Thursday, December 1, 2011

tails of the turducken

Well, my family successfully survived two years of deep-fried turkey during my two years of hosting, so my father decided we would be ambitious and try making a Turducken for my parent's turn at hosting this year.

Ahh, yes, layer upon layer of MEAT. Yum!

My brother and I were set to task with boning the duck and chicken, respectively. Our first hurdle was the realization that my father didn't actually own three boning knives, nor three knives capable of proper boning.

Of course, I also broke a knife in the process, which didn't help.

So, we set to boning the birds...

Me with the chicken... before
Me with the chicken... after

Able-Bodied Brother with the duck...
and Able-Bodied Father with the turkey.

So, after that, we had the serious business of bringing them all together. Some instructions say to add stuffing between layers, but we opted not to. After much wrestling and squishing and tying and wrapping, we finally got all the parts into each other...

My dad roasted it at 300 for most of the day, with the extra wings on top, and it turned out lovely and not at all dried out! Show that beautiful meat footage!

Overall, the taste wasn't bad, but everything kinda got washed out in a "poultry" taste. And really, who focuses on the taste of the meat at Thanksgiving, when there is an awesome spread of dressings and gravies and sides and cranberry sauce and PIES!

I will leave you with Alton Brown's favorite friend...

How was your Thanksgiving? Eat any incredible foods? Eat too much? Did you try to be good?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Thursday, November 17, 2011

hair drama

As I hinted at in the last post, there was a bit of hair amusement several weeks ago...

We all know I've gone "No 'Poo" (aka, no shampoo or conditioner) since March. Which hasn't been too bad. But, on occassion, I have issues with flakes and I've been really determined to solve that problem. So what did I do?

I googled it. (The problem; not my hair.) One of the main suggestions I had read in the past was using Apple Cider Vinegar, which, oddly enough, I was already using. I was sure to let it sit on my scalp longer, and with more vigourous massaging, but there were still weeks when I had flakes. Sometimes terribly. Sometimes just a bit.

So, a bit more research for better solutions, and I came across several references to Tea Tree Oil and/or Lavendar Oil, and another that suggested Hydrogen Peroxide to disinfect the scalp. Now, I don't have psoriasis as far as I know, just a dry scalp, but I thought it couldn't hurt. We also had a full ounce of Tea Tree in the house (that doesn't sound like a lot, but it is quite a bit for a single bottle of an essential oil!), so on a Sunday, I marched my butt into the shower with a new blend of ACV/h2o2 and Tea Tree. I started by washing my scalp vigourously with the h2o2.

Now, I can't find my Tea Tree source now, but I SWEAR I did it as I read to. And did NOT (until trying to find that article now) read all the other articles about using a 5% solution with the Tea Tree...

So I doused my head in 1/2 ounce of pure Tea Tree oil.

If that doesn't phase you, you've never worked with Tea Tree before. I knew what I was getting into, but I have a pretty thick skin and was fairly desperate, so I just did it. I poured capful by capful onto different parts of my wet head. Then wrapped my head in a towel and let the burn begin.

And it did burn. Not painfully. But a heat. And later, when I opened the towel a bit, I could tell that it really was "burning" off the extra derma. So, ok, not so bad, doing the job... right?

Here's the other thing about Tea Tree: it stinks, in high doses. So I stunk while it sat there on my head all afternooon, and evening, and night.  In the morning, I figured I'd just wash it out and be done with it. And by that time I was used to the smell.

So I washed. And washed. And washed again. I doused my head in the rest of the ACV/h2o2 so many times that, when I finally used the Baking Soda rinse, my head LITERALLY EXPLODED into trillions of middle-school volcano bubbles.

And my head still stunk.

No problem, I sit in the corner cubicle, away from everyone. I'd joke with my coworkers and tell them to stay away from my stench and endure that for another day or so. Until I got to work and remembered I had a dentist appointment. You know, that thing where you lay in a chair and someone hovers over your head for 30 minutes?? Oh dear god the drama!!

Lucky for me, it was a new dentist for me. So my first thought was, well, this will be my ONLY visit here!!. But when I arrived and met the dentist, he was a nice elderly man in a surgeons mask, so I figured he would either not smell it or be too polite to say anything, and he was the only one who came near me. So, whew to that! The smell faded after another day.

In any case, the Tea Tree did burn off the derma, but didn't prevent new dry skin from piling up in my long hair. So I guess it is good for a "reset button" sort of thing, but I would recommend starting it on a Friday night and plan to have a weekend ALONE.

Good news, I did find a solution. A very simple solution... and one that works amazingly well!

Drink. More. Water.

Swear to god, I've improved my water intake this week and I haven't had much of a problem at all with my scalp. And come to think of it, my dry scalp became more of a problem again when I stopped working out (and extra water for that) and during the heat of the summer when I avoided the outdoors (and, again, didn't feel the urge to drink while in the A/C).

So. Lesson Learned: Don't stink it up. Just drink it up.

Any amusing stories of big personal failures to share? I can't be the only one!?!

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Monday, November 7, 2011

novemb-a-what/personal hygi-nx

Holy crap, it's the holiday season.

I'm starting to feel uber-guilty about not accomplishing more clean-hippie goals for the year. But, there's always next year :)

I'm getting near the end of my Costco pack of Dove bar soap, and each of my deodorants (am I the only one who has three open at any given time, in three different locations?). So I'm starting to consider the replacements.

At some point, I had found a really interested deodorant paste recipe. Of course, I can't find it now. And I used to use a liquid baking soda mixture, which I gave up. But I found a nice little summary post at the Green Phone Booth about several recipes, and I'm intrigued by Jenn's all-powder mix. I always have all of the ingredients at home (hmmm... I assume my BS is aluminum-free...), which is the biggest bonus of all. First-run testing to come soon (can't say for sure until it makes it through summer :-P)!

As for soap, there are so many out there that say they are "natural" that I really feel I need to do more research. Everyone keeps recommending Lush, but I'm not really a heavily-scented-soap person and the main thing I hear is "it smells so good!". And they are just so damned expensive!

Hair, I'm still working on. I tried one solution, which was highly amusing and deserves a post of it's own (and only worked somewhat). I'm testing another and will update shortly.

Household cleaning products haven't come up again recently, mostly because we haven't been keeping up with cleaning :-P  However, our post-holiday winter project involves a hell of a lot of cleaning (basement *TACKLE*) but that might just be more trash bags and vaccuming, so who knows.

One last thing, we have a HUGE aloe plant which I am considering harvesting entirely to give room to grow one of the new babies (still owe the other one to a friend). I think I can jar and/or freeze the aloe for later use, but I need to look into that more. Would be a good ingredient for other personal care products too, so we'll see if I can harvest it for future use!
Any last-minute projects you're trying to get done before 2011 is completely gone?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Sunday, October 30, 2011

our flock

Well, we finally expanded our flock, thanks to Barnhenge Momma, so I thought I'd give you the run-down on the full flock...

Our first, Ginger, is a Buff Orphington. No clue on her age, as she was a random grab from B-Momma's flock. She is a little bossy, but all bark and no bite. She aggressively hoards her treats, going so far as to run away from Mac with them. She is occasionally broody, sitting in the hen house for weeks on end, on eggs that have no chance of hatching. Ginger has survived two hawk attacks with us so far; she's the most visible of the two, so it's not surprising. Her eggs are light tan in color, with very weak shells and somewhat runny whites.

The next is Mac, a Barred Rock. B-Momma and I made Able-Bodied Boy and B-Husband go back for this breed when the boys originally selected Ginger and another chicken from their flock. She is just so beautiful! Mac's fairly quiet and docile, but will get very noisy if Ginger is being broody and she's forced to wander the yard alone too much. She's gotten a little territorial with the new birds, but has settled down well. She also went and laid by Ginger's side after Ginger's first hawk attack, until Ginger was ready to head back into the coop. She gets skittish in open spaces, and will run/fly surprisingly fast to get from one side of the yard to another. Her eggs are slightly darker than Ginger's, with very tough shells and bright orange yolks.

The new little ones. Always together :)

This is Babs, our new Araucana. She is quite skittish, and sticks close to the other young one at all times. Her ear tufts are already quite apparent, and I love all the red in her feathers. Her eggs, once she begins laying in the spring, will be some shade of bluish-green!

This is Bunty, our new Silver-Lace Wyandotte. She should grow up to be another very beautiful bird, with silver-tipped black feathers. Her eggs will probably be similar in color to Mac and Ginger's.

This is Bella, a Blue mixed breed hen. She must eat every egg she lays, cuz we've never seen any of hers before. She is always gentle with the other chickens, never running fast near them or scaring them. She loves just sitting and watching them. And eating their poop and abandoned treats.

This is Able-Bodied Boy, a Buff Homo Sapien rooster. He's the main caregiver, making sure his girls have plenty of food and water, and a sturdy shelter. Also collects the eggs in payment. He's not as loud as most roosters, but does scare away hawks quite well.

I love and am so grateful all these wonderful chickens in my life :)

Who are you grateful for: furred, feathered, or otherwise?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Sunday, October 23, 2011

lessons from the savage 40

"They don't call it The Savage for nuthin'"

  1. Endurance vs Tolerance. When training for a big event, I thought my biggest hurdle would be my body and it's endurance. But really, it was endurance of the mind - or tolerance, as I call it - that was the greatest lesson. Several days after the event, I went to my usual yoga class. Normally, I struggle a bit in some poses, take easier variations if my muscles are feeling weak or tired, and only push as far as I think I can go. But this week, I got into those challenging, muscle-aching poses and gave myself a mental *shrug* - the pain will end at some point! Rather than punking out, I knew that my endurance was much more than I ever knew, and my tolerance for the mental and physical pain was much higher too. I was actually sore after yoga, because I actually pushed myself further than I had in a very long time.
  2. Chipotle is heaven. My brother introduced me to the one near his place, as he would go there after triathalons to gain back all his calories. A couple of weeks ago, when we all went to DC for a day of cycling and sightseeing, we went afterwards. And last week, we accidentally discovered one near the ride and I just could not help myself. Best. Burritos. Ever.
  3. Ice. Able-Bodied Brother talks about icing his muscles after an event or major training. I had never felt the need, never had muscle cramps or felt bad after my training rides, so I always just shrugged this off. After we got home last week, I took my shower and then had a little nap. When I got out of bed, I was in so much anguish. Not targeted pain, or cramping, but just overall muscle fatigue and aching. After 15 minutes of moaning and groaning, I finally decided a cold bath could not possibly be any more horribly painful than what I was already experiencing. Damn, was that water cold and awful. But three minutes later, I could walk and had no aches or fatigue any more. Who knew? Oh, wait, my brother. Gotta listen to him more often.
  4. The Savage 60. This time next year, I'll be ready ;)

Any other tips from experience for me to take into next training season?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl

ps. my scalp is doused in tea tree oil and wrapped in a towel. it burns, but i've read it could help alleviate the flakes for a while. will post about that soon!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

a view fro.. *huff huff huff*...m the top

I survived!!!! In numbers...

The Good
44.7 miles
3:49:30 time on bike
Average speed 11.6mph
Max speed 31.7mph
~3000 vertical feet of climbing
6th ride on my new bike (photos below!)
0 Dismounted walk-ups (awesome considering I have been known to walk in the past!)
11 mile mark (post-detour): was welcomed to join a group of men, who all stayed together until mile 19
1 Able-Bodied Boy meeting me at each checkpoint
1 Chipotle burrito afterwards!

The Bad
0 partners in crime to ride with, talk to, motivate/be motivated by, struggle alongside
20-30mph winds, in the face for most of the first 20 miles
1 Chain jump
2 episodes of tears welling up (did you not read the !!3000!! feet of climbing and !!20-30!! mph winds???)
5 mile mark: already winded
11 mile mark: got diverted for 1.5 miles with other confused riders
25 mile mark: almost gave up

The Ugly
7:00a - my phone thinks it is 1969 (aka, no 3G service, rendering it useless at mile 11 when we were lost and could have used a map)
2:00p - on the way home, we stop by Verizon and they need to wipe the phone to fix it. Ugh.

Ok, so maybe, in the moment, my phone being out of service was not the worst part of my day. When you crest a steep hill at 5mph, looking forward to the downward slide and rest of coasting at 25mph, and the 30mph winds mean you fight to go 6mph down the hill.... that's when you want to quit. But I guess the ride was a bit like childbirth... you forget much of the pain after you make it to the end.

Let me put this in perspective. The biggest hill in my county, "Burden Hill", is 90 vft of climbing. Based on that, I'd guesstimate that my 40mile ride two weeks ago was probably about 300-400 vft of climbing total. Do you remember the number for yesterday? Yup, 3000.  3000.  After the first 5-10 miles, I had already done all the climbing I could have possibly ever done in a single route in my area. And I still had 30miles to go, further into the hilly countryside. Tears. Do you blame me?

Basically, I went from 5mph up the hills to 25mph down the hills. All. Day. Long. With 20-30mph winds coming from the front and the sides. Which means, when you're going 25mph down a hill, and the winds are, say, 20mph in your face, it whips you around a bit. Being on a new bike, with skinnier tires than I've ever ridden on before, I felt very unstable. Add concern about road debris (winds = leaves and nuts and sticks) which is sitting in filtered, shady sunlight (is that shadow a rock or a hole or just a shadow?!?!?), and memories of my August accident (and the scars and still-remaining knobs on my leg and chin), and other riders who don't call "on your left" and would rather just show up unexpectedly in your field of vision, and sharp curves in the road (15mph speed limit?!?! I'm going 25!!!!), and cars that may at any moment overtake/pass or come around a curve in front of you.... it was pretty much sheer terror for that first 25 miles to the checkpoint. Tears.

Ok granted, I only welled up twice. The rest of the time I was too distracted. But on those rare flats where you can go 10mph (normally 15+, but there's all that wind, ya know?), you begin to reflect on just how fucking stupid you think this whole idea was. By the time I got to the checkpoint, I knew for sure that I wasn't going to attempt the 60mile route. That additional 20miles would have added another 1500 vft of climbing, half of which would be continuing into the wind. Nope. Sorry. And I even questioned my ability to finish the rest of the 40. But I rested and got enough of a boost from Able-Bodied Boy, texting friends, and one of my rider buddies, that I figured the last half would be mostly downhill, and mostly with the wind at my back (or sides, but at least not in my face).

I was right, and even the first 10 miles of the 19 back were mostly down and mostly without any wind issues. I saw hardly any other riders (save the groups that offered to help when my chain jumped) and hardly any other vehicles. It was peaceful, without any navigational issues, and only a few wicked hills (including one in a wind tunnel, which I promptly cursed).

So, all in all, I survived, thanks to the support (in spirit) of friends and Able-Bodied Boy sticking around to help see me through. 40miles of the Savage Century, whew! Next year, I want to do other rides. I would love to do the 75mile Bike to the Bay (as originally planned), which is all flat/downhill. Able-Bodied Boy has his eye on some routes in our area (browsing them as I type, in fact). And I may try the 60miles of the Savage.

Until then, the cycling season is over and it's back to Dance Dance Revolution to keep my legs in shape over the winter months.

What hills have you conquered lately?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl

ps. i learned a lot about pre-, post-, and during nutrition and body-care. i'll have to share that at some point!

Friday, October 14, 2011

the savage

This time tomorrow, I'll either be limping the last few miles into a 60-mile finish, or I'll be scarfing some fajitas after a 40-miler.

I'm scared. I'm nervous. I'm pumped. I'm prepared. And I'm probably a bit unprepared.

Will post all about the event, and the journey to get there over the last couple months, when I have recovered this weekend :)

Anything big going on with you this weekend? You could always join Able-Bodied Boy to cheer me on at the Nottingham PA pit stop!

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Thursday, October 13, 2011

caving in

I'll admit it. I used shampoo this week. First time since March.... :(

I've been having a problem with flakes. And with a busy life. And I couldn't figure out what the problem was. Washing too much? Not enough? Vinegar balance? Baking Soda balance? Too much grooming? Hair not drying fast enough? Seasonal issue?

In any case, enough was enough and they weren't going away and I thought maybe, just maybe the soap would magically whisk it out of my hair and magically fix my scalp in that way better-living-through-chemistry and don't-mind-the-side-effects sort of way. And anyway, I had to get to work.

Part of me thought, I'm going to regret this. And part of me said, This better not work toooo well.

In the end, it was a balance. It did help get the flake build-up out. But it didn't solve the scalp problem. So my approach going forward is this:

  • wash as little as possible (I was definitely washing more often than my original twice-per-week I had enjoyed)
  • wash it according to the optimal instructions and proportions I found earlier in the year (I had been fudging it)
  • stop looking at/touching/worrying about my scalp (I swear it knows)
  • wear my hair back less (I had started pulling it back more often, to hide the flakes, but that gives me a headache by the end of the day and I wonder if the pulling doesn't add to the scalp stress)

Otherwise, to be honest, I'm pretty damn proud that I've gone this long with only that one little lapse (and only shampoo, not conditioner). And I probably don't have any more/less flakes than before, which is a little disappointing, but I'm taking the long view on this and hope that everything works out in the end. I'm not opposed to "natural" shampoos, but I'll come to that if this ends in the experiment category, rather than the lifestyle change category.

Look at me, blogging! Sadly, my blog-reading time has gone down. What have you been blogging lately? Will you comment with a link to a favorite post of yours lately, for me to read?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Monday, October 3, 2011

welcome back!

Ok, I admit it. The oppressive heat and summer chaos got to me. I dropped the ball for a couple of months, but let's get back in the swing of it, shall we?

Things I really want to tell you about in future posts:
  • We finally got a new mattress! After a dramatic summer of me sleeping alone - first on another (better) bed, then in the hole of our bed while Able-Bodied Boy was away - we finally had an opportunity to seek and ultimately buy a new one. Stayed tuned for what we decided!
  •  The chickens are coming along nicely, but we've certainly learned a few things and had a couple of dramatic events lately (HAWK!). We'll be adopting a couple more in the coming months, and their integration should prove to be quite eventful :)
  • I have made countless frittatas this summer, with all of the eggs (now that Ginger is no longer broody). We've also had some great success with the last of the lamb in the freezer, and put in our order for another half from the local farm as soon as the form arrived a few weeks ago. I haven't taken many photos of the latest meals, but I do have some lessons learned in the kitchen and amazing things to share!
  • The CSA has been... well... interesting. While we have all enjoyed all of the produce, some aspects have been unexpected and has called into question whether or not we proceed again with this farm next year.
  • Weight loss and exercise? Ummm yeah about that. I'm trying. And doing ok. But not on-my-way-to-losing-30-pounds ok. Just holding-steady ok.
  • I am committed to cycling in the Savage Century (a very hilly ride) on October 15th for at least 40 miles, which is the distance I have attained so far in our flat countryside. But Able-Bodied Boy gifted me a brand new light-n-fancy bike, so 60 miles might not be out of the question... we shall see...
  • I'm currently in a Project Management Certificate course at a local university. That's taking up 6-8 hours of my week until my birthday in December, but I'm really loving being out and about in the world, learning new things.
  • I've faced the change of two promotions this year, and am loving this latest position. No regrets! It's always great to have such a wonderful transition in life, eh?
I'm sure there is more to tell, and I will attempt at least one post per week going forward.

Where have you been? What have you been up to? What have I missed!?!?!?!!

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Monday, August 1, 2011

w/mo2h #3: no-poo, four months later

So, I started this No-Poo experiement in March, and I've got this penultimate report...

Everyone's skin/hair chemistry is a little bit different... oily, dry, etc. So I figured out that my flakiness could be combated with the ACV on the scalp rather than the BS. So I switched it up... ACV on the scalp for a minute, with scrubbing part of the time. Then rinse. Then do the longer portion of my hair with some of the BS massaged in (it's slimy, so it helps condition too!). Rinse and complete!

I have far less flakes, although I'm normally a little flakey. I'm trying to vary the length of time, amount of scrubbing, and the proportion of ACV to water to see if I can reduce them even more. But otherwise, I'm happy with the results and sticking with it! No chemicals for me, yay!

What's become a habit in your life that seemed so far-fetched at first?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Sunday, July 31, 2011

ack! where does the time go?

Looks like summer is getting away from me... 3 weeks since my last post?!?!

Well, I'll forgive myself if you will. Between the heat and Able-Bodied Boy's relentless traveling and a just-flop-when-I-get-home mentality... well, you understand. Of course, I forget my camera when I go off and do exciting things, but here's a bit of what we've been up to... mostly food, mind you ;)

beet hummus really is bright pink. and pretty damn tasty!

Last week's haul: shallots, beets, tomatoes, zucchini, celery, escarole.... see those beautiful heirlooms? remember that my csa grafted them?

Also, the dozen ears of corn we're starting to get each week. That's a lot of corn!

A blurry shot of my latest frittata... garden swiss chard and basil topped with csa tomato

This week's haul from the CSA: flowers, tomatillos, onions, shallots, hot peppers, swiss chard, and a metric ton of tomatoes

Step One in the great Cleaner Replacement Program... Shower Spray!

Mac just loves exploring everything about our house :)

Is your head spinning just as much this summer?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Saturday, July 9, 2011

csa & foodie updates

So, no photos of the haul from last week or this week. But plenty of other photo goodness (in as much as my photos are "good").

Last week, we got spring greens, escarole, carrots, cucumbers, kale, summer squash, celery, and flowers. I also picked chamomile and epazote.
This week, carrots, cucumber, beets, summer squash, green beans, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and cabbage.

Also, the chickens have upped their production... so we've been eating a lot of fresh, wholesome food :)

Notice how the egg yolks differ greatly in color and size? This particular week, Mac had been staying up late to chase beetles and lightening bugs, while Ginger went to bed early. Funny how the diet can affect the eggs so much, eh?

Homemade Flax Seed Bread, topped with Blueberry Butter,
Sauteed Swiss Chard with Sausage spices, and Scrambled Eggs.
Sorry, it was too good not to take a bite before photos :)

Stewed Escarole with Feta, topped with Poached Eggs.
The only ingredients with unknown source are the olive oil and feta cheese.

The Ladies apparently want onto the deck for a nice dip in the hot tub.
Chicken Stew, anyone?

Kale, Tomato, and Garlic Scape Frittata.
The only ingredients with unknown source are the butter and mozzarella cheese.

We also managed to avert the first opportunity to buy chemical cleaners since Able-Bodied Boy's support of the Natural Cleaner Replacement Program (which I will start to detail at some point). I gawked at him in the store, but admitted I hadn't looked into any replacements yet. But he agreed to avoid the purchase, and researched that a vinegar-water solution would do the trick. Go Able-Bodied Boy! (I can take no credit, besides being a nag.)

I'm staying in the A/C, cooking up our yummy eats. How are you keeping cool this summer?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl

PS. i'm getting really tired of eating eggs. might need to start baking. zucchini bread!!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

more broken parts

The intermittent crying and swollen hand deserve a release. So I'll write from the head and hand and heart.

I waited so long for this. Patiently and impatiently. Watching others with envy, sharing in their joys and laughing with them at the quirks. Seeing my family have their own joys, my own favorites, the moments of jumping and scolding and teaching and playing. Everyone being together. Watching them and telling the stories.

Finally. finally. There are rays of hope. A willingness to accept and seek and find this all for my own. Expectations are so high and yet seems to be met. There is love and happiness and life and energy and purpose and focus. So much wonderment.

Except, my dog bites my friends.

I don't have much to give. I don't have money, or much in the way of time these days. My creative juices flow intermittently and time & money get in the way of even that. Free time is spent with friends and family and loved ones. Energy is spent on sharing life experiences and stories and joys and upsets. Food and drink and life and home.

Sharing. All I want to do is share her. Share the way she gets itchy and snorty and spins in circles on her butt, rolls around in the grass, chases rabbits and follows the chickens in hopes that she can share the treats we give them but not her. Share her favorite hiding spots and the way she chews up the blanket that Alicia's mom made for me, leaving beautiful bits of teal and purple lying around.

I want her to sit with me while life and friends and fun happens. My most anxious times when there are so many people around and I need a purpose that doesn't involve wearing myself out. Except she's anxious too and doesn't know what to do. So she snaps.

No one believes us. Or they think "dogs love me" and it'll all be ok. She's cute. She looks friendly and happy. But we don't know her limits, her triggers. All we can say is leave her be. That coming up to sniff your hand is not an invitation to pet her. That men and her paws are very sticky subjects for her. I want to just say these things and have everyone understand and give her berth and make that the answer. But it doesn't work that way and I can't push off the responsibility.

I feel sad that I can't share her, have to cause her more anxiety by shutting her away.  I look at my swollen, marked hand and wonder if someone else wouldn't say she should be taken away. I think of my family of dog-owners and still feel like the dream that I had - and they shared for me - is unfulfilled, and that those I love the most are also part of that group of strangers that need to beware. I look at my lack of ambition and drive and commitment to do anything really challenging in my life and wonder if I lack what it will take to see her through and maybe teach her another way of handling her stresses.

But most of all, I feel guilty that so many friends have been hurt. Because that, no matter what, is my fault. My responsibility. And I don't think I really know what that means... for me, for them, for her....

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Friday, June 24, 2011

friday's haul

In the Bins:
Tokyo Bekana (that really big thing in the middle)
Cucumber (split)
Carrots (split)
Summer Squash (split)
Spring Greens
Romaine head (to PPM)
Escarole head (to PPM)
Garlic Scapes (to PPM)
Broccoli Rabe (to PPM)

Pick Your Own:
all manner of herbs and flowers

Still in the Fridge:
Garlic Scapes

Garden-cilantro pesto with garlic scapes
Salads for the spring greens and cucumbers
Slow-cooked local pork roast with carrots and oregano
Beet Salad (OMG this was amazing last week and must take photos!)
Grilled zucchini (best. veg. ever.)
Scrambled (home-chicken) Eggs with sauteed collards, garden swiss chard, and garlic scapes
Stir-fried tokyo bekana and garlic scapes with quinoa

Any questions? :)

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Monday, June 20, 2011

all the tools for all the broken parts

I'm failing.

Holding at 7lbs down. Regained 2lbs from my losses last month. I'm not even at the half-way mark. I'm not really even at the quarter-way mark anymore.

I have excuses. blame. sadness.

I have hope without merit, which really is just hopelessness in a pretty mask.

Worst of all, I have tools. Tools utterly unused. Rewards prematurely bestowed. Challenges gratuitously unheeded. Restrictions wantonly ignored. All sorts of ideas and ideals and plans and things to measure and opportunities to do right.

And nothing to back it up. Not willpower, determination, courage. Just the humility to admit failure to you.

I'm ready to give up. Not necessarily quit all my good efforts: my eating habits, my cycling. But quit checking my weight, caring about how I look or feel. Because I don't feel bad, and I don't think I look any worse, and yet it feels like I have nothing to show for it.

Is it insane to keep going, even though I can't see the point, the benefit, the gain? Even though I haven't shown myself one bit of true grit, always taking the easy way?

In my head I hear all the cheerleading and encouragement, or the sympathy and understanding, or the blaming and self-righteousness. I hear all those voices calling and none sound like what I need to hear. I spin around and around, from one voice to another, looking for a gap in the sounds, a perspective I've missed, a new direction to take.

I think I'll just sit a spell.


Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Friday's Haul

We switched to Friday's so we could use more of the veggies on the weekend, rather than during hectic weekdays. The farm was happy to have more Friday shareholders, and Purple Pregger Monkey and I agreed that we weren't gone too many weekends over the summer to make it a hassle.

No photos cuz I was a grumpy girl last night and just wanted to get everything washed and put away.

In the Bins:
cabbage (us)
summer squash (split)
radishes or turnips (turnips, to PPM)
red beets (us)
celery (split)
kale (split)
spring greens (us, cuz I cannot get enough salad these days!)
lettuce heads (to PPM)
scallions (to PPM)
cucumber (to PPM)
garlic scapes (us)

Pick your own:
all the herbs from previous weeks (I took more chamomile, but that is all)
flowers (which I picked for PPM, who was having a bad day)

Taking advice from a wizened CSA pal of mine, I take care with my greens. I bought this AMAZING salad spinner, by Starfrit, to make the whole process easier.

  1. Trim and cut the tough greens, like the kale this week, into whatever size you need/want them to be.
  2. Dunk them in a large bowl of ice-cold water and leave for 5-10 minutes (or 2, if you're impatient like me, but longer if you really want them to last without getting wilty). Give them a whirl to wash them too.
  3. Dump the bowl of water and greens into the salad spinner. Pick up the inner strainer (watch, it'll be very very drippy!), and use your third and fourth hands (or a friend) to dump the outer bowl's water contents back into your original soaking/washing bowl (re-use it!!!)
  4. Spin for 5-10 seconds, dump any water, then spin again.
  5. Place the greens in a paper towel-lined tupperware and refrigerate. If I can get my hands on some cheap light linen, I think I'll try to do that instead of paper towels. I also believe that the tupperware ought to be somewhat breathable, rather than air-tight.

I also put my celery in a glass of water to keep them hydrated for now. No food coloring :)
The cabbage went in a lettuce tupperware, lined with a damp paper towel.
The chamomile and garlic scapes went in the container with the leftover thyme from last week.
The salad greens got spun dry (they were pretty soaking wet, but even still one pound of them was a full grocery bag!) and put into lined containers.

Any tips on keeping produce fresh? Summer squash? Anything I've gone over and done wrong?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Thursday, June 16, 2011

the state of the body

Well, there haven't been too many posts about weight loss or working out lately, have there?


Last week I did a little scale-surfing. Didn't like what I saw, so I did it again the next morning. Even worse. Not so good for morale, let me tell you.

I'll be honest, I haven't been working out so much (as I could be). By the time the rains let up, we got the chickens and Able-Bodied Boy was out of town most of the week. So I was incorporating animal duties into the morning routine and dealing with work stresses and not wanting to leave Bella alone even more than the 10.5 hours I was leaving her as it was...

Excuses excuses. I could have been doing ab-work. I could have gone on one of my big cycling rides on Saturday or Sunday. But I didn't. Though Able-Bodied Boy dragged me out on Sunday for one of our short 10 mile rides.

And boy did I feel like an idiot. A total idiot. I'm out there cycling with him, loving every minute of it. Loving the feel of my strong legs carrying me up the long, low side of Burden Hill. Loving the breeze in my face, watching the wild turkeys haul ass into the woods. The different types of road surfaces, the horse pastures (scaring them or peaking their curiosity). But mostly loving my legs.

Why don't I do this more often?!?!

My plan is to get back into the routine next week, while Able-Bodied Boy is back in town. Then making sure I have an extra 5-10 min in the morning to take care of all our ladies and give Bella some extra love when he's out of town for the Epic Summer Leaving (3 full weeks straight!).

For those of you that comment with questions: do you check back to see if I've answered? I never do because I don't think anyone does (sometimes sending the answers privately), but I will start responding. I really wish I could reply to specific comments in a thread, and you could sign up to get notifications of those replies... Apparently there is a way to fix that by using another website to host the blogger site (or something like that) but it's far too complicated for me to start fussing with :)

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Sunday, June 12, 2011

a weekend of awesome eats

I stored the Tuesday haul very carefully, so that we could enjoy most of the produce over the weekend when Able-Bodied Boy was actually home. I also purchased some strawberries and rhubarb from Linvilla Orchards. And then there's that first egg of ours... So we've been feasting!

Saturday Lunch: Tuna Wraps
Tuna, mixed with CSA radishes, CSA oregano, curry power, lemon juice, mayo, salt and pepper, then wrapped in a CSA red lettuce leaf and a CSA collard leaf.

Sunday Brunch: Collard Frittata
CSA collards briefly sauteed in butter, then tossed with CSA scallions, CSA oregano, feta cheese, and black pepper, then tossed with miscellaneous egg whites, yolks and whole eggs (a mix of local farm and store eggs). Cooked covered over low heat until the sides were firm, then under the broiler on low until the top was mostly set. Then the lone chicken egg was cracked on top and sent back under the broiler on high until the egg was mostly cooked and the frittata was browned.

Sunday Brunch: Chamomile Tea

I got a handful of fresh chamomile, but had no clue how to actually make the tea, short of drying it (which I didn't want to take the time to do). So I took off the feathery "leaves" and flower heads, put them in a tea bag, and set it in some hot water. YUM!

Stem Pickles
Got stems? Make fridge pickles! Heat 2 cups sugar and 1 cup vinegar until sugar is dissolved; add 3 heaping tablespoons of sriracha sauce and a 1/2 teaspoon of celery seed; cool; pour over stems into a jar; place in fridge for 2 weeks.
Technically, I haven't eaten any yet cuz the oldest ones are still only 1.5 weeks old.... but they look fantastic!

Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam
an annual must-make!

Whatcha got cookin'?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Saturday, June 11, 2011

a full and happy family

Thanks to BarnhengeMomma and hubby, we now have chickens. We spent a lovely evening in barn-henge under the twinkly lights, eating yum-tastic food (like a very fresh salad with lemon vinagrette and crab-stuffed mushrooms and a divine swiss chard-sausage-lemon lasagna), and enjoying a tour of the gardens with good company. And at the end of the evening, they sent us with a cat-carrier with two of her flock. Chicken Karma is on her side, as she's about to receive another five :)

This is Ginger.
She is a Buff Orpington. Generally pretty easy-going.

This is Mac.
A Barred Rock and very very pretty. Also a little uptight.

This is Bella trying to be good and not harass the ladies.

This is our first egg.
We believe it was laid by Mac. We're still teaching them about the coop and their nesting sites. In the meantime, Mac seemed to enjoy the cool grass under the coop.

We have them set up in the coop, with a 10'x10' dog fence surrounding it, covered with a tarp. The coop itself is dig-proof, so that's where they will be at night. During the day, we let them into the larger run. Since it is covered, we are not too concerned about the birds-of-prey. But they have demonstrated that they can run into their coop if there is a threat. Like a turkey buzzard or a Bella.

Did you figure out where the names came from?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

tuesday's haul

On the big white board today...

garlic scapes (went with purple pregger monkey)
summer squash (went with purple pregger monkey)
green onion
spring greens
beets (went with purple pregger monkey)
bok choi

pick your own:
one flower: sunflower, snapdragon, or *mumblemumbleotherflower*
herbs: mints, garlic chives, basil, parsley, thyme, chamomile, sage, oregano

I haven't made anything with any of it yet... any favorite recipes?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Sunday, June 5, 2011

notes from the road

Well, I intended to go on an almost-30-mile cycle ride today. Things didn't go quite as planned.

The route I chose had me riding for a few miles into our local small town, then hopping on a local road for 12 miles (of which I'd only ever traveled 2 miles), all the way to another nearby town. Google called it 14.3 miles one-way. It would definitely have been the longest ride I'd taken to date. Not to mention that Able-Bodied Boy is out of town so my main support person for road mishaps was not around here. I was a little anxious about all of this.

So I start down that long road. A sheriff's truck passes me in the opposite direction, then a few minutes later passes me again at full speed, lights on.  As I came over a hill, I saw another police vehicle on the side of the road, lights on, another mile ahead. Then another cop passed me, and I saw another one approach the group of them from the other side and they were letting cars pass in the opposite lane. As I approached and slowed, I noticed it wasn't a traffic stop, and an officer with a shotgun told me it wasn't safe for bikes to pass and to go the other way.

Go the other way? The other way? Ummm.... the "other way" out in the countryside is a 4-mile detour. What the hell?? I bemoaned it and thought it was impossible for me to handle all the cycling that day. Especially since that detour took me up one side of Burden Hill, about a 1-mile climb - not a terribly grade but since I wasn't too sure about the rest of the ride, I didn't want to push it.

But you know what? I did. I went up the hill, and back around to the other side of the incident. I continued on, up and down hills, and had the most amazing time. I passed an alpaca farm.

I passed a picture-perfect creepy bog: a slimey pit of mud, surrounded by old, craggy trees, with just enough sunlight through the canopy to illuminate the creepiness, and it looked like it came straight out of the set of Harry Potter or Princess Bride.

I passed a strawberry farm, smelling so ripe and sweet. I passed a private school commencement for their 8th graders, with hundreds of parents and grandparents in khakis and skirts gathering under large, old oak trees while all the students in suits and dresses ran around or played with the band or let parents coat their legs with bug spray.

I made it home without incident. I climbed most of the hills without problem, although one major hill on the ride back required about 100ft of walking.

32.8 miles in 2:18 for 14.2 average speed. Rock on...

Any awesome accomplishments for you lately?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Friday, June 3, 2011

what sustainability means to me

AKA: What the hell is the difference between going green and urban homesteading and non-toxic living and organic products and sustainable living and all those other terms I hear?? And which labels apply to me?

"Going Green": this is the one we probably all started hearing first. All about being environmentally-friendly, right? You buy things that don't kill the fish once you pour it down the drain, that save electricity - and thus fossil fuels, that use less water, that aren't produced with toxic chemicals that can cause your kids to get cancer. To me, though, this term is so vague it's almost laughable. It's turned into a marketing ploy to make you feel better about buying, consuming, and generally being the same as before. To truly "be green", you have to read the labels, do your research, understand exactly how this product/process/practice is better than what you were doing before.

"Urban Homesteading": this is starting to become a lot more popular. Urban and suburban families, in tight quarters, learn how to turn their little place in the world into a mini-farm. Farms being places where you use, reuse, do things yourselves with grit and elbow grease. These folks raise chickens, compost with worms, grow as much as they can on their patio and when they run out of space, use abandoned lots for community gardens. They can their own jams and tomatoes, make their own mayo, use baking soda and vinegar by the pound, and have that can-do spirit. It kinda makes me want to live less rural (ok, everything about me screams "get me outta the pastures!").

"Non-Toxic Living": start reading the labels on every product you'll use, and you'll quickly get the point of this. We are constantly exposed to petro-chemicals and man-made concoctions. Some industries that use these products are not regulated in terms of what they use and how they market them, and the ones that are regulated... well, it's the government regulating these things; you decide how you feel about that. There is a lot of concern that these toxins cause cancer and any number of other ailments. For some folks, this can be solved by a combination of "old-fashioned" (pre-industrial) / homemade goods that have worked for generations and new technologies that produce our modern accomplishments in a more-natural way.

"Organic Products": this concept, more than any other, has evolved for me. It used to mean a stamp of approval, a lack of chemicals, assurance that everything was shiney clean. No chemicals, hormones, or anti-biotics; living in pastures with all their parts in tact; being shaved of their wool without needing to die in the process. Well, not anymore for me. I don't take the "free range" label or the organic labels too seriously. So many of those concepts are government-regulated, a government who has been in the pocket of the food & farm industry for far too long. Corporations know how to get around the red tape and through the loop holes, and can afford the certifications. Local farmers and producers can't afford the pricey certifications, but they can still produce the best "organic" products you'll find. For me, "organic" merely means knowing where it comes from: how it was made, where it was made, what was/wasn't done to make it a better-for-you/the-animal/the-community/the-world product. My new favorite phrase is "we-can't-afford-the-certification-but-really-are-quite organic".

"Sustainable Living": For me, it all comes down to sustainability; I sort of think of this as the big umbrella over all of these concepts. Using renewable resources in a way that allows them to replenish themselves before we need/use again. Making do with what we have, rather than consuming more than we need. Being a part of the full cycle of seasons, of growing, of the circle of farm life pest control where the ducks eat the snails and the cats eat the mice; of planning for more than just the next day or week or month or year, but for our lifetime. It can apply to what we eat (local/organic, not shipped from South America), what we put on our bodies (no-poo, not toxin-filled shampoos), what we buy for our houses (sustainably-forrested durable wood, not cheap plastic crap), and what/how we grow around us (gardens watered with rain barrels and pests controlled by natural products or natural methods, not water-depleting hoses and pest poisons).
Do you embrace any of these concepts? Practice them? Disagree with their principals or how I've put them?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

tuesday's haul

The first CSA pickup. And boy, was I unprepared.

Most CSA's I had seen pre-packaged all the loose greens for you.

Not ours. Cuz I didn't pay attention.

So my one huge canvas bag ended up being a layered mess of spinach and spring greens and arugula interspersed with the whole/bundled goods. As such, I did not pick much of the PYO because I was worried it would get lost in the bag. I also didn't take photos of the haul cuz quite frankly, I had "a day" and was nearly in tears separating everything out of the bag at home. You try telling 3+ lbs of leaves to not co-mingle!!

first haul:
   spinach (2lbs)
   spring greens (1lb)
   arugula (~1/4 lb)
   bok choi (1 head)
   scallions (1 bunch)
   radishes (1 bunch)
   white beets (1 bunch)
   kale (28 stalks)
   butter lettuce (1 head)
pick your own:
   garlic chives
First meal:
Spinach (sauteed in oil, honey, garlic, smoked paprika, aleppo pepper, and balsamic vinegar)
with fish sticks (don't ask)

Second meal:
(cooked/shared with with our CSA buddy, Purple Pregger Monkey)

Bok Choi (blanched, with stir-fried garlic, hot peppers, & CSA scallions, with coconut lime dressing)

Lettuce Wraps (filled with chicken thighs, mushrooms, CSA scallions, and other asian ingredients)

The only bad thing about the CSA, that I can come up with so far, is that I have absolutely NO motivation to do my own gardening again, ever :) With such selection, grown by experts, and keeping me out of the heat...

Why didn't I do this sooner!?

Much Love,
Able-Bodied Girl