Cider Press Hill

About that banana bread...

Thursday, 10:58 pm

By Kate

Nov

27

2008

partly cloudy

That banana bread that I made this afternoon turned out surprisingly well considering. It was somewhat dense and a bit drier than normal. I attributed that to the much smaller loaves. No one seemed to notice and it disappeared in a hurry. I suppose if you slather enough butter on something, it covers a multitude of sins.

I got to thinking about it tonight and suddenly realized why the bread turned out drier than usual.

I forgot to add the 1 1/4 cups of milk. Dunno how I managed to forget that, but it definitely accounts for drier than usual banana bread. At least it wasn’t an embarrassing mistake. As long as I don’t tell anyone who ate it.



 

One down....

Thursday, 8:14 pm

By Kate

Nov

27

2008

partly cloudy

Earlier this week, we had a fierce storm. I didn’t recall hearing that it was a coastal storm exactly, but apparently the waves were massive and the beach erosion was significant. Over the last couple of years, I’ve been watching the beach disappear in huge gouges and chunks after each storm and I know that I’ve speculated here on the blog that it wouldn’t be long before a house would topple over into the ocean. Well, yesterday was the day. The house had a little help, but it’s gone now.

The storm washed the dune out from under the house and the city immediately condemned the house. The woman who owned it was given approximately 10 minutes to remove what personal effects she could carry. Then the house was toppled with heavy machinery. The video below shows the details. There is considerable controversy over the way it was handled, but no one has come up with an idea on how it could have been done better. There really was no way to salvage the house or shore it up. There is simply nothing left on which to build or do any shoring.

I’m quite sure that the woman’s neighbors are terrified. Their houses are sitting on the raw edge of nothing now and one more storm will probably take at least one of them out. This is not a happy Thanksgiving for the homeowner or anyone else out there. Nature is not merciful.

For comparison, this is a photo of the same house that I shot in May of 2002. The photo was cropped a bit—the dunes extended out quite a bit further than the photo indicates. That’s an amazing amount of beach erosion in just 6 years. The storms are becoming much more violent each year. There is absolutely no question about that.



 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, 1:39 pm

By Kate

Nov

27

2008

partly cloudy

The apple pie is cooling on the counter (and smells delicious) and the banana bread is in the oven. The carrots are just beginning to steam—they will end up buttered and dilled. Then, long about 3:00, I’ll be heading out to Thanksgiving dinner. I’m hoping not to embarrass myself too badly with the banana bread. It’s rather experimental. Somewhere along the line, over the last year, I loaned out my bread loaf pan and it never came home. So, my options for banana bread were a regular 8x8x2 inch dish or a new and untried pan with 8 individual sized loaves. I opted for the 8 individual loaves. Dunno how they’ll turn out. It’s kind of risky to try something brand new for Thanksgiving dinner. But whatever. It’s real banana bread with real bananas and it already smells utterly ambrosial.

From what I hear, the turkey is rounding the last half hour lap, the gravy is almost done, and the potatoes are about to go on the fire. We did all the prep work last night, so it was a pretty easy meal to put together today. Sounds as if I have enough time to get cleaned up and presentable. I’m a messy cook. Just glanced at myself in the mirror and I’m wearing a lot of flour....

Interesting observation: The grocery store was cashing in on last minute Thanksgiving shopping yesterday. They charged $6 for a five pound bag of potatoes. That’s double the normal price. People were not pleased. Gotta wonder what possessed them to do that.

Anyway. Happy Thanksgiving to those of you celebrating. There are a lot of things in the news these days that make one nervous about the future and there are certainly those who truly don’t know where the next meal will come from. It makes having a full table shared with friends an especially sweet moment. That’s a lot to be thankful for.

And, of course...we have a new President!! Just had to slip that in somewhere. smile



 

Fine February Day

Wednesday, 6:02 pm

By Kate

Nov

19

2008

clear night

Today, the 19th of November, was a fine February day. My outdoor thermometer never rose above 28°. And it is heading toward 23° at a pretty brisk clip, even as I type. By the time I post this, we might have already reached it. I must say, that’s rather cold for the middle of November, during which our normal daytime temperatures are still usually in the upper 40s.

I know that most people around here aren’t too crazy about it. I can practically hear all the neighbors keening as their furnaces labor away at mid-winter frequency. The white billows of steam pouring out of their chimneys is deep winter picture postcard pretty, except for the absence of snow. Not that I’m asking for trouble by saying that or anything.... It’s not that we don’t like to share, but you folks in Canada can hang on to your cold weather for a little longer without offending us in the least.

I’m curious how some of these folks are managing. Especially the woman who was determined not to turn the heat on until December 1st. Someone might want to go check on her to make sure she and her family haven’t turned into solid blocks of ice. I suspect all the good resolve went right out the window last night, if not sooner. It has been an uncharacteristically cold autumn this year.

My earmarked November wood supply is rapidly depleting. I don’t think it’s going to last until the end of November at this rate. I’ve been trying to take it a little easy, but when I get up in the morning to a 54° house, my resolve disintegrates pretty quickly.  Here’s hoping for an extended December and January thaw to make up for this nonsense.



 

Weather Weirdness

Saturday, 9:01 pm

By Kate

Nov

15

2008

fog

I turned the radio on a little while ago and I just heard the announcer say that it was 68° in Boston. At least, that’s what I thought he said. I had to get up and check my outdoor thermometer. It said 67.6°. At nearly 10PM on November 15th in the northeast. That’s unusual. When was the last time I opened my doors and windows at 10PM in the middle of November to warm my house up? It’s 3 degrees cooler in my house than it is outside. Free heat! 



 

The Coinstar Plan

Friday, 1:18 pm

By Kate

Nov

14

2008

mist

Somewhere during my internet travels in the last week, I stumbled across an idea that got my eyes glowing. I learned that Coinstar, which has coin counting machines scattered all over creation, is offering a holiday bonus gift of $10 if you plug at least $40 of coins into their machines. Even better, I could get Amazon e-certificates for whatever amount of change I fed their machine. (They also offer e-certificates/gift cards for places like Circuit City, Borders, iTunes, Lowes, Eddie Bauer, Starbucks, and a couple of others.)

Well, I thought, change is kind of like found money. No earmarks on it. Until now, anyway.

I took a tour through the house and emptied out the various bowls and baskets of change that I’ve accumulated. I turned over chair and sofa cushions and found more. I scooped up the pile of coins next to the washing machine. Then I went through all my jacket and coat pockets from last winter to see what they might turn up—one slightly worse for wear ten dollar bill and several quarters and dimes. Whoo!

I sat down on the floor to count it all out. My total stash came to $32.16

And I thought...well, it’s a sure bet I’ll be spending at least another $10 at Amazon in the next couple of weeks, so I’ll just withdraw $10 and turn that along with the other ten dollar bill into rolls of quarters. That’ll put me just a little over the $40 requirement for the $10 Coinstar bonus.

And that’s what I did.

The nearest Coinstar machine is at my grocery store. I’ve not used it before, so I went through the little tutorial offered on screen. It was pretty easy. I selected the Amazon e-certificate option and poured all the coins into the counting tray. I wondered if it would be accurate—it was. It spit out a receipt and e-certificate in the amount of $42.16 along with a form to send to Coinstar to get my bonus. This deal lasts through December 7th.

Last evening I entered the e-certificate redemption code on my account at Amazon and 5 seconds later I was good to shop.

Ahh, sudden guilt-free riches.

In the past, I could have blown through $42 in a hurry at Amazon. But since I’ve acquired my Kindle e-reader, I’ve found a large selection of older books and classics that cost less than a dollar—like 25 cents. I often wonder just how tolerant the credit card company will be after a constant string of 25 cent charges. No one has said anything yet, but I think an e-certificate is probably a better plan.

Anyway. I downloaded three new books for a total $4.80. I think my e-certificate funds might last me a while.

My current winter reading list, including my three new purchases, includes:

The Princess Bride by William Goldman
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Reading Like a Writer - by Francine Prose
The Works (150+) of Lucy Maud Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne’s House of Dreams, Anne of Ingleside, Rainbow Valley, Rilla of Ingleside, etc.)
The Road by Cormac McCarthy (because I didn’t get it read over the summer and I haven’t been quite in the mood yet for death and destruction.)

And, because I can never leave well enough alone, I ordered a skin for my Kindle a couple of days ago. Did I mention that I also named her Esmeralda? Yeah well, I did. But the skin thing...I saw this image on one of the Kindle boards a few days ago and I knew then and there that I Had To Have It.

I appreciate that skinning Esmeralda more or less violates the entire premise of a bland case surrounding the reading screen. The idea is that the Kindle case recedes into the background so that it’s almost like tumbling into the pages of a book when reading. Ah well. I can do that quite as well with a pretty Kindle, too. Can’t wait ‘til it arrives!



 

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