Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I ♥ my Kindle

     I am not an early adopter. I have a difficult time buying the latest and greatest gadget because Apple or whomever put it out and it is "all the rage." I just don't care to follow the pack and waste money on something that usually does not have all the kinks worked out just yet. It's a waste of my patience to learn the hard way that something is buggy, especially if I paid several hundred dollars for it.
     I am also a book snob. I like to think I read all the good books (I don't, I have pretty select and not so select taste.) I like the feel of books, the smell of them when they are old and new. I like to hold them in my hands as I read and tote them around with me. Hardback books can be a challenge because I generally like small cross body purses that will not allow me to take everything but the bathroom shower along with me. But they too come along with me, one way or another.
      So Because of the size of my purse I eventually purchased myself a 3rd generation Kindle. I buy most things from Amazon and find that Barnes & Noble is just too overpriced and their Nook was no exception. Not to mention the Nook would not allow me to download from Amazon and that bugged me. The Nook also was back-lit and if I wanted to read my books on a computer screen I'd download a kindle app and read them on my computer. Which is something I just cannot do. It detracts from a book reading experience. Again the tactile part of book reading is by and large why I did not order a first generation e-reader.
       What I have found with my Kindle is I can get new-releases and not have to lug a hardback around. I can also get daily deals from Amazon and pay next to nothing for a new book. Not that all of those titles are good, but if I am short on money and need a new book to read a $2.99, $.99 or FREE book is where it's at. I also love love love the sample chapters. First 2-3 chapters for free so I don't waste my money. I have wasted my money on one of the books on my kindle but it was $2.99 and not $12.99.

So what is on my Kindle:

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson - GREAT READ!

The Churchill's in Love and War by Mary S. Lovell -GREAT READ

The Sisters by Mary S. Lovell - GREAT READ

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer - GREAT READ

Howards End by E.M. Forester - My first free-be :)

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Spy by Eric Metaxas - still wading through this one, its ok, but can be boring.

The American Heiress: A Novel by Daisy Goodwin - good and light

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson- meh, it was ok.

The Drama of the Gifted Child by Alice Miller - great stuff

Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley - IMHO the author had a great idea, but the book fell short 

Island of the Swans by Ciji Ware - Couldn't make it past the 3rd chapter, it bored me to tears. Thank goodness I got this one on a daily deal.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Dinner

We had to take a break from the garden this weekend. It had been one helluva a week and I just needed to be still and not do too much. So instead I stayed home to tend the home fires which was mainly cooking, cleaning, and sleeping.
Some of this weeks Menu:

Slow Cooker Turkey- Butternut Squash Ragout - this recipe is a members only recipe so if you are not a member you may not be able to see it.

Garlic and herb marinated chicken breasts with broc and green bean in herbed butter saute

The Lady's Cheesy Mac

The Lady's Cheesy Mac is something my husband requests all the time. It also makes pretty good left overs to take through-out the week.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall Equinox

Believe it or not the weather here in the desert is finally changing. Granted, it still is the triple digits, but there is a huge difference between 110f and 102-105f. I can hold my own till about 107f, but as soon as the thermometer tips one more degree I am absolutely wilting. The mornings now are cooler, again there is a big difference between 96f and 80f. Thank god we are now having 70 and 80 degree mornings! There are other signs of cooler weather; The shadows are growing longer, the sun is setting sooner and rising later. These signs can only mean one thing: The season of Hell is drawing to a close and I am ecstatic.

So ecstatic I have started drooling over some new autumnal recipes sure to fill my waistline out just a little bit more. But rather than use that horrible "D" word and start restricting myself from the luscious flavors of fall I am diving right in with a plan. PORTION CONTROL. Will it work? I shall see!

So in celebration of cooler more snuggly weather what are the meals you are going to roll out?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


This morning as I was bumbling around the kitchen way before any normal human being should be awake I heard tell that Starbucks is now offering books as part of their Pick of the Week program. I read a lot, more than most. I will ready nearly anything if it has a hook. I wonder if somehow I can download it onto my Kindle. I will have to give it a go!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Garden Happiness

     It's been more than a decade since I planted a garden or had my own fresh vegetables.  Now that I am free of school obligations I am taking the time to live and do what I held back from doing when I was too busy thinking about school, going to school, or just trying to survive my work day. One of those things is gardening. I love playing in the mud, I love the smell of a garden vegetable that I or someone has grown.
     In the desert there are 2 growing seasons; winter and spring. The summer heat and sun fries everything so you usually have most of the veggies out by June. And it's not worth the frustration to try to keep tender or hearty plants alive. This being the perfect time to start a winter garden we decided to give it a go.
     After a few scheduling conflicts we were able to make it out there. The plot is lovely! a nice sized rectangle with 2 wire trellis for growing squash, peas, beans, cucumbers; all vertically. Then two large squares on each side of that. It is also in need of some work. It sat for several years collecting nesting chickens from the neighbors "free range" chickens. (free range as in there is no fence to keep them in the backyard so they just wander from yard to street to yard laying eggs and foraging.) It is not as bad as it could be, but we're going to have to spend a weekend or two getting the grass out. Then tilling it and refilling it with some more soil.
You can't see them very well, but the tarp is covered with tomato cages!

After we removed the tomato cages we lifted up the tarp to see what lived beneath. An enormous amount of dead and not-so-dead grass. The sprinklers are still in good shape so we won't have to do too much maintenance on them.

    I am not complaining about the hard work its going to take to make this plot lovely and productive.  But I do have office butt and have not really done much manual labor since I moved into my house 7 years ago. I do have to take it easy so I don't throw my back out.

De-grassing the 1st square.

Oh! There is a sprinkler head.

The middle section is cleared.
I wish I could go during the week to get this done, but it's too hot after work to stop and work a bit. It will have to wait for next weekend. This Thursday the irrigation will do its monthly soaking. Perhaps the ground will be softer and easier to work with.

What are we going to plant for our winter crop?
Peppers ( Poblano and Bell )
Cilantro ( not sure if it will survive the winter but we shall see)
Swiss Chard
Leaf Lettuce

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Fall Gardening

My husband and I live in a small townhome without a yard. For several years now we have craved a garden of our own. A garden we can plant vegetables in and let the dog dig in. She will have her own garden when we move, of that I am convinced. Being a terrier it is only natural that she should be able to dig and roll in the dirt/ mud and we as her humans should happily accept that as part of her. I do. I hope my husband does when she flops down in the mud happy as a pig in its stye or digs with wild abandon spraying everything around her in dirt and grime. 

For several years we have had access to a family members old over grown garden, but have not taken it on. We are lazy, no bones about it, but I desire to get out and about in the fall this year, to do something new and different and be able to serve my home grown vegetables at my own table. 

Our last adventure in vegetable gardening was a big fat FAIL. We had utilized my husbands recycled sub-irrigated planters ( as seen in the above picture.) They had worked wonderfully for our house plants- he has a garden in his office, but nothing edible.They did not do so well for Tomatoes. (I'm guessing not nearly enough room or water) The glorious tomato we hoped for was reduced to the size of a thimble.  All four of them were bright red, and tasted like tomatoes.

So this time I decided to start investigating what I could plant in the fall that could cope with the hot flashes Arizona has in October and the possible freezes that January and February could bring. And I came across a lot of really useful stuff I hope that we can use! Apparently University of Arizona has a published Master Gardener Manual online and a planting calendar!

Now we just need to find a plot to start planting and make a plan :)