Archive for July, 2009

Yogurt!

Friday, July 24th, 2009
Homemade Yogurt

Homemade Yogurt

I’ve been a huge fan of yogurt for many years. So much you can do with it. That little parfait is probably my favorite breakfast: plain yogurt w/fresh fruit & granola.

But it took cousin S to remind me that making my own yogurt isn’t really rocket science, especially now that I have a gas range w/a pilot light.

Reasons to make my own:

  • It costs about 1/2 as much
  • No plastic containers piling up
  • It’s kind of fun in a Little House/Waltons kind of way

I googled for instructions, and then kind of went my own way, as per usual.

  1. I heated a qt of organic milk + 1/3 C dry instant milk to 150 degrees in a very clean saucepan.
  2. While it was heating, I took out a 1/2 C of good commercial organic yogurt (Stony Field) and put it in a bowl to warm up a little.
  3. Cooled the saucepan of milk back down to 110 degrees.
  4. Stirred about 1/2 C of the 110 degree milk into the little bowl of yogurt, to warm it up.
  5. Stirred the little bowl of yogurt into the saucepan of milk.
  6. Poured the saucepan into a sterilized canning jar & popped it into the oven overnight.
  7. That’s it!

So I’m feeling very farmgirl-ish today. The granola was made here, the raspberries are from here, and after breakfast, I pinned a load of clothes out on the line. Surest way I know to bring rain…

TV for nomads

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Traveling around as much as I do, I can take my laptop, but dragging around a tv is out of the question.

The best alternative (for me) is the one suggested by Javantea. It’s a little USB stick that hooks up to your computer on one end and then cable (if you have it) or a little antenna if you don’t. In my former apt, I had cable, but here, I use the antenna. I only get one station (PBS) but I’m in a very small town.

The most impressive part of this little gadget is that it also turns your computer into a digital tv recorder (basically, a tivo.) So you can set it to record shows & play them back at your convenience. Very cool, and I was able to hook it up to my Vista notebook with no hassle at all. (Caution- be sure to note which USB port you install it on, and always attach it to that specific port.)

Then there’s Hulu. Not a huge selection, but I’m sure that’ll improve. It’s free, and there are less commercials than regular tv.

Netflix has a streaming program, so that you can download directly to your computer, as well as having DVDs sent by mail.

Don’t forget about youtube, either. They have clips from old tv shows that are really fun: Get Smart, Fawlty Towers, Green Acres & Space Ghost Coast to Coast, among others.

Let me know if there’s anything out there that I’ve missed…

So… I bought a cottage

Friday, July 17th, 2009
My little cottage

My little cottage

Yes, it’s about 6 inches tall. But I found it interesting that that’s what caught my eye, as I was going thru a HUGE antique mall in Hancock, MD.

In fact, it’s pretty interesting or slightly puzzling, (or maybe flat-out bizarre)  that I’m going to all these swap meets, flea markets, antique malls. And I know better than anybody that I already have too much stuff & shipping it all over the planet can really start to add up. So mostly, I only buy things that are consumable (horchata!) But this little cottage-bank just really spoke to me.

Another anomaly: I’m SOOO excited about the Shenandoah Crawl. I’ve been to it twice now, but this time I’m really going to do it right. I have instructions! It’s an almost continuous yard sale that stretches all the way down Rt 11.

(I guess I have my own “high holy days”: MaryJane’s Farm Tour, the Barter Fair in Tonasket and now the Crawl.)

The other things that I’ve bought recently are equally odd. My PT wardrobe is not working too well in sticky VA summertime, so I’m filling in from flea markets (need to get a naked lady party going here…) At any rate, in the last wk, I’ve bought 3 cotton shirts… and they’re all pink! <insert twilight zone music> Maybe my VA personality wears pink instead of garnet? Will I next start drinking mint juleps on the screen porch instead of americanos on the ferry? Y’all stay tuned…

Berkeley Springs, WV

Thursday, July 16th, 2009
Berkeley Springs stree scene

Berkeley Springs street scene

Wednesday, the mater & I decided to run away. The noise & fumes from the desecration across the road was getting on our last nerves. So we packed up Max & headed for Berkeley Springs, WV– just about an hour away.

Berkeley Springs is one of my favorite places. It’s definitely an artsy little town, with that artistic/new age vibe (and a really good coffee shop!) If they didn’t get snow in the winter, I’d definitely consider it. But Wednesday was absolutely beautiful. Hot, but not humid. It was also interesting that on a wkday it was really pretty bustling. Looks like people are taking vacations closer to home this yr, which is great for the merchants there.

So we had a nice trip over, had a couple americanos & then took a jaunt to Hancock, MD, where there’s a huge antique mall. On our way there, we found a thrift shop called “Loaves & Fishes” (cool, yes?) and picked up some excellent bargains, including an authorized copy of a Giotto of St Francis feeding birds- for $10.

Anyway, by the time we got back to Berkeley Springs, it was lunchtime, so we ate at Tari’s, as per usual. Tari herself waited on us, and was just the most welcoming presence. Isn’t it interesting how certain people just feel like friends right off the bat? And found out Tari’s also rents rooms… note to self.

Later in the season, we plan to go over & take the baths, get massages & do the whole thing. Berkeley Springs has been a spa since colonial times, and George Washington (among others) took the waters there.

A really fun, relaxing day… and we needed one.