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annikusrex came to town for a mini-conference on Friday, which meant that I got to kidnap her for Friday night and the better part of Saturday, hurrah! An amusing amount of cooking and eating ensued:

-Butternut squash pizza with goat cheese, romano, walnuts, apples, mushrooms, onions, and crispy sage (fried in butter). For the sauce, I roasted up a butternut squash and pureed it in the Cuisinart along with a bit more sage. In case that wasn't enough, it's also artichoke season, and they're actually available for an affordable price around here ($1/each for organic ones). Yum.

-For breakfast, another feast. sytharin has been wanting to have some of our dad's Swedish pancakes, but at some point in her travels her Herman culture perished, and they just don't taste the same without that special little bit of twang from the Herman. I've managed to keep my own Herman going, so on Saturday morning, it was time. Here's our dad's Swedish pancake recipe. Swedish pancakes are like crepes, except slightly thicker:

1 C whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 C soy flour (you can substitute more pastry flour but the soy protein makes these more filling)
4 egs
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C melted butter
2 C milk
1 C Herman (omit if you don't have any, or you can probably use a regular sourdough culture to achieve a similar effect)

Put everything in the blender or whip it together with a whisk or egg beater. Heat your griddle to ~425 degrees F. Use around 1/2 C of batter to make plate-sized Swedish pancakes. Fill with your favorite fruit filling and top with a dollop of freshly whipped cream. In our case, rhubarb compote made from rhubarb freshly harvested from the backyard.

-Then, Scrabble. RAC played a strong game, including a bingo, but then AKW played a bingo which wasn't a real word (MILKINGS) and we failed to challenge it, so she won. RAC hadn't known about the googly eyes on the J until she drew the J.

-After that, AKW and I tried to go to the newly renovated Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, except there was a "Medical Emergency" on BART (I believe that's code for somebody died?), so we hopped on the 72 bus and took the long route there. Fortunately, the weather was pleasantly warm, and the extended walk up University was scenic. We went past this place, which looked intriguing:

Intriguing Berkeley store

The museum itself was fine. A number of the individual pieces on display were striking, such as the artist who created sculptures out of spider silk by alternately giving solitary and social spiders access to a frame for web-building. When I first saw the pieces, I figured they were synthetically made. I liked how the artist was playing around with the solitary/social concept. The social spiders build interestingly engineered webs. Also striking was Portrait of my Father by Stephen Kaltenbach. There was some incredible colorwork in that piece that can really only be appreciated in person, appreciated even further when you realize it was painted in 1978. It has a holographic feel and shifts and moves as you look at it, plus it deals with some complex subjects.

As an exhibition, however, I felt like the curators were trying a little too hard to put in as many different kinds of things as they could to showcase the museum's collections and ties to other strengths of the university. The University of Nebraska's art museum, in contrast, did a better job of reverential presentation of works from its holdings.

Still, I love going to museums with AKW and it was wonderful to have her out for a visit!


While she and I were larking about, RAC was otherwise engaged. After Scrabble, she ran off to rent a pickup truck, and proceeded to drive all over hither and yon picking up all of the kinds of things one needs a pickup truck to acquire: two bales of straw, a bunch of bags of mulch, sand, pavers, three 50-pound bags of clay, a bag of pottery plaster, and probably a couple of other things I'm forgetting. I'm highly amused by a similarity in our temperaments - like me, RAC is inclined to charge around working on projects until she drops from exhaustion. There's something comforting and nice about being around this kind of work mode, though. There's something similarly comforting about cooking and sharing food with the household network out here, too. Saturday night, for example, after AKW had left for the airport, I joined RAC and M&M for some tasty stuffed onions and roasted cauliflower. Yum.


Sunday morning, I'd promised RAC that I would help with some aspects of the ongoing household projects. In particular, it was time to give the workshop a thorough cleaning and round of organizing.

I feel so much better now that things are better organized in there. I mostly had to shuffle around various accumulated piles of abandoned projects to move the table saw back into a corner that would give us all better access to some storage shelves we moved in there when we were renovating the bike garage to accommodate more bicycles. RAC installed plastic sheeting over half of the shelf to ready it for storing ceramics-in-progress:

Tidied workshop I

We also cleared off the worktable and cleared floor space. You can't really tell either of these things from this photo, but before the photo it was getting pretty hard to walk around in the workshop.

Tidied workshop II

RAC was generally on a roll. She managed to apply some copper paint to the kick wheel to protect it from further rust, and she built the last planter box for the front driveway. She also filled it with soil and got tomato plants transplanted, and set the paving stones for the path here:

Front yard tomato beds

We are now tomato-ready.

I did manage a couple of other small projects, like painting more trim for my door-window (to tack down the fiberglass screen along the sides):

Backyard projects

And transplanting a lavender plant and strawberry plant into pots (both plants are being hugged by a kale plant that's going to seed):


The local plant shop (Berkeley Horticulture) carries five or six different kinds of strawberry plants. I got a Mara des bois because highly flavorful French strawberries sound fantastic. But I might have to get even more varieties in the overall search for strawberry perfection. We shall see. I'm still skeptical about whether it's possible to achieve strawberry perfection outside of Washington, but it seems worth a try.

Other than all that, RAC built up a frame for making a plaster wedging table, did a bunch of weeding, and figured out what was wrong with the irrigation system. We've been enjoying the colors of all the different California irises she's planted in the front yard:

Front yard color riots

And with that, it's time for the beginning of another full work week.


( 4 remarks — Remark )
Mar. 28th, 2016 05:20 pm (UTC)
What became of the tree that was in the driveway? Is it just outside of your photo?
Mar. 28th, 2016 05:21 pm (UTC)
Re: tree?
The tree is still there, doing very well! Its foliage is sticking out on the right edge of the photo, and you can just barely see the aluminum foil wrapped around its trunk.

Edited at 2016-03-28 05:22 pm (UTC)
Apr. 16th, 2016 07:38 pm (UTC)
Re: tree?
aluminum foil ??
Apr. 18th, 2016 12:25 am (UTC)
Re: tree?
My sister says it's to keep the neighbor's cats from scratching off the bark and injuring the young trees.
( 4 remarks — Remark )

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