Whalechaser's Musings

No Matter Where You Go...
There You Are
Make the Best of It

Sunday, July 29, 2012

I was in the Mood for Donuts

And I had just read this really good recipe in the local newspaper.  Actually, I cut out the recipe and placed it ever so lovingly in my King Arthur Cookbook.  I always like to compare a couple of recipes before I actually make something for the first time.  I need to know that the basic ingredients are a common thread in several recipes and then I move on with confidence. Well wouldn't you know-- it was happy as a clam right there in my cookbook and the very day I decided I was going to make donuts...right after my nap...

Well, what you see is my cockatiel deciding that the newspaper sticking out of my cookbook needed to be shredded!  So he got through the top margin and the recipe title and almost obliterated the first item on the ingredient list! I made do with what was left.

I think it turned out pretty good!  Not quite as cakey as I would like, but quite edible.

Little did I know the recipe would yield 48 donuts.  Gees!  It's only me here!  So what could I do but try freezing them.  I stuck one in a snack baggie and froze it.  The next day I put it in the microwave for 20 seconds and then in the toaster oven and toasted for about 1.5 minutes.  OMG!  as good as the day I made them!

So it looks like I will have me some really good donuts for quite a while!  Yippee!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hoopy House

So, I went through a serious bout with lung cancer and came out on the other side. I learned many, many things from that experience. Among them, that you truly ARE what you eat and that WHAT we eat (if we don't pay strict attention) is not all that good for us and indeed, may contribute to serious illness in the body that may be totally unnecessary. While I do not believe my cancer was caused by my diet, I do believe that my diet NOW should be the very best it can be, lest I contract some other malady that does me in.

 And so, I had to convert my raised garden bed to a hoop house garden. Why? Well, the summers here are getting to be so hot that things don't grow. Oh, did I mention that organically grown vegetables are significantly higher in vitamins and much more nutrient dense than those grown in a mono-agriculture farm that is over-dosed with fertilizers? THAT, is why I have the raised bed, and the hoop house will allow me to grow stuff for 10 months out of the year, giving me great fresh and wholesome nutrition just a few steps from my door, whenever I want it.

 Now anyone who knows about hoop houses, knows that they are just gardens covered with a poly film to create a kind of hot house environment to extend the seasons when things get frosty and downright cold. Mine has to do double duty. The summers here in Arkansas have gotten so hot that even watering twice a day, the sun just blisters everything. So I built a hoop house on top of my raised garden, but because I am looking to shield the sun I used a garden shade mesh instead of a poly film. In the cooler months I will switch out the mesh for a poly cover and just keep on keepin' on.

 Here are a couple of pictures of the Summer version of the hoop house.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Masking Things Over

The local library got together with a local art therapist and the result was a two day paper mache mask making extravaganza. It was clear that some of us had worked with this medium before, it was a first for me and while it was a lot of fun it was also a little intimidating because everything about it was counter-intuitive for me. We started with a glob of clay and were supposed to make an inverted image of the mask that would be the finished product. I did not take nearly enough clay to produce a mask of any depth, so I ended up fashioning what was to be a sunflower face...
My flat little face made of clay was the form for the paper mache that was glued over the form and then left to dry. Once dry, the mask is removed from the clay form and the painting can begin. Here you see the clay form in the foreground and the paper mache mask in the background.
My friend Carol was having a good time and used some brilliant colors to bring out the features that showed the character in her mask. As we started to finish with the painting and then adding the cloth, nets, feathers, streamers etc., our instructor Joanne Kaminsky went to work creating a head-band that the mask is attached to and is suspended in front of the face instead of being banded right on your face like a Halloween mask. I thought that was pretty cool, it allows for placing the opening for the eyes anywhere instead of right there on each side of the nose. On a very large mask, the eye openings could be in the nose nostrils.
So here is my mask, it turned out looking like a sun-flower-chocolate chip cookie; I guess you have to use your imagination to see the specks as sunflower seeds!
You never know who will show up for these sorts of things. This lady who sat directly opposite me looked SO familiar. It took a while and then it hit me! She was the lady who massaged my sore body after I had fallen off the roof at the Habitat for Humanity project in Lafayette, Louisiana! I guess it doesn't matter what the job is...there is always stress.
Fatima had some very colorful interpretations to include in her mask!
It was a lot of fun and now that I learned a little bit about mask making I have been thinking that maybe...just maybe I would like to try it again! This time with a little more know-how before I start. And so, yesterday, Carol asked if I was interested in trying another mask, she wants to do another and she is recruiting all her friends. Wonder what my imagination will come up with this time?!