Green Pocket Protector on Instagram

October 16, 2012 § 7 Comments

Hey folks…we’re on Instagram.  Our account is GREEN POCKET PROTECTOR.  There aren’t a lot of pictures there yet. But check in once in a while and see what’s happening.

Transplanted plant on our patio.

Lilies at the base of a dead tree next to the duck pond.

Doodle and Otis, waiting for Dave to come home.


Grit magazine blog posting: West Nile virus

September 27, 2012 § 5 Comments

In addition to today’s GreenPocketProtector blog posting, Dave and I are also posting today over at Grit magazine.  Check in over there for some pictures of our little farm as we discuss West Nile Virus.

Week in review: 5/4/2012

May 4, 2012 § 7 Comments

Dave watched the entire Jackie Chan movie collection.  In Chinese…and he doesn’t even understand Chinese, but I guess language differences don’t matter when the entire movie consists of people yelling “Hee-Yah!,” and chopping each other up with their hands.

I participated in a conference this week on Galveston island.  I was the Master (Mistress?) of Ceremonies, which was actually kind of fun.  The conference was at a hotel on the beach.  Every time I go to Galveston, I think that I need to visit there more often.  This picture was taken at sunrise yesterday morning.

Dave and I had twice-baked potatoes one night with our dinner.  They are so easy to make, you don’t need a recipe.  Just bake the potatoes in the oven or microwave until tender.  Allow to cool.  Split them down the middle, and then scoop out the potato pulp.  Mash the pulp with a little sour cream, butter, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and some grated cheese.  Fill the potato shells with the mashed potato mixture.  Sprinkle with a little more grated cheese, and pop into the oven at 350-degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes until heated through, and the cheese is bubbly.

My business partner and I taught the first weekly session for a social media workshop series we are giving.  Social media is so big that there are now workshops for people who want to learn all about it.  So, it appears that I do really have some marketable skills (thank goodness, because it turns out that being able to do differential equations in your head is actually NOT a marketable skill, in spite of what your college math professor tells you).

We tried out a new recipe for some buttery-cheesy biscuits.  They had so much butter, Dave and I both decided to never cook them again.  Oh, we liked them just fine, but after eating them we each felt like we could have had a heart attack at any second.

We had a house guest who came and went so quickly, it was if he never visited at all.  He barely had time to stop to admire the poop tardis in our front yard.  He and Dave and another longtime high school pal spent eight hours the evening of his arrival looking at high school yearbooks and reminiscing about the old days.  It’s nice to know that high school boys are just as wildly inappropriate as high school girls…not that I was crazy or anything (evidently Dave was, though).

I gave in and read “Hunger Games,” and then wondered why it is such a big deal.

We had a windy night and the compost ball blew into the pasture, exactly as Dave predicted.  I had to go rescue it and then roll it back across the field, IN MY PAJAMAS, at 6:50am one morning this week, and it was full of stinky compost, which made me all smelly.  I’d say it was embarassing, but then Dave would say “I told you that ridiculous compost thing was a stupid idea,” so I’ll just say that the compost effort is still working FINE here. And no, Dave doesn’t know that I had to go rescue the ball from the cow pasture, so I’d appreciate it if you’d not mention it.

Living green, blogging, and sustainable fishing

April 6, 2012 § 11 Comments

I had lunch this week with a fellow blogger, who informed me that he increases his readership by intentionally writing sensationalist comments on controversial subjects.  This man is in his 80’s, is a respected member of my nation’s high tech community, and is also a highly regarded college professor and international author.  He and I were guests at an event downtown for millionaire investors of the institution where my company banks (my fellow blogger is not rich, and neither am I, but as representatives of high technology, we get invited to things like this, probably because we represent the sort of investments that people with lots of money like to fund).

This blogger said that his most controversial blog postings are those about living sustainably, which he says “is a joke.”  He laughingly said that anyone who buys into such notions as clean energy, sustainable living, and the greenhouse effect is an ignorant, uneducated fool.  The man was obviously attempting to bait me, because he’d already said that sensationalistic baiting was one of his most favorite activities.

Dave and I consider ourselves fairly informed.  We’re educated (I actually lost track of how many college degrees I’ve earned, but if you believe it is relevant for me to sit down and figure it out, then I will), and we understand such notions as carbon footprint, CO2 emissions, solar energy, and sustainable living.  We also understand that there are trade-offs…for instance,  an organization may engage in activities that seem counter to the effort.  Formula 1 car racing for example, does actually contribute to economical energy systems for the automobile industry.

While my blogging colleague was mocking sustainable living, I was thinking of my husband Dave’s observations on sustainable fishing.  Among Dave’s many accomplishments, he’s a U.S. Coast Guard Licensed Master Captain, and has taken many a team out for fishing on the Gulf of Mexico.  Dave tells me that he won’t allow some fish to be brought onboard his vessel.  Red Drum and Black Drum for instance, require 20 years to reach maturity, and he says why not just turn the older fish back so they can breed, and settle for the younger whippersnappers, which are within fishing limits?  This picture below, by the way, is not of Dave or his boat…it’s me on a government vessel, where I spent some time doing a graduate research project.  The bonus of my assignment was learning how to catch dinner for the crew.  Fishing, I discovered, is not as easy as it looks.  To catch this fish, I had to wear a harness that attached me to the ship, and kept me from me pulled overboard.

Regardless of my fellow blogger’s sensationalist ideas on the subject, we humans are harvesting certain types of fish at rates faster than they can grow.  It makes sense to live sustainably, and to take no more than what we need.  When you have the choice, why not select sustainable fish that still taste great?  You’re not losing anything.   I’m not sure why living green has to be controversial and mystifying.  Doesn’t it make sense to take only what we need?  Why does living sustainably have to be controversial?  Why is it that being “green” has to be left wing, and when did left wing become evil?   For that matter, when did being “conservative” become the opposite of being green?  I’m an educated person, but I just don’t get it.  Maybe you can help explain it to me.

For your edification, here are the fish that are “green.”  These fish are sustainable, meaning they can be more easily replaced, and are therefore perfectly fine to eat.  Unless, of course, you happen to be one of these fish, in which case, you might want to consider becoming a herbivore:

Arctic Char (Farmed in Recirculating Systems);Barramundi (U.S. Farmed in Fully Recirculating Systems); Capelin (Iceland); Catfish (U.S. Farmed); Clams (Farmed); Clams, Softshell/Steamers (Wild-caught); Cobia (U.S. Farmed); Cod, Atlantic (Hook-and-line from Iceland and Northeast Arctic); Cod, Pacific (U.S. Bottom Longline, Jig and Trap); Crab, Dungeness (California, Oregon and Washington); Crab, Kona (Australia); Crab, Stone; Crawfish/Crayfish (U.S. Farmed); Croaker, Atlantic (U.S. Non-trawl); Giant Clam/Geoduck (Wild-caught); Haddock (Hook-and-line from U.S. Atlantic); Halibut, Pacific (U.S.); Lobster, California Spiny (California); Lobster, Caribbean Spiny (Florida); Lobster, Spiny (Baja California, Mexico); Mackerel, Atlantic (Canada); Mackerel, King (U.S. Atlantic and U.S. Gulf of Mexico); Mackerel, Spanish (U.S. Atlantic and U.S. Gulf of Mexico); Mahi Mahi (Troll/Pole from U.S. Atlantic); Mullet, Striped; Mussels (Farmed); Oysters (Farmed); Perch, Yellow (Lake Erie); Pollock, Atlantic (Gillnet and Purse Seine from Norway); Prawn, Freshwater (U.S. Farmed); Prawn, Spot (Canadian Pacific); Rockfish, Black (Hook-and-line from California, Oregon and Washington); Sablefish/Black Cod (Alaska and Canadian Pacific);Salmon (Drift Gillnet, Purse Seine and Troll, from Alaska); Salmon Roe (Drift Gillnet, Purse Seine and Troll, from Alaska); Salmon, Freshwater Coho (U.S. Farmed in Tank Systems);Sardines, Pacific (U.S.); Scad, Big-eye (Hawaii); Scad, Mackerel (Hawaii); Scallops (Farmed); Scallops, Sea (Diver-caught in Laguna Ojo de Liebre and Guerrero Negro, Baja California Sur, Mexico); Sea Urchin Roe (Canada); Seatrout, Spotted ( Wild-caught from Florida and Louisiana); Shrimp (U.S. Farmed in Fully Recirculating Systems or Inland Ponds); Shrimp, Pink (Oregon); Squid, Longfin (U.S. Atlantic); Striped Bass (U.S. Wild-caught); Striped Bass (U.S. Farmed or Wild-caught); Swordfish (Hawaii Harpoon, Handline); Swordfish (Harpoon & Handline-caught from Canada, the U.S., North Atlantic & East Pacific); Tilapia (U.S. Farmed); Trout, Rainbow/Steelhead (U.S. Farmed); Tuna, Albacore (Troll/Pole from the Canadian and U.S. Pacific); Tuna, Albacore (“White” Canned) (Troll/pole from the Canadian and U.S. Pacific); Tuna, Bigeye (Troll/Pole from the U.S. Atlantic); Tuna, Skipjack (Worldwide Troll, Pole-and-line); Tuna, Skipjack (“Light” Canned) (Troll/Pole); Tuna, Yellowfin (Troll/Pole from the Pacific and U.S. Atlantic); White Seabass (Hook-and-line from California); Whitefish, Lake (Lake Huron and Lake Superior); Whitefish, Lake (Trap-net from Lake Michigan); Wreckfish

How we post, and when

March 22, 2012 § 9 Comments

We thought you’d appreciate a little update on how we put together the blog, when we post, who does the writing, who figures out what to post, who takes the pictures, and what we decide to write about.

This blog started because Dave and I wanted a way to document our experiences living in the slightly rickety old farmhouse where Dave grew up (our friend Cheryl says we are being a little deceptive when we say rickety, indicating that it’s not as bad as we portray it, and she’s right; it probably isn’t).

We also wanted to write about eating (a favorite subject of ours) and living green (another favorite subject of ours)  So, we decided to start a blog.

When we started the blog, we had no idea we’d make so many blogging friends.  We’ve learned a lot from following those who follow us, and have incorporated many of our fellow bloggers’ suggestions and ideas into our everyday routine.  And the food!  Oh, the lovely recipes…I can’t tell you how many meals we have crafted as a direct result from reading your blogs.  But we don’t just follow food writers…we follow D.I.Y.’ers, writers, engineers, scientists, and a number of other experts who write about their passion.  We do most of our blog reading on the weekends, but there are a few that we do manage to read every day just because we can’t wait for the next installment.

Who does the writing?  I do most of it, but what I write is heavily influenced by Dave.  Although Dave has a log-in that I set up for him, he usually doesn’t write a thing.  However, he does like to suggest topics and take the occasional picture.  He is typically hands off until I write about him, and then he may take exception to my portrayal of him (or not).  I know I’d do the same with his portrayal of me, if the situation was reversed.  Sometimes one of our friends will ask him about a recent post where something that he said or did was featured (i.e. the Paleo Diet post, and anything about bacon).  Then he’ll claim that he had no part whatsoever in that posting.  Later, when the actual posting is read to him (usually at a dinner table, where friends have requested that he fill them in on actual details), he’ll say “Well, yes, that actually happened….yes, I did really say that.”  And so it goes.

The fact is, that Dave likes bacon.  He likes junky food.  He wants to live a healthy lifestyle, but sometimes the real world intervenes (i.e. Jack in the Box).  He was raised to be respectful, open, nonjudging, and kind.  So, his love of bacon in virtually everything should be overlooked.

Who takes the pictures?  Usually I take them.  You can always tell the ones that Dave takes because they are better.  Dave also has plenty of suggestions concerning what sorts of pictures to take.  Be sure to take a picture of what we’re having for dinner, he’ll say, and then later he’ll joke to our friends about how he had to wait TWENTY minutes for dinner because I was trying to capture the perfect picture of his plate.  Yes, I do take pictures of everything; but no, he has never had to wait more than a few minutes to eat because I was taking pictures of it.  I’m an engineer, and not a photographer.  Frankly, I’m a pretty bad photographer, if you really need to know.  If Dave has to wait a few minutes, it’s because I’m trying to figure out aperture, focal length, and the other mystifying crap that the camera thinks is important.  I honestly still don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to taking pictures…thank goodness for my friend Olga, who teaches the astronauts how to take pictures.  Without her occasional tutorial, I’d really be a mess.  Meanwhile, Dave, who also knows how to take pictures, is operating in the background, telling me when a picture looks bad, or if I did a good job.

When do we post?  That’s easy.  I write the skeletons for the posts on the weekend.  Almost everything that you read is actually written on Sunday.  We post every weekday morning, usually before 8am Central time (as soon as I can get a cup of coffee, and sit down at the desk to make the post).  We try to also post once during the weekend (usually Saturday morning or afternoon).  We always try to include a photo in every post, unless it’s just dialogue (Dave talking about bacon, for instance).

How do we decide what to write about?  There are many things that happen in our lives that we just don’t write about.  We’ve settled on writing about things that are related to living green.  At any given time, there are 10-15 posts in the works (our little essay about impatiens, for instance).  Then, during the week, we’ll select the 6-7 that we think are the farthest along, and we’ll post those for you to read.  There are some posts that have been in development for a long time (the story of Dave’s barn, for instance), because those take months to write, mostly because Dave is working to make sure that every detail is exactly documented for you.

So, that’s how it is around here.  For all of you bloggers out there who follow us, we wonder how you decide what to write about, and how you organize your time.  Do you have another job, or is blogging your primary job?  How do you juggle your time?

Congratulations Homies winners

March 12, 2012 § 4 Comments

Congratulations to this year’s Homies winners.  These were recently voted the best in their categories over at Apartment Therapy.

• Best Home Design Blog: Bower Power
• Best Family Blog: Rockstar Diaries
• Best DIY Blog: A Beautiful Mess
• Best Recipe Blog: Munchin with Munchkin
• Best Healthy Cooking Blog: The Clothes Make The Girl
• Best Food Photography on a Blog: Nom Nom Paleo

Seven random things and the Versatile Blogger Award

February 25, 2012 § 5 Comments

So, we’ve been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award.  Thanks!  We actually started this blog as a bit of an experiment, and are surprised that people are actually reading it.  Thank you, My Guilty Pleasure, for the nomination.  In the meantime, we get to nominate seven fellow bloggers for the award, while also sharing seven random things about ourselves.

In receiving this award, we have been asked to (same goes for those we are nominating) post the following in our blog,

Nominate 7 fellow bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award.

In the same post, add the Versatile Blogger Award

Thank the blogger who nominated me and link back to them in this post (see above)

Share 7 random things about ourselves

In the same post, include this set of rules

Inform each nominated blogger of their nomination by posting a comment on each of their blogs

Seven random things about Dave and Libby at Green Pocket Protector:

1.  When we’re not blogging, we’re real-life engineers.  Dave works for a space contractor designing space stuff, and over a year ago, I transitioned from doing R&D for a space contractor, to doing artificial intelligence stuff for a tech company I started with another now-former-space-worker.

2. Green Pocket Protector’s weekly date out is to go to breakfast at iHop.  Other than that, we don’t eat out much, mostly because we can cook pretty well ourselves.

3.  We make our own sushi (someday we’ll blog about it, and we’ll show you how to do it too).

4.  I like everything neat and tidy, and Dave likes everything out where he can see it.

5.  We live in a rickety old farmhouse that we bought from Dave’s parents’ estate.  We vowed to live with it for awhile, before we make any drastic changes.  We’re still in the waiting period, and it’s so difficult to wait.

6.  I play the conga drums.

7.  Dave’s a racecar driver in his “spare” time.  That barn behind our house?  It’s mostly full of car parts.

Here’s the part where we nominate seven other bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.

We’re nominating:

Bad Ass Baker Chick (she’s a chef who’s also a biker…wait til you read her interesting blog; by day, she bakes, and in her spare time, she’s a badass baker on a scooter)

Foodimentary (I have no idea where Foodimentary Guy gets his information, but Dave and I love reading his blog…Foodimentary knows more about the history of food than anyone we know, and he’s funny, too)

Domestic Diva, M.D. (anyone who can write about food, guitar-playing, and religion in the same post is tops for us…she’s funny, a little irreverent, and very engaging)

Wuppenif (still our most favorite blog…they reeled us in with their posts about the wild turkeys on their property, and continue to entertain us with their honest portrayal of living green in Ontario, Canada)

Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls (come on, what’s not to love?  The name of this blog alone makes you want to read it.  Anyway, they mostly write about food…primarily good food.  We like their occasionally sardonic restaurant reviews).

Creative Noshing (I think they’ve already been nominated, but who cares?  We love this blog anyway…lots of good food, and interesting stories accompanying)

We were going to nominate Eldon  for number 7 (really funny blogger), but it turns out that someone already nominated him.  However, we’re including him anyway, just because he writes funny stuff, and we know you’ll like him.

In your response, don’t forget to nominate 7 fellow bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award.  Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to them in this post.  Share 7 random things about yourself.  And, in the same post, include this set of rules.

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