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Adventures in Canning

lotus duck
I decided to learn how to can this year.  We joined a co-op of local farms and there is a lot of great fruits and vegetables.  Today, I made blackberry jam.  The blackberries came from Mount Vernon Farm.  I used the recipe from the SureJell box and I think it turned out well.  I have a lot of pictures that I can upload later, but here's a picture of the finished jam cooling on the counter.  I just have to wait for it to cool and set before I can try it out some toast.

jam

Next week, I'm going to try to make tomato sauce, pickles, and Dilly beans.  Andy's going to be gone for the weekend and I need something to keep me busy.



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Marathon Training, take two

lotus duck
I wasn't sure I wanted to do another marathon ever after I finished Marine Corps last year, but I guess I forgot the pain and the long hours of training and all the bad things.  I signed up for another one.  This time it's the Suntrust Richmond Marathon (rated as one of the best in the country).  The local sports commission, Sportsbackers, organizes a training team that gives the training plans and has group long runs on Saturday (or Sunday) that are fully supportive. Seems pretty cool.  Andy also decided he wants to give this a try, so he's doing it, too.

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Securing my place in the apocalypse compound

yarn cat
I can knit socks!  That makes me useful!!

socks

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How did I forget Perl?

microarray
It's been a long time since I wrote any Perl.  I'm trying to use some old code, but adapt it as part of a different program.  I have to open input and output files and couldn't remember how to do it at all.  Not a good sign.  I think this is going to take a little longer than I originally thought with all the other programs I'm going to have to steal code from to make this work.

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Practical joke?

lotus duck
On Monday, we found this on our doorstep

paper

Is this a practical joke?  Perhaps done by a certain cousin who lives in Korea?

Adventures with new vegetables

lotus duck
We joined a food co-op this spring.  Every week, we order whatever food we want from the group of farms that are delivering this week.  I like this arrangement more than a CSA because we don't end up with things we don't like or too much food.

That being said, I have been making an effort to try new food.  This week, we bought mescalin mix, orange beauregard sweet potatoes, strawberries, and hanover greens.  I made a salad out of the hanover greens tonight and thought it was pretty bitter and not very tasty.  Then, I looked up online what they are.  Turns out they are turnip greens and most people don't eat them raw.  Oops!  I'll try frying them with a little olive oil, onion and garlic later this week. 

If you have a different suggestion for them (or anything else), please let me know!

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Knitting Projects

yarn cat
I've been working on two knitting projects for quite awhile.

First is a pair of socks.  I finished the first sock in October, but I haven't had the motivation to do the second one.  Right now, I'm knitting the foot part of the second, so I probably have about 8 inches left to do.  Not bad, but if feels like it's taking forever.

Second is a lace scarf.  I've been trying to work on lace for awhile.  I tried a few projects and nothing worked out quite right, but I finally settled on this pattern.  I had about 33 inches done and was knitting last night.  I realized I'd dropped a stitch about 4 rows down and tried to fix it.  I failed miserably and tried to rip a few rows out.  That didn't work either.  I will probably end up going to the Yarn Lounge to see if one of the wonderful ladies there would be willing to help me out.

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Microchips in the Cats?

gecko
Taji is our grey two year-old cat.  We got her from a farm in Wisconsin when she was about 7 or 8 weeks old.  I don't think she's forgotten that she's a farm kitty.  She loves being outside and even will walk on a leash.

Unfortunately, she tries to run outside every time we open the door.  If she gets out, she runs underneath cars and stays there.  Today it took over a half an hour to get back in.  By the end, we were both frustrated and upset.  She's still angry at me.

This has me worried and thinking about injecting a microchip in her.  It would be permanent and linked to our address.  We'd still probably have to keep a collar on her, which would piss her off, but I get worried about her running out and not being able to find her.

Has anyone microchipped a pet?  What are your thoughts?  Is it too mean to consider?

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Now a PhD Candidate

lotus duck
After all the stressing out about my oral exams, I did pass.  It was kind of uneventful. I was very nervous at the beginning and couldn't explain p-values versus q-values.  At least my committee let that go and chalked it up to nerves.

The best part of my day was that right after my exams, my younger little brother called and asked me how to make hamburger helper.  Awesome contrast.

9 Days Til Doomsday

lotus duck
My oral exams are in 9 days. I'm freaking out.

Grant is almost done.  I have to give it to my committee on Wednesday (4/15).

Have I mentioned I'm freaking out?  I don't even know what to do anymore to get ready.  The whole thing is a very NOT FUN experience.  I guess that's the point.

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