Friday, September 30, 2011

Portlandia: Dream of the 90s is alive in Portland

I haven't smiled much this week, but this video gets me laughing every time. This is where I live and I love it! Let's end this week with a good belly laugh!

Welcome to Portland!

BTW, this video isn't too far off. Actually it's pretty spot-on!

Here's another one. If you need to add a special touch to something...just put a bird on it! The best part is around 1:10 in the video.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Life Fades Away - Roy Orbison

Popular topics around our house these days have been quantum physics, String Theory, M TheoryBig Bang (and the unknown flip side), conscious immortality, Steven Hawking, William James, Isaac Asimov (particularly "Earth is Room Enough") and "Hidden Connections" by Fritjof Capra. And "The Aleph" by Borges.

I guess we are just really trying to figure out what THIS is all about. I just can't satiate myself with the ponderance that we simply are born, live, and die. There has to be more. Not more like heaven, but more like immortality. Our energy existing and reexisting. Channelling the energy into something else. It's the something that is so illusive to me.

In the past if I couldn't find a channel for my energy, I picked up and set out looking for it -- that Aleph. That point of all meaning. Now, I'm where I need to be. No more nomadic searches. Now that I'm here, I just wonder. What next?

We were watching a show on OPB that raised the question, "is it possible that we only exist in others' reality when our realities bump into each other?" I've been thinking about that a lot lately. It feels possible to me. I've moved into and out of so many people's lives in my vagabonding years that I know there are people out there that exist. However, if my reality had never bumped into their reality, would they have ever really existed?

Do I still exist once my reality ceases to bump into yours?

Life Fades Away by Roy Orbison.

"I'm tired of tomorrow, lost for today, I long to be at peace forever..."

My time has come the clouds are calling.
December wind has came my way.
And now I feel the world falling.
All at once, it's too late.
Life fades away.

The night is my day.
All thoughts slip away
And even though, I must leave you.
Remember I love you.
I'll always be in your memories.
I will always be with you when I'm gone.

Hey, life fades away.
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,yeah.
Life fades away.

I'm tired of tomorrow, lost for today.
I long to be at peace forever.
My dull peace
and even though, I will miss you.
I must leave you.

Hey, life fades away.
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Life fades away.

So please forgive me and try not to cry.
I long to be at peace forever more.
Forever more.

Oh yeah, yeah , yeah ,yeah ,yeah.
Oh yeah, yeah ,yeah , yeah, yeah.
Life fades away.
Life fades away.
Life fades away. Away.

One last thing to say
Life fades away.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

There is no "Jiffy" in Nature

In preparation for our first winter planting, I decided to try the "Jiffy" method of starting the seeds. I planted three types of onions, broccoli, and cauliflower.

Here's the onions after 3 weeks:

When we plant seeds directly in the ground, they sprout after 5-7 days. These things were on week 3 and barely knee-high to a grasshopper!

So drastic measures had to be taken. Today I took the onion seeds that had sprouted and planted them in one of the vacant tires. Done.

Then, I decided to turn the soil in an unused spot in the big garden bed and plant a fresh round of onion seeds. Done.

The broccoli and cauliflower starts didn't do too bad. They sprouted in the Jiffy container about 10 days after planted but they were so wimpy! I planted them in another vacant spot in the big garden bed. Done. 

We'll see how this winter planting goes. I'm not too concerned about the yield. My main two reasons for wanting the winter garden are:

1. It will help keep the soil from leaching and draining off during the winter
2. I really like watching nature at work and it would be nice to have something to entertain me during the gray winter days.

The Jiffy pot experiment has just reinforced to me something that I am learning more and more everyday. There is no "Jiffy" in nature. Things will happen when they are supposed to happen. And, more importantly, who am I to dictate when the right time is?

Our ecosystem has been functioning without "Jiffy" methods for millions and millions of years. I think we should continue to let the expert, Nature, set the timeline.

Seeds will sprout when the time is right. Not a minute before and not a minute too late.

We just have to be patient and trust Mother Nature.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

NuArt: Oil pastel watercolor on paper

Here's a photo of my latest painting. It's oil pastel crayon watercolor on heavy paper. You can check out my process for this type of painting here.  

"Left Out" 

After finishing this one, I realized that this is the fourth painting I've done that features a dress. Not sure if that means anything significant, but I thought it was interesting.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Gettin Saucy

As Jason and I become more serious in our practice of sustainability, I've been trying to hone my canning skills and expand my recipe box.

Recently, I decided to try my hand at making tomato sauce and canning it. I definitely feel like I have transcended to another level in food preservation after this experience.

Here's some pictures of the process. Let's get saucy together!

Step 1: Collect all the ripe tomatoes from the garden, blanch them, then peel skins.

Step 2: Cook the tomatoes down. Since tomatoes are full of water, you don't need to add any liquid. Eventually the tomatoes will liquefy. You want to reduce the liquid by 1/3 to 1/2 to make sauce.

Note: I started cooking the tomatoes in the crock pot, by recommendation of a recipe, but ended up switching to a regular pot on the stove. Here's my rationale: in order to make tomato sauce, you need cook at least 1/3 of the water from your tomatoes. As we know, reduction is assisted greatly by taking the lid off while simmering. Well, when I took the lid off the crock pot, I lost the simmer. With the lid on, I kept the simmer, but also kept the water. Therefore, after several hours in the crock pot and no reduction happening, I dumped it all in a big pot on the stove and went from there. In the future, i will forego the slow cooker and go straight to the big pot.

Slow cooker

Big pot

Step 3: Begin water bath canning process.

I'm not even going to attempt to explain all that goes into getting those jars to the final "pop." I'll let the people at explain the canning process. They have a wonderful step by step tutorial with pictures that I used.

Step 4: Bask in the glory of 3 quarts of homegrown, homemade, home-canned tomato sauce!

Step 5: Kick back and have a cold beer because it took you 8 hours to achieve 3 quarts of tomato sauce!

Obviously, these are just the highlights of making tomato sauce -- I left out ALL the dishwashing involved and the ever-present fear of third degree burns. (note to self: wear galoshes next time to protect those little tootsies!)

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

So Many Dahlias!!

Jason and I went to the Swan Island Dahlia Festival last weekend and as promised, here are pictures.

Over 350 varieties!!!!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Swan Island Annual Dahlia Festival

This morning we are off to the Swan Island Dahlias: Annual Dahlia Festival to see over 350 types of Dahlias!

Swan Island Dahlias is the largest and leading dahlia grower in the United States. They are located in the town of Canby, in the rich soil of the Willamette Valley of Oregon. This is exactly the area that Jason and I dream of settling down on and starting our own farm -- microfarm -- homestead. The dream. Ahhhh.

(Swan Island Dahlia Farm)

We are going early so we can get lots of good pictures (hopefully without a bunch of people in them) so keep an eye out for Dahlia photos!!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Music in the Morning

Every now and then I take Jason to work in the morning so I can have the car (or just to get out of the house). Invariably, I hear a song on the radio that I haven't heard in years or maybe a song that I didn't like so much, but now it resonates.

Today was a situation of the latter. I re-heard "Hand in My Pocket" by Alanis Morissette after I dropped off Jason and it sounded good. I don't really care for Alanis but the song felt good. I turned it up and it made me smile. So here it is for your listening/viewing  pleasure. (I wish there was less Alanis and her giant mouth in this video, but oh well.)

I'm broke but I'm happy
I'm poor but I'm kind
I'm short but I'm healthy, yeah
I'm high but I'm grounded
I'm sane but I'm overwhelmed
I'm lost but I'm hopeful baby

What it all comes down to
Is that everything's gonna be fine fine fine
I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is giving a high five

I feel drunk but I'm sober
I'm young and I'm underpaid
I'm tired but I'm working, yeah
I care but I'm worthless
I'm here but I'm really gone
I'm wrong and I'm sorry baby

What it all comes down to
Is that everything's gonna be quite alright
I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is flicking a cigarette

What it all comes down to
Is that I haven't got it all figured out just yet
I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is giving the peace sign

I'm free but I'm focused
I'm green but I'm wise
I'm shy but I'm friendly baby
I'm sad but I'm laughing
I'm brave but I'm chicken shit
I'm sick but I'm pretty baby

And what it all boils down to
Is that no one's really got it figured out just yet
I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is playing the piano

What it all comes down to my friends
Is that everything's just fine fine fine
I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is hailing a taxicab...