Category Archives: learning

The Primal Shift

Yesterday was pepper day! I made salsa, put peppers on a ristra, made stuffed peppers for dinner and the freezer, and roasted red peppers for future batches of my version of “tomato” soup.


This morning I’ve been dealing with dried herbs. The farm has PYO herbs and they bunch them occasionally. I use a LOT of parsley, thyme, mixed basils, and rosemary. I make a winter tea from spearmint/lemon balm. Today I went through all the herbs/spices:

  • I have enough/too much thyme. I’ll offer some to friends.
  • I need more parsley.
  • I need more lemon balm/spearmint for tea.

The rest of it I left alone.

If I don’t do this at this time of year, what happens is that around Feb.  I run out of parsley and tea. I object to paying retail for parsley, (Remember this?) so….


This reminded me that I also need a “cube” of pine shavings for the root cellar crates. I’ve tried sand (too heavy) and newspaper (too messy) so this year I’ll try wood shavings. I need to sterilize the crates. They’ve been empty all summer, but weren’t sterilized, as I knew it’d be months before they were put back to use.


There’s also the annual replacing older foods to make room. The last 3C or so of my 2017 winter tea mix is in the compost bucket, for example. The current bottle of thyme will join it soon.

Part of this is having enough parsley, winter tea, thyme, tarragon, etc. Where previously I would have kept all of anything, whether it was likely I’d ever use it, or not? These days I send a email to friends & neighbors asking if they want the extras. If I get no takers, the compost heap gets another donation.

pantry storage

It’s also time to beef up the canned goods. I’m pleased to say that we used all the canned and dried meats I had set aside and the canned veggie shelf has 2 cans of butter beans (used for bean soup), a can of garbonzos (hummus) and 3 cans of chopped chilis. That’s it! Getting to where the flow of pantry items made sense was one goal I had a couple of years ago. We had things we’d stored for years and hadn’t used. We had stuff neither of us liked, because it had been cheap. After three years of work, I’m pleased to say that my pantry at the end of summer has very little in it! More pasta than anything else, and not a huge amount of that. Previously, I had so much food that it was in the attic, under the sink, etc. and wasted mostly!

Still, there is something about the process of getting ready for winter I love. Much of it I hate because I loathe the idea of winter itself. But when I know I have a little food set aside to use midwinter it’s pleasing. It appeals to the frugalista in me, but it also hits a much deeper level.

 

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Integrity Counts More Than Noise

There’s an article about the office here for state employees, which handles harassment charges. Most of them go nowhere, but it’s a place for people to complain and get action before things get out of hand in the workplace.

Having been pulled into people’s laps, taken on what were non-existent conference trips, etc. by my employers, I know that harassment can be real. In the case of the guy who put me in a trash barrel, he was “kidding.” The business trip that was for a non-existent conference? I didn’t have a clue, I was a gullible 18 year-old, and naive as hell. Came back without realizing wtf had happened — because nothing happened.

I have in my lifetime also been put into lockers and tossed into a fish pond, more than once. There are also the less dramatic things, people using my head as an arm rest. Patting me on the top of my head. Calling me “honey” dismissively or just dismissing me because I’m short and/or female.

Because of my background, I was happy to see the article about the office and its apparently fair reporting of what happened in x quantity of cases, good and bad, dismissed and dealt with, however.

Two of the 3 comments on this post said, “Most claims are bogus.” And that infuriates me!

I now have a new rule.

The minute someone claims something is either “bogus” or “fake” without supporting evidence, I will dismiss everything they say on the subject.

It’s too easy to just cry BULLSHIT! and cause damage. If you want me to believe what you have to say, you’ll have to supply facts and data to back up your claim.

Integrity counts more than noise.

Confused!

I have another wordpress site sevenlevelssite.wordpress.com which I started to talk about the housekeeping issues. Fine. I’ve been doing a survey of a book, How to Manage Without a Maid from 1942. I published the last piece of this today, have two different bloggers who’ve “liked” the post. Great!

My stats only show one person having seen it, in England.

How is that possible?

Like I said, I’m confused!

J

Word a Day Quiz? Not Dictionary.com’s!

Well, I just took two word-a-day quizzes at dictionary.com . Fine, I blew both of them, which I get, my vocabulary has been stagnant for a while now. I know that, it’s the reason I went looking to begin with.

My gripe is that the answers don’t tell you if you’re right — but how many people agree with you? I really don’t give a F about whether or not there’s consensus about a definition, I care a lot about knowing what is right. And I can’t tell from the way the quizzes are set up. Especially with words where the definitions are nuanced it would be helpful to know if the consensual answer is the correct one?

So, I’m looking for a site I can use to build my vocab., without consensus. Honestly the entire world is NOT about crowd approval and group-think.

There ARE things which are right and wrong, and there are facts — not subject to whether someone agrees, or not. Word definitions, in dictionaries, are supposed to be absolute. For multiple definitions, they list all of them. Why group think?

Doc & Medicine

I will not go into details, but yesterday I went to pick up a prescription and it was $152, after our insurance paid about 1/2. Really? This isn’t for a life-threatening condition.

I declined the medication. The doc had told me it was expensive, but my expensive and his are apparently a quantum leap different. I was figuring the out of pocket was at the most $80. And I would have bought it then. But $152? That’s 3 weeks’ worth of groceries.

The only reason the drug companies and drug stores can charge that much is that people will pay it. Well, most will. This lady won’t!

That Little Girl

I was who was so traumatized has caused me a lot of problems, because I don’t know what she decided or thought in many cases until there’s an issue. It’s my flashback to be swamped with pain, fear, or panic and possibly no apparent reason for the reaction.

For a long, long time, shame held me back, but I didn’t realize it until one day in therapy I blurted out, “I don’t deserve to heal; I killed my mother.”

I remembered feeling that way as a small child, but I thought it was survivor guilt, and I thought I’d dealt with it. I hadn’t. I did after that.

That same little girl has me trapped in the street car dealing with whatever it is related to cleaning or knitting.

train image from target

One of the most difficult things is at 60+ is to “get” that what’s going on with my body/mind has not much if anything to do with who I am now and figure out how to undo whatever it is. In many ways, it’s rather like trying to talk to an alien.

That said? She also did me a really, really good turn by her lack of understanding in one critical area. A few years back, I started to slide into clinical depression. I thought I was going insane, finally. My therapist and I talked about how I felt, and what was happening to me and she diagnosed it as clinical depression.

A while later, I put it together. What I had always been afraid of was losing control — “going insane.” That was what I’d fought internally for decades. It was keeping myself out of that. But it wasn’t insanity; it was clinical depression.

It meant that when I started to slide down that path in my 50s-60s, a remote part of me — at a distance — noticed and said, “What are you doing?”

My internal response was, “I don’t know. I don’t care.”

But that monitor said. “Hm. Maybe we’ll read this piece, it usually makes us feel better.”

“Nothing will make it better.”

“Let’s try.”

“If you insist.”

I did two or three other things: read the pieces which make me feel better, walked to the place which makes me feel good, etc. with no hope they would work. But eventually, they did.

So, yes, I’ve been depressed. And I’ve been close to succumbing to clinical depression.

But that plucky little girl wasn’t going to “go insane” no matter what! She kept finding ways to avoid it.

This puts me at a loss with people who ARE depressed, because my magic, most effective tool against depression’s devastation is that I made it absolutely illegal and forbidden for myself, when I was 3.

depression

 

Convertible Tomatoes

My job today is to pick up food, specifically non-red tomatoes (seconds) at the farm so I can make a large batch of stewed tomatoes to freeze. (I really need to learn to can some day!)

Why stewed tomatoes? What I make the most with tomatoes is marinara or chili. I have other favorites: a tomato-potato-cheese casserole and a tomato-potato soup. (The casserole is from the Vegetarian Epicure #2; the soup from Joy of Cooking.)

I was trying to find a common base to freeze, rather than making separate batches, like last year. It seemed that what I was describing was old-fashioned stewed tomatoes.  If I freeze cooked tomatoes with onion, bell pepper, a little basil, and parsley, I can add pesto, garlic, etc. for marinara or add chilis or salsa verde for chili or other Mexican food.  I  can use the mix for marinara, chili, or the tomato-potato dishes. Win!

So rather than making 4 different recipes this year, I intend to make one. (Last year I froze batches of marinara and chili base with both red and non-red tomatoes: 2 recipes, 2 different ways.) With my much smaller freezer area, I don’t have room! I ran out of non-red tomatoes sometime in Januray.

I needed a different solution and this is it! A dozen quarts of stewed tomatoes in the pantry would greatly help, but as I said, I don’t can . . . .

stewed tomatoes

As usual the image isn’t mine. Genius Kitchen via images.google.com .