Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Merry Spring & Happy Easter to all our lovely friends! We had some friends over today to do an Easter Egg hunt and potluck.
The kids and a couple grown-ups went walking down to the Richmond Hill Inn gardens while the Easter bunny hid eggs.

Then the hunt commenced, and our good friends stayed to share the whole afternoon with us :)

After everyone left, I decided to pull out the old brick sidewalk that was hiding under our deck, and make a border for my shade garden with it...

Also, wanted to document the dilapidated deck on this house - we are set to tear it down in a couple weeks and 2 of the neighbors are going to help build a nice stone patio there - notice the chicken wire between rails to attempt code, the random blue spray paint, the missing hand rail, and the drop-off on the side that I think was for an above ground pool at one time - if this deck could talk! haha!

Then I started walking around the yard, just appreciating all the new blooms and growth from all this wonderful rain and warmer weather!




looking up through the flower-covered dogwood at dusk


In my effort to fully appreciate this lovely day, especially since it will start raining again tomorrow - took some random pics around the yard ...

Reed creating, climbing and being a goof

Fort/jail built by Clay out of cherry wood I pruned last week

Chloe we are dog-sitting, here she's having her own easter egg hunt to find any remnant of hard-boiled eggs around the yard :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Death of a Neighborhood Landmark

The Richmond Hill Inn was a beautiful old mansion built by ambassador Richmond Pearson in the 1800's. It was renovated in the last couple decades and used as an upscale Inn with outstanding restaurants and gardens. Early in April, the main part of the Inn (the mansion) burned down by arson during the night.

Here are some before pics, some during the fire, and after. The 'before' pics are credit to Richmond Hill Inn and Kelly Binderman. The fire pics are credit to my neighbor Norman Harrill. I took the aftermath photos. This Inn was less than a block from my house.

This was the view from 2 houses down at 7 am:

Firefighters knocking down chimney with hose (it fell a few minutes after photo was taken):

Superwoman Demystified

Of course, you may all continue to call me superwoman if you wish :) But really, you can do this stuff, too! Down with capitilism - make your own stuff and stop lining the pockets of corporations, not to mention helping to save this little thing called Earth by stopping contributing to the landfills and reducing pollution from factories :-D

The first glimpse you'll get into my attempts at sustainability is the modern way to make your own soymilk. Not so hard- I'm much too lazy to sit around hand-grinding my own beans or anything. I bought this nifty soymilk maker that makes most any kind of milk (not cows). I've made soy, rice and almond, though it can make more. Costs about 20 cents per half gallon. I use the Soyajoy maker because it completely rocks! It's way better than any other model, in my opinion, for several reasons. ... I've been using this one for 5 years with no problems at all :)

First I measure out 1/2 cup of dry soybeans and soak them for 8 hours.

When the beans are nice and plump, I drain them and pour them into the metal bucket attachment.


I fill the jug with water and pop the bucket-o-beans onto the blade/motor piece of my Soyajoy.


Now that the bucket and the blade are assembled, I just lower it down onto the jug... plug it in and press start and SHAZAM! it does the work for ya!



After about 15 minutes of lettin it do it's thing - which is mostly quiet, with the occassional grinding bits (I'm very used to it, but do still find it funny to see visitors so startled by the sudden noise), then it beeps at me, so I take the beans out. The bucket is now filled with okara - sometimes I make vegan sausage or okara burgers or something, but usually I just toss it in the compost :)


the milk is wicked hot at this point, so let it cool for a bit. You could drink it straight up, though I prefer my additives ;) I add some brown sugar (could add any sweetener of your choice - maple syrup, brown rice syrup, high fructose corn syrup - no just kidding, for goodness sake don't add that!, or just leave it unsweetened). Add a bit of salt and I add a couple tablespoons of fortifier. My natural food store has their own brand, but Nature's Life also makes a good one - it's the Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus liquid. You could also add vanilla, chocolate, etc.


Finally, enjoy plain, in baked goods, on cereal, anywhere you'd use cows milk! You could even make tofu with it. This stuff is great, it's cheap, and SO much better for your body than milk that's intended for baby cows.


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