1–10 of 16 entries from the month of: September 2011

Recipe: Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

September 30th

Chocolate chip bacon cookies

I know. The title sounds nuts. Bacon is the cliche ingredient in far too many recipes these days. But let me assure you, for those who love a bit of sweet and salt and are willing to try an unconventional dessert — the reviews are astounding. Folks love these cookies.

Chocolate chip bacon cookies

Ingredients:

Your traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe (I’m a fan of Nestle Toll House’s. Why mess with what works?)

1 pound of bacon, cooked until crispy, drained and broken into dime-sized pieces

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon maple extract

Combine, cook for 8-10 minutes, serve with milk or bourbon. As breakfast or a post-dinner surprise.

~K

Posted in
Heirloom Homestead, June Cleaver, Kitchen Talk, Recipes
Comments (8)

Shameel! Shamazel! Hoffenpepper, incorporated!

September 29th

I volunteered recently with my food banking buddies at a local LDS cannery that donates to pantries. We were among some 60 volunteers to work on peach canning. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to work in a cannery, this may come to mind.

Canning Day for Metro CareRing

If you’ve ever wondered what you sing in your head the entire time you are volunteering with peaches, the correct answer is this. In other news, this is how peaches go from tree to can. In fact, I was the “man who put them in the can in the factory downtown. So eat peaches everyday.”

Canning Day for Metro CareRing1. Suit up with other volunteers to watch silly safety video.

Canning Day for Metro CareRing

Canning Day for Metro CareRing

Canning Day for Metro CareRing

Canning Day for Metro CareRing

Canning Day for Metro CareRing

2. Hope you get assigned to a cool job.

Canning Day for Metro CareRing

3. Smile even when you don’t get to play with the food, thankful this isn’t your day job.

Canning Day for Metro CareRing

Canning Day for Metro CareRing

Canning Day for Metro CareRing

Canning Day for Metro CareRing

Canning Day for Metro CareRing

4. Take lots of photo breaks, claiming you are “union.”

Canning Day for Metro CareRing

Canning Day for Metro CareRing

Canning Day for Metro CareRing

Canning Day for Metro CareRing

5. Spend a lot of time thinking about John Steinbeck’s “Cannery Row” and the characters who canned fish in “Snow Falling on Cedars.” Realize you’ve read way more about manual labor than you’ve ever experienced. Rejoice. Go home, bake a pie, be thankful you have both food and a cushy job.

~K

Posted in
Colorado, Community
Comments (4)

Leaves Falling

September 28th

 

Pumpkins and fall

Pumpkins and fall

Pumpkins and fall

Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.

Henry David Thoreau

 

Posted in
Colorado, Community
Comments (1)

Woodland Karma

September 26th

Woodland Karma

This weekend with Tall Lady started out really well. I knew when she pulled out her hiking boots Saturday morning we were going to have some fun. An hour later, we were on one of our favorite trails and it was fantastic. My tail was wagging, my tongue was out and I was loving life. Tall Lady kept talking about the trees changing. We even saw Elk snacks!

Woodland Karma

These kinda scared my mom, but I just wanted to chase them. She kept saying, “Where is Cody?” Funny enough, my uncle was out hunting elk this weekend with my grandpa and they didn’t see anything other than elk decoys. It didn’t make him happy to hear we’d wandered into a smart bunch of the giant tasty snacks who were hanging out in the park. No hunting there!

Woodland Karma

That night, Tall Lady got dressed up for a fancy night out with friends. She was wearing a new coat she bought when my grandma was visiting — an antique mink cape. The party was country club themed, and Tall Lady went for it, even though she’s isn’t a fur kinda gal.*

Woodland Karma

Woodland KarmaSo happy. So naive to the hell that was about to reign down upon the homestead.

A few hours later, she returned and let me in the backyard. While she hung up her coat and kicked off her heels, I went to battle with my black and white arch nemesis — Pepe. Mr. Le Pew might live beneath the shed in the backyard, or might roam. We aren’t sure. But as of late Saturday night, both me and Tall Lady are quite sure what kind of damage Pepe can do.

Woodland Karma

Look, it wasn’t my fault. I’m a terrier and he was in my backyard. Terrier. As in, of the earth. As in, I stick my nose where at times it shouldn’t go — kinda like Tall Lady. Just when I thought I had that French bastard, he got me. Right in the face. I was dripping with mustard yellow skunk oil when Tall Lady — who was completely confused — scooped me up and into the tub. Come to find out, skunks smell entirely different when their spray is actually on you.

Baths 1-4 were fairly useless. It wasn’t until we cut away my fur, saw an ER pet doc and had a friendly neighbor come over to give me a peroxide scrub that I stopped drooling. My eyes are still watering a bit and I look like a damn poodle with my hair cut this short, but it will grow back. I can’t say the same for the towels, clothes and collar that were ruined. Or the fact the car and the bathroom may never be free of eau de skunk.

I definitely feel bad for Tall Lady. She got some of Pepe’s stench in her mouth when she picked me up and was sick as a human. But, now I think we both get what the neighborhood siamese cat was trying to explain about karma. My mama wears fur and the woodland animals of the homestead boomerang back to smack her in the head.

It’s on, Mr. Le Pew. You may have one this battle, but if I remember correctly, the French don’t do well in war.

~K

*A note from Tall Lady: while I was previously an adamant environmentalist who would have scoffed at the idea of wearing a fur, holy shit have you ever worn fur? IT FEELS SO GOOD. And, this was recycled fur. My purchase did not kill any animals. So don’t get all PETA on me. I have plenty of guilt already.

 

Posted in
Colorado, Heirloom Homestead, Nelson
Comments (15)

Equinox

September 23rd

When my parents visit, I go into Type A Jessie Spano mode. Everything must be cleaned, tidied, ironed, watered, and so forth. It doesn’t make sense; if I was living in a compost bin, they would be just as happy and proud.

I might, at times, be a bit crazy in the expectation department.

Then again, such visits get me moving on projects that have been idle far too long. I moved plants inside this week because it’s starting to get chilly at night. Plus, as of today, it’s officially autumn. Or as we like to call it on the homestead — pumpkin season. But, that’s a post for next week.

I’d been meaning to sew a table runner for this bookcase to match my other entryway table.

New candelabra

This table runner was a Finny/Donk sewing project back in the day.

Before

Before.

Table runner detail Any bets on how long those plants have to live? I’m giving them another month.

New table runner

After.

While my mama was here, we tackled an entirely different set of projects: those I couldn’t figure out myself. This woman seemingly isn’t intimidated by any project’s size or depth. She’ll tinker and research and keep trying until she’s got it figured out. These are rather awesome characteristics in a houseguest who also has a hard time sitting still.¬†Plumbing, stained laundry, knitting project gone awry — all solved.

Let’s hope she figures out a way to come back and stay.

~K

 

 

 

 

Posted in
Colorado, Happy Hippie, Heirloom Homestead
Comments (4)

The Fam Damily

September 22nd

Pine, Colorado

My folks are here for a quick visit. I’d like to think they are here to see me, but let’s be honest. That little furry creature between them has received the bulk of the attention.

He did, after all, sneak into the airport to greet them. Who knew only service dogs were allowed at the airport? Not me. And plus, have you met Nelson? How could you not want him wagging his pom pom tail to all who land in your fair city?

Nels

It is so very nice to have my parents here. We don’t spend enough time together. I’m hoping sooner than later they start looking for Colorado real estate.

Papi

Oooh -- look at the lake!

We are “vanna-ing” the view.

Mama + Papa

Yep. I think they look pretty good in the Rockies. Pretty sure they should just stay.

~K

Posted in
Colorado
Comments (4)

Seasonal

September 20th

The squash are coming up nicely in the garden:

My squash

Mmm...

Seed saving

Seed saving

And the peaches from southern Colorado are being sold by the bushel. I bought a giant box, which is a delightful problem to have.

peach season

I’m thinking of buying pumpkins for the porch this week.

Autumn! It is so nice to meet you!

~K

Posted in
Colorado, Flora and Fauna
Comments (3)

Dog Days

September 18th

Summer is rolling to a gentle end; the Aspens are changing and the mountains were dusted white this weekend.

King Mountain

It was the perfect time to get away; Cody’s in the middle of hunting season, while coincidentally his girlfriend and I are in the middle of the perpetual shopping, hiking, hanging out, playing with the dogs seasons.

Miami Vice Meets RamboRambo meets Miami Vice

Cody’s become friends with a rag tag group who run a defunct dude ranch. They keep the property from completely falling apart and have the grace and patience to put up with the odd visitor who dreams of what the property could become. They are some of the most interesting folk I’ve met in Colorado. We spent quite a bit of time this weekend dreaming about what we’d do with those pastures, the hotel facilities, the Olympic swimming pool, bowling alley and tennis courts. I’d host writing retreats, yoga retreats, religious retreats, bbq contests and whatever else I had to do to make enough money to not be there for winter. The caretaker told us the ranch saw 500 inches of snow last winter. That’s 41 feet. And there were mornings 45 below.

Cody and I do not see eye to eye on most political, economic or spiritual topics. We are as different as our hair: his blond curly mop is now long enough for a ponytail. His beard is growing nicely.

Cody + JessJess is a saint and seems to love Cody in spite of all of his camo-Rambo antics

My hair is straight as a arrow and dark brown. My beard is not growing in nicely thanks to the Korean woman at the salon who exclaims with a mixture of hilarity and sympathy, “OH. SO MUCH HAIR! YOU COME BACK SOONER NEXT TIME. WE DO EYEBROWS NEXT.”

Cody + Jess

But it’s weekends like this I see the kid I grew up with. The little boy who cried when I once fell into traffic on my bike, skinning my knees and pride as a gaggle of kids cackled nearby. The kid who swam like a maniac and balanced a fair dose of hubris and nerves before each meet. The brother who I spent countless years with in our backyard, playing in our playhouse, swimming and being rascals.

It doesn’t matter if we don’t share the same views. Thankfully, now we share the same county. If not for that, I wouldn’t see the man he’s becoming. I wouldn’t admire the way he looks after his girlfriend, making sure in his own quiet way that she is always comfortable. I wouldn’t be able to watch him interact with his peers, sharing his vast and frankly ridiculous knowledge of the biology of woodland animals. I wouldn’t be able to hear him on work calls where his professionalism surprises me every time.

I wasn’t sure what this move to Colorado would bring, I couldn’t be happier for this time together.

Yep. That's a pony tail.

I guess I love the brat.

~K

 

 

 

Posted in
Colorado
Comments (6)

Socializing + Social Justice

September 14th

Arvada Community Food Bank

I’ve found a great group of like-minded community friends in Denver who get together a couple times a month to talk about social justice issues. In particular, hunger. We are all volunteers at a local food bank and are reaching out to other food banks and community groups to organize events to encourage similar opportunities to have conversation.

9-10-11 event

It seems there is a considerable lack of civil conversation these days. I’d guess our inability to disagree with each other without calling names or raising our voices and other notable lapses of basic manners are linked to our strained sense of community. Once we become comfortable not bothering to know our neighbors — much less help care for them — it is far easier to let the door swing shut in the stranger’s face behind us. Flip someone off in traffic. Roll your eyes at the overwhelmed mother struggling with her children. Look the other way when you see someone being abused, or going hungry.

Arvada Community Food Bank

And so, I call baloney. Baloney to anyone who says that is the type of community you want to live in. Baloney to those who say we can’t do something to change this. And baloney to those who laugh at the “naive” and “innocent” energies of those who want to create serious social change. While it may be easier to dismiss those around you trying to do something, we aren’t going to do any good from the comfort of the couch.

9-10-11 event

Coming together with folks who want to see their community strengthened is rad. I love hearing the wild and varied ideas for events and passions everyone brings to the table. We are all interested in improving the ability of this food pantry to reach those who are hungry in metro Denver. Yet fundamentally, we are more troubled by the social failings that has the queue in the front door snaking farther down the sidewalk each week.

9-10-11 event

How do we fix poverty? How do we get our neighbors to care about their community? How do we reverse social involvement apathy? By inviting more friends to the conversation, spending more time getting to know clients of the food pantry, investing a bit of money in local charities who are doing sustainable work for long-term change and reviewing and advocating for policy.

And perhaps most important: being willing to listen to varied voices. I spent time yesterday with a self-described “radically right conservative” who leads a food bank in northern Colorado. He was one of the most well-spoken, compassionate people I’ve ever heard talk about hunger. And he had some fantastic ideas that would have likely been brushed under the rug by this “all loving” liberal who obviously has some work to do on her pigeon-holed views.

9-10-11 event

I’m this fired up after one happy hour. Oh, dear Denver. Tempe should have given you a heads up about my crazed, focused, overly-optimistic ways.

To a hunger-free, socially-just infinity and beyond!

~K

 

Posted in
Colorado, Community
Comments (7)

Bark, Bark, Smile

September 13th

Fluffy

I never stop moving. Even in my sleep — when I’m not chasing something with my little legs flailing — I’m farting. What? Don’t judge. You probably fart in your sleep too. Good thing Tall Lady loves me unconditionally.

Life here on the Homestead is pretty damn great. I mean, life anywhere outside of that cage they had me in at the pound is good. But here? With a fancy dog bed, a basket of toys and a regular supply of treats hot off the BBQ? I’ve got it good. Who has two paws and his owner wrapped around his tiny pom pom tail? This guy.

NELSON!

I love going in the car. Tall Girl rolls down the back window, I stick out my noggin and away we go. Ain’t nothing better than the wind blowing through your ears. Sometimes we even end up at a mountain or a park. Other times I spend the night at my Uncle Cody’s house. His dogs are pretty great and his girlfriend is really nice, even if they make me sleep in that stupid crate. Don’t they know I like to spoon? ¬†Also, you got to watch out for Cody and his scissors. He keeps threatening to snip off my “transgendered” eyelashes.

Dude. They keep the bugs out. Bug off.

NELSON!

My one complaint, if I may? She’s got me on this new gentle leader that drives me batty. I paw at it and try my hardest to get it off of my nose, but no dice. Guess I’m just going to have to learn how to walk without pulling her all over the sidewalk. Last week we were on a hike and I got a little too excited by some giant snacks (you call them deer) I saw down the trail. I pulled and down she fell, rock on knee. I felt awful. I mean, not only did she scare off the snacks, but she was really hurt. When she was done screaming, I licked her tears. Friends, if there is one thing I’ve learned so far on the Homestead, when in doubt — lick the tears. It makes the Tall Lady start laughing and they actually taste pretty good. Like tortilla chips without the crunch.

NELSON!

Speaking of tortilla chips, I wonder what I can convince her to let me try today. Yesterday it was blueberries, which I really, really like frozen. Never mind today my mouth is purple. I have a feeling life is only going to get better next week when my grandparents visit. They’ve already sent me gifts and they haven’t even met me! If that ain’t charm…

Squirrel!

-willie Nelson mandela

Posted in
Colorado, Nelson
Comments (11)