Wednesday, August 26, 2009


à la Frank Costanza.

After a rough start to the week, I have decided to LET. IT. GO.
Looking forward to making a trip over to Missoula (with music!!) on Friday doesn't hurt. Especially since we plan on seeing the matinee Inglourious Basterds. Big Quentin Tarantino fans, we are.

Back to my Serenity Now regimen.
A trip to the garden is always therapeutic.
My wildflowers are hanging in there.

The volunteer horseradish crop is doing well, too. I pulled some tonight, but I'll need to pull more tomorrow in order to make a decent batch.

My family makes fun of me because (like my grandpa) I like to eat things that make my eyes water and my nose run. Spicy Chinese mustard, etc. And yes, horseradish. Put a little horseradish on your grilled cheese---there's nothing better.

A quick Google search led me to this site and what looks like a pretty safe recipe for processing horseradish.

After inspecting the popcorn crop, I realized it's amazing how little I know about the reproductive life of corn. Here's a crash course if you're as in the dark as I was. It all makes sense now.

I found a lightweight aluminum tripod on craigslist and when I just now asked Keith if I could buy it ($20), he said, "Any time you want to buy something, just look at the camper." So I guess I have that advantage for a while.

Camper, you say?
Have a look at "Keith's New Project."

He paid $175 for it on my condition that nothing happens to it until the inside of the tiny house is finished.

He's pretty happy with himself.

It needs a lot of work, but we're both pretty confident the end product will be awesome. We plan on basically gutting it and redoing the inside for our needs. After the tiny house is finished. For $175, how can you go wrong? Who knows, maybe one day we'll make it back down to San Blas. We'll just have to make sure it's jejene-proof.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

During which I learned some valuable lessons

I was awarded two red ribbons for my first year entering at the Idaho County Fair, for photos that I had less confidence in, this being rural Idaho and all (this one and this one). But that goes to show what I know: not much!

First mistake: waiting until the week before to order photos. Costly. And unnecessary.
Second mistake: ordering a dozen photos. Should have narrowed it down and saved myself some money.
Third mistake: Showing up with them not ready to hang. The rule book was kind of vague about hanging. The fair helper scrambled to find me some yarn and scotch tape to hang them on the hooks. I said, "Obviously this is my first time."
Fourth mistake: Taking the rules in the rule book to heart. It said "No Fancy Frames" so I chose some nice colored mats. And showed up to see MANY fancy frames. The frames don't help a bad photo win, but they do help good photos get Best in Show.

But it was a good experience overall. This afternoon I go up to collect my photos (and ribbons) and to meet with a couple whose wedding I'm shooting in a couple of weeks (as a gift).

Other things are brewing and there's a lot going on, what with the tomatoes, etc. coming on.

Heading to Missoula again next weekend for a quick day-trip for supplies.

This time over we'll have something to listen to going over the pass, other than the wind, since Keith installed a new stereo for us. The radio in the truck was AM only... and didn't work. As people who really like to listen to music, that was a downer for us. For about $70 we bought a radio/CD player (plays burned CDs, too) that also has an in-front AUX jack, meaning we can plug our mp3 players right into the front.

He hit some snags during the install. At one point the radio came on when the headlights were on, even with the key out. And then the radio worked but the taillights and turn signals didn't. Anyway, he got it working and we'll have much more enjoyable road trips from now on.

Today I finally got my ruling in the court case for the rental car accident that happened in Nov. '07. The party who caused the accident is responsible for part, but I am responsible for more (lawyers' fees mostly). At this point it's been so long and drawn out that I'm just moving on. In checking my blog stats I see that the lawyers for Dollar Rent-A-Car have been looking for me, so I can only assume they're pursuing wage garnishment. Which really isn't all that painful for me. If they want to take 25% of my tiny paychecks, I won't starve and it will take 10 years for them to get the whole amount. As my mom says, "They can't eat you." In hindsight I should have done whatever it took to pay the original amount up front and then try to collect from the other party later. (Although I felt at the time I didn't have the means to pay anyone $1,000+ for anything. Heck, I've been paying off my therapist in $50 increments for over a year). Expensive lesson.

Moving on...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Busiest week ever

This is the beginning of Overdrive Week.

Today: canning peaches and getting my prints matted for the fair.

Canning Across America is a good site for anyone who doesn't can, but wants to know what it's all about. According to their site, "[t]he weekend of Aug. 29-30 is our kickoff, with how-to classes, demos and home canning parties in cities around the country. " I like canning. It's something we do as a family and we get to each delicious peaches (or beans or whatever) in the winter. How can you go wrong?

Yesterday Keith and I scored at the farmers/flea market when we bought 17 classic records (yes, actual vinyl records) for $35! Including four Bob Dylan albums, Janis Joplin In Concert, Miles Davis Sketches of Spain, two Rolling Stones double albums, and Van Morrison's Moondance. The man who was selling them used to live in NYC in the 60s and was a wealth of information. Very cool guy. So I think some of these will be our Canning Soundtrack today.

I also scored this vintage fan for only $8! It needs cleaned, but it's a beauty.

Keith has a couple of odd jobs to wrap up with the neighbors, but hopefully next week we will be in full force on Project: Tiny House Interior. It would be an understatement to say I'm excited. Nagging is probably the word Keith would use.

Round 3!

Mia did so well in Round 2 that she is automatically entered into Round 3 of the Million Dollar Cutest Dog Competition!

All votes from the previous week are now zeroed out and you have seven days to get as many votes as you can in Round 3. You can vote once per day.

Here is a direct link to the photo.

Mia Pia thanks you for your votes!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Os Mutantes

The first ripe tomato of the season from Jardin de Blankenship was horribly disfigured. But tasty, nonetheless.
And, it vaguely resembles a human heart. The vine is the aorta.
Squint. And pretend the ventricles are enlarged.
See, that $3k in student loans for 3 semesters of A&P wasn't wasted after all.

Gearing up for the Idaho Co. Fair around here. I'm entering photos, Keith's entering a peach pie, and my mom might enter sourdough biscuits in the Dutch Oven competition.

After worrying about how to get my photos matted on such short notice ('cause I do a lot most things on short notice), my co-worker's husband has agreed to help me out! Custom mats for much cheaper than any commercial place. "It's a very nice!"

I seem to be picking up momentum in my photography efforts lately. With the gift of the film cameras, the sale of some of my photos, the dark room kit Keith found at a local thrift store... things are coming together in a way that gives me hope.

The 33rd annual Chief Lookingglass Powwow is this weekend. Last year's was eye-opening and fantastic. I'm looking forward to going earlier this year and getting better/more photos of the festivities.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The heat is on

Not the literal heat. In fact, it's cooled off quite a bit. A thunderstorm that rolled in a few days ago brought the temperature right back down to comfortable. We all stood out by the field and watched it light up the sky. So much sheet lightning and then a frog strangler of a rainstorm followed. Lazlo kept us up most of the night barking at thunder.

The storm knocked down some of our popcorn, which is just starting to come on, so we pounded some T-posts and strung up some supports for it. We don't want to lose the popcorn!

The heat that's on now is the harvest/processing heat. Knowing that our weekends are soon going to be consumed with putting up food for the winter.

Keith made pickles earlier this week with cucumbers from our garden and a 5-star recipe from
And today we (the family) put up 15 doz. ears of corn from a farmer that lives across the highway. Now that's local.

Since we trimmed the tomato plants back the tomatoes are starting to turn, which means we'll shortly have one billion of those to deal with. We have a few monsters out there---check out this one!

After a recent conversation with Nat @ NativesWest (our local organic nursery, about 1/2 mile from here), we might try to dehydrate some tomatoes. Slice them or put them through the food processor, dehydrate them, and then run that through the food processor and you end up with tomato powder that can be added to soups or whatever, in the concentration of your choosing. Would also be great for backpacking/camping. Other than that we're going to be doing salsa, tomato sauce, tomato soup...?

Our garden is getting more and more bare as the summer wears on. We pulled all of the squash plants, because, really, you can only eat so much zucchini. We're making mental notes on how to improve the efficiency of the garden layout/crop choice for next year.

We've been invaded by flea beetles and the broccoflower and orange cheddar cauliflower took hard hits for a couple days, but I think we contained the outbreak. We tried spraying the plants with nicotine after soap didn't seem to work too well and the nicotine may or may not have worked. Their numbers are smaller, but the weather has changed, too. Just to be safe we ordered some Neem oil from a company in Bozeman, Mont. and we'll douse everything with that.

We think we had flea beetles all along and they were just munching on the wheat and weeds. But when Keith's OCD kicked in and he cleaned up everything that wasn't planted by us, their food supply dried up and they moved on to our crops... A couple of other people in the area said they've had problems with them this year, too.

In non-garden news:
  • Keith lost and found his wedding ring in a weeded lot this week (Whew. Note to self: cancel divorce proceedings).
  • And I've compiled a set of photos that can be purchased as prints or cards for those interested (HERE)... I've had some interest lately. I've also offered to photograph some weddings this next month (a gift to them, portfolio fodder for me), so we'll see how that pans out.
  • And I received an email from the people who published the Mercedes coffee table book, offering to pay me for my photo (oversight on their part) one year later. 100€ = $141.87. Not too shabby.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Kickin' it old skool

We were feeling adventurous and decided to go camping without a tent or air mattress last weekend.

Yeah, not a good idea.
1) ow
2) dirty
3) wet

To expand on these points, unnecessarily:
1) Tossing and turning to try to get that tree root out of my ribs or to find a new place in my hip for that rock to poke. Keith fared even worse. Because he's older. There, I said it. Old people can't sleep on the ground. How did cowboys do it? Ride in a saddle all day and sleep on the ground at night?!
2) Dogs. That's all. Dogs are dirty animals. Lazlo went swimming and then shook off while STANDING ON OUR BED!! I gave Mia a bath before we left and she proceeded to roll herself in a dirt hole like a chicken strip in cornmeal. So I took her to the creek for a cold bath and she turned into a mud pie. But, camping's dirty, we know.
3) As romantic as it sounds to sleep under the stars and without any kind of barrier at all between you and the natural world all night long, the other thing a tent does for you is: condensation barrier. The second night we got a little smarter and put a tarp over the top of us (we had a spare because Keith's handy like that).

It was blistering hot, so a campsite near water was essential and we were lucky to find an undeveloped spot (FREE!, most important to Keith) right by the creek.

our campsite was across the bridge

under the bridge

Lazlo went swimming, Keith and I sat in the creek and Mia waded in up to her chest. She so wanted to join us, but she just couldn't make herself go all the way.

Early mornings and evenings were sweatshirt weather.

Swimming wears a boy out.

You can call me flower if you want to.

So, camping for a couple of nights and going floating on the Clearwater about 5 times in the last 10 days kept us sane during this crazy heat.

Last night it was over 95° in the tiny house well after dark. The dogs and I went out on the deck just before midnight to get some air. The wind was blowing, but it was hot. Mia sat on my lap and we listened and watched and it was a good summer night, even if it was hot.