Thursday, March 31, 2011

Because I happened to be thinking about it right now: Oil lamps and lanterns

You probably know that oil lamps burn better when the oil level is higher rather than lower. I don't know why, but my guess is because the oil does not have to be pulled up so far to burn.

Yet it can take a lot of kerosene to completely fill the reservoir of a lantern, and if you have a bunch of them throughout the house like I do, that's a lot of kerosene!

Years and years ago, my father in law shared a trick that I'll pass along. This only works once the wick is thoroughly saturated with oil. You don't want to try it if the wick is dry. What you do is, put some oil in the reservoir, then add water to bring the level up to where you want it. The water will stay at the bottom, while the oil will be at the top, where the wick can get at it. As the oil burns down, add more.

An unsaturated wick will grab any liquid it can find, so make sure it's saturated with oil first before it gets the chance to grab some water. You don't want it to grab any water.

Canning jars

Work has been slow this morning, which leaves me time to get into trouble.

I got to thinking about canning jars, and how I want more of them. :) I posted an appeal on Facebook for them and immediately got some offers. I picked up a dozen here in town and washed them up. Then I started wondering how many I actually have for the season and if I have enough Tattler reusable canning lids. Which led to over an hour spent gathering and counting and reboxing and re-storing canning jars.

Current tally of empties: **

17 large mouth quarts, 73 standard quarts
10 large mouth pints, 54 small mouth pints
5 miscellaneous (half pint or weird sized)
Totals: 26 large mouth jars, 131 standard

Now to count Tattler lids. I know I will need more standard at least.

By the way, I had always stored my rings separately, in a bag. It finally dawned on me that I never would use a jar without a ring, so I might as well put rings on all of them now, to save time when I need to use them. Duh.

No rings for the jars that have food in them, otherwise you might not notice if the seal failed. Just for the empties.

** edited because I found another box of jars

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Seventeen years ago today...

... something interesting happened, but I'm having the hardest time remembering what it was.

Oh yeah, now I remember! My son Kieffer was born. He weighed 8 pounds 4 ounces. He was tall and thin. He had a lovely pair of lungs and was strong and healthy. He was then and is now very precious to us. Also he is still tall and thin.

In honor of Kieffer, I have a chocolate cake in the oven. It's an old recipe of my mother's and you can find it here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

Yoooo-hooooo, Miz Felisol...

Is your computer fixed? :)

That Crazy Recycling Lady in the Neighborhood

What a weirdo. Oh wait, she's me.

I confess, I raid people's recyling bins.

In particular, I have a neighbor who puts interesting and useful things in her recycling and puts it out a day ahead of time, too, to give me a fighting chance of salvaging stuff. For example, she puts a nice sturdy empty gallon jug that once contained cranberry juice in her recycling about every second week or so. Rinsed out. And with the lid. I do our emergency water storage in gallon jugs, mostly, in the basement, so I can certainly make use of that. Then sometimes it's a stack of the plastic trays and covers from TV dinners, the kind with 3 sections for the different parts of the meal. Those are great for packing up leftovers to eat for lunch another day. And today she had a cranberry juice jug AND a big plastic bucket that once contained kitty litter. The big square kind of bucket with the hinged flip-top lid and wire bale handle. Very sturdy. The plastic itself is food safe, but since it has held perfumed cat litter, I would not put food directly in it without a barrier, but in Mylar packaging? In good quality manufacturer packaging? Vacuum packed? You betcha. Very handy and great for stacking on a shelf.

Now I'm looking for a suggestion: We get our cat litter from ALDI. It comes in a heavy white plastic container with a self handle.  It's a lot of plastic. The lids are not airtight. These jugs would be great for storing liquids or maybe grains if they were airtight, and of course if they were perfectly clean and had no hint of kitty litter perfume left. But the non airtightness is the deal breaker. And so I'm recycling a lot of heavy white plastic. I hate doing that. I'd much rather find a reuse for them. Does anyone have any ideas?

Friday, March 18, 2011

My new term of the day: SurgiMend biologic mesh.

According to this link, it's used for breast reconstruction, but I found it in a surgical repair of massive abdominal injury from a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Kind of amazing stuff. It's pure collagen, and it is incorporated into the body as healing takes place.

Stay out of the vanilla extract!

We ran out of vanilla extract again, and while I bought another bottle to get us through, I also decided to start our own here to be used when that runs out. A bottle of cheap vodka, a couple of packs of extract-grade vanilla beans and we're good to go.

It's only been working or soaking or whatever you'd call it for a few days, but it already smells like vanilla extract and it's hard to keep from opening the bottle and sniffing! Or worse.

Doctor being circular

SKIN: No rash or lesion noted except as noted in the skin examination. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Weekend thrifty find: Flashy-flowery purse from Hawaii (?)


There was an estate sale in La Crosse over the weekend, and Britta is working on furnishing her unfurnished apartment for next school year, so we zoomed up there to take a look. She found a pretty set of bookshelves for $24. I found a couple of odds and ends, including this little box style handbag. The price tag said "Hawaii". The yellow twine is icky but I love the raffia flowers. It was $3. I also bought a whisk broom for 50 cents. We have one, but when we need it for camping, it's on its hook on the back porch, and when we need it on the back porch, it's packed away somewhere in the camping gear. So now one can be in each place.

Lil Miss A fell madly in love with a NordicTrack exercise machine out in the garage, for sale for $20. I would not let her buy it, not even with her "own money." I do not want a NordicTrack in my house. Too huge. She was pretty upset with me, letting such an obviously awesome deal pass us by.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Things doing it wrong, speech rec edition

"FINDINGS: Small PDA, status post coital collision."

Sprouted wheat berries in homemade bread

On a whim (or maybe a desperate desire to see something growing), I got my sprouting jar out and sprouted about a cup and a half of wheat berries over the course of a couple of days. I'm letting a small portion of them continue to grow in a windowsill so that we have wheat grass for salads, but the rest went into bread dough for 3 loaves of bread today. I just sliced myself a sample and oooooh my is it good! The wheat sprouts still add some texture but they're not tooth-crackingly hard, and the bread is nice and chewy (not sure if it's because of the sprouts or the fact that I used apple sauce for the sweetening and part of the liquid). I just started soaking some flax seed to try sprouting that, too.

P.S. Mrs. Mac, there, now there's a picture. :)

Costuming for The Sound of Music

I'm excited because my friend Lisa Fruitful and I get to help out with some of the costuming for the high school production of The Sound of Music! We're having a sewing blitz this Sunday afternoon to see what we can get knocked out. What fun. :)

Let's see... Knickers and lederhosen for boys, lots of dirndl skirts and vests and pinafores for the girls... Whee!

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Perhaps she did not understand the followup plan?

On a 2-year-old girl: "She has been noncompliant and lost to followup until 14 months of age."

Helpful doctors who help with spelling, helpfully

"The C loop and duodenum were essentially held taut - T A U G H T - ..."

Friday, March 04, 2011

New books in series I love


Kind of a big week in book publishing, as far as I am concerned! First, Patrick Rothfuss' second book in the Kingkiller Chronicles, The Wise Man's Fear, released this week. Second, we have an actual firm written-in-stone release date for A Dance with Dragons, the 5th book in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series, July 12th. And then last night my father emailed me to tell me that on March 22, Alexander McCall Smith's latest No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency story is released, titled The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

My new term for today: Danek Medtronic METRx X-Tube System

The way it was dictated, I thought it was a Matrix II system. Nope.

Danek Medtronic METRx X-Tube System

It's a minimally invasive treatment system for spinal stenosis and disk herniation.

Posting these on my blog is really for my own edification, as by writing about it, I reinforce it in my memory, and of course I can find it again someday if I get stuck.