Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tie Dye Onesie

My supervisor at work just had a baby boy and I wanted to give him a little something for the child.  Luckily, I keep a bunch of tie dyed clothing on hand for this kind of thing.  I figure it will be summer time before the boy will wear this -- so patriotic colors will work fine.  

I'd like to do more tie dye this Spring, but I should honestly try to sell some of the ones I have.  My Dad is a walking advertisement for me and always has people asking him about the shirts I've made for him.  I think it is because they are men's shirts rather than t-shirts.  I should get my Etsy sight up and running again.  I would happily give my blog readers a nice discount once I do.  Are you interested?

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Sorry folks, it was another very long week at work.  I didn't have any energy left over to think of something to blog about.  Perhaps tomorrow I will feel like blogging about something interesting.  For now, I am unwinding from the long week.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Ralphie -- the outdoors cat

This cat seems to love the snow!  Luckily he has plenty of warm fur.  His first few days here were very, very cold.  I kept him in the pole barn for a week ( I didn't want him to run away or freeze to death).  Now he roams around freely and seems to stay fairly close to home.  He is extremely territorial and has been in fights with other stray cats around here.  He also doesn't really like Sassafras.  They sit on either side of the back slider and yowl and hiss at each other.  I think he is jealous of her.  Ralphie begs for food by rolling over in the path in front of me.  It is cute, and he is irresistible -- I can't say no to giving him a scrap-piece of Charlie's lunchmeat.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pizza time

We made pizza for dinner with the cheese I created yesterday.  I split the dough I made into two separate pan pizzas.  Mine was topped with mushrooms, onion, green olives and Morningstar Farms sausage style veggie crumbles.  I love those crumbles!  They add so much taste to the vegetarian diet.  

Charlie's had pepperoni, mushroom and green olive.  He ate it -- so I guess he liked it.  I have a few slices of cheese left over after topping two whole pizzas.  Definitely worth the $2 for the gallon of milk and the small cost from the kit.  

Monday, February 15, 2010

I'm a cheese wiz!

I got out of work early today and found some time to finally try my hand at making cheese.  I'm not going to go in depth with the directions. If you are going to try it you will want to follow some fairly specific directions.  I bought a kit with everything I needed -- which was convenient but was not entirely necessary.  The whole process was described in "Hobby Farm Home" March/April 2010 which you should be able to find in stores right now too.

So -- here are the basics...
Start with whole milk - pasteurized is fine, ultra-pasteurized is NOT OK to use.  Heat it up then add some dissolved citric acid and stir.  It starts to look like soupy cottage cheese.

Then you heat it a bit more and add some dissolved vegetarian rennet.  It starts to look really nasty then.  It clumps up and the whey separates out from the curd.  

Then you scoop out the curd, drain off the whey, microwave the curds until they are hot enough to stretch, and add salt.  Then stretch it and form it however you would like.  I think I needed to get mine hotter because it doesn't look very smooth -- but overall I am very happy with the results.  I think tomorrow I will make pizza and see how it melts.  I can make the crust and the cheese -- now I just have to master making tomato sauces and canning them... but that is coming up this summer.

I saved the left over whey in the milk jug it originally came in.  They say you can give it to chickens (coming soon?) and cats.  So, that is what I did.  I let Sassafras try it first.  She tried it out -- but she isn't really an adventurous cat (she doesn't like much besides her own food).  I gave some to the orange outdoor cat who is coming to be known as "Ralphie".  He really liked the stuff -- so I will continue to feed it to him for the next few days.  

So, I am well on my way to being a cheese wiz.  It is going to take some practice -- but this was an encouraging first step.  

Saturday, February 13, 2010

PEMF and pizza

I went to Grand Rapids today to drop off our tax papers and to visit with my family.  It was a very quick visit.  We had just enough time to check out the treatment that has been helping my Dad recover from his stroke and then go to one of my favorite restaurants in Grand Rapids.  
PEMF -- or pulsed electromagnetic field therapy -- has been helping Dad a lot.  Dad didn't have any loss of strength or any paralysis from the stroke, but he does have problems seeing some things.  He has been getting PEMF treatments once a week and he notices the effects immediately.  He is able to see better right away.  After about 4 days things start to get worse again for him.  My Mom has a friend that just bought one of these machines (they are NOT cheap) and offered to let Dad get a midweek treatment as well.  It looks weird, and I haven't done enough research on how it works, but it has worked for Dad.  

I also got to try it out.  It felt like a muscle twitch in my tight shoulders while I was laying down on a mat with the tube running through it.  I tried the thing on my head too and it felt like a tapping or pulsing on my sinuses and my teeth.  It didn't seem to do much right away for me, but I did have a headache earlier today and now it is gone.  They say it really helps with arthritis as well.  Very interesting!

After that, we went to Marinade's.  It is a small bistro near my parent's house that I adore.  I got a calzone  with feta, kalamata olives, and crimini mushrooms.  Yum!  My Brother and Dad got meaty calzones, and Mom was more adventurous with a little pizza with lemon zest, walnuts, gorgonzola cheese, etc (but no tomato sauce).  She loves that combination.  

As you can tell by the coats we were wearing, it is cold outside.  I'm sure most of the people reading this are experiencing the same thing right now -- but you never know.  Anyway, I thought I would throw in a cute picture of Angel -- another of my folks' cats.  She is a sweet heart.  She loves the window ledge above the radiators in their front room.  If I were a cat, I think I would pick that spot as well.   

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Time keeps on tickin'

I wish I had something interesting to blog about, but I'm afraid life has been the same old thing lately.  I get up at 6:30 and get showered and dressed, feed the two cats, pack a lunch and leave for work by 7:45.  I work from 9 AM to 7:30 PM.  I get back home at 8:15, find a quick bite of dinner, do any chores/bills and check my e-mail.  Then to bed to start it all over.  The paycheck will be nice -- 58 hours this week -- but life feels monotonous when I work this much.  

 Today, Charlie and I went to the grocery store and got some groceries.  We also picked up a few snacks  to munch on for our own little Super Bowl party (just the two of us).  We were supposed to go to some friends' home for their party, but we wanted to spend some time together before Charlie heads off on the road again.  He has been out on longer hauls lately and I don't get to see him as often.  

Well, I have to start gathering together some of our tax information.  I'd like to take my paperwork to my tax lady (a longtime friend of my family) next weekend.  I can't wait to see what our return will be like this year!

So, that is about it for now.  I just bought some whole milk to try making mozzarella cheese this week... here's hoping it works out.  I'm guessing the next blog will be about that.