Because Science: “Your charcoal doesn’t work.”

6 Jul

I’m typically not the kind of person who decides to prove someone wrong. I’m typically the kind of person who shrugs and doesn’t care enough to try to prove someone wrong.

But I do want to nail down the whole Grill Thing. Go beyond the instalight stuff and really get to the nitty-gritty. Why? S’mores. You can’t properly s’more after quickie charcoal. It’s already three ashes to the wind. Luckily, I have charcoal.

Charcoal that apparently doesn’t coal. Or char. Or something. At least according to a friend who tried.

I have a plan though. And it requires a chimney. I have one of those too. I MAKE FIRE.


My “trick”? Stuffing old newspaper on the bottom and the top. Poof! Grey edges achieved.


Then I took “my” Lime Cilantro Chicken, and popped it onto the grill.


Before I knew it, it was done. Plated with peaches, and my first cucumber of the season, made into a salad (sesame oil, rice vinegar, sugar in the raw).


Bonus? Grilling solo = MOAR LEFTOVERS!

Update: s’mores achieved! Yes, they’re made with leftover Easter marshmallows. Because I don’t judge you, y’all. (And yes part 2, that’s my tired 4th of July manicure. Classy!)

Garden Watch: baby veggies! (To-be…)

2 Jul

Hopefully, at least. But I’m stoked to see any blooms on the pea plants. So had to share.
[UPDATE – achievement unlocked: bean babies!]

Meanwhile my pumpkin/butternut/petit pan/who knows are budding too. I’m excited, but if they really get big I’ll be trying to figure out how to properly support ’em:

And the tomatoes, brussel sprouts, cukes and peppers are busting out too.

And with all the squashness, and the torrential rain, I had to pull up the wee tomato plant in the “rain garden” (aka The Garden By The Gutterspout)… Yep, its twin is tomato-ing all over the place!

BTW yes, that’s cat hair on the tomato plant in front. Because I have a Wild Animal that loves to creep through the foliage…

Good Mooooorning Vietnam! (aka, what my garden looks like right now.)

30 Jun

Yes, war movies are thought provoking. But every time I see a movie about the Vietnam War, I can’t help but marvel at all the lush greenery. It’s a thing.

Okay so I don’t have that level of gorgeous green, but my backyard is definitely blooming. Why? Because I decided to Leave No Seedlings Behind. I also ran out of seedling pots, and threw a bunch of seeds on the ground. They sprouted.

Good news, yes they’re thriving! Bad(ish) news, they’re mostly pumpkin and butternut, and no actual squash yet.

But I have hopes….

BTW, I’d keep up with this blog a bit more regularly if WordPress would let me work on two blogs in their app. My bad.





Happy Passover/Ostara/Easter/Zombie Day!

5 Apr

Happy Easter, for those who celebrate!  I’ve always loved this time of year, because it’s filled with so much celebration.  It’s always a fun day, be it for folks who are seder-ing, Ostara-ing, or simply hunting for eggs filled with jellybeans.  Mmm, jellybeans…

Personally, when I do the Easter thing, I do the Orthodox Easter thing.  Why?  Grew up that way.  So next Sunday I’ll be with the fam, bonking red eggs and stuffing my face with Easter bread.  Because for me it’s all about the food, apparently.

So now that it’s actually spring, and not some winter hold-over?  Behold the survivors of Man It Was Freezing 2014/2015!

But wait! There’s more! The mini-daffodils are up too! And so are a few of the seedlings I’ve started. Go plantlings, go!

And yes, I even made some Easter eggs today. For the season. (It’s my first attempt at a Real Omelet.  Looked fluffier in the pan, but sighed in apathy and collapsed once I plated it.  Oops.)

And a blueberry/peanut butter waffle. Holidays!

And a blueberry/peanut butter waffle. Holidays!

Today’s post was gonna be all about the opening of the Baltimore Farmer’s Market for the 2015 season. But as I had about 2 1/2 hours of sleep — why? I have no idea why, but couldn’t sleep — I decided to hang in today.

Happy Easter/Passover/Sunday to all!

If I Can: I sing the home electric

7 Mar

Well  since my last attempt, I may not be able to do more than swap stuff, but I’m enjoying the process.


#1: The outlet above my oven. It started off wired. And by wired I mean wires hanging out of an open box.



So since this is the same deal – copper ground, white neutral, black live – I tried to do it myself. But I had no idea how to attach the outlet to the box, as it didn’t fit. But I learned something; the round, “Mickey Mouse” edges of an outlet snap right off with a slight bend from handy-dandy pliers. Voila! Fit perfectly. Later, I told the guys at the Depot what I’d done. Apparently those bits are made to snap off for exactly that reason: not all boxes are rectangular, so boom, snap to fit!

#2: USB chargers built right into an outlet! How festive! And a nice idea for someone like me who constantly charges her phone. Again, the copper/white/black = an easy swap.

#3: Another upgrade, a light-sensitive nightlight built into an outlet! This one was tough, as there are only three points of contact –  green screw for ground, silver for the white neutral wire, black (though sometimes it’s just uncoated brass) for the black live wire – and the outlet wasn’t just using 3 wires, it had an extra white neutral & black live. Why? Because it was part of a chain of electrical connections. Wanna know how I found out?

I installed the first one in the upstairs hall , and the lights in the front bedroom went boink.

I thought I’d simply burned out the closet light (not checking the main room, as it was daytime). But NOOOOO. Headed out to the Depot, and grilled…er, asked the guys who taught my wiring seminar what they thought it was. “Could be anything”, they replied. Perhaps a blown fuse?

So I went home and promptly freaked out. Did I end up costing myself more than I would have if I’d gotten it done professionally from the start? After 20 minutes my pity party was over, and I pulled a Winnie the Pooh and had a good think….

Could the two white wires & two black wires use just one screw/connection? Y’know, double up on each screw? Bopped back to the Depot, and the answer?

“Of course. Happens with those specialty outlets all the time.”

So I did, and it worked. And now I have a nightlight in the hall, and and lights in the front bedroom. Huzzah!

Bonus? I now love electrical tape. Insulation of the gods!

Off to shovel popcorn into my gaping maw. Treat yo self!

If I can: Installing A New Light Switch

28 Feb


Okay, more like me take workshop at Home Depot, and then me go home and do exactly what the nice people showed me how to do.  But I still feel a bit like Doctor Frankenstein crossed with Thomas Edison.  My light switch!  It’s alive!  ALIIIIIIIVE!!!

Ahem.  Anyway.

This all got started because 1) I wanted to try to figure out how to do basic DIY on my own, rather than relying on my competent friends that have other lives and stuff, and 2) my TV room light switch is hella hard to find in the dark.  So I’ve been dreaming about putting in a flip-switch that has a glow-light for easy finding in the pitch.

Turns out it was a whole lot easier than I’d anticipated.  Easier still, as I was simply swapping one switch for another.  Which meant I took the ground wire from Switch 1, put it on Switch 2, took the top circuit wire from Switch 1, put it on Switch 2, took the bottom circuit wire from Switch 1, put it on Switch 2, and then screwed the new switch in.  Don’t believe me? Here’s how it went. 

[NOTE: I flipped the circuit breaker on the entire house before attempting any of this.  My security system beeped the whole time, but it was totally worth soothing the “what if I electrocute myself?” worries…]

Me Make POWER text

Aaaaand that’s that.  Now I have a groovy new light switch, and I gotta be honest; I can’t stop staring at it.  It’s unbelievable to me that I was able to do this myself.  And now that I know how, it’s unbelievable that it’s so freakin’ easy.

Next?  Flip-switches on All The Things!

More snow, insulated pipes, sofa forts and housework.

22 Feb

Snow means one thing around here: Cabin Fever. When we get this much snow, and this much freezing cold (-13° wind chill? A heat wave at 41°?) it’s nuts.



So of course, I stayed in and caught up on stuff. Translation: I stayed in and got attacked by needy, needy kittens. And instead of de-fuzzing the sofa, I stripped it, and made a fort.


Tippi approved.

When they weren’t jumping my sheisse, they helped make the bed…

image keeping the bed from floating away.

Later, I snuck down to put foam tube insulation on the water pipes in the Swamp Room. Because it’s cold outside. Also, because I had a nightmare about pipes bursting. And zombies. Of course, I listened. So no zombie apocalypse on my watch y’all. You’re welcome.


It’s easier to use than it looks. Because I know it looks horrible, but waiting til it’s freezing = grabbing a bunch of various sizes. I’ll even things out eventually…


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