivals, German, Polish, Irish and other Ethnic Groups, even if you aren’t of that nationality.

You know why Toledo is known as the ” Glass City .”

You know what the “Peach Section” is.

You remember Topps, Rink’s Bargain City and Kresge’s for inexpensive purchases before there were dollar stores.

You remember when Perrysburg and Sylvania were farm country.

You remember when a guy from Boys II Men got married to a girl from Toledo .

The mentioning of Telegraph Road conjures images of adult bookstores and strip clubs.

You can pronounce Monroe, Secor, Maumee and Conant correctly.

You’ve watched Fourth of July fireworks synchronized to the music on WIOT.

You realize that the town of Oregon and the state of Oregon are pronounced differently.

You know who Blizzard Bill Spencer is. Double points for remembering Charles Merlin Umpenhauer.

You can name three suburbs of Toledo that contain the letter “v” in their names.

You lived close enough to a public high school to hear the sound of air horns in marching bands from your back yard.

You know how to pronounce Paszki and eat one every Fat Tuesday even though you don’t like jelly rolls.

You know end of town you are in when you smell General Mills Cereal, Wonder Bread or Hunts Tomato products.

Ending up in Michigan, after taking a wrong turn, does not incite panic because it’s like going across the street.

Before the malls, you went to Miracle Mile and Westgate if you didn’t go downtown.

You know what people are talking about when they refer to Dixie Highway .

You know where to find “The Colony,” “Trilby,” and “Point Place” even though they aren’t on a map.

You know at least one person who remembers Tiedtke’s.

You will always call MUO “MCO” and your parents will always call UT “TU.”

You can explain why the Maumee is brown and it doesn’t have to do with pollution.

The Centennial Quarry evokes feelings of swimming like a seal or dancing like a ballerina.

You know what they are referring to when they sing, “There goes another one.”

You know what school someone is from when someone refers to them as a Frannie or a Johnny.

You own at least one piece of Libbey Glass in your home.

You move to another city and wish you had a Library System like the one in Toledo.

You know that Spring Meadows has nothing to do with spring or meadows.

You remember when the Big Boy on Secor disappeared.

You saw your first rock concert at The Sports Arena.

You remember those affordable chiropractic commercials where the guy always played the guitar.

You can remember the Mummy being in the Egyptian room at the museum.

You know that the girl in the Missy Elliot video is named Alyson Stoner and is from Toledo.

The candidates for most elections are a party-endorsed Democrat and a Democrat running as an independent.

You know where to go to listen to Music Under the Stars.

You know that the Best place to buy corn and strawberries has always been at Monnettes’ Market!

You can correctly answer the question on the Trivial Pursuit Millennium Edition, about naming the mayor of an Ohio town that wanted to pass legislature to have all the deaf people moved out by the airport.

Categories: Uncategorized


what a beautiful day and oh how i love spring. it was just gorgeous  today, mostly sunny and low 70s with some rain in the future so i was pushing to get stuff in the ground. i have been doing a bit of gardening most days and had finally gotten all my memorial plants in the ground. as the tulips go post-peak i have been pleased with some other stuff stepping up its game. the gerber daisies are going to dominate the grave area with a lot of lower stuff when i cut back the tulips. in the shade bed all kinds of things are going on in violet; spiderwort, wild sweet william, violets, jacob’s ladder, and another one, plus columbine, some lilies are still going, ragwort’s coming on, and the irises are getting ready, plus the annuals i put in.

this morning i worked in the bulbs left over from a tulip, dafodil, fresia arrangement into the herb garden so i gave a good cultivate and feed to the tarragon, oregano, and connected some sage that had spread out into the lawn into a new larger bed. i put them in close to the herbs figuring that in early spring they’ll all still be little and i can get the flowers without using any space. i wanted to have the fresia by front window so the scent could waft in the front window but i had tulips in the mix and i wanted them on this side of the fence so the dogs could defend them from the squirrels. although stubby, the bob-tailed squirrel and notorious eater of tulips got hit last year so maybe i’ll try front lawn tulips some day. while i was messing in the herb garden i found more parsley and i planted dill and cosmos up there as well.

in the afternoon i pulled off the plastic from the tomatoes and basil and planted a six pack of cabbages i got at the market this morning. nice market by the way, my first this year, with leaf lettuce, kale, green onions, radishes, green house tomato, cucumber (one of those long asian ones but young and tender, yumm) [my salad tonight with goddess dressing] and little tender asparagus [cooked in a packet with the baby garlic i also got, thinly sliced red peppers, and redwine vinegar; nailed the sweet and tangy thing i was going for] and grass fed ground round [added chopped oregano, basil, and garlic and grilled over hickory chips].

the cabbages i mostly ran in a row in my second bed east of the tomatoes. i planted one up close to the lettuce, figuring it’ll finish and allow the cabbage to extend into its space. this part of the bed was still pretty clayey below 14″ so i added three inches of compost to the bottom layer and and two inches to the top which wiped me out on the home made stuff. the big compost is 2-4 weeks away from being done so i’ll have to either go without and just fertilize (i got some fish stuff on clearance last year and stepping up my nitrogen game. the garlic i blasted doubled in size in 4 days and is twice as big as the control group which i blasted today) but compost also changes the character of the soil which my clay yard needs.

i planted rows of radishes on each side of the cabbage because double digging all that space is hard work and the cabbage will grow into the space when the radishes are done, goddess willing. i planted the other two around the lettuce, which at least one more head will be done this week. i left last year’s okra stalks up as a dog deterrent.  i also cultivated the basil (thanks jane), broccoli, tomatoes (thanks eric), and lettuce. i put up the little fence and hit everything but the new stuff (it got plenty of compost)and the lettuce (hope to eat soon) in that bed with fish juice. the dogs were definitely intrigued pushing the fence in a bit (descented my ass).

i also got some laundry on the clothesline and cooked out on the grill. perfect spring day. tomorrow house cleaning and i’m gonna re-mow the back yard if it doesn’t rain. please rain, i’ve been a little under the weather but felt good to push myself a bit anyway.

Categories: cooking, dogs, gardening