Sunday, July 25, 2010


Big Kitty, usually camera shy at for closeups, poses for the camera.
Due to Matt's work, Sentinel is on Facebook. He currently has a LOT of friends, thanks to some girls in China who apparently know most of the other girls in China. But with a face like that, you would want to be his friend too, no?

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Matt: I'm not sure what I will do tonight.
Patricia: You could help me peel and core the Transparent apples I got from my Aunt Pat.
Matt: Okay.

With two of us working it took us two episodes of Firefly and a movie to process all the apples.
It was relaxing work, but I was glad I had help.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tour de Edge: what Matt won.

Tour de Edge is over. Matt shows off his Tour de Edge shirt

Matt won a prize.

He is very excited.

Belgian Fence Framework

Chris came over and we put up the framework for the Belgian Fence. I bought five 8-foot fence posts (the kind that chain link fence gets attached to) and four bags of quick-set concrete. We had a lot of debate about how much to buy. According to the package directions, we should have bought six bags. However, that sounded like much too much and we bought four. It turned out we could have bought three. We also bought 240 feet of galvanized wire. I needed 140 feet, but the packages came in bundles of 120 feet.
Here we have set up a station for drilling holes in the poles where the wire will run through. If you look closely, you can see that three poles have already been installed along the fence.
I dug the holes while Chris drilled. The whole project went very quickly, much to my surprise. The quick-set concrete was amazing. Chris would hold the pole level, then I would pour in the concrete about halfway full. Then Chris would recheck that the pole was level and I would turn on the hose and fill the hole with water. We would repeat this a second time and by the time we had the hole finished, the concrete would be semi-hard.
We strung the wire through starting with the top line. After months of debate, I went with the "wrap the wire around the pole" technique rather than the turnbuckle route. We secured the top three wires in a jiffy and strung the bottom wire through but didn't solidly wrap it because when I plant the trees I want to make it easy to dig the holes.

Still to do: wire bamboo guidelines in the Belgian Fence shape.

This is yet another project with no pictures of the finished project. Soon.

View of the Garden, July.

In this picture you can see how tall the columnar apple has grown and the fluffy fronds of the transplanted asparagus. The leaves in the very front right corner of the picture are from the cherry tree.
In this picture you can see the side of the garden where the Belgian fence will run. It isn't a super productive garden year as many of the things I planted washed away in the hard spring rains.

Looking back the other way. The brown thing is my solar dryer, all wrapped up to protect it from rain. It needs a better spot, but the spot it needs to be has been planted with a bean tepee this year. On the right hand side of this photo is a view of the soil that has green manure planted this year. I planted buckwheat and daikon radish in the spring. I planted soybeans too, but they never came up. The buckwheat is putting nutrients into the soil and the daikon radish I am planting, then I will cut off the tops and let the radish rot. This will break up the soil.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Bread Flour

The Independence Day cupcakes called for something like 3/4 of a cup of bread flour. I had to buy five pounds to get the 3/4 of a cup, and there isn't really room to store the bread flour, so I'm using it up. As a first act, I made pizza dough and we had delicious cheese pizza and kale pizza.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 7--Feeling Great Menu

I forgot to take pictures of most of this day's food.

Healthier Lifestyle Tea: Yep, drank it.

High Energy Breakfast Shake: I'm not so much of a shake/smoothie fan, unless they contain actual ice cream. Many smoothies are off limits to me as they contain bananas which are the devil's fruit and ruin the taste. I also feel the same about them as I feel about energy bars: I eat them, and then I keep looking for real food. That said, I left out the banana and this was great. I think it was because of the peanut butter and flax seed that really boosted things up. Plus, I ate it with
Whole Wheat Toast
1 cup cherries

1 apple with peanut butter: Much like the workers in the West Wing, I enjoy an apple with peanut butter. This apple, however, was past its prime and didn't really taste very good.

Chinese Chicken Salad: I couldn't find any Napa cabbage, so we went with normal. I bet the Napa cabbage would have made this even better. Instead of boneless skinless chicken breast, I went with a chicken leg that I poached and that was very good. The dressing was the amazing part. Very delicious--probably the best one I've had this week, and I've had some good dressings.

Never got eaten today.

Garlic Dip with Crudites: good.

Herbed Chicken Breast: I pretty much refuse to buy boneless skinless chicken breast--it seems wasteful and dumb. I tend to buy a whole chicken and pull things off of that, but that was a tall order for this meal. So I bought bone-in, skin-on. Which reminds me. This recipe calls for boneless, skin on chicken breasts. I'm not sure where this guy shops, but that doesn't exist. You have to get the meat counter guys to debone a bone in chicken breast and then they charge you a lot of money. Sheesh. The herb sauce was good--I had to use oregano in place of the thyme because my thyme has become mopey.

Sauteed Mushrooms with Green Peas: this was kind of an "eh" dish. The peas got mushy because they were frozen. Not my favorite vegetable presentation.

10-Minute Apple Sundae: Again, a fruit dessert that changes my concept of fruit for dessert. Very good.

So ends the week. I think this was a good menu to follow for a week. I will take away some things from it, like fruit for snacks and a bean dip appetizer with crudities. Also my fruit dessert conversion. In general, the portion sizes of the vegetables were huge. I understand why--for a lot of people this wouldn't be much meat at all and I think the vegetable portion sizes were huge to make up for it, but I think those large sizes drove the high cost even higher. But it was a good reminder to have much larger amounts of vegetables than protein. My digestion has become more regular because of it, which is a good thing. I also got some great new breakfast ideas. That area had been lacking lately.

Things that aren't good: It took a goodly time each day to prepare. They aren't involved meals, but they do take time to get the various things on the table. I tend to make dinner and then eat the leftovers for lunch the next day, so this was much more cooking. The recipes aren't always clear, sometimes I just had to go with whatever, because the instructions led me astray. It also would be nice to have a shopping list for all the food for the week, though perhaps if I'd seen that ahead of time, I would have not gone on this venture. Did I mention it was expensive?

So ends the week of feeling great. We will now rejoin society in general.

Shade project half done.

I've completed one of the two Roman shades I started making last summer. It looks fabulous, if I do say so myself. It's such an improvement from the blind that used to be there. I've still got eight blinds left to replace, but I'm getting there.

Good helpers.

I've decided to make three dresses this summer and the cats wanted to help me cut them out.
Although Sentinel seemed to think that I was laying out the material flat so that he could run and jump on it and then slide.
It didn't work as well once the pattern pieces were attached.
But how can you resist such a good helper?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Blue Lake Park

It is a hot day (for Portland.) Matt has the day off, I'm on vacation. Off we go to Blue Lake Park for some swimming and hanging out. Blue Lake Park is in Fairview which is "East County" out past the airport. It's easy to get to, especially from our house and also the site of the Blue Lake Triathalon, where I completed a sprint distance Triathlon in 2006. We both brought goggles and were ready to swim.

Alas, it turns out that there isn't really swimming to be done at Blue Lake Park unless you own one of the houses on the other side of the lake. All the "swimmers" are wedged into a small shallow area.

Are three books enough to last me the afternoon? I hope so.
Another look at the tiny swimming area. On the right: vast stretches of "good swimming." On the left: tiny actual "swimming" area.
Matt started to read A Comedy of Errors, but quickly succumbed to sleep.
Refreshed, we took a self portrait.

Metro has a very nice demonstration garden on site.

There is a big splash pool area to play in.
So we didn't swim, though we did go wade in the water for awhile. It was still a nice day, but I can cross yet another potential swimming hole off the list. Portland is not a good place for swimming holes. I think I blame the Missoula Floods? We got a nice gorge, but not many lakes and ponds.

Tour de Edge: Team Spirit day.

Matt shows off his Edge team spirit in an attempt to win the yellow shirt.

Day 6--Feeling Great Menu

A day when previous "World's Healthiest Foods" portion sizes go out the window.

Healthier Lifestyle Tea: I drank it on the porch, which was very nice as there was a breeze. It has been very hot, for Portland.

Healthy Breakfast Frittata: All week long, breakfast portion sizes have been one egg, when they include an egg at all. This recipe calls for five eggs and a quarter pound of ground lamb to serve two people. It was a huge protein boost. I had trouble getting the eggs to cook through, but ultimately, this was a good recipe. I'm always a fan of greens in the morning.
Whole Wheat Toast: 2.5 eggs and only one piece of toast? Hmmmmmm.
Cherries: Delicious!
(after this point I fail to take pictures the rest of the day. Sorry)

1 nectarine: I like having fruit for a snack.

Lentil Salad: Same old 4 cups of lettuce, but this time with lentils. There were two raw cloves of garlic in here which was overpowering, and I left out the 1/2 cup of onion that was called for. I can't imagine anyone would have wanted to go near me. What I liked? The red pepper lentil combination is a good one. The salad dressing amount. These salads use much less dressing than I would normally, but it works for me.

4 oz low-fat plain yogurt, 1 pear: We missed this snack because we were at Blue Lake Park. I thought the second snack was too much food, but because I missed it, I got hungry again at 8:00. Instead of eating this, I had popcorn.

Tahini and Crudites Appetizer: I just had more of the garlic dip from yesterday. We've got a lot of bits of dip because the serving sizes were for more than two people.

Spinach and Mushrooms: I didn't have this recipe printed out and when I clicked on the link, I found it was the same spinach and mushrooms that we had for breakfast with the poached egg. It was delicious

Salmon with Mustard: Again with the portion sizes. All week we have been eating one-third pound of fish split in half for a serving size. Skeptical at first that it would be enough food, I became a convert. Then, for no reason today, the serving size boosts up to three-quarters of a pound, split in half. It was a huge amount of salmon. But prepared deliciously

1/2 cup rice: I forgot to make this. Oops.

5 Minute Fresh Plums in Sweet Sauce: Loved it! Delicious!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 5--Feeling Great Menu

We took a day off from the Feeling Great Menu, because it was hot and also I thought I had an evening meeting. It turned out I didn't and I ended up eating a turkey sandwich and tater tots at the movie theater. Oh well. So we resume Day 5 today.

But first, shopping. I made the last shopping trip for the Feeling Great Menu today. That makes three trips for one week of food. It was another huge bill. Want to know what the grand total was for this week of Feeling Great? $209.28. That is about my food budget for an entire month. Yikes! I feel like I eat a good amount of vegetables, but my usual consumption doesn't approach this week's amount.

Perfect Oatmeal: We ate that the day before and so today ate the cereal meal from a previous day. The strawberries are from the garden!

1/2 apple, 4 oz yogurt w/molasses. I have to say that molasses as a flavoring agent is a big winner with me.

Healthy Veggie Salad: 2 ounces of cheese! Yipee! Plus a lot of other vegetables. I like the various vegetables incorporated in the lunch salads. My salads tend to consist of lettuce and maybe some carrots or leftover greens, if I have them. This was great. Sadly, I forgot to point out to Matt that I had packed his food and so he left the salad behind. Alas. He'll eat it tomorrow.

1 orange, 2 tablespoons almonds: See photo.

Garlic Dip with Crudites: Very full-of-garlic and a bit too runny for me. But I do like the tradition of having an appetizer with my meal. I think I will carry on the vegetable dip and some sort of bean puree thing.

Black Bean Chili 2: This is chili in name only. The ingredients: onions, garlic, 1 can of black beans, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 tablespoon chili. I'm not a chili fan, but I can appreciate a good chili. This was not a good chili. It wasn't even chili. It was beans and tomatoes with a bit of flavoring. I think it is great that this is the worst recipe I've had this week. But it was pretty bad.

5-Minute Brussels Sprouts: Also not good, but I blame the fact I used frozen Brussels Sprouts. This is because New Seasons didn't have them because they are out of season. The dressing itself was quite delicious. I'll make this again in the winter.
There was dessert planned, but I got caught up in a movie and didn't make it.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tour de Edge: Best costume

Our gym (Edge Performance Fitness)has a "Tour de Edge" during the Tour de France. Each day of the tour that there is a spin class, the spin class does what the riders on the tour do. There are themes for each day and prizes for a variety of categories, including a yellow jersey for the overall winner. Today's theme was "best costume." Can you guess what Matt's costume is?

Day 4--Feeling Great Menu.

Some good eating today.

Healthier Lifestyle Tea--I completely forgot to have tea today.
Poached Eggs Over Spinach and Mushrooms 2 with toast.--This was very, very good. I love having greens in the morning and eggs too.
1/2 medium papaya: Matt says about papaya: "Tastes good until you get closer to the skin. Then it doesn't taste so good."

Orange: This was a delicious orange which surprised me as I don't think of summer as a very "orange-y" season.
4 oz-low fat yogurt: yogurt is good in the middle of the day

Greek Salad: More salad greens, but this time with feta and olives. A delicious lunch.

2 dried plums, 3 almonds: This seemed to be a tiny snack to me, but it hit the spot.

Vegetable Appetizer 2: I skipped this. I wasn't in the mood to chop up vegetables.
Quick-Broiled Salmon with Ginger Mint Salsa: The quick-broil technique didn't work as well with this piece of salmon--it was a bit long for the pan. But the salsa was delicious.
3-Minute Swiss Chard: I was beginning to wonder if anything ever got boiled. And it turns out Swiss Chard does.
Pureed Navy Beans: I made this with Lima Beans because that was what I had. It would have tasted better with white beans. Also, today I did the "healthy saute" method for the first time. I didn't like it so much.

Blueberries, Yogurt & Chocolate: This is the dessert from day 5, because I neglected to put the ingredients for today's dessert on the list of things to buy. I'm not sure why. This was good. I didn't have any chocolate, so I sprinkled a little coco powder on top.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Day 3--Feeling Great Menu

After a day eating Independence Day food (hot dogs, potato salad & chocolate cupcakes) we return to our menu. Here is how today went.

Healthier Lifestyle Tea: I just didn't add in the lemon.

High Fiber Cereal: This was Grape Nuts (or Nutty Nuggets as the store brand is called) with 1 cup of blueberries & 2 tsp of blackstrap molasses. And milk, of course. I don't eat cold cereal. Grape Nuts used to be the only one that was filling in any way shape or form, and even that was only a so-so filling. I decided the cost wasn't worth the food volume. But with one cup of cereal and one cup of fruit, this was quite filling and I liked the taste of the molasses. Plus there was fruit on the side. Matt was a big fan of this, too.

Papaya with Lime: I couldn't face cutting up the papaya and instead ate some leftover fruit salad I had made pre-"Feeling Great" Menu.

Mediterranean-Style Salad: Every once in awhile, I buy some canned sardines. They are high in Omega whatevers and packed with good for me things, etc. Then I have no idea what to do with them and they sit in the cupboard until I give them to the Food Bank during a food drive. So it was nice to have listed in a recipe for this salad. They weren't very fishy, much less so than tuna. I'm not sure if Matt will eat them. He's taking the salad today. He hates everything about tuna, but I'm not sure how he will react to the sardines. The cats also enjoyed the leftovers. Also, this salad calls for SIX cups of lettuce. Six! And I thought four was a lot.

Apple treats: I forgot to take a picture, but it is sliced apple with peanut butter and then granola sprinkled on top. Delicious! Except I didn't like the granola I bought.

Vegetable Appetizer: This is cut up vegetables. They were good. I mean really, what else can you say?

5-minute collard greens with sunflower seeds: Again, I'm a huge fan of collards and this was a good way to prepare them. I forgot to put the sunflower seeds on, but they were delicious anyway.

Spicy Asian Shrimp: I'm not the biggest shrimp fan, though Matt loves it. So this was another stretch for me. The seasonings were good and I reduced the juices the shrimp were cooked in so it made a sauce. I'm pretty sure I overcooked the shrimp as it was rubbery, but Matt said he wouldn't know the difference. I probably won't ever make this again, but it was good enough I didn't have to choke it down.

10-Minute Strawberries with Chocolate Creme: This was delicious. The store strawberries did not look good (due to our wet and cold June we did not have a good Oregon strawberry crop) and so I bought raspberries. Fabulous! The chocolate creme was surprisingly good--like chocolate pudding but without all the heat and stirring.

The shopping for two more days of food took two hours today and was another heart stopping amount. Still, I'm not wasting anything, and the food is quite good, even things I don't think I will like.