Hey! I'm not sure if you remember me, but it's Karen. Let me tell you a bit about myself.
My name's Karen and I'm a blogger who does a lot of stuff. What does that involve? At the moment it involves a lot of slack jawed drooling. I've been locked to my desk for the past 2 weeks going through close to 2,000 of my posts deciding which ones to delete and which ones to keep and update. I've also spent a lot of time contemplating some of my life choices up to this point.
To put it plainly this is a nightmare and I hate every single second of it because it makes me antsy and bored at the same time which results in me wanting to scratch everyone's eyes out. I basically feel like I'm in jail without any of the cool stuff like having your meals prepared for you and learning how how to make a shiv out of hardened toilet paper.
So why the hell? Why the hell am I doing this exactly?
The reason I'm doing this is twofold. Because of Google and because of you. So mainly you're to blame and you should be the ones to buy me salve for the chapped corners of my mouth from all the boredom drooling.
A little bit about Google and how it works. You know when you search for something on Google? Say - a hamburger recipe? Well 99% of people will search for that on Google and never scroll beyond the very first page of Google suggestions. Because we figure the ones on the first page are the very best hamburger recipes. So as a creator of content, if you don't come up on the very first page in Google results you're doomed to a life of eating crickets and living under a dirty couch on someone's porch.
Google judges where it "ranks" you by how good your content is. How well written it is, if all of your photos have text built into them (alt text), if you use subheadings to make scrolling for information easy, and how well you cover every single aspect of the topic you're talking about. Google is looking for a certain type of structured post that has up to date, good information that's easy to read. I do that now. That is how I write my posts now. But 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 years ago? No. So I have to go through all those posts and make them friendlier for Google to say Hey! Look at that! That's a good post with updated information and pretty pictures! We like that!
And as far as you go, I have to do the same for you, the readers. I can't just throw a post out 6 years ago and forget about it because that's great information you're not learning about if you're new here. And if you aren't new here, I might have more information about that topic now. Or better pictures, or great tips that I didn't know about 6 years ago. Like garlic. I've been growing garlic since I was a teenager but in the past 6 years I've learned even more about it than when I first posted about growing garlic. So, tomorrow, I'm publishing my new how to grow garlic post. That's "just a for instance."
So my days now consist of waking up, getting a coffee and heading to my jail cell where I have a binder of every single post I've ever written, printed out in order from the most popular to the least popular. I have a cup full of highlighters that I use as I go through the binder from back to front. Blue is for delete, pink is for keep but remove it from Google's search, green is for redirect that post to a newer post with better information, orange is leave it as it is and yellow is update this post.
I'm just about ¾s of the way through the highlighting section of my nightmare. THEN it'll be getting down to the real work of rewriting the hundreds and hundreds of posts that I need to update. So that'll lead to more questions about my life choices.
STUFF I DID THIS WEEK
Other than work, I did do one super-cool thing the other week. I took a cooking class at Dundurn Castle, a historic home in Hamilton, Ontario where you GET TO COOK IN THE ORIGINAL KITCHEN of the home that was built in 1830. It was exactly like cooking in the kitchen of Downton Abbey (before they got electricity). We cooked soups from original recipes of the time using vegetables grown on the grounds of Dundurn Castle. And the most amazing part is none of the vegetables are varieties that would have been introduced to the world after that time. So all the varieties are obviously heirloom varieties of tomatoes, carrots, turnips and everything else.
We cooked on the original stove which was the size of a Buick and was fire fuelled. The kitchen is deep down in the basement (as they were in those days) but had the unheard of luxury of a WINDOW. A very small basement window, but still. That tiny window let in the only light in the room, the rest of it was lit with a couple of gas lanterns. That was it. You could hardly see anything it was so dark. 4 people chopped off fingertips in that class. It was unfortunate but necessary for the true historical experience. You understand.
THIS stack of dishes we used inspired me to go back to using my mixed antique dishes for Thanksgiving this year. LOOK how great it is.
I also harvested a WHACK of stuff from the garden like squash, dried beans, carrots and the last of the broccoli. I still have the regular potatoes, sweet potatoes, more tomatoes and the luffa sponges to pick.
I USED MY OWN TUTORIALS
My Herb Drying Rack - My onions finally fully cured on my drying rack - have you seen the drying rack I made? - so I got to take those off of the drying rack to make room for the 400 bean plants I need to dry before I can shuck them to get my dried beans.
Making an Onion Braid! I got to BRAID some of the onions to hang in my kitchen. That's one of those posts I found from AGES ago while I was going through my site that I completely forgot about. How to braid onions or garlic. If you're wanting to braid your own harvested onions click on the link over there to learn how to do it. If you can french braid you can do it. If you don't know how to french braid but can count to three you can do it. If you can't do either of those things you probably operate a phone or laptop either so I'm not worried about it.
I MADE A NEW SOUP
Broccoli & Butternut Squash Soup - I made this Half Baked Harvest recipe when I discovered I not only had every single ingredient on hand, but I had grown or made ALL OF THEM. Bay leaves, broccoli, squash (I used Delicata, my fave), DIY cayenne pepper, garlic, onions - EVERYTHING. I had it all. And best of all, this soup was MIND BLOWINGLY delicious. Like - make it right now good. NOW. The only thing I did differently (other than using a different type of squash) is I didn't have any puff pastry so I used my own homemade croutons, with some white cheddar cheese melted overtop of them.
Wish me luck, keep your eyes peeled for sporadic updated posts and hopefully another post next Sunday.
Have a good week!
Oh, I am probably in the same boat! Sitting at a screen is my absolute least favourite part of this blogging thing! I should take you out for lunch and we could commiserate...
LOL. If you have time to go OUT for lunch let alone just eat then you're way ahead of me. ~ karen!
Weirdly, the idea of color-coding all those entries is something I would love to do.
I said to myself just the other day, "Self - where the heck is Karen" I had to go back and figure out if you had said you were going to be off for a while or not and as i did not find a post about it, i figured i must have missed something. So glad you came back because i need to fix my tub faucets and can only hope to find a post from you about it. You are my encouragement.
When you get frustrated, remember that we love you and appreciate your blog. XO
I second this... :)
Thanks Debbie. :) That actually helps and is what motivates me. The ACTUAL real people reading the blog, because in the end that's who really will benefit from this. (well I will too, but I want it to be a better place for my readers). ~ karen!
I haven't read all the comments so I apologize if I'm repeating but I have a tiny pet peeve that may be correctable during this time of change... I always prefer if when I click on something you've highlighted, it goes to a second page as opposed to replacing what I'm currently reading. Do you know what I mean? Then I can simply delete the second page and go back to what I was originally reading without going "back", "back, "back" in my history... assuming I've gone on a little voyage... (I read you on Firefox on my MacBook Pro)
Hi Linda. Believe it or not, the correct way to do it is the way I am doing it. But ONLY if the page you're clicking to is one on my site. If I'm directing you to anything outside of my site, like someone else's blog or Amazon for instance, the browser should open a new tab. Those are the rules. I don't make 'em, I just follow them. :) ~ karen!
Hold down the control key and hit enter or left click on your mouse. It will open the page in a new tab. You can right-click on the link and a menu displays. Choose open in new tab.
Funny, since Amazon always seems to fill the first three pages of any search for me, I always assumed whoever paid Google the most got moved to the front; or that if placement had anything to do with content, the amount of hits controlled it. Seems like a lot of work for Google?
Thanks for the info. I guess it's something I need to know more about. Although I know it's inescapable, I do everything I can to fight the manipulation.
LOL. I know it seems like that! But the truth is Google is how people find me and my content. Or anyone else's for that matter. The first thing anyone does when they're looking for information is Google it, right? That's why Google is so important. Google isn't so much a manipulator as a fact finder. :) ~ karen!
Great to hear from you again. I don’t envy you your job as a blogger. No way I could do what you do —and you do it so well.
Back to work and don't forget to get up and stretch every once in awhile.
Oh, and eat too. That’s important.
Seems to me that Google does not work nearly as well as it did a couple of years ago. Too often, when trying to look up something these days it sends me to things I do not want and I totally believe that it takes bribes or payments, whatever you want to call it, for higher placement.
The wood fueled stoves: how do you know what the temperature is at in the oven? Any way to regulate it? Or is it just more wood, higher temp?
My great grandmother baked bread in an outdoor oven. I remember her saying that it was the right temperature when she put her arm into it and could only hold it there to the count of five. Then she would bake her bread.
This sounds like a nightmare. Similar to going through the hundreds (thousands?) of photographs I have on my laptop. I miss the days of getting film developed and acually having the prints in hand. Also, things are blooming her in the Arizona desert, so I would be happy to have my eyes scratched out, they itch soooo much.
LOL. I remember my eyes feeling like that when I used to wear contacts. At the end of the day when I took them out I'd scratch them until my eyes were a different shape. ~ karen!
I want that tunic apron thingy you're wearing at the castle. I'll bet it's linen.
It is. It's from Rough Linen. I have 3 in different colours! ~ karen
Marcia, it's a pinafore from Rough Linen -- one of the fine advertisers here on Karen's site. I loved it so much when I saw a picture of her in it several years ago, I got one for myself through the ad. I've since bought other things from Rough Linen, and it's all wonderful. Click on the ad over to the side of Karen's post here at Art of Doing Stuff and you can get one. It's my favorite apron and I wear mine all the time.
Now that I've taken care of that, Karen can continue with her project and not have to stop to explain this one little thing. So now I can tell my friends I'm a blog helper. Yay.
LOL. Thank you Grammy. :) ~ karen!
Karen, If anyone ever asks me why I read and save your posts, my answer will be, because she writes imaginative things such as ...sleeping under a dirty couch on someone's porch. Plus your content is informative too! You do a good job.
Thanks Linda! Here's hoping this update keeps me away from dirty couches. At least ones that aren't in my own living room. ~ karen!
Well there are too many comments for you to find mine, but in case you do... I saw a lady (at the Bay of Fundy) wearing a linen pinafore and she said when she gets on her hands and knees to do some actual work the pinafore falls off her shoulders and it's annoying. If I get a Rough Linen pinafore, will it fall off or how do I prevent that?
Sorry you are in purgatory, but as soon as you get out, will I be able to find your instant pot chili recipe?
Hi Nancy! I've never had that happen with my Rough Linen pinafore. I'm wondering if hers doesn't fit her properly? Or maybe it just isn't made quite right. The rough linen one crosses at the back so it's virtually impossible for it to just fall off. :) ~ karen!
I am not sure how you can do this? I am overwhelmed with memories reading my credit card statement.
I was hoping for pictures of those fingertips but I guess with only one window for light...
We KNEW you couldn't stay away from us!