Monday, November 30, 2015

On Katie

Should I resurrect this thing? I wonder.

Norcal Katie has been posting some honest thoughts lately. It's making me wonder if I should not do the same.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

I seem to be spending a lot more time on twitter these days, than blogging.  Follow me at @_Ex_Astris_ if you're interested!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Garden Bounty and Nixtamalization

Two of the three sisters, beans and corn

Although it's only the first of August, I can feel the autumn approaching.  Now is the time of plenty in the garden: the garlic is harvested and curing, cucumbers are everywhere, blueberries coming ripe, tomatillos galore, tomatoes turning red on the vine, uncountable numbers of ground cherries, peppers red and hot, kale getting a second wind.  The greenhouse is pretty organized for the first time EVER, too.  I'm fast approaching that time of year that is my favorite: inside while storms rage beyond the walls, enjoying the saved bounty from the garden, and planning the next year's.

That corn, up there, is heirloom hopi blue corn.  This is the first year that I'll actually have a crop, since the deer have destroyed three previous years' worth. This year, though, I got smart: I built a fence around the raised bed that the corn (and beans, and squash: the Three Sisters) is in.  And the deer haven't made a dent.  Anyway, this year I planted a full 4'x12' bed with the Three Sisters, and there is a LOT of corn out there now.  What, you ask, am I going to do with the ~40 ears of corn that are maturing out there?

Why, I'm going to make corn flour.  This involves a fun technique called "nixtamalization".  Basically, it's as follows:
  1. Harvest the corn.  This is going to be interesting in and of itself, since I need to let the kernels dry on the cobs.
  2. Cook the kernels in limewater.  This loosens the outer hulls and makes the corn more digestible. 
  3. Rub the hulls off.  This results in hominy!  Yes, hominy, from which we make grits.
  4. Grind the kernels.  This results in masa, aka corn flour.
  5. Profit!
Now why on earth am I going to do this?  Because basically, I want to learn how it works, and the idea of making my own corn flour from corn that I grew organically, myself, really makes me smile.

That's one of the great things I've found about gardening, in general: there is always something new to learn, something new to try, and without fail it's satisfying.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Things they go, in cycles, you know

Tonight I had a bit of a laugh. I logged into, the "social" website for professionals looking to just maintain job connections and whatnot. It's now announcing "people you might know", just as I remember facebook used to. Who was the first person on the list? None other than the original female half of Kiss'n'Blog, back before she left (in 2006, maybe?). T, the male side, and A, the female side of that blog, were very kind to me back then, when I was in the turmoil of a difficult breakup. I used to frequent their blog all the time. Then she moved on, and he morphed it into his own vision, and we all kind of drifted into something new. It's little things like this that make me realize that it's time to move on again, from where I am. Becoming nostalgic is not a good thing.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I get email: The cliffnotes version of my journey is that I have been attempting to stave off a complete mental breakdown for the last few years. During my good days I am functioning but all too often my grip is tenuous and I am lucky to 'mark time' hoping no one will notice how checked out I am. What an odd coincidence that you retreat from FB because of the facade it requires. Indulging in that bizarre fantasy world is exactly what I crave ~ Fake it 'til you make it. FB is therapy in a way. Well, that and mind-numbing sudoku puzzles. That from someone I love dearly, and have been remiss keeping up with. I am taking steps to open up lines of help for her. I'm not certain what I'm doing anymore. Things did seem more certain when that girl and I were laughing at the world 20 years ago. Work, sleep, eat, work sleep eat, work sleep eat, work sleep eat work sleep eat. In other news, I've been following you all, despite what you may think. I'm a lurker supreme.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

It appears that blogger is forcing us to accept certain new conditions... so this blog will probably move soon. Film at 11.

Monday, June 25, 2012

On Friendship

I moved away from my hometown at an interesting age. I was 41. I didn't realize how established relationships/friendships are by that time, so here I am, five years later, without a social circle, which I've only just realized (for a variety of mundane reasons). How does one go about rebuilding a circle of friends at the age of 46?