Friday, June 18, 2010

Matter of Trust

Grunting I chunter, growl, complain,
I stomp my way on down the lane.
Pound stupid, because penny smart
Makes big oil leak money.  I find a start
I make to show how I care,
It turns out the Gulf can use my hair.

Matter of Trust

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Spring in the High Desert - 2

Over a month ago I pondered the presence of spring.  Now, June 17, I have decided it is not coming.  Winter will be shading directly to summer it appears.  The only question is when.  Certainly not this week. 

The threat of freezing temperatures last night spurred me to cover the tender tater tops to spoil the prospect of wilted mush this morning.  I had already lost my tiny morning glory seedlings to the cold a couple days ago.  Don't know what I was thinking, not starting them in a more protected place.  The hardier starts in the garden, while surviving the frost, have definitely gone into no-grow mode.  Can't say I blame them, myself. 

The  rhubarb is glorious.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

2010 Wild Rye.mp4

Here's a video of the local (Bend, Oregon) band, Wild Rye on YouTube.  This debut appearance at the Tower Theatre contained some technical difficulties, but the band played along, even if partly unplugged for a chunk of the performance.  I attended the gig the following night when they were spot on, technically and musically.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hick French Cuisine

I was cruising through my recent acquisition of "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" when I came across a plethora of crepe recipes.  There are entree crepes and dessert crepes and and crepes for filling and for not filling...apparently never the 'twain shall meet.  I, being the hick cook, always used the same crepe recipe for all purposes and never thought twice about it.  How gauche! 

I thought it would be nice to do a family brunch for Memorial Day with crepes and assorted fruits and stuffings in a "build it yourself" crepe bar.  The fun with this approach comes from the different combinations that can be assembled and the various comments around the table of "Oooo, this combo is really good!  or  "Ew, don't mix these."

For the occasion, I settled on the crepe Suzette recipe rather than the yeast version because I wanted to make the batter the night before.  And with a nod to making a crepe for filling, I planned on adding the beaten egg whites to make a stronger pancake.  Well, the night before turned out to be about a quarter to eleven because we dawdled over dinner and a movie and so I can only guess that my cognitive powers were not at their sharpest. 

I started by following the blender instructions even though I was not using a blender and the instructions for not using a blender are quite a bit different.  I passed through that challenge with a reasonable batter, at least a batter that would fix certain problems as it sat overnight.  However, it was a slightly different matter when it came to the point of melted butter. 

I tend to keep my extra pounds of butter, no, fortunately for Irish dance, not on my hips, but in the freezer.  In this case I was working my way through a four pound batch of butter when I needed about 10 tablespoons for this recipe.  To my chagrin, I realized I would have to work with the frozen supply and stoically chipped apart a stick to make up my 10 tablespoons.  I then popped the bowl of frozen fat into the microwave to soften and melt.  Washing up a few things to tidy the kitchen before bed I heard the first pop in the microwave and turned to see there were four seconds left on the time.  My hands being wet I grabbed for a towel but, in the last second before the microwave shut off there was a loud thump and liquid butter erupted out of the bowl to coat the interior of the microwave.

I groaned, and I'm sure swore, and contemplated the mess.  The tired grump that I was wanted to leave it all for the morning, but I dutifully swabbed out the several tablespoons of melted butter dripping from the walls, ceiling and floor of the microwave.  Then I looked at what was left in the bowl and muttered under my breath as I didn't even bother to measure how much was there and dumped it in the batter, gave it a quick stir and shoved it in the fridge for the night.

It turns out it is too bad I didn't measure the butter because I don't think it's needed.  The crepes were very nice.  I doubled the recipe for the five of us and, barring the two first off the griddle that were shapeless masses, we finished them all and weren't really wanting any more when they were gone.  I might triple the recipe next time to have leftovers.

It also turned out that crepes not for filling are fine for filling because I realized I never added the egg whites later in the day.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Quality Water for Drinking - 2


About the same time, in 1996, Deschutes County embarked on a project entitled "Regional Problem Solving for Southern Deschutes County."  This project was funded by the state of Oregon to look at the problems in the region and work with the public to identify solutions that may fall outside the rulebook.  The job announcement came out a couple months after I started as a planner, but I hesitated to apply even though the job description read like it was tailor made for me because I was just beginning to learn the ropes and actually relished the idea of not being on soft money for a change.  I also wanted to learn more about the state land use system and the region in general.  So I kept on with my learning and working on the land use process. 

It turned out pretty well because the Regional Problem Solving Project (I'll call it RPS from here on out) convened some topic oriented working committees, one of which was water quality, and county planning staff were encouraged to participate.  I joined the water quality committee and started getting my feet wet, so to speak.

There was a huge amount of activity over the next few years, including a small memorandum type report produced by the Oregon DEQ that said their sampling and 2-dimensional modeling showed that the groundwater was becoming polluted from the long term use of septic systems.  At the time the region was not fully developed, which meant that there was actually a huge opportunity to change how much pollution was being loaded into the groundwater.  Not only were there opportunities to change sewage treatment practices, but there were opportunities to change development patterns in the region.