Thursday, August 30, 2012

Making Waffle Cones

I bought a $20 Bella Waffle Cone Maker for Mark.  David and I whipped up a batch tonight.
The instructions were a little awkward and I think they were translated from another language, as it called for two eggs, then said to mix the yolk and the egg white with salt, etc.  Who discusses the parts of an egg?  You just put two eggs in.  The ingredients also called for 1/3 cup milk, but the instructions never said when to add it.  I looked at other recipes online and added it at the end, choosing to use evaporated milk as it was suggested in one of the online recipes.  The cooked batter was wonderful, but as crumbly as a potato chip.  Getting the lid to snap closed on the batter was impossible and although I put the required amount in, it overflowed and the waffle didn't cook evenly.  And it was too hot to work with AND even with the instructions, the cooked waffle kept slipping off the plastic cone form when I was trying to transform it from a flat pancake into a cone.  Needless to say, making cones was a failure and David and I ended up pressing the last three in bowls, which worked well. 

David scooped some softened ice cream and when he plopped it into a big cone, the cookie shattered.  Mark liked his cone, but we all agreed that I should take this back and get my twenty bucks refunded.

We ruined three and the picture below are our somewhat successes. Our fingertips are burned.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Clogged Drain Cleared!

Our bathroom sink was slow to drain, probably from years of soap buildup.  We have a septic tank and I am not a fan of pouring in harsh chemicals like Drain-O, so I looked online and found this clog busting recipe of things I had on hand.  

1 cup baking soda
1 cup white vinegar
1 gallon of hot water.
First put the baking soda into the drain. Follow it with the vinegar. It will react with the soda and fizzle. Let it stand for a couple of minutes then pour the boiling water down the drain.

I put a gallon of water on the stove to boil and went straight to work. Our sink has a permanent drain stopper, so I pushed what I could down the little opening and then poured the vinegar, using my fingers to push the bubbling baking soda down the drain.  One more slosh of vinegar was all it took for the mixture to clear the sink.  While that rested, I waited for the big pot of water to boil, maybe five minutes.

When I poured in the hot water, I could hear bubbly noises from the vinegar-soda solution, but I didn't get that big whoosh of water drainage that I expected.  Maybe the hot water needed to sit in the trap for a while to melt the clog, so I put another pot of water on to boil and tried again.  The second pot of water went down a little faster.  The third pot was the charm!

I wonder if I could have saved my soda and vinegar and just flushed the pipes with boiling water?  I hope I didn't hurt the PVC.

Yes, we could have taken out the trap and cleaned it, but that would have involved emptying the storage stuff from the cabinet.  Plus - YUCK - who wants to do that??

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Bear In Our Yard - video/pictures

We heard the trash can fall over at 9:45am, pretty late in the morning for a bear.  We don't keep the can in the garage, because this attracts bugs and mice, which frankly creep me out worse than bears.  It's the trade-off for living near woods (paradise).  I was taking pictures from our driveway between our son's car and Mark's giant Snap-On Tools truck.  We wanted the bear to feel trapped.  Mark went to the front of his truck and banged on it, scaring the bear enough to run past me.  Hopefully she will remember this and not return!   I estimate this big bear to be a 5' tall and 200 pound female.  We would only be in danger if cubs were involved.
Go away bad bear!
She sees Mark as he bangs on his truck.
And runs past me.
Between our yards, toward our driveway.
Running across our driveway with me hot on her heels
Running toward the lake in our front yard
Headed from our yard to another neighbor's
The End.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Summertime Garden Activity

Summer eased into Florida and now is the epitome of steamy hot!  Although lots of rain and sunshine are essential for a successful garden, mine floated and sizzled to the point that all that is left are sweet potatoes hiding underground with lots of healthy foliage, one wiry eggplant bush that somehow keeps producing, thyme, basil and lots of marigolds.  I go to my plot at the community garden only once a week to pull a weed or two, pick any ripe vegetables and fresh basil leaves.  Marigolds are blooming, but not doing their job repelling bugs, as I continue to find stinkbugs and other insects that terrorize what's growing.  They're bold enough to sit on the leaves of the flowers and plot their next course of dining action.

I went to the gardens at 3:30 a week ago.  The temperature was 99F.  I picked a pile of eggplants, ripped out everything but what was mentioned above and drug it across the field to the compost pile.  The picture of eggplants I am including shows how hot it was, as some are actually shriveled from heat.  I got home and soaked them in cold water, as the skin temperature was roasting.  I  ended up baking them and making baba ganoush, an eggplant/hummus/lemonly dip for pita chips.  While at the garden, I greeted Blanca is from Mexico and Bill, from some Spanish speaking Caribbean island who was watering a huge pigeon pea tree in his garden.  Both speak perfect English and I admired their exotic plants and chatted before heading to mine to do the clean out.  A half hour into my work, Bill called to me in Spanish and I, who only has a rudimentary grasp of the Spanish language, remain puzzled that I understood his slurred words clearly: "Pardon me, do you have sugar candy?"  I looked up to see him swaying in the heat, grabbed my lemonade from my bag as I shouted to Blanca and we both ran to the rescue, pouring icy cold lemonade down his throat and shirt, holding him up, and walking his rubbery legs to his car for air conditioning.  Bill is a diabetic, and the strenuous exercise in the heat was too much for him.  Low sugar gives a man a drunk appearance and behavior.  If I saw a stranger on the street in this condition, I might have avoided him!

While Blanca continued to cool, hydrate, and raise Bill's blood sugar with my weak lemonade, I ran to the corner store for orange juice, which brought him back to sober normalcy in minutes.  A good blessing out was given in Spanish from Blanca for being a diabetic in the heat without cold water or hard candy in his pocket.   Bill went home with my favorite insulated drink container and the law laid down that before he ever returns to the gardens, it should be filled with ice and cold water, the sun should be just rising or nearly setting, and his sugar should be checked before leaving the house.  Blanca and I were pronounced angels from heaven, given big sweaty lemonade hugs, and with a big smile, Bill drove himself home.  Bill was worried that "my wife is going to keeeel me", and Blanca and I were relieved to know he would tell her what happened, so she could watch him the rest of the afternoon to be sure we didn't over sugar him.  I went back to the little store, paid for the orange juice and bought Blanca and me each homemade Mexican pineapple popsicles and a sports drink, then she and I went back to finish our gardening.  I was so hot, dirty and still a little shaky after the Bill ordeal that when I got home, I got into the pool fully clothed, not even bothering to change into a swimsuit.