Sunday, August 30, 2015

In Days So Deep In The Past


Jane Nicholas mirror.

I was once a crewel work stitcher.  And If I had know about things like the above mirror, I think I would have either been intimidated or inspired.  I hope----- inspired.

I especially love the upper left.  The white puff and the blackberries.  The insects are lovely as well.
I still have three little crewel works--simple vegetables--that have escaped the "tossing" that happens with each house move.  I don't know where they are--exactly--but I think they still exist.

I added this masterpiece to my picture file--to nudge me into trying, one more time.  To create beauty with threads of wool.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Autumn In The Air


The mums are here.  Well, at work.  In the parking lot.  Once the mums arrive--the air seems to change, getting cooler, drier and the days seem shorter.  "the end is near"

We have loads of Russian Sage on the perennial tables at the front of the store.  The tall, light blue
plant behind the sage.  Here in my Town it's actually referred to as the "Kentucky Fried Chicken Plant" because, at this time of year, the parking lot is dominated by the HUGE shrubs of Russian sage at the KFC.  

Customers see the huge billows of blue and WANT one.  They come to my work place and ask for the KFC plant.  Truth be told---I had to get in the car the first year this happened--drive to KFC, and then look at, smell and finally clip a branch.... for research purposes.  And to identify the plant.
Now, I know.  And I make sure to stock plenty at this time of year.

As is always the case, I cannot, for the life of me, grown Russian sage.  None of the five plants I have here at my house have ever gotten more that 6 inches tall and rarely, if ever, have they made any blue flowers.  We finally decided to move them to the highest, sunniest, driest spot on our property.  The circle of dirt that is the end of the driveway.  They are alive.  Which is all I can say about them.

I would LOVE to have waves of tall, blue branches.

The zucchini plants are slowing down.  The cucumbers made a big effort and are now--well, they don't seem to be doing much of anything, but a second planting is already tuning up.  No yellow squash but they also have a second planting waiting to get going.  The tomato plants look ragged and sad with a few tomatoes turning color each day.  I finish them off in the sunroom.  (meaning they turn red in the sunroom). Carrots from the first of many failed plantings are ready.  Beets are ready but I am waiting until I want to oven roast them.  Still too warm.

I harvested 12 plums from my very slow to grow plum tree.  First fruit in ALL the years we have owned it.  G moved it 2 years ago and it seems to being saying thank you.  The plums are small but very good.  And no worms hiding inside.  Not enough to re-create my grandmother's plum kuchen.
She grew plums just so she could make plum kuchen.  And it was so delicious.  As was her handmade apple strudel.   I have thought about an apple tree.  And using one of the crab apple trees  we already own as a pollinator.

Seven fat quarts of blueberries in the freezer.  I should make a blueberry cake for the gang at work. Or at least try a blueberry spinach smoothie.  Yuck.

Or a blueberry vanilla protein powder smoothie with some Greek yogurt.  Or just yogurt and blueberries.  Or, better yet---blueberry pancakes.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Time To Go Shopping


All the "back to school" advertising makes me want to go stock up on index cards, Sharpie pens and glue sticks BUT I got so much of that for Christmas, I don't need any.

I also feel the urge to go shopping for clothes at Goodwill.  Almost all of my clothing is bargain shopped.  I don't care to buy retail anymore.  Not that I "need" anything.  The closet is packed with 20 cent pants and tons of $2 shirts from the "retail job" a few years back.

It's just that "back to school" was such an exciting time when I was growing up.  New clothes, new shoes, fresh notebooks and pencils.  A Fresh Start.

Like all the mistakes and failures of the previous school year (and there were so many in my life) were erased and I could start over-- a do over--- fresh.  It never quite worked out that way.  I had a tendency to repeat the mistakes over and over.  Procrastination.  Oh, that was always my biggest problem.  I'll study tomorrow.  Start that paper next week.  Read that book--well, never.

Not so much anymore.  At work I tend to get right down to business and get the projects done. Here at home I tend to get the canning, cooking, cleaning, washing up, done.  The annual taxes?  Not so much.  That's when I procrastinate.  Books?  Love to read and hate to stop once I begin.

I have a site in the sidebar with a recipe for zucchini salad using a "spiralizer" something I have wanted but didn't buy.  During my low carb time period--the long zucchini noodles would have been a delight served with meatballs and sauce.  Long enough to twirl around the fork.  But I am not doing low carb.  In fact, I had better decide what I am doing as I have a weigh in at the doctor's office in 2 months.

The garden really "enjoyed" the past three days of rain and high humidity.  I have a pile of cucumbers to work with, more zucchini and fewer yellow squashes (after I make pickles--I actually have little need for zucchini and would prefer to have too many yellow squashes).  Contrary to food writers--the two are NOT the same.  Tomatoes are beginning to show some color (other than green) and the peppers are starting to turn red as well.  I have carrots and beets I can dig up.  All in all, the garden is showing signs of getting tired and ready to call it quits, though it still looks good and the basil plants are thriving and producing large leaves.  So Not the usual in my garden history.

I made a very large pot of ratatouille on Saturday.  This time oven roasting the yellow and green summer squashes and the cubed eggplant until all the watery juices had roasted away.  Then I sautéed an onion from my garden and garlic from my garden on top of the stove and then scooped the oven roasted veg into the pot and mixed in a can of Trader Joe's excellent marinara and a handful of fresh from the garden basil leaves.  It was super wonderful.  I think I will make it again and freeze it in portions to enjoy this winter with spaghetti or rice or beans.

I guess, in the summer, my diet is mostly vegetarian.  Which is a good thing.

Now, back to shopping.  I need an eggplant and a few limes.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Sun Came Out And It's Super Humid


I made another 7 pints of zucchini bread and butter pickles this morning and shredded three more zucchini to make fritters.  Then I sprayed Riley and myself with bug spray (his is 100% organic and mine isn't) and off we went for a walk.  I also took a bottle of water and riley drank most of it. We saw two dogs, a jogger, a family on bikes and a bazillion deer flies.

Now Riley is spread out in front of the A/C unit.  I am poised to create lunch for myself and then read.  My book is due on the 24th.  A deadline.

Last night as I went to bed (after watching the Bruce Willis movie 12 Monkeys), my last thought was--Sunday paper in the morning.  Only today isn't Sunday.  For some reason, being home alone (no husband) has made the ONE day I have had off so far, seem like two.

The picture above is of a cucumber.  Finally, I am getting a decent crop of cucumbers every two or three days.  I have eaten quite a few cucumber sandwiches, made a half gallon jar of refrigerator dills, and a large bowl of sliced cucumbers mixed with sour cream and dill and I have a large bag of cucumbers in the fridge waiting to be used up.

Same deal with the zucchini.  After worrying myself into a state (I can do that) thinking I wouldn't have enough zucchini to make pickles for the winter--I now have way too many and 20 pints of pickles in the closet.

Last summer I made a run to the grocery every few days to get eggplant and made the excess zucchini into ratatouille.  So, I am getting my shoes on and am off to buy an eggplant and some corn. I saw a lovely recipe for Mexican roasted corn nachos.  Got to have some!!!!

In reunion news:  G picked up (on purpose) another guy's name tag at the "ice breaker" last night and introduced himself as that guy until he finally had enough fun and told them who he really was.  They didn't believe him. He also said his wife was home taking care of "our little boy".  Now, that got them going.

G is now on the planned trolley ride (he didn't want to go) around downtown Cleveland with other classmates he met at breakfast who talked him into it.  He says, so far, it was a good decision.  My question: who do they think he is now? I bet there are people who actually attend reunions--falsely-- and have a ton of fun pretending--and it does seem to have been quite a lot of fun for G.  (and...to make it even odder--he was class president).  See, it's always best to choose happiness.