A Deal for YOU! from the Maple Syrup Pimp

Hey folks,

Just a note to let everyone know that i'm putting all the remaining syrup from this spring up on Etsy Showcase this Friday, so if you need a refill, or if you have yet to try Meadowbrook Farms' delicious 100% pure wood-fired maple syrup, order yours now while supplies last!  They'll be on Etsy Showcase this Friday and the following Saturday, and i really don't expect to have any left by the end of it.  At least i hope not.  (Get it out of my house!)

Great holiday gifts!  And there won't be more until April!

Order yours today at http://meadowbrookfarms.etsy.com!

If you're local to me and you want to pick it up, let me know and i'll refund your shipping on PayPal.

- Jamin


OMG Vacation!

So i'm on a sorta federally mandated vacation this week.  That it to say, i discovered a week ago that i hit my vacation time max in July and i've lost about a week's worth of vacation time since then.  So i'm getting paid out for a week of it (woohoo!) and i'm taking this week off.

It's hard for me to take vacations.  It's one of those things where i always figure "Sure, i'll take a vacation once things settle down and i have a chance to." But experience tells me that things never do settle down, and if you wait for a chance, you're not going to get one. Then again, maybe i would get a chance once in a while if our office wasn't already short by one or more people... *ahem* to any of the Powers That Be who might stumble upon this who might be able to approve us to post a job... But i digress.

So what am i going to do with myself this week?

Well, for starters i'm catching up on some web work.  It occurred to me that my quasi-defunct website hasn't been worked on (or probably even visited) in about six years, so i'm starting a bit of an overhaul on it.  The only part that's seen any action lately has been a rather meager page on gothic that i threw up there to point the Gothic for Goths folks at so they could read the scripts, but i just spent the weekend updating the gothic lexicon page to my usual obsessive-compulsive ends, so you can now look up any word from any of the lessons, click on it, and get a full conjugation of verbs, full declension of nouns or adjectives (including suppletion!), and a slew of etymologies and such.  Not thrilled with the formatting just yet, but one of my projects for today will be creating a script to edit the HTML on the pages to get the tables to be "pretty" and to strip out some of the more useless formatting.  (Though i must say Google Sites' editing does do a pretty nice job, HTML-wise, and doesn't have a lot of overhead.)

I'm also going to expand a bit on some of the rest of the site.  About a year or more ago, I pulled down the main site and switched over to Google Apps, but I just never got it up and running.  So this week, i promise: recipes, texts, stuff about me, and lots of other fun stuff!

Other than floobing around the Goth-Tubes, i also finally got around to scraping that horrible pop-corn stuff off the ceiling in the former-and-future bedroom, which in turn pretty much ruined the carpet.  So Peat and i are off to Home Despot at some point today to get Stuff.  Stuff, of course, being paint (white ceiling, "Proper Purple" walls), painting supplies, maybe something for pulling up the carpet and redoing the floor, a new handle for our side storm door (which has been broken for a year and i finally have a chance to do something about it), and whatever other projects we dream up along the way.  I'm sure there will be a few more before long.

I've also decided that this week I'm going to teach myself and master the art of making pizza dough.

I think we're also going to be doing a lot of last-minute holy-crap-it's-winter-already canning, bottling, and putting-by of stuff from the garden.

D'oh!  Which reminds me i need to harvest hops.  And i should ask Leslie & Ochen if they're going to use the basil in their front garden, or if i can turn it into pesto.


Gothic for Goths lessons remasterd, and new lessons!

Last weekend I finished remastering Gothic for Goths lessons 2 and 3, and added lessons 4 and 5. They're all up now for your enjoyment:

Lesson 01: The Alphabet Part I
Lesson 01: The Alphabet Part II
Lesson 02: Gáisūgja Meins
Lesson 03: Gutanē Nahts Us
Lesson 04: Sa Wulþrs Guta du Wisan
Lesson 05: Gutins Nahts In

Or watch them all in order on a playlist, including the abecedary, ABG Bōka Frumista Meina.

And just for the record,  i'm not really so down on emo kids.  They just amuse me.


Gothic for Goths Lesson I: Remastered!

I spent this morning and all of yesterday (that i wasn't spending at the opera on my porch) updating, remastering, re-recording, and polishing Gothic for Goths - Lesson I: The Alphabet.  It ended up being about 3 minutes longer than the last one,  so i still had to break it up into two separate files, but they're a little more contiguous now.

I'm now debating between reworking lessons two and three, or delving into a new project i've been musing about since working on that abecedary,  which is posting readings of the various rune poems, though I may put that off just because i still can't for the life of me pronounce Old English to save my life.

I was also going to record a new mini-vlog about the remastered posts,  but the software for my webcam is now demanding money from me, so i'm going to put that off for now.

Anyway, here are the links.  Enjoy!

Part I: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PirZKJgcr98

and Part II: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcuRIA_NreA


ABG Bōka Frumista Meina

I posted a new Gothic video today,  though not a Gothic for Goths.  Here's a little abecedary I made for my niece, Aubrey:



Hop to it!

I just got Peat to take some nifty pics of me in my hops garden. Check ’em out on Picasa.

West (& Wewaxation)

I’m just having a nice weekend off... from everything!  No work, no drama, no cleaning, no nothing.  I’m going to need it as the beginning of the school year draws nigh.  So here are just a few random things floating around my head at the moment.


I’ve been having a great debate with myself about my hair over the last couple of weeks.  For one thing, it’s getting close to the beginning of school, at which time i usually shave off the mohawk and go back to pain old boring old corporate slave hair.  That time usually coincides happily with the start of football season, and experience has shown me that if you have a purple mohawk after the Vikings start playing, that’s all you’re going to hear about - on the bus, from students coming into the office, from random people on the street.

But i’ve decided that i don’t really care if people assume i’m a Vikings fan just because i have a purple mohawk.  I have a purple mohawk because i like purple mohawks, and i’m not going to let Brett Favre dictate my coif’.  I don’t care any more about football than i ever did (that’s the one with the ball shaped like Stewie’s head, right?), but i’m not going to let it influence my already questionable fashion choices either.

So right now i’m touching up the ’hawk with some more purple and getting my coif’ on.  I also took some ½” clear tapers i had around and left them in a ziplock bag for a week with the same purple dye i use on my hair, and they’re now a lovely identical shade, and particularly impressive when i put the ’hawk in spikes.

I’ll get some new picks of it up soon, but both of my digital cameras have suffered some sort of traumatic disaster, and it will have to be up to my cell phone.


In other news, i’ve nearly perfected the art of coffee.  That is to say, that, in preparing for the upcoming Robot Apocalypse, i decided that i’m not willing to be without coffee for any extended length of time, and so i invested in a coffee roaster and some green coffee beans.  I’ve made about four batches so far, and have discovered that precisely 23 minutes in the roaster (for frozen beans – 20 for room temperature) produces what may be the best cup of coffee i’ve ever tasted.  So far i’ve only experimented with beans from Uganda and Honduras, but as soon as i find a good source for green Malaŵi beans, i’m going to order a 50 pound bag.  That ought to keep me in good coffee for about a year, and at about $4 a pound, definitely an improvement over the Kona i usually drink.

Robot Apocalypse

Mind you, i don’t really believe that a Robot Apocalypse is coming.  That would be stupid.  But i do think that Great Depression 2.0 is just around the corner, and it will not deprive me of coffee or any of the other “necessaties” that i could live without, but wouldn’t want to.  I’ve always had a thing for cottage industry, but lately i’ve been ramping it up a little, learning how to make most of the stuff i might, someday soon, not be able to buy.  Like coffee.  And of course i’ve already got the beer, wine, cheese, yoghurt, vinegar thing down.  (I just bottled five gallons of a really nice trappist trippel that i’m particularly excited to try!)  And those of you who know me well already know that my goal is one day to return to the Farm and make artisanal cheeses.  Well, that day may be coming sooner than i thought.

 (To be continued shortly: I have to go wash out the dye...)

Okay, so i'm back.  Here's a picture, although it will look a lot better in a day or two once all the colors even our.
So, anyway, yeah, about the Robot Apocalypse...  What was i talking about again?

Here’s another where i tried to be artsy, but it came out a little weird.  But the geometric thing i was going for came through pretty well.


Importing Old Blogs

In case anybody's wondering where all these old blog posts are coming from, I'm working on importing the entries from my old blog space into this interface. Not sure how to handle the comments yet, but they're not really that important anyway.

For now I'm skipping the ones that have image links in them (mostly linguistic in nature) because they're not cooperating entirely.


So it's official...

Lenovo doesn't support sysprep, and they acknowledge that sysprep does not work with their default recovery partition intact. Microsoft does not support not using sysprep for cloned computers. Lenovo kindly offered to sell us blocks of hours for support, though.

Meanwhile, however, I have a new trick up my sleeve. My solution won't be supported by Lenovo or Microsoft, but, since neither is reality, I guess I'm okay with that, and it will at least mean that students will get their laptops this fall.

More fun on that front as well: Every year we work closely with Admissions to get accurate enrollment numbers so we can buy as close to the right number of laptops as possible. This year when we placed the order, enrollment was at 241, but would probably drop to about 235. We ordered 245, because we like to have five to ten loaners.

And the incoming class of 2012 is ...drumroll... 211.

Um, anybody wanna buy a laptop?


Fail Update

My last pleading request to Lenovo for any sort of answers to the imaging conundrum resulted in an Out-of-Office reply from our primary (read: only) support contact, which contained a number for emergency support, which took me to IBM (not Lenovo) hardware support in Brazil, who told me they were going to bill me for support because the brand new machines are not under warranty.

headdesk headdesk headdesk

Why does Lenovo hate us? Why?


Failing on all Fronts

I'm not sure is there's a cosmological explanation for this, but i think this could be summed up as the Week of Fail. At first i thought it was a particularly bad Mercury retrograde, but i looked it up and found that that doesn't start for another month (September 6th). And it doesn't seem to be just me.

Anyway, my own personal week of fail really started last Wednesday (the 5th of August). I had created the image for the new laptops for the incoming students, and was genuinely happy with it. After sysprepping it and cloning it to my first new machine, i got a message:

"The system registry contains invalid file paths. Installation cannot proceed. This system image was applied without guaranteeing that drive-letter assignments would match across computers."

I Googled it and forumed it and queried it and came up with several interesting answers, but none of them helped. One, however (doing a sort of shady registry-hack work-around), resulted in the message changing to:

"Windows could not update the computer's boot configuration. Installation cannot proceed."

I fought with the image throughout the weekend. Monday i continued, after some minor fail involving leaving my paper notes about the installation, as well as my tablet with the rest my notes, at home. Tuesday the hopelessness gradullay began to set in. I tried every possible permutation with zero success. I worked on it Tuesday until 2:00am, then after a short nap, someone drunk-wrong-number-dialed me at 4:45am and I was up and working on it again.

Wednesday i still hadn't heard back from Lenovo about possible solutions to the problem, but fortunately i had a meeting with Web Development to take my mind off it for a little while. During the meeting, my lovely new x200 tablet completely bricked. Or rather, i should say, the $400 solid state HDD for my beautiful new tablet suddenly went paperweight on me. Unreadable by any technology we have in our office, and that generally means it can't be recovered without an expensive visit to OnTrak... and they don't support SSD. My last backup, of course, was just before i started making notes about the T400 install.

Thursday the 13th is the day i needed to roll out the first four laptops. Having completely given up at this point, i came in early on Thursday and set up four completely new images from scratch by hand, finishing them just in the nick of time. At that point, i had worked right around 68 hours for the week (since my lab setup was on my dining room table, and i just went home and kept working), so i gave up, went home, collapsed, and slept for 16 hours.

(Um, by the way, in case Steve or any of the Law School PTBs are reading this, don't worry. I won't go overtime or cause any HR problems about "volunteering time" - i didn't show up on Friday and i'll take appropriately shortened days next week to make up for it. Meh.)

By the way, Lenovo did get back to me on Friday, saying something along the lines of, "You guys are using Windows XP, and you can't use sysprep for Vista on XP." Obviously, we have once again been mistaken for the Carlson School of Management. Bitter, bitter, bitter. We've been on Vista for nearly three years.

But the fail doesn't stop there. Peat's ride home from Kawashaway blew up and he had to find another. Then ride #2 fell madly in love and decided to stay another week.

Jenn had her own adventures in Chicago just trying to get home to Minneapolis. I quote the txt directly:

Just landed in Mpls. The levels of FAIL involved are stupefying. Never EVER attempt to do the new thing with boarding pass images on your phone even if you are there 2 hours early.

There was a lot more fail there than just the iPhone boarding pass, too. But that's another story. Nick had a fair bit of technology fail as well. Then there was last night's latest episode of Jenn getting really drunk, throwing things, acting like a four-year-old, and storming off, ruining a perfectly nice Cracker show that she'd taken me to for my birthday. I've decided, though, that i'm just too old to put up with that kind of shit anymore, from anyone, least of all someone who's in her 30s and ought to have grown out of that by now. Next time anyone wants to spend $15 on me, just mail it. Yeah, sorry, still stinging a little from that one.

In fact, friend fail doesn't stop there, and doesn't stop at Jenn. Quite a few people rubbing me the wrong way lately, and starting to get a little sore.

I'm still waiting to see how the predictive linguistics play out next week, but i'm already starting to think it might be high time to start planning the move back to the mountains. I was thinking it should probably wait until next spring, but i wonder if fall might be better. I ordered a cream separator and an electric butter churn online and had them sent to my parents' for safe-keeping. Still open to any advice anyone has about how to go about investing in silver.

In good news, though, yesterday i went to Coastal Seafoods with Peat's mom and her friend Pat, and we bought many strange and divers things, including some sashimi ahi that I'm going to make up for Peat when he gets home from work. They also gave us two uni for free, so we have to figure out what to do with them.

Anyway, i'm off to make some tamago and make the most of what's left of my weekend. I hope you all enjoy yours!


Get Rid of your Paper Assets and Buy Silver!

I've recently gotten a little freaked out by predictions coming down to us from the web bots at the ALTA project. I never paid a whole lot of attention to this before, but after listening to an interview with George Ure and Clif - a couple of days ago, i've delved a little deeper, and their science is sound, if a little quantum. I figured i'd give it a little time and wait for their first "time marker" that they mentioned on the program, which is that some weather-related or geological event - say, a hurricane, earthquake, volcano, etc. - would occur on August 3rd or 4th.

On July 31st, George Ure mentioned on his website - urbansurvival.com - that it would be more specifically an earthquake, possibly 6.0 in a populated area, or 7.0 in an unpopulated area. Right on schedule, around lunch time on August 3rd, there was a 6.9 earthquake off the coast of Baja California.

I'm not going to get all wack-job survivalist, here, but after looking around at their other predictions for the upcoming year, i think it's not a bad idea to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. According to George and Clif:

August 22nd the market will peak. That will be the end of the economic upswing. Sell sell sell!

Around mid-September the market will start to drop rapidly.

October 25th something (or things) really bad is going to happen. This might include (but is not limited to):
  • Swine flu or other pandemic will mutate into something really evilly nasty fatal.
  • WHO may impose restrictions on air travel in an attempt to contain the pandemic.
  • Israel will attack Iran. This will be incalculably bad. Nuclear fallout kind of bad.
  • The market goes from dropping rapidly to just plain disintegrating.
...and it looks worse and worse as time goes by. Stock market "SuperCrash" in March/April. Revolution in North Korea. Food shortages in the winter of 2010 that are going to start to hit home here in the US (in a way that might finally make us pay attention, anyway).

Anyway, we'll see how it plays out. I'm really curious to see how things solidify as we approach the above dates as the linguistic data becomes more clear, but in the meantime, it's probably not a bad idea to start turning your paper assets into solid metal - silver in particular is supposed to take quite an upswing over the next year; gold not as much.

Fun times!


Maple Syrup!: A Blatant Plug and Shameless Self-Promotion

My folks are now the proud (though unbeknownst) owners of a nifty new Etsy shop, featuring their awesome, tasty and nutritious maple syrup! Once this stuff is gone, that's it until next season, folks, and I've got to tell you, this has been the best syrup season in years, so no guarantee that next year's syrup will compare to this!

Get yours now at http://meadowbrookfarms.etsy.com while supplies last! Especially if you're looking for Dark amber - we've only got 2 quarts left!

Seriously, though, check 'em out! Also stop by and check out the all-new official MeadowBrook Farms website at http://meadowbrookfarms.halcott.net. I'm working on expanding the maple syrup section and getting a little photo tour up there, though it's still a little disjointed.

And just in case you're still not convinced:
  • Maple syrup is naturally organic and fat-free.
  • Maple syrup contains many important nutrients including most of the B vitamins, and as much calcium as milk!
  • Maple syrup is also a great source of potassium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.
  • ...and niacin, biotin, folic acid, and zinc!
  • It takes 10 gallons of maple sap to make one quart of syrup.
  • The sweet sap that is used to make syrup flows for only a couple weeks every year in the spring. For good sap to flow, it must freeze at night (but not get below 25ºF), and must be above freezing during the day (but not above 40ºF), and the wind must not be blowing out of the south. This critical combination dramatically narrows the window for collection to just a few days each spring.
  • This year in late March, MeadowBrook Farms collected over 21,000 gallons of sap.


Road Trip! (part II)

...After we left the little street party (which only lasted for about ten minutes), we went back to the car where we discovered that the ticket machine in the parking ramp could not read our ticket, and kept demanding that we pay for a lost ticket. No help from the help button, and then it wouldn't even try to read the ticket anymore and just stopped doing anything, so we had no choice but to drive through the toll arm, which surprisingly just popped up and over the car with no fuss. Jen then went to her "dark place" for a little while, but was feeling better by the time we got back to her parents' house to find chips and homemade salsa waiting for us in the kitchen.

The next morning, we went to Prairie Nursery where Jen's parents work and looked around. Then Jen and I drove to a nearby farm that has miniature horses. They didn't pay any attention to us at first, but when we started to leave, a couple of them came up to the fence and rolled and played and acted cute, likely hoping we had something tasty for them to eat.

Then burgers and brats for lunch, followed by a walk down to the farm next door to see the World's Cutest Donkeys and feed them carrots.

We didn't leave until almost 7:00pm, but we had a great time and drove back through the bluffs on Hwy 61.

Road Trip!

This weekend, Jen and I took a little road trip to Madison to see Peaches. We drove to her parents' house, about an hour north of Madison, dropped off our stuff, then hurried to get to the Majestic in time for the show at 7:00pm. We made it there around quarter after only to find that the doors didn't even open until 8:00, and that the show was at 9:00! So we asked the obvious question: "What are we drinking until then?"

We found a nifty local bar across the street (in fact, I think the name actually was The Local) and had some vodka and Red Bull followed by some Jäg-bombs. Then we discovered that they proclaimed to have "awesome nachos," and we decided we'd be the judge of that. There was some initial fail and a minor Jen freak-out when she thought there was no salsa, but it all worked out and they were, indeed, awesome. Our bartender clocked out before we were finished and bought us another round of Jäg-bombs, which was pretty awesome of him, especially considering that he clocked out before we could tip him (we'd been running a tab).

Anyway, we went back to the Majestic at around 9:00 for the opening band, which I don't remember anything about except it was supposed to be featuring the drummer from Slayer. It kinda surprised us by sucking a big fat dick. I dunno if it had anything to do with Slayer - it was just a guy in Kiss makeup playing tracks on him Macbook and singing... poorly. Oh well, you never know. The very first concert I went to in my life was to see REM in Buffalo, and opening for them was a really shitty band that no one had ever heard of called Radiohead...

Jen and I went outside to miss the rest of the opener, and spent the time making catty comments about poor fashion choices. One in particular was an anarchist kid on a bicycle putting up fliers for some sort of Radical Queer event, dressed in the usual radical queer anarchist kid gear, but also sporting hot pink striped tights.

Also, is it just me, or is everyone in Madison short? I mean, I'm 5'9", and add another 4" of mohawk, but I was towering over people.

Anyway, Peaches came on around quarter after 10:00, and rocked us. I've seen Peaches about four or five times now, and this was by far the best show yet. Lots of costumes, kinda circusy, and raunchier than ever.

There were also some really disturbingly wrong wig-monsters on stage at one point... kinda like Cousin It had had some sort of drunken indiscresion with a sheep.

Then during the encore, Peaches came out with a new costume that involved what I can only indelicately describe as a clit-strobe.

I think one of the things that put this particular show above the rest is that there was a band with her this time - in the past it's just been her and electronica. And it didn't hurt that the band was hot. I was particularly drooling over the drummer, but there was also a bassist I might have considered going back to women for!

But perhaps the best part of the evening was right after the show. Everyone poured out into the streets, and that anarchist bicycle kid pulled up in front of the theater on his bike with some sort of a homemade amp system duct-taped to it, and a little gay dance party broke out in the middle of the street. Jen and I decided that that redeemed him for the hot pink tights.


Finals Hiatus

I'm taking a mandatory (and necessary) break between weeks of finals and having a nice quiet weekend.

Yesterday I had some time to work on setting up a website to go along with Gothic for Goths for the scripts, some vocab lists, notes, etc., then around four o'clock Peat came home from the market and before long, the usual suspects were hanging out on the patio drinking summery cocktails and nomming on leftover vegetable curry from the farmer's market.

Today while Peaty slept in until noon, I put some finishing touches on the website, and somehow got distracted and veered off to work on some Proto-Germanic stuff for a bit. I haven't given so much as a thought to finals for nearly 48 hours now, and don't intend to for at least another 12. Wo0t!


New Gothic Lesson, coming up...

I've realized that I'm just a terrible blogger. I have lots of things to blog about, I'm just usually too busy doing them to blog about them.

In any case, I'm starting to get a little feedback on my new Gothic for Goths series, thanks in no small part to my good friends on Facebook spreading the word! I also finally got around to actually creating a YoutTube channel and all that fun stuff, and already I have two subscribers! Wo0t!

I'm off now to work on the third lesson, which will deal with some irregular verbs and the dative case, and will center around the Goths' Night Out.


Further Stuff & Things

Happy Tax Day, everyone!

As a self-righteous early tax-doer (January 27th, the day I got my W-2!), I chortle at you as you frantically bustle about the Post Offices of America!

Peat and I were in New York for some time recently where we made 540-some gallons of maple syrup with my parents. There's probably a lot to write about that, but I haven't got the time now. It was fun. In any case, we're both back in Minnesota now (Peat stayed an extra two weeks) with 140 quarts of maple syrup to sell here. ...Actually, that's not entirely true. One entire case blew up in a huge sticky mess in the mail. It was insured, but they're denying the claim, saying it wasn't packed properly. But considering that we packed it AT the post office, we're appealing. I mean, that's $300 of syrup.

Anyway, I just realized that I'm already a half-hour late, and since I'm just rambling about nothing, farewell for now!


Stock Market for Dummies

So I just bought my first stocks. I was never particularly interested in the stock market, but I figured it was time, especially now that stocks are fairly cheap. So I blew my tax return on 3 shares of Google stock. Already made $8.20 so far! Not that I plan to trade it anytime soon (notwithstanding the fact that it costs me $9 to make a trade) but it seemed like a wise time to buy and I believe Google will soon take over the world. (Hear that, Blogger and Picasa and YouTube and Writely? Hear that, UofM email services? Hear that, all my friends whose websites I used to host before bumping them over to Google Apps?) So better to be on that bandwagon when it comes to town.


Just testing out some things... feel free to ignore

Nurðþþᵫ̄desc Bōcnʀ

A, a, Ā, ā, Æ, æ, Ǣ, ǣ, B, b, C, c, Q, q, D, d, Ð, ð, E, e, Ē, ē, F, f, G, g, Ʒ, ʒ, H, h, Ƕ, ƕ, I, I, Ī, ī, İ, i, L, l, Λ, ʌ, M, m, M, м, N, n, N, ɴ, Ŋ, ŋ, X, x, O, o, Ō, ō , Œ, œ, Œ̄, œ̄, P, p, R, r, R, ʀ, S, s, T, t, Þ, þ, U, u, Ū,ū, (Y), ᵫ, (Ȳ), ᵫ̄, V, v, W, w


Getting ready for Imbolc...

Work for the week is over, and now the real work begins...

We're hosting our (mostly) annual Imbolc party tomorrow night, and i've got to get cooking!

First on the agenda:

Coconut Snow Oranges

(1/2 batch)
6pktsunflavoured gelatin3
1 1/2
cupscold water3/4
216oz. canscoconum cream (not coconut milk!)1
411oz. cansmandarin oranges, drained (reserve syrup)2
7cupssugar3 1/2
2pintsheavy whipping cream1

Dissolve the gelatin in the cold water. Set aside.

Drain two cans of mandarin oranges and reserve the syrup. Add water to the reserved syrup to make 6 cups. Combine the syrup with 6 cups of the sugar in a medium-large saucepan and slowly bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for five minutes. Add syrup and coconut cream to the gelatin and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Let cool to lukewarm (105ºF is about right).

If you have a KitchenAid, this next part will be a snap. Otherwise, just go out and buy whipped cream from the store. Take your metal KitchenAid bowl and put it outside (or in the freezer) until it is very cold. This is why we do these things for Imbolc in Minnesota! Depending on the size of your KitchenAid bowl, you may want to do this in two batches. Add the heavy cream to the bowl. Using the whisk beater, beat the cream on speed 4 while gradually adding the remaining sugar and the vanilla. Increase the speed gradually to 8, stopping every few seconds to check to see if peaks are forming properly. Once a stiff peak forms, you have whipped cream. Do not overwhip the cream! (It will become butter.)

If you are just making a couple pans of this stuff (9" x 14" cake pans will do fine), fold the whipped cream into the lukewarm gelatin. Press mandarin orange slices into the dish - they will sink through the whipped cream and rest on the jello, and sort of glow. Chill for 4 hours and serve.

If you want to be really facy about this, though (and i recommend it!), fold half the whipped cream into the gelatin and mix thoroughly. Then spoon the rest of the whipped cream into individual ramikins and pour the gelatin over it, then garnish each with 4 - 5 orange slices. Chill for 3 - 4 hours before serving.

This should make about 24 servings.

Peat will also be making his famous Ginger Carrots, the recipe for which is in the name... Ginger, and carrots. Add lots of butter and brown sugar, and you're done. It's trickier than that, of course, but i can't give away secrets that aren't mine.

Other things in the back of my mind are:
  • Mandarin Martinis
  • Screwdrivers
  • Sweet Potato French Fries
  • Masoor Daal
  • Apricot Jello Shots
  • something with peppers?
  • any other random red, orange, or yellow things i happen to run across while grocery shopping tomorrow morning.


1,000 Uses for Organic Heavy Cream...

A large part of this past weekend has been spent coming up with new uses for cream. A bizarre set of circumstances on Friday left us with approximately nine gallons of organic heavy cream. Rocky and Colin took three to make butter and ice cream, and Peat and i have been trying to work through the rest.

I turned first to my specialty: nine quarts of sour cream right off the bat. Then butter. So much butter. We figured at least that can be frozen, and was probably our best shot at putting all of this by. We did that for five hours or so until my little food processor seized up and started to smell like burning. (Yes, we used a food processor. As much as we'd like you to think this is Little House on the Prairie, there are limits. Have you ever gotten a churning blister? Me either. I want to keep it that way!)

After the butter, we still had two gallons left. I took some sour cream over to Maryn and Lauren, and nearly a gallon of buttermilk and some of the cream to Phil and Karen, then discovered a recipe for "Swiss Cream Cheese," which seems to be the same as "French Cream Cheese," only made at a temperature about 10 degrees cooler. I opted for this because it's so bloody cold in here.

Can I digress to say what a freakishly cold winter this has been? I don't think it's been over 20ºF yet this year, and for a couple of weeks before that! It's barely been in the double-digits! It's currently 9º, and that's practically tepid! Last month's heat bill alone was $200, and it's not like it's warm in here - that's $7 a day to keep it at 65º.

So anyway, the Swiss cream cheese is a two or three day process, so it's still culturing - I'll let you know what it eventually turns into. One gallon of cream left, and one more day to use it before it expires!

Oh, and on the plus side of the temperature, our pantry is currently a balmy 47º, so at least we don't have to make room for all that cream in the fridge.

Rude Subconscious!

So my subconscious came up with a brand new fake-out for me this morning, and i think it was rather rude. This morning i actually dreamt that i got up, turned off my alarm, made coffee, got dressed, and was on my way to work, walking along through the crunching snow. I went through the back parking lot, waved to Barry walking his dogs, and got snow in my shoes while trying to cut through the park. The only part of it that was true, however, was that i turned off the alarm.

Not a total disaster, however: Another little piece of my subconscious was looking out for me, and in my dream i fell in the snow, but for some reason i was in the middle of a stream in the woods, thinking, "aw, crap, now i'm gonna be all wet and cold on the bus," but for some reason i was neither, and i realized that the warm wool cape i was wearing was water resistant. Cape? Stream? Woods? That was enough of an inconsistency for me to go, "Hey, wait a minute... dammit!"

I'm still going to be late for work, but not terribly so.