Saturday, January 22, 2011

Promised “After” Pictures

Promised a long time ago, but the Patriarch recently removed the big metal bookshelves from the driveway – before we had greenish trim and a tan-y white front door (I remembered to take a “before” shot just after adding a strip of primer!). This shot also shows the number being teal.

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Door after:

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The trim color looks better to me on the garage as well. Couldn’t find a before shot, but promised sis an “after”:

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The carpet downstairs was billiard-table green and matted (and chock full of ick that no amount of vacuuming ever got out):

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And after:

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Despite reading comments online about Home Depot contractors doing a slow/unreliable/awful job installing carpet, we had a super experience and two young men who installed promptly, professionally, and cleaned up thoroughly after themselves.

So those are the pics I’ve been promising!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

DeBoles GF Spaghetti Review

I really have been wimpy about the GF pastas. Tinkyada and Shirataki noodles just haven’t done it for me. The Tinkyada tastes odd and the texture of the Shirataki are fine for using for, say, chicken noodle soup, but not a pasta dish. And I crave pasta dishes, not chicken noodle soup.

Without much hope, and because it was on sale at Albertson’s, I picked up a box of “DeBoles Multi-grain Spaghetti Style Pasta”. While it wasn’t a straight-up match for wheat pasta, I’d say the taste compares to the whole-wheat pastas I’ve had home. Especially in summer, a spaghetti noodle or fettuccine is crucial for fast garden food.

And for my GF sis who can’t do potato starch, I will type out the ingredient list (this makes me hopeful for you):

Whole grain brown rice flour, white rice flour, rice bran, organic amaranth flour, organic quinoa flour, xanthan gum, vitamin & mineral mix (niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid).

I’m even thinking I might be able to trial the little girls on it. They’re sick this weekend and we don’t trial when they’re ill, but I don’t see any red flags in the ingredient list.

Oh wow – I just checked and Azure Standard has a whole line of their pasta! I am one happy camper!

Let the 2011 Gardening Season Begin

I suppose it actually began in December, when I decided which crops to grow. But it was January when I went through the seed catalogs and chose varieties, and January 13th when all of the seed orders were placed. I am splitting a seed order with my sister who gardens south of me. This works well, since we grow pretty much the same crops, and since her climate is similar-but-add-ten-degrees, anything that grows on Shady Fifth will flourish in abundance for her.

Here are the catalogs I used this year (plus Wild Garden Seeds, but I don’t have their print catalog):

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Every seed we use is organic, non-GMO, and try not to buy from Monsanto, Seminis, or subsidiaries. Because the three little ones with Hyper-IgE were all born after the introduction of GMOs into the food chain, and that was a major concern raised about GMO crops, that allergies would be triggered at an unprecedented level, I do believe that GMOs could be responsible. I refuse to support, even with my tiny dollars, this evil. To the extent that I am able – their tentacles are everywhere, and sometimes it is not possible to tell.

But anyway, ranting aside, here’s what we’re growing at Shady Fifth this year:

Chard: “Improved Rainbow Chard”

Bok Choy: “Shanghai Green Choy”

Beet: “Early Wonder Tall Top”

Scallion: “Parade”

Shallot: “Ambition”

Onion: “Siskiyou Walla Walla Sweet”, “Gladstone”

Leek: to be determined – order starts from Territorial

Carrots: “St. Valery”, “Chantenay”

Beans: “Blue Lake”

Snow/Snap Peas: “Sugar Snap”, “Oregon Sugar Pod II”

Garden Peas: “Green Arrow”, “Laxton’s Progress”

Spinach: “Everlasting”, “Whale”

Lettuce: “Hyper Red Oak”, “Blushed Icy Oak”, “Carmona”, “Blushed Butter Oak”, “Sucrine”, “Crisp Mint”, “Pom Pom”, “Siamese Dragon Stir Fry Mix”

Zucchini: “Midnight Lightening”

Broccoli: “Green Goliath”, “Thompson”

Eggplant: “Ping Tung Long”

Pepper, Bell: “Sunrise Orange”, “Purple Beauty”

Pepper, Hot: “Chinese 5 Color”, “Scotch Bonnet” (grow indoors)

Tomato: “Bonny Best”, “Fireworks”, “Peron”, “Gold Nugget”, “Super Italian Paste”, “Striped Roman”, “Sophie’s Choice”, “Gill’s All Purpose”, “Mortgage Lifter, Radiator Charlie’s”

Squash: “Sweet Reba Bush”, “Nutterbutter”

Cucumber: “Poona Kheera”, “Parisian Pickling”

Cabbage: “Couer De Boeuf des Vertus”, “Glory of Enkhuizen”

Cantaloupe: PMR Delicious 51

Potatoes: Still need to get this order together, from Irish Eyes

Rosemary: need to buy some starts from Territorial

Basil: “Dolly”, “Napoletano”

Oregano: If my perennials didn’t make it, I’ll buy some plants from Territorial

Parsley: “Giant of Italy”

Dill: “Long Island Mammouth”

Thyme: Already growing in the herb bed, an English variety and a Lemon Thyme plant. Both overwintering well.

Chives: Already growing in herb bed. Starts from a neighbor of unknown variety.

Shiso: A purple variety that is perennial and does well in the herb bed.

Kale: Going to try to get starts off of the kale outside. Love this variety given to me, so hardy and delicious.

Seeds haven’t started to show up yet, of course, but this gives me a few days to write up my seed starting schedule and get the grow lights set up again, etc.

I read somewhere that “winter is shorter for gardeners” and nodded my head. Already our heads need to be in springtime, and this is a wonderful aspect of gardening!

What’s That? Ooooo, an IKEA Trip Calling!

Does this ever happen to you? You follow some new links off of the blogs you follow. Or a facebook friend posts a link to a blog you’ve never noticed. And suddenly from this place and that, you’ve got a shopping trip looming.

Our closest IKEA is not all that close. If we do an IKEA run, that’s all we do that day, and we don’t do one on a day we have to chauffer children to evening stuff. So we haven’t been in quite awhile. But two organizational posts from different blogs have me going, “Must. Have. That. Exact. Setup.”

Pantry organization, check it out (and ht to Val for original link), using a combo of glass quart jars (got ‘em) and IKEA “slom”. I’ve been wanting one of the guys around here to make me some wall shelves just the right size for quart jars, with a little piece of wood in the front to protect in an earthquake. But not until after we paint the kitchen. Still, even on the countertop, labeling my jars . . . perfect.

Next up is the fabulous seed organization idea from Chiot’s Run, using an IKEA storage box. Currently my seed storage is in a box and wow, do I ever waste a ton of time finding seeds every time I succession plant. Totally stealing this whole idea. Looks like they used IKEA’s “Emu”.

While there, I hope to find something to store a whole lot of VHS tapes. We have a ledge running along one wall downstairs where we’ve stored them, but VHS tapes are massively unattractive, don’t you think?

Progress Downstairs

Popcorn ceiling repainted a more cream-based white . . . check

Walls painted a more gray/brown white . . . check

Everything out and stacked all over the house . . . check

Patriarch and Nigel set to rip carpet after church today . . . check

Carpet installers coming Tuesday! Before-n-after pics then. Sadly, going from dirty chipped white walls to fresh not glaring white walls won’t show so well on a photo, but going from billiard-table green ripped matted carpet to a neutral carpet will.

At this point, it is super conflicting about how to paint and carpet and all. All of this remodel activity was spurred by the possibility of moving, and now that just doesn’t seem possible at all. BUT, the reason we weren’t able to jump and move back in summer was because we weren’t ready.

Won’t do anything too personal or quirky. Just in case.