Category Archives: weather

Pesto and stuff

Busy morning. Took Gaby to playcare. Then it was off to the dentist.

After that, farmers’ market at the place from which I’ll be getting my CSA veggies. It was a very small market–it would fill only a tiny corner of the Sauvie Island market. But they had small freezers of beef and pork, honey, popcorn kernels, eggs, spinach and salad greens. I stocked up on said spinach and greens, and added a small bag of popcorn, pork chops, Italian sausage, and uncured bacon. A dozen eggs.

Of course, I had bought a pound of arugula just the other day. It wasn’t going to make it through the week, so I jammed it into the food processor with 4 cloves of garlic, salt, pepper, half a cup each of grated parmesan and toasted pine nuts and olive oil. Presto pesto.

Arugula pesto lacks the weighty flavor and aroma of basil pesto. I find it brighter–some folks complain that it’s “grassy”–and lighter. The pound of arugula rendered down to about 3 cups of pesto, which is a good amount for breaking down into single/double serving sizes in either tiny containers or ice cube trays. I went with tiny snap-top containers because I wanted to protect the stuff from freezer taste as much as possible.

It’s still cold–upper 30s today–but we’ve had some thawing and rain. Most of the snow is gone, and the sump pump has been working its little heart out. No sign of sprouting greenery yet, and most nights are still below freezing. But maybe, maybe, we’ve turned the corner.

Lunch was a toasted half a whole grain ciabatta roll with smears of homemade hummus and fresh pesto. It was really good. Garlicky, but really good.

You hear a rumble

…like heavy machinery, a clatter like a slow train trundling down the track, but you know it’s not possible because you’re alone. Then you climb a dune and look out over the lake and realize that what you’re hearing are sheets of ice crashing and shattering on the shore.

The lake


Yeah, it was cold. Snow blew and drifted and crackled underfoot. The wind bit. The house creaked. No exciting frost quakes, just loss of cable internet for most of Monday. Given what other folks went through–stranded on roadways, in train stations, etc–not going to complain. Well, not much. I did get cranky as the day wore on and the lack of instant news/stock market/publishing gossip got under my skin. I fear I am an addict.

I struggled to assuage the longing by baking brownies. Pondered a wip. Started reading Over Sea Under Stone by Susan Cooper, an older YA series that folks online had been raving about as a classic winter reread. I’m halfway through and have put the rest of the books in the series–5 in all–on hold at the library because yeah, the story is pretty good.

But hey, the warm-up has begun! -3F currently, but the wind has died. Saw a squirrel for the first time since Sunday, gnawing on the fresh suet block. A few hardy birds had gathered throughout the onslaught–the usual crew of jays, cardinals and juncos and even a pigeon or two–but more today, because HEAT WAVE!

I was worried about the car, since the garage is detached/uninsulated/unheated. But air temp in there is routinely 10 degrees warmer than the outdoors no matter what. That meant it was close to 10F in there this morning, which in turn translated to yes, the car started and I was able to get out of the house for the first time in 4 days. That lightened the general mood considerably.

Hope everyone affected by the polar vortex–that is so the name of my next band–is staying warm. I’m looking forward to spring, but there is still so much winter left to live through.

A week

Okay, not quite yet, but it has felt like one. Maybe, two.

MacBook Air has been acquired. His name is “Airy,” because. Lightning fast. Pretty much out of the box, since the Apple Store folks took care of porting over the contents of the MacBook. A few Mail glitches, but other than that, all good.

15 hours battery life is doable if I stay away from internet (surfing okay, but videos not so much), music, and turn down the keyboard backlighting. It is as light, if not lighter than, my 1st gen iPad. I really didn’t want to spend the money now, but I had no choice and as far as the system is concerned, I think I made the right choice. Really liking the quiet and speed of the solid state drive.

Not to be outdone, Kuro-the-Forester decided on Friday that he wanted some attention, too. Noticed weird smells emanating from under the hood after visit to Apple Store–not gas/oil, but lighter chemical smells. No leaks, smoke, drips, red lights on dash. Still, I worried about things like, oh, brake fluid, and made an appointment at the garage. Verdict–torn axle boot. Smell was due to leaking grease hitting the exhaust and burning. Front boots replaced, for an amount not as bad as, say, a head gasket, but still. Kuro is happynowIhope. Now hoping that House doesn’t take it into its pointy little head to make it a three-fer.

Gaby had an infected toe a few weeks ago that required antibiotics and painkillers, so I think she’s good wrt Crisis of the Day for another month or two. I hope.

::fingers crossed::

Lost a small tree during the recent round of t-storms. It needed to come down anyway because it was an accidental tree, not an I-planted-you-here on-purpose, tree. Too close to the back fence and up in the power lines. I’m lucky wires didn’t come down when it fell…well, actually, it bent. Still needs to be cut. I shall add it to the list.

There was a robin in my garage, but I think it’s out now. It had been in there for a while, clattering about the eaves, leaving dropping everywhere. I was concerned that it had built a nest, but I think it was just frazzled by the enclosure and the storms. Hoping, anyway. I will keep an eye out in case it comes back.

Backyard has taken on a primeval aspect thanks to the heat and rain. Really need to cut the grass, but there’s too much standing water.

In other news, BLACKHAWKS!! I love the moment when the guys pass around the Cup, the speculation as to whom the captain will hand it off first. In 2010, Toews handed the Cup off to Marian Hossa, who had tried to win it with so many other teams and come up short. This year, he handed it to Michal Handzus, who played for, iirc, 14 years w/o playing on a championship team. Handzus them passed it to Jamal Mayers, who had played 15 17 years. Mayer then passed it to Michal Rozsival, the last of the old timers. Then Rozsival passed it to Dave Bolland, who scored the winning goal.

Hockey. I think preseason starts in a couple months….

Holiday weekend

Memorial Day Weekend approaches. Today, it’s sunny, but windy and *cold*. Outlying areas could drop to mid-30s tonight, and folks at the hardware store were talking about a possible freeze even closer to the lake. I hope not–tomatoes and basil are in and they’re not going anywhere. We received some much needed rain over the past few days, about 1.5 inches, but the accompanying wind blew the blooms off a couple of the crabapples. The prairiefire is still hanging in there, but it’s lost about half its flowers. Petals all over the lawn, like pink snow.

In more conservative times (back when we were Zone 5), Memorial Day was the planting weekend around here. Now it’s a few weeks earlier seeing as we’re now Zone 5.5, but this weekend will make that a lie. 60s. Cloudy. 40s/50s at night. I ran the furnace this morning. A few days ago, I was running the A/C. I know–spring in Illinois. But it’s getting a little late for this.

Harvested a handful of mesclun for the dinner salad. One bright spot amid the chill.

Hit the hardware store on the way home. Bought some pink and white petunias in a basket, and a lime hydrangea (pale green flowers that turn pink as they age) for the shady side of the house. Some solar lanterns to hang about the backyard. Gaby had a grooming session–bath and summer clip–and looks very spiff.

I’m taking off Friday. Looking forward to the long weekend, even it stays cloudy.

Chicago, Chicago

Been here since yesterday. A long weekend writers retreat with a few other, well, writers. Writing exercises, brainstorming, business talk. More on the exercises in a few days, when I am home and have digested the results. It’s been an interesting process so far, though.

We are staying in a place with kitchenettes in the rooms, so we bought groceries and are doing most of our own cooking. I thought I would miss eating out, but I am finding I don’t. Except we did have high tea at the Drake today because that is one of the things one does when one is in Chicago and has the chance.

The weather has finally, finally been lovely. Coolish because we are near the lake, but sunny and dry. It’s even supposed to warm up as the weekend continues. The long-awaited spring one hears about in song and fable.


4.6 inches since y'day morning, added to the 2.4 that fell last week

4.6 inches since y’day morning, added to the 2.4 that fell last week

Finally seeing a gap in the rain. Hoping to avoid the winds and thunderbumpage that are supposed to arrive later. It’s calm, currently. Still chilly–it’s the continued chill that is holding off the more active weather.

4.6 inches of rain since yesterday morning. The gauge reads 4.7, but that includes the little bit that fell over the weekend. Not as much trouble in the basement as I feared. But the ground is completely saturated, and I really really hope we get a couple days’ reprieve before anything else takes it into its watery little noggin to fall from the sky.

Friday, drying out

Vacay day day. IT STOPPED RAINING! Took Gaby for a walk, which consisted of her sniffing and marking and sniffing some more because the ground has released All The Smells thanks to the rain and the thaw. Saturday errands–groceries, etc–will be run today. Soon. In the next few minutes, in fact.

2.3 inches of rain over the last 2-3 days, according to the hummingbird gauge. To my amazement, the ground is taking it up rather quickly. The backyard is still sodden, but the lake is gone. Seems to be gone. Not inclined to walk out there and check lest I get sucked into the mire.

The mesclun is finally popping up in the raised bed, almost two weeks after seeding. Yes, it has been cold, but I thought lettuces liked that. In any case, I will probably plant another row this weekend, keep the crop going.

In web news, spam is showing up in the filter again. So spammers have started registering? I will shorten the comment time, and see if that helps. It’s not a lot of spam–nothing like before. It’s just the principle of the thing. Don’t like giving them a toehold, not even a little one.

In life news…barring global financial meltdown, I will be retiring from the day job in September. Going to give the writing life a good shot. Going to give life in general a better shot.

Something about King’s illness triggered it. Not getting any younger. It’s time.

A few things make a post

Temps in the 30s today. Windy, cloudy, with a few flakes in the air. I spotted dandelion sprout around the honey locust, a ring of spring consisting of inch-high greenery, some of it frost-burned. Nothing on the east side of the yard yet, but that area is still under some snow. They’re calling for 50s by weeks end, which will likely mean 40s near the lake. I’ll take it, for now. So hungry for warmth, I can’t stand it. And greenery. Sick of brown and leafless.

Also spotted deer scat near some of my yew bushes, which look as though they have been chewed. I may need to spread some repellent. Also considering getting rid of the yews. I could replace them with planters that I would fill with something bright during the summer, like begonias. The area doesn’t get much sun, being a northern exposure, so plant varieties are limited and yews are a common fallback. But, they’re boring. So I will think about the planters, maybe calculate how much landscape brick I would need to build them. They would be pretty.

Gaby is still eating just enough and no more. I’ve tried chicken breast, and miss as often as I hit. Today, I tried bacon along with a bit of drippings, and garnered a little interest. She still has some padding around her ribs, so I probably shouldn’t worry yet. And it has been only three weeks since King. And she is still experiencing change, whether it’s trips to daycare or simply rides to the pet store big box. Her regular food had a consistency hiccup with the last lot–meat paste rather than moist burger. That hasn’t helped. I emailed the company to lodge a complaint, and did a search for other brands of duck-based canned food. They’re out there, but online places either want you to buy by the case, or charge so much for shipping that I wind up paying more for that than for the food itself. So, I found a couple of local, new-to-me stores that carry some of the brands. I’ll get hold of a can or two and have her try them. I want to have options in case she shows signs of going off the current brand entirely.

And yes, I know that raw may be an option, but I am reluctant to move Gaby away from duck until I know for sure that she won’t relapse into IBD hell.

No, her behavior hasn’t changed. She barks. She plays, both with me and at daycare. She just isn’t eating much.

She does enjoy her walks. If I take too long to eat breakfast in the morning, I am soon dealing with a head resting on my leg and tail-wagging wiggle butt. Once outside, she sniffs everything, marks the interesting stuff. Tried to give chase to some deer the other day, pulling and twisting the lead. I started fitting her with a harness after that–she has slipped out of a collar before, and if she ever took off after a deer, I doubt I would see her again. There are coyote in them thar woods.

The weather outside

Yukon Gaby

The general Chicago area is supposed to get 1″ to 4″. I’m in a “locally heavier accumulations possible” region. Judging from the way it’s falling, I’m thinking “probable” instead.

I believe this is the storm that’s going to wind up and pitch itself all over the Northeast. You guys take care of yourselves.

Herself did finally deign to come inside, after a final patrol of the backyard. She and King have just lunched. It’s a dog’s life.