Wednesday, September 28, 2016

I had a migraine headache and lay in bed as it stormed. When I went outside afterward to get the mail, I discovered that the tree in front of my house had blown down, missing the trusty Ford Focus by about a foot. Thankful for that.

Good bye faithful shade tree.

The inside was mushy, rotten to the core (just like Donald Trump). Ironically, it was brush and bulky collection today, so now I will have six months of tree branches in the alley. Have to figure out how to chop it up.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Version 53. Wonder what the next year will bring?

I made a pineapple upside-down cake for my birthday. I used Martha Stewart's yellow cake recipe for the cake. It is a very good, standard recipe that I have made dozens of times. I tend to add more vanilla because I like vanilla cake a lot.

For the pineapple part I melted a stick of butter, added the pineapple juice from a 10-ring can of pineapple, and then two big fist-fulls of brown sugar. I heated it until the butter was melted.

I put the ten rings in my 9 x 13 inch pyrex pan. I really could use a couple more rings. In the center of each ring went a spoonful of Trader Joe's mango chutney.

My mother, who hates spices and herbs, loves this stuff.

I poured the hot liquid over the rings. Then I made the cake batter and poured it over the rings as well.

Baked it in the trusty Visibake oven until it was done (knife came out clean). The 1950s oven doesn't have a working thermostat, so I have to guess the flame height and time.

I let it cool for an hour and then took it to work where I inverted it onto an 1880s transferprint platter.

I sent an announcement out and it was mostly eaten up in an hour. People really like the spicy mango addition to the recipe.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

On Tuesday we drove north from Tucson to Alpine, Arizona. We are surveying something like 3,700 acres of National Forest land. The drive was very lovely, the scenery gorgeous.

Greg and Tyler, first day in the woods.

I'm not used to walking for eight hours a day at elevations ranging from 8,400 feet to 9,000 feet. The first day I was lost, could not figure out where we were, which direction was north. The second day it rained and I was soaked and the old boots starting falling apart. I was miserable.

The next day was sunny and we spent time in a large cienega pasture, with Greg finding a historic cabin site.

Greg being watched.


I bought new hiking boots and got a couple of blisters. The bones in my feet hurt from all the walking. I went to bed at 8:00 PM. Gradually things got better.

I was worried I would miss sites, but on the fourth or fifth day I found a little mortar hole, pounded into sandstone. This would have been used by a Native American to smash pine nuts, acorns, seeds, or small animals into meal or pulp.

Mortar hole.

We saw elk as we were driving down the road to our survey area. It is bow hunting season and the woods are crawling with hunters. I hope they all miss.

By day eight, my feet had stopped hurting and I found a small cabin site dating sometime between 1880 and 1920. I have six days off before I return again.


Catching up. Life has been super busy. Damien moved back to Tucson from DC and I had him over for pizza and craft activity. We were going to build the White House.


I purchase the kit at Trader Joe's on sale. 

Walls up.

It came with pre-made sugar cookie parts, squeezable frosting, and candy decorations. 


After falling apart, we realized that our building skills sucked. A liberal application of frosting helped stick it together.

War of 1812 damage visible.

It looked exactly like the examples on the box.

Really, it did.

For pool volleyball I made a chocolate malt cake.

Everyone loved it.

We played many games of volleyball.


I was mostly on the winning team. Having monkey arms helps.

Waiting for the serve.

Fun way to mark the passing of summer, although in Arizona summer lasts until the end of October.

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