This one is sorta stream-of-consciousness, so let's see where we go, OK? Strap in..it might be a bumpy ride! (I'll put it behind cuts - 1 long entry a day is enough, yes?)
Re: Yogurt being too tart. Stephanie in AR commented that it might be too long of an incubation period. Hmmm... the receipes I've found have all said to incubate 6 to 8 hours. This batch, I did for 6. I noticed that it had started to gel, or set-up, or firm, at about....4 hours. Is it done when it sets up? How can you tell? It was *very* solid at 6 hours, so I pulled the jars out, capped them, and stuck 'em in the refrigerator (for at least 3 hours, per the receipe).
My maker doesn't have a timer, so I used my chrismess tree timer on it. :grin: I was worried that it might not be a working model - the top and sides never did heat up, but when I pulled the jars out, the bottoms were *hot*. I guess that's how it's supposed to work?
I had thought about using my crock pot for yogurt making, but...I use my crock pot for dinners pretty often. I can see times when I'd need the crock pot for both dinner AND yogurt (greek salad dressing, anyone? :grin:) so I figured I might as well bite the bullet and get a dedicated yogurt maker.
Horses: I finally broke down and bought a new riding helmet last night. My old one is...over 10 years old (I think you are supposed to replace them every 5 years?), and, while it's never been in a fall (you are supposed to replace them if they've ever saved your life - which makes sense), it....well, I live in the country. We have...mice. In the garage. Where my tack lives. Apparantly, riding helmets are like penthouse apartments to the rodent population.......as such, my helmet smells like a rat locker room. :ugh: I can't wear it - and I haven't been able to get rid of the stench. :shudder: You..really don't want to know what all I've tried - if I ever DID try to wear it, my hair would probably fall out and my scalp would probably glow radioactivly. :blech:
Now, my helmet was top-of-the-line when I bought it. Hey - I take my safety *very* seriously. Head injuries can be deadly - why would I put my life on the line by buying a cheap brain-bucket? My helmet was an olympian model - low-profile (which means it *fit*; no dreaded "mushroom head" syndrome here!), relatively light-weight, high-quality materials...and it was around $100. (Remember, this was over 10 years ago! A LOT of money then!).
I've been looking at helmets for a while - I have Finn (almost 4) who's ready to be backed, I have Magic (11), who's green broke but needs miles, and I have Heart (18 months, so too young right now) coming up. I looked at Tractor Supply (the ONLY game in town right now for riding helmets)...they carry Troxel. :ugh: Mushroom head syndrome! Besides that.....Troxel helmets come in 3 sizes (S,M,L) and come with pads that you can put in to "customize" the fit. :ugh: I...don't feel comfortable with that for *my* head. I can see it for my kids - they are growing, and I'd go broke trying to keep them in helmets (at $30/each for the "Sport" model, it's not bad.....and I wouldn't have to keep replacing the helmet every 6 months or so. Pads are cheap!) Me? My head hasn't changed sizes in years, and I've never been able to custom-fit a helmet to where *I'm* comfortable. If it works for *you*, great, but I know from experience that it just doesn't work for me. My old helmet model is no longer made......:sigh: I refuse to ride (well, except for Dusty - he's the only exception I'll make. See, he doesn't know HOW to buck - seriously. He's the only horse I've EVER been around that simply can NOT buck. Weird.) without a helmet....so I HAVE to get one soon.
eBay to the rescue. I found a BUNCH of sized helmets (I'm a 6 7/8...not the most popular size, it seems).....but the prices! I should have realized that inflation has hit the equestrian market as well...but $150 on *eBay* for a helmet? :shudder: I had to rethink this....so I did some research (I was searching for another low-profile olympian-style helmet. First mistake!) - I had no idea what all was out there on the Helmet Market (Hint: A LOT more than there was 10 years ago!). I found a decent helmet.....eBay priced at $25. :grin: It's an LAS helmet, both ASTM and SEI certified, and I only found 1 bad review on it (the instructions didn't come in Swedish or Finnish, so we must return them! Now! :snicker:) It retailed for $175 (Other LAS models go for...more....)....so I feel pretty good about it. We'll see if I still feel that way when it gets here. It's show-quality, so *if* I should start to show again (when Hell freezes over, but hey - it *could* happen) I'm all set - won't need to buy a helmet just for that! :grin: (And, no - I have NO clue why it's so cheap. I'm thinking it's an older model - the listing claims it's brand-new in the box, but none of the tack stores I'm familiar with carry that particular model. LAS helmets abound, but not this one.....I'm OK with that.)
I have a love/hate relationship with Craig's List. I hear of all these deals that on-line friends get on CL, and I get excited - a deck for $200!! A shed that can be converted to a chicken coop for $25!! Above-ground swimming pool for $50!! Then I go looking at our local CL.......:sigh:
I have gotten a few good deals there - our Tuff Shed was only $500 ($1500 retail). Cinder blocks for $20 (25 cinder blocks and an bunch of bricks)....but I guess I'm looking for stuff that "normal" people don't have. My yogurt maker? The cheapest I found on CL was $25 - and it was the only one listed in the past 3 months (And it retails new for $35)! The shed? The cheapest decent one listed in the past 6 months was ours! No riding helmets at all......I've been looking at horses (I *have* to sell Finn - I do NOT need 2 stallions, thank you very much, and he's too well-bred and -mannered for me to geld. I don't care if *you* geld him, but I can't - he'd make an awesome herd sire for someone else.) to get prices.....and the well-bred, reasonably priced horses (ie, above $250) aren't moving (I want at least $1K for Finn - he's worth more, but I gotta move him out). The ones that are moving are being *given* away - only I wouldn't have 'em, they've got conformational faults. Or they just don't look "right" (I can't explain it any other way.....but when the seller says "experienced (or advanced) rider" and the horse looks.....wrong, I *know* there's a problem there.). Sweet Geek wants a black and white paint mare......I've found a few, but the ones I'd go look at are WAY too pricey, the cheap ones...well, I'd be afraid to turn an inexperienced rider loose on them. :sigh:
And NO ONE in this area is selling stuff I want/need. Wood-burning stoves? Nope - or, if they are, I can get them cheaper NEW at Tractor Supply. Backhoe for the tractor? A few years ago, I could find them for under $1K...now? $5K or $6K. :boggle: Fencing supplies? Cheaper to get them new. It's kind of worrisome, really - a few years ago, you could get decent stuff cheap, but now? People are trying to make ends meet by selling off their stuff.
Got home last night to discover water in my garage. It wasn't flooded - really - but there was quite a bit of water. The softener was recharging, which is normal, but it's not supposed to run into the garage. Hmmm. I went outside, and there was water ALL OVER the front yard - I thought we had fixed that when we bought the stuff to connect the 2 discharge hoses to a garden hose. :scratches head:
Went back inside, and finally discovered the problem - somehow, the water filter's drain hose had come undone. The water softener was discharging the water into its drain hose, which was running outside - but instead of running into the garden hose (and thence into the backyard) it was going back up the filter's hose and into the garage. :sigh: I finally figured out how to reattach the hose to the filter (mom held the instructions) and stopped the leak.
We also discovered that the water filter had been bypassed, somehow. So...all this time, I thought we were drinking filtered water, but we weren't. :sigh: No telling how long *that's* been going on. Oh, well - I put it back in service, so we'll see....(Yes, I need both a softener and a filter. The water out here..sucks. Our water co-op sucks. I want a well so bad - if I have enough of my bonus left after taxes, I'll get one dug. I want OFF of the co-op....seriously, they suck.)
Been spinning away on the kilt-hose yarn. Got another bobbin-full spun last night during NOVA (this episode was on Fractals - TOTALLY fascinating! Mandelbrot's set is.....whoa, it's cool. I think I need to find me some books so I can do some independant study)..it's slow going, but I have hopes that I can start knitting on them *this* year. Maybe. :grin: I like the way the 3-ply looks and feels - it's...about a heavy sock-weight (not worsted, not DK, just on the heavier end of sock yarn), it's squishy, it's lovely.....I'm going to wash it before I start knitting (I usually don't - :shhhh:, don't tell the knitting police! :grin:) to see if it'll bloom. I think the cables will pop nicely - we'll see. Right now it looks like I'll need size 1 needles - I hope it blooms enough to go to 2s or even - dare I say it? - 3s.
I've also been working at the loom again - finally. I'd like to get this warp woven off - it's only been on there a little over a year, now! :grin: Holiday presents for the win......I just need to get back in the groove. Right now, though, my left wrist complains if I spend more than 10 minutes tossing a shuttle.....I'm trying different ways of tossing, to see if I can't fix that. :sigh: Wrist problems really suck. I don't like fly shuttles...but I may need to go to that if my wrist doesn't improve. (Fly shuttles are heavier, and use a special box to speed them across the warp. My boat shuttles (see this entry's avatar - that's a Bluster Bay shuttle there. Lovely!) are passed by hand - with a quick "flick" of the wrist. I like the feel of the wood in my hand, and I don't think I'd get that with a fly shuttle. :sigh: Plus the expense of modifying the loom and "upgrading" my shuttles....I'd rather not.)
Knitting: I have a hat on the needles (for Sweet Geek's aunt). It's.....halfway up the head. It's going quickly - size 9 needles, chunky acrylic-blend yarn (NO handspun - she can't/won't handwash, so she gets hand-knit only, not hand-spun hand-knit. She's cool with it, and I don't mind, so it's still win/win). Sweet Geek's cardigan is still stalled, as is his sock - if the size 9s hurt after 5 minutes, the size 8s (sweater) and 1s (sock) will *kill* me. :sigh: Anyone know how they're coming on wrist replacements? Let's not mention my fire socks (at the toe of #1), my Diamond Patch socks (the leg is complete on #2), or all the other sock projects scattered throughout my house, OK? It's too depressing......
I've just about quit knitting for other people - if I'm going to ruin my wrist, it might as well be for my immediate family (Sweet Geek's aunt is an exception...this year. Next year, it'll be woven goods for her, too! :grin:) I can accomplish a LOT more fabric in 10 minutes of weaving than I can in 10 minutes of knitting....hmmm. If I could get more folks into knitting (shut up, Mom! You don't count! :grin:), I could SPIN for prezzies.........I need to work on that.....:grin:
Wow...that was a fun ride. :grin: