Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Whoops....wrong day

I could have sworn that today was my day off but Adam assures me that it's tomorrow. Oh weel. It's too late. All I can hopefor is that I don't get in trouble with my boss for not doing the reports today.

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.

rear flap

front flap

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.

Ski boot build up

So I went out yesterday to buy the supplies I would need to make the thing to connect my snow boots to the ski bindings. I thought it would take days worth of work and it would be difficult. I was wrong. Starting out, I kept getting frustrated because it wasn't working out right but I almost finished one set last night and since I had the foundation already done, I was able to finish it up this morning. One set is in clamps being gorilla glued together. In a few hours, after that one is dry, I'll glue the other set together. Then, I'll just have to figure out how to protect my heels from the pointy plastic thing it comes in contact with and I'll be done. I usually end up spending more money buying things I know I could make for less money because I'm just too lazy. So now, with this success, I'm going to work on some other projects I've been thinking about as well.

Look at that, it actually works!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Cross-country skis

Bear has been going crazy not being able to go for a run. I run as I can on walks but I can't run as fast as he likes or for as long as he would like. As soon as we get into the driveway, he spins around and grabs the leash with his mouth and tries running...he still, after all these years, thinks that it's effective. It's cute and it makes me laugh but I can't let him get away with it or else he'll do it all the time. With all the snow and gross slush on the roads, I just haven't had the oppurtunity to take him out with the bike. So I have been thinking about how I can make it posssible for him and Jasmine in the snow.

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

Merry Christmas Everyone!

The dogs had a really good Christmas. Grandama, Grandpa, Aunt Sheri, Aunt Heather & Uncle Tom sent them presents this year. Thanks so was a lot of fun.

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. Bear's peanut butter balls Squeaky Toys Bear's ball on a rope Bear & Jack More peanut butter balls Jasmine's squeaky toy Jasmine's water bowl Jack's bone 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

Date night

Adam has had a couple of slow days this week so we decided to make last night a date night. We went to an Italian restaurant for dinner and bought dessert to go. We came home and played some board games for 2-3 hours before we were both too tired to play anymore. Since he started doing the tech job again, there really hasn't been any time to play games with him. Even when he's not in the field, he has other work he has to do. It wa nice to spend some relaxed time with him.

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

The hypnotising squirell

Today, I walked to the back door and looked through the glass for the dogs. I was totally amazed by what I saw! Jack was sitting on one side of the tree while Jasmine was laying on the other side (Bear was inside with me). The amazing part was the squirell close enough to be snatched in someone's mouth yet the dogs weren't moving a muscle or barking despite it running from spot to spot. It must have been about 5 minutes of that...I have no idea how long it was going on before I started watching. The squirell went up into the branches and started flicking its tail around then came back down the trunk. It stopped just above Jack's head then catapulted itself off the tree onto the ground. I was thinking that the squirell was done for. The dogs gave chase but the squirell made it to the other tree and up the trunk before they were able to catch up. The looked up into the tree but they never once barked. It was the strangest display from the dogs I've ever seen. I wonder what that squirell did to them!?!
It was 7 years ago, this month that we got Bear. That means he is 7 years old. You would never know it by how active he still is! That shot of him was taken today. He's had a sore leg for a couple of days but he seems to be doing ok today.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Boy In the Striped Pajamas (not a spoiler)

It was one of Adam's days off today and he took me to a movie that looked good to me. It's "Boy In the Striped Pajamas". It's about a German Family during the Holocaust. The father is a soldier. He is moved to a house near one of the camps. The wife (can't recall her name), daughter, Greta, and son, Bruno, go with him. The son discovers the camp by looking out his bedroom window. They get a tutor that teaches them that Jews are bad and the reason why Germany is poor. Greta believes everything without question while Bruno, who is younger, is trying to figure things out for himself. In the mean time, the wife discovers what exactly is going on at the camps and is disgusted by it and her husband's lack of humanity. Bruno goes over to the camp and meets a boy his age who is a prisioner. The boys become friends. Bruno betrays his friend (out of fear) one day and he ends up getting beat by a soldier. But Bruno wants to make it up to him so when his friend's father ends up missing after leaving on "work duty", Bruno offers to come into the camp to help find his father. Ok, no more of the movie in case anyone does want to see it.
I don't like the ending but I don't know that any ending would be satisfying and believable at the same time. Still, I think a different ending would have been better.

I don't often recommend movies since I'm not that into movies but I think this one has a very good story, although sad and depressing which was not unexpected since I knew the setting of the movie going into it but I do recommend this movie.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I'm home again

Thanks so much for the great visit, everyone! It was great seeing you all again.

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.

Dinner at Mendozas

On Thursday, I went to the Mendoza's and was there before the kids came home from school. I went with Valerie to pick up the girls. It wasn't long before Alex showed up too. They were all eating a snack when he complained about his braces coming off. Sure enough, two brackets had come off his teeth. We all made an emergency trip to the orthodontist. It idnt take too long before they were back on his teeth.

Sabrina's birthday party was the next day so Valerie started getting things ready. We blew up ballons and Sabrina put stickers on the cups. Valerie hung a couple of Strawberry shortcake things. (Alex was reading when I was taking pictures so I didn't even get one of his teeth. Sorry, Alex. Balloon wars and merryment went on for quite some time.

Dinner was good, I thought, but Valerie wasn't happy with it and poor Alex couldn't eat much since he had just gotten his braces on that morning.

We went to Dairy Queen for dessert. Alex saved his brownie in melted ice cream to soften his brownie so he might be able to eat it.

We played Druthers. Itw as already past their bed time. Sorry Valerie. Thanks for letting me come. I had fun.

Visits from Jared, Debbie, boys and Heather

Jared visited on Wednesday with the boys. It's nice that Avi will let me pick him up and hug and kiss him now. Sheri opened up a box of Hot Wheels and he played with those for most of the time he was there. When he was putting them away, Jared was making him pick the right colored cars. He's so smart!! I really doubt I knew which color was which at that age. I got to hold Itai. :o) Heather came over not too long before they left.
On Friday, Debbie and the boys came because Jared accidentally took the house key to work with him. They stayed for a couple of hours. While I was holding Avi so Debbie could make up a bottle for him, he started smiling and laughing a lot. What a huge smile he has! Avi played with cars again and watched little ensteins. He let me play with him briefly but I'm not that fun so he moved on.

Heather came again before they left and stayed until Tom was getting off of work.

Thanks so much for visiting with me! It was nice to see everyone.

The drive to Orem

I know, some of these posts from the trip are out of order but oh well.

On my drive down to Orem I stopped at Malad Gorge State Park and on a bridge just outside of Twin Falls. At both places, I got out and walked around to strtech my legs. Unfortunately, they were very close together. I should have spaced my stops better....but then I didn't really plan either stop.

It was an uneventful drive, thankfully. I like those kind.

Utah Lake State Park ride 12-10-08

When I looked out the window, I saw ther were no clouds in the sky or covering the mountains today so I just had to go for a ride.
After getting some work done, I got all my winter gear on again, mius the vest. It was warmer out today, so I quickly took off the latex gloves and unzipped my jacket some. I didn't want to get sweaty like on yesterday's ride.

I biked down 2000 south to Geneva road. I took a backway I had found years ago to the lake. It leads right to a short trail on the edge of the lake. The plants had grown since my last ride down the trail and I only got a few glimpses of the lake. I stopped at a picnic bench and ate a bagel and rested my legs.
Back on the bike, I headed to the first jetty. They've been building up the length of the second jetty. They had a bulldozer and something else working on it today. I think that it makes the lake look smaller. Too bad.
I headed back to the main road. My bike wheels are too thin for the rock/sand that makes up the jetty so it was very slow going. I was going to bike down part of the second jetty when I got a call saying that Jared and his boys were at the house so I turned around and made it home in about 30 minutes.

Vineyard ride 12-9-08

I went on two rides while in Utah. One was out to Vineyard to see the lake, and th e other was to Utah Lake State Park. I really like the lake. I like the canyon more but it was too cold to be in the shady canyon this time of year.
I piled on my winter riding clothes which include: balaclava, lightweight thermal base layer top & bottom, long sleeved jersey, vest, coat, padded shorts, tights, socks, shoes, plastic bags over my toes, neoprene booties, latex gloves (to cut the wind) and winter gloves. You would think with all those clothes on that there is no way I could get cold but even with all of that, I do still get chilled some in the beginning. But my toes and fingers generally stay cold.
I rode out to vineyard to a new subdivison called the shores. There is a short walking trail, paved. It tricked me into thinking that it was the Jordan River/Provo River bike trail. I was excited to take it but it was very short. I turned around and headed back toward Provo.

I found a tire swing in a tree in an empty field so I stopped and played on it while I ate my snickers and rested my legs.
I was going to bike to the state park. I got close but decided that my knee was hurtnig too much and I was too tired so I turned around. I climbed University Parkway from Geneva to Main ST. That was a hard climb when already tired out.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

We made it home

It was great spending time with everyone Thursday and Friday. I'm glad we actually got to see everyone too...and I finally got to hold Itai for the first time.

Bear made me so proud! After we walked to the motel from Mom and Dad's Thursday night, I was walking Bear to the front desk to use their scissors to cut out some burrs. Someone walked out of the staircase with a dog. I pulled Bear to the side, ready for barking, whining and lunging but he just stood beside me and watched the dog walk by. I was so excited and was praising Bear so much. The man was part way down the hall, his dog was still barking at Bear. He stopped and asked me what kind of dog Bear is. I told him. He has the same breed of dog. I wasn't paying enough attention to the dog then but I saw the dog again the next morning and I could definitely see the resemblance.

Adam got the brakes fixed well enough to get us here with no problems. Jack is happy to be home. He was so nervous on the ride home that we had to break down and buy some Dramamine for him. It didn't do much on its own so I had to go back in the back area and lay with him. He finally relaxed enough to lay down and stop panting for a little while but he didn't fall asleep.

On the way back, in Tremonton, we stopped for a quick brake and the sun was setting. Beautiful.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Another ride to Meridian

I have a feeling many of my rides will be to Meridian since it's the next closest town and with winter coming, I won't be venturing very far. As it was, I nearly froze my toes off today. I stopped and put my plastic bags on my feet but it was too late, the cold had already set in. It was so foggy today but it lessened right before the ride and started returning as the sun went down. I went out later than I should have and had to race the sun back home. I wasn't happy about that since I didn't have my flashing light on me. In my rush to get back, my stomach started cramping up even though I don't think I had eaten for 3 hours at that point.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Learning from those who have gone before

I have finally been able to go on a couple of bike rides this past week.

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

Sourdough Bread

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 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.

Monthly Challenge for October

This is my report for October's challenge.

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

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


I love nature, animals, water, rocks, mountains, trees, clouds, snow...pretty much anything but of all of nature, sunrises and sunsets inspire me the most. When I see a beautiful sunset, this feeling of awe washes over me and I think of how much Heavenly Father has given to me. It's weird, I know but a good sunset just inspires me.
Two nights ago, we had a beautiful sunset that lasted for about 30 minutes! I've never seen one go on and on like that. It moved across the sky and even when it got dark out, the colors just wouldn't stop. It was gorgeous and I wish you all could have seen it!

Here's a few pics. I was driving home when I first noticed it. I was thinking it would be over before I could get inside and grab a camera. But it was still going strong when I got home. I took the camera on the dogs' walk with me and got a few more pictures while out.

Pictures never do it justice but still, I love looking at even mediocre sunset pictures.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Blue gets her fenders

I bought some fenders for Blue before the accident but I never put them on. The instructions wern't very good so Adam helped me. Now the bike is ready for wet weather. I will have to add mud flaps though since they're not very long. I know they don't match my bike at all...and they look pretty dorky but I wanted something that was more visible for safety. (You can see my fairly new double kickstand as well in the pic. It's nice to not have to lean my bike up against things or lay it on the ground. It even helped me out when my derailluer cable slipped while out riding. Very handy!)

For the primary program, I ended up interpreting one song and 4 parts. They were short, easy parts so it wasn't too bad. The ladies said I did well. I started stressing about it the day before. I kept picturing my hands shaking as I signed previously. They didn't really shake but they weren't really nimble either. Class is really just an hour where we get together and sign while we talk. When someone doesn't know a sign, they either learn it from someone else who knows it, or looks it up. Signing is coming back more quickly than reading the signs others make, especially Stephanie, the deaf woman. I don't know why. I have a long way to go!

Adam's co-worker is in town and he invited him to play poker tonight at the Holiday Inn. He was happy to have someone to take with him.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bear & Adam

Adam swithced jobs this week. The desk job he's had here has been driving him crazy so he talked to his old boss, Dave, and asked if he would take him back if a position opened up here in Boise. Dave said he would. As it turned out, Dave got someone on his team to switch positions with Adam. Adam had a great time working yesterday.

Adam and I have both been having a hard time sleeping lately. Adam came to bed a couple of nights ago right before I tried to change the number on my side to get more comfortable. It finished but I didn't feel a difference and Adam, who had gotten into bed by that point, noticed that it was changing his side. So we switched remotes and were able to sleep on our own numbers instead of each other's. I don't think I'm not the right number yet, but it's more comfortable than when he had control of mine.

(I don't want to be a bad mom so I have to let you know how Bear is doing too.) Yesterday, we didn't go for a walk because it was drizzling all day. At around 8 last night, he decided he'd better start speaking up and camped out beside the leashes and started whining. I always feel bad when he does that because I know that it's the funnest part of his life but it was already dark and cold and rainy so I tried distracting him. I wasn't too successful. I promised him we would go tomorrow (today) no matter what the weather was like. Today is cold and even wetter. I promised him and so I loaded them into the Yukon and we went to the mall. They have a huge parking lot that I can walk all three of them at the same time so we all went together. Once I got moving, I was warm enough. Somewhere on the walk, Bear got a big glob of grease on his head which spread to his ear and his side as the walk went on. When we got back home, I put him in the tub and gave him a bath. The gresase is still there but he needed a bath anyway.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A fox in our yard & green tomatoes

The last few nights (always in the dark), the dogs have been going crazy barking at something in the lot behind the house. It is fenced off from the part of the yard they run in but it still belongs to the owner of this house. I climbed the hill to see if I could see anyone or anything. I saw a quick movement than nothing else. I figured it was a cat or a rabbit.

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

Pretty Girl

Jasmine is turning into a perfect touring companion. I was thinking that Bear would be the dog I would take on the weekend bike tours (since he LOVES running) but I hit some snags with him. The largest of which is that he runs irratically and it would be hard to control a loaded bike with a trailer when he runs in front of the bike and he hates being locked in the trailer.

I took Jasmine for a short ride in the trailer and while I don't think it's her favorite place to be, she was calm and relaxed. When running beside me while I ride, she's very aware of where the wheels are, she looks at me for direction at cross roads, she ignores other dogs while leashed and she paces herself so she's not tired in 1/2 a mile. We went about 2 miles the other day. I think she could have used a few laps of water but I didn't think to bring any with me. She still had energy when we got home.

I think the largest problem we'll encounter on a tour is that she would not want to sleep without her kennel. She likes her space and I have a 2 person tent which would put us in close proximity while sleeping. She would be getting more exercise and mental stimulation than she does at home though so maybe it would help tire her out so she wouldn't care about the sleeping situation too much.
Now, I'm on the lookout for a good harness (I don't like the one she has now) and a good pair of not too expensive boots for her.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Proud Mama

Jack has been making some really big improvements since we moved here. He is our most fearful dog. When we got him, he was afraid of men, children, other dogs, loud noises, car rides, leashes, collars, shoes...if I thought hard enough, I could probably think of other things as well but that's good enough. Some of those problems have disappeared, others, he's still working on. The thing he's really improved on recently is with other dogs.

Not too long before moving here (before the accident) I was on our daily walk. I walked all three dogs together out there because we almost never ran into anyone on the road we used and since I only had to do one walk, they were able to get a longer walk. A woman walked by walking a dog. The dogs went crazy and Jack, who was wearing a head collar too big for him managed to get out of the collar. He ran straight for the woman's dog and latched onto one of his legs. The woman was screaming and trying to pick up her dog. I'm surprised she didn't really kick Jack good. Jack let go and ran back to me. I almost grabbed his regular collar but he ran back toward the dog. This time, he just circled it barking like crazy. I'm sure the woman thought I was a jerk letting Jack torment her and her dog like that but if I got close enough to get Jack, then Bear would be close enough to get in on the action so I had to wait until Jack came to me. It was a pretty helpless feeling for me and I wasn't even the one being attacked! Once I got ahold of Jack, I asked her if she and her dog were ok. She said they were fine and the dog wasn't limping when they walked away.

But now you'll still see Jack, and the other two, barking at any dog that goes by the yard but once Jack gets out of the yard and starts walking, he almost couldn't care less about the dogs he sees. He will look at them as we walk by but there's no pulling, charging or barking...there is some freezing though sometimes. I give him a minute to freeze in place then I'll grab his attention and he usually doesn't have a problem moving on at that point. We walked past a house where there was a dog in the driveway with no person around. Jack saw him and stopped. The dog stood up and started walking toward us. It only walked a couple of steps before stopping. Jack just kept his eyes on him but sat down. He never barked or growled. The other dog lost interest and walked away to the back yard. Jack watched him walk away then got up and continued walking with me. The walks are so much more calm now and I'm so proud of the progress he's making.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Does anyone still trick or treat?

Adam and I got to talking on the 30th about Halloween. I informed Adam that we have never passed out candy on halloween. Our first year, we were driving back from Utah. Then all years since then, we've catered to our dogs who hate doorbells and people at doors and just turned out all the lights and watched a movie. Well, when Adam heard that, we were quickly on our way to the store for candy, a roll of caution tape, and some sort of cop like costume.

The costumes all were really cheap (not price, just cheaply made) so he got a t shirt and hat that says NYPD. Then we got 3 cheapish bags of candy and a roll of caution tape....oh and sidewalk chalk, almost forgot that.
Back at home, we took turns laying on the drveway and we outlined each other. Adam put up the caution tape across part of the driveway. He backed his Yukon partway into the grass facing the crime scene. He wrote on the Yukon's windows "Trick or treat here". He was really excited about the whole thing.

Then on Halloween, I set up two "bodies" under a sheet and made pools of really fake looking blood on the body outlines. When it got dark, Adam was going to turn on some of his Yukon's flashing lights.

I was thinking it would be great to tether the dogs up inside then maybe they would get desensitized to people at the door.

Well, I started dinner at around 6. No one had come yet. Adam went out to check the streets. Not a single light on but the street lights and no children to be seen. Not a single person came to our house. Adam was disappointed and I'm confused. Don't people still trick or treat?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Darth Tater

Adam found a shirt at a gas station on the way up here. He loves it so much that he just had to have his picture taken in it before he went to Georgia. (And it just happened to include his other love, the Yukon.) I like this pic of him.

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

Mom & Dad

Mom and Dad just left to go back home. They came for a short visit. (Sorry about there not being a lot of food here). They came late Friday night and we stayed up talking. Jack loves his grandma and kept shaking hands with her and sitting near her and staring at her. Bear kept sitting next to her as well. Mom and Dad said they slept really well. I'm glad they had a better experience on the air mattress than we did!!

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

Wild Yeast

Well...way too much of my time today was spent hovering over the 2 yeast starters I have. Currently, I have two started. I'll start the other 2 kinds tomorrow. The water one was started on Monday. The dough one was started this morning, bright & early after dropping Adam off at the airport. The raisins in the water are supposed to all rise to the surface. They slowly move up and look as though they are suspended in gelatin but it's just water. Kind of weird. No bubbles in that one yet though. The other one has some small bubbles in it already(dark bumps are an ingredient in the starter), though certainly not enough to rise a loaf of bread yet. It's a science experiment. It's a lot of fun! :o) I'll give more details later since Valerie is part of the challange group and I don't want to give anything away.

The other experiment I've got going on right now has to do with powdered milk. I was reading someone's blog. This guy hasn't used a fridge in over 30 years. I made a comment on his blog that there was no way I could give up a fridge because I have to have my cold milk. He said that "you CAN get used to using powdered milk". So, for the sake of giving it a shot, here goes nothing! Following some instruction he gave me, I mixed the first batch up tonight and I'll have it with breakfast in the morning. Wish me luck! Childhood memories of powdered milk don't sit so well with me so it will be interesting. Though two thing make me feel better about drinking it now than when I was a child. 1. Powdered milk tastes better the fresher it is...more than a year old is no longer good for drinking, only for cooking. Well, if memory serves me correctly, we had that Eureka milk for a long time before we started drinking it. and 2. The flavor is supposed to have gotten better in the last few years. I don't know if that's true or not but it gives me hope. So I'll let you know my verdict later.
When Adam's out of town, it's always time for food experimentation because I can eat just about anything I make.

Potato Peels & Turkey Skin

I don't remember where I read it but someone said that dogs like potato peels fried in chicken skin. I liked the idea since I don't consume either one and I had both from the turkey dinner with the Mendoza's. I ended up turing up the burner to high and adding some water to the peels & skin to bring out the fat and flavor of the skin. I boiled it until the water was nearly gone. I turned down the heat and took out the skin. Then I left the peels on the heat to evaporate more water. The dogs do like it but Jack will only eat it if it's heated up first. I put a couple cold peels in his breakfast bowl yesterday morning and he refused to eat it. He walked away from his bowl so he didn't eat anything until dinner time. I heated the peels up and he ate it just fine. Adam always tells me I should stop putting human food in their food bowls but he's always criticizing me for not heating up the human food I do give to them...go figure.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Security Deposit

Vicki just called me and said she was so happy with her house and how clean it was. Did she not see the few stains on the carpet near the front door? They were obvious to both me and Adam. Oh well. I felt good that she liked it.

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

Making Yeast

Well, I have finally started my thing for this month's challange. I have had a hard time deciding what to do. I had already had something picked up, and will do it another month but right now, it just isn't fesible since my stuff is lost in boxes. I finally decided that I will be making yeast. I was toying around with the idea but hadn't made up my mind until today.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


Valerie asked if she and the kids could come for a visit. We were, of course, glad to have them come. It gave me the motivation I needed to empty the trailer of the boxes. The couches and bed drawers are still in there though. I found my dishes and silverware the day they came but didn't have time to wash them until the day before they left. I had washed all the blankets but when getting ready for their arrival, I found the pillows but not the pillowcases and one of the air matresses I planned on letting them used needed a pump I didn't have so I started blowing it up by mouth but didn't get very far. They got here on Wednesday night, kind of late. The dogs were allowed in but were kept on leashes, tied to the railings while we played a board game. Luckily, they brought a couple of air mattresses and pillows and blankets so I wasn't in as bad a shape as I was fearing.

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!!

Thanks for coming guys! I really enjoyed your visit!

(These are the most in focus pictures I had of them playing.)

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