Sunday, November 29, 2009

Nothing New- The Weekly Challenge Update

Sharon's Independence Days Challenge- Year two, week 31
1. Plant something: Nope
2. Harvest something: Potatoes, Carrots
3. Preserve something: Froze Thanksgiving leftovers to use later

4. Reduce Waste (recycle, reuse, reduce, repair or compost something): Made a lit Christmas ornament out of a bottle and some LED Lights-
5. Preparation and Storage: Got the new light fixtures for the garage, started installing
6. Build Community Food Systems: Trying to talk Mom’s apartment manager into installing dome P-Patches
7. Eat the Food (cook or eat something new): Potatoes, Used thanksgiving leftovers- Used gravy for Biscuits and Gravy, Used Cranberry Cream Cheese dip as a filling for Stuffed French toast, Ate braised turkey, made some Crispy Fried duck ( A favorite Thai dish) out of leftover duckling
Melinda’s Growing Challenge: Did no growing this week or seed saving.

Meat Free Mondays: Ate the normal muffin at coffee, Mac and Cheese for lunch, Soup and salad for dinner. Fruit for dessert.

Ditch The Disposables - I should take more time off work! No sins this week! A lot easier when you don’t have to have your mug with you or you eat at restaurants real silver and cups

Buy Hand challenge: Taking a break this week from gift making, but I did buy Martin's present from a pawn shop!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

PAWNSHOPS- beating the traditional stores

I never here people talking about buying at pawn shops. They are a great source for Musical instruments, jewelery, tools. I bought Martin a guitar this year, they threw in the case for free!

Anyway - I think there is a stigma attached to buying from a pawn shop for gifts and such. Like you are taking someones last hope.

Well I think that pawn shops are a great place to buy from. Our local pawn shop sells some new items and mostly old. As far as the attachment of buying something from someone else's problems, I just figure they needed the money, and it was a pawn shop or go to the Check cashing store, And trust me those places IMHO are much worse. I used to use a pawn shop years ago. I would take my little TV in, hock it for $20 then payday came and I would go in a take it out of hock. LOL, I think I bought the same TV back half a dozen times. I have bought tools, musical instruments, electronics you name it from pawn brokers. Always satisfied, I think they should be added to your Low Carbon Footprint shopping choices this holiday.

Friday, November 27, 2009

TRUE CONFESSIONS: I made a purchase on Black Friday

Okay- I didn't mean to do it. I cannot resist small independent book stores. Especially ones with little old lady proprietors. With British Accents. But I digress. I was happily avoiding Black Friday and all it's consumeristic faults and had determined not to join in the bloodbath. But as I was walking with Romeo down (or rather up) 152nd AKA Main Street in Burien, I spotted a cookbook in the window of Burien Books that someone would want for Christmas. The owner of the bookstore is this charming, older British lady and while there was no Bookstore cat (that I could see). I was checking out and the proprietress looked out the window at my four pawed friend and said, "You know, dear, we are dog friendly in this store and he could have come inside". Well that sold me right then and there- I thought this is a display of anti-consumerism in the truest form- saying NO to the big box, corporate book stores and purchasing from an independent local seller. So while I sinned, a small bit, I also supported a local independent book seller. I don't feel so bad. And I didn't have to get up at 3:00 am either!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Just want to wish y'all a happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Local Krumkake and Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip

Y'all know I celebrate my Norwegian heritage when making something for holiday dinners- this year I made Krumkake- a Norwegian/Scandinavian cookie that is baked on a krumkake iron and rolled like an ice cream cone. This year with a little difference- all my ingredients, except sugar, are local- the wheat for the flour is from Winthrop, about 190 miles east of here (that is stretching the 100 mile diet a tad bit) the eggs are from Yelm- about 60 miles to the south, the creme is from Kent, about 15 miles south of here. That's pretty much it, minus the sugar. I used my favorite recipe to make them, one from my mom's hometown of Edmore, ND, as it is the only one that doesn't call for butter or oil. The flour made a thicker batter than I am use to, but that's all right. I also made a cranberry-creme cheese dip- I made my own creme cheese following Ms. Chicken's Instructions as found in Mother Earth News

Then I make a fresh cranberry sauce (okay, I know cranberries aren't necessarily local- we do have cranberry bogs in Washington out by the ocean) Anyway I made a cranberry sauce following this recipe:

The I simply blend about 1/2 cup to 1 cup of Cream Cheese (I use the food processor for this). Rechill. Then I top it with the remaining cranberry sauce, or about 1/4 cup of sauce and rechill- serve with crakers. I am using locally made Oat biscuits from EAT LOCAL . Very tasty slightly sweet dip with a bit of twang! Combine that with local cheeses and crackers, that is how I am celebrating the local thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Why is everyone laughing at me???

I got a bunch of snickers at Trader Joe's,

I wondered did I spill on my shirt, do my pants have holes?

Come to find out, from one old hag

Everyone was laughing at my homemade bag

Now I know how Miss Dolly Parton felt in her "Coat of Many Colors". My bag, while not the best job of sewing, I admit, is practical, upcycled from a pair of jeans the Martin simply tossed in the trash. So let them laugh. I hope they get stuck in their lotus positions in yoga class.

UPDATE 11/24- The clerk at Eat Local really liked my bag- he was amazed how much stuff it held! and that it had pockets!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bean pots and clocks- The Weekly Challenge Update

Well let's see this week has been busy at work, tieing up loose ends and working the weekend so I can take all this thanksgiving off! I finished the clock for my Uncle, got a bean pot that was my paternal grandmother's, a butter belle-the one we had while I was growing up- great booty from Mom's closet! Repaired the small George Foreman grill I keep at work so I can have a hot lunch, And installed some LED Lights on the back porch with a switch - it is so dark back there but not anymore!

Sharon's Independence Days Challenge- Year two, week 30
1. Plant something: Nothing
2. Harvest something: Acorn Squash

Preserve something- nope
4. Reduce Waste (recycle, reuse, reduce, repair or compost something) -Repaired my George Forman Grill at work, Obtained my Grandma's Bean Pot- older than me and still making beans
5. Preparation and Storage: Installed LED lights and a switch on back porch;
6. Build Community Food Systems: Got some local Parmesan cheese from Eat Local store; found out he is also the drop off for two CSA’s!
7. Eat the Food (cook or eat something new): Acorn Squash, Pumpkin Soup from pumpkin that I pureed and froze; potatoes

Melinda’s Growing Challenge: Not much to report on. Got a Bhut Jolokia pepper in the mail from Red Icculus's Blog- plan on saving seeds and growing

Meat Free Mondays: Had a muffin and coffee for breakfast, mac and cheese for lunch and some vegetable soup and a baked potato for dinner

Ditch The Disposables - Big FAIL this week went to a potluck at work- didn’t bring my utensils so had to use plastic cutlery, although I used the same fork for the meal AND dessert

Buy Hand challenge: My Uncle’s clock for his garage (man- cave) is done

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rave: Breaking the bottled water habit!

Break the Bottled Water Habit

It's a good thing I read other blogs when they make comments on mine. Other wise I would never find neat campaigns like this Breaking the Bottled water habit. I know you have heard other websites lament about plastic usage and why it is bad. But I am thinking of it as Patriotic to use your own re-usable water bottle. Helps to get us of Foreign oil dependency. I found this through the Four Bushel Farm blog. I think it is important. Did you know that every plastic water bottle uses 1/4 cup of oil in it's production? Or that Tap water is safer than it's bottled counterpart? And if you filter the tap water is the same as the bottled counterpart? So sign up and get out your reusable water bottle and start saving big bucks. (If you drink one bottle of water a day that's over $365 per year!) It is the patriotic thing to do! Here are the info from the New American dream website:

Everything we consume has a climate impact, but manufacturing and trucking water
bottles to homes with clean tap water seems particularly wasteful. The Beverage
Marketing Corporation reports that Americans consumed 31.2 billion liters of
water in 2006 – nearly 9 liters per month for every man, woman, and child.

Manufacturing all those bottles requires 900,000 tons of plastic, the
equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil, and emit more than 2.5
million tons of carbon dioxide. Trucking around all those heavy bottles emits
even more greenhouse gases. Beyond the climate impact there’s the massive waste
– 86% of water bottles aren't recycled -- and water bottling is also,
ironically, a very water-intensive endeavor. The Pacific Institute tells us that
it takes three liters of water to produce one liter of bottled water!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What is it???

It's what's known as a Butter Bell- you cram the butter in the lid, put a small amount of water in the "bell" then you put the lid over it- keeps butter fresh at room temperature for days- no need to refrigerate it. Don't laugh- I was raised around this very butter bell. A gift from mom's closet. She was going to goodwill it! Nooooooo! I said I would take it!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ya gotta love your mother~

I was trying to explain the 100 mile diet, and the locovore movement to my mom, and the fact I found local flour from Winthrop, WA. Then I told her I needed to get some local bacon. She asked if I could use prosciutto or pancetta in making the Parmesan bacon wrapped breadsticks. I told her it was possible but had no idea where to find them locally. She replied Oh- just go to Trader Joe's- they're only a mile away! Looks like I have more work ahead of me. Mom just doesn't get the 100 mile concept. But she tries. She is surprisingly supportive of Meat free Monday, as long as I am the one who doesn't eat meat on Mondays. Of course I mentioned that in regards to MFM, I don't need to eat TVP Chicken, I am happy with cheese and fruit, but she likes to see it as a challenge for her to make lunches using TVP products.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I was lamenting that what I planned on bringing to Thanksgiving dinner could not be made local. Well I have proven myself wrong again. I had resigned myself to trying to buy as close as I could to home- for example: Parmesan cheese - I figured that I could buy Beehive Asiago an american Parmesan- it is made in Uintah, Utah 800 miles away from here. Breadsticks can come from Gai’s or rather Franz Bakery, a local Seattle Mega-Bakery.
I was talking to Greg, the owner of Eat Local about my dilemma, he said they plan on stocking local cheese , including parmesan, in their dairy case (when they get one), and he could bring it down from the Queen Anne store. It is made up north about 100 miles away Plus while I was there, I found they had flour in the store from Winthrop, WA- that is 225 miles!
As I was talking with Greg, the subject of CSA’s came up. I said I knew that his Queen Anne store was a drop off for a CSA. And I asked him if he planned to do the same at the Burien store. He said Eat local Burien will be the drop off for not one but two CSA’s- Tiny’s Organic and Boistfort Valley Farm . Imagine two CSA’s! Now my only dilemma will be deciding which CSA to join!!! Glad I stopped in to talk to Greg.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bling Bling- the Weekly Challenge Update

Sharon's Independence Days Challenge- Year two, week 29
1. Plant something: Transplanted Chard, Kale, Garlic, Lavender, Chives from community garden plot to my home garden
2. Harvest something: Cherry tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, potatoes, Cauliflower
3. Preserve something: made and froze dog and cat food
4. Reduce Waste (recycle, reuse, reduce, repair or compost something) - Used some scrap wood trying out the scroll saw; found an old section of picket fencing- will use to make a Holiday decoration, plus the usual recycling, composting
5. Preparation and Storage: Trying out Pellet stove pellets in place of Kitty's Feline Pine, about 1/4 of the cost of the feline pine litter- so far it is working out well. Bought new light fixtures for the garage- it is dark out there!
6. Build Community Food Systems: Working with Sustainable Burien on adding a Community garden at a low income apartment complex
7. Eat the Food (cook or eat something new): Roasted game hens in the slow cooker with Cauliflower, potatoes and onions that I grew!

Melinda’s Growing Challenge: Broke down my plot at the community garden; transplanted plants from there

Meat Free Mondays: Danish and coffee for breakfast, Cheese and bread for lunch; spaghetti squash and sauce for dinner, some little sugar free cookies for dessert, and some fruit

Ditch The Disposables - Couple of fails this week. I had to buy lunch from the wheel of death one night - Tuna Salad with crackers, it had a small plastic spoon built in. That and one coffee cup lid combo- although the coffee was not for me, but for a co-worker but still.

Buy Hand challenge: Working on earrings this week- 2 Christmas balls attached to earring posts, for my aunt and cousins. And of course for my Etsy shop!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

And the winner is...

Well I forgot to have Romeo pick a winner of the Romeo Giveaway last night, buy fear not- we did it today. As for the pick it was by lottery sort of I numbered from 1-6 the comments folks made on the giveaway post, leaving out my own comment, #3, then covered them with a dog cookie and let Romeo pick. Here are the results:

Romeo picked Number 5- Janil.

I will be contacting Janil via email to let her know she won. Everyone else - I wish there where more dog poop bag holders to give away, but that's it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

High Five!

High Five Flipside

Pie is the perfect edible and one that I love. My favorite dessert. But Pie for lunch - absurd!
Well call me a convert- Burien Press, my favorite espresso/ coffee shop features little pie turnovers called flip sides from a local company called High Five pie company. They are tasty little treats, made from scratch. And not just for dessert! They have a Savory pie, with little potatoes, carrots, peas herbs. And my new favorite lunch pie- Mac and Cheese. Along with seasonal offerings like sweet potato, pumpkin and of course the best Carmel Pecan I have ever tasted. They also have something called "Pie Jars" a new take on Cake in a Jar- Something I might experiment with for Christmas.

UPDATE: Here are instructions from scoochmaroo@ Instructables for making your Pie in a Jar

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Good bye Garden plot- A mini rant

Well a semi-sweet day around here- I went and took the remaining plants out of my plot in the
community garden. For the record, The community garden was just a demo garden, one that I am proud of. We got a late start (Late June-early July) And with 6 of 8 of the plots growing food, we managed to donate over 51 pounds of food to the food bank. My hope is that the City of Burien takes note and starts a community P-Patch. Of course, (RANT ALERT)cities being cities it seems to take an act of god to do anything worth while, they need studies, cost analysis, etc etc. HARUMPH. They have the park land, thanks to the King County Executive, cost would be minimal, savings to the city would be substantial. I DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY THEY SIT ON THEIR HANDS ON THIS ISSUE. People want and need to grow their own food.
and the cost issue, well I ranted before on this issue. Suffice it to say, I am not backing off until I see a nice community garden in Burien. Maybe I need to contact the new city council people. You know- introduce myself, in my boyish Tony Soprano way. Maybe leave a head of cabbage in their bed. Anyway onto the rave part of this post. There are a lot of folks to thank for our "community garden: The good folks at sustainable Burien, my fellow like minded members who did the labor and are pushing for a permanent garden, Dane and Kathy, the curators of the BIAS, who let us have space for it, and see the garden as an art form. No one to thank from the city, cause I don't have a permanent garden yet!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Saving money on cat litter

Not my cat, I respect Sammy's privacy

Well I am cheap. I was reading a while back on cat litter. My kitty, eco terrorist that he is, has decided he likes feline pine kitty litter. That's okay by me, but that stuff is expensive. I was reading on a blog, I believe "fake plastic fish", on one of her cat litter posts, some of her readers use Pellet stove pellets. They look the same as Feline Pine, act the same, both turn to sawdust when pee'd on. So I price a 40 pound sack- $5.49 at the Grocery store, same price as a 10 pound bag of Feline Pine roughly $1.40 for the same amount. So I thought "Why not- if Sammy Cat likes it then I am money ahead". I bought the pellets. I changed his litter tonight. And he is using it. Yea Sammy! He knows there is tuna or better yet Sardines in his future for saving me money.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Instant Art- from garbage

I had some fabric lying around from a re-upholstery project I was doing. I also had a square (frame) made from wood on a pallet shipment- so I combined the two and made a wall hanging. I have a thing for palm trees and hammocks

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Funky spaghetti: The Weekly Challenge Update

Spaghetti Squash w/Sauce

This week I prepared spaghetti, not using pasta, but instead used spaghetti squash for the noodles. Made enough for tonight and tomorrow

Sharon's Independence Days Challenge- Year two, week 28
1. Plant something: Sprouts
2. Harvest something: Sprouts, Cabbages, Kohl Rabi
3. Preserve something: Bought a couple of sugar pie pumpkins and processed, Made and froze dog/cat food- slowly becoming a weekly ritual- found it doesn’t take much longer then going and buying their food and the food processor is wonderful for doing this
4. Reduce Waste (recycle, reuse, reduce, repair or compost something) -The usual recycling, food waste in the compost; GARBAGE FINDS: Found a 5 gallon bucket next to a garbage can, will use for a planter, a box for taking my started garlic plants and chard home in;
5. Preparation and Storage: Setting up an Etsy shop, Bought a scroll saw to make gifts and clocks out of wood scraps (set it up in the garage or as the artsy folks call it "my Studio"!)
6. Build Community Food Systems: Starting to take the last of the veggies from the community garden plot to prep of leaving the community garden
7. Eat the Food (cook or eat something new): Pumpkin soup, veggies in the dog food, Spaghetti squash with sauce

Melinda’s Growing Challenge: Time to start breaking down my plot in the community garden, I have some plants started in my plot will take them home

Meat Free Mondays: Muffin and coffee, for lunch I ate crackers and cheese, for dinner a veggie flatbread pizza

Ditch The Disposables - I forgot muggsly one day this week- reused the paper coffee cup - no lid, from the espresso shop all day. Other than that a good week

Buy Hand challenge: Painted Martins clock, getting ready to finish. Decided to give one of my Turkey fryer burners to a friend who is getting into home beer making and borrows mine to brew the beer- figure I have one that is not being used so why not?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

My Etsy Shop is now open (Romeo's Giveaway!)

I decided to finally open a shop on Etsy. I call it "Another Man's Treasure". Catchy huh? Well to celebrate I am going to offer one of the things (well actually the only item in my shop right now) up for a giveaway- A dog poop bag holder. The shop describes these as:

" really handy when walking your dog- just clip the Poop Bag Holder onto your
leash or your belt loop and your set. Each poop bag holder is made from a recycled medicine bottle, so you get to help out the Mother Earth as well! Each holder comes with 3 Bio Bags, and a fancy carabineer clip to attach it to your leash or belt loop. You can refill them with bio bags or any brand dog poop bag, as well as reuse grocery bags. Each one holds 3 re-used grocery bags!"

In addition, these can also be used to take bags to the grocery store to be reused, You just need to comment on this post to enter- winner will be picked not by Mr. Random Integer Finder, but by Romeo, my dog hisself, since it was he, or rather his poop that served as the inspiration for this. Entries must be received by and winner will be picked on Friday, November 13th, at Midnight PST.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Local Thanksgiving- can it be done?

A lot has been blogged about 100-Mile Thanksgiving, so I am going to add my 2 pennies. This year, I am going to my Aunt and Uncles house. I just have to bring snacks. Ordinarily I bring a cheese tray and something like bacon wrapped/parmesan bread sticks. This will be a challenge for me this year, as after watching the Planet Green show 100 mile challenge, I realized that the bread sticks, while made in Seattle, I have no guarantee that everything in them is within 100 miles- the flour could be from anywhere, the bacon probably from the Midwest. The dip I make for the bread sticks - a mayo- honey mustard dip probably doesn’t come local. The bacon I can get local, but the Parmesan cheese most likely isn’t. There is a cheese monger/maker at the Pike Place market but I don't recall seeing parmesan or a reasonable substitute there. So what to do? I could make a veggie platter with tzatziki- but is the yogurt local? Are the cows that donated to the yogurt from here? Of course I realize that anything I make would be a challenge- local flour, yeast is not local; So maybe I will go up to the “Eat Local store" and see if I can get any Ideas- Mayo can be made at home, I have local eggs, but no local oil? Maybe I am being to hard on myself and maybe I should relax on some of the rules like flour and oil. I already have those things. Maybe I could mill my own flour? I don’t have a lot of those answers.

Have you done the 100 mile diet or tried it for Thanksgiving? What do you do for the problems like local flour or oil?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Those poor animals...

Somebody help that poor kitty! Well I have to announce that i just received in the mail my new Ukulele. So I am pickin' and grinnin'! And acutally Sammy and Romeo are taking it pretty well- for some reason Sammy always likes it when I sing- good bad or indifferent. And Romi, while confused by the Uke, puts up a brave front. And if I post a Video of me singing "homegrown Tomatoes" you have Jenna of Cold Antler Farm to thank/blame. She is the one who wrote in her book "Made from Scratch" about the beauty and self sustenance of homemade music, and it got me all pumped up to start the uke again.

Of Course, I need lots of practice, but until then, I will leave with some friends of mine singing Ukulele Lady:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I was just thinking... I need a nap. With all the Halloween and Day of the Dead goings on and having to go in work early today and tomorrow. Dammit- I need some rest. So no blog post tomight. Move over Romeo- Daddy needs a nap.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

BUY HAND Gift Card Envelopes

Buy Hand for the Holidays Challenge - 2009

So you are giving up on the buy hand and buying gift cards instead??? Or ar eyou like me and gift cards are part of your christmas? Well why not meet in the road halfway and make your own gift card envelopes and holders? One way I do this is take apart a small envelope, carefully - dissect it at the glued seams, and when it is apart you have a template! Just trace this onto some old paper (I use pages from those damn Christmas catalogs that are sent to me. Or you could get fancy and use these templates to make really nice holders

Cool thing is you can make a gift card very personal- and have some hand made in it as well. Or you can make a cd envelope and give cd's with a personal selection of music on it. Or photgraphs on CD.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Day of The Dead, Burien Style

The Day of the Dead, Burien Style. Burien has a large Latin population, so combining this traditional Latino day of celebration with a "wasp" twist was great. IT was also The Night of 1,000 Pumpkins- an event that stood to get the citizens of Burien out with their Jack 'O Lanterns from the night before to light them one more time then they go to be composted
The following is a slide show since there way to many pics to post:

Trio Lucero del Norte

Pyrosutra-Apparently these guys and gals never had their grandma tell them you play with fire you'll get burned (or as my grandma said "Play with matches you will wet the bed")

It was a nice evening in the South Seattle area (aka not raining) and the giant fireplaces kept all warm. As for the community garden, we (the Sustainable Burien Community Gardeners) said goodbye to the plots, glad that we produced over 50 pounds for the food bank, hoping someone at City Hall takes us serious when we say we want a P-Patch in Burien- looks like we might get one (within walking distance of the house, no less)

Pumpkin Fest 2009- The Weekly Challenge Update

I have been busy this week processing and pureeing pumpkins, making soup and dog and cat food. Participating in the Day of the Dead festivities at the BIAS.
Sharon's Independence Days Challenge- Year two, week 27
1. Plant something: Nothing
2. Harvest something: Sprouts
3. Preserve something: Processed the last of the pumpkins, Made and froze dog/cat food
4. Reduce Waste (recycle, reuse, reduce, repair or compost something) -Repaired my old favorite sweater; Recycled some Halloween decorations- used the cloth from an umbrella to make a cape for one of my skeletons, Participating in the BIAS Day of the Dead celebration, where the city parks has arranged for people to bring their pumpkins, to be lit and at the end composted!
5. Preparation and Storage: Still working on cleaning out (using up the food) the freezer in prep for a new freezer
6. Build Community Food Systems: Nothing this week. Participating in the BIAS Day of the Dead celebration, saying goodbye to the community garden
7. Eat the Food (cook or eat something new): Pumpkin soup, veggies in dog food,

Melinda’s Growing Challenge: Nothing new to report

Meat Free Mondays: Did not have a muffin for breakfast- had a bean burritto for lunch, cheese and crackers for dinner, fruit for dessert

Ditch The Disposables -No FAILS this week.

Buy Hand challenge: Nothing new got done for Christmas. Was a busy Halloween week.