Friday, June 29, 2012

Movie Reviews

We have been trying to make the best of a bad weather situation around here since we have been home.  So when we wake up to rain, we start looking at the latest movie offerings.  This probably really astonishes our children, who had watched us avoid movie theaters for the past 25 years.  However, once we got started, we realized it is a fun way to while away a few rainy hours when our eyes get tired of reading.

These movies are still playing:

Men In Black III   Rated PG-13. This is apparently the third in a series.  I remember seeing one a while back, but couldn't remember much about it.  Ron assured me it was about space aliens, and bugs with a little bit of detective thrown in, and told me he was sure I would hate it.  Since at the time we couldn't find anything else playing that wasn't totally war and mayhem, I insisted it would be fine.  Ron was pretty much right about the plot - if he had thrown in "time travel" he would have pretty much nailed it.  However, it was entertaining enough and I always like Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith.

Rock of Ages  Rated PG-13.  It had a great cast so even though musicals aren't usually our first choice, we decided to go and take our musical teenage grandchildren.  We all really enjoyed the movie, the music, and the acting was great.  We had a couple of uncomfortable moments when we wondered about the PG-13 rating, but our kids are 16 and 17, and they were totally familiar with the music, so they probably enjoyed it more than we did.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World Rated R.  Although quite entertaining, it also was a bit depressing.  I am sure if everyone in the world knew for certain that an asteroid would hit the earth and wipe out everything in 3 weeks that the excesses would be at least as bad as portrayed.  The main characters didn't seem that well suited to each other, but the story did manage to flow pretty well.  It left us feeling a bit empty at the end in spite of some comic episodes throughout the movie.  I think it would be best to NOT see something like the asteroid coming.

Magic Mike - Rated R.  Ron actually picked this one over "Ted" that I would have chosen.  When we entered the theater, it was packed with young women, which seemed a bit curious.  However, it wasn't hard to see why as the movie progressed.  We recognized a lot of the scenery from our winters in Tampa, so that was fun.  Matthew McConaughey is definitely a great actor, but Channing Tatum was good as well.  Definitely raunchy in places, but I guess we should expect that in a movie about a male strip club. All in all, funny and entertaining.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Projects for Grandchildren

Our oldest grandchildren are visiting this week from Eastern Washington.  We managed to squeeze a few nice sunny days out of this cold wet spring while they are here.  However, today we once again woke up to cloudy skies and rain.  Fortunately, the stuff I had ordered from the American Cheese Company arrived in today's mail, so this afternoon we made mozarella cheese.  

Can this really be this easy?  First step measuring a teaspoon and a half of citric acid into a cup of cool water.  Pour a gallon of milk (NOT ultra-pasteurized) into a stainless steel pan and add the citrus acid mix.
Heat slowly to 90 degrees - then cut one rennet tablet into quarters, mix one quarter tablet with a quarter cup of cool water.  Mix and add to milk mixture and let sit for about 5 minutes.
Note:  The rennet tablet seemed to be the only odd ingredient that is not readily available in the grocery store (and I didn't even check, they may be right there on the shelf somewhere.)
Let set for 5 minutes, then cut into about 1" cubes with a long knife.  Reheat to 105 degrees.  It will look like custard and the curds will be easily separated from the whey.
Remove from the heat and continue stirring for about 5 minutes.
Drain the whey from the curds
Reheat in a microwaveable glass container for 1 minute, then continue to drain whey and work the cheese.
Reheat again for 30 seconds.
Add a teaspoon of salt and mold into your desired shapes (try a taste!)
Cool thoroughly in ice water - Refrigerate and enjoy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Making Strawberries

Birds and rabbits love the strawberry patch.  This week Sara and Jesse are visiting and Sara mentioned that she heard if you painted rocks and put them in the strawberry bed, the birds would peck them and decide to leave them alone.  Our strawberries are just starting to ripen, so most are still white although we did collect a few today.

We collected various rocks on our way down the hill from the garden.  (There is no shortage of rocks in our world.)  Then we found a can of red spray paint and painted them on one side.
This step involved getting every bit of the rock painted - a perfect job for a perfectionist.
So we decided we had better turn them over and get the other side. We were patient enough to wait (more or less) until the first side was dry and then sprayed the other side.
We decided this deception we were practicing on the birds would be more effective if we added some other color to the rocks.
The finished product really did look a lot like strawberries.
Final step - strategically place them in the rows of strawberries:
They might not fool everyone, but we are hoping they at least fool something with a bird brain.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Garden Update

Even in a cold rainy week, we have some beautiful things to look at in the Pacific Northwest in the spring.  Last night, just about when we had decided to pack up and head south looking for sunshine, the sun gave us this treat.
The sun on the little mountain at one end of the lake, and a rainbow on the other.
okay, the garden - it is struggling - I have put about 30 pounds of diatamaceous earth on everything I have planted, and I don't see evidence of slugs any more, but something is sure eating the beans as they come up.  My friend, Karen, brought me some bean starts so I am going to try again.  My experimental compost seems to be a mushy mess.
My strawberry rotation got all mixed up this year when the weeds were so thick I had to basically replant every plant.  However, they are showing green berries now, so we may have a few berries.  I am "waiting for next year" for a good crop.  That seems to be the story of my life around here.
The flowers are doing better - this bronze iris is fragrant and has spread finally, so I have several.
This light blue variety is also fragrant and one of my favorites.
This one is so dark blue it is nearly black and is huge - my favorite!
And the rhodies, being native, seem to really thrive in the cool wet weather.  All in all, life is good - in spite of the rain.  Still waiting for warmer weather when I can swim every day though!