Wednesday, December 31, 2008
At least I made use of my time today. I finished another project. I made mud flaps for my bike fenders out of scraps from the ski boot base thing. They just didn't cover far enough down. The front one will keep more dirt and grime out of the drive train. The rear one is more for Jasmine when she's in the trailer behind me...or any bikers behind me. All the examples I saw online had to have holes drilled in their fenders. I lucked out. My fenders have little stubby mud flaps that were pointless. However, the did serve one purpose. The were a good platform to attach my new mud flaps to using just my utility knife. It is basically the same material I made the flaps out of. To give it a nice finished look, I rounded out the corners at the bottom.
My new flaps. See how close to the ground they are. They have enough clerance to miss the ground in a turn.
I also made an emergency tire boot for my bike tire. I'm keeping the rest of the scraps of this material. This is useful stuff.
Look at that, it actually works!
Monday, December 29, 2008
The solution I have come up with is cross-country skiing. I went to all the different thrift stores in the area to see if it was even possible to find them. I found 5-6 pairs. I then went to REI and got a little bit of knowledge about cross country boots. Basically, none of the newer style of boots will fit the older skis. But to buy the newer style of skis to fit the boots would be way more money than I'm willing to spend for a couple of months worth of runs.
So what I've decided to do was to buy a cheap pair from Goodwill and figure some way to connect my snow boots to them. I got the skis for $15 and the poles for $5. The poles are a bit bent but I don't really care. I have an idea of how to connect the shoes but it will definitely take some work on my part so my goal is to have that finished by the time Adam comes home.
There is actually a sport called skijouring. It's where a person is on skis and they have one or more dogs attached to them by a line. Basically what I want to do. While I don't plan on going as fast as the woman below, I think it is a good example picture.
I'm kind of nervous about this since I've never skiied before in any form. I have good balance but no skills. I don't want to mow down my dogs! Hopefully the 20-30 ft leash (can't remember exactly) will keep them far enough in front that I'll have room to stop, or fall if I have to. I'm not too worried about falling on snow under normal conditions but with the sensetive knot on my thigh from the bike accident, I'm worried that I'll hurt that. Also, just like when I run my dogs with the bike, I will do it one at a time so I have more control (hopefully).
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Adam videoed their reactions. If you would like to see them, you can go to youtube and look up smileyguyq to find the videos or you can follow the links below.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNIZrWsqRys Bear's peanut butter balls
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNIZrWsqRys Squeaky Toys
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vgj70AFTeWk Bear's ball on a rope
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=an_YFrYjgdw Bear & Jack
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RiKGSOJhb6k More peanut butter balls
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AmETXzchjNE Jasmine's squeaky toy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aWQ8Yg-5nA Jasmine's water bowl
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMGkooIR9us Jack's bone
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhN1GZ7RizM Jack's rope toy
Bear and Jasmine aslo got new pulling harnesses. After trying them out, I have banned them from being used on a walk...they can only be used on runs. There is way too much pulling power in those things!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
He leaves the week after Christmas for two weeks. The first week will be spent in GA with his family and the second week will be training in North Carolina.
And I think I'm over the cold/stomach troubles that I came home from
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
I made the drive home yesterday in snowy weather. The worst was from Lehi to Ogden and Mountain Home to Boise. It took me 8 hours to make the whole drive. I did make two stops in the warmer parts to walk around and get out of the car but they weren't long stops. I wanted to get home before it got too late and to get off the road before the sun went down and the water froze to ice.
I made it to Mountain Home around the time the sun went down and the traffic got worse. Closer to Boise, there was a bad accident on the other side of the interstate. They were completely stopped. I think rubber neckers on my side spent too much time looking over as there were 6-8 cars that were involoved in various accidents.
I made it home safely though. I was exhausted so I pretty much vegged out on the couch all evening.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
On the first ride, I was so sure that the bike shop in Utah had readjusted my seat height for some reason. My knees were hurting and my ears, nose, fingers and toes were freezing so I went home. It turned out to be only a 6.5 mile ride.
A few days later, I went on another one. I made it to somewhere in Meridian. On this ride, I deided that the knee pain wasn't because my seat height had been changed, it was just from not biking for so long and my knees had to get used to it some. The knee pain didn't really start until sometime in the second half of this ride. It's amazing how short of a distance it takes to feel like I'm in the country again. It's great. I climbed just one signifigant hill and it was slow going but I made it up without walking. On the way down the hill (1st picture but it doesn't do it justice) I panicked for a second, thinking that my brakes weren't going to stop me. It was my first hill since the accident and I imagine I will be nervous about hills for a little while now. When I was hit by a car, I had anxiety attacks when biking past that spot for a few months. I had a really great time and wanted to keep going but didn't want to push it too much. I biked 16 miles.
Since my extremities were freezing on my first ride, I didn't want it to happen again so I took some knowledge from Nancy Vogel and her family. She's the woman who is biking with her family from Alaska to Argentina. They've biked through plenty of cold weather so far. One of their sons gets cold easy and in order to help block some of the wind, they wrap his feet and hands in plastic bags. I cut up a plastic bag and wrapped it over my socks before slipping my feet into my shoes. I put on a pair of latex like gloves before I put my gloves on and it was amazing how such a thin, simple thing helped to keep me from freezing. My hands got warm so I took the plastic gloves and the feet wraps. I should have left the feet wraps on but I had to go to the bathroom so bad that I refused to stop until I got home.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
I finally did it, I made sourdough bread. I just kept waiting for the sourdough starter to really bubble up but it just bubbled a little everday. I decided to give it a go anyway. I mixed up a sponge the night before I was going to make the bread and, to my amazement, the sponge was to the top of the moxing bowl I had it in! What a nice surprise!
The great thing about sourdough bread is that there's not as much kneading to do as their is for commercial yeast bread...at least not for the recipe I used. I think I only spent 5 minutes total kneading between the two different times I had to knead.
I made a french bread so it would go with our dinner (which had green tomatoes in it, our third green tomato dish so far). The flavor is quite sour. I need to find if there is something I can add to the dough to lessen the strength of the flavor. It's good but I think it would be better mellowed down some. Adam said it was the best bread I've ever made. I'll write up the recipe for it at the beginning of next month in my challenge report since I'm still working on the yeast thing for the challenge.
The next mornnig, I made sourdough pancakes which I liked more than the bread. Adam didn't eat any since he doesn't eat breakfast but he broke off a piece of one just to taste. He said "That's unusual." So I don't know what that means exactly.
This month, with moving and everything that goes along with that, I didn’t get started with my experiments until there was less than 2 weeks left in the month. So needless to say, I didn’t get as much done as I hoped. I had hoped to try to capture wild yeast in 3 different ways, and learn to stretch commercial yeast in at least 3 ways.
I started with a technique called Japanese Yeast Water. You put a handful or two of raisins in a jar filled 80% with water. Store it on the counter or in a cupboard. You loosely cap it and in a couple of days, the raisins will begin to float to the top. In 3-6 days, you should be seeing bubbles on the top of the water. The bubbles are the yeast. It was at this stage, both times I tried it, that mold grew on the raisins floating on the top. I don’t think this kind of yeast is as useful as some others so since I lost the yeast water twice, I gave up on it. If you are interested in learning more about it and how to use it, visit http://originalyeast.blogspot.com/2008/02/how-to-make-yeast-water.html.
Next, I started what I call a wild grape yeast sponge. Aside from floating in the air, yeast is also present on the skin of fruits, especially grapes and berries. So if you mix together equal parts of flour and water then add some grapes to the mixture, you should get yeast. I did that and set it in a warm place, loosely capped. I think on the second day, there were small bubbles in the mixture and it smelled slightly yeasty. The third day, there were more bubbles but the smell turned to something off. The next day, the bubbles were gone and the smell was almost enough to make me throw up. So I got rid of the grapes and kept it for one more day. No progress so I threw it out. I tried this one again as well. On the second day, there were bubbles and the yeast smell was there so I got rid of the grapes before they had a chance to go bad and ruin another batch. I fed it an equal part of flour and water and let it sit. The next day there were still bubbles so I fed it again. The next morning, the bubbles had disappeared and that nasty smell was back. Failure again so I gave up on that method as well.
The third way to capture yeast I wanted to try was making a sourdough starter. There are lots of recipes online to start a starter with commercial yeast but that wasn’t the point of my experiment so I found a recipe for a starter that I think has gotten me my first success!
Procedure for Making Sourdough Starter
Day 1: mix...2 T. whole grain flour (rye and/or wheat)2 T. unsweetened pineapple juice or orange juiceCover and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
Day 2: add...2 T. whole grain flour2 T. juiceStir well, cover and let sit at room temperature 24 hours. At day 2 you may (or may not) start to see some small bubbles.
Day 3: add...2 T. whole grain flour2 T. juiceStir well, cover and let sit at room temperature 24 hours.
Day 4:Stir down, measure out 1/4 cup and discard the rest.To the 1/4 cup add...1/4 cup flour*1/4 cup filtered or spring water
*You can feed the starter whatever type of flour you want at this point (unbleached white, whole wheat, rye). If you are new to sourdough, a white starter is probably the best choice. All-purpose flour is fine--a high protein flour is not necessary.
Repeat Day 4:Once daily until the mixture starts to expand and smell yeasty. It is not unusual for the mixture to get very bubbly around Day 3 or 4 and then go completely flat and appear dead. If the mixture does not start to grow again by Day 6, add 1/4 tsp. apple cider vinegar with the daily feeding. This will lower the pH level a bit more and it should wake up the yeast.
The yeast we are trying to cultivate will only become active when the environment is right. When you mix flour and water together, you end up with a mixture that is close to neutral in pH, and our yeasties need it a bit more on the acid side. This is why we are using the acidic fruit juice. There are other microbes in the flour that prefer a more neutral pH, and so they are the first to wake up and grow. Some will produce acids as by-products. That helps to lower the pH to the point that they can no longer grow, until the environment is just right for wild yeast to activate. The length of time it takes for this to happen varies.
When using just flour and water, many will grow a gas-producing bacteria that slows down the process. It can raise the starter to three times its volume in a relatively short time. Don't worry--it is harmless. It is a bacteria sometimes used in other food fermentations like cheeses, and it is in the environment, including wheat fields and flours. It does not grow at a low pH, and the fruit juices keep the pH low enough to by-pass it. Things will still progress, but this is the point at which people get frustrated and quit, because the gassy bacteria stop growing. It will appear that the "yeast" died on you, when in fact, you haven't begun to grow yeast yet. When the pH drops below 3.5--4 or so, the yeast will activate, begin to grow, and the starter will expand again. You just need to keep it fed and cared for until then.
Once your wild yeast is growing, the character and flavor will improve if you continue to give it daily feedings and keep it at room temperature for a couple of weeks longer.After that time, it should be kept in the refrigerator between uses/feedings.
I followed the direction as closely as possible. I did forget about it one night and fed it the next day but everything is still alive and going well. Around the time she stated, the starter appeared dead so I used the vinegar like she said and the next day, is was bubbling again.
I will continue on with keeping the sourdough starter alive and actually making something with it. I will also work on doing some of the yeast stretching things I’ve read about and report back another month on those things.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I was outside playing with the dogs when they all took off to the corner of the yard and started barking. I went over to see what they were barking at. It was a fox! I've never seen one alive...just road kill. And that one was just a baby. This one is about the size of Jack with a BUSHY tail with a ring of white at the end. He stopped running around and looked at me, then ran off and disappeared.
A couple of days ago, I decided that with the temperatures dropping again that I needed to bring in all the tomatoes that aren't already dead from the cold. So I picked about 15 pounds of mostly green tomatoes. I probably had to throw out about 100 pounds of tomatoes that went bad in the cold. Too bad. :o( You can lt them sit out and turn red but you run the risk of them rotting in the proccess since they already have a little frost damage. So since I have a lot of green tomatoes to use up and I've never used one in my life, I will be using this opportunity to find good recipes for green tomatoes as this month's challenge subject.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
He went to Atlanta for a week for work. Originally, it was going to be 2 weeks, then was cut back to three work days with a weekend stay with his family but was lengthened to one week. He's coming home tomorrow night at almost midnight.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
On Saturday, Mom and Dad had to exchange their rental car because of some maintenance lights. Afterward, we drove to the gorge near here. it's beautiful but I didn't have my camera with me so I have no pictures of it still. We got out of the car for only a minute because there were bugs all over the place. I was really hoping there were some roads following the river but one way seemed to end at some buildings and the other ended at a dirt road so we didn't take that one. We headed back to Boise for lunch at Cracker Barrel. Mom tried turnip greens and said she liked them but by the next time she took a bite, she had definitely changed her mind. I love them. Then, we stopped at Payless for some shoes for Dad but Mom found a pair instead which ended up matching a skirt she later bought at Walmart. We went bowling next. All three of us were sore in various places afterward. Dad won both times. Mom beat me the second time. We used the bumpers since they were up when we got there. We were looking good! We got 137 (Dad), 128 (Me) and 115 (Mom). The second game was similar with me and Mom switching places and me way below 100. :o) It was a lot of fun. Back at home, we had dinner then later went out for dessert at Dairy Queen. People were pretty tired so we were in bed by 10:30.
Today, we went to church, had lunch afterward and they were on their way. Love you guys. I'll miss you. And to everyone else, please know, you are welcome to come any time. We love visitors.
So before they got here, I discovered that two of my yeast starters went bad. I found mold growing on a raisin in the water and the other one made me want to gag when I sniffed it. I can't imagine it possibly being any good so I tossed them both and started over. This is why I shouldn't have procrastinated. It's going to be the end of the month before I know it and I won't have anything positive to share. Well, the sourdough seems to be doing what it's supposed to so I hope at least that one turns out well.
I tried the powdered milk and I was surprised by how okay it was. I wouldn't want to drink a glass by itself but as long as I drank it with a meal, it wasn't too bad. There was only a slight aftertaste when you swallow that gave it away when drunk while eating. So now I just need to calculate costs and see if it actually does save money and by how much. I don't know if it would be worth it to switch. (But the milk has to be cold so I don't know how you could ge the same results without a fridge.)
In my ward, there's a deaf woman. There were two ladies sitting in front taking turns interpreting for her. I watched them through most of the meeting. It was fun. Some signs came back pretty quickly...I learned a couple new signs but there were some I knew I knew but I just couldn't figure it out. Oh, and there were plenty of signs I didn't know. There is a sign language class every Monday so I will be starting that this week. :o) One of the woman is trying to get me to help with the primary program in 2 weeks. Well, once she sees how little I can remember, I think she'll change her mind.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
We had broken a cement bench not too long after we got there and we told them we had no problem with them taking out the money for the bench from our security deposit when we told them about the bench.
But after seeing that her house had been well taken care of, she forgave us on the bench and we will be getting our full deposit back, including the pet deposit. :o) I guess being paranoid about the carpet helped out after all.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Thursday they went to the Children's museum while Adam and I worked. The Mendoza's and I were getting ready to run to the grocery store when someone from the ward dropped by with homemade granola, bread sticks and a pizza. That was really nice! While waiting for Adam toget home from work, we took a drive out to Lucky Peak. We stopped to take some pictures and Valerie almost got clobbered by a picnic bench seat that wasn't attatched but despite dropping her camera, nothing was injured/damaged. After dinner, we played two games of bowling. Adam was overworked that day and had to work while at the bowling alley. The dogs were tethered when inside still.
On Friday, the Mendoza's went to the mall while Adam and I worked. The kids joined me on a walk with Jack. They got to pet him for the first time while on the walk. After we got back, they went outside and played with the dogs. All three were throwing balls for Bear but after Jack barked at Sabrina, she went to the safety of the deck and Elisa started playing with Jasmine. It was so great to see my dogs getting along with the kids well enough to trust them alone out there. While they were doing that, we cooked a turkey, mashed potatoes, carrots, rolls and gravy. This was the first meal we got to use non-disposable plates, cups and silverware. We waited a little bit then went to Cheesecake Factory for dessert. On the way back to the house, Sabrina managed to make her belly button an outie! Overnight, it returned to an innie.
Saturday, we had a big breakfast at Cracker Barrel. We went to the park and played graces and played on the playground. We bought a soccer ball at Walmart, which really didn't get used and when we were back at the house, I asked the kids if they wanted to give Bear his new ball. Within minutes, he had popped it! Oh well, he'll get a lot of playtime out of a flat ball too, he always does. Then we said our goodbyes. I think they should be home by now, or at least very close!
I stayed up later than I normally do so I will be going to bed early tonight!!