Tuesday, January 31, 2012

For my MAE 455 Design of Thermal Systems class, I am participating in a team project to develop a system that transfers heat from the waste energy of a John Deere diesel generator to a greenhouse in order to grow food in the winter in Point Baker, Alaska.  My team is focusing on capturing waste energy from the coolant and modifying a prefabricated greenhouse to be warmed in order to grow produce!  
Old-Timer Joe is back home with his family, who were so excited to see him!  Michael and I enjoyed our time with O.J., and we miss him terribly.  However, it's probably for the best as is.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

No word from anyone on O.J.  He seems to be enjoying himself here at Hacienda Middlewood.  Pika and Nacho think he's okay - not good or bad but okay.  Nacho was a real help yesterday while I was trying to make up the bed - putting new sheets on the bed and cooking are his favorite household chores.  

Afternoon nap while we were out of work last week due to the power outage...

Note:  I added Labels to this post and blogger republished it as a new post; not sure what's up with that. 

Garden update:

-  We took a class on separating perennials at the Huntsville Botanical Garden this spring and were sent home with a bunch of perennials we planted in our yard - including these awesome irises that have just started blooming!  I'm not normally one to get excited about irises, but I think these are pretty awesome.

-  I think we're close to getting all our vegetables planted.  So far, we've put swiss chard, radishes, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, basil, parsley, cilantro, tomatillo, hot peppers, okra, eggplant, sage, dill, thyme, rosemary, oregano, and a bunch of different types of tomatoes in the ground.  All we have left is squash and melons - I think.  The swiss chard is going wild!  And even the broccoli is hanging in there - what a trooper!

Note:  I added Labels to this post and blogger republished it as a new post; not sure what's up with that.

View from work today:  the port that accommodates the vacuum pump and instrumentation for the Liquid Level And Mass-gauging Apparatus (LLAMA).  I'm not going to lie, even if I thought the technical aspects of my job were boring, it would still be really fun just to look at all the hardware!

Note:  I added Labels to this post and blogger republished it as a new post; not sure what's up with that.

Michael is kayaking on South Sauty today.  I was planning on going but woke up feeling crummy with a killer headache.  It's probably for the best - I really needed to get some work done, namely on a final report that was due on Friday.  We just recently purchased a new desk on Craigslist, and I'm totally loving working at it.  We have placed it in our "wood panel bedroom" so it faces the window where I can look out and see our front yard.  I love it.  Way better than my windowless cubicle at work.

I installed Instagram on my phone yesterday, and the photo above is my first attempt.  

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Michael and I found this guy late last night walking down the middle of Whitesburg Dr., a busy street in southeast Huntsville.  He wasn't wearing a collar and isn't microchipped.  We've posted adds in The Huntsville Times and Craigslist, but I've got a bad feeling we're not going to hear from anyone.  We took him to the vet this morning to get him checked out and then over to Goin' To The Dogs and Cats Pet Supply for a nail clipping and thorough bath.  He's very sweet, but we really don't need a third dog.

We're calling him "Old-Timer Joe" for now.  Or OJ for short.

Last Thursday Lee McBride from Foodscapes came over for a garden coaching session with us.  The meeting was great and got us reinvigorated to make some progress!  We're working on finishing the rock bed on the south side of the garden - Michael is almost done with the front row of rocks.  I weeded and turned over several of the beds.  I also photographed the winter veggies we have left - swiss chard and cabbage.  The swiss chard is fabulous, and we've really enjoyed it.  We've yet to see on the cabbage.

Today is beautiful, and we're hoping to get outside and work some more!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Today was a big cooking day for us:  Roasted Carrot Soup and Alice Waters' Ratatouille.

We cooked pizza this weekend on the Big Green Egg my parents gave us and the pizza stone Michael's mom and stepdad gave us for Christmas!  It was fabulous.  The pictures above are our first attempt - handmade pizza dough, tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, red pepper, mushrooms, broccoli, onion, and goat cheese.

The image above is our second attempt - handmade pizza dough, tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, red pepper, mushrooms, olives, onion, and goat cheese.  On this round, Michael was able to get the Egg hotter than the first time (around 650 degF!), resulting in the crust being very crisp on the bottom and pleasantly crunchy on the edges.  It was the best pizza I've ever eaten.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Arches National Park on December 31, 2011.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A sampling of photos from Canyonlands National Park.

We just got back from a big trip:  4000 miles, 14 states, 13 days.  We drove through Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, and Wyoming on the way out to Utah.  We spent the first night in western Kansas with my Aunt Stephanie.  The next night was in Fort Collins at my cousin Katie's house with her and my Aunt Georjean.  Katie came with us to Utah where we spent five and a half days in suburban Salt Lake City with Michael's family over Christmas.  After our visit in northern Utah, I dropped Katie off at the SLC airport so she could visit her boyfriend in Texas, and Michael, Pika, Nacho and I headed down to Moab.  We did some sightseeing and spent a night in Moab, and then drove through southern Utah and Colorado to Santa Fe where we stayed with my Uncle Jack and celebrated the new year.  On the way back to Alabama, we drove through eastern New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi.

The trip highlights for me are as follows:

(1)  Katie's safe return from Afghanistan on December 20 and getting to spend six days with her.

(2)  Skiing at Alta and hiking in Millcreek Canyon with Michael, Katie, and Michaels' dad (and of course Pika and Nacho!).

(3)  Seeing southern Utah for the first time and touring through Canyonlands and Arches National Parks.

(4)  Green chile in Santa Fe on New Year's Eve.