M86: Miscellaneous

Today is starting with me feeling way behind. Forgive me for giving this short shrift. I am going to share a few highlights now. I hope I can update with more and better bloggery.

meals on wheels
Yesterday the solar oven I'd ordered came. By the time I unpacked the huge box, gave the booklet a cursory read and mixed up a couple of practice meals it was 1:30 in the afternoon. My new black enamel pots were filled with beans, lentils, rice and lots of other goodies. This kind of fare was supposed to take 2-3 hours. Well, this first day was a true science project. A neighbor and I kept moving the oven to new locations to capture the moving sun. I only had 3 hours of sun and it kept getting shady, so the pots never boiled - so to speak.

Today I decided to set it on top of one of my old oil barrels on wheels. Yes, now I can move it around to follow the sun. I even added the optional reflector wing things. But, I am not hopeful because the sun has gone behind the clouds for the last two hours. Aaargh. But, I still think 'meals on wheels' is a funny line.

my mom's tip
I am always really pleased to get a letter from my 84 year old mother. It is work for her to 'keep up' (her term) with my letters. When she actually responds to a question or enquiry I am particularly pleased. Today was good little pile of clippings, photos, images and notes. Among all of these was a great, natural stain removal tip via Heloise. I wrote before about my mother being a Heloise fan in my youth. Anyway, this is the tip:

Homemade Pre-wash
Mix equal parts of water, household amonioa and dishwashing liquid and put the mixture into a spray bottle. Apply directly to the stain. Wash the garment immediatly after applying. Remember to treat the stain as soon as you see it, and don't dry the fabric until you're sure the stain is gone.

manual washing machine
Also receiving my WonderWash this week means I will be using it today to wash my very first load. For the first time since the beginning of December I may run out of cloth wipes. Oh noes. Air drying would also be helped by a shining sun. The afternoon is half over and its looking pretty gray. I may have to use my folding rack to dry inside.

make-a-plan garden layout
I measured the community area of our mobile home park yesterday. The next step is to get it drawn up and then go back to locate existing plantings, trees, buses. Once I have all of that information I can print it up for us to use as a planning tool for our garden. I am not moving forward on this as quickly as planned. I have had a lot more interactions with people and letter writing time than I'd planned. Maybe tomorrow . . .

money versus magic
Let me just say that these gifts to myself are a real treat. I wrote about both the solar oven and the washer right after I started this blog (around Thanksgiving). I would have preferred purchasing in 2007, but I couldn't find the money. I am not sure why I waited until April, possibly waiting for magic. It seems magical that so many good things seem to happen without consciously budgeting, spending. In this case, not so much.

First load of clothes went really well, except . . . I wondered where the directions were and had to look online. When I was done washing I found the directions in a million little pieces of wet, lint-like fibers all over my load. Great. Next, I had another mishap that started well on Monday. I started soaking a cup of dry chickpeas, let them soak for more than 30 hrs and then put them in the crock pot for another day. I turned off the crock Wed night and put the pan into refrigerator until morning. Thursday afternoon I strained the chickpeas and put them in the food processor with the lemon juice, tahini, garlic and seasoning. After adding the chickpea liquid and some olive oil and letting the processer do its thing, it looked weird. (Aside: I am in the meantime setting up the big solar oven science fair exhibit in my driveway.)

I tasted the wannabe hummus. GAK! The stuff was raw! Either the crock pot is ready to die or I accidentally had it on low. Then I decided to throw this crunchy puree back into the crock pot. I let it cook with several cups of the chickpea liquid all night long. By this morning it was a vile, steaming mass of darkened, crunchy hummus. Absolutely delicious treat for my worms (once I let it cool) and a monstrous concoction for me. It has been awhile (christmas baking 2006) since I have had this big of a culinary flop. I just couldn't salvage this cup of dried beans.

It is gray and chilly so my solar oven cooking has become my third mishap for this day. I brought the pots inside and I am finishing the barley, mushroom dish on my little craptastic electric hot plate. (Note: February's mishap was the death of my induction cook plate. I am still mourning.)


Raw Food Diva said...

ps on the subject of beans did you see my blog on your bean of choice?
you could have gotten the bad beans!
Not sure if you used the organic ones or not but my experiment told me I should.

lavonne said...

I've been thinking of getting a Wonder washer but wringing the clothes out by hand does not appeal. How do you wring them out?

Btw, just found your blog through Path to Freedom. I live in San Diego. Sounds like you're not far from here? I'd love to see more of your trailer park!

katecontinued said...

You hit upon the one factor that kept me from buying the thing initially. My first load was cloth wipes, so the wringing was minimal.

I am thinking I will try not to stress too much. I think I might make it a regular part of this to use a huge towel (bath sheet) or two each time to absorb most of the wetness. The wet towel can be hung to dry along with the wet clothing.

We shall see. Oh, and I will be posting pictures of the park on occasion - not to worry.

lavonne said...

Well, if I do get a Wonder washer, I'll probably also buy a janitorial bucket with wringer. That should work. My hands aren't as strong as they used to be.

Great blog!

katecontinued said...

Thanks, lavonne, the praise is appreciated. That is a brilliant idea. I read somewhere that there was a dryer version of this wonder wash, but your idea is a good one. I wish I had the wringer my mother-in-law used 30 years ago (it was really rare then). It would be perfect.

My hands have lost a lot of strength and can really start screaming at me when I do too much. I think I will use the towel and walk on it for now. Please let me know if you do end up getting the wonder wash and the janitor wringer.