Monday, March 26, 2012


I've been experimenting with pickles for the restaurant. We serve them on the small plates and with sandwiches. This new batch is very garlicky and spicy. I think in a good way. It's too early to tell. I've made a large batch of refrigerator pickles - hopefully a one month supply - and will can some of the batch tomorrow.

Canning is pretty new to me. I'm brining the cucumbers first overnight in pickling salt and ice (which will melt slowly and become the brine). This is a step I've never done before but word on the pickling street is that it keeps them crisper.

Anyone found this to be true? Any amazing pickle tips you want to share?

Pickling feels a lot like soapmaking to me. It's a similar rhythm. One I'm drawn to. It's basically the opposite rhythm of the firestorm of the line, which is my husband's realm. Hmmm. He's a fire sign. I'm a water sign.

So, if any of you are pickle people, please give me a holler!

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Dodge Dart, Tapestry Dress, and an Excel Spreadsheet

Every once in a while, I get antsy for the time when someone really couldn't reach me. You remember those days, don't you? Back when you could fit all your worldly possessions in a Dodge Dart. Sure, if that Dodge Dart happened to break down, which it did often on account of the gas gauge being broken, you had no way of getting a hold of anyone, and had to walk until you found an "emergency phone" that wasn't broken along a lonely stretch of highway. But at least you had your futon rolled up in the back seat, right? And the camp stove. And a really awesome tapestry that could be a wall hanging, a blanket, and a dress.

I may not miss the tapestry-bedspread-dress combo, because frankly I could never figure out how to tie that thing so that it wouldn't flap open inappropriately, but I do sometimes miss the freedom of not being wired.

So much so that I often put those dreams on paper. Well, actually in an Excel spreadsheet. I have spreadsheets of how we can sell it all and move to some remote location dating back to when I think they invented the Excel spreadsheet.

The problem is, once the dream of being completely independent of society gets put into the many columns and format-able cells of a spreadsheet, it almost begs one to insert numbers. Numbers like how one can make a living in the wilderness to make up for any lack of foraging, or the cost of a yurt with a deck and the additional snow load package. Then come the ideas like Eric could grow mushrooms in tire pots and sell them at farmer's markets and I could make and sell soap while writing a novel. (If you think that I simply made that up to be funny, I can show you the mushroom growing/soap selling spreadsheet of '97).

Once I go down that path, however, then I habitually start musing about what we'd call our little venture, which turns into branding, packaging, marketing strategies, websites and blogs, and finally, the employee Health Plan, CleanGrow. OK CleanGrow isn't on the spreadsheet, but you get the idea. It becomes what I already have, which sometimes means very plugged in, reachable, responsible, and unable to take a true day off.

So this month, I did write a number of spreadsheets, but they weren't about moving to the wilderness or spending a year studying turtles with the kids. They aren't quite old enough for that one anyway. I'm thinking middle school for the turtle venture. Anyway, the spreadsheets were about expanding the business in a way that fits with our growing family. I may poke fun of my ideas in a year, but it was good to reflect and hopefully make some decisions that make sense in the future.

Now if you will excuse me, I have to do some research. My spreadsheets almost always require research. R&D like they say up at Corporate. Eric just calls it my seasonal crazy, but as soon as I get my hands on a foot operated shrink wrapper I'm going to put some of those ideas in the sunshine, spread out on a sheet. A real sheet. Whether it's plain white or a tapestry design doesn't matter in this metaphor. I meant it as in I'm moving from the hypothetical to the actual. Sheesh. Get off my back for the poor execution of a literary device. And whatever, you haven't facebooked me in like forever.

Oh, and for those of you that googled about Dodge Darts, and found this post, my Dart in college was a 1970, slant six. Color of road dust so you never had to wash it. You like barbecue?