Tuesday, April 26, 2011

CSA, Week 1

So far (you know, in the first week), I'm keeping up with the CSA box and I'm on schedule to finish this box before picking up the next. Here's what I've made this week.

cabbage - chicken lo mein (and the head of cabbage I already had went into sauerkraut)

baby lettuce and tatsoi - salad

rainbow swiss chard and the good turnip leaves - swiss chard quiche

Japanese turnips - vegetable soups (I would have tried tatsoi in the soup, but it went too fast in the salad!), both zero-fat and hot-and-sour

greens - along with a bunch of organic kale (store, not CSA), kale with sausage and pasta

We also have a beautiful bunch of purple radishes from a co-worker's CSA box with a different farm since she didn't know what to do with that many radishes. So far, they've been snacks and gone in the salad.

If I get more cabbage, another lo mein would be delicious! Swiss chard is also good sautéed, and also steamed in the dutch oven with more veggies, a starch, and a protein. I can eat salad for lunch and for dinner until the cows come home, so you know what I'm eating from lettuce and tatsoi -- no need to mess with a favorite!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

T-shirt Upcycled to Gift Bag

One thing I love about the green trend is that now I can upcycle a gift and not have to work so hard to make it look new while satisfying my urge to reuse before I recycle. This afternoon, my serger and I turned out a quick upcycled T-shirt bag to hold presents for my 14-year-old nephew. (Well, he'll be 14 tomorrow, and we had his family party this afternoon.) I lifted my serger's cutting blade for step #1 to close off the bottom. Where the instructions say to cut, I used my serger with woolly nylon to finish the edges while also cutting. The part that worked out the best was step #2 where the instructions reminded to trace the shape (I just traced the shape of the front neckline on the back so the two sides match without removing much material).

I was going to embroider his name on the back, but I accidentally put the wrong bobbin in and broke a needle (yes, I was wearing safety glasses) while creating holes in the tee-shirt. Fail! To fix those holes while still adding his name to his gift bag, I cut a letter E out of iron-on patch material and patched the holes in style. His mom and sister were ready to take over the upcycled bag but I pointed out it was personalized! So I guess I should grab some more teeshirts that haven't been worn in years to make more gift bags.

(He got a very sun-faded now light salmon orange but still in good shape tee that said 55 Thunderbird Rock-n-Roll with a picture of a jukebox and a 1955 Ford Thunderbird. And the blue E on the other side to cover the first holes in the shirt from that failed machine embroidery. I just can't use that embroidery machine when I'm in a hurry. I can kick out a quick serger project, and sergers are supposed to be hard, but they're easy for me next to the embroidery monsters. Make sure you master your sewing machine first!)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Wind Storm versus the Cherry Tree

Yesterday afternoon, we had a large cherry tree next to the upstairs deck, growing through its framed hole in the lower deck, covered with cherry blossoms. Last night, we had quite a wind storm: this morning, many folks were saying it sounded like a freight train. This morning, the cherry tree is down, with a surprising amount of rot now visible inside its splintered trunk.

I think DH said it best:

I am glad that we got to eat under the tree last night, full flower blooms, on its final night.

Years ago, I decided this tree was a pin cherry based on this Tree ID page (although NC blooms and fruits earlier than the UP, of course). Wikipedia has an entry on pin cherry. Although it's rare for pin cherry to be this far southeast, I still think that's what it is/was. In a cherry classification of sweet, tart, and sour, this drupe was definitely sour! Lots of pucker power, but with plenty of sugar, the fruit made excellent pies and jams.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Jumping Ship

I bought an Android phone, the LG Optimus V, yesterday evening. Usually when I buy a new gadget, I can't stop playing with it. That hasn't happened yet. I'm sure I'll get there (I hope), once I get it "personalized" with my data and likable applications. I want to replace both my ancient Treo 700p and my old first-generation iPod touch with this Android (3G and WiFi). I want a single device that I carry everywhere, unlike the handful I carry now.

I am currently in the no-man's-land of waiting for my cell phone number to port from the old phone to the new phone, so I have no coverage on either phone despite many bars of service. No WiFi, no Android connection.

Where I need to start is a list of what applications I use on the older devices.

any smartphone or PDA worth its salt:

  • Calendar
  • Tasks
  • Contacts
  • Email (not strictly needed for a PDA)
  • Alarm (meeting reminders and timers)

Palm OS 5.4.9:

  • Graffiti Anywhere and ShortCut (may not need on Android, but invaluable on my Treo)
  • NoteTaker (for the sync-to-Mac text files, a Palm sine qua non for me)
  • Patience (solitaire, to play when Cale's almost asleep and I want my brain to turn off)
  • Eat Watch (weight tracker for Hacker's Diet)
  • NFP (female cycle tracker)
  • TCPMP (The Complete Portable Media Player, very awesome to play almost any media, another Palm sine qua non)
  • Handy Shopper (perfect for Palm, otherwise try ZipList for shopping lists)
  • Labor Timer (I don't need this anymore, but it was absolutely top-rate when Cale was ready to arrive)
  • FileZ (file manager)
  • VNC (Palm VNC for Palm)
  • ssh (pssh)
  • RPN Calculator (because I really do prefer RPN)
  • Toast Timer (for timers and countdowns)

All of those Palm applications are free, most from Freeware Palm, and I love 'em. I don't need to duplicate all of those to Android, but those were worth a spot on my Treo. I never did find a Palm application for drawing that I liked as well as what was built-in on my Palm Tungsten T3, so that was always an open spot.

iOS 3.1.3:

  • Dropbox - if you use it, you want the app
  • Evernote - ibid
  • Simplenote - ibid, and this could replace Palm's MacNoteTaker
  • Wunderlist - ibid, and this could handle the most basic Tasks
  • White Noise - I have insomnia, he snores, and we travel together
  • Stanza - or another book reader
  • ZipList - could replace HandyShopper in most ways
  • Air Sharing - I love this, but I'm not sure if I'll need to replicate it
  • Twitter - if you use it, you want an app for it
  • Sudoku - if I need a break from solitaire, even though it doesn't put me to sleep
  • GasBuddy - if you drive, you want the app
  • site-specific applications like Yelp, SparkPeople, eBay, WRAL and whatever else you like
  • Flashlight - don't laugh, this is more useful than you think!
  • Handy Level - ibid
  • Pandora - you know, I haven't used it yet on my iPod ... it may not need to make the jump either
  • Frotz - ibid
  • Subnet Calc - single-purpose, but fills that niche
  • EasyTask - I notice I haven't used it in ages ... it was the best fit to my checklist so I bought it, but the user interface just never pulled me
  • and kid games to keep me and the kids sane at times

I'm sure I'll want Google Docs, Firefox, Photos, and Music too; those seem like reasonable expectations nowadays.

And then I'm sure there are Android-specific needs to fill. At a glance, Astro File Manager, Gist, Google Sky Map, and Barcode Scanner as well as GTasks, Toddler Lock (but Cale will miss Spongebob), Color Flashlight, Smart Measure, Spirit Level Plus, and Barcode Scanner (again) all look appealing. And I get the feeling I want to be on the AppBrain train as well. Zoinks, that's a lot of work ahead of me just so I can make friends with my new phone that doesn't even place or receive calls anymore! Ugh, I think I'll head to the water cooler ...