Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pantry Reorganization Day

Yesterday didn't start out as Pantry Reorganization Day, although it was a project in the back of my mind. We'll probably call in New Space sometime in the next year or two to put in new shelving, but I couldn't decide whether to do a pass at reorganization first. The "pro" argument was that I might get a better end design if I put my own stamp on it. The "con" was: why should I do reorganization when I'm going to pay the professionals to do it?

Moot question, now. We had an unwelcome visitor in the kitchen this week with four little feet and dirty bathroom habits. Unfortunately, the timing corresponded with a broken door handle so the pantry door was open and we're pretty sure our visitor took advantage. I've seen worse at the cabin, but since I was thinking about reorganizing anyway, this seemed like a good time to pull everything out of the pantry, do a good cleaning, and organize as I put stuff away. The pantry door is fixed, so here goes. Here's the before picture:

First order of business: buy new containers. Every organization project should start with new containers! One of the big questions I had about organizing the pantry was whether we wanted to be the kind of people who put everything in containers or did we want to continue our current habit of rolling bag tops and closing them with binder clips or clothes pins. With a mouse in the house, the answer is obvious: containers it is.

As I pulled things out of the pantry, I sorted them into four piles by whether we used them daily, weekly, monthly, or rarely -- an organization system that I've read works well in kitchens. The only things that proved rather ambiguous were items like chili ingredients that are used weekly in the winter and rarely in the summer -- I took the compromise position and put them in the monthly pile.

Of course, the "by frequency of use" organization principle competes with another logical system, "like with like." But I'm a librarian -- I can handle "like with like." So, as I put things back I didn't always do it by frequency of use. For example, apple cider vinegar is a weekly use item. Habanero apple cider vinegar is a monthly use item -- but I'd totally forget about using it at all if it didn't sit next to the regular cider vinegar, so that's where it went.

The frequency of use system did help me identify some things that I was keeping together for no good reason. I drink reverse osmosis water in refillable gallon jugs. Part of my disaster planning is to always have at least three full jugs on hand, so I have many jugs of water. I was keeping them all together, but now I have the open one on the most convenient shelf and all the extra jugs on the floor.

And, here is the after picture!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Beating the rain at the Garden

We went early to the Garden in the face of an impending rain forecast. I didn't get my camera out, much, but there are a few new photos on my flickr page, including this one:

Friday, May 22, 2009

The state of my garden

I bought more plants today, beating out the holiday weekend rush, but here's what I had before I started planting.

It's time to stop buying greens at the Farmers Market and start eating the ones I'm growing.

There are two large Genovese basil plants, here, and six small purple ones that were a bargain. I also have two rosemary, two Greek oregano, two Black Beauty eggplant, and one banana pepper.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Shaw Nature Reserve

We drove out to the Shaw Nature Reserve today -- a gorgeous spring day. The Missouri Evening Primrose is blooming on the glades. It's a beautiful flower with a short blooming season.

More photos on my flickr page.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A beautiful day for a trip to the Botanical Garden

The irises are in bloom.

Here are some other photos I liked from today.

Many more on my flickr page.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Transcendentalist Quote

I cannot believe that our factory system is the best mode by which men may get clothing. The condition of the operatives is becoming every day more like that of the English; and it cannot be wondered at, since, as far as I have heard or observed, the principal object is, not that mankind may be well and honestly clad, but, unquestionably, that corporations may be enriched. In the long run men hit only what they aim at.
--Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

May flowers at the Botanical Garden

We went to the Missouri Botanical Garden early today to beat the predicted rain.

My favorite photo of the day was this columbine.

I'm still finding the peonies photogenic.

But, of course, the roses aren't bad either.

And, I had a good time trying to get a shot of a bee.

More photos on my flickr page.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Just Do It

This piece meets two challenges. The one at my digital scrapbooking home, Scrap Orchard, was to make an art journal page with the theme Just Do It. We were given the background to use if we wanted -- and I did! The other is a blog challenge, Art Creations Friday -- they provided the photo of the lovely lady with roses. Other elements are from the digital scrapbooking kit Comfy Cozy.

My take on this journal page was to address my unfortunate tendency to not make much effort in observing my birthday (which is Tuesday).

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

May flowers at the Garden

The roses are just beginning to bloom at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

So are the peonies.

I thought this container in the Boxwood Garden was pretty.

More pix at my Flickr page.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

We had bean enchiladas for lunch. After some experimenting, we've settled on the refried beans recipe found in the cookbook Mexican Light by Martha Rose Shulman.

Supper was Acelgas Guisades or Swiss Chard with Tomatoes and Potatoes, a recipe from Authentic Mexican by Rick Bayless.

Both meals were muy delicioso!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Baby greens and a new pond

Before supper, I thinned half of this bed and had enough greens to make a good-sized salad for each of us. It's thrilling to eat something from my own garden this early in the year.

In other yard news, R dug a hole in the side of the hill below the deck to make a level spot for a small round pond. This will be the summer home for the tropical water lily that's been blooming since Christmas in our bay window and the hardy water lily that is outgrowing its spot in the stock tank water feature.

Here is the pond, filled and reflecting the sunroom.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday Transcendentalist Quote

From Sermon CLXII "The Lord's Supper" by Ralph Waldo Emerson as printed in Transcendentalism: A Reader, edited by Joel Myerson. Emerson resigned from his ministry with this sermon.

Having recently paid particular attention to this subject, I was led to the conclusion that Jesus did not intend to establish an institution for perpetual observance when he ate the passover with his disciples; and further to the opinion that it is not expedient to celebrate it as we do.

The rest of the sermon is a well-defined logical argument against requiring Holy Communion in the church or with performing it with a sense of authority -- all new to me since I had never thought of the subject before. Some of it relates to High Church and Low Church, although he doesn't use the terms. I learned about those in a couple of classes at Wash U, particularly one that made the case for High Church. Emerson makes the case for Low Church, while granting that those who find meaning in the forms of High Church should continue to participate in them.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Self portrait

Today, I learned how to use: a tripod, the self-timer on my camera, and a reflector to reduce shadows in a face. Oh, and I also learned how to reduce the glare on glasses using Photoshop Elements.