Gexx in Knoxville

This blog is about Gexx, in Knoxville

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Chickens!

Posted by Gexx on July 10, 2009

M thought I was done with the chicken idea after I saw his mom’s greenhouse extension on her shed. She made a frame out of lumber and then covered it with clear courrugated plastic. It’s pretty cool, and I think I want to do that, and my friend J (whose ancient black lab I am watching) is going to help me set up a beehive behind my shed (away from next-door 4 year olds) so the bees can help pollinate my fruit trees and make honey.

This is my thinking on honey and why i fits as the appropriate sweetner in my current PhoodPhilosophy:

Sucernut/WhiteSugar/BrownSugar/Molasses are all made from sugar cane which, in addition to whatever processing is done, must travel far to my foodshed.

Agave syrup must travel far to my foodshed.

Maple Syrup must travel far to my foodshed (normally) and requires a large amount of energy to process.

Sweeteners are right out!

Stevia seems to be a good idea, but I want to see where it goes. I think I will raise some next year, though.

But honey does not travel far. Local honey is actually good for you. Also, the bees that I care for will assist in my gardens and my fruit trees, and in any local gardens. I don’t consider beekeeping as animal exploitation.

So back to the chickens. M calls me to the porch with “the Rooster has chicks!” I don’t see the Rooster, but I hear him every morning (reminder: currently chickens are illegal in our area, and roosters will continue to be not allowed after the Knoxville Chicken bills get passed).

At that point, I start wondering how soon I can convert my shed into a chicken coop. M realizes the mistake he made!

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ToDo again

Posted by Gexx on July 2, 2009

Another pile of things to do before we leave tomorrow to join M’s family on Kentucky Lake for the 4th of July.

-finish telling break-in/insurance nightmare story
-get GexxCooksKnoxvilleStyle going
-take pix of garden
-research chickencoop plans
-install screen
-install hook/eye on shed
-install hook/eye on laundry room door
-make banner for Gexxcooksknoxville
-help H get WoW pet
-Ask neighbor to watch cats
-call Greg of Gregory’s Greenhouse
-finish installing door
-mow lawn
-weed garden
-pay IRS
-fridgepickles w RebeccaClaire‘s cukes
-finish leftover pasta
-pack for 4th (sunscreen, bugspray!!)
-read bee book
-compost/water garden
-water containers

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The next drama

Posted by Gexx on June 3, 2009

Saturday I had to take NewKitty, now named Jefe (pronounced heh-FAY – It’s short for Hefenweisen which is M’s fave beer and it’s Spanish for “chief”) to the vet as per Humane Society rules. We get there for our 9.30AM appointment and find that there has been a rash of Decon-eating (Decon, the rat poison) in the Knoxville pet community. One woman there was utterly taken aback that her 6 week kitten found it behind the curtain under the kitchen sink. And to think she also has a 6 month old. We’ll see how long those two last. Another was an old man with an old Beagle. The old mad had apparently set it outside, in the rat hole, “but I put a rock over it.” The vets all looked to be at the end of their stupid quota, but these animals all had emergency priority. The whole time, the vet kept telling each of them “Decon is PEANUT BUTTER FLAVORED! Of course the animals are ALL going after it!!!!” Finally, about 10.30, Jefe and I get seen. They were a little surprised at my suddenly getting a new kitty, but they weren’t *too* surprised and everyone says that he is gorgeous. We discover that he has earmites, so I get a twice daily eardrop medicine. We get up to date on all of our shots, and we go on our way at 11 as a happy, but frustrated, and a slightly miffed kitty (he had shots, earcleaning, nail trimming, and buttworm testing… he felt somewhat violated). I get home and find that M has packed up our overnight bag and my dress for the wedding we’re attending in Nashville. The wedding doesn’t start till 3.30, but I still needed to get my friend H in NKnox and we were meeting one of M’s friends in Nashville for lunch before the wedding.

We get to Nashville and see M’s friend for a bit, we go to the wedding, we finally find our way to the reception, we drive back, aftermidnight we drop off H, and just after 1 M and I walk into my house.

I find Jefe sitting on the couch, but I don’t see Orion. I figure it’s late and she must be sleeping. I’m surprised at how cool it is even though the house had been closed up all day. I grab Jefe and his meds, drop them in his ears, and then go into the kitchen. I notice the back door is open. I look a little longer. I realize that the door is broken, the deadbolt has been kicked out, and the chain is hanging. M comes up behind me.

“Call 911” I tell him. “We’ve been broken into.” I grab Jefe and run into the bedroom, looking for Orion and damage and who knows what. I don’t see Orion. I don’t see our computers. I do see a big open space on my dresser where my jewelry box once sat. M’s on the phone “They took the computers and my jewelry and I can’t find Orion!” I realized that she wasn’t there, that I may have lost both of the kitties in two weeks, and I feel like I’m going to cry but I’m so shocked and terrified that I don’t.

M tells me that the police are on their way. While waiting, we inspect the door and look to see if anything else was taken. Nothing was ransacked, no drawers were opened. The basement is still secure. My bike was sitting in the living room, as was my guitar, viola, and saxophone. None of my papers seen to have been taken. But Orion is missing and my thesis is on my computer! We step on the back stoop, calling for Orion. I could call her any name, but I was hoping that she would come to me because she heard my voice.

Soon an officer comes. He inspects the house, takes our statement, and shines his light in the backyard. I ask him to keep an eye out for a pudgy little gray cat who like cuddling. Then, I remember that my neighbors aren’t home. Infact, I’m watching their house for them. So I ask the officer to go over with me to see if they were broken into also. He does and we go in through the front door. We inspect all the windows, and the backdoor is still locked, so she’s ok.

I go back to my house with M and I call my mother to tell her this. She tells me to calm down, to put Jefe in another room, and to make myself a cup of tea. I tell her I will after I secure the back door, and I keep saying that I don’t know where Orion is. She finally tells me to give the phone to M, so I do. He talks to her a bit and then gets off. We put some food out for Orion, like my mother suggested. Then he says “your mom said to push the drier in front of the door to secure it for the night. They won’t come back now that the police have been here.” That sounds like a good idea so I go about taking the drier off of its hose. The clasp requires a Phillips head screwdriver, but I don’t want to go to the basement. So instead I take my poultry shears and cut through the aluminum ductwork. We start to muscle the drier in place when I hear a cat meow out the door. I throw open the door and see ORION! I grab her and hug her and tell her how much she scared me and pick out the brambles in her fur and tell her she needs to stay inside and put her in the closed off part of the house.

Then M and I finish shoving the drier in front of the door, get stuff for the next morning, and go to his place.

to be continued…

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My Cookware

Posted by Gexx on January 27, 2009

I have the most awesome cookware, let me tell you about it.

My grandmother passed away two summers ago (this is part of the story).  That fall my grandfather decided to move into a small assisted living community in Massachusetts.  This meant that he had to downsize… a whole bunch.  He had been living in Florida, but Massachusetts meant that he could be nearer to some family.  On the way up, he stopped by Knoxville.  He had boxes of things for me.  Great, just what I needed, more stuff.  It took a few weeks for me to go through all the boxes, and I never quite got back to the level of clean as I had before he brought boxes and boxes of dusty stuff to my house.

Going through it I ended up with random pieces of games, camp chairs, and such erratic shtuff.  Two sets of the shtuff were actually worth keeping.  And even if they weren't, there was no way I would be forgiven if they ended up in a goodwill bin, ebay, or the collectors markets.

One was my grandmother's wedding china, from her first marriage.  This is serious 1940s/1950s china.  You know, 12 place settings with platinum edging.  Needless to say, it got packed up in newsprint and put in big hard Tupperwares.  Because the next thing I need is *more* dishes that I can't put in the microwave.

The second is a full set of Guardian Service cast/hammered aluminium waterless cookware, her wedding pots which she has used for cooking since.  Everything: roasting pan, 4 quart, 3 quart, 2 quart, 1 quart, skillet.  It's great.  It has glass lids and I've accidentally broken one in the year that I've had them.  It's ok, though, because I have another lid of the same size. 

They are great to work with.  Because they're thick, the bottom doesn't get hot spots, and once the entire pot is hot, I can put the temperature on low and it will still keep bubbling.  Because they're aluminium, they're strong.

I wanted to see if there were any other sizes that I might not have, so I checked ebay.  Apparently these pots are *still* extremely popular even though they've been out of production since 1956.  They're all more the FIFTY YEARS OLD.  And still functional!

wow

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teh xmas lewts

Posted by Gexx on January 3, 2009

So, I made out like a bandit this Christmas.  I totally didn't expect any presents aside from the heaters that my mother paid to have installed in my house.  Instead, she took the xmas/birthday list and ran with it.

Additionally, Morgan gifted me not only with a trip to Garde Bien for my hair but also an adorable set of earrings from Bliss.  They're handmade green enameled cut copper, and there is a subtle sunburst design on them.

Apparently I made a mistake on my list, though.  When i stated I wanted an extrusion pasta maker, I wanted a pasta maker like this (which is NOT an extrusion pasta maker), not a crazy contraption like this.  Thankfully my mother exercised some good sense and decided to not get me the over complicated pasta maker.  I say that because she asked me if that was *really* what I wanted.

I also got an awesome chef's knife.  I'm waiting to use it until I have my house fully cleaned. Morgan and I went through and cleaned the kitchen/diningroom/livingroom in a big project yesterday evening… I kept getting discouraged by all the *stuff*.  So his job was to throw out all the random papers that the kittens have been playing with while I washed all dishes and cleared out all the dishes and food I'm passing on to my brother.  Then I moved all the dishes that my mother passed on to me (that I wanted to keep) into the kitchen and made them fit.  So now I have a full set of 1930-1950 ironstone plates complete with salt cellars and bone plates and a random set of crystal wine and apartiffe glasses.

So now the kitchen is ready for me to explore my new cookbook: Cook with Jamie.  I already made one recipe in it: a beet salad for my family.

Next on the agenda is setting up the container gardens.  I received a book on making, using, and gardening with self-watering containers; and another on organic gardening practices: such as creating soil mixes, making liquid manure, and pest control methods.

I am so very excited!

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Let there be electricity through a metal coil that causes just enough resistance to radiate heat!

Posted by Gexx on December 9, 2008

This is the second Kitten Story of the day, the first being of India’s daring trip to the kitten emergancy room. He is recovering from a slightly embarrassing issue, but will be home and feeling better soon. Yay!

Last Saturday, an electrician came to my house to give me some estimates, 1) fixing what was broken 2) going from a fuse box to a circuit breaker. Before he showed up, I replaced all my fuses to everything that was broken, even though they looked like they were fine. None of the heaters worked, still. The hot water heater, however, did. So I did laundry and I took showers. I took a shower on Friday, and didn’t use any hot water since. Then I took a shower today (monday) and I got just barely lukewarm water. I’m worried.

On Saturday my electrician came at 9AM to install my baseboard heaters. It seemed like an easy enough task, but the last time I did any electric work in my house (replacing the Kitchen Light Fixture and replacing the dimmer switch in the office with a simple on/off switch) I ended up with my laundry room light not working. So he came to replace 4 old, broken 8′ baseboard heaters with 4 new, efficient 4′ baseboard heaters and replace the bathroom light (Dave and I almost killed ourselves (possibly)) replacing it this summer), and figure out what was wrong with the laundry room light.

I was to provide my own materials, and I had 4 heaters and 4 thermostats. Except they weren’t the thermostats that went with the heaters. Stupid Home Depot. So the electrician went and got the stuff. I then realized I never bought the new fixtures, so I ran to Home Depot (returning the crap stuff in the process). Just after this run, however, he went out to look at my fusebox, or his truck, or something, and I followed him to look at the snow. When I went back inside, I must not have closed the door all the way, because after I went over to tell Morgan about the snow (he was reading in my bedroom) I went back to the living room and saw the door open… and Orion was outside. So I grab her and realize I hadn’t seen Neci in a while. I ask Morgan to look for her inside while I go outside to see if she’s wandering.

Neither of us can find her, and the electrician tells me that I bought the wrong type of light fixture (I needed a pull chain), so I go back to Home Depot to buy the correct fixture (closest place to mine, even thought they screw up), delegating the entire cat hunt to Morgan. While driving I call my neighbor, knowing that if I don’t the next day we’ll have a conversation that consists of “Yesterday I saw a cat that looks just like Neci!” I’m starting to freak out, feeling like a horrible, irresponsible pet owner. When I adopted Neci I needed to fill out pages of references claiming that I had never lost a pet to neglect and could give the proper supervision and that she would ALWAYS be inside!

Then I start thinking about how Orion will feel. She has barely known any time alone since I adopted Neci. How will she handle it. And it’s not like I can just substitute it with another cat, we’ll both know it’s not right, and I failed Orion. I’m ready to cry and am getting pissed off at my inability to care for another being when Morgan calls and says that he found Neci passed out under my bed.

The BITCH!

So now everything is ok…. except for my sudden lack of hot water. We’ll work on that. The hot water heater was warm…

::sigh::

Posted in house, kittens | 2 Comments »

New Year Resolutions, sorta

Posted by Gexx on December 3, 2008

I don’t really *do* New Year Resolutions. It really makes no sense to me to suddenly decide that you need to change something and actually expect to break all your old, bad habits in one day that culminates the end of the stressful holiday season. Heck, the day after New Years is the national day of recuperation!

But, I do realize that I need to change a few things, and the next month will have plenty of new starts: new semester, new reign administration, new heating system.

So – I am going to propose a few changes to my current way of life. This is not seperate from the 101 in 1001 plan. In fact, it is most likely going to augment it. But I realize that I both need and want a few changes.

I’ve decided to break it into two parts: things I will continue through the year and things I want to get done over winter break.

So within the next month, I will set up the infrastructure for a year of:

  1. Keeping my house as neat/clean as I did from April 2007 – Sept 2007.
  2. Consuming consciously. This entails purchasing from local vendors and responsible companies. This includes food, toiletries, alcohol, cleaning supplies, and gifts.
  3. Successfully gardening at least two food objects (ie: tomatoes and eggplants) and 3 spices/herbs.
  4. Keep my bills organized.
  5. Run http://gexxcooksknoxville.wordpress.com/ .

Over break I will:

  1. Enroll in auto-pay for my mortgage
  2. Figure out what is going on with my ATT bill
  3. Clean my desk
  4. Install my kitchen cabinet doors
  5. Clean out my kitchen supplies
  6. Install my coathooks
  7. Play with my kittens
  8. And generally simplify my possessions
  9. Create my mother’s website
  10. Figure out my financial aid situation for the following year
  11. Mount the headlight on my bicycle
  12. Organize the basement for easy bicycle access
  13. Get Orion and Neci their yearly shots
  14. Spay Orion
  15. Cuddle the kittens
  16. and at the end…. update my 101 in 1001 blog!

Plan plan plan…. Now to just DO!

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Yearly Xmas List (aka – consumer whore checklist)

Posted by Gexx on November 22, 2008

In no particular order, here is what I’m hoping Santa brings… and the stipulation is nothing from WalMart or Target

  • money (car payment, mortgage payment, regular moneys, association memberships, pay someone to fix my heaters)
  • magnetic poetry set (original, haiku, green, romance novel)
  • a nice 8-10 inch chef’s knife and sharpening stone
  • funky fingerless gloves
  • awesome legwarmers
  • brightly colored opaque tights that fit someone as tall as me
  • a skirt to wear the tights with
  • CSA subscription to Greenman Farms ($500)
  • my heaters to magically work (or new, efficient heaters)
  • a visit from the Spay/Neuter Fairy for Orion
  • microplane grater
  • extrusion pasta maker
  • Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks
  • Confident Pussy Tshirt, in pink
  • Papasan Chair
  • Container / Organic Gardening books

See – I’m relatively not materialistic.

Posted in house, i do have a life, kittens, overthinking | Leave a Comment »

Article: 5 Pieces of Advice for the New Paupers

Posted by Gexx on October 15, 2008

Full article here.

I’ve been worried about the economy’s myriad aspects.  I’m a student, a home owner, and my career aspects (cultural resources) are viewed by the public as far from necessary.  I’m not related to commodities (food or mineral production), or even to vice at any level (bartender, musician, exotic dancer).  Instead, I depend on the government having enough money to enforce proper resource management on development projects, which in turn depend on agencies having been alloted the money to actually carry out said projects.

Oy veh.

John Dolan’s article describes lessons he has learned in leaving grad school and entering the current economic reality.  And honestly, I forsee it as a viable possibility.  I’m only unable to get food stamps because my car is worth too much (according to this article I should sell it anyway).  The primary reason for buying a house was because it was much less then renting (and still is), but with renting when things break they get fixed.  I have the limited electrical knowledge, but lack the chutzpa to risk putting it into use as possibly frying myself or short circuiting my entire house, so I have two rooms without lights (the bathroom and the laundry room), and only two of my meager heaters work… sorta.  In the winter my house is primarily heated in sections with a transportable space heater and the oven.  Work is done in bed, with two cats cuddled under the covers against my thighs.

In fact, it is sympathetic to this exerpt from the article I’m drawing attention to:

“We had only an unheated boat, and that was not enough. We woke up to the thump of sea ice banging against the hull and realized that the old world was still very much in session. When we finally fled to stay with family, we stayed in our blankets up against their gas fireplace for weeks. You won’t even want food much after a while. You’ll want heat itself, not the chemical middleman. You are going to realize that cold is the most frightening thing in the world.”

Yeah.  Happy winter.

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i’m helpful!

Posted by Gexx on October 9, 2008

I tend to be the “helpful” friend.

No, not really, I’m just (surprised? impressed? amused?) by the two “help me”‘s I’ve been asked for today. Probably by the way the asker approached it. I like to think that I’m helpful in general, once when the sewer exploded up one friend’s second floor apartment bathtub, again when a friend’s husband left, still again at random other askings.

One: I dropped a friend off at the airport at 430AM.
how this happened:
friend: “I have a favor to ask you.”
me: “I’ll see what I can do, what’s up?”
f: “Ineedyoutodropmeoffattheairportat430thursdaymorningwednesdaynighttakeyourpick”
m: ::giggle:: “ok”

Two: Laundry for another friend (in a way)
how this happened:
friend: “question”
me: “answer”
friend: “did i wake you up?”
me: “no”
friend: “ok, that was the question, bye”
me: “really?”
f: “no, there’s a leak in my apartment so they’re taking out the subfloor and the water heater which means that i can’t take a shower or do laundry. and it happens that today i need to take a shower and i really should do laundry…”
me: “come on over”

ha. ok, to go do work now.

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