Jan. 24th, 2016

commodorified: a cartoon of a woman holding a duster and saying in a sad and tired way "clean *all* the things?" (clean all the things?)
One of the relatively few exceptions we make to Operation Ethical Meat is large hams after major holidays, when they're massively discounted.

We bring them home, dice them, and put them in freezer bags of roughly 1lb each - the next one will go in 1/2 lb bags, as we're trying to reduce our meat consumption - for use as wanted. They mostly end up in pots of beans, or else cooked with greens, though they're also good for omlettes and hashes and savoury bread puddings and macaroni and cheese.

When we can dice no more, we freeze the bone with a good coating of meat on it, for soup.

Last night I put the bone in a pot along with:
1C diced celery
1C diced carrot
2 diced onions
1 box of chicken broth
1 box of water
3 T herbs du provence
2T chopped garlic
Quite a lot of black pepper
3 C dried white beans - half navy beans and half canellini in this case, as we were low on both.

It's been in the oven on 200F ever since, and will make a good supper. I will probably tweak the flavour a bit at the end - I think it could use a bit of salt, which is not always the case with ham so I leave it until the end, and maybe some dried dill to brighten things up.

ETA: added salt, dill, marjoram and half a cabbage two hours before supper and had it over boiled potatoes. It was really good.

We would have had it last night but the schedule was disrupted by the co-op run to Arnprior (if you're between Arnprior and Ottawa and want to get amazingly tasty ethical meat and fancy veggies and other stuff from the co-op, ping me for details. There is no minimum order, and if you know me well enough to read my journal you're welcome to have us hold your order in our freezer until you can come by, since we do the Ottawa delivery.

And also by Dreadful having an ... adverse reaction ... to the antibiotic he was on. All over one of the heirloom (1940s?) Hudson's Bay blankets we got for Christmas from [personal profile] random's parents.

He's been to the vet and he's fine, eating like a horse (or trying to, poor beast is on a diet) and with excellent blood sugar numbers and all. But my afternoon and early evening were hijacked by the need to deal with the devastation wreaked on the central, cream-coloured(!), section of said blanket.

"And the only reason I'm singin' you this song today is because you may know someone in a similar situation. Or you may be in a similar situation, and if you're in a situation like that ..." then here is how to clean a wool blanket that has picked up some odd stains over the years and is presently covered in, oh, let's call it mud, shall we?

You will need:

A bathtub or laundry tub
Laundry detergent
Oxygen bleach - we use oxiclean for babes, as it's unscented.
A toothbrush you can discard or a nailbrush you can clean thoroughly, after.
A spin-dryer, or access to a washing machine.
A small plastic bowl or similar.
A fairly strong light you can shine on your work.

Optional but beneficial:
Lanolin
Blueing

Step one:

Have a restorative cup of tea and refer to the cat as "mittens" in an ominous tone, repeatedly. Consider whether there's enough of him for a hat.

Step two:

Relent because he's
so cute
and doesn't feel well. Establish him on an old, comfy towel and give him enough catnip to keep him mostly there while his guts settle.

Step three:

Lay the blanket in the tub and cover it with cold, soapy water. Let it soak for 15 minutes, and then go over it, gently dislodging with your brush anything solid that hasn't floated off already.

Drain the tub, making sure to hold the blanket up as much as possible (wet wool blankets are heavy!) so the solids go down the drain.

Step four:

Lay the blanket back in the tub, folded like ribbon candy.

Pour some oxygen bleach into the bowl. Go over each section of the blanket with the brush, treating everything that looks stained or discoloured, dipping your brush frequently into the oxygen bleach, refolding the blanket as you finish each section so you expose the next strip. (This sounds more complicated than it is: all you really need is enough of a system that you don't miss a chunk). Do both sides. I did all of the cream sections plus anywhere on the stripes I saw staining. Don't scrub hard - rub just enough to get a foam going.

Step five:

Let the blanket sit while you have a cup of tea and a stretch. You deserve it, and it gives the oxygen bleach time to work.

Step six:

Cover the blanket with as much cold water as the tub will hold and swish the blanket around as much as your hands will stand. If you're working in a laundry tub, change the water once.

Step seven:

Drain the tub and put the blanket in the spin dryer/in the washer set to "spin only". Spinning removes terrifying amounts of soap and dirt along with the water, it's amazing.

Step seven-a:

(Optional step is optional:
In a small cup, combine:
2-3 T lanolin
6 drops of bluing (if your blanket is mostly cream/white)
About 1t of detergent or your nice scented bodywash or shampoo - something to act as a binding agent for the lanolin so it won't just solidify and float when you add it to the rinsewater.
You can add a few drops of rosemary oil or clary sage or pine oil, if you like your blankets to smell woodsy.
Fill the cup with boiling water to melt the lanolin and stir vigorously.
Add this to your rinsewater.

My theory was that I had the lanolin and bluing handy, and I only wash wool blankets once every few years, so I might as well give this one the full spa treatment while I was at it.)

Step eight: Cover the blanket with, again, as much cold water as the tub will hold, add the lanolin mix from seven-a when the tub is full and you can insure it gets mixed throughout the tub - avoid pouring it directly onto the blanket. The bluing is actually super-handy this way, as I could see the mixture spread out - and swish the blanket around for as long as your hands will tolerate the cold water. If you did the lanolin thing, let it soak for fifteen minutes or so once it's been well swished, to let more lanolin settle into the fabric.

Step nine: Drain the tub, spin the blanket again, and hang it over the shower rail (spinning gets out so much water it's even safe to hang wool without worrying about it getting dragged out of shape, it's amazing) or lay it flat to dry.

Step ten: assuming you can still lift your arms, give yourself a serious pat on the back, and then wash your tools.

It was seriously hard on my hands and shoulders, but I swear, this blanket hasn't looked this good since Diefenbaker was in office.
commodorified: a capital m, in fancy type, on a coloured background (Default)
You are still falling down badly in women's sizes, especially in pants and shorts. I can rarely buy bottoms of any kind at MEC and the exceptions are usually stretchy skirts or bike shorts or, as with this order, long underwear.

I also cannot buy a buttoned shirt which fits over my chest. I am a size 16-18 in most clothing: in yours, because you size small, I am probably a 20.

My female friends, including those smaller than me, have similar problems. Your women's clothing simply does not accommodate a wide range of body shapes and sizes. You don't even bring in Prana's larger sizes in the clothes of theirs that you carry.

It is especially noticeable that you do not even accommodate muscular women's bodies - the wide-shouldered or strong-legged are as out-of-luck as the large-busted or wide-hipped.

One would expect that to be your core demographic.

Meanwhile, a vast range of men can find comfortable, functional, stylish clothng at your store. My partner is 6'6 and strongly built and buys clothes from you easily.

I know you have experimented with a (slightly) broader range of women's sizes in the past. I also know you didn't really promote it - I found a pair of size 18 shorts, in _one_ style, on your racks by pure chance.

I suspect that the comparative failure of the experiment was used to justify not repeating it, when had we known the clothing was there we would have wanted and bought it.

As a co-operative which is not reliant on shareholder demands for a profit in every quarter MEC is in a position to take some chances, to do what's right instead of what's immediately expedient, to really promote heath and fitness and outdoor enjoyment as something that everybody can enjoy.

You are in a position to counteract the endless messages young women, and all women, get about the narrow range of 'acceptable' body types.

You are in a position to make members like me feel truly welcomed instead of grudgingly tolerated - so long as we don't expect too many nice things. You'll take my money for gear, if I'm okay with being sent elsewhere for clothing to wear while I use it. You could change that. You could get more of my business, easily, simply by treating me as if I genuinely mattered.

And you could do it - you could expand your sizes and rethink your fits - honestly, fairly easily, for the price of - for example - a moderate reduction in available colours of the clothing you sell. The warehouse and rack space can be made. The money can be found. The expertise can be located.

I have been making these suggestions to MEC for roughly a decade, and the response is always that you're "working on it." Please don't reply to this the same way.

Because you're not. You're not working on it at all. You don't value, or possibly don't even SEE, your female members unless we're slim and fall into a very narrow range of body types.

You're not Lululemon, or Patagonia, with their blatant aim at the young and slim and pretty client who they think will make a good "brand ambassador."

You're MEC. You're supposed to be better than that. You're supposed to belong to all of us. Are you ever going to act like that's true?
commodorified: A cartoon of a worried looking woman in a chef's hat (cooking for people who don't)
Our basement freezes solid, so.

One kitchen door, one over-the-door hanger, some cloth tote bags, and the root vegetables are now living in style.

Took about ten minutes to do, and an embarassingly long time to think of.

Walrus bag to rainbow bag, there's: potatoes, squash, cabbage, onions, carrots.

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