Saturday, September 25, 2010

Museum Comes to Life

Had a busy, sunny morning at Museum Comes to Life. Ken and I dress in late 1800's clothing and I walk around with him while he plays violin. I contribute with the 'straws' on some tunes. We usually have Bill to play guitar, but he couldn't make it this year. So we wandered around, looking as much as contributing. Although at least five different people asked violin-related questions, so Ken was able to give out business cards. Always nice when people like the violin and he's able to say it's one he made :).

It got kinda hot by 1pm, and by that time Victoria, Brenda and Jasmine where there. So we adjourned to the Tablerock brew pub. I had their nice curried spinach salad again. Mmmm. Now we're home and I need to think about doing some chores rather than wasting time on FB.

I ordered my new laptop computer yesterday, from Best Buy. It should arrive next Friday. I'm looking forward to having a computer where everything works correctly and it doesn't take nearly 5 minutes to boot up. On the other hand, this faithful old Toshiba has been incredible. I think I'll actually miss it. I bought it in 2002, it's been most of the way round the world and back with me, and barely a problem. It was my lifeline to the outside world in Korea. It's got a few problems now - won't run Flash or Java, processes very slowly, I can rarely watch videos on You-Tube because they either don't run at all or go in stop-motion, and the springs on the lid have partially broken. Probably sooner rather than later the lid won't stay open any more or I'll run into a fatal software conflict and it'll crash.

So I set a budget, started shopping around, saved my pennies, and was finally able to order a new one. This one cost half of what the Toshiba did, but I tried to buy the most computer for the money that I could find. I'm hoping the new one will at least last four or five years, even if not eight. If I'd been able to spend more I would perhaps have bought something different. When I went into the store I immediately saw a new Toshiba with bigger and better everything - and it cost $300-400 more too! But there are other things we need to spend money on. So this new one will (I hope) be fine. I did way more research on it than with the Toshiba. Let's hope that doesn't jinx it! :)

Anyway, better get some chores done!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Blogging Anniversary

This evening I read back to my first blog post, Sept. 3, 2007. It was the day I had five lipoma removed from my forearms. We got home just before a thunderstorm blew through, and the high winds ripped part of the roof off our carport.

It's amazing to think I've been doing this for over three years already. Still seems like I just started. I'm not sure it's served any high purpose, but it's helped me let off steam, think out loud, record events I want to remember, and communicate with the few friends who I *think* may still read my blog to keep up on my news. At least I hope some of them still read it :).

One thing blogging's done that isn't so positive is it's made me a much poorer correspondent. I think I use up my letter-writing time and energy doing the blog. Which means fewer long emails to long-distance friends. Sorry gang.

One significant event for our local community happened today and yesterday. The Idaho National Guard unit here, the 116th Cav, left for overseas deployment. They'll be training for a bit, then going to Iraq. Most of the guys I've talked to are much more up for it this time. Part of that is the improved situation since their last time there in 2004-05, but another part is definitely economic (ie: it's full time work). Our thoughts are with them all.

The Equinox is on Thursday. Fall is definitely in the air.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fall Resolutions

Hubby and I went out for dinner this evening for our anniversary. Well, actually, first we went to Barnes & Noble because I wanted to buy a journal.

One of my Fall Resolutions is to get back into writing fiction again. Today I heard an interesting interview on To The Best of Our Knowledge, with Linda someone (can't recall her last name), a woman who gives writing workshops. The idea I liked was to think of a random word (more on that later), spend a few minutes thinking about the memories it brings. Then spend 8 minutes writing down everything you thought of.

The 8 minute limit makes me more likely to do this on a regular basis - which is intentional, I think. Another qualifier is you are actually *writing* things, with pen and paper. This limits editing or deleting as you write, like you might on a computer. The activity isn't meant for writing a finished story - it's for helping you access some of the interesting memories and stories already stored in your brain. It doesn't have to be perfect, or even complete. Then, hopefully, eventually one of those little memory nuggets will spark a full story, or even a novel.

In her workshops she has decks of cards with words on them that one can use. But I found a number of random word generators online. One I liked was at Coyote Cult, a creative writing site. Anyway, this might be a way to do an end-run around my laziness and those internal judges that say I can't do it.

My other Fall Resolution is to find a substitute exercise for Aikido. The mornings are dark enough now that I can't walk outside early enough to get a reasonable start on my work-day. There's a Tai Chi class at the local Rec Center, and I'm a member. So I'm going to look into that, and also see what other things they offer in the afternoons. I am sick of just dancing one night a week and then maybe getting to walk another couple mornings. I need MORE!

Anyway, back to our evening. We hung out at B&N for awhile, and I found a blank journal I liked. Then we went to Carino's for dinner. I had butternut squash ravioli with gorgonzola sauce on a bed of spinach, with toasted pecans and chopped tomatoes on top. It was amazing! Now I want a butternut squash to roast. Ken had a steak with veggies and roasted potatoes. That was good too. We were asking ourselves why we don't roast more root veg! :)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fifth Anniversary Today

We've made it through five years. Yea us! Of course it's going to be such a busy weekend we won't get to celebrate until Sunday. Victoria took some pictures of us as an Anniversary gift. This is one of them. I haven't seen them all but it's my fav so far.

At the risk of sounding like a Jane Austen heroine, our social season begins tomorrow, with the Boise Highland Games. In the evening The Bru plays at the local Contra dance. On Sept. 27th Scottish Country Dance classes start up again. And so the Fall-Winter whirlwind of activities begins.

The weather forecast says mid 70's all next week, with clouds and some chance of rain. In fact it's clouded over through this afternoon, although I'm not exactly thrilled about the idea of rain tomorrow. We'll be outside at the Games most of the day. At least I can wear my kilt instead of a white skirt, since I won't be dancing this time. So we're on our way into cooler Fall weather. Seems like I just put my winter clothes away a few months ago!

Picked two more big Virginia Sweet tomatoes today. They aren't perfect, but they should taste good. The Paul Robeson purple ones are just starting to ripen. I still have tons of green Legend on the plants. The scarlet runner beans are starting to take off at last, though I don't expect a big harvest at this point. But the sugar snap pea plant that has doggedly hung on all summer is coming into flower again. I picked three this morning. Wonder if I should plant a few more to see if they'll produce.

I love this time of year. We both do. It's why we got married in September. The days are cooler but still mostly sunny, the autumn colors are beautiful, and the nights get a nice chill. Plus there's all the funnest holidays of the year just around the corner. I'm looking forward to our weekend in Stanley in October. We'll either have gorgeous fall color or snow to hike in. Either will be fine with me.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Harvest Weekend

Another busy weekend. Saturday hubby and I went to the annual Art in the Park in Boise. It can be more crafty than artsy, but if you're organized you can get some Christmas shopping done. I wasn't that organized this year, unfortunately, although I went with good intentions. But I did get some nice smelly handmade soaps and the usual toffee nuts. Plus a gorgeous skirt from kali basi. that will probably be my dressy dance skirt for St. Andrews, and whatever other events I go to for the rest of the season.

After walking through all of the booths we went to Tablerock brewpub for lunch. I had a really nice spinach salad with a curry vinaigrette, and an amazing Belgian style ale called Stumbling Monk. At 8.4% alcohol level the name seems appropriate. But even if it had been 0% it tasted wonderful.

After that we went to the Co-op for a few things, including a couple bottles of the Italian prosecco we tried at the tasting last weekend. We were so tired after our day out walking around in the sun that all we could manage for dinner was the prosecco, some cheese, bread, and my first Virginia Sweet tomato from the garden.

Today we went out to the Sunnyslope fruit and wine growing area. Surprisingly, Williamsons Fruit was closed on Sundays. So we ended up at Robison and Symms. I got peaches, nectarines and Bartlett pears. It would have been fun to get enough to do canning, but we just never have time in the Fall. We only have one free weekend left until the end of October, with all the events we're doing. Next weekend we're dancing at the Boise Highland Games, and Ken's band is playing at the monthly Contradance that evening. The next weekend we're part of the costumed volunteers at the History Museum's "Museum Comes to Life" event.

Then the first weekend of October, The Bru is playing for a wedding out in Buhl. These people came to the Snake River winery dance I called for back in January, and they want to do the same thing. The weekend after that is Trailing of the Sheep in Hailey-Ketchum. We'll probably go on the Saturday, unless the weather persuades us differently. It will be the first time we've gone. It's always sounded like an interesting thing to do, we've just never made it. I think a lot of our dancing friends will be there as well, all for different reasons. One of my friends is hoping to compete in the wool hand-spun yarn events.

The weather has been great this fall. Warm sunny days and cold nights, but very dry. So I continue being diligent about watering. The raspberries are still producing, but I think they had their last big blast this week. They'll start to slow down now. The tomatoes are loaded with green fruit. I just keep hoping there's enough sun and heat to ripen some of them before it frosts. The swiss chard continues to do well, but the beans have been disappointing. I had a real problem with slugs and earwigs this year. And birds. And grasshoppers. Just an odd year altogether.

After things are completely finished I'm going to make a point of pulling it all out or cutting things well back, and then piling on a LOT of compost and manure for the winter. I think the soil out in the garden is somewhat depleted. A good clear-out this year might help with the pest population as well. Give the bad bugs fewer hiding places.

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Long Weekend

It's been a productive weekend. On Saturday we got some housecleaning and shopping done, I pulled some weeds, and we had a friend over for home-made pesto.

On Sunday my sister, niece Jasmine, Ken, Tachy and I went for a hike in the Owyhees near Reynolds Creek (see picture). We got home mid-afternoon, all wanting to take a nap. But instead we picked raspberries and made dinner.

Then today Ken and I reinforced the long chicken coop and nailed square-grid wire fencing on the bottom to keep out predators. We also finally did in the rooster. He's in the fridge now, waiting to become dinner later this week. My first experience with plucking a chicken. Messy, and I didn't really enjoy it, but I know how to do it now. And mornings will be a lot quieter around here until the other two suspects get old enough.

All the hens are now in the long coop. The oldest one, last survivor of the dog attack, is older and bigger than the other five, and she's suddenly quite a bully. She keeps chasing the other two smaller Wyandottes around the coop. A living demonstration of establishing pecking order :\. We're hoping things will settle down in the next few days. She doesn't pay any attention to the three Barred Rocks. This makes me worry even more that I may have ended up with two or three rooster chicks in the new batch. I guess we'll wait and see.

My first bulb order arrived just before the weekend - half a dozen saffron crocus bulbs. I planted them today. Supposedly they'll bloom later this fall, and I'll have two or three saffron stamens to harvest from each flower. You're supposed to take them right after the flower opens and dry them. So I'll have to keep an eye out! I still have two other parts of that order coming - a mix of violet, purple and ivory tulips, and a new baroque tulip called Rai. I sure hope those bloom. I'm very interested to see them.