My Commonplace Blog

Bits of info in bytes


August 2016

Rinse, Repeat

Rice Cooker 2

Every eight days, the rice cooker goes to work. The dogs do love their rice, or at least I think that’s what the snarfing sound means.

The instruction booklet says rinse. Meh. Is it worth it? Hmmm. The word brick comes to mind when working with the cooked rice. But a brick of rice that’s easy to cut.

Just this once, I’ll rinse. Still a little sticky, which I like (the pups have expressed no preference), but crumbles nicely. Yes, that is nice.

Okay, I’ll rinse every time.


Tomato Fail Times Two

Tomato 2

This year’s tomato harvest is dismal. Pathetic even.

Last year the output was smaller than usual so we figured it was time for a new plan. Probably that blight thing, so give up on planting tomatoes in the garden for a year. Try pots on the deck. Fresh tomatoes just steps from the back door. Not so much. Mostly dry, hot summer punctuated by periods of deluge. Plants either too dry (even watering multiple times a day) or too wet.

What to do about spaghetti sauce!

Costco to the rescue!

Tomato 1

This has to be the solution, right?

Then The Splendid Table re-posts a story on canned tomatoes. Clearly, I’ve been dupped by a PR scam. But I’m certainly not going to throw away this jumbo can of tomatoes.

Maybe a little extra vodka in the Pasta alla Vecchia Bettola will cover any shortcomings. And maybe put some of that vodka in a glass rather than in the sauce. . .





Honey Wasp Don’t Care

Honey wasp

See anything interesting, anything at all? No? Good!

Here in the Land of the Frugal, mulch goes down when the price drops. And the end-of-season price on cedar mulch meant it was time to load up.

So the hubs starts spreading the stuff in the front garden when he feels a sharp pain on his nose. Just about center of this pic is where the honey wasp nest was and the mulching stopped. He got stung, and it wasn’t fun.

The event made him pretty wary because it took three weeks of asking about next steps before a can of wasp destroyer was purchased. Even then, you-know-who had her hand on the nozzle while he pointed where to aim.

Now all’s quiet on the eastern front (yard).




The Kludge Report – Honey Locust Don’t Care Part II

Well, the tab for ‘free’ firewood from the neighbor’s downed honey locustis about $150.

When the small electric log splitter, some hand tools, and a lot of elbow grease didn’t make any headway on turning those logs into firewood, the hubs headed to Northern Tool. (By the by, is there a name any more flannel than that? Probably not.)

Anyway, he came home with a hand-powered 10-ton splitter. And this is is what happened.

Honey locust 4

Lots of creaks and snaps. Flipped the log over, more creaks and snaps. No split.

Then we looked at the splitter. New personal best: Broke a piece of new equipment in under an hour. The creaks and snaps were the frame saying Hey you two idiots, STOP. Bent that puppy good. The wheels rolled no more.

At this point (or perhaps sooner. . .), the battle has become personal and the hubs heads to Lowe’s, comes home with some angle iron, and some nuts and bolts. Heads to the basement. Lots of loud sawing, banging, and whatnot. And this is what happened.

Honey locust 7

Behold the newly reinforced log splitter. Frame whacked back into shape, too.

honey locust 6

Again with the creaking and snapping. But at this point, what the hell. It works or it don’t; no point in babying the thing.

Honey locust 5

Houston, we have liftoff! Whew. A little ‘finessing’ required as the frame inhibits the split on larger logs.

But that’s a small price to pay.






Winter is Coming. . .

Rarely have I looked forward to fall with such unabashed desperation. Not a hot weather person, I.

So last week when we walked from the heat of the day into the concrete coolness of Costco and I saw the paperwhites, well, I almost hugged the display. Thank goodness I didn’t. How embarrassing would that be?

My second reaction was the headline for this post popping into my head, along with The Iceman Cometh, which would be the old entertainment reference used before Game of Thrones. Haven’t seen either, actually.

At least all this only happened in my head. Can you imagine me hugging bags of bulbs shouting random cold-weather references at the Costco entrance? Why did you say yes, you could imagine that?

Winter is coming

Figured it was time to load up on winter food, too. Hello Panko Chicken Nuggets, pass the hot sauce!

Then, just a couple of days later, came the long-range weather forecast from The Old Farmer’s Almanac (via Elle Decor. . . whatever). Thinking cool thoughts. . .

Please excuse me, I need to go in my closet and stare longingly at my sweaters. It’s still too hot and muggy to even touch them.



What Have You Been Up To?


This is one of Montana’s favorite places to take in the world. Naturally, she wouldn’t move with the camera pointed at her. I wanted to capture her in-and-out move: She wraps her front paws around a baluster and squeezes herself through. The move was so cute — if a bit hair-raising — when she was a kitten; now it’s just comical.

Been thinking I need to get back to the blog; this long, hot summer has been absolutely de-energizing and demotivating. Where is that damn pink bunny when you need it?

Time to ease back into the task. This pic seemed like the right thing for a light Monday post. Hope all has been well with you.





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