Sunday, May 24, 2009

figs and stuff

Well, I'm in a bit of a slump in the artsy creative world.  I'm also torn.  The most important concern/endeavor is taking care of the bebe.  But what to do besides that? Deciding what for and how to use the extra energy and time that I sometimes have is a bit of a hurdle for me right now.  These are the options:
-prep for renovation in studio
-making things to put in my shoppe

So far, these things are seeming somewhat mutually exclusive and/or dependent on other things that don't always align properly.  I keep thinking that I could get into some kind of routine or at least quasi routine that would allow me to do all of these things, or at least more than I have been managing to do, and do them in a lovely cyclical, fulfilling way.

I take being a homemaker pretty seriously. I haven't gotten into a zone of house cleanliness yet that I would like to achieve.  Part of the issue is all the other things, part of the issue is my apparently old creaky body that doesn't like to bend or kneel very much, part of it is just that I haven't had the self discipline to make myself do it.  Along with cleanliness, I aspire to wholesome, and as old-fashioned as possible meal prep/planning.  I feel to officially achieve some of the goals I have that I need a large chest freezer.  I think I could get into a pretty great cycle of making things like tortillas, butter, chicken stock and rehydrated black beans if I had a large freezer to stock them up in.

This ties into yard work a bit.  I have some rogue pumpkin vines that I'm hoping to encourage and possibly pollinate.  Pumpkins don't always need to be pollinated, but it's good insurance if you want a pumpkin.  I don't think I would be able to time it appropriately for Halloween this year, but it seems I could try to schedule it better for next year if this year shows me it's do-able.  Unfortunately, we are without a functioning lawn mower right now so my pumpkins are surrounded by weedy jungle.  But I get all Little House on the Prairie when I think of growing pumpkins and figuring out some good pumpkin recipes.  Imagine growing my own pumpkin that I would be able to cook up for my little girl!  Imagine growing my own jack o'lanterns!  

My figs seem to be coming in like gangbusters this year.  I'm so excited!  I really hope to be able to successfully cook with some of the figs this year.   Almost every recipe I find calls for dried figs.  I still am not sure on how to do this, but this is the year I will figure it out.  I also have to wrestle every fig I use away from my husband who pops them like tic tacs.  I left some of the taller branches on this year in hopes that the birds and squirrels and stuff could be occupied by those and I can use the lower ones.  We'll see if that pipe dream comes true!  I don't care for fresh figs, but I know I could figure out how to cook with them and be able to enjoy having such a bountiful fruit tree.
I also have a Jujube tree that the Wallaces gifted me with.  I've been reading up on things to do with these fruits as well.  Lee said that it would fruit this year, but I'm dubious.  It looks happy though.

I think I've successfully made my compost heap not so attractive to interlopers and am pretty excited about that, but still a bit jumpy when I go out there.  
My front little planty/flower garden looks nice, but still needs finishing touches.  I'm usually only able to garden at night these days, after little D goes down and there's no sun to do me in.  But I have to be properly motivated to garden in the dark and that doesn't always happen.

I so want to work on the shoppe more but am feeling pulled by all of these other things as well as not having a space to work in yet, but only a space to work on, which doesn't get me any further on crafties right now.  I also have a plan for a line of embroideries, but I don't have all the supplies I need right now for that, so that's holding me back.

I did make some experimental Thai Butter Cookies last night from a recipe that came in this month's Vogue.  It didn't work out perfectly, there were some cookie casualties, but the end result is certainly tasty and inspiring to experiment with some more.  I'm also excited to try a recipe for Brown Butter from the same article.  I also made some Hummus that worked well and I fried up some triangles of tortilla to try to make chips.  The blue corn ones are a little funny, but the only just lightly fried, still chewy flour tortilla "chips"?  Delicious!  Will have to revisit.  Also on the experiment horizon, making my own pasta.  
I've made ravioli with reasonable success, and it wasn't hard.  I just want to go through my cook books and try so many things.

Getting LHOTP fever when I envision myself making all these foods that beget or lead into other foods and even being able to grow some of the ingredients myself?!  Super happy fun times!  Now if I can just choreograph it all and get my rear in gear, things will be quite snappy at the Douglas house!


  1. Those are some lofty and admirable goals! I like to picture you and Bryan fig-wrestling. I feel old these days too....

  2. lots going on!

    you can ward off birds and squirells on your fig tree by hanging some old cd's from string on the branches like ornaments--the flashes of light as the cd's move in the breeze scares off fig-eating critters. or you can go old skool, like granny petmecky-style and hang old aluminum pie tins in the tree instead of the cds--you get the bright flash AND that clanking sound that only cheap pie tins can provide. birds hate it!

    i too struggle with trying to figure out how to use my time wisely. what has worked for me so far is to designate mondays as house-cleaning-days. i do all the laundry, bed-linens, sweeping, mopping, cleaning bunny hutch, dusting, straightening furniture, etc. i always want to go running to my projects but i tell myself, NO...clean the house today and you can have the rest of the week to work on projects. also, when i get most of the big stuff taken care of on mondays, it's easier to just keep up with smaller things around the house during the week.

    i've found that my creative brain seems to function better when i've taken care of all the housekeeping in one day. then i don't feel guilty or torn when i'm working on something but i know the kitchen floor needs mopping. think of housekeeping as feng shui for your mind.


  3. Good tips, Kaite-y! Thanks. My neighborhood won't let me keep a chicken. Bryan would totally go for it too, so boo.
    I've been meaning to see if I can glean anything useful from, several people have raved about it to me, but I think I'll do pretty well with day designations, it's something I've been ruminating on anyway.

  4. Are you sure they won't let you keep a chicken? Wes Miller had a pig back in the day and he used to live two blocks over -- although you are technically Austin now . . .

    As for pumpkins -- while I know absolutely nothing about the life/sexual cycle of gourds -- I do know that Gullett's fourth grade planted pumpkin vines in April last year, and they started turning pumpkin colored right before November -- so there's a good chance you could make your own jack'o'lanterns, or your own pumpkin pie. Side note: some sort of ground critter just savaged those kids pumpkins, it was brutal, so if you get fruit you might want to ask someone how to keep pests off 'em.

    I miss you, and craft nights, though right now I've got a pretty bad case of artistic ADD/ overdue spring cleaning fever and can't focus on much.