What’s for dinner?

August 9, 2012 § 9 Comments

Dave:  Wow, why are you sauteing chicken at seven am?

Libby:  I’m making something for dinner tonight.  For the crockpot.

Dave (suspiciously):  The crockpot?  What are you making exactly?

Libby:  Uhm…just a chicken dish that looked delicious.  You’ll love it.

Dave:  Why do you always say “you’ll love it,” when you are trying to feed me something new?  This is new, isn’t it?

Libby:  Not entirely new.  You’ve eaten chicken plenty of times.  This is going to be so good.  You’ll thank me for it later.

Dave:  It’s in the CROCKPOT.  Things in the crockpot are either really good or really bad…usually bad.

Libby:  This has nothing in it that you don’t love…chicken, garlic, oregano, tomatoes –

Dave:  Leave the tomatoes out of mine.  I’m not eating crockpot tomatoes.

Libby:  You love tomatoes.

Dave:  Not CROCKPOT tomatoes.  Are you crazy?

Libby:  It’s too late…I can’t change an entire recipe because you suddenly won’t eat tomatoes.

Dave:  If you can’t eat it all by yourself, then you’ll just have to give it to the dogs.  Or put it in the compost pile.

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Orchids and other flowers

April 14, 2012 § 6 Comments

It’s spring here in Texas, and the fields surrounding our house are bursting with life.  Addie and I discovered this stump and tiny mushrooms in the field next to the duckpond.

Meanwhile, the Amarillis on the side porch decided to bloom.  This plant was given to me as a bulb 17 years ago as a Christmas present from one of my employees.  As it has grown, I’ve transplanted it several times, into larger and larger pots.  It blooms every year, usually with anywhere from 2 to 4 blooms.

Our kitchen windowsill is also bursting with flowers.  We have three orchid plants there that are all in bloom.  We keep the orchid plants on the porch during the year, and bring them indoors when they have buds.  Orchids will bloom for months.  They are very easy to care for…just a few ice cubes in each pot once a week, and that’s really all they need.

Fruit and vegetable snack tray

March 26, 2012 § 10 Comments

Sorry for today’s late posting…I was called for jury duty, and the change in my morning routine caused me to forget to post.   One nice thing about getting called to jury duty in my community is the fact that the courthouse is on the beach.  Who could complain about that?

Several of my office colleagues and I decided to whip up a celebratory feast last week.  Unlike many offices, we trend toward healthy and homemade options, although we haven’t entirely sworn off junk food.  In addition to some really delicious meatballs made by one of the office managers, another colleague made a very tasty dessert, and I brought a fruit and cheese tray.  There are about 80 of us sharing office quarters on our floor, and we all enjoyed the opportunity to take a break, and enjoy a meal together.

There’s really no recipe for making a fruit and cheese tray.  Use a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, 1-2 types of cheese, and some crackers or fresh bread.  I know you can buy platters already made at local grocery stores.  However, I prefer to put together my own.  Not only am I assured that the ingredients are their freshest, but I also can make sure that my ingredients are clean with no residues of chemicals or other undesirable elements I’d rather not consume.

Being green, racing cars, and flying Space Shuttles

March 14, 2012 § 6 Comments

Some of our readers have asked me and Dave how we can be “green” when one of us (Dave) is a racecar driver, and we both have been involved with the space program for cough-cough number of years (note how I cleverly avoided telling you how old we are with the casual coughing maneuver).  Yes, space vehicles and racecars use a lot of fuel.  And that spent fuel does contribute to pollution.

The fact is that both racing and space exploration bring about green innovation through their associated technological development.

Even though most of our posts are about food and living on a farm, Dave and I are both skilled engineers.  He works for an aerospace contractor, and I work at a technology start-up.  Before my current position, I spent many years working as a NASA contractor.  And before NASA, I worked in private industry, developing innovations for Formula 1 racecars.  So, I’ve seen a lot of technological development.

High technology enterprises, such as NASA, the racing industry, and technology start-ups like the one where I work now contribute billions of dollars per year towards research and development.  For the racing industry, that capital is focused on efficiency and performance.  Innovations that are developed for Formula 1 eventually make their way into private industry, resulting in improved safety systems and better miles per gallon for consumers.

People tell me all the time that NASA contributes little to the economy, but actually for every dollar it receives, the Agency returns $7 to the American consumer, in the form of innovations that enhance fuel economy (space vehicles need optimized fuel economy, too), improve vehicle safety systems, provide clean energy, enhance medical care, provide clean water for people across the world, and a myriad other innovations.   Oh, and by the way…NASA’s budget isn’t that big.  At 0.6% of the United States Federal budget, the Agency’s budget is a drop in the bucket as compared to that of other Federal agencies, AND it gives back more than it receives.

So yes, Dave and I do get a little prickly when we’re challenged about being green and working in an industry that appears to be not very green at all.  Dave and I have spent many years in our careers, developing innovations for the space program.  While we enjoy living on a little farm on the outskirts of NASA, we also enjoy crafting technologies that will help humans on this earth live a little healthier, greener, and economically.

Happy World Toilet Day

November 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

Hey, today’s World Toilet Day.  Do you know that 2.6 billion people in the world don’t have access to a toilet?  Their waste flows into waterways, contaminating drinking water, and contributing to disease.  I’ve lived in countries where people lacked proper sanitation, and as a result, feel very grateful for what I have.  Here at our farmhouse, we have three bathrooms for two people.  Three toilets feels positively luxurious, especially when you consider all of the people who lack access to just one toilet.

SOOooo sorry

November 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

So sorry for the long delay between posts…it has been very aggravating recently.  A tornado came through, and took away one of the walls of our house.  And then the insurance companies each said they would not pay.  Our homeowner’s insurance classified the tornado as windstorm, and said that they “do not cover windstorm events,” and then the windstorm insurance people said that it “wasn’t classified as a windstorm event,” and so therefore it is not covered.  Of course we contested.  Meanwhile, we are paying for the repairs out of pocket, while our insurance companies battle it out.  I wonder what people who don’t have money in savings do in situations like this?

Meanwhile, my business partner came down with the flu…normally the flu is a 3-4-day thing.  However, he ended up in emergency care, and has now been out of work for two weeks.  Evidently, he’s lucky to have survived.  Who knew the flu could be so terrible?

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