Home In Disarray

August 31, 2009

Bruschetta a la Julie & Julia

Bruschetta a la Julie & Julia
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Last weekend I watched Julie and Julia with my mom. If you haven’t seen it, I suggest you do so, post haste! It’s a cute film, and has some pretty funny parts, including Meryl Streep (as Julia Childs) calling a pan “hotter than a hard cock.”

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If you have seen it, you’ll certainly remember the Bruschetta scene. I was salivating, and haven’t been able to clear my mind of it ever since. Today I was fully intending to stay in my pajamas and not leave the house. But then I got to thinking about what I’d be making for dinner, and of course, Bruschetta popped into my mind, like it has every day this week when I start thinking about food.

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Really the only difference between a traditional bruschetta and Julie Powel’s is instead of toasting the bread on a grill then drizzling it with olive oil, the bread is pan fried in olive oil (and in my case, a little butter). You achieve the same flavor combination, but a MUCH better texture by pan frying the bread.

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Since none of my non-cherry tomatoes are ripe yet, I had to go to the store for them. Luckily, QFC recently began carrying heirloom tomatoes, so I got the mind blowing colors and flavors of heirlooms without having to go to a farmers market. I used 3 large heirlooms, plus 2 vine ripened hot house tomatoes that I had sitting in the pantry looking for a noble purpose. I also added a small handful of fresh basil and a few snippets of fresh parsley from my herb garden.

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I served it with a simple grilled chicken breast, sliced and split in two. It was a very filling meal and oh so satisfying. I’m pretty sure this’ll be a weekly occurrence. I’m having trouble coming up with a better food to entertain with also. So all of you people reading my blog that come over for dinner occasionally, be warned.

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Posted in: Cooking
August 29, 2009

Blooming Dahlias

Blooming Dahlias
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Kim gave me dahlia tubers to put in my garden. I couldn’t be more pleased with them. After Dad brought over beautiful bouquets well into October, I was sold. These flowers are really amazing.

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They got a slow start due to a combination of crappy soil and the tubers being dry and withered. I finally got some blooms this week, and I’m floored.

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My white ones have purple around the edges, the purple ones are a deep reddish purple with purple stems, and my “Summer Breeze” is red on the outside and yellow on the inside. It blows my mind.

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As I watch the Summer Breeze open up, the petals curl back to create little tubey things. It’s also the size of my hand all open and spread out. It’s freaking huge. I can’t wait for my “huge orange” opens!

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By the way, all of these photos are straight out of my camera, no cropping, retouching, boosting, etc. Yes, it’s still my $200 3-year-old camera. 😉

Posted in: Garden
August 29, 2009

New home for the squirrels

New home for the squirrels
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Rescuing the squirrels seemed like an awesome plan. They’re cute, cuddly, and when they grow up, they’d make great little outdoor buddies. At least that’s what I thought. I was pretty much wrong. Well, they are immensely cute, but they grow up and get CRAZY. Plus they need a big ass cage (inside) to live in for the last few weeks before they get released.

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And Boris is getting pretty upset. He’s mighty insecure, I assume as a result of his previous life, and he thinks that since I’m giving the squirrels all of this attention, we’re replacing him. He’s needy and whiney and has started finding stuff to chew on while we’re gone (mostly garbage and recycling). Since the family that we made a conscious decision to accept into our home (and was here first) trumps the orphaned wildlife that I found outside earlier this week, Boris’ needs come first. This makes keeping the squirrels impractical.

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Did you know that baby squirrels like to eat every 4 hours? That means one meal early in the morning, 2-3 while at work, and 2 after I get home at night. Each feeding session takes approximately 30-45 minutes due to there being 4 babies, and I have to stimulate them to pee and poo, that’s what mama does in the nest. It’s time consuming, and kinda gross.

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A few days ago, Craig and I decided that we’d see about bribing some of the local wildlife rehab places to take them. We figure that the economy is bad enough, nobody’s donating to animal causes, and funds are short. We can at least help to offset the cost of raising the squirrels (plus donate the formula and food that we’ve purchased for them). I guess nobody has room… still.

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After calling around and asking, I finally spoke with someone who said “the ONLY person that I know of that has room is so-and-so, but she’s in Chehalis (1.75 hour drive)” So I got her number and did some research. I sent her an email, including my offer to make a cash donations as well as all of the formula and whatever else they need, and got a call back within a few hours.

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So I’m taking the squirrels down to Chehalis tomorrow to go live with a wildlife rehabilitator. It makes me feel sad, they’re so cute, and they’ve really bonded with me (maybe I’ve bonded with them too). They’ll have the proper care and someone to take care of them the way that they need, plus with the resources, area, etc to give them what they need.

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Plus Boris won’t be drooling all over them, and Perry won’t be sitting next to the box, visibly mulling over plans to open the box when my back’s turned.

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Oh, and I get to see Mellisa tomorrow, a good friend from high school who lives not too far off my route. 🙂

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Posted in: The Creatures
August 26, 2009

Awwww, baby squirrels

Awwww, baby squirrels
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I got home on Monday evening with some potted plants that Sue gave me when clearing out her “inventory” in preparation to move to a new home. When I first arrived, I heard a squawking sound but ignored it. When it was still there 3 trips later, I decided to figure out wtf it was. Turns out, 4 baby squirrels had fallen out of the tree next to our driveway and there was no mom in sight.

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Craig dug out a little depression under the tree and lined it with some fluffy toilet paper that the neighbor kids tried to TP a tree with. Then he picked them up with welding gloves and stuck them in there so they’d stop trying to climb around on the driveway. Mom still hadn’t arrived the next morning so I took a sealed container of warm water out to them and covered them with an old t-shirt to keep them from dying.

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When I called snohomish county they were of no help, so I called wildlife rehab places. The first place I talked to told me I could either take them to Bainbridge Island, or take them to their facility in lynnwood and they’d humanely put them down. 🙁 So I called Bainbridge who then gave me some other numbers and it turns out that rehab centers are all full of squirrels right now and can’t accept any more. I also told Greg(my boss) about it, and he told me to go home, and get them, take care of them, and raise them. He also told me that since he’s such an animal lover, I can bring them to work every day to ensure they get fed at the right times and whatnot. I think he just wants to watch the cute furry little baby squirrels grow up. I don’t really blame him.

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So now, we have 4 baby squirrels living with us, getting fed approximately every 4 hours, and overall being very cute. It’s a lot of work, but I couldn’t bring myself to let them a) die of exposure, b) get put down, which were pretty much my only other options. I’m pretty sure they’re girls. I’m adding a poll to the side bar somewhere (I hope) and I’d like you to vote on names. In case they’re boys, I’ll make a separate poll for those names. Right now, they are “Both Eyes Open,” “Right Eye Open,” “Left Eye Open,” and “No Eyes Open.” Clearly, these names aren’t going to last forever. The poll ends when they start looking the same again.

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Posted in: The Creatures
August 16, 2009

More deck photos, we’re almost there!

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Here’s the pile of lumber that we had when we started. Also, the hole. It’s a pretty big hole.

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I ripped the “wall” off the tall deck, but still have another to tear down. I’m going to copy our other deck and put up some trellis for some sort of vine to grow up. We’ll see. For now it just looks trashy. 🙂

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Craig and his dad worked hard all week to finish framing it out and tying everything together. I supplied nails and dinner.

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Roxie, the woman that I work with had a spare miter saw. She sold it to me for $50, so now I have an awesome saw too. My first real power tool!

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The decking looks so purdy! Look at that father-son team working so well together.

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Boris likes the deck too.

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a lot

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We have some more work to get done tomorrow. We’ll use up the remaining cedar that we have (we need to get more on Monday), replace the gutter downspout, and countersink (I think!?) the nails so they don’t catch on my toesies.

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Posted in: Landscaping
August 10, 2009

Deck Phase One Complete!

Deck Phase One Complete!
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Really. The first portion of deck building, where actual wood was situated in the hole has been finished. Mostly.

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Craig’s XJ lift ended up taking longer than expected so that ate into our time dearly. We got the preliminary stages of framing completed, as well as all of the planning done, which took a long time.

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One of the obstacles that needed to be worked around was the shape of the existing main deck that the new deck needed to match up with. The other was access to the crawl space. Craig and his dad, Joe worked it out and it should be a pretty sweet solution.

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The dog enjoyed playing between the joists (until he realized how tough it is to turn around in a slot that’s narrower than he is long). We also played fetch and wrestled a bit.

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I ended up making 11ty trips to Home Depot today. Okay, 4, but still, it was a pain in the ass.

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I was able to fill the huge hole that I dug in the back yard to be the dry well for my gutter downspout. Craig pointed out that it looks exceedingly similar to a cock and balls. Luckily it’ll all be covered and nobody will be the wiser, except for you lot, you saw the evidence.

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I’m impressed by the amount of stamina Craig and Joe had, spending all day yesterday working on the Jeep, and all day today working on the deck project.

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Posted in: House, Landscaping
August 5, 2009

Glimpses of the garden

Glimpses of the garden
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Because if you see the big picture, you’ll be disappointed. After I found out that my soil is crap and started watering the plants with coffee, and spreading manure/compost/peat on them, they began to perk up. My carrots FINALLY did something more that just sit there, the bell and poblano peppers began blooming, and my cucumbers began growing.

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My heirloom tomatoes have produced at least 2 fruits so far. Here’s hoping that they grow to size and color up before we get frost!

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The tomatoes are the only things that are actually doing well, which I attribute to them being ok in slightly alkaline soil, plus sparse nitrogen encourages plants to set fruit. FUN FACT!

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My star jasmine is looking mighty beautiful, it set it’s second set of blooms and smells WONDERFUL.

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Plus, look how pretty it is!

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And my mexican mock orange. Oh my. It gave me a few flowers shortly after I bought it (in April, when it’s supposed to bloom) but I believe my recent fertilization regimen has prompted it to start again.

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It’s evergreen by the way. How awesome is that!? In this photo, you can only see one open flower, but if you look closely, there are about 50 buds that are swelling and getting ready to open. It’s going to be awesome. I’ll probably just drag a camping chair down there and sit next to it, sniffing.

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Posted in: Garden