Monday, January 28, 2013

Blame it on the Moon

  Scientists swear there is no truth to the idea that a full moon makes people nuts. I have always wondered just how much empirical evidence they need.

 Fights at work, people on edge, dogs and cats acting strange... Good grief, don't even get me started on the recent bitch sessions I've had to endure. Relationships on the rocks. Lovers dropping like flies during this particularly mean moon.

 My neighbor talks to me of moons. They have names; I didn't know that. For instance, May is the Full Flower Moon (can't hardly wait.) December was the Cold Moon (how right they were.)

 This one is the Full Wolf Moon. Hiking beneath it, I think I know why. It casts a poor light, with eerie shadows. And, while we don't hear wolves, we do hear a chorus of the big, big coyotes.(Which scares my dog to the point that he tries to 'herd' us back to the safety of the car.)

In winter, we like to snowshoe by the brilliant brightness of the full moon. Some nights, it's a riotous good time. Other times, it's a quiet night where we need the companionship of others, but not the conversation. A friend of mine has been feeling quite lost and I have no good words to offer when life begins to unravel.

However! I sincerely believe that simply getting outdoors and breathing the fresh air is enough to boost one's spirits. And, I also believe things will feel a whole lot better once this mean full moon begins to wane.

Did you know?
Plants respond to the same gravitational pull of tides that affect the oceans. Just as the moon pulls the tides in the oceans, it also pulls the subtle bodies of water. Scientists may argue about it's effect on us but tests have proven seeds will absorb the most water at the time of the full moon - and germinate faster during this time in the lunar cycle.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cheer Me Up Flower of the Month Club

Kalanchoes + a Cyclamen.
'Twas a dull, grey and stormy day.  Almost dreary enough to have me grateful I was indoors, at a trade show, (almost) vs. outdoors, doing what I do best. (Nothin' much!)

Seeing as how it's the depths of winter, I've started a Cheer Me Up Flower of the Month Club. Oh, not one of those ultra spendy ship 'em from the grower via Fed Ex schemes. Those are delightful and, truth be told, I would much prefer that ~ provided someone else is paying for it.

No, no, my Cheer Me Up Flower of the Month Club originates at the local supermarket. They entice me with a new flowering plant most every time I walk in there! This month it is tiny pots of Kalanchoes plus a misfit Cyclamen on sale for $3.99 (like I'm gonna pass that up...)

* Did you know.....? Many of the pretty flowering plants found in the supermarket are re-blooming perennials who shine time, and time again, on a sunny window sill.

Kalanchoe Growing Tips:
They love warmth and sun and pretty dry soil. (Because, you see, they are succulents.) They do not appreciate fertilizer. Flower best when root bound. Pronounced Kah - lan - ko - eeee.....

Instagram pics are taken on the fly, with my iPhone. {Plz forgive the poor quality.} These are the little pretties currently gracing my kitchen window. How are you keeping cheerful this winter? Got any cool plants to share?

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: 20 Feet From Stardom


After the documentary we were treated to a little impromptu concert. The movie is: 20 Feet From Stardom, and looks at the life of the big band back up singers. I sooooo hope it wins! It was amazing!

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Fresh Out of Luck

 Geez I hate it when I'm being tested. I doubt anyone relishes these times, though it's not like we can escape them. Such instances happen to all of us, even the very lucky. Those times when it feels as if we've used up every ounce of luck we have and we're running on empty.

 There are lots of times when I feel like I'm super lucky. Blessed, even. Though, not lately.

 In fact, earlier today, I planned to sit down and blog a bit, take my mind off my troubles vs. focus on them. But, I accidentally sliced my index finger on an envelope so I couldn't type. Because it has been bleeding like you wouldn't believe. Bandage after bandage. For a paper cut? Sheesh I can't even have a normal, run of the mill injury these days?

I put in a new furnace. Had to. No choice. They haven't even billed me for it, yet. So, imagine my dismay when I got the call that a pipe had frozen, and burst, and it's deep down in the frozen ground and I can't even find anybody to fix it.

Yet another thing going wrong during this month of wrong things... & I handled it oh, so, immaturely. I walked into my bedroom, where the cat looked all comfy and cozy, and I thought to myself: Now that's not a bad idea. So, I curled up with the cat, and wished the entire world would disappear.

It did not. Disappear, that is. But, it is kind of remarkable how a little nap can put a whole new perspective on a very dark day.

Orchids, Azaleas, & a cute little Christmas Cactus
As I sit here contemplating my troubles I'm realizing there's really only one way to go from here. And, that's up. It's not like anything else could go wrong. Seeing as how everything already has.

Hopefully soon, the black cloud hanging over this house of problems, will catch a breeze and move on down the road.

In the meantime, I guess I'll just hunker down and enjoy my winter [indoor] garden.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Wile E. Coyote, Jr.

  Long live the telephoto lens. :) I spotted him across the road from me, in the nature preserve.

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Nasty Ass Flu

Micro-mini roses, growing in my sunny window.
 That nasty ass flu that everyone is so worried about getting? Well, it got a hold of me and I've been lying in bed all afternoon, playing computer games and dreaming about Downton Abbey.

 Wouldn't life be grand if all I had to do was ring a bell, by my bedside, and a member of the [imaginary] kitchen staff would scurry upstairs, delivering Lady Kate some hot tea with lemon + honey?

Yup, I could definitely go for a lady's maid. And, a stable hand!

Sick as I was, I knew I had to check the temperature because we're stuck in the middle of a perfectly horrid & bitterly cold weather pattern. And, I'm Mom to 2 horses who need me.

Sure enough, it was already 2 below zero. Which is unbelievably cold around these parts. And, destined to drop to 10 below zero by midnight. With no snow cover ~ which serves as a thermal blanket ~ there will be some serious winter kill in my flower garden.

So, I pulled on my coat and schlepped my aching body over to the horse corral to bundle them up for the evening.

And, boy were they excited to see me!

Typically, when people work with horses, they put a halter on them and tie them up to something so they can't run away. But, I don't do that. I figure if I'm going to all the trouble of paying you a visit and bringing you a nice, warm blankie, the very least you can do is behave.

They didn't move a muscle while I bundled them up. Still as statues while I buckled them into their toasty warm coats. I was so proud of my girls!

Then I bee-lined it back to my own toasty warm blankets and here I shall stay until the weather warms and the flu says bye-bye. Or, until I need another cup of tea.

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Friday, January 11, 2013

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The Sunny Room

Orchids in the kitchen window
 Oh, yay... The deep freeze of last week is over. Winter has released us from it's icy grip. It's 32 toasty degrees and I'm feeling like I'm in the midst of a heat wave!

If you've visited my humble blog before, you might remember that there are big mountains outside this kitchen window. But, you couldn't see them last week. Heavy frost covered the window panes, climbing ever higher as temperatures plunged toward zero.

I probably handle winter better than most but I gotta say... when I saw that it was warmer in Alaska than it was in Utah? Well, that made me a tad cranky!

At the onset of our sub-zero days, I grabbed the warm coats from the tack room and marched up the hill toward the horse corral.

Sable, my sweet Appaloosa, (black) who can't seem to grow a thick winter coat, whinnied happily and trotted toward me. Meg, my other mare who fluffs out like a polar bear, (red) ran the other way.

There is a great debate in the horse world about whether to blanket or not to blanket. They don't need blanketing! Scream the know-it-alls ~ of which there are many and why are those folks always so loud and bitchy? The deer don't wear blankets so why should the horses?

Yeah, well, the deer probably would if they could. That's my point of view. As humans, aren't we here to make our animal's lives a little easier? During a lingering cold snap, I bundle up both of my beloved horses. And, in spite of Ms. Megan putting up a little fuss, both seem quite grateful for the added warmth.

Bad Dog resting in the Sunny Room
So, what do you do to avoid cabin fever? I cleaned this shack, from top to bottom! I even cleaned the nooks and crannies that most people never see!

I feel proud enough to let you take a peek: This is my sunny room. I can't call it a sun room since it is also my living room.

Sweet little Christmas Cactus
Even on the coldest of days, the sun pours in through these windows and the temperature hits 75 or 80 degrees. Everybody naps in here. Dog, cats... even me!

Azaleas happy to be on the inside, looking out.
Everything flourishes in the sunny room. Azaleas, Calla Lilies, Orchids, Poinsettias. Even boring stuff, like lettuce and onions, basil and cilantro. (Because when it's this cold, I make a lot of soup.)

Yep, that's a dead Hydrangea blossom posing behind this multi-colored (and old as the hills) Poinsettia. Long story about how that got there... suffice to say I saw a sale. Long after I should be buying transplants for an autumn garden.

Anyhoo, that's pretty much all that's happening around this joint. What's new and interesting with you?

Friday, January 04, 2013

Cauliflower Tater Tots

Oven Roasted Cauliflower Tater Tots
I made a commitment in 2012, to drop a pound a month. I didn't succeed, though I got pretty close! I lost 10 pounds and it has made a world of difference in my energy level.

Diets don't work, at least not for me, but sadly admitting what it is that makes me fat? Well, that seemed to do the trick this year. Because it's not the cakes and cookies that create a problem for me. It's the bread. And, potatoes. I'm slowly evolving into a potato. I get rounder and plumper every year. :(

So that's what inspired me to get creative with veggies. This recipe, which was adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe, is about half the calories of regular tater tots and it tastes better than the potato version! At least, I think so.

Cauliflower Tater Tots
1 large head cauliflower
1 large egg
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Deer Valley Oomph*

Begin by turning that head of cauliflower into 'rice.' Pop this raw veggie into a food processor and chop it up very fine, into teeny tiny rice-like pieces. If you live in the desert southwest (like I do) the air will dry out the cauliflower bits rather quickly.

TIP: Spread the little cauliflower bits onto a paper towel ~ try to absorb as much moisture as you can.

And, then... Put the Cauliflower rice into a bowl, whisk an egg, pour that onto the cauliflower, stir in the Parmesan cheese. Using your hands, shmoosh these goodies into tater tot shapes. Spread onto a cookie sheet and bake @400 degrees (F.) for approximately 20 minutes, or until a nice crispy brown on the edges.

* TIP: Do not use low fat, low sodium cheese.  That's just bad, bad stuff. Fat and sodium contribute mightily to the flavor and texture of cheese. If you want to go that route, skip the cheese altogether. (I worked for Healthy Choice for many years and I know a thing or two about what goes into that crap.)

** Deer Valley Oomph is a southwestern seasoning that gives veggies a great flavor kick. I live in Park City, just down the road from Deer Valley Ski Resort, so this is an easy seasoning for me to find. If you're looking to create your own, try something like this:

Southwestern Seasoning Ingredients: 
  • 1/4 cup EACH: chili powder and onion powder 
  • 2 tablespoons EACH: ground cumin, ground coriander, dried oregano, dried basil, & garlic powder.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Baby Dendrobium

Baby Dendrobium Orchid, 
basking in the afternoon sun. 
(She's hanging in a wooden pot.)

So, how's everybody coming on those New Year's Resolutions?

At Starbucks, yesterday, I announced to Beverly that I was resolving to become a better person. She laughed. "You said that last year! And, the year before that!" Yeah, well, maybe I should resolve to have coffee with strangers who aren't so hip to my tricks.

Not much happening around this joint ~ other than an intense bout of cabin fever since it's zero degrees out there.

Stay warm, my friends.

TIP: Dendrobiums like more sun + more consistent moisture than the Phalaenopsis Butterfly Orchids that you see for sale in supermarkets & Homer Depot.

I put the Instagram logo on certain pictures, because I'm taking them with my iPhone, so they're not really up to snuff with the typical photos you see on the blog. I'd hate for you to think I'm a lousy photographer... :)

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Wordless Wednesdays: New Year's Visitor

  They show up every winter. Hang out in the meadow behind my house. Scares my dog half to death. And, sometimes me, too! :)

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