Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The Front Porch--Today

Still cluttered with plants and construction stuff.  I may never get the native Maine perennials in the ground but do need to get them in by Winter if they are to survive.  I have space in the vegetable raised beds.  That's where I overwintered the blue grass.  Perennial seeds need to be planted in the Fall, overwinter outdoors, grown along in the warm months, and then achieve adult status after the second winter.  Natives seem a bit trickier.  We'll see.

Most of the plants belong to my native seed starting partner.

Oh, and yes, the ceiling on the porch is painted blue.  I paint all my porch ceilings blue--like the sky.

Yesterday I stayed in as I didn't have any of the special glasses and didn't want to accidentally look up during the eclipse.  It seemed like a wonderful experience.  I hope I have the special glasses in 2024 when Maine is directly under the sun's path.

The painter is painting the front door.  He had a few days open so we are getting the door painted.  The electrician is coming tomorrow.  The plumber is............not.  So--the lights will be on but nothing else will be.  No faucets, toilet or shower.  Trite as it may sound... it's always the very last things that take forever to get done.

Tonight is Music Theater Night.  Newsies.  It's also the day the new class at Bowdoin College arrives with parents, packed cars and all their "stuff".  So parking in Town will be a "picnic".  And so will  trying to get into the grocery or a restaurant.

I spent yesterday finishing a small piece of patchwork.  A doll sized quilt.  With doll sized blocks. I finished hand quilting and then worked on the edging.  Got it finished.  I also cut a package of 5 inch squares into quarters.  At some point I will sew the quarters into four patches.  I may not have enough to make anything of any size.  I liked the packet because the top squares were all pink.  And they are. It's the rest of the squares that aren't pink.  The blue and green ones are okay but the lilac/purple ones--ick.  I know 30's quilts--which I adore have all the colors mixed together--but I am Virgo and I like to CONTROL.

I COULD cut them all and put them in a brown paper bag and randomly pick a little square out and sew it to another random square.  I COULD.  But I would end up searching in the bag for what I "really" want and that defeats the whole process.

I may go looking for solid pink.  I must have a bit in the stash somewhere.  Connie sent me a lovely piece of pink in the mail yesterday.  Thank you Connie!!!  Love the striped heart!!!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Green Tomatoes Make Excellent Pickles

Now---no matter what happens in the garden going forward--I can make green tomatoes into Bread and Butter Pickles.

Same recipe.  Same process.  Go forth canners--pickle those green tomatoes!!!!

And I learned something that European canners always knew.  The Bon Maman jelly jars--reseal.
I had the green tomatoes in one of those cheerful red checked lidded jars and wanted to taste test.  I turned the lid and "POP".  It had sealed.

Well, So NOT putting any more of these delightful jars in the re-cycle.  Jam is going in them. My jam.

Late Bloomers--Me & My Dahlias

I potted the dahlias up at the right time--but they are slow to set buds and those buds are slow to break open into flowers.  Some are over four feet tall.  I am hoping the flowers come soon.

We had MUCH NEEDED rain yesterday.  Slow and steady for about 20 out of 24 hours in the day. G is napping today instead of watering the garden and Riley is happy the rain has finally stopped.  He'll walk in the rain if he has to, but it's not on his top 10 list.

I picked some blackberries while it was raining (the rain would have spoiled them).  Soaked them a bit in case they had worms (berries so that), then let them sit out on paper towels to dry.  Now they are in the jam packed freezer.  I need to start using what's in the freezer.  Get it empty. I was going to eat the berries with yogurt but when I opened my yogurt....it had blue mold growing.

While I was out in the garden (in the rain) picking berries, I also was sprinkling the dirt around the stems of pepper plants and zucchini with fertilizer.  The rain would help it slowly soak into the roots.

The Tile Guy is here today trying to repair the black grout.  He got to a stopping spot and is now off to the job he is supposed to be doing this morning.  But he said he'd be back.

The Paint Guy got everything in the hall bath painted.  And then he worked on the baseboards in the hall that got put in (tardily) and then gave the entire wall it's finish coat of paint.  This all was done over two days as things need to dry in between.  So an hour or two and then away and then back for an hour and then next day the same.  We are now painted.  Complete.  So, I asked if he wanted to do the front door (he had told me the job he was working had abruptly ended).  G went into the basement for exterior paint.  Painter and I discussed paint.  We had three cans. Finally, eliminated one can.  Then decided where the remaining two colors would go.  I think that's why I needed a nap.

Also I was sad.  My dream of a black door ended with the paint choices.  My dream of a white house with black doors and shutters is also gone.  But......I have black and white inside the house.

My PBS station is completing week four of "Fund Raising".  So no programing other than people lecturing and then trying to sell books and tapes with infomercials. The same books and tapes year after year.  I stop watching PBS during this nonsense.

We have two different cable providers for PBS here in Maine.  Our newspaper lists both.  One is "fund raising" and the other is showing regular NEW PBS programing.  Programs we are missing out on. Our station will never air them or they air them between 2am and 6am with no notice or all episodes one after the other on one day (The Great Baking Show).  Endeavor will be on tonight.  The first episode of the new season.  How many weeks late???

Well, I am going to set the big canning kettle onto the stove and get it boiling.  And get my salted raw veg out of the hall fridge and get to rinsing and draining it.  Then make the brine. Wash the jars. Etc.
Try not to get the turmeric brine all over myself.

Try not to watch any more "news".  Whenever I think things couldn't get worse........  The silent crowd in Barcelona made me weep.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Blackberry Season & Rethinking Grandmotherhood

Just about soft enough to pick. But still have to really pull to get the berries to release.  And when I taste them--still a bit pucker-y.  Okay, I guess, if I made a crumble.  I'll wait a day or two.  So many this year and mostly all big berries.  I am marking the smaller branched ones--so G can cut them away.

I should buy a quart of plain yogurt and start making fruit, Bran Buds and yogurt lunch bowls.

G and I had a very late lunch at the Seadog, on the deck, overlooking the river and the green bridge.
A pure summer delight.  While we dined on lobster and mussels, a young woman was seated behind G and with her a very charming little girl.  I can't guess her age (3?) but she was talking, walking and had a full set of teeth.    She had also draw horizontal lines from ankles to above her knees with markers--perhaps wanting to be wearing striped tights?  A future artist or fashion designer?

The woman and child were discussing things and I overheard the little girl say "'well, I'll just buy it with my debit card".  The woman (who may have been the nanny), said, "well, you could try".

At this point....I realized I might just be glad I didn't have any grandchildren or at this point in my life--great grandchildren..  I would want them to be like my children were at that age.  And who is like that anymore?  They have computers and phones before they can walk.  I handed them toys.  Now parents hand them phones with games. I have overheard grandparents saying their baby grandchildren know more about technology than they do.  I expect it by 6 or 7 years.  Not 3.

I know, I know......... you don't have to say it.

I have been burn testing linens I got from Goodwill and other places--some from my mother in law years ago.  Lucky for all-- they burned (yellow) to fine, soft ash and not to hard chemical pebbles.  Onward to the L'VilleDyeDecks.

Another big haul of zucchini from the garden (why am I underwhelmed by it?).  So I went to buy red peppers (peppers in September and zucchini in July/August) so I could make another batch of Zucchini Bread and Butter Pickles.  They sit--sliced thin, salted and iced in the hall fridge.

Tile guy has been here everyday but Sunday. Grout and a few more tiles in the niches.  Yes, two niches.  One under the shower head (this niche will stay dry) and the other on the back wall.  It also will stay dry.  The one in the master is always full of water--it drains but all the bottles are wet--we should have insisted it go on the back wall.

The granite vanity top with sink attached arrives Wednesday (some time).  We have to wait a day or two before drilling for the faucet.  Or attaching pipes under the sink (drain).  Make sure adhesive is set up.  Then we order the mirror that goes behind the sink.  And the toilet goes in.  How many days left before August ends?  Will we make it?????  6.5 months......and counting.  Oh and our friend the electrician comes to hook up the in floor heat, the LED ceiling lights over toilet and tub (total of 8 switches in a standard hall bath) and then the painter.  And we still have no radiators.

I'm telling you.......if I was going to go nutcracker crazy....this would have been the  six months to do it. I guess I stay sane. (ish)

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Morning Chat With My Daughter Regarding Chickens

Little known things about my daughter.  That she would pick up a chicken.  That she would like chickens.  But she does and she did.  Our friend had to band the chicks and my daughter picked them up for the banding.  Friend's chicks are now laying eggs.

I sent over a bucket of things from my garden--things I would have put in my compost.  Chickens are picky eaters.  They didn't like the purslane but liked the arugula flowers.

Riley decided it was time to pick my one singular peach off the tree.  Today I ate it.  And it was delicious and very juicy.

I was watching Hinderlands on Netflix yesterday.  In between taking naps.  I just didn't feel well.  It could be "summer".  Not a big fan of the heat and humidity.  Usually its cold dark and winter on Hinderlands.  But two episodes seemed to be taking place in a season that was not quite winter.  Still awfully dark.  Takes place in Wales and most of the roads are one lane.  I am watching because it seems like they have a "new" season three.

Which reminds me that the final season of Longmire starts this Fall on Netflix.  September, I think.  I usually try and watch two full seasons before watching the new season.  Catching up.  Being reminded of the story lines.  But now that I have actually read the books......I am usually confused.  Story lines do not match or even go together.

I harvested three long burpless cucumbers.  Got to find something to do with them.  Besides eat them with salt.  Which isn't a bad thing to do with them.  I did make a jug of cucumber, lemon and mint water and then forgot to drink it.  Easier to drink it when I was working.

My ankles have been swollen all summer.  And this week==they aren't.  Trying to think what I maybe doing different. So far--not thinking of anything that is different.

Tile guy is here for third day in a row.  Tub surround is getting close to being finished but he's into the two "niches" for soap and shower bottles.  That will take some time.

G will be walking the neighbor's dog for five days.  The two Earth Boxes full of peppers plants are just starting to use the water from the bottom.  Now I have another thing to be mindful of watering.
Blackberries are almost sweet enough to pick.  And there are lots of them this year.  Last year--very few.  Blueberries are about finished.  I have enough to make one more blueberry sour cream sheet cake.  Very nice.  Especially a cold slice from the fridge.