Archive for July, 2009

Week 13 of Harmony Valley Farm‘s CSA (blog) contained the following:

  • Italian garlic,
  • Sweet Spanish onion,
  • Green Top carrots,
  • Sauté mix,
  • Arugula,
  • Romance Potatoes,
  • Yellow & Green beans,
  • Summer Squash & Zucchini,
  • Regular Cucumber,
  • Red mizuna,
  • Tomatoes,
  • Dill,
  • Green Bell Pepper

Check out this huge cauliflower!

We’ll be traveling and not get to enjoy our veggies very much, which is sad because there are some great ones. We’ll also miss next week’s.

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Week 12 of Harmony Valley Farm‘s CSA (blog) contained the following:

  • Sweet Spanish onions,
  • Green Top carrots,
  • Amaranth,
  • Cauliflower,
  • Broccoli,
  • Salad mix or sauté,
  • Potatoes,
  • Green/yellow beans,
  • Zucchini/squash,
  • Cucumbers,
  • Chioggia beets,
  • Fennel,
  • Basil

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I absolutely love my Palm Pre.  There is no doubt about that.  But as in every relationship (at least with a “toy” it is good to have some objective reality about its strengths and weaknesses.

Several of my criticisms come straight from my previous use of a Palm Centro and only one of them is a quasi-response to the dreaded i word.

So first – System Sounds are pretty annoying.  So far the only sound I’ve been able to change is my ringtone.  All the other notifications, except for an upcoming event, use the same monotone ding sound.  So I have no idea if it is a new text, a new e-mail, a new set of tweets, or if it is a battery-low warning.

Next and this is kind of a big one, is the lack of data while roaming.  I don’t actually roam a lot, but for the data parts of the phone to work, you must be using Sprint‘s cell signal.  We’ve found random dead zones in the Twin Cities, fortunately you can switch to wi-fi and continue on your way.  However, this is a major drawback if you need to use Google Maps in the middle of no where  Minnesota (which is actually quite a bit of the state).  I found the below coverage map.  So this is pretty annoying.

Updated: Thanks to a commenter I was given this tip on data roaming:

If you open the phone dialer app, and click on the Sprint button in upper left, choose Preferences. From there, Network allows you to enable voice and data roaming. By default, data roaming is turned off.

I miss having a video camera like on my Centro.  I think the quality of pictures is slightly better and really like having the flash.  But sometimes you just need a video camera to capture a funny scene and a still picture just won’t do it justice.  Along with this is the lack of zoom.  Granted the Centro only had a 1x zoom, but it was nice.  With the higher quality picture you can zoom in a little bit, but that takes a lot more work!

Arrow Keys made typing a lot easier.  It was much easier to use the arrow keys to navigate around the text.  It provided much more precision than my clumsy large fingers.  You do have some ability to use the shift and function key to navigate text sections, but it isn’t the same.

Updated: Another tip:

Here’s a good analog to arrow keys: Instead of just stabbing where you want to move the cursor, hold down the orange key and drag your finger left and right anywhere on the screen to emulate arrow keys.

Another fairly personal (I think), is the mail handling app is a little clunky.  The phone is designed and integrated for using Google programs including Gmail. I am a little anal about having my Gmail sidebar showing everything as read, yet with the way the app handles mail it often either doesn’t mark them as read or doesn’t archive them.  Which means if you spend a day or two, or even a few hours working through your inbox on the Pre, you then have a mess to clean up when you go back to your webmail.  I suppose if you were using Gmail through Outlook or something then it is fine, I don’t know.  And I do really like being able to access your e-mail without having to go through the browser.  It also doesn’t keep conversation together.  If you are familiar with Gmail, you know that it keeps all the conversations together in one “column” so that 5 replies to one e-mail can be read together, yet the mail app isn’t capable of doing that.

I almost forgot about the battery life, but it seems like everyone has already hit on this issue.  It seems to have gotten better with the new OS update.  It also depends on what apps you have running and what kind of back-end processing they are doing.  We’ve had some really odd experiences with battery life, like my wife’s phone has stayed on all weekend while we were roaming.  Roaming traditionally runs a battery out quickly, but this has happened twice now.  I have mine setup with Gchat, which is always on so mine runs down fairly quickly.  But I’ve noticed that there have been times where it isn’t dead or near dead at the end of the day.  I think this just means that my usage just ebbs and flows.

Finally, the lack of apps is really getting me down.  I enjoy the ones that I am using, but I wish there was more variety and just more.  It would be nice to see if someone  came up with a better mail app or a Google reader app.  Or some different games.  I personally am ready.

I’m sure there are more criticisms I could offer, but these stand out as the biggest.

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Week 11 of Harmony Valley Farm‘s CSA (blog) contained the following:

  • Fresh garlic
  • White cipollini or sweet Spanish onion
  • Green Savoy cabbage
  • Green Top Carrots
  • Gold beets
  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Green beans
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Summer squash
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumbers
  • Chard

This seems like it is our biggest box yet.  Fortunately, it is pretty much standard veggies that we’ve heard of before and pretty much know how to use.  Christy has been soliciting feedback on what to do with so many beets (we still haven’t used them from the last few weeks).  So any creative ideas are welcome!

Below is a stir-fry that was used with pretty much all CSA veggies.

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Last week I felt a little off one day, ran the next and felt great, then didn’t feel so well again.  On Friday I woke up with a pain in my neck and lower back (when I stretched).  I opted not to run and by the evening I was starting to feel achy and exhausted.

Saturday I woke up with a fever, achy, chills, and still with the 2 pains.  I convinced Christy to take me to Urgent Care and we arrived right before a big rush.  The doctor spent maybe 10 minutes with us – listening to my symptoms and quickly checking my body over.  She ordered a CBC to check my white blood count.  The lab tech had trouble drawing my blood because I was so cold, he managed to get enough to  test my blood.  We then met the doctor again and she said that things looked fine in my blood so I had some type of virus.  She indicated that she couldn’t test me for H1N1 aka Swine Flu.  She also said that she couldn’t prescribe the tamiflu to me anyway so there was no reason to test for it.  I was also missing 2 of the “indicating symptoms” of H1N1.

My symptoms don’t really match any specific virus that I can find online.  I don’t have enough for lyme disease or West Nile.  WebMD has lots of great diseases that I checked out over time, but none really matched my symptoms.

I mostly have a fever while I’m sleeping or napping.  Which is what I’m supposed to be doing.  My temps have ranged from 96.3 to 102.3 since Saturday.  Friday was the last time I slept through the night.  Every other I’ve been awoken by the fever.  When I haven’t had a fever I feel pretty good and life seems normal (except for the being cooped up at home part).  But once the fever hits I don’t feel so hot again.

Luckily, I’ve been able to eat full, regular meals without an stomach or intestinal distress.  That is the only upside of my being sick.

Over the last week I’ve had to miss work everyday, a board meeting for the YNPN in the Twin Cities, SALT (English tutoring), a race, 2 group runs, small group, and had to reschedule an appointment with a physical therapist for my running.  Not to mention that it has been an amazing week, weather wise.

I’m planning on going to a doctor today.  Hopefully they will be able to do something for me, besides just rest and drink lots of fluids.

I’ve been tweeting about my illness. Check out this link to see what I’ve said  #stupidvirus

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Week 10 of Harmony Valley Farm‘s CSA (blog) contained the following:

  • Fresh garlic
  • White cipollini onions
  • Red or Chioggia beets
  • Fennel
  • Carrots
  • Thai basil
  • Summer squash
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Baby bok choi
  • Salad Mix
  • Cauliflower

Sadly, we will be missing the barn dance on Saturday. Work gets in the way.

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I was amazed at how difficult it was to find a recipe for Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam that used both real strawberries and real rhubarb.  Most just called for adding a strawberry jello packet in with your fresh rhubarb. That is great for an “easy” recipe but I wanted to use our CSA fresh strawberries and rhubarb.

I finally found a recipe that looked like it would work.   It called for a 1/2 bottle of Pectin which seemed like an odd way to measure something.  What if the bottle I bought came in a different size than the one they used? My wonderful wife was already at the store so I called and asked her to get a bottle of pectin. After much searching she finally found a box that had 2 liquid pectin packets in it.  And she purchased some jars.

I ultimately used the directions that came with the box (found online here).  It turned out quite well, even though I had to fudge along as we don’t own a true canner and it said to use one and talked about processing jam, etc.

I used:

  • 4 cups prepared fruit (buy about 1 qt. fully ripe strawberries and 1 lb. fully ripe rhubarb)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6-1/2 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
  • 1 pouch CERTO Fruit Pectin
Bring boiling-water canner, half full with water, to simmer. Wash jars and screw bands in hot soapy water; rinse with warm water.That was the part I forgot. I had put the jars into the dishwasher on the “sterilize cylce” so everything was really hot. But later I was forced to quickly boil a lot of water in separate pots. Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan off the heat. Let stand in hot water until ready to use. Drain jars well before filling.

Measure 2-1/4 cups prepared strawberries into 6- or 8-qt. saucepot; set aside. Finely chop unpeeled rhubarb. Place in 2-qt. saucepan. Add 1/2 cup water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 2 min. or until rhubarb is soft. Measure exactly 1-3/4 cups prepared rhubarb into saucepot with strawberries; mix well.
Stem and crush strawberries thoroughly, one layer at a time. Measure 2-1/4 cups prepared strawberries into 6- or 8-qt. saucepot; set aside. Finely chop unpeeled rhubarb.

Place in 2-qt. saucepan. Add 1/2 cup water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 2 min. or until rhubarb is soft. Measure exactly 1-3/4 cups prepared rhubarb into saucepot with strawberries; mix well.
Stir sugar into fruit mixture in saucepot. Add butter to reduce foaming. I didn’t use any butter. Bring mixture to full rolling boil (boil that doesn’t stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in pectin. Return to full rolling boil and boil 1 min., stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon. I didn’t remove the foam, it was a really thin layer and seemed like I was going to waste a lot of jam.

Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly. Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches; add boiling water, if necessary. Cover; bring water to gentle boil. Process 10 min.  As I mentioned I had to quickly boil a lot of water in separate pots and then added them to our large kettle, which  works quite well as a canner.
Remove jars and place upright on towel to cool completely. After jars cool, check seals by pressing middles of lids with finger. (If lids spring back, lids are not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.)


I think it took longer than the 45 minutes that it suggested not including the 24 hour waiting period. Part of that was obviously because it was my first time making jam and also because I did it the hard way! It is quite delicious and we’ve almost eaten our first jar already!!

For those who might be interested:
Nutrition (per serving)
Calories 40
Total fat 0g
Saturated fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 0mg
Carbohydrate 11g
Dietary fiber 0g
Sugars 10g
Protein 0g
Vitamin A 0%DV
Vitamin C 2%DV
Calcium 0%DV
Iron 0%DV

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