Friday, January 31, 2020

Oh, Dear!

Really? I thought. Who 'sneaks a taste' of raw flour? 

In our ever litigious society, companies have to be prepared -- warning you that coffee is hot, that lawn mowers shouldn't be used as hedge trimmers, and that plastic bags aren't toys. 

But do people really eat raw flour? Remembering reading about a condition called pica in which some people consume dry laundry starch, I asked Mr. Google.

Sure enough--

Uncooked starch is another very commonly craved item. This can take the form of corn starch, uncooked rice, raw tubers and raw flour. This is called amylophagy. Other non-food items frequently craved include dry powdery substances like baby powder, ash, chalkboard chalk, baking powder and charcoal.

I can't even imagine a mouthful of any of these . . . but maybe that warning isn't as silly as it seemed. 

Further investigation led to information on the dangers of consuming raw cookie dough or cake batter--which contain, of course, raw flour. Which may contain bacteria (which will be killed by cooking.)  Even a small taste of uncooked dough or batter could be particularly bad for young children or folks with compromised immune systems. 

Yikes and dang! I've never been into raw cookie dough the way some folks are but I've licked many a spoon that
had cake batter on it. 


Sorry for this white background, I posted this late last night and didn't realize it was like this. And this morning I have Josie coming and don't have time to fix it. Arrgh!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

A New Look

Thanks to Justin, the basement has been cleared and he and John have been hauling off the debris. And plans are afoot. 

The arch (part of an old feed ring) is in token of Justin's plans to make an arched doorway. A concrete floor will be poured and concrete block will reinforce/supplement what remains of the previous walls. 

Once that's done, we can proceed with the next level--the shop itself.

Just getting rid of all the old carcasses--the remains of tools and roofing--has lifted everyone's spirits.  There's a long road ahead but we're on it!

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Josie and Her Telephone

Ring, ring -- I'll get it.

Hello. Yes, this is me, Josie.

Uh huh. . .uh huh . . .

No, Blue Elephant can't come to the phone. He's taking a nap now.

I have to go now. See you later, alligator.

I think it was a wrong number.

Phone calls are exhausting.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Birdie, Birdie, Birdie -- But Not Miss Birdie

I keep trying to catch this little woodpecker (Hairy or Downy, I'm not sure which) but the light is dodgy and he/she is shy. And quick-moving.

I almost deleted this slightly blurred shot but kept it because of the detail in the wings and the feeling of motion.

And then I fooled around with various filters. I think I like this next one best--though there's something to be said for each variation.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

The Afterlife by Billy Collins

While you are preparing for sleep, brushing your teeth,
or riffling through a magazine in bed,
The dead of the day are setting out on their journey.

They're moving off in all imaginable directions,
each according to his own private belief,
and this is the secret that silent Lazarus would not reveal:
that everyone is right, as it turns out,
you go to the place you always thought you would go,
the place you kept in an alcove in your head.

Some are being shot into a funnel of flashing colors
into a zone of light, white as a January sun.
Others are standing naked before a forbidding judge who sits
with a golden ladder on one side, a coal chute on the other.

Some have already joined the celestial choir
and are singing as if they have been doing this forever,
while the less inventive find themselves stuck
in a big air-conditioned room full of food and chorus girls.

Some are approaching the apartment of the female God,
a woman in her forties with short wiry hair
and glasses hanging from her neck by a string.
With one eye she regards the dead through a hole in her door.

There are those who are squeezing into the bodies
of animals--eagles and leopards--and one trying on
the skin of a monkey like a tight suit,
ready to begin another life in a more simple key,

while others float off into some benign vagueness,
little units of energy heading or the ultimate elsewhere.

There are even a few classicists being led to an underworld 
by a mythological creature with a beard and hooves.
He will bring them to the mouth of the furious cave
guarded over by Edith Hamilton and her three-headed dog.

The rest just lie on their backs in their coffins
wishing they could return so they could learn Italian
or see the pyramids, or play some golf in a light rain.
They wish they could wake in the morning like you
and stand at a window examining the winter trees,
every branch traced with the ghost writing of snow.

(And some just smile, forever on.)

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Cooking with Josie

My mama and daddy both have birthdays soon. Yesterday we had a birthday celebration at Meema and Grumpy's. I helped cook.

Meema and I made a chocolate dessert.  First she melted a lot of chocolate chips.

Then she cracked and separated eight eggs. You have to be very careful about this.

I helped by throwing the eggshells into the bucket of scraps for the chickens.

Meema and I beat the egg yolks. Then we added almond extract, nutmeg, and rum, and stirred the egg yolks into the melted chocolate.

Meema beat the egg whites till they turned into stiff foam. The egg beater makes a funny sound when it whirs around.

Meema added the chocolate goop to the egg white. She said 
she was folding it in.

I held the whisk while Meema was folding.

When it was all mixed together, I took a taste. 

Then we put the chocolate into tiny bowls called ramekins and put the bowls in the refrigerator.

Later we put raspberries on top of the chocolate and whipped cream on top of the raspberries and one raspberry on top. This is my daddy's favorite dessert. It is called Chocolate Raspberry Decadence.

In the afternoon, I helped Grumpy make the pizza dough.

I poked it with a knife.

I sang "Pat a cake, pat a cake, baker man..."

And "Pit it and pat it and mark it with G and put it in the oven for Grumpy and me."

I like cooking!

Friday, January 24, 2020

Spring Futures

Primrose . . .

and daffodils and perennial Bachelors Button (centaura montana) are on the way . . . the eternal promise.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Baby Steps

A few weeks ago, after asking for recommendations from Facebook friends, I ordered a bar shampoo and refillable deodorant. It's all in pursuit of reducing the amount of single-use plastic in my life.  

I was totally impressed with the tidy, waste-free, recycled paper packaging--a sturdy little cardboard bag, just the right size for what it contained. What a concept! Amazon, who often uses huge boxes for very small objects, could learn something from these folks.

So, there was a bar of shampoo plus a soap dish for it and a refillable holder for the deodorant stick. I chose a citrus lavender scent for both and it smells heavenly!

I've been using both for several weeks now and am happy to report I really like them. The deodorant works and the shampoo bar quickly makes a great lather that leaves my hair squeaky clean. (I am using a little conditioner and will, when the big (plastic) bottle I have is gone, look into the bar conditioner.)

Using the bar shampoo has made me aware of how much traditional shampoo I've wasted -- squeezing out more than was needed. I suspect this bar will last a good bit longer than a bottle of shampoo. Which is good, as the bar stuff is a little pricey.

Just a baby step. Now I'm looking into bamboo toothbrushes and an alternative to plastic tubes of toothpaste. . .

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Backwards Sunset

No sunsets for us --the mountain we back up to blocks any display. But sometimes we do get the reflected glory. . .

Clouds alight with the last beams of the sun behind the mountain . . .

And we can watch the slow creep of darkness over the peaks and valleys to the east, to the last fond glimmer atop the Blue Ridge.

Not a spectacular sunset. . .but not bad either.