sillygoosegirl: (Default)
Home made laundry soap is even easier with a food processor. This, a great idea from Josh.

Before, I grated the soap (which is pretty easy, it's really soft). Today I sliced the bar of soap twice long ways and 4 times short ways then dropped it in the food processor with the borax (1/2 cup) and washing soda (1 cup). Let it run for a few minutes to get a nice fine powder. Could hardly be easier...

However, I did have to cut the project slightly short (3 bars of soap worth instead of 4) when I ran out of washing soda. It's still like a 6 month supply or something.

All my work last weekend really paid off. It's noon on Saturday and the house is already nice and tidy. The laundry is already done (including some hand wash stuff that's been waiting for months). The kitchen is clean. Josh vacuumed. I even put in an hour and a half of work work this morning. So I have this whole weekend laid out ahead of me, and no idea what to do with it. Plus, I don't feel like I want to crawl under a rock and hide until I feel happier. This hasn't happened in, like, ages.

I think maybe I'll sit outside and do some reading. Plus, play with the new firmware on my camera. Anyone (Jen???) have suggestions of software to use on my new RAW format photos? I'm excited to now be shooting in RAW mode... but I no longer have access to all the code I wrote at work at NG to process 12-bit color images. Plus, I don't own Matlab or have it at work anymore... (I still can't quite believe how sad about that I am). I miss that job and I miss Lisa.
sillygoosegirl: (Default)
I ran across this the other day.  It is a long but good read. 

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/12/magazine/12policy-t.html?em  (This one does not seem to require sign in.)

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/12/magazine/12policy-t.html?partner=permalink&exprod=permalink (Same article, but this link is theoretically permanent--seems to require login though.)

Tofu

Jun. 3rd, 2008 08:53 pm
sillygoosegirl: (Default)
I just rendered 2 lbs of tofu for later use. Pressed it, cubed it, and froze it. According to "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian" it is good that way. Apparently, since the water expands when it freezes, it forces itself out of the tofu and you get, like, super-pressed tofu. We shall see. Also, it seems actually pretty good plain and raw. I have not had plain and raw tofu since my mom was on her tofu kick sometime well before I was in high school. I remember not liking it plain and raw at the time, but the little bits that broke off today and I ate were pretty good. Maybe my tastes have changed. Or maybe the difference could be buying the expensive ($2/lb) organic tofu. And for a final thought on tofu of the day, I have always known that you are supposed to press* tofu before cooking it to get the water out. I assumed I learned this from my mom, but when I was on the phone with her over the weekend and asked her if she had ever tried freezing tofu to get super-pressed tofu, she claimed to have never heard of pressing tofu. So perhaps I learned the pressing thing from William (the vegetarian man next door who was like another father to me). I should call him at some point and see what he thinks of freezing tofu.

* Press as in with a paper towel, like you might do with bacon--though I have sworn off paper towels and used a linen towel instead.
sillygoosegirl: (Default)
Has anyone seen any flying pigs lately?

I know they are around here someplace... )

Compost

Mar. 26th, 2008 05:36 pm
sillygoosegirl: (Photo - Watkin's Glen)
The are precious few signs of worms or compost in my compost... but if I don't miss my guess, the 4 little green things poking their heads up out of it are volunteer butternut squash plants.

Score!
sillygoosegirl: (Default)
Mamadorf gave us a nice little compost pail for Christmas. She said the guy who sold it to her said we could just compost right in it, no need form worms or anything. Okay, so we tried that. It's got a little filter so that it wont stink up the kitchen, and we put in some "brown" materials and microbe starter stuff. But it was getting full, with some serious mold action, but with no other signs of decomposition.

So I asked my mom to send us some worms. I decided that I'd use one of my planters (long trough shaped) as a worm bin. You can often dig up your own worms during the summer, but they all die in the winter, so that's why I had her spend me some out of her indoor bin. She sent them overnight mail, but I forgot to check the doorstep after getting home from the grocery store, so we didn't find them until this afternoon when Josh went out to put some stuff in the mailbox (including Rachel's Quiddler instructions). Amazingly enough, there were some signs of life, so I got some bedding ready in the planter and added the worms and some dirt.

Next step, put some compost from the pail into the worm bin. I knew this might be a little nasty, I was prepared for that. But I hadn't thought of how liquid might come out. When I got a little liquid, I decided that the worm bin didn't need any extra liquid and to take the liquid outside and put it where I will be planting in a little bit. Sounds okay, right. I pured liquid off until I thought I was going to hurl. I think there might still be more liquid in there, but I haven't worked up the courage to do anything else with it yet.

I'm wondering, given the smell, if I really want to put any of this already started compost in the worm bin. I'm afraid the garage is too cold for the worms, and if it's going to smell that bad initially, until the worms multiply and eat it up, I certainly don't want it in the house. Ugh.

However, I'm concerned about the worms having enough to eat initially. They've just had a hard cross country trip, and now they are in a bin with nothing but dirt and newspaper shreddings.
sillygoosegirl: (Default)
I've been reading in "Earth in the Balance" about genetic diversity and agriculture. This book is 15 years old, but it is raising some important issues I've never even heard about before. For that reason, I am sorely tempted to transcribe, scan, or photograph the section to share with you guys. Because it sounds like important stuff, and because I know a lot of people on my friends page are knowledgeable on related topics and might have interesting things to say about it. But I wont be doing that at work.

In the mean time, I'm wondering what you can tell me about the genetic engineering of crops controversy. I mean, I know there is controversy, but I've never really understood why. I always figured it was fear of creating the next kudzu, scotch broom, or Himalayan blackberry and accidentally releasing it into the wild... which is certainly a legitimate concern, but hardly more legitimate with genetically engineered plants than with crops we simply transport from one corner of the Earth to another. But now I'm beginning to think there may be a lot more to the concern over genetically engineered crops, and am hoping someone in LJ-land could shed a little more light on it for me...

And relatedly, I've got to figure out how to send a letter to Al Gore. I want to encourage him to make an updated edition of "Earth in the Balance."
sillygoosegirl: (Default)
I often wonder how different America, and the world, would be right now if Al Gore had been elected won the election in 2000. I finally got around to watching "An Inconvenient Truth" in December, and currently I am reading "Earth in the Balance," not that I wasn't plenty worried about the issue before. I think of the section about Easter Island in "Collapse" regularly, and the illustration it gives of our dependency on a healthy environment. For those of you who haven't read it, a 1 sentence synopsis of Easter Island is that Easter Island supported a large and prosperous civilization, but they depended heavily on the large palm trees for building many things including their sea-worthy canoes (deep water fishing making an important part of the food source) and the fertility of the soil to grow crops, so after they used the trees to extinction and their top soil became depleted, they were trapped on an island which could no longer support their population. The Earth is a much bigger and more complex system than Easter Island, but it is itself an island. We have no where else to go. And this is increasingly relevant as we are increasingly able to affect the environment on a global scale. If we screw up and don't take proper care of Her before it is too late, we could find ourselves in pretty much the same situation as the Easter Islanders.

So many of the other issues facing our society seem so trivial to me when compared with the climate crisis. 9/11, the war in Iraq, even the rising cost of health care, the gap between rich and poor, education, and a woman's right to choose--what do any of those issues really matter if we can't leave a healthy environment to our children and grand children? I wonder how different the world would be today if we had spent the last 6 years concentrating as a nation on things that actually matter... instead of fighting a pointless war half way around the globe.
sillygoosegirl: (Default)
Anti-bacterial soap is anti-bacterial because it has antibiotics in it. Is this correct?

If so, why the hell didn't anyone tell me this before? Why the hell doesn't everyone know?

I always thought it just had nasty chemicals in it. Like bleach or something.

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