Monday, January 30, 2017

Learning New Things: Permaculture

G and I attended a lecture on Permaculture yesterday as part of the local Land Trust Winter Programs.  It was pretty intense.  A framework for the design and conception of sustainable agriculture.

The beginning point is easy enough for all of us.  To observe.  How nature works. And then do the same in your garden.

Just look at your plot of land.  Where does the sun shine.  Where does the rain puddle.  Is the land level or does it slope.  Does it slope lower in the south--better to gather sun and warmth?  Do deer travel across or into your land?  Squirrels.  Birds.  Do you make use of the leaves that fall to build soil.  Can you manage with less traditional lawn?

Then and on into the future:  Change what you can.  Build soil.  Plant trees for future generations.  Collect and store water.  Plant natives.  Plant food producing rather than ornamental trees and shrubs.

I now wish the 20 year old crab apple trees we planted as "landscape" had been apple trees.

I am happy to have two very large hills of wood chips to layer into the compost pile (more brown is better than more green) and wood chips over one year old to mulch my garden.  But I could be doing more to use the sunny areas for food production.  I could be trying harder to be providing more food for my household. Why not grow tomatoes in the front yard?

We have no nut bearing trees.  Only one plum tree.  But I do have three Beach Plums which are still too young to make fruit.  Six mature blueberry shrubs.  Raspberries.  One grape vine.  Two Juneberry shrubs.  A Blackberry thicket.  The instructor suggested native elderberry for the wetland on the west side of the property.  I like elderberry jam.  And I have two fig trees in pots.

I really do want an apple tree even though I am 70 and will probably not see a good apple harvest until I am 80.  But I don't want to be 80 and be sad that I never planted an apple tree.  Until then, I will look for abandoned apple trees and collect the apples.

The first change I am making is laughable.  I struggle to contain the Mint in the vegetable garden.  I learned (yesterday) to use the mint as a ground cover under my crabapple trees.  Let it do what it wants--creep and spread.  Guess what?  It will look amazing.  And I can go out and grab a handful for smoothies any time I want.

We live on 4 acres and most is wooded.  We could have pigs.  I don't think I want chickens even though they are allowed by the Town.  The pigs might not be allowed.  But pigs do an amazing job of cleaning out a wooded area.  And they are friendly.  They do go "walk about" though and need good fencing.  I can just imagine the excitement on my residential road if two pigs were out for a stroll. I could name them "Perma"  & "Culture".

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Happy Chinese New Year

The Year Of The Fire Rooster.

I have no idea if this is a "good thing" or not.

We had dumplings and noodles yesterday after the movie.  Loved the movie.  Loved the music. Want to go see it again.

Today was work.  The Fairy Garden class went very well.  Much happiness was had by all and I gave away about five things.  Little houses and a little garden set.  They loved all the bark, mosses and other stuff G and Riley had collected from the woods. Made houses, walls etc. out of it.

After class I made three more Fairy Gardens for sale.  It was a great deal of fun.

Then I had to clean up the classroom.  It took forever.  So much dirt.

The remainder of the day was very slow.  I was up at 6:15 (am) and in the parking lot at 8 am.  Too bad they weren't opening the store until 9 (duh, I should have called).  Scheduled to work until 5pm.  Tried not to eat too many cookies.  That's what happens---gets slow and boring and we eat all the snacks.

Tomorrow a Permaculture lecture at 3.  No football.  A good day to sleep in!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Going To The Movies

I guess this movie has been nominated for 8 oscars.  We'll see.  After, I think we'll stop for Chinese on the Eve of the New Year.   Dumplings and Noodles are lucky foods.

The sun is shining.  The ice is melting.  The World didn't blow up overnight.  It's all good.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

What Makes Any Bad Day Better?


We'll be eating more Spaghetti than usual in the coming weeks and months.  Especially if we accidentally watch the national news.

Tomorrow we are going to the movies.  Two months after it's national release date--our Town Regal finally is showing Arrival.  About a visit from a space alien.  I am always astonished by the choices made by local businesses.  I thought we had missed it.

We visited Goodwill today.  I am doing the 5 A Day thing.  Eliminating five things that are not needed in my household.  We took five large bags.  Things from the hall closet like scarves and hats. Things from the office closet like paper, cartridges, keyboards.  Even a motorized car (toy). The assorted Palm pilots are a problem as G can't get them powered up so we can clean them of any info. Our son will be able to tell us how to remove the memory.

It didn't add to the 5 A Day collection but I also organized my class handouts (the ones Riley didn't chew up because he had to stay home).  They are now all in the storage container that we used to store the dollhouse furniture.

The dollhouse furniture is back in the dollhouse.  Along with a few long strips of "floor boards" we were going to install like hardwood in the dollhouse.  The dollhouse was a Christmas gift back in the 1970's in Chicago.  A build it yourself project. The little family of dolls was purchased on a snowy afternoon in Vienna in the 1980's.  The day I didn't get run over by a streetcar.  I started to step off the curb and then leaned back--just in time.  So...lots of memories. The children's bedroom furniture was purchased in Bavaria. The kitchen pots and pans in the snowy mountains of Italy.

How do you eliminate any of that from your household?

We "binge" watched 5 episodes of Good Behavior.  I had no idea it was so good.  I had to use Xfinity and the bad language wasn't muted.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Riley's Daily Walk

In the woods behind our house.  As you can see, he has to bury his nose in the snow to sniff the "good stuff" underneath.  Hard to believe Riley will be 10 years old on April 4th.  Still acts like a puppy.  A 90 plus pound wall of muscle puppy.  I know.  He's taken me "down" as they say.

He doesn't wear the choker collar much anymore.  Now a gentle murmur to walk slower or to sit and it's done.  He does what he can to please us.  If only raising children was like this?

The pot roast is in the oven.  Smells good already.  I browned it properly before adding onions and liquid.  I even cut some string and tied the roast into a nice circle.  Such a little "chef".  At times the cooking show knowledge isn't wasted on me.

I visited the dentist yesterday to have some "modifications" done to my new crown.  I was having some "clanking" with the other teeth when I chewed on that side.  Now, it's gone.  All is well and  I recommend the crown process to all dental phobias.  It was stressful but once I understood what was happening (and my dentist is very kind and thoughtful) it was fine.  Painless.

I worked my way through all the Louise Penny books this Winter (so far), read a few authors with only two books to their name and am now working (backwards and forwards as I can get them) with the Longmire books.  I find I like them as well as I like the television series (now on Netflix).  I also enjoy a series of books.  Once I find an author I like--it is nice to just enjoy that author and read all the books one after another.  And I have to wait until Fall for the final 10 episodes of Longmire.  Then, no more.  By March I will be looking for a new author to read.

It seems to have rained all night here in Maine.  The streets are a mix or water and ice.  A bit dangerous to walk on the "shiny" spots.  We may venture out or stay home.

The news blackout continues.  I tried watching the evening news one day and quickly saw the error of my ways.  Even here in Maine, one has to be careful not to watch or listen to what our ignorant Governor has to say.  He intends to run for Angus King's Senate seat in two years.  Good Grief.

I am going back to mending the hooked rug.  Reading my book.  Tending my pot roast.  All things over which I have complete control (or think I do).  Have a nice day where every you are!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Riley Won't See His Shadow Today

It's been that kind of Winter.  Alternating Days of Spring and Winter.  I bet everyone is sick.  Not us. We are staying quite "apart" from people and their germs.  I suspect that on Saturday when I venture back to work to teach a Fairy Gardening class--I will be exposed to germs.  The class is full.

Acupuncture yesterday.  The community variety. An hour and four or five needles.  Peaceful music and a nap on the zero gravity chairs.  I got a good chair yesterday.  I didn't feel as woozy after.

Not much else to say.  The house is dark--I haven't turned on lights yet--at 11 am.  Ice and snow overnight. I haven't had breakfast.  I did have a nice long shower.  I do love hot water.  Read the news.

Such a fragile ego.  Such a false sense of worth.  Mine is bigger than yours.  That should have been his campaign slogan........

Sunday, January 22, 2017

A Lack Of Sun

Mid-winter finds me missing natural sunlight.  We are having a thaw right now in Maine.  Warm for Winter in January.  An Ice Storm is due to arrive mid week.

I am disgusted with the clutter on every surface.  I will be collecting things and deciding if I need them or not.  I made "sheet pan eggs" yesterday and it was delightfully easy and I regret every moment I spent with eggs and a frying pan.  I used up the last remnants of roasted butternut and veg. I used a third of the pan fried kale and onions.  I used a quarter sheet pan instead of the half sheet. I used more egg.  I added cheese. It took more time.  I ate one third for lunch- hot off the sheet pan.  The rest I will eat cold.  Perhaps on toast.

I ran out of face cream.  And I thought I had a second (back up) jar in the under sink cabinet.  I didn't. What is there to put on your face if you have no face cream?

Chuck roast is on sale this week.  So I intend to make pot roast.  Gravy.  Mashed potatoes.  Cole slaw.
My favorite, favorite meal.  Usually served on my birthday.  I was eliminating food on my birthday. So, I will eat pot roast on "not my birthday".

Well.  I must leave you.  I have two bags to fill with "things I no longer need" and I have the dining room table to declutter.  Made more difficult if you are using one end as a place to cut fabric with a mat and rotary cutter.  And have stacked fabric to be cut on top of the mat.  And then put your scarf and gloves on top and some mail and the skeins of embroidery floss.  And then there are stamps, bills and my calendar and journal.

The computer desk is layered with book lists, recipes, tax forms, coffee cups, a flashlight, a cookbook and dozens of index cards.  My life is recorded on index cards.  Paraguay corn dumplings, Gingerbread with lemon glaze, coming soon book list, plant lists, classes I am teaching this Winter etc.


Saturday, January 21, 2017

My Friend

Gosh is there anything nicer?  To say or write or think that word.  My Friend.

My Friend brought over a slice of her latest try at moist gingerbread.  They have all been good. But this last one (is the last one always the best?) is very very nice.  And I have the recipe.  I do need to purchase one bottle of a "stout" beer.  Whatever that is.  The recipe is from the NYT.  They did a story on Gingerbread two Winters ago.  Long list of recipes.  I think my friend has made three of them.   Moist Gingerbread With Lemon Glaze.  It's delicious.

My "news" blackout continues.  I just don't want to know.  I don't want to see.  Don't want to hear.  Because unseeing, unhearing, unknowing.......well, that isn't possible is it.  I will just wait.

My Friend is not my only Friend.  She is just the one making Gingerbread cakes.

I am winding floss on plastic paddles.
I am sorting fabric.
I am making piles.
I am reading books.  (just finished the Trespasser by Tana French ---once I got into the story I couldn't put the book down)
I am visiting Spirit Cloth's blog and wishing I had indigo dyed scraps of cloth. My cloth scraps are so ordinary and commercial.
I am recording the cooking shows on Public Television.
I discovered that Sleepy Hollow wasn't cancelled.  Season Four has already run 4 episodes.

I also happened on a men's fashion Pinterest page.  Long overcoats (black), wide lined pants (black) with cuffs rolled up to expose bare ankles (men have such lovely ankles) and very nice laced shoes. Since everything else is black the shoes are usually brown.  Knit caps (black cashmere) and huge wrapped scarves in a heavy knit pattern.  Beards only.  Nothing growing under the nose.  Shaved heads. Layers under the overcoats.  Collarless white or black linen shirts. Vests.  Oversized sweaters. Or undersized ones buttoned.

I am going to start a Pinterest page to save my favorites.  And I am going to start looking for a black overcoat--mens for myself.  And some of the long shirts, vests and sweaters.  Even a cap.  This is how I am going to dress.  I am not wearing brown shoes.  At least I don't think I will.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Sorting Through Boxes Of Thread

IF.  Things were all in one place.  That would make it easier to find what I am looking for.  But they aren't.  Which means looking.  And then looking again.

I had so many trips upstairs to the attic (bedroom, storage area) which isn't heated that I had to find and use my rescue inhaler.  I think it was related to the stress I was feeling. "Why can't I ever find anything?"

In the end I found what I was looking for.  Downstairs already.

I have been busy winding embroidery floss on little white plastic paddles.

I am looking forward to setting all the new colors into the boxes with all the old colors.

These are Goodwill, dollar a bag, colors.  Not ones I would usually buy.  Radical.  Uncomfortable. Orange.  Purple.  Brown.

I have purchased (and pulled leaves from stems, chopped and sautéed) kale, red onions (from my summer garden) with red pepper flakes and good olive oil.  I am going to be making sheet pan eggs from Food52.  They bake in the oven.  I'll use the last of the roasted butternut squash, Brussels sprouts and artichoke hearts.  Add some cheese.  Add some of the kale and onion.  Some bacon.  It'll be there to eat whenever I want--cold in the fridge.  Protein and veggies.

The Bacon will be new.  I have, for so long, used crispy browned sausage crumbles.

Watched pre-recorded (TiVo) episodes of Pure Genius last night.  It's like House but in fantasy land.
I'm am LOVING the sectional furniture in the large "sitting around" area.  The seat backs aren't high enough but the moveable squares look like they would be so much fun.  And they look like linen.  Very nice high end beige linen.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

ACCESS Is Not COVERAGE In Health Care Wars

Listen Up.  ACCESS just means it's possible for you to sign up and PAY for coverage at top rates you can't afford.  BUT, they made it possible for you to APPLY.  And get the BILL.

COVERAGE is what the Affordable Care Act makes possible.  COVERAGE no matter what illnesses you have, no money, poverty etc etc. COVERAGE PAYS THE DOCTOR AND THE BILLS.   ACCESS means YOU BUY A POLICY YOURSELF.

Little slips of paper that Congressman Ryan wants to print by the millions are just that little slips of paper aka "vouchers" that give you 10%  (as an example) off the 20K price tag for an insurance policy (just an example) if you qualify for a policy--and you might not qualify for any kind of policy. the Republicans are playing with words and hope you won't notice.  NOTICE !!!!!!

So every time you hear or read the words ACCESS  in combination with  NEW HEALTH CARE  POLICIES know that you are being taken for an uneducated sucker by the Congress. Well, a certain portion of the Congress.

This will be the extent of my political opinions on this blog.  Health care and COVERAGE  by insurance means survival for a lot of us.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Everything In Black and White

In winter life reduces to Black and White.  There is no color.  And with shorter days- by 3 pm well, stick a fork in it...the day is done.

I am making G another in an endless round of chicken soups.  What shall I make myself?  There are a number of bags of dry things in the pantry--one of black eyed peas and a number of different grains--- and always onions, celery and carrots.  With that trio of veggies--soup is always possible.

I would usually make lentil soup.  But I think, now, that it doesn't agree with me.  The split pea gave me acid reflux.  I don't have any cabbage or potato for a vegetable soup.

I liked the acupuncture.  One of the needles tingled when it went in--an area in need of work.  I didn't like the music.  But then my friend who goes often said she didn't like it either.  But it was very warm.  I think with better music I may have been able to relax more and even fall asleep.  She asked about my very cold hands and feet.  I replied honestly.  I was born with cold hands and feet and its still that way.  My mother made it seem like I had cold hands and feet as a baby to make her life difficult.  Or make her feel incapable of keeping a baby warm.  It was always my fault.  Heavy burden for an infant to carry.  I would have just pulled the sleeve of whatever baby was wearing over her hands.

All through the month of January there is community acupuncture at this practice.  From 4 to 7. And it's $10.  So, I think I will be going back for the remaining two Mondays in January.  I feel less restless.  More at peace with myself.  A good thing.  Even with ice cold hands.

Monday, January 16, 2017

I Have Lots Of Stuff--And Just Found It Again.

Today is my first time experiencing acupuncture.  I have been thinking about what I will say are my problems.  My rash (allergies) and my weight.  I can also mention asthma.

The above photo is from the 24 days of Christmas List someone posted online.  This is how I store all my embroidery thread.  It is how.  Past tense.  Now.... I have been collecting (at one dollar a bag) bags full of skeins from Goodwill which are still bagged up.  I am putting more of the little plastic squares on today's shopping list so I can wind up colors/shades that aren't already represented in the storage boxes.

I remember all the time it took to label and wind the thread and put it into color order.  I loved how the finished product looked.  Still looks--as the boxes are packed and ready for use.

So much easier to cut and use when they are wrapped.

Jude Hill has a large basket of loose embroidery threads for her hand sewing.  I've seen it and she must have patience or good luck--in getting one thread out and not a great knotted group. Perhaps she found a good way of cutting the skein so the threads are in a usable length?

I found my storage container of solid cottons.  I have a good selection.  Who knew?????? Now I can stop looking at the Kona at JoAnn's.  Terrible colors.

I also found my felt and wool fabric container.  I have plenty of that as well. Can stop looking for some to buy.  I remembered when I shopped at Goodwill looking for "wool".  Cut up a number of skirts.

I also have beige, white, light blue and black linen pieces.  And the black gauze I bleached.  It bleached white and no black since has bleached white.  I only get a rusty orange.

I found the canvas I bought years ago to stretch for painting.  I have lots of pieces of stretchers to use to built squares and rectangles.

I'm a regular renaissance girl when it comes to art supplies.

The job furlough is going well.  I'm not sleeping until noon like G. I get up and start doing stuff" up in the attic or in the sewing room, looking for things.  Reading books.  Really doing that in a most excellent way.  Like a book a day.  Finished Inger Ash Wolfe's Night Bell and now ready Tana French's Trespasser.  Read the only two Longmire books our library had and need to order a few more from other libraries today.  They read fast and are exactly like the Netflix series.

Finally took the Christmas Tree down.  G had stopped watering it.  I guess he wanted to make sure it would leave the house.  And part of two strings of lights had gone out.  I got three or four dustpans of dry needles for the compost bucket and two big bags of branches for the compost piles.  I cut all the branches off while it's still in the house/in the stand.  I miss it already.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Thinking About Stitch Making Marks

Judy's Journal has a post today on Dorothy Caldwell.  I don't have permission to post any of her pictures but I suggest you go there to see them.  I have a lot of Dorothy's work in my Pinterest file. I somehow thought she was a painter but now I see ...well she paints with thread and fabric.  Perhaps the piece above from my picture file is one of hers.

I think, when I "make art" that I over think the work.  I see in the post today (Judy's Journal) that one part is dying and printing the fabric and then the second part is layering on the fabric and then the stitches.  I keep thinking I need more supplies.  I need nothing I don't already have.

I just need to begin.  And do the work.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New Crown

On my tooth not my head.

I haven't chewed food on that side of my molars in quite awhile.  Doing so again--feels strange.  Not the new crown but the tooth right in front of the new crown.  I don't think my jaws are closing straight (that has always been an issue).  A bit of contact and a scrape.  G says "call" but other than the jaw closing incorrectly--the new crown is problem free.

The dentist poked my uncovered tooth.  The nerve fired a quick reply.  It is still sending messages and I have a pretty decent tension headache right now.

Eating soft foods.

Went to Art Club last evening.  The co-ordinator searched and found us a new place to meet.  At the library in the old book sorting room.  It was lovely.  Good light.  Good company.  Everyone doing something different.  It's been a very long time since I saw any of them--they were as happy to see my face as I was to see theirs.

So much is happening right now.  Or not happening but changing.

We are having Spring weather for a few days.  The viburnum leaves are full of moisture (and warmth) and look lush.  In the days leading up to this weather abnormality, they had been thin and sad looking.  Conserving moisture in the 1 degree winds.

New things I may be trying this month.  Acupuncture.  Cleaning and oiling my sewing machine (last time I couldn't get the parts to go back together for days and days). Making chocolate ganache.  Making a "look a like"  Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce.  Learning how to take pictures with my new (G's old) iPhone.

Anyone out there have a recipe to make the orange powder in Kraft Mac and Cheese?

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Carefully Cutting Butternut Squash

I have owned a very large butternut squash for many weeks.  It sat on the counter of the cooking altar from before Christmas.  Perhaps from before Thanksgiving.

It was never the "right" time to cut it open, cut off the skin and cube it until today.  No fingers were injured in the process.  I need to pay attention and cut carefully and safely.

The large sheet tray held it all.  Covered in good olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roasting until soft on the inside and chewy on the outside.  I know it would be chew-ier if left unpeeled.  Someday I will do that.  But not today.  I often eat the entire trayful as it sits on the stove top cooling.  That might happen today. In fact, I hardly remember having any in the fridge when I bake it.  I like it right after it is cooked.  I have a recipe for a Fettucine with Butternut Squash sauce.  Very rich.  Very heavy.  Not for today.

In the Winter Time I like to have roasted vegetables in the fridge.  To make a quick "bowl" for a meal.  I do not have any kale leaves for a bowl.  I need to buy some.  I like them sautéed with olive oil, salt and pepper and red chili flakes.  The kale goes well with the roasted squash cubes. I do have a bag of Brussels sprouts in the freezer which I can add to the pan in the oven.

Today, even though it is freezing cold outside, I am having a big salad for supper later in the day.  I have plenty of lettuce that needs to be used and eaten, carrots, the last bit of red cabbage, red onion from my summer garden.  I have canned tuna to make into a protein to go with the salad.  Albacore from Trader Joe's.  I also have some yellowfin.  I have given up on chicken.  Now it seems I need to be eating tuna.

Tomorrow I am going to the Dermatologist.  My first time ever.  He is a very good doctor and makes a complete map of your body on each visit.  I'm sure he'll find things that need to be removed.  A family trait.  My father went for a while in his early 80's to have dark patches on his face removed.  Then he stopped going because it "hurt too much".  But he liked the way his face looked after the treatments.

I had a mole removed from the center of my forehead when I was 8.  My grandfather wanted the mole replaced with a small diamond---- I never found out why he wanted that to happen.

What would my life have been like if I had had a diamond implanted above my eyes in 1954? The 60's would have been even more interesting for me, I think.

Friday, January 06, 2017

Roasted Beets & Other Random Thoughts

Beets.  After meeting with our new estate planning lawyer in Portland, we stopped in at Whole Foods (which is like a trip to Disneyland for me) and I purchased 5 pounds of big (really big) beets.  I think there are 6 beets.  They are now roasting in the oven.  There is hardly anything else in the veg world that I enjoy eating as much as chilled roasted beets with olive oil and vinegar.  I wrap the beets in foil and roast on a sheet tray until the beets are easily pierced with a sharp knife point.  Small beets-usually about an hour.  These really big beets just started their second hour.

We also purchased three expensive (heavy with shiny skin) red grapefruits.  Citrus, I find, is best when heavy for it's size and has a smooth, shiny skin.  The Clementines for sale right now are not heavy and not shiny.  So probably dry.  I haven't had any clementines since the ones I bought in November.  I'll be eating the peeled, segmented grapefruit with yogurt.

I also found dark chocolate covered cashews. (unbelievable) and a cherry pie.  I tried a sample of the cherry pie years ago.  The taste of it stayed with me over all these years and this was the very first time I actually saw a pie for sale since then.   So, we will be enjoying the cherry pie for as many days as it lasts.  G and I were both sad to see the last piece of boozy cake eaten.

I think the best part of The Holidays is dessert.  And twinkly lights.  And visiting friends.

I also found  a grain free cashew granola (in the self serve bins by the pound) which is very very good.  I will be pouring some out of the quart jar ($10) and figuring out whats in it.  Easy enough to make my own.  It has a maple syrup taste to it.  Is that Paleo??

Then we drove around the block to Trader Joes for olive oil, marinara sauce and Charlie Bear low fat treats for Riley.

Today is Epiphany so the tree will be coming down. The last day for twinkly lights to brighten the drabness that is Winter in the house.  IF it was left to me--the tree would brighten my days until Valentine's Day.  A become a real fire hazard.

I am reading The Second Girl by David Swinson.  It is not something I would usually read. I am not sympathetic to the lead in the story (a drug addict). But the blurbs on the back cover are all from authors I do enjoy reading.  So, I am giving the book a chance. It's not the first set of books I have read with the "hero" being a drug addict--Jo Nesbo comes to mind. The authors I enjoy?  Ron Rash, Tana French, Michael Robotham.  The book has just gotten to the place in the story (one fourth of the way into the book) where we discover there is a Second Girl so I expect things to get more interesting.

We'll be leaving soon to visit the library.  G has finished reading all the books in the Clan Of The Cave Bear series.  He'd read most of them years and years ago but had forgotten everything about the books.  So it was a "new to him" experience.  As I age will I be able to re-read my favorite books and not even know I have read them before?  If that is true--I will be making a list for my caregivers.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Out With The Old, In With The New

One of my older frying pans decided to part ways with some of the non stick coating after I fried up three quart bags of suddenly defrosted red peppers (fuse blew and freezer got warm).  I had long wanted a Le Creuset frying pan and Santa had provided one--smaller than I wanted but a good one to "try out".  The pan above is the larger sized one I looked at on Amazon--and now see in each and every page I open on the Internet.

I am going to make a grilled cheese sandwich as a test.

I hadn't thought about "tidying" the kitchen as yet.  I did "tidy" a few drawers a great while ago and that was fun.  But I do love all my pots and pans etc.  Some I have used since my first weeks as a married woman.  A long term relationship.  Especially with my little 8 inch square baking pan. All beaten up and cheaply made.  I use it quite often to make brownies or cornbread.

Had a coffee date with my library friend yesterday.  We caught up on what's been going on and then walked around downtown (one street in my little Town), sidestepping ice and slippery spots.  I had visited the library and post office before we had coffee.  It was very nice to be in Town.  With everything close and walkable.  I mentioned to my friend that I wished my house was closer to Town so I could walk instead of drive.  It's something to consider.

On my trip around Town I managed to get a still warm Boule baked with rosemary.  I enjoyed the bread while chopping things for the chicken soup I hadn't gotten around to making until yesterday afternoon.

G went out to get the morning paper at the mailbox and met our cross the street neighbor.  She had a houseful of family for the holidays and her 18 year old Corgi got nervous and bit her.  Corgi's are notorious for biting.  In this case, the dog bit the hand that feeds her.  Christmas Eve emergency room, stitches etc.  Not the sort of holiday memories she was going for.

Well, the paper is now here and time for me to have breakfast.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Starting The New Year

I spent yesterday evening talking with a dear friend and drinking a bottle of red wine instead of eating dinner.  We shared the bottle.

Today, I spent time managing my bills, addressing envelopes for my son's mail, looking, again, for black wool yarn upstairs, bringing down the remaining little black frames (I have been putting pretty 2 inch square gift enclosure cards in them) for small family photos.  I have my favorite small photo of my grandmother in one and placed it on the wall behind the stove.  She can lend loving support to my cooking efforts.

This is part of "tidying".  Putting things you love where you can see them everyday.  Where you can wear them more often.  Where you get rid of the tight, itchy, ugly colored things you keep for no good reason other than it cost good money once...along time ago.

I also brought down a very large bag of squares of "French" fabric and the circles of other "French" fabric I was/am appliquéing onto the squares.  I am thinking January 2017 would be a good time to sew the squares together into?  Placemats? Pillow covers? An apron?  I certainly don't need them to be a quilt.  I say "French" because these fabrics have never existed in France. But they have a French feeling about the patterns and colors.  Tuscan blues, golds and reds.  I never was happy with the greens I found.

I rather enjoyed handstitiching the little patchwork squares for the job of un-swastika-ing the quilt I am hand quilting.  Rail fence blocks made incorrectly (color values in the wrong places) create  this offensive symbol on the quilts.  Once seen--can't be unseen.  G says he can still see the symbol on one of the blocks.  More patching.  The stitching is easy, repetitive and it always a delight to run my fingers over the seams.

I am planning to use January 2017 to tidy up the unfinished projects I have been neglecting.  It may take more time than just January.  I'll show and tell regarding the progress or lack thereof.

Longmire is finished until next year.   G and I have to find something else on Netflix to watch.  Last year it was River and Jessica Jones.  We could watch Luke Cage.  We also watched Hinterlands. Any suggestions?

Oh and the vegetable chopping picture up top---I am making the first pot of chicken soup (for G) in the new year--as soon as I hit post.