Blog: August 2019

Most of these posts were originally posted somewhere else and link to the originals. While this blog is not set up for comments, the original locations generally are, and I welcome comments there. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Summer CSA, week 13

  • 5 roma tomatoes
  • pint? assorted grape tomatoes
  • green beans
  • large red onion
  • 4 ears sweet corn
  • bunch red kale
  • 5 ginger gold apples
  • 6 yellow peaches
  • 9 hot banana peppers, one different :-)

(Small share got: red potatoes, roma tomatoes, kale, sweet corn, inferno banana peppers, blueberries, peaches.)

I thought banana peppers were, by definition, yellow or greenish-yellow. I don't know whether that singleton red pepper in the bag is also a banana pepper or if I got a sample of something else. I plan to pickle some of these (I've never done that); some might get stuffed with cheese and baked, and some might go onto a pizza.

My basil plant is still producing, though it's obviously in the final stretch, so that and some of the tomatoes will go into a salad with cheese. Roma tomatoes also work well sliced on top of baked whitefish (such as tilapia).

The corn from last time was very nice roasted. Maybe this time I'll cut some of it off the ears for a corn-based salad with some of the grape tomatoes.

The peaches from last time, by the way, were evenly divided between white and yellow, and made a very nice cobbler.

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Pennsic photos (mostly of the kitchen)

Last year I posted pictures of our new kitchen trailer, but (1) I failed to take interior pictures at Pennsic and (2) we've made some improvements in the last year. So here are some more pictures from this year.

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TIL: ophthalmology edition

I started getting noticeable floaters something like 8-9 years ago. (I see I failed to record it at the time, so I'm estimating now.) Floaters are bits of stuff in the vitreous in your eye that, as the name implies, float around and sometimes get in your way. They don't go away. They were quite annoying at first, but over time they became less invasive -- presumably my brain was learning to ignore them for the most part. I'd still see hem but they didn't get in the way as much.

A few weeks ago I noticed/realized that I've been having more trouble reading lately, whether sitting at a computer or reading a book. It wasn't a sudden change -- not the sudden onslaught that sends one for a same-day appointment to check for retinal detachment. I think it's been building for a while and finally crossed some critical threshold. I couldn't quite tell if the problem was obstruction (what floaters do) or acuity, but I'm not generally having acuity problems.

I had a checkup scheduled for earlier this week anyway, so I asked my ophthalmologist to take a look. She said yup, sure are a lot of floaters and stuff in there. I asked if she could compare what she's seeing now to the last photo she took of the inside of my eye, but that photo didn't help much. She sent me to a retina specialist just to be safe.

I saw that specialist this morning and learned some new things. Read more…

Patches and fixes

Yesterday, a delivery person came to our office door asking if so-and-so worked here -- he had a package that omitted the company name, so he wasn't sure where to deliver it. The package did have the suite number on it, which got him to the right floor, but he helpfully pointed out that none of the doors in our building actually have numbers posted on them. Huh! He's right!

After he left, I took a post-it note and a marker, wrote "suite #" on it (with our number), and stuck it to the wall next to the door at eye height. (The door itself has a company name at eye height.) That was a patch.

Today someone else printed a sign with a nice, large font and taped it to the door under the name, taping on all four edges to increase its durability. That was a fix.

If somebody else decides to make it pretty, with a splash of color and art, that will be marketing excess. :-)

Summer CSA, week 11

  • 1 giant leek
  • 4 ears sweet corn
  • 1 cantaloupe
  • small bunch parsley
  • cup or so of blueberries
  • 6 peaches
  • 2 small delicata squash
  • 2 heirloom tomatoes

(Small share got: corn, cherry tomatoes, blueberries, delicata squash, beans, and peaches.)

The manifest said "white or yellow peaches"; some of these look a little different on the outside than others, so I wonder if I got some of each. I'll know more when I cut or bite into them. :-)

When I saw both parsley and tomatoes on the list I though of tabbouleh, which they also suggested, and put bulgur wheat on the shopping list. This doesn't seem like enough parsley for that; I mean, yes, I could make a very small bowl of tabbouleh, or buy more parsley, but perhaps I'll use it in something else instead -- or maybe a tabbouleh-inspired salad with parsley, tomato, crumbled feta, cucumber, and a suitable dressing. (I have all that already.)

We haven't had fresh corn yet this season, so that will be a treat.

I've seen a few recipes using squash in things like curries or parmesan-crusted treatments, and none of them say to peel it first. Some have pictures that clearly show the peel present. Is the peel on this type of squash edible? It's not on butternut or spaghetti squash, but those are bigger.

I also got a few things on the side, which started because they were offering "seconds" of those delicious little watermelons from last time at a good price. (Then it was a matter of making the minimum order.) So I also have a pair of those, a bag of banana peppers (which I will stuff with something, not sure what yet), a bag of mixed carrots, and a bag of shallots.

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Pennsic short takes

Brief Pennsic notes in the form of pluses and minuses:

  • Debatable Choir concert went very well! I hope I get to hear a recording (or, better, watch a video.) One person who doesn't usually comment on our performances described our last song (Ecce Quomodo) as "exquisite".

  • Despite a sudden attack of Pennsic crud causing a coughing fit.

  • Saw two fun commedia shows. (Would have been more if not for dinner conflicts, ouch.)

  • Cooking dinner on the night of both the Pensnic Choir concert and the commedia all-stars show was not, in retrospect, a good idea.

  • But it was a very nice dinner, if I do say so myself. (Teriyaki salmon; teriyaki tofu with snow peas, carrots, and ginger; stir-fried vegetables in a red chili sauce; white rice; fruit for dessert. No meat, no gluten, and everything except the salmon was vegan.)

  • Many improvements to our kitchen! (I need to organize pictures for a separate post.)

  • Not too much rain, though what did fall led to instant large mud puddles in the roads because the ground is saturated.

  • Our block really came together to work through land problems -- swampy patches and two drainage ditches made parts of the block uncampable.

? Being on the corner was good for middle-of-the-night privy access and bad for noise.

  • We doubled our solar power this year. We can now charge not only phones but the electric scooters of the two camp members who require them and one other camp member's CPAP machine. (Not all at once and only during the day.)

+/- I got to see some friends but missed others.

  • Nice arts & sciences exhibit, including someone who wrote (calligraphed and illuminated) a book of Tehillim (Psalms).

  • After the Coopers declined again to tow my house-trailer, the person who towed the kitchen for us agreed to do so, saving us a bunch of money.

--- Toward the end of Pennsic I got email from the Coopers (the first written communication I've received from them about any aspect of my trailer). It contained an eviction notice. I am very frustrated; all this time, the (verbal) discussions with them have been about them (not) towing it, and now they're saying they don't want to have any oversized trailers on their property at all. I wish I'd known that earlier!! I'll probably write more about this separately. Meanwhile, I can keep it through Pennsic 50 (two more years) and then it has to be gone. :-(

More on that last point from comments: Read more…

Conflicts between work and holidays

Someone came to Mi Yodeya with the following problem: everyone is expected to attend an important work summit, but it's scheduled on Rosh Hashana. The person asked how to explain the significance of the day and tell the boss that attendance wouldn't be possible.

My answer:

I have faced this problem several times - sometimes a holiday and sometimes Shabbat (directly, or not having time to get home). How I handle it depends in part on whether the plans can still be changed, but the broad outline is the same. It goes roughly like this:

(Name), I'd really like to be able to attend this event. (Something about why it's important.) Unfortunately, it is currently scheduled on an important religious holiday and I cannot attend. I'd like to find a way to avoid scheduling conflicts in the future; how can we work together to do that?

Key points:

  • You want to fully participate; you value the activity. Sometimes people make excuses to get out of things they don't want to do; this is not that.

  • It's a scheduling conflict, not an accusation. Don't say "but you scheduled it on Rosh Hashana"; that can sound like personal criticism. This is a time for passive voice.

  • "Currently": if you think it can still be changed, leave that opening and ask if changes are possible.

  • You offer to be part of the solution. We are a minority and even if they know about our holidays they might not know about two-day days or days starting the previous day (from their perspective). At one company I maintained a calendar and included some time info when especially important (like erev Yom Kippur). Expect the burden to fall on you for a while, though they might learn in time. (After several years I changed a culture of Friday-evening gatherings at one place.)

I usually don't try to explain specific holidays unless they ask. I do explain that it's very important to observe those days and that work on those days is a violation of religious law. That's been sufficient for me so far.

Summer CSA, week 9

  • small watermelon ("sweet beauty")
  • bunch large red beets, with greens
  • 4 green peppers
  • bag salanova lettuce
  • 4 yellow peaches
  • cup? blueberries
  • bag yellow beans
  • 3 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 candy onion
  • bonus: jar rhubarb preserves

(Small share got: zucchini, blueberries, yellow beans, yellow peaches, canteloupe, leeks.)

There was a problem with the delivery yesterday and the driver couldn't get there before the hosting business closed. So they rescheduled for today, but I took today off from work for Pennsic prep, so they let me drop by their warehouse to pick it up this morning. When I got there the person tending the desk apologized again (hey, these things happen) and said my box contained some extras. The jar of preserves is definitely extra (wasn't in the email announcement); I don't know whether I also got more zucchini and/or peppers than I would have otherwise. (Those were loose while the peaches and beans were bagged, so I don't think they added to those.)

Peaches! Yay!

The emailed suggestions for the blueberries include blueberry-zucchini bread ("combine your blueberries with..."). I'm dubious. Blueberry muffins are good; zucchini bread is good; I don't really imagine those combining well. Blueberries go in cobbler, though I'll probably just eat these ones raw, perhaps in yogurt or cereal.

The first half of the watermelon was delicious.

Candy onions are new to me. This one is huge!

Dani observed that the dominant color of the farm-share box is getting yellower. Hey, I see representation from most of the rainbow there. :-)

Most of this will go to Pennsic with us.

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