Wednesday, September 22, 2010

By popular (?) demand

Well, 66% (2) of my readers asked me to post more pictures of the backyard kitchen. The other 33% (1) is tired of hearing about it. The only things left to do on it are:
  • Flashing where the chimney goes through the roof (to keep rain from just running down the stovepipe);
  • Some sort of arrangement to hang some pots (check out the cool things Tom found for hanging utensils); and
  • Some sort of wire "trellis" on the outside for climbing vines (so we don't have to look at the steel siding).

But, it's essentially done and fully functional. I even test baked cinnamon rolls in it last weekend.

Check out the metal cabinet in the corner. Tom found it in the basement, and it's perfect. The doors have now been painted the same green as the other stuff.

Its next function is the house concert October 2. We're going to have chili and a couple other soups, homemade bread, and cinnamon rolls.

You know, it must be a Lincoln thing to always serve chili with cinnamon rolls. The whole concept was bizarre to me, but everyone from Lincoln seems to think they go together like Oreos and milk. It must be something that Lincoln Public Schools always served together or something. Personally, I think chili goes best with Fritos or soda crackers.

Keep your fingers crossed for good weather on October 2.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Summer's only good for tomatoes and sweet corn

Greetings on the first day, in what seems like AGES, that it's been tolerable to be outside! Truly, this is the first day in weeks that we haven't used the air conditioner! In fact, I'm writing this sitting in my outdoor kitchen.

There's still a little work to do on it (primarily side walls to keep rain and snow out). I also want to make some provisions for hanging pots and utensils, as well as move the little refrigerator out here (which is currently up against the side of the house). I've decided to quit calling it a "summer kitchen," though, because when it's really hot out, there's no way in hell I'm going to stand cooking in front of a wood fire.

But last night, I cooked a feast of fried chicken and baked potatoes, with fresh tomato slices. Then this morning, I canned some salsa, and proceeded to make breakfast of bacon, eggs, and potatoes. Yum! It's supposed to be cooler all week, and Tom's sister Marcia is coming for a visit, so I'm anticipating using it more. It's really nice to be able to fry things like chicken and bacon and not worry about the splatters -- in fact, oil spatters are good for this stovetop. It also seems to be easier to regulate the oven with a wall behind it. I don't know why, but it's true.

Since my last post, I spent a fabulous two weeks at my brother's cabin in Lincoln, MT. We did a lot of work projects, but also had a lot of fun. The weather was glorious, and it was a real treat to get out of the Nebraska heat and humidity. In fact, the morning I left (at about 5:30 a.m. on July 15), it was a chilly 37 degrees! Remind me again why I live here?

Friday, June 18, 2010

I'm a slacker

I just noticed that I haven't posted since May 5. Sorry. Maybe it's a good thing that I haven't had anything to be particularly curmudgeonly about for over a month. That's largely because I haven't been listening to the news as much as usual -- I'm re-listening to the Alera Codex by Jim Butcher, and finding it almost as engrossing as the first time I listened to it. I have a new series by the same author — Dresden Files — that I'm holding in reserve for my 2-week, 2400-mile trip in two weeks to Montana. Two weeks from tonight, I should be in Billings and roll into Lincoln, MT (my brother's cabin) about noon Saturday.

I can't wait to get out of this friggin' humidity. It just keeps raining. Lots and lots of rain. Every time I empty my gauge, it's another inch or more — about every other night. Then, when it gets up to about 90 during the day, it feels like we're living in the tropics. I hate summer. I've long said that the only good things about summer are tomatoes and sweet corn. I have to say, though, that the five bird feeders, two bird baths, and assorted weird bird houses in our yard are finally paying off. We've got tons of bird families around that are endless fun to watch. This bird house, out of an old license plate, was made by Tom's dad (who turns 94 this week) and has been hanging outside our kitchen window for nearly 20 years, has finally attracted a wren family.

We've also got families of downy woodpeckers, mourning doves, robins, and blue jays. We've even got a family of cardinals that have built a nest in my honeysuckle. There's a bunch of baby squirrels running around, and I saw a baby bunny this morning. It's hard to believe that the Solstice is Monday already. I just heard this year's first cicadas this evening, and the lightning bugs are out in force. And, here are a few pictures of recent blooms in my yard (largely for Gary's benefit):

Honeysuckle (where the cardinals have taken up residence): Catalpa tree, where there is a robins' nest:
And clematis, which is one of my personal favorites:
Okay. So, I don't actually hate summer. I just hate being hot and sweaty.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

I'm disgusted. Someone wrote a letter to the editor in the Lincoln paper Monday, deploring the racist new anti-immigrant law in Arizona, and the number of "comments" is now up to 148! People say the most hideous, bigoted, mean-spirited things when they can hide behind anonymity. This bothers me especially, since the person who wrote the original letter to the editor actually signed his name. I know from experience that the newspaper verifies that the name on the letter is really the person who sent it. Not so with the cowardly commenters.

I don't deny that illegal immigration is a serious problem, nor do I even pretend to know the answer(s), except to know that this law is NOT it. I am kind of baffled, though, when not a single proposal to deal with the problem addresses the fact that people from Mexico and Central America find that picking lettuce in CA, or working for minimum wage at a meat-packing plant in central Nebraska is worth risking their lives to leave their homes and families, and preferable to staying home. Why doesn't the U.S. government get on the Mexican government's case to make the living situation better there? Canadians don't risk life and limb to cross the border to work for peanuts here. Why? Because Canada has good jobs, good "quality of life," good health care, etc. Why can't Mexico enact laws that require employers to provide minimum wage, health care, etc.? Wasn't NAFTA supposed to address some of these problems? Apparently not, since the problem just keeps getting worse.

Granted, I'm not an economist, and most of my ideas come from, but this seems fairly obvious to me. I have long been a proponent of "maximum wage." Any person who can't live comfortably on $250,000 a year has a serious mental defect (and that is speaking as a person who makes less that 20% of that).

Corporate America is evil.