Tracking new legislation in your state

Posted February 5, 2015 By Ruth

I ran across this site LegiScan today.  I haven’t registered for the free account yet, but the base tool that’s available without that has already proved its use to me…..

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I was not expecting…..

Posted February 2, 2015 By Ruth

…..to have to shovel out the INSIDE of the garage…..

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Something tells me I’ll be replacing those door seals this summer…..

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Golden Eagle—I wish

Posted January 29, 2015 By Ruth

Though I’m not truly a “Birder”, in the sense that I really don’t spend time and effort bird chasing, and only really care about the birds I can see without going out of my way, one of the birds I’d really like to see is a Golden Eagle.  They migrate through the area every spring and fall so its entirely possible that I could, but I’ve never had the time/energy to go “chase” reports to go see one.

Back on Monday a local birder reported (report still listed as un-confirmed on eBird.org which, btw, is an awesome resource for what birds to keep an eye out for in your area if you’re interested in that sort of thing) a juvenile Golden Eagle at a location not far from me, and infact, not even that far out of my normal path for errands.  So Tuesday I made a point of modifying my usual errand run to run by that area twice.

This is the description in the report from Monday:

 

First seen perched in a tree facing me & at some distance & through falling light snow.  Appeared all dark with pale greyish bill. Feathered head ie not a vulture. Then seen flying with dihedral. Bicolor underwing pattern reminiscent of a Turkey Vulture. Pale feather colors probably accentuated because bird was flying over snow-covered ground. Prominent white in tail with dark terminal band. No white in head. Black & white pattern typical of juvenile Golden eagle but the opposite of a juvenile Bald eagle.

 

After checking the listed descriptions and pictures of young Goldens I decided it was possible that he really had seen a Golden, which made it worth my time.  And sure enough, on my way out I spotted this stunning bird that matches the description perfectly. 

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There’s just one teensy little problem…..thats not a young Golden Eagle.

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That is a “dark morph” Rough Legged Hawk.

Stunning bird, very distinctive and eye catching.  But not an eagle.

*sigh*

We’ve got at least one “light morph” Rough Legged Hawk hanging around the area too though, very cool!

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Wasp Spray

Posted January 29, 2015 By Ruth

Brigid has a post up about self defense in the home (go read, its got some great thought points).  And points out that the common advice to carry wasp spray instead of pepper spray might not be such a good idea.

Reminded me of an online conversation I had recently with the wife of a gentleman who taught at my high-school.  She got quite mad at me for pointing out the possible legal ramifications of such use.  But when I insisted that its also not nearly as debilitating as everyone insists she did the online equivalent of storm off in a huff.

No, I’ve never gotten a full face spray directly from the can of wasp spray.  But we use it quite a bit here at our property.  And I have, on more than one occasion, been spraying down a nest only to have the wind gust back at me and result in me catching a full face of spray.  And sure, I drop everything and run inside to wash it off…..but I don’t do it because its painful or the like.  I do it because its potentially long term dangerous.  Infact, its not painful at all.  No worse than catching a faceful of water spray infact.  Turning a can of wasp spray on an attacker might slow him down, just from the surprise of catching a faceful of liquid.  But you might as well just carry a water gun and avoid the possible legal problems that go with wasp spray use.

I also have to note that the supposed length of spray is utter BS on those cans.  Sure, somewhere out at 20-30feet there’s a fine mist of wasp spray…..but if you actually want a concentrated stream to hit something you’ve got to be a HECK of alot closer to your target.  Like, in the 10-15ft range…..

Apollo says winter is awesome

Posted January 17, 2015 By Ruth

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I think my fingers froze off taking these pictures though…..

My new spice cabinet!

Posted January 11, 2015 By Ruth

So, back at the end of Dec I ran across THIS link.  And although my spice cabinet isn’t THAT  bad, its not good, and after looking at my kitchen I realized I had a perfect spot to put it.

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This is the cabinet end that is at my back when I’m standing facing the stove.  Perfect!

Course, then the “how to make it work for me” started…..

That cabinet you see is CHEAP.  Those sides aren’t solid, what you’re looking at is a very thin (not more than 1/8″) piece of laminate attached to the solid piece corners and a 1/2″ or so gap between it and the INSIDE decorative piece of laminate.  So mounting anything to it is an issue.  My spice cabinet had to be wide enough to mount to the solid corners.  About 11 1 /2″.

That cabinet is 32″ tall, but thats out of my reach, I’d not be able to reach the top shelf most likely.  So, I made mine 30″.

Also, that cabinet isn’t square to the wall, or else the doorway right there is wonky.  There’s just over 3″ of protruding wall at the bottom of the cabinet, and a solid 4″ at the top.  Since I don’t want to be banging my shoulder on the bottom corner the spice cabinet can’t be more than 3″ deep.

Color….I really don’t care for that fake medium oak color that my cabinets are.  Dammed if I’m going to stain this spice cabinet to match.  But staining it to match the wood in the living room (a medium cherry-ish color) would look odd in the kitchen.  I’d about decided I’d just paint it black like in the link when my Husband suggested a dark stain instead.  It looks very nice despite not matching.

Which way to swing the door….I really wanted it with the hinges on my right (facing the cabinet), but if I did that, and made the door the same width as the base cabinet, the door would bang into the wall before opening all the way.  Thats not going to work….After some discussion with an acquaintance who does woodworking professionally (and has built kitchen cabinets) I considered an inset door, that sits inside the cabinet frame, but that takes a degree of accuracy that I wasn’t sure my woodworking skills were up to.  After playing around with the idea I came up with a solution I’ll detail in a bit.

I had a few issues getting going, basically I was having a bad day and shouldn’t have been allowed to touch power tools since I couldn’t even manage basic subtraction correctly.  But we got that straightened out.

Here it is while I figure out the shelf spacing.  No, the picture’s not upside down, the spice jars are.  

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No comment on my wonky shelves…I have a level around here somewhere….

And the door after its first, fresh, coat of stain.

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Yup, we went with a solid door.  Mostly because I couldn’t find a metal grating that I liked that wouldn’t double or even triple the cost of the whole thing.  But also, because even though it would have looked cool to have a glass or grated door, spices aren’t supposed to be exposed to light all the time.  So, solid door it was.

 

Here’s how I mounted the door:

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Basically the body of the cabinet is 2.5″ deep, but the one side is 3″ deep, and the door is 1/2″ to match.

And finished and hung:

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 And I discovered that I don’t need to buy cinnamon any time soon….ooops lol

 

Costs:

Wood:

Birch 2’x4′ plywood for door $17.95 (but I used less than half of it, so really, less than $9 for this and I still have most of it to do other things with)

Poplar 1×3 (actually 3/4″ x 2 1/2″) $13.10 ( I didn’t use it all, but I did use most of it, close enough)

Poplar 1×6 (actually 3/4″ x 5.5″) $7.14 (again, I didn’t use it all, but most of it)

Hinges: $2.58

Handle: $1.28

Magnetic Catch: $0.98

1qt of stain: $7.77 (but I barely used any of it, I’d have bought a smaller can of it if they’d had it)

Birch edgeband for the door: $6.35 (but I used less than half of it for this so really $3.15)

1lb nails: $3.29 (but there’s most of them left….)

So, less than $40 if you don’t count the stain and nails (and considering how much is left I don’t).  I can live with that!

Popovers

Posted January 9, 2015 By Ruth

Just because

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Recipe HERE.  And if you take care to actually follow the directions to the letter its basically fool proof.

Attention New York Dog Owners

Posted January 6, 2015 By Ruth

Big Brother is considering dictating (Bill# S00473) how you train your dogs.

S 113-A. OBEDIENCE TRAINING; REQUIRED. 1. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL BY RULE OR REGULATION ESTABLISH REQUIREMENTS FOR BASIC OBEDIENCE COURSES FOR DOGS AND THEIR OWNERS WHICH MUST BE SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION. SUCH REQUIREMENTS SHALL INCLUDE INSTRUCTION FOR THE OWNER ON THE PRINCIPLES OF DOG TRAINING, AND INSTRUCTION ON AND PRACTICE OF OBEDIENCE TRAINING BY BOTH THE DOG AND ITS OWNER. FURTHERMORE, THE COMMISSIONER SHALL ESTABLISH MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS FOR THE SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF SUCH BASIC OBEDIENCE COURSES. 2. THE COMMISSIONER SHALL ESTABLISH REQUIREMENTS FOR DOG OBEDIENCE SCHOOLS WHICH ARE AUTHORIZED TO PROVIDE THE BASIC DOG OBEDIENCE COURSES FOR DOGS AND THEIR OWNERS AS REQUIRED BY THIS SECTION. 3. THE OWNER OF ANY DOG REACHING THE AGE OF ONE YEAR SHALL, ON OR BEFORE THE DATE SUCH DOG REACHES ONE YEAR OF AGE OR WITHIN ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY DAYS OF RECEIVING OWNERSHIP OF SUCH DOG, WHICHEVER SHALL BE LATER, SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETE, WITH HIS OR HER DOG, A BASIC OBEDIENCE COURSE.

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So they want to dictate what and how our dogs are taught basic obedience. And require it of all dog owners.  Which on the surface of things I can see the theory.  But reality doesn’t work that way.  

First off, its yet ANOTHER state dictated expense for dog owning.  Unless they’re going to force trainers to offer the class for free, yah, that’d go over well.  Or maybe they’ll decide to subsidise it.  Like they are the minimum wage.  Yah, lets do that *headdesk*

And lets look at the practical issues:

Working farm dogs, especially Livestock Guardian Dogs, almost never leave the home property, are frequently not house pets, and are unlikely to pass basic obedience (or have an owner who wants them too).  

Hunting hounds are often not house pets, only leave the home property for hunting trips, and their owners are very unlikely to be interested in basic obedience classes.

A dog with dog aggression problems certainly needs training, but squashing one into a crowded “one size fits all” class will do them more harm than good.

Conformation show dogs are frequently taught modified obedience, including “down” or “stand” in place of “sit” because they don’t want the dogs sitting in the show ring.  If the mandated training dictates the use of the command “sit” show dogs are screwed too.

Never mind that not all dogs learn the same way.  What works for your average Lab might not work for your average hunting hound, never mind your average primitive breed.  Oh yes, the primitives.  Like the ones I own.  Both of whom are perfectly safe in public.  And both of whom would be very unlikely to pass your average “basic obedience” class, ESPECIALLY if it was done by the wrong trainer…..

HERE you can find your local Assemblymember and let them know what you think!

Click read more to see the letter I wrote.

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Smoked chicken for lunch meat

Posted January 2, 2015 By Ruth

3 chicken breasts (I didn’t weigh them, but they were pretty average sized)

Brined for 4hrs: 4 cups of water, 1/4cup sea salt, 1/4 turbinado sugar, 1 bay leaf, a heavy sprinkle of garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, ground pepper, and red pepper flakes

Smoked over hickory chunks.

Supposed to be to 165 internal, which should have taken about 1.5-2hrs, but I had a thermometer malfunction (its an elderly cheap digital and it didn’t like the outdoor temps of upper 20’s), and so they went a bit longer than they should have (closer to 2.5hrs) in order to be on the safe side.  As a result they ended up a bit dryer than ideal.

Still tasty though, and they’ll work very very well for sandwich slices which was the point of the exercise.  They aren’t going to last long though.  I smoked them yesterday and between Husband and I they’re already half gone!

Gonna do turkey breasts next time….

Gonna have to buy a proper smoker and wireless thermometer if we keep on doing this……

Time to sharpen the kitchen knives….

Posted December 30, 2014 By Ruth

Thats not actually a lead in to a rant.  Its my own stupidity.

I knew that the large majority of my kitchen knives were duller than ideal….but I hadn’t realized how bad they’d gotten.

My inlaws gave us a new Cutco knife for Christmas.  And its sharp.

I forgot.  And handled it like I would have my usual knives.

Thankfully the cut isn’t any worse than a bad papercut, so I’m fine…..hopefully its a lesson learned!  And time to get my knives sharpened…..