Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What does you day look like

It's going to be sunny and 70 degrees today so the garden is the focus of the day. Prepped some soil and transplanted most of the garlic yesterday, and got the kitchen freezer cleaned out and organized and got the new freezer organized. It's now ready for some of the meat our son is sharing with us.

Todays "to do" list - before breakfast water seedlings, find seed packets for today's planting, soak beet seeds. After breakfast fertilize and add compost to areas of the raised beds I'll be planting today. After lunch, transplant spinach, kale, cauliflower, and broccoli seedlings, plant carrots, beet, and a few more spinach seeds.

Mid afternoon update garden calendar, read email and snail mail. Attempt to find a work around for the ongoing, thought it was fixed, problem of  iTunes which refusing to complete my syncing. Windows informs me in the error message that they'll let me know if they find a fix. So is it their problem as well as mine?

After dinner - collapse and watch some mindless TV and BBQ podcasts which our daughter tells me are very good. What does you day look like?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Planting time or another woman plans God laughs couple of days

It's been in the sixties, and no frost is forecast for the next ten days, so I went out to plant some of the sprouted scallions that I didn't get to do yesterday. Realizing that that my tiny table top grill was not going to work for cooking two chicken halves using the indirect heat method, Jim and went out before breakfast in search of a new grill. The early shopping was necessary because the new freezer was going to be delivered late morning. 

After breakfast there was the garage to sweep out and get ready for the new freezer. After lunch I had to get those un-assembled pieces of the new Weber grill  out of the box and put it together, as well as do early prep of some of the dinner sides. The grill worked great and I'm looking forward to trying more recipes using that indirect heating method which worked great for the chicken. I never had to baste or turn the chicken with this method - just used the right amount of coals, lay out the chicken cover and in 30-40 minutes it was brown, and perfectly done.

This morning I google "top Barbecue cookbooks" and found a good list and ordered a couple of used ones. If I need more information, I can check out county library system. There's much to learn, since my barbecuing has been limited to throwing a steak or burgers on the grill once or twice a year.

So today was the new day to plant those sprouted scallion seeds. Again, I thought - short easy job - just put some root fertilizer and compost in one square, work it in and plant. Unfortunately, I forgot to note on my last years planting grid, that I planted four squares of garlic in that bed late summer; and on top of that, there were also chives that needed to be moved. So a quick job turned into a much longer job of digging out deeply entrenched chives with a trowel, cleaning out a big pot with a deeply rooted, late annuals, so the chives could happily live where they never have to be moved.. 

There were also two parsley plants to dig up and move, and a few more squares to clean out. By this time my back was  begging for mercy, so I called it a day for the gardening, and will l dig up and transplant all that garlic tomorrow.

Now that my back is out of spasm, it's time to prep the veggies for tonight's yaki soba noodle dinner.  I might just have some sake with that tonight.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

East Asia slipware 3 potters exhibit

Watching this was like a meditation - just lovely. And that little white teapot - what a treasure!

Yesterday was a very busy day and today will pretty well be the same. The seedlings have been watered and the scallion seeds have sprouted and need to be planted after breakfast. Later this morning the new freezer is being  delivered and I'll have to get that set up.

After lunch I'll be making some pico de gallo and pinto beans to go with tonight's El Pollo Loco chicken, There's also an upgrade of iTunes to do at some point, since I'm getting an error message when trying to sync my iPod. There's always something with these computers.

A Ceramics Monthly arrived yesterday and it would be nice to find a few minutes to peruse it; but I've been watching some of the Olympics during and in between chores and haven't had much time for reading other than email, a quick scan of the morning paper, some Pininterst inspiration viewing with my morning tea, and a couple of Facebook minutes.

The new grogged clay is patiently waiting for me to give it some attention. Tomorrow may be the day! But first, the slab roller once again must be cleared. It's my only work surface but it has to double as a holding area. I might just find time to do that today. I will certainly try.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Smogasboard kinds of a day

We were out and about with meetings and shopping yesterday. After a lot of research (way too much really), I finally settled on a freezer which will be delivered tomorrow. After an over two hour meeting at the lawyer's, it was time to shift into shopping mode. The first stop was the Asian grocery, then Fred Meyers for more groceries and finally Best Buy to order the freezer. All I could manage for dinner was a simple pasta Puttanesca which was easy since the sauce was already made.

So today became another smorgasbord kind of day, seedling watering, email and a few house hold chores after breakfast and then heading to the garage/studio to find places for and move a couple of bags for rock salt, and a few other things, as well as getting my very heavy slab roller pushed back an inch  to make way for the freezer.

Then it was time for lunch and veggie prep for the pea soup I made for another day.

I've also been making an easy reference, spacing and fertilizer chart for my square foot gardening beds. This year I will fertilize a bit more which I didn't have to do last year with that beautiful, very rich potting soil we used in the new beds. I have Mel Bartholomew's formula, from his Square Foot gardening book,  for making my own organic fertilizer but I will have to do a lot of searching around for some of the ingredients, like green sand. Composted leaf mold is another ingredient in the recipe, and I sure don't have any access to it in this house and I've never seen it for sale; but I will check Google to see if there is a commercial source for it.

Fortunately there was leftover quiche for dinner, so now it's time to finish my square foot garden spacing/fertilizing chart,  get that pea soup in the freezer, and make a marinade, and prep the chicken and get it marinated for tomorrow's El Pollo Loco chicken dinner. After that I may just have time to read the morning paper and a couple of days of snail mail; but I won't take any bets on that happening since I fell asleep sitting up last night after another busy day.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Day to buy some clay

The rain is back. Maybe I really should be searching out ark plans! First, there's breakfast to make and then off to the pottery supply store for a grogged version of my clay body, then to Harry and Davids so Jim can re-stock the wine cellar,, followed by food shopping at the organic grocery store and lunch at the Chinese buffet; and lastly, a quick look at freezers at Best Buy.

Thanks to a lot of searching on line, I found a few items that will make good  hump and slump molds and am eager to get some slab work done once I get the right clay. I've been using the grog free version of this body for throwing; but it needs grog if I want to do slab work. Guess I'm finally ready and even a bit eager to get back into the studio.

Last night I finished revising my garden plans and made new charts. Morning seedling watering and checking is done. More spinach popped up overnight, as well as the first leeks. The seedling nursery is doing well so far. My office/meditation room/greenhouse has a ceiling fan  and keeping that on, I have found, protects the seedlings from damping off - so far.

As soon as the rain lets up - hopefully,  in another day or so I'll be planting some scallion seeds and fava beans outdoors. Last year I planted those fava beans too late. Since then I have found that you are supposed to plant them the same time you plant peas. This time I'll plant them are our son and daughter-in laws garden, where I can space them further apart and guarantee larger pods. You don't get a lot of harvest for them as is, so I need to maximize the potential and doing the in the square foot gardening method didn't yield much. Planting them later as I did, was probably another reason for the lower yield.

Well, time to hit the shower and have a light, breakfast of fruit and nut bread before heading out and about for a day of shopping.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Laptop search a dud but good results from old seeds

After email, seedling care, and meal prep, I've spent most of the day reading up on laptop computers and am more confused than ever. Bottom line - I am going to keep my fingers crossed and see what spring or even next year brings. Apple is out for several reasons (initial cost, cost of having to replace software; and our daughter who switched to Apple recommended against it), Windows 8 is a disaster and Windows 9 may not be out for another year, so I'll stick with my ancient Dell and almost as old HP laptop which is still functioning well with Windows 7. That ancient Dell, like my ancient body has had some replacement parts, is moving slower, gets stuck once in a while; but still it lives.

My computer want list is for a 17" screen, good customer care (Dell is way down there lately), a 1 TB hard drive, good sound, non gaming, but able to play some games, and all the usb ports, SD, HDMI ports, bluetooth, etc. etc. Trying to match my want list with what is available, is not bringing up a lot of great reviews in the under $3,000 range . Maybe there will be some new models coming out this spring or summer. Meantime I'll hope that my current machines keep running well enough until I absolutely have to buy a new laptop. In case anyone is interested, my google search to find the best companies for support were Apple, and for non Apple Machines, Lenova and Samsung were the two top ones.

My seedlings are coming along well. This morning the first older, spinach seeds sprouted. Yesterday we got a break in the rain so I was able to get out and clean one of my raised beds and planted some snow peas that I sprouted in the house. I also revised my planting chart yesterday, so now I have to make clean grid plans for those beds. I also made separate plans for our son and daughter-in-laws garden. I don't know how much planting I'll do there other than squash and my excess seedlings and potatoes. Meal prep, bread making, more seed ordering, and watching the Olympics rounded out the day.

The family won't be up to the ranch as much this summer because of their new house remodeling and construction projects. I will be able to plant a bit more for our personal use, because we just decided to buy a small freezer. It will make my studio space tighter, and the positioning will necessitate moving the car to open it, but that really doesn't have to be a problem since I usually plan my meals about a week in advance and won't have to access that freezer on an every day basis. Slowly, but surely we keep finding ways to make this house and studio/garage space work for me.

Time now to re-draw these raised bed plans. It took a lot of time trying to juggle and incorporate companion planting, crop rotation and inter-cropping in the plan; but I finally have this years plans down after a few revisions. The studio must be growing some mold right now; but I've stopped feeling guilty about it. Don't know if that's a good thing or not; but it is what it is.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Takashi Yasudo wedging video

Nice alternative wedging method. Looks like it woud be a lot kinder on the wrists.

Not sure what today is going to look like. Got one computer backup fixed and backed up but still not able to get Norton to back up to the Toshiba stand alone hard drive on this HP laptop. May have to see if I can get some on line help from either Norton or Toshiba. Norton isn't able to recognize the drive and everything is saying the drive is fine. Also, when trying to copy and paste a file folder into the drive I'm getting that error "Incorrect MS Dos function". What the heck does that mean. So it will be back to Google to see if there are some suggested fixes. So far, nothing I have found has worked.

Meantime I'm going to enjoy my morning tea and watch the last hour of last night's Olympics coverage that I taped, thanks to Direct TV. We don't own a smart phone, but we do have a smart TV. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

A morning chuckle

This Brett Kern video is a hoot. My favorite part is the one arm wedging - hilarious!

After all this drought, we are now being warned of possible flooding. Maybe it's time to look up ark plans.

I may have fixed that Toshiba hard drive. Funny how accidents can turn into something positive. Yesterday this HP laptop didn't like something and uttered the most gawd awful screeching, screaming, high pitched, non stop sound; and the computer would not shut off. So I unplugged everything, turned the computer upside down in an attempt to remove the battery; but couldn't get the door to open and when I turned it right side up, tried to shut it down, this time it worked. So I reconnected everything and took a peek at that stand alone hard drive; and the ever present message saying it needed formatting showed again. This time I selected the quick format and lo and behold it seems to have worked. So right now I'm hand copying my documents drive. It has progressed a bit but seems to be stuck in one spot for the past 15 minutes. So I may be celebrating a bit prematurely. :-(

The rain never let up enough for me to plant those peas, but I'm hoping I can get to that today. We have a delivery that I have to sign for today and a pickup scheduled, so I'll have to be here in the morning while Jim is at the store getting me a couple of things for my Mexican chicken and margarita dinner tonight.

I'm planning on a little bit of studio time after lunch - finally! A couple of days browsing Pinterest has definitely given me a little motivation to walk away from these computer issues and the ever growing paper pile. Happy Valetine's day everyone!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cooking and computers

Did some morning emails, fed my sour dough starter, and spent some time browsing through Pinterest looking to get me inspired to get back to work. Now that breakfast is done,  I thought I'd take a blogging break before I head to the kitchen again to make some cookies that will be in the mail for a unsuspecting, hard working, recipient  friend of a friend who could use a treat. If this sounds confusing, I'll explain.

Gail Galusky gave me hours of her professional time a few days ago, and did an amazing job to get my computer cleaned up a lot, got iTunes uninstalled and re-installed, and refused any compensation. After my bit of insistence, she finally suggested I made some cookies for a friend. What a great idea. She termed it "pay forward". :-) Thank you, thank you, thank you, a million times Gail!

Yesterday we went out to the mall (my once a year visit into that den of commercialism and confusing shopping), in search of a new comforter and new sheets and it was a useless trip. Some food shopping, lunch out, a stop at Ross for less, hoping they may have something we'd like in their bedding department was also a bust. After getting home, there were groceries to unpack, more seed pots to fill, spinach to plant and dinner to make.

My first seedlings of escarole, broccoli and cauliflower are up and the first fluorescent grow light fixture is set up in my office/meditation room. If this rain lets up, I have some peas that have sprouted on damp hand towel paper that could use planting outdoors. Otherwise this will be mainly a cooking and computer day with a bit of time getting some potting soil in a couple of small pots to transplant a few small basil plants.

After 3 days of formatting a piece of junk Toshiba stand alone hard drive, which I hoped would make it work again, turned into a bust. When I tried to open the drive I got an error message telling me I need to format it. What the h*ll! GRRR!

Seems these Toshiba hard drives can go to sleep and never wake up under some circumstances. So I will be looking for another stand along hard drive or maybe some on line storage. I had signed up for Jcloud and that was a bust. It was about  hundred dollars and didn't tell you how slow it's transfer rates were; and of course, it's only after you pay for the service, you find that out and they then offer you faster speed for a lot of extra dollars of course. With the problems with this stand alone hard drive, I'm not sure what direction to take for backing up my photos, music and data files. Any suggestions and recommendations  would be greatly appreciated. 

This spring I'll be buying a new laptop - just waiting to get past a month or so of mercury retrograde and seeing the direction some of these companies take in the next couple of month. It's either going to be a new Dell or I may finally switch to Apple. I'm really sick of Windows and that's putting it mildly! The latest version 8  is gawd awful from all I've heard and read, so one option would be to get one with Windows 7 and hopefully upgrade if they fix windows 8 or use Windows 7 and upgrade to windows 9 down the line.

Apple's new screen evidently sucks - doesn't display well outdoors, and the other Apple downside is it costs more, gives you less memory options, fewer USB ports (only 2 in their high end laptop), and I'd have to pay for a lot of new software. So the consideration are going to be will Apple fix that screen in the next few months, will Windows 8 get fixed, and will my software work with Windows 8 since I had problems with some of it even working right with Windows 7. Basically it's two not so great choices at the moment.

Time to forget about computers for a couple of hours and make some toll house cookies.

Friday, February 07, 2014

10 Best Cities to be an Artist

10 Best cities to be an artist
Interesting article. Think my choice would be San Francisco with Atlanta a close second. I never like to be too far from the ocean and a milder winter climate is definitely a factor for me. I'd probably settle for the Napa Valley - close enough to the Ocean and San Francisco, and a little slower paced.

This morning I'm continuing copying all my data to my stand alone hard drive. All the documents and photos are done, so I should be done with that job today; and then I can try fixing some of the problems with  friends help. Some wonderful Facebook friends warned me that RegCure Pro is malware and suggested I remove it, which I did.

This morning I watched the rest of last nights Olympic coverage and Jay Leno's last Tonight show. I'm so glad I taped it! It was a wonderful and emotional goodbye.

We had a lovely dinner with our son last night and I was somewhat over served. Boy, does he have a great wine cellar! When we got home we watched part of the Olympics that I had taped, and by ten o'clock, my throbbing head informed me that the wine had won, so I took a Tylenol for the headache and called it a night.

It's raining today and I'm hoping we get a small window of no rain so I can get out and plant a few snow peas. My little seedling cells are ready to plant, so I'll be starting the first group kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and leeks today. Our son is coming over for a bit so I'll have him take my grow lights down from the rafters, and I'll get those set up this afternoon.

Today is pretty much a repeat of yesterday - computer work, some kitchen time, gardening chores, dinner at our sons and little, or no time for the studio. I'm taping the opening ceremonies of the Olympics and we'll watch that when we get home. One of the NBC people doing the coverage said she's been to a couple of rehearsals and said it's going to be a great show. It is certainly the costliest Olympics ever - costing more than the last 3 or more Olympics combined.Wow!

Thursday, February 06, 2014

3 snowflakes

3 snowflakes - I swear that's about all the snow we got this morning. The forecast said we'd get 1/4". Jim answered the front door and got hit with these loner flakes and that was it. Rain is due this afternoon - certainly hope we get some. It's desperately needed here.

The studio has been ignored this past month while I dealt with a virus that hung on that long; but I did manage a couple of hours of studio time two days ago to remix a pale green slip, and  slip a few pots which were a bit past leather hard but not bone dry. After lunch I'll get back in there and do some under glaze and sgraffito decorating.

Yesterday I got some of my seedling pots cleaned, filled them with seed starting mix and checked my Farmers Almanac. Looks like tomorrow, according to the moon signs, is a good day to start some above ground cold weather crops like kale, cabbage, collards and peas. So I updated my gardening calender for the month, then spent most of the afternoon going through old seed packages, discarding a lot and putting them in new, dated boxes. Some seeds like tomatoes can still be viable for 5 years or more, so I'll test those in another month or so.

I'm still dealing with old computer problems and as of yesterday, a new one. After a windows update or iTunes update, I'm now getting an  error message and can't open iTunes or install a new one because I'm getting an error message that I'm missing a dll file. Found out a lot of people have been getting the same error after an iTunes update. One of the on line fixes said to uninstall iTunes.So after uninstalling it, and attempting a re-install, I got the same error message, so it was time to search Google for another fix. An ad for RegCure pro showed that they had a fix for this problem,. So, I downloaded RegCure Pro yesterday and it was still running by the time I went to bed and woke up this morning to find that the old Dell laptop had 9042 problems with two categories judge to be critical. And just when I was going to try to fix everything, a half an hour ago, the program froze. So now I'm having to rescan the computer. Has one one here ever used this or any other register cleaning, repair software? Norton says that program is safe, with the caveat that is does crash about once a month. So couldn't it wait until I cleaned the registry! Gheesh! Anyone else had this problem and found a fix???? Some of these registry program cause more problems than they solve!