Thursday, August 29, 2013

Friday's Post A Day Early

Here's the new peaked roof.  Isn't it wonderful?  All the trim work they did today has made it look like it has always been there.  The support posts will become columns someday.  G and I are very, very pleased with the result.

These are pictures of the tomatoes I started from seed.  So much stronger than the ones I purchased from work.  I think from now on I will be starting my own tomato plants.  These went in a little later than I like.  And are just now getting a bit of pink on the first one.  But the first one is always the slowest.  Look how BIG these things are (four inches across). I wasn't expecting them to be big tomatoes.  Cherokee Purples.  And loaded with fruit.  Four plants.

These are the Siberian Reds.  Disease resistant.  Supposed to bear fruit early in the Spring and late into the Fall.  We'll see.  Each of the four plants has this many tomatoes on the branches.  G and I spend lots of time cutting tee shirts into strips so we can tie these branches up.  You can see one of the sunken pots we use when watering.  I have been adding fertilizer and compost to the pots so the water plus fertilizer will go straight down to the roots.  The plants did very well with the black landscape cloth used as mulch.  Not much discoloration of the leaves (yellow with brown spots) caused when water splashes up on the leaves during watering or when it rains.

Another View Before They Added The Peaked Roof

Just so you know how OPEN my house is/was.

Today they are doing the finish work on the Peak.  The inside of the house is buttoned up.  No bugs.  No light.  No Problems.  My day off.  I slept until 8 am. Good enough.

G has dug a hole and is planting one of the Orphan Hydrangeas that we have had growing bare rooted next to the garage in large plastic bins of water all summer.  I think it's about six by six.  I wonder how it will grow now that it's back in the ground?  We haven't found a space for the second one.  A smaller twin to this first to be planted shrub.  These were given to us in exchange for G digging them out of the owner's garden.  No longer wanted. People are giving away these Endless Summers because they no longer make any flowers. We think (at work) that the hybrid fails after 3 to 4 years.  They make plenty of leaves but fail to set buds.  My neighbor across the street is very close to giving us her three.  If we dig them out.  Been three years--no flowers.  Why have them taking up space????

We are (now) trying to plant things where we can see them from the house.  So we can enjoy them.  But I can't see this hydrangea without going outside and walking down the walk to the driveway.  I suppose I will be happy to see it as I drive  past it going to and fro from work.  I will certainly notice when the deer have eaten it.  For some strange and unfathomable reason the deer did not eat either of the orphan twins (while they waited in their tubs of water by the garage) but do eat the Mother's Day hydrangea planted not ten feet away.  Which hasn't made a flower in years and years.

I shredded up three of the five zucchini my garden has produced this summer and just shoved a Chocolate Zucchini Loaf into the oven.  When it comes out, in an hour, I will be making Zucchini Fudge Brownies.   I think there was another zucchini recipe I wanted to try.  Don't know what it was. I have chocolate smeared all over my shirt.  Where is my apron?  Why don't I have it on?

Last night, while watching Duck Dynasty,  I steamed some rice and reheated things we had in the fridge.  G and I each had a heaping plate.  Like Thanksgiving.  Eaten while perched on the couch, laughing at the Robertson's.  Rice, reheated fried yellow squash, roasted green beans and a few cold chicken tenders.   I asked G if he wanted to see how many days we could go, just eating chicken tenders from the grocery.   We both would like to have these folks living nearby.

My lunch, after work, was a container of cucumbers in sour cream and one chicken tender.  I am eating as much of my garden produce as I can eat.  I remember missing it terribly when it was gone last year.  I should go take a few pictures of the loaded Red Siberian Tomato Plants.  If they all come ripe--I will be making Tomato Pie.  It's cloudy--good picture taking light.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wednesday And So Much Has Happened

Here is the house with the entire wall open.  Riley was the first one to realize this was a new way to enter the house.  What a smart pup.  There is a header over the door space and new framing (to replace wood that rotted) around the windows.  Yes, the windows are gone.

And here we are with the new peaked entrance way.  So much nicer than the chimney, huh?  This will keep water from splashing up onto the door.  We are reusing the chimney foundation and topping it with a 4inch slab of granite.   The guys built this peaked roof--even made tiny custom rafters inside. J suggested a light in the peaked ceiling and another can light inside to wash the French door with light. Electrician is coming tomorrow.  Two ceiling fans as well.

I am so impressed with this guy's work and his ideas.  We have already talked about bathrooms and a new kitchen.  Hey, I plan to live here another ten or twenty years--I should LOVE my house.  Now the other items will have to wait a year or more as J is fully booked.  I can wait.

I have the renovation BUG.

In other news, I am being buried under the weight of all the cucumbers and green beans we are harvesting.  Still very few tomatoes and summer squash.  I have been treating the green beans to my favorite cooking method.  I snip the ends off, wash and dry well and then toss them with good olive oil and S/P and spread them on a sheet pan (with edges) and into a 425 oven for 20 minutes, toss, then another 35 minutes.  They are best when a bit crispy. The texture of the beans is dense and chewy.  No squeak.  I eat them cold, warm or hot.  With my fingers.  I find the Kentucky Pole Beans are the most delicious this way.  And it doesn't matter how big the beans get. I make a big pan everyday and eat them as soon as they are finished cooking.  Reminds me of butternut squash in the winter.  I bake it and eat it right off the sheet pan.  No one else ever gets any. Same recipe, olive oil S/P.  Roast, toss, roast till edges are brown.

Actually--- there isn't a vegetable that isn't wonderful cooked this way.  Potatoes.  Broccoli.  Asparagus.  Any winter squash.  Brussels Sprouts.  Cabbage (steak) slices.  Even tomatoes.

The cucumbers are being peeled, sliced thin (mandolin), salted and left to drain in a colander for an hour or more (I forget them).  Then I pat them dry and add sour cream, plain yogurt, 2t cider vinegar and a Splenda packet.  Mix, chill and eat.  I like them with cold fried chicken tenders.  But, then, I love cold fried chicken tenders with just about anything.  You want the sour cream/yogurt to be creamy and cover all the cucumber slices.  I add about a Tablespoon of dry dill to the mix.

There you have it.  Two of my favorite summertime recipes.  Easy and delicious.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Monday And No Workers

The day, today, started cold and wet.  Not like August. But the sun burned through around 10am.

I ate my cereal with soy milk, drank half my coffee while reading the paper.  Time to go to work so I poured the remainder of the coffee into my Thermos and added more.  Packed a ripe peach for lunch. Drove to work with the headlights on.  Opened the store, cashed the drawers and waited--- first customer at 9:30-- 2 hours after I arrived.  And they say the economy has rebounded.

On the way home at 2 pm, I stopped to buy more peaches.  Now they aren't on sale.  But I bought them anyway. So good, so juicy.  So Peachy.  And more local corn.  5 for a dollar.

And I bought a loaf of When Pigs Fly Cinnamon Raisin Bread.  WPF is just 20 minutes away and the loaf was baked today.  I ate three slices with lots and lots of butter.  So good.  You are very much aware of my deep devoted love of BREAD.  Something I have denied myself for 30 months. No more.

I decided taking long walks (at a brisk pace) and exercising was a better way of keeping the weight the same or lower.  I'm, going to be 67 in a few weeks.  I'm not looking for a new man.  I'm not planning a career in high fashion.  I just want to be healthy and live another 30 years.  So that's my plan.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Friday's Work On Saturday's Post

Here's the blue tarped spot where the skylight used to be.  And at the bottom of this picture you can see J holding up that side of the brick hearth while J2 pounds on it with a sledge hammer from outside.

The effects of Physics (I love to write that word because my son reads these posts)  caused the center of the hearth wall to fold in on it's self and then gently fall out of the hole without anyone having to do much but watch.  And we were left looking at this. The bricks had just fallen moments before. The most gorgeous view out into the yard and from the side I could look at the garden.  I can see why wealthy home owners have solid glass walls.   It is incredible.  Like being in the house and outside at the same time.

Today, both the skylight hole and the hearth hole are covered in blue tarps. No view. The guys will be back on Monday.

 G and I loaded 60% of the bricks into the dump truck (we're being helpful because I want the guys to be busy doing framing and not bricks on Monday).  It was hard to "toss" or "throw" the bricks and cement toward the back wall of the truck bed.  They were heavy.  I loaded and unloaded seven wheelbarrows full of bricks before giving up.  What's left is the rubble and that needs to go into the five gallon dry wall buckets.  And I can load them but not carry or lift them into the dump truck.  So, I stopped.

G saved a pile of the inside, solid bricks for projects.  Most are nice and clean.

The original mason used "interior" bricks on the outside chimney and fire cured "outdoor" bricks on the inside hearth.  Because they were prettier.  The chimney, hearth and rafters, and roof were doomed from the day this chimney/hearth was completed.  Architectural misadventure.  We were too stupid to realize what we were seeing in the bricks was not supposed to be happening. Live and learn.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Demolition

This was Saturday.  The skylight came out and I had a clear, open view of the trees outside.  Then the opening was covered in blue plastic (it got dark in the room, awfully dark) while the guys battled more ants and finally framed in the new rafters.

See how dark the room is now.  It's something I have to get used to after 20 plus years of almost constant light.  Today they are sledge hammering the chimney out to get to the side wood framing which is rotted. The way the  rotting bricks are falling--it'll be fast work. The contractor wants to get the reframing started today.  Tomorrow everyone is leaving for camp.  It's Maine.  It's August.

G keeps telling me the room will "lighten" up when the French doors are here instead of the bricks.

Good news.  They found a 3 way electrical cord up in the ceiling which isn't attached to anything.  We have a wall switch that doesn't turn anything on ---  the contractor says he can run it up to the peak and we can have a ceiling fan with a light up there.  Or a light that hangs over the dining room table.  All things that would make life happier.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Truth About Demolition

It is never a perfect experience.  Things get uncovered.  Discovered.  We didn't find bundles of hundred dollar bills in the spaces between rafters.  Just ants and ant trails.  Each discovery equals a discussion of what are we willing to lose or willing to pay to keep.

The joyful part is putting it all back together and having something so nice, you forget all the bad stuff. At least that is what I am saying to myself, over and over.

My skylight is gone. ( and I have a sinking feeling that when the bay window wall is opened--I will lose that skylight as well)  Most of the roof shingles are gone.  I am losing clapboard siding as I type.  Listening to power jacks, hammers etc. The roof is open to the sky right now.  I am looking out at tree tops.  And we haven't removed any of the chimney or the bay window yet.  And all the bead board inside will be taken down. In fact, the only thing between us and the outdoors is the bead board right now.

This means:  The roofer will need to come and redo the roof.   The back of the house will need to be repainted after they install new clapboard.  The new windows (which have not been ordered yet) will need to be installed.  The French door, framed and installed.  These are all things which are not even close to happening.

We are still just taking things apart.

I am hoping the open bead board ceiling allows us to get a ceiling fan installed over the dining room table. And a light fixture.  Two things we have always needed.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

No Construction Today But I Have Pictures

Here is a picture of the rafters, nicely and throughly chewed up by the Carpenter Ants.  They can certainly do a job when left unattended.  All those rafters have to be replaced.  The board on the top end, is the bottom of the skylight, sort of floating.

Here is the framing holding up the skylight on the inside of the house.  That white block at the top is the skylight.  That custom brick "wood stove" hearth is going to be demo'd along with the rest of the chimney tomorrow and a nice set of Anderson French Doors ($$$) is going to be framed into the space (actually five feet wide).  All those windows are being replaced.  The armoire is staying.  Riley's dog bed will be returned to his spot with a new window.

This room can be used as a "family" room but the high ceilings and the cold temps here in Maine make it a very chilling experience after the sun goes down.  When the sun is up--very cozy.  Which is why we moved the "family" part (TV) into a room with a lower ceiling--the original dining room and moved the dining into this room.

This brick hearth was once my very favorite part of our "new" house.  Once.  And not for long.

On the left side of the armoire is a bay window which is being removed and replaced with a double floor to ceiling window.  The entire southern wall will be "renewed".  And the roof shingles will need to be replaced.  Sigh.

The Good News--overnight no ants in the house.  I didn't have to check into a hotel.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Construction- End Of Day One

The "visible" ants are all dead. (good news) None came into the house. (better news) The rafters are riddled with ant trails where they ate the wood. (bad news)  From the outside eaves all the way up to the skylight. (worse news) We have no idea if there are more we can't see, but everyone is very, very happy that no ants traveled into the house. Yet.

A brace of many two by fours is holding up the skylight.  Right above G's chair at the dining room table.  (oddly worrisome)

No construction tomorrow but on Thursday they are here straight thru.

We finally have "steamy" August weather.  84.  Hot. Sunny.  These guys were up on the roof, in the hot sun, with huge ants.  Not fun.

So---- not so good, but not so bad.

Instant Updates On the Construction- Day One

Two hours in and they have found the biggest infestation of Carpenter Ants they have ever seen.  We used two cans of wasp spray and now I mixed up a sprayer full of Carpenter Ant poison.  They are removing a much wider area of beams and roof.  And the sky light may be compromised (by the ants).

Contractor Report: Smashed at least 100, possibly more, 1.5 inch Queens up there in the rafters.  Ants poured out of the insulation when they pulled it.  The Ants have made tunnels thru all the beams.  Like "swiss cheese".   He said it was like those horror movies where the bugs pile out like a river at top speed. OMG!!!!

I'm thankful that I found a second job for the holiday season.

I'm going to work.  They have gone to lunch leaving the spray to do it's work.  They said it was killing them fast (I mixed it strong and stinky).  We (all four of us) are surprised they aren't coming into the dining room through the beadboard ceiling, but it's early days.  We still might need to call an exterminator.

I have nothing good to say about whomever built the chimney and the cricket behind it.  Unfortunate Design as our insurance agent described it.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Indian Eggplant

The actual color of these is more a dark lavender.  They are small as you can see in relation to the size of the tomatoes.  I found an Indian recipe which has me stuffing the little eggplant with a peanut masala and baking them.  Good hot or cold.  I really should have asked the guy who gave me the little seedlings for a recipe.  His favorite way to eat them.  I have been picking them while small--"just right to fit into the hand" is the way he described the size.

I need unsalted, roasted peanuts and white sesame seeds for the recipe.  And cilantro.

There are books waiting at the library.  The Boy in the Suitcase for me.

At work, I got to do my favorite thing---write on the chalkboards.  Fall Classes and Sale Items.  I've been seeing liquid chalk on some blackboards (very "in" right now) at high end stores and restaurants.  Even at my local Hannaford.  I need to find out where to buy some for my own personal use.  I am using plain old fat sticks of sidewalk chalk at work.  The plywood boards aren't very smooth.  So the chalk has a nice texture as it grits it's way across the surface. Leaving a fine coating of chalk dust on me, the floor and anyone passing by. I think a good sanding between coats and at least one more coat of chalkboard paint and things would look even nicer.  But, this is what I have and I am very happy to have what I have.   The boards add such a nice look to the store.

Temps are in the 80's this week.  Sunshine.  Still not the steamy August we are used to here in Maine, but good enough.  G and I had ice cream BEFORE dinner today.  I think it was a good idea.  Strawberry for me.  Lunch was seeded crackers with peanut butter and yogurt with raspberries. Dinner was a bowl of cubed tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and olive oil and Balsamic vinegar and two handfuls of almonds eaten while reading blogs.  I may have a cup of coffee later.

Oh, the carpenter showed up and left his tool trailer parked in the driveway.  Ready to start tomorrow morning.  And the Septic Guys are coming tomorrow as well.  Here we go---a big adventure.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Refrigerator Pickles

The recipe is from Smith & Hawken Gardeners' Community Cookbook.  Published when S&H was still in business and hadn't been sold off in parts to places like Target. And when they sold cotton Japanese Farmer pants which G is still wearing after all these years.  Lots and lots of mending but still good after all this time--20 plus years.

I used most of the cucumbers I had in the fridge (finding two small ones under the colander  while washing dishes), the two small red peppers from the garden (it's amazing--I find exactly what I need out there--no more, no less), the garlic I grew and the last of the onions I pulled out of the garden (there are more).  In keeping with "just enough" I had just enough white vinegar and used the last of the dill seeds I dried 2 summers ago.

Makes two quart jars or one half gallon jar.  I usually make the pickles in the half gallon jar.

2 cups distilled white vinegar, 1 cup sugar and 1/4 cup kosher or pickling salt, let sit until sugar and salt dissolve. (I use pickling salt)

10 to 12 cucumbers with small seeds (about 2 pounds).  Pickling or other varieties.  Scrubbed clean (with peels) and sliced 1/8 inch thick.  I use an inexpensive mandolin I got from TJ Maxx.

Slice one large onion, 1/2 a medium bell pepper (any color) or more if you like peppers.  I use red and 2 cloves garlic.  I have added jalapeƱo peppers in other years.

Measure 1T pickling spices and 2T dill seeds into a small bowl.

Wash your jar (jars) and I usually pour boiling water in the jar while I am slicing things.  Start layering. A handful of cucumber slices, some onion, peppers a few garlic slices and a pinch of the spices.  then repeat.  If you have more than you think will fit, push the stuff down with your fingers.  I could have added the other two cucumbers to my jar, if I had seen them in time.

Carefully pour in the vinegar (stir to make sure everything gets into the pickle jar) and then cap the jar.  The liquid won't fill the jar.  It's okay if it doesn't.

The process here takes about a week or more in the fridge.  The jar needs to be turned upside down and then right side up several times during the processing time.  To evenly distribute the pickling liquids.  The first time I made this, I used a regular cap and liquid got out of the jar when it was upside down.  Now I use a regular two piece canning jar lid.  If you don't have canning supplies--just add a square of cling wrap under the lid to be safe.

NOW--here's where this gets interesting.  My daughter asked me to try making this without the cucumbers but with cauliflower in small chunks.  This was the only change I made in the recipe and it turned out better than the daughter had hoped as this is the way I make it for her every summer (and winter).   Next batch we added carrot slices to the cauliflower.  Still great.  I think this could be made with whatever you have in the garden.  Zucchini (small ones), GREEN TOMATOES, green beans--- anything. And you can make these pickles in the winter.

The taste?  Well, its a different spin on a bread&butter.  Not syrupy.  More salty and vinegary.  Still sweet.  I make the regular sugary syrupy B&B's with very thinly sliced zucchini, onion, peppers and jalapeƱos and will never go back to making them with cucumbers.  The zucchini is hands down crispier and more delicious.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Not Yet

I am getting impatient.  I want squash.  These, from last year, look so damn good.  I have a recipe for an uncooked pasta sauce of crispy bacon, garlic, shredded, salted and squeezed dry yellow squash (three), kernels cut from two raw ears of corn, olive oil, basil, s/p all mixed with one pound of cooked orecchiette pasta (and a bit of the salted cooking water to sauce things up) and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.  Eaten as it is mixed or cold or warmed up--whatever.  Perfect summer food.

Come on squash.  The plants are huge and there are SO MANY boy flowers and bees.  Let's get busy girls!

The corn has set ears.  Now we just have to wait for them to grow. G is figuring we could, possibly, have between 40 and 100 ears of corn out there.  I picked a bowl full of tomatoes today.  And a little red bell pepper.  Green beans.  Another bowl of cucumbers (pickling and burpless). And enough blackberries for eating with yogurt or just eating while standing in the blackberry patch. Riley decided he doesn't like blackberries or green beans or cherry tomatoes.  All things he ate in his first year as a dog.  He still likes raspberries and blueberries.

Dee has reminded me of her love of eggplant, tomatoes etc (caponata) but with green and black olives added.  I happen to have a tub of marinated Greek (black) and green (French)  olives in the fridge.  They are too salty for out of hand snacking (the purpose for which I had wanted them)--- but perfect to slide into the ratatouille I made.

I have almost enough cucumbers to make up a jar of sweet and salty refrigerator pickles.  I made them first for my daughter and, now, make them for her using all sorts of vegetables.  She likes it made with cauliflower or carrots or both.  When I make a jar--I'll write about it here.  Super easy.  Super tasty if you like salty/sweet/vinegary stuff.  And you can add any vegetable or vegetables you like.

I had some trouble with the relaxation/hypnotism thing last night.  I was thinking too much.  I couldn't keep my thoughts in the bubbles.  You put the thought in a bubble and let it rise, watching it as it goes up and up and away from you.  If done correctly, you can feel yourself sinking into a deeply relaxed state.  But not last night.  So I woke up for work feeling groggy and tired.  I think I woke up at 4 and then again at 5 and finally the alarm rang at 6.  I like it better when the bubbles work and I sleep all night and wake up feeling rested and happy.  I guess i was doing pretty good--- a good night's sleep three days out of four.

Now I am going to take a shower, decide what we are doing for dinner (in or out) and enjoy tomorrow's day off--- starting right now!!

Monday, August 12, 2013


From Martha Stewart.  I made this years ago (and think one tub of it is still in the freezer) and it is wonderful.  And, guess what?   I have everything on the counter--from my garden.  Tomatoes (yes, I have a handful of tomatoes), eggplant (small round ones from an Indian customer who came by work to give me four plants back in June), two peppers (my plants are struggling), onions I grew, two zucchini  (I have exactly two).  I even have marjoram growing out on the deck.  And I have garlic that I pulled a bit too late.  I even have a bay laurel plant for the one bay leaf in the recipe.

28 ounce can of whole tomatoes (or fresh ones) roasted on an oiled tray with 2T good olive oil in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes until dry and thick.  Stir every 10 minutes. Just dump the can on the tray break up the tomatoes a bit and then start baking them.

One pound of eggplant, diced and salted for 20 minutes and then squeezed dry.

Two large yellow onions diced in large chunks.  Same with the zucchini and the bell peppers.  The bigger the chunks the longer it cooks.  I cut things smaller than it is pictured here.

One head garlic, peeled and crushed.  I will be using only one clove.  I am NOT a fan of garlic.

Salt and pepper, one Bay leaf, 1T marjoram.

Heat a large Dutch oven and add 4 T olive oil and saute the onion.  Then add the garlic.  Then add everything else.  Season with salt and pepper (Ina Garten always adds 1 teaspoon salt to everything and 1/2  a teaspoon of pepper).  Simmer gently until everything is soft, about an hour. You can cook it longer if you like it all soft and mushy--which I do.

Eat it as a pasta sauce.  Eat it piled on a toasted baguette.  Eat it as a vegetable with any grilled meat (best with hot Italian grilled sausages).  I have a few pieces of breaded, fried eggplant left and I think this would be fantastic piled on top.  Just eat it.

I am reminded that I wrote here that I would like a nice small amount of produce coming out of the garden so I could enjoy it and not have piles of it going to waste.  I am very happy to actually see this happening.  There is only what I need for this recipe--no extra.  Fate.  Kismet.  Whatever.  I collected what I need for ratatouille.  A good day.

And some green beans, 2 cucumbers and enough blackberries for tomorrow's yogurt.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Summer Food

This is the third day in a row just being home.   And the second day after using that relaxation technique.  I slept.  All night.  Again.   I feel so relaxed and happy.  Too bad I have to go to work tomorrow.  Perhaps there is a relaxation therapy for work????

I also took a few minutes (after breakfast of yogurt and ripe cherries) to go into the garden to pick baby green beans, a few cucumbers, a small zucchini, a few ripe tomatoes (small ones), four lovely yellow onions, a bowl of ripe blackberries (for lunch tomorrow at work) and two perfectly lovely purple oriental eggplant.  No summer squash so instead I picked the male flowers and stuffed them with cream cheese mixed with egg and Parmesan cheese (cream cheese because I forgot to buy ricotta).  I will batter them and fry them later for dinner.  I forgot the ricotta because a couple was standing in front of the section of the cooler where it is stocked and they wouldn't move out of the way.  I walked past to get something else and then forgot to go back.

Because I REALLY wanted a big pot of fried, sliced yellow squash with onions---I went to the grocery and bought 4.4 pounds of the baby ones at the farm stand our grocery has.  Local farm grown produce. Expensive but fresh.  We'll be having fried squash with steamed rice, ripe tomato slices, fried squash blossoms and chicken tonight.  Perhaps, someday soon, my own garden will produce 4.4 pounds of yellow squash.  If all goes well and we like the blossoms---we'll be eating all the garden can produce this coming week.  Or, more likely, I will be eating them. G is not that interested in squash.  The tomatoes and cheese yesterday was DIVINE.

What are you eating this summer?  Are you trying to eat "locally" produced food?

It stopped raining late yesterday and today the sun was shining.  G says our rain gauge recorded an inch of rain yesterday for a total of 2.5 inches in the past week.   G has not had to water the garden this week.

We watched the first two episodes of season two of Homeland last night.  Disturbing but good.  I wondered if we would be able to watch season two--but it loaded and we watched.  Next, I will try to see if we can watch Game of Thrones.  The early seasons.  I haven't been able to get Newsroom to load and play.  I keep trying.  And there's always Breaking Bad.

I've been listening to sirens (police or fire) for the past 15 minutes.  Something terrible has or is happening in my neighborhood.  I think I'll try and find out.  Have a happy weekend!!!!

Friday, August 09, 2013

It's Raining and I Am Eating

Nothing like a really rainy day, not going to work, having a power failure due to a lightning strike somewhere in Town, and having a Whole Food half focaccia here in front of me.  Well, it was here.  Now it's in my tummy.  Two very large coffees (coffee brewed with the help of the generator) and the bread.  It made me happy. I'm having cup three now, after lunch, which included potato chips.  But no bread.

We were certified Yuppies yesterday when I purchased $18 worth of ripe heirloom tomatoes at Whole Foods.  Mine aren't ready and I want a good tomato.  It's August. We even watched and listened to the Vitamix sales guy while he made us some strawberry "ice cream".  Remember when I purchased a Vitamix last winter and it sat on the table, unused for the entire 30 day trial period?  I always wondered what the "ice cream" would taste like.  Now I know.  Not like ice cream.  And he used a banana.  Didn't like that. Also got a brain freeze eating the quarter cup of product before it melted. He said the motor runs so fast that in 6 to 8 minutes any contents of the jar would be heated to boiling.  Which is why they make "soup" on QVC when they sell the Vitamixers.

G is cleaning out the sunporch, getting ready for all my house plants to relocate to the porch while (when) the contractor shows up.  Said he'd see us this week.  Didn't.  I am tossing quite a bit into the recycle bin.

I am a GREAT SAVER of coffee cans (with lids) to store loose things, Kraft cheese containers (for shaking dust on plants), packing stuff etc.  I even had yogurt tubs (sans lids) which I tossed.  G is using the lidded containers from cherries (the ones McD's puts on the whip cream on top of the shakes) for bird seed.  I am sorting my fertilizers, fungicides and insecticides.  And the systemics.

I think the rain has stopped pelting down on the house.  It's still pretty dark outside.

I used a relaxation technique (I was trying to open my conscious mind to repressed dreams or past lives) when I went to bed last night.  No luck on the conscious mind but I did fall asleep and stayed asleep until 8am.  Interesting.

Watched the two hour ending to this season's The Killing.  Sigh.  Not what I would have wanted.  This week's Longmire was also a real downer, with next week looking even sadder.  I think we'll be watching a few episodes of Homeland tonight.  Broadchurch on BBCA was weird.  I wanted to like it but the actors were doing such a poor job of it.  But the coming attractions of LUTHER on September 3rd---very happy about that.  Alice is back.

That's it.  I bought bread and ate it.  Called out sick today from work.  Cleaning out the sunporch.  The electricity is back on.  I slept well last night.  We have huge red tomatoes for dinner tonight with cheese and basil (Caprese) and Homeland to watch.  A good Friday.  Brownies?  Perhaps.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Elephant Ears On Parade

I bought four large elephant ear bulbs at the end of 2012.  They were a dollar each and hard to pass up. I potted them up, seems like ages ago, and finally, with all the rain, they seemed to get interested in sprouting.  The leaves are about a foot tall.  So green.  Like a line of marching soldiers.  Some pots have more than one leaf growing.

I worked today and then got my hair cut.  I was a half hour early, so I got to catch up on my People magazine news.  I don't know who half (or more) of the stars are and don't care.  I like to look at their clothing and see if there are any fashion tips I can use.  Right now everyone seems to be wearing ripped skinny jeans and stilettos.  No tips for me.

I picked a handful of tender baby green beans in the garden today (and ate them raw), three cherry tomatoes, one regular tomato, a handful or raspberries (fed to Riley), one pickling cucumber and enough blackberries for my yogurt lunch (scratching my ankles bloody on the thorns).  My yogurt today was topped with sweet cherry halves.  I had forgotten how delicious they are on yogurt.  Yum!!!  There is a ton of kale out there to be picked and eaten.  G picked the first zucchini for me.  Yippee.  Still no sign of any yellow crookneck squash.

Squash is one of those things that seem to never get started when you want them to start.  And then, one day, you have WAY too many.  I like when you get a few things, enjoy them, and then get more.  I like the "enjoy" part.  I don't like the way too many to enjoy part.  I have plans for that first zucchini.  A nice little stack of eggplant, roasted red pepper and grilled zucchini slices with a bit of tomato and basil.

Tomorrow is my day off.  What I would like to happen--is to sleep until 8am.  Then make blueberry pancakes (or go to the Freeport Cafe and eat blueberry pancakes). Put gas in the car and then go visit Trader Joe's.  We need olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  It would be nice if they had red, ripe beefsteak tomatoes (perhaps Whole Foods?).  On the way home we could stop and see what was on sale at the Bean outlet store.  Then take a nap.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Strange August, So Far

I don't know how the weather is where you live, but here in Maine the weather is very strange--for August.  The A/C is not running.  We are sleeping covered in blankets.  I have on a long sleeve shirt and I am cold.  And, it's dark at 9 am.  Yes, I have the house lights on.  The weather hasn't slowed the mosquitos down though.  I went out for the morning paper and was buzzed by a ravenous mozzie.  Out for a bloody breakfast.

The art up top is something I made a few weeks ago (but I don't think submitting) for the 10X10 art auction.  I used the black fabric I like so much, mono printed it by pressing it into the surface of fabric I had painted, added a bleach discharged piece of black fabric and then added lines with yellow thread.  I get prewound bobbins (because winding bobbins is like having my teeth drilled without drugs) and I have to tear off the covering in order to insert the bobbins into my machine.  And doesn't everyone save the little paper covers?   The piece has the look of a map.  I have made a few of these over the years--one for the 12X12 challenges.  I like maps.  Inside the little hole in the bobbin cover is a tiny cross hair of stitches.  All points cross within this tiny circle.  There is hidden meaning here.

Some of this mapping business is due to changes occurring in my life.  I feel disoriented.  Confused. Am I making the right choices.  Am I just choosing paths that will make my life more complicated but not necessarily any better.  All roads do not lead to a better life.

When faced with choices: I first eliminate all the ones I don't like.  That's how I read a restaurant menu. I cross off all the things I don't want to eat and then choose from the items remaining.  We have stopped going to restaurants where I was left with no choices.  In a few instances, there was only one item and when that was removed from the menu--well, we go there rarely now, and with reluctance on my part.

I do this quite unconsciously now.  But, lately, I am seeing this as "negative" behavior.  A friend suggests that I could always ask for a salad.  Dressing on the side.  No meat or croutons.

I suggested a choice to G.  Either we go out and buy more hangers for the closets or we get rid of some of the stuff hanging on the hangers we already own.  He suggested we see how many hangers we can empty before deciding not to buy more hangers.   I routinely go through my closet--trying things on--letting go of clothing I don't see myself wearing in the next year.  I keep things that would hard to replace.  Like polka dot shirts.  Stripes.  I am thinking of letting go of the work pants that have only fit me twice in six years.  The odds are not in favor of them being worn much in the future.  But they are folded up in a bin--not on hangers.  My next choice would be to have little tags on the clothing.  Marking them with a date if they get worn.  Then eliminating them.  I tend to wear the same few items over and over.  Like a uniform.

We are spraying the tomato plants with fungicide.  Mildew.  Humid conditions and no air flow.  The beans have flowers and the cucumbers are producing.  The peppers are still short.  I think it's the soil in the bed where they are planted. Not retaining moisture.  The raspberries and blueberries are doing better than usual--the birds and beetles aren't doing the usual amount of damage.  The corn is getting tall.  My Brussels sprouts are doing very well under the row cover.  No moths have laid eggs.  The cabbages are small--in same bed with peppers.  Only cherry tomatoes and no zucchini yet, as the plants are only making male flowers right now.  I was going to make stuffed blossoms this summer--I should work on having the cheese stuffing ready and waiting.

Watching season one of Homeland.  Last time we watched three episodes.  Can't get enough of it. Same lead actor that we liked in "Life" which we watched in 3 or 4 episode chunks when we first got Netflix.

Going "cold turkey" on the breakfast cereal.  Finding I can't eat more than half a regular serving of yogurt and fruit at lunch.  Just not hungry for the foods I regularly have eaten (for 2 years) and can't find any replacements that I want to eat.  I have a pile of cucumbers to slice, salt and mix with sour cream.  I still like that.  I am also adding plain cream to my coffee--not heavy cream.  Tastes funny. The next change will be to lower fat yogurt.  2% rather than the 10% I have been eating.  Changes.  I have full fat coconut cream and ripening mangos for a trial run at a smoothie.  Interesting.