Tink the dinky bun

Last week a woman in Merrillville found a little domestic bunny hopping in her yard. She called the shelter, who put her in contact with a volunteer in our rescue, who brought the bunny some food and other supplies. After a little how-much-space-do-we-have recon, little bunny joined our foster care, and yesterday she came to live with me for a bit.

newbun

This has to be the tiniest bunny I’ve had in foster care, if you don’t count newborns. We thought she was a baby, but based on her hormonal behavior last night I think she might be half grown or even an adult. I’ve had a few litters grow up in my foster care and she just acts older than those guys.

I let Tink come out of her carrier yesterday to see Harrison in a pen; he’s our largest foster bunny at about 13 pounds. They meet…

littlebigbuns

And Tink scares away giant Harrison!
littlebigbuns2

All will be good now for this little stray, but we had to turn down three other buns in the last two weeks. There are never enough foster or permanent homes.

Bike + Jeep = 2 firetrucks, 1 ambulance, 5 cop cars

Riding home today, lovely weather, laughed when guys at the sketchy basketball court in the sketchy park hollered, “Hey biker lady, wanna hoop?”

But a couple miles later, blam. Dude in a Cherokee turned left and hit me.

Fortunately I’m apparently fine; he hit the rear of the bike (back wheel area) so missed my leg and the rest of me. Alas part of the bike frame is bent (plus a brifter is wack, chain’s off, rear rack is bent, and my awesome PlanetBike superflash light bit the dust in the middle of Sherman Drive). Bike and I hit the street but I walked away, and that’s what counts.

Some other guy saw it and called 911. Gotta admit, the firetrucks are fast to arrive! Ambulance came right after. I’m not sure why five different cop cars came but maybe it was a slow day.

firetruck

copcar

copcar2

I hope the guy’s insurance covers the bike. It was a little funny how when he looked at it he was like, Man, that’s an expensive bike, huh? And then two cops later said the same thing. It’s not THAT expensive, but a lot more than a department store type. Meanwhile I hope I can get anything for it since I was coming off a bike path and we were both stopped for cross traffic. I believe I had the right of way (obviously) since I was going straight, but the cop didn’t know the statutes.

brifter

rearhit2
Note the color lines added (click on pic) to show what should be straight. The red is where the chain is off and the sad face is where my light used to live. He didn’t hit the derailleur side so that’s an expensive part not necessarily broken (though I fell on that side, so who knows), but unless the seat stay can be unbent, the frame is hosed. I wonder if the rugged cross frame paired with the structure of the rack saved the wheel and/or me. It sure bent a lot and all I did was fall over.

Amazingly I have maybe two minor scratches from scraping against my bike and a teeny blood spot on my knuckle. I’m glad I was wearing gloves. I must’ve jumped/flown off gracefully not to be road rashed. We’ll see what other aches develop in the next couple of days.

If only I’d been running my video camera today! (Not for excitement, but evidence)

For the excess of squash, zucchini, and tomatoes

David saw this recipe on America’s Test Kitchen recently. It tasted great! You can get the recipe from their site by searching for Summer Vegetable Gratin. However, you have to register to see it, which annoys me, so I’m sharing it here. Plus you won’t have to look at that dorky guy with the bowtie.

gratin

The topping totally makes this recipe.

VEGETABLE GRATIN
America’s Test Kitchen, PBS, 8/2009

1 lb zucchini, cut into ¼” rounds
1 lb summer squash, cut into ¼” rounds
Place in strainer over bowl and sprinkle w/ 1 tsp kosher salt. Toss, set aside for 45 min. (You are trying to rid the veggies of moisture)

4 ripe fresh tomatoes, cut into ¼” rounds
Place on baking tray, lined w/ paper towels. Sprinkle w/ ½ tsp kosher salt and let drain for 30 min.

Julienne 2) med. onions and sauté on medium heat for 20-25 min. until caramelized. Early in sauté, add ½ tsp salt & ¼ tsp pepper.

After 45 min, press zucchini & squash between paper towels to drain, then toss with ½ of the marinade.

MARINADE:
3 TBL olive oil
1 TBL fresh thyme (1 tsp dried)
½ tsp black pepper
2 cloves garlic, pressed

In baking tray, loosely fill with zucchini / squash mix. Add onions on top of mix. Neatly place tomato rounds on top of mix. Take second half of marinade and drizzle over tomatoes.

Bake @ 400 for 40 min.
TOPPING:
1/3C fresh parmesan, pulsed in food processor
1 slice of bread, added to mix w/ parmesan
1 TBL olive oil
1/4C minced shallot

After removing dish from oven, increase oven temp. to 450. Evenly add topping and add to dish and place back in oven for 5-10 min., until brown.

swimbikerun, etc.

Some recent items:

Congrats to my little brother (though he’s noted as a Clydesdale, and darn it if I’m not basically Athena weight!), Matt, on completing his first triathlon last weekend. It was in downtown Indy and so far there are no reports of anyone dying after swimming the canal.

mattswim

Matt’s first triathlon 08.16.09 from Amy D on Vimeo.

Friends recently invited us to Symphony on the Prairie, where we heard Queen music in an outdoor picnic setting. Drunkenness ensued. Also the guy who sounded like Freddie Mercury threw in “I’m gonna sit by you, another one rides the bus!”

Had a bunny date at my house. Rabbits who happened to be named Bill and Hillary met, and Bill humped Hillary repeatedly. She looked annoyed and went home with Waldo instead.

I grew huge ass zucchini!
hugezucc

And my pepper is finally turning red!
redpepper

Also note we now have cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and a wine rack! David’s work slowed to a backwards crawl but at least he had time to work on his own place.
zucckitchen

I looked away or took a phone call or something while working, and Walter apparently brought me Thing 1 for a game of fetch.
thing1

Rode my bike to the state fair this weekend. I’ve never gone and wanted to get it out of my system. The prospect of fried food overrode the sadness at some of the animals (I managed to walk into the swine building while they were being auctioned). Of course the first building I wandered into had the rabbit judging going on. Poor buns.
fairrabbits
There were a number of bizarre sights at the fair, including middle-aged white women belly dancing in a group (I got stuck watching this because it began pouring rain and this tree kept me dry):
bellies
An awesome mullet with balding and feathering at the same time:
mullet
Suckers with their feet in nasty brown muddy water getting ‘toxins’ removed (what a freakin’ racket):
foottoxin
Miss America seasoning (I almost bought it but it wasn’t worth eight bucks for a joke):
missAmSeason
And a lady playing show tunes on an organ in the middle of Pepsi Coliseum while competing horse teams trotted around her:
organhorse
It was all worth it for the funnel cake, mint ice cream, and onion rings.

Even though a draft horse farted on me.

The Sunday rebate postmark

One of my latest deals was a free-after-rebate version of our antivirus software, which expired a week or so ago. It’s actually two rebates and I left it on my desk for awhile. Day 29 of 30 arrived and I sat down to process my rebate. But oh no! It’s Saturday after the post office is closed! I need a postmark by Sunday to qualify. Dang, $45 lost. Or is it?

I checked out Stamps.com to see if I could print postage. They keep advertising their deal (‘free’ if you pay shipping for their postal scale which hooks up to your computer, plus $25 in postage credits over three months, and no monthly charge the first 30 days), but their FAQ made it sound like you HAD to have the scale to use the service. I just needed to mail first class letters, not weigh packages. I decided to give it a shot and what do you know, I printed a lovely couple of Sunday-postmarked envelopes. The first $5 of postage is free with the trial (and I didn’t have to order the scale) so I didn’t even pay to send these.

The software downloaded and installed easily, was intuitive, had helpful pop-up messages to get me started (I skipped the demos and webinars), and it helped me easily configure and test my printer without wasting postage first. It also automatically posted a Monday date on the sample view, but I told it I wanted the current Sunday date. It gave me a warning but still let me do it. (It does not let you backdate before the current date, though I didn’t fiddle with the PC clock or anything to see if that would work.) The software also appears to have a way to deal with printer mishaps so you don’t lose postage if the envelope jams, but I didn’t have to explore that feature.

The downside is that this service costs about $18 per month, so I’ll have to cancel in a couple of weeks during the trial period. I wouldn’t mind reloading my postage account with a credit card and just printing from home on a regular basis, so I wish they offered a fee-free service like that. They apparently discount some postage as part of the service (I guess because the barcodes are already on the mail and that saves the physical post office time), so a free or very cheap service without postage discounts would be nice.

Well, at least I’ll get these rebates out the door. I might get unlucky and the post office will re-postmark my stuff and then the rebate people will reject me, but it was worth a try. Since I barely use a book of stamps in a year (hooray online bill pay), the paid service just won’t do me any good.

“Ah, he always smelled that way”

When I was young, we’d go visit my great great aunt and uncle’s farm on the west side of town. Uncle Walt and Aunt Dorothy had 80 acres, and at various times, cows, chickens, corn, a pond, an inground pool (this was the most exciting part for my brother and me at the time), dogs, woods, strawberries, you name it. They had a long dirt lane and when you drove on it, the resident dog (jobs included guard and groundhog killer) would come running to meet you.

My mom and her mom both spent lots of time at the farm when they were young. I am SO glad we got to go visit too, but I wonder what it would have been like to live there for whole summers. There are stories of using dynamite to blow up field rocks and my mom getting lost as a toddler and the dog finding her.

They lived in a creepy-cool 1850s(?) farmhouse and the upstairs, a place we rarely visited, wasn’t even vented for heat. The dirt cellar had amazing jarred veggies on old shelves. The big wraparound porch had rocking chairs and bees would visit the flowers while you sat around and talked.

The old barns were really amazing to me. I was not very adventurous and didn’t explore as much as I should have, but the falling-down old chicken coop and slatted corn sheds fascinated me. My memories don’t include the animals that lived there, since Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Walt were older by then and rented their cornfields to other farmers, but the old buildings were right there by the house as a reminder. There’s a picture somewhere, one I clearly remember, of kids bottle-feeding a calf. I remember the wooden ramp with rails where the grown cattle apparently climbed on the truck to go to slaughter. My mom said Uncle Walt would cry when they left.

Whatever happened to that world? It must have been amazing to be an American farmer through the bulk of the last century; the changes in fertilizers and yields, the move to families shopping in big grocery stores, the selling of this beautiful property in the country to be another fancy subdivision after the old farmers went off to assisted living facilities. Uncle Walt suffered from illnesses related to his life’s work, but I just remember him sitting in a recliner and telling deadpan jokes. (When asked why his dog was so spoiled, he responded with the title of this post.) Aunt Dorothy climbed on top of the shed in her 70s to paint; I remember her still liking to eat Long John Silver’s food, of all things, in her 90s, long after moving away from the farm and going deaf.

I was thinking of the farm after watching Food, Inc. last weekend with friends. Please go see it–it’s amazing what we don’t know about the food we eat and where it’s sourced. I visited a farmers’ market just before the movie, and went to another one this past weekend, but yet that’s not where the bulk of my food starts. I’m trying to take advantage of more markets this year while we are in growing season, plus we are growing more vegetables ourselves. When I stop to think about this basic thing, food, it amazes me what an industry it’s become. Now there are even concerns about ‘food security,’ whether from national perspectives or right here in my city.

Maybe it’s not helpful to idolize the old family farm in this day of WalMarts and a bigger population, but I know none of Uncle Walt’s cows stood knee deep in their own manure their whole lives, nor did his chickens live in cages the size of a sheet of paper. The unchecked growth of factory farming and seed law signals to me the dirty politics and the greedy side of capitalism that tosses aside any reasonable treatment of worker, animal, or planet.

The power of consumer dollars: a vote every time you eat.

I’m very excited about the upcoming opening of our first non-profit community grocery in a rehabbed building in an underserved part of the city: Pogue’s Run Grocer!