whattcha been up to?

so you've probably been noticing that i've been kinda callin' it in for the last two weeks. let me give you an abridged version of what's been going on.

•my vegetable garden has been crapping the bed. it never really took off this year, mostly because of our wet and cool summer. my eggplants are only now starting to really set fruit and the tomatoes all "caught the blight". the flowers haven't really fared much better. it's most obvious with the sage and snapdragons. everything just stayed pretty small and hasn't been very spectacular. it's not a total failure as any gardener knows, because this year's failures have taught me many lessons for future gardens.

•i've been recently obsessed with cooking with eggs. it started with this article from the kitchn, then it just took on a life of it's own. frittatas, carbonaras (sans bacon), etc.

•i picked up working on my family tree. i added a little more than a hundred people, bringing the total tree to more than one thousand people. a few years back i got stuck and had given up the researching. recently, i found an error in my tree around 1800 which had caused the problem. my great (x4) grandfather, edward had three wives (a double widower) and i had listed the wrong wife in my tree. fixing this has brought me back to the 16th century, which is where i'm stuck again.

•hosting a garage sale is a great way to people watch. especially since the people come right to your house.

•i am particularly finicky about jewelery, but recently found a very awesome beach glass "cairn" necklace on etsy. it was hand made by sarah schneider in california. you can see her work here.

•we FINALLY got to bring home our new "child", louie blu yesterday. he's adjusting pretty well; especially since he's never met a dog before. it will be a few weeks for everyone to find their niches but it will all work out.
here is a gratuitous kitty shot:

two more weeks?!

the little guy with the blue collar will be coming home with us at the end of august!

no rain.

we spent a perfectly relaxing, rain-free couple days at inman pond. i can't remember the last time i slept in a tent without the rain fly on, let alone been able to remain mud free for days!

it was a perfect choice for a stress free, no-brainer backpack. the trailhead is 30 minutes drive from our front door and within one hour's packing, we were making camp. from there, it was just lazing in the sun, watching nature, reading books, drinking red wine and enjoying the silence.
adam said it best when he declared, "if this doesn't clear your space, i don't know what will".

we tested out our meal dehydration skills, to good results. why i have never considered bringing hummus mix or tortillas backpacking is a mystery. it's so much cheaper, and in most cases, more delicious to make your own backpacking food! now i have to work to "perfect" some basic recipes. i see less salty, more healthy backpacking meals in my future!

i was surprised at how few people we encountered during the three days we were there. my suspicion is that it's a "locals" haunt. there were four groups of day hikers and no overnight visitors, which meant we had the place to ourselves each night. what a gift!


it happens that we had some bananas left over from our camping trip to putnam pond.
(at the campsite we had made "banana smores". bananas, stuffed in their peel with chocolate & marshmallows, wrapped in foil then thrown right in the campfire for about 15 minutes. YUM!)
what to do? make banana bread!

whole wheat banana bread with chocolate chips

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, beaten
2-3 medium over-ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup chocolate chips

•preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit. lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

•in a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice and salt. in a another bowl, cream together butter, vanilla extract and brown sugar. stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. just barely stir banana mixture into flour mixture; do NOT overmix. put batter into pan.

•bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.

a digression.

recently, there's been increased MSM coverage of health care reform, or "obamacare" for the conservatively bent. the crappy state of the US health care system has been a concern of mine long before obama's election and i bristle at the mention that i have just jumped on the bandwagon and "drank the obama kool-aid". many folks have been advocating for reform, more specifically a single payer or *gasp* a federal health care system long before the elections even started. the truth is, obama isn't even advocating for single payer, which is a big disappointment to me.
those who are so defensively against this type of reform must have stable jobs, decent incomes and have never been seriously ill and denied coverage. with fifty million uninsured people in our country there is an undeniable problem. beyond that, just having insurance in the US doesn't mean that your serious ailment will be covered when you really need care. what if you lose your job? or what if you have a crappy job that you "have" to keep to maintain your (likely minimal) health insurance?
the for-profit health care system favors the insurance and pharmaceutical companies who are trying to increase their dividends, not the health and well-being of people. our current system doesn't promote preventive care, only illness treatment. i know many with insurance who skip annual visits because they can't afford the co-pays or are afraid of needing follow up appointments, only to end up at with a more urgent issue later.
i'm fed up with all the myths and mis-truths about what a single payer health care system will bring. if it's gotten to the point that protesters are hanging effigies of health care reform advocates, then this has become yet another issue with which you can announce your political affiliations. unfortunately, this reform should be about the health of humans and not about politics. can we really afford to do nothing and what will be the result if we remain scared of change?