Good News/ Bad News

September2

I have good news and I have bad news.

The good news is that I have been kept busy by my two lovely munchkins and the projects we have been working on.  I have been documenting our adventures with stories and pictures.

The bad news is that we have been so busy that when I get to the end of a fun-filled day, I never have time to blog.  So, though I literally have THOUSANDS of photos to share of what we have been up to, I don’t have the time or energy to process them all right now.  Bear with me as the blogging gets scant while I edit photos and get ready to post some adventures.  I apologize if it gets overwhelming sometimes, I will try to space it all out and then return to our regular programming.

After all, summer is almost over and Iwill have plenty of time inside on the computer avoiding the rain!

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Feed Settings Fixed

May12

It was brought to my attention that the feed settings for the blog were not working correctly. If you want to grab the feed, you can do so now because the problem has been fixed.

Thanks for your patience while I work out the quirks of this new (but much improved) blog setup.

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Iron Chef Update

September8

We have rescheduled the Iron Chef nights for the 26th of September at 6:00 at night.

See you then!

First Ever Iron Chef Night!

September8

Hello Friends and Chefs!

Now that the busy summer is starting to pass us by, it’s time to cook up some fun of our own! Iron Chef Nights are going to be starting up, and you are invited to join in the fun! Iron Chef nights are a mutation of the old “Tuesay Nigh Dinners” with a bit of a competive and fun twist.

The first Iron Chef Night is going to be next Friday, September 19th starting at 6:00 pm. We are going to hold it at our house (Jared and Chris’) in Carlton.

Here are some guidelines and tidbits:

· This first night is going to be a pilot night and everyone that attends can join in and have their say about how to hold future events. We hope to do them either every fortnight or every month depending on how people that attend feel.

· The theme for the first night is going to be “Summer Eats” bring anything you think that reminds you of summer. I’m going to make leg of lamb, lemon potatoes and angel food cake with strawberries and whipped cream (that’s a lot of food, you only need to bring one dish).

Here is some information about the Iron Chef Night idea:

· Anyone and everyone is invited to attend and join in the fun. I have personally intived people that were a part of Tuesday Night Dinners as well as some additional friends. If you think of someone that I may have missed, feel free to send an invitation on. This is meant to be a fun gathering of friends. Please do email me if you plan to attend the first night.

· Every week will have a “secret ingredient” that will either be selected by the “chairman” (a position not yet appointed) or by the group by vote.

· This is being done potluck style. When you cook, bring enough for yourself to eat (two or more people can cook together, as long as they bring enough for themselves to eat). That way, if everyone brings enough to eat themselves, everyone will get enough to eat.

· A silent vote will be collected after the meal to determine the “winner” of the week’s cooking maybe we could do a prize or let that person select the next secret ingredient (see, it’s still all in flux).

· It is very likely that this gathering could get bigger than being able to sit an eat around a table, so plan to eat on couches or maybe even sitting on the floor, this isn’t a formal thing after all. This first week, we have a deck we can put sitting devices on and eat out there (before it gets cold).

· If someone wants to bring wine or juice or something to make italian sodas, I don’t think anyone would object J

· It is possible that we could get in on playing games like Mafia afterwards.

· In the future, it could be possible to assign deserts, main meals, side dishes and beverages to people who plan to attend to ensure that the meal ends up balanced.

· Bring a copy of the recipe you used for the dish you made so that anyone can copy it if they want to. We can all expand our cooking knowledge this way!

· If anyone is interested in being the chairman, let me know. I will hold the role for now, but the idea would be to make a video or something with the secret ingredient and maybe organize or assign what dishes will be made by whom. They would be able to come without making anything or maybe bring the drinks.

Children are welcome just make sure you bring enough food to feed anyone that comes along.

Please do come! We are going to have a lot of fun, and we want to get together and become better cooks!

Me? Interested in farming? Never!!

September3

I noticed myself today, when I was discussing a computer job, mentioning that my wife was really into “the farming thing” right now. But there’s a bit of a falsehood in that, a misleading piece of data that I hadn’t realized until today. It’s not just my wife. I’m totally into getting her a farm. And yes I think she’s a bit nuts at times, but I think having a little farm would be great. I’m thoroughly impressed with the amount of food her little garden is pumping out and I don’t even mind caring for the animals too much. And I think having a little farm will be really good for Daphne and all future children. They’ll have plenty of space to run around and do things and they’ll grow up able to do some physical work.

So I guess I should say “we are into the farming thing”. I don’t know that I’m willing to take that much responsibility for it just yet, but I’ll work on it. Who knows? Maybe soon it’ll be farmer Jared :)

Pay it Forward

August8

My previous rant about slavery was supposted to be a post about paying it forward (as you can tell from the first sentence).  However, my fingers often get away with me and I make random and general musing about things that I never intended to visit in that blogging session.  Here I go again.

Paying it forward is a concept that is not new.  It is a concept that has the potential to do so much good from one act.

I was talking to Scott (goat farmer) a few weeks ago about our situation.  You see, because we live on a city plot in the middle of the city, we have no space for a goat (and the city has ordinances against it [damn them]).  My only other alternative was to find a local farm who would board my goat in exchange for help on the farm.  This is NOT an easy thing to do.  It took me almost 2 years to figure out how I was going to do it after asking many, many people if they were interested.  It turns out that this is not something that people do often.

Early this year, in my neverending quest, I sent an email to Scott asking him if he was interested in my proposition.  He said that he was, and we set up to meet.  The rest, really is history.  My goat, Milk Way has been up at his place ever since.

When we were talking a few weeks ago, he told me all about his experiences living in the city.  He likes to keep bees, and he attempted to do it in the middle of the city.  Not only is that something that is not allowed, it is something that is not easy to hide!  I applaud him for attempted it.

However, he had arranged something with a local farmer to keep bees at their farm.  The agreement was a little looser than the one that I have with Scott now because bees are pretty self sustaining (they don’t need hay and grain and milking every day).

He said that had it not been for that, that experience that I would not have my goat at his place.  He considers that he is paying back a debt to karma, and that the debt is now on my shoulders.

Truthfully, I LOVE having the debt.  I can’t help but dream of all the amazing things that I could do with some land of my own.  I can’t come up with enough pay it forward type activities.

I was reading a blog recently that asked everyone to go out and do something positive and report back how it felt.  One person noted in their reply that they have some land that they have donated out to people to rent so that they can grow their own food if they are in a situation that they can’t gardern on their own.  I thought that was a brilliant idea.

When we have some land of our own, why not have a program that allows a limited amount of people keep gardens or animals at our place in exchange for help around the farm.  It’s a win-win-win situation.  I will be passing my debt to karma on while doing some genuniely good things.

In truth, the friendship I have with Scott is very special to me because we understand eachother’s obsessive love of all things caprine which we share with eachother openly.  It was incredibly generous of him to consider opening up his land to us so that I could pusure my own little farming adventure.

We Didn’t End Slavery in America, We Just Exported it

August8

The concept of paying it forward is not a new one.  I also believe that it is a concept that comes with local and sustainable living.

When goods and services are coming from far away, you don’t always meet the personalities involved, and no matter how “individual” a big company claims to treat you, it just is not the same as being serviced by a mom and pop shop.  I am not trying to be cynnical, but the cashier at Mcdonals or Macys doesn’t know your name unless you are a devoted regular.  Sure, getting things locally from a mom and pop shop may be more expensive, but maybe that is the way it was meant to be.  If someone is growing food on their local farm or spinning yarn for me to knit with, they should be paid for their services and their effort.  After all, that person selling me something is only looking to make a living themselves, just as we are.  I appreciate that these people are not working on massive scales purely driven by money.  It costs more to produce less in this world.  Consider the next time you have a chance to buy yarn from a local spinner rather than at Walmart what it is that you are supporting.

I got a very powerful message the other day from listening to the radio.  The host was talking about the production of goods in China.  China makes EVERYTHING, and he was talking about people who boycott goods from China.  I wouldn’t last 24 hours without something from China.  The biggest culprit is the little snaps that I put on diapers.  The machine I have that puts them on comes from China as does the snap parts. There is no other local source, so if I want to put on snaps (which I do), that is one thing I have to support.  Look around you and you can see what a devastation it would be if China were not making all of our goods.

The host of the radio show mentioned some of the horrible conditions that factory workers were going through so that I could have my plastic snap habit.  He said one powerful thing that I am going to try to work into my life.

“We didn’t end slavery in America, We Just Exported it.”

I think it carries with it a powerful message, one I’ve really thought about and pondered since.  It is so easy for me to just truck off to Walmart to get the latest thing I think I need so that I can save a few bucks or not have to be crafty with what I have.  At one point I was trying to be really great about what I have and what I think I need to run off and buy.  I think that I have made great strides on this point, but I’d like to make more.

It kind of like the treat people the way you want to be treated principle.  I am NOT going to support the human rights violations set forth by China to bring cheap plastic goods to the rest of the world while poisoning the enviornment.

Please see to it that you help me in this endeavour.

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Eating Healthy on the Cheap

August7

A friend of ours made a post today about how better and how much cheaper it was to make her own loaf of bread. Chris and I often have fun guestimating how much the meal that we are eating actually cost to make. And our new standard of measurement is a lobster dinner at home. We live in Oregon, so lobster isn’t the cheapest thing ever, but Safeway was having a buy one, get one free sale on them a while back and we had a lobster for each of us for $10. Add in some other ingredients, butter, veggies, etc., and the meal ended up to be less than $20 for she and I to have a lobster dinner and to share some with our baby girl (I guess she’s a toddler now, so toddler girl). Even if we had had to pay for both lobsters it would have only been about $25.

So now, whenever I go out to buy some food like a pizza or sandwiches from the deli, I can’t help but compare it to our lobster dinner. I spent $13 for sandwiches at the deli. Then I got home and realized I had almost spent as much as our lobster dinner on two small sandwiches!

Anyway, it’s sort of fun to try to add up how much all of the ingredients in a home cooked meal cost and then divide by the number of people eating it. If you’re watching what you spend and trying to stick to a budget, it should make you feel much better about yourself once you realize that breakfast for three cost less than a dollar!!

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Eating home made food

August7

The other day I had lunch, as I often try to do. I had a roast beef sandwich. I didn’t really think too much about it, but later that afternoon, I was chatting with Chris about my lunch, and I realized that it was almost entirely home made–not just made at home from store bought ingredients. So here’s what I had: roast beef which Chris had cooked and which had come from her family’s farm, chedder cheese that she had made from milk from her goat, bread that she had made by grinding her own wheat (ok, we bought the wheat berries, but hey, we only have a city plot), and some mustard–the only ingredient that was purchased from the store. And the mustard is only store bought because I keep buying it before she gets a chance to make her own. So two thumbs up to my little wife who could barely cook when we got married.

Update

July29

Things are really hectic around here.  I am going to make it a point to give updates about what is going on, but FIRST, I must get some things done today.  Talk to you tonight!

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