Sunday, August 18, 2013

Wiling the Time Away

Until I can resume running, I have about 10 hours a week to dedicate to other pursuits, or mischief, whatever you want to call it.

Firstly, the ortho boot needed some retrofitting to fit my life.

Waterproofing, manure-proofing.

Hiking crampons

Last week, my new dehydrator arrived and it's been running ever since.



My idea is to cut back on my sugar intake by reducing the amount of jams I make with my harvested fruit and to retain more nutrients in the vegetables by drying versus canning.  Added bonus:  less storage space required in pantry and freezer.

Grape and muscadine harvest

Pocahontas would be proud of my foraging skills.  I picked 5 gallons of wild grapes and muscadines at an abandoned property.  I only ate about a gallon's worth during the THREE HOURS it took to separate the tiny grapes from their stems.  Nevermore shall I waste a single raisin!  My grapes are now in the dehydrator and should be ready by Monday morning.  At approx. $2.50 of electricity/ 24 hrs use, the dehydrator will soon pay for itself.

The kitchen's been a happening place lately.  I've been on a pesto making, pesto eating frenzy.  The bounty of basil has helped yield about 3 gallons of pesto.  I would have made more but I used up the last of my garlic stash.  Unless I break down and buy more, my next harvest of garlic won't be until next year.  I'll cave -- life is meaningless without pesto.  A friend gave me 2 lbs of pistachios from CA that I gleefully substituted for pecans (which ran out a couple months ago).  I happened to look at the price of organic pesto at Earth Fare the other day.  6 oz for $5.  A 3 gallon fortune of pesto sits in my freezer!

Week two of giving up caffeine.  Mostly gone off without a hitch.  Strangely, I don't miss the coffee.  The decaf is just as satisfying.  I'm definitely less agitated, almost zen-like.  I still drive mostly +20 mph faster than the speed limits, but I no longer gesticulate madly at people hogging the passing lane.
Giving up on chocolate has been harder.  Chocolate milk is my ambrosia.
Never say die.  I've been experimenting with recipes using carob powder.  Conclusion:  it ain't chocolate, but if you add enough honey anything tastes good.
Carob malt balls are pretty good though:

Deceiving little orb

Take one insipid briefcase...

$1 thrift store find

And convert into Cole's Portable Dehydration Monitor:

 I prehydrate before long runs, alas Cole doesn't understand the concept of tanking up before we take off.  I'm especially concerned about the heat and low humidities out West.  A 2% drop in weight loss would indicate that he's close to becoming moderately dehydrated.  Secret agent 44 (my Dad) will be toting the briefcase as he crews the ultramarathon for Cole and I in Utah this Fall.  If only I could convince him to wear a suit and tie!  The case has a plywood bottom, so I can stand in the case on uneven ground and a calculator for those tricky calculations.

Final note:  the lotus water gardens have new residents. 

Chorus frog
 I love my amphibians.  When I use my trimmer around all the flower beds, I proceed very slowly.  (If I had been doing this on my old landscaping crew, I would have fired myself!) But, being more careful means that I can relocate any toads, spring peepers, tree frogs and skinks that I might otherwise injure.  It ruins my day to have to put one out of it's misery if I catch it with the trimmer line.  We all have our weaknesses.