Thursday, April 30, 2020

Daily Notes- April 30th


First thing I see each morning.   I have never covered the "canopy" of my pencil post bed.  Dust. And those are my new closet doors.  And the yellow stripe wall paper I didn't remove.

We were up reading until past 1am last night (morning) and up by 8am.   No television.  Not even the PBS Evening News.  It's just too much for me.   Either I am too tired to think or I just don't want to think anymore.  Hard to say- probably both.

Saw a sticker on a car-- "If you don't like the Circus- don't elect a Clown"

We drove to the Post Office in Town to drop off a package.  Three people inside.  All with masks.  Plastic up to protect the workers.  The worker who waited on me seemed exhausted.  She was trying to suggest a more inexpensive way...but half way thru she just said- next time use one of the white postal boxes. I said I would.

I have Pantry Soup on the stove cooking.  I increased the cabbage, not so many potatoes and added a big carrot.  I used the wrong pot so the soup is all the way- close to the top edge.  I get up from here to go check for boiling over.  Lower heat.  It doesn't matter anyway- just to cook the potatoes.

The Wipes.  I was NEVER going to put them down into the septic system (no matter what the package says in bold letters).  But thank you for the heads up.  I was going to use (if needed) and bag them (ick) and then into the garbage collection bag.  When I do open the package I intend to drop one into water and see what happens to it.  I am really quite "scientific" about using new products. I already get a "steady look" from the guys who pump out my septic tank. I have a garbage disposal.  Another  "no-no" but it was here when we bought the house.  I don't use it very much- most all my vegetable scraps go into my large counter top kettle- destined for the compost piles- but my husband doesn't like to touch peelings and he "disposes" them..

I got out the paint by number picture I bought for husband years ago and started coloring it with Sharpie pens instead of paint.  Nine numbers. Nine pens.  And it really doesn't effect World Peace or anything if you get a color wrong.  He has now decided HE wants to color it.  And has about 100 pens out.  I am now in a different room.  Did I start coloring it to get him interested????  Sub- consciously? Hard to say- but he now has a project.  I also tuned the tv in the dining room to BBC and a long string of Animal Adventures in Africa, I think.  I am now free to move about the building doing anything I please.

I looked and looked for my fabric printed with maps.  I was going to make something I had seen on Handstories.  A giant Moon, stars and a curve of the Earth.  The Earth would have been a sliver of map cloth plus blue.  The fabric won't show itself until I give up or move on to making it a different way.  I brought another stack down from the Attic.  More Blue and Green (under represented).  A few pieces of red.  

The mail truck came-  and the soup is ready to eat.  Oh, it's chilly, damp and might rain here today.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Daily Notes- April 29


Layered that 23 inch square cloth and pinned it.  On the kitchen island top.  And then every time I walked past- I stopped, threaded a needle and quilted.  It was easy on my back standing up at sink level.  The cloth is a tight weave so it is, at times, a struggle to go up and down for two stitches so I mostly do one stitch at a time.

My grocery shopping was mostly good today.  I got there during Senior Hours from 7 to 9 am. I had most of my shopping done and then had to wait until the Pharmacy opened at 8am to see if my inhaler prescription was there.  It was.  I was tempted to do the happy dance.  No toilet paper but they did have "toilet wipes" which are flushable.  Safe for septic systems.  Just in case these shortages last into the Summer Months.

The frozen vegetables coolers were all empty.  Daughter shops those coolers for her lunches.  I got the last one of several items in other areas.  So, if I hadn't gone early- I would have been disappointed.  Meat coolers were empty but perhaps people came and "panic shopped" yesterday??? I wasn't tempted to buy any meat.  And the awesome supply of bread at my store? - not anymore.

Parts of the Maine economy are set to "open" in June or July.  Just a few things and under the same rules as the grocery stores.  And masks.  On everyone.  Summer day camps for children (outdoors).  Golf.  But  six feet apart. Boating.  Drive ins for food.  Not inside. Take out for mixed drinks???? but you have to order food as well.  Nothing regarding the library re-opening.  But that is not so much of an issue now that the weather is warming up.  Husband can be outside doing "projects" and not feeling bored in the house.  And pretty soon we will be mowing the lawn every week for hours at a time. A friend of daughter has offered to let me borrow his complete set of Jane Austin.  I deferred until we see how it goes in June. But the offer sounds delightful.  This same guy friend came and helped us shovel the driveway in January.  Snow.

I am going to order a few yards of compost to be delivered.  Fill up my raised beds with it.  The fertilizer refills from Garden Box company have not arrived- will be four weeks on Friday.  So...I may have to grown everything down in the raised beds.  I've done it before but that was years ago. And I was younger back then.  Ha! And I could breath in hot weather.

Television is beginning to bore me to death.  I have been watched a Southern Cooking show on PBS- last night I finally watched episode one- Grits.  Or cooked grains eaten in the morning with unmentionable kinds of meats on top. Now, I have lived in the South and I have eaten my share of grits...but never with these things on top.  I like grits with my breakfast eggs.  I liked grits with the breakfast eggs and bacon our friend Leonard (rest his Soul) used to make us when we visited in Florida or North Carolina.  I baked scratch biscuits.  And made soup. And ironed everyone's clothing.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Daily Notes- April 28


Tuesday.  And I woke up to snow.  End of April snow.  It didn't stick but the chill is still in the air and the sky is dark.  Forbidding.  My robe diagram.  I haven't measured myself yet.  My widest part is my hips/thighs.  My shoulders narrow.  Peasant shaped body.  Sturdy.  Big ears.

I had selected two other images for here- today.  But deleted them.  I might just delete this also.  It's that kind of start to the day.  I woke up tired.  I might just do mending today- repetitive stitching. Nothing I need to think about too much. Or need to focus on too closely. And this auto correct thing here is making me crazy.  The internet changing my words.  Adding words I didn't type. And as the days go by, the internet becomes more and more "sticky"-  just adding the picture takes so much longer to add it and then to subtract it.

My eyes are tired.  Sticky. The house is dry. I was trying to order my inhaler over the phone today and couldn't read the numbers.  I had to hang up and find a pen and write the number LARGE on a post it and then call again.  Five days before my inhaler is empty.  We'll see if I get a refill by then.  Has it really been a full 30 days since that panic attack -- not being able to get a refill?????  And here we are again. I guess it will be like this every month.....

I deleted an entire paragraph on food/cooking.  This isn't a cooking blog.  It isn't a clothes washing blog either- I did two loads yesterday.

I spent an hour and possibly longer yesterday following a comment on a blog to a new to me blog and just going backwards thru posts and images.  I went, first of all, because the author of the blog lives in Maine.  Up north of me.  But she likes making books, India Flint, natural dyes, and she is making a robe along with Jude Hill.  It was an interesting few hours.  And she has no comments on any of the many posts (usually just an image).  I sat and looked at many images.  Some for a long time.  Soaking it all in.  All the beauty of the "making" of this woman.  She even found a nice copper pot to use in her eco-dye work.  At a second hand shop.  For years, doing this blog- and even to this day-- no comments.  Writing to herself- so she can remember.  I have a feel for that myself.

Daughter dropped off our package of toilet paper.  Four rolls of Scott (good for septic tanks). On the package it says in big red letters- four rolls = four weeks.  Public service announcement, I guess.

Husband has just finished the newspaper, breakfast and his word search puzzle.  He is thinking about taking a nap.  Because it is cold, wet and snowing--he will not be going out to do yard work.  He is playing games on his iPad.  I am going to layer the small 24 inch square cloth and baste it.  I said I was going to do that days ago but didn't.  Now I will.  My eyes are tired of reading.

What are you doing today?

Monday, April 27, 2020

Daily Notes- April 27th


Woke up to rain.  It will likely rain all day.  Which is good for the grass as the Trugreen guy was just here a few days ago doing a fertilizer treatment.  Rain is better than snow. In April.

I have been reading way too many time travel romances.  I woke up this morning from a dream about going to the postoffice and dropping a letter and a guy in chain mail picked it up for me. That got my attention. I was also reminded that in those days the men (especially in old France) were about 5 feet tall.  Not 6 foot 3 like in the books. But it was a shock just the same. Daughter is going to ask around to see if any of her bookish friends have any Jane Austin. For me.  I might need to start collecting books for the continuing Pandemic as it goes into the Summer months.

Breakfast and bill paying is over (plus a letter for Charlie) so now I have to think of something else to do.  Not gardening as it's cold and wet outside.  Not Dairy Queen as it's cold and wet.  Making soup sounds about right.  Husband finished off the eggplant yesterday for supper (!!!)  So.....all the leftovers are gone (one serving of meatballs in the freezer).  I don't think he will be interested in soup as he just finished the last jar of chicken soup the night before last.  I might just make another pot of Pantry Soup.  It's easy and I love it.  I can fry Chinese Pot Stickers for G today. Or we could have baked beans and grilled cheese sandwiches.

I sewed the two masks for my son and there was no swearing.  I stood with the supplies for a good amount of Time, after, to see if I had any desire to make more.  I did not.  There is something about the making that is far from calming to my inner self.  I think if I had a fellow sewer here......and I did the first half and the other sewer did the second half- well, that would be fine.  I like the cutting and folding etc.  The turned double quarter inch- not so much. Not on my machine.  I could feel the Bernina thinking about having an ugly hissy fit as I made the last turn and topstitch.  I pushed the power button to OFF..  I think the machine is wanting me to use matching colored threads and a variety of  bobbins with the same thread.  So, I could go insane. There is always this hesitation as I start sewing with plain white thread- like the machine is gagging.

The machine has been a good companion thru all the different things I have asked it to do like free motion with clear thread and metallics.  I think the things I am doing now are too boring.  Which might be why it fusses.  Also, I hardly sew much any more so it might be getting sticky from lack of attention and dust. I did oil it and the bobbin did fall out and it was days and days before I could get all the pieces back inside in the correct order.  Working blind.  With bifocals.

I may layer that small square cloth with batting and back and baste it on the kitchen island.  See how that goes.  I enjoy doing that.  Would always be the ONE to do the layer and baste for Charity Quilts.  Others would then quilt them.  Give them back so I could do the binding.  I can just imagine the old Quilting Group making masks in a production line.  That would be amazing. What will you do today?

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Daily Notes- April- 26


Secondary Bookshelf for Reading as the Pandemic Continues (Braiding Sweetgrass is on another shelf with Wolf Hall and Bringing up the Bodies.. My son in California (who has been in quarantine for two weeks longer than Maine) says his employer does not expect they will return to the office until "sometime in June".  If Maine follows these guidelines- we will be sheltering in place well into July.  Articles in the Sunday paper assume we will not be opening hotels etc to Summer Tourists here in Maine this year.  Our major income source and Major Irritation. If Tourists come they have to self quarantine for two weeks or more upon arrival- no grocery shopping etc.  And No restaurants are open.  They will need to bring their own food, entertainment and toilet paper with them.  No beach walks. No boating. No crowding up the Main Street with their cars.

Maine- the Way Life Should Be.

Husband decided he was very interested in eating a large serving of my eggplant last evening after finishing work on the trailer.  And today he wants to eat the remaining eggplant.  Good Enough.  Saves me from having to cook. And, lets not talk about him actually eating a mostly vegetarian meal- okay???  I guess I was so startled that I forgot to eat dinner myself and woke up starving.  Well, not really.

And my hair?  It's way out of control and no matter how I try and press it down- it gets poofier each day.  And it's thick and curly and very very WHITE. (when it's very short- it doesn't look so WHITE)  Eventually it will have enough length so I can control it with clips.  I just need to buy some.  Clips.  I thought about trying to cut my own hair-- but realized that was just the craziest thing I have ever thought to do. I can also dig some "product" out of the cupboard and if I put enough in--- the poof will settle down.  Flatten the Poof.  I had wondered about my hair as I got older- thinking it would get thinner and less curly.  I was wrong.

My son texted me and was asking about the masks I said I was making and sending.  I forgot.
I feel just terrible about it.  I forgot.  So right after this I am going to cut out two masks for him and have them ready to mail at the post office tomorrow morning.  I just feel like the worst mother in the world right now. It will take most of today for me to try and get over that.

I tried to not mention food in the post today.  But the eggplant .......well.  I tried.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Daily Notes- April 25th


I began this cloth many many years ago.  When I was a member of a quilt chapter (even President of it) and also a member of a small sewing group of six.  The other members of the this small group enjoyed all things Civil War.  The patterns and the cloth.  I think this was made during those chat and stitch evenings. It never got any larger- I ran out of most of the fabrics- especially that peach fabric. And possibly the brown also.  I have plenty of the background fabric and it's sister in pale pink.

Right now, with the addition yesterday, of the pale pink border- it measures 23 inches square.  Unless I was to make three more of these- which is really not ever going to happen- this is finished.  I can layer it and hand quilt it.  I used to love hand quilting. Does anyone hand quilt anymore???

Husband is finishing up his breakfast and will return to working on replacing the bottom of his pull behind trailer.  The bottom had rotted out. He had enough wood in the garage for this project but did have to make a trip to a building supply to get bolts.  He wore his mask and was shocked at how few people in the store had masks or were distancing.  Then he might continue cutting down dead trees on the west side of the house.  We used the marker and found that most of it is our property.

I might go out and use my old chef's knife to cut more segments of the sedum ground cover and add them to existing beds.  I might even divide the large helianthus into three plants and move that perennial to a new area.  Everything is slow to flower.  Birdbath water is frozen every morning and does not thaw until 2 or 3 pm.  Spring comes late to Maine and sometimes not at all.

Daughter looked at my little milk jug greenhouses yesterday when she stopped by.  60% of the seeds have germinated.  The ones that haven't are the most recently planted ones.  The parsley- very first bottle I seeded- is almost ready to be set out.  I also potted up some pansies.  So far, no deer have come to eat the pansies.  They eat them every single time I buy and plant them.  I look forward to the tiny wild violas that grow in the fenced garden.

Well, that's about it for today.  I wish it was as warm as it it looks outside.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Daily Notes- April 24- Six Weeks


Six Weeks.  Of Quarantine.  That is sort of boggling my mind.  Six Weeks.  If someone had told me that first weekend that I would be here today- six weeks into this- I would have had a serious hissy fit. I was feeling panicked that first weekend.  Now......not so much. I'm used to it.

Daughter buys gas with cash not credit card and so...has to go in to pay.  Says the gas station
/convenience store has rolls of toilet paper for 99 cents each.  One stop shopping?  Gas, pizza, beer, cigarettes and one roll of toilet paper. America- the land of enchantment.

So.......back to ME!  I cleared that lower shelf of all things "business" and started bringing down fabric.  There is so much more upstairs, but this is what came down yesterday.  I can see there is "room" in the middle for more cloth so will venture upstairs to find more.  The far right stack has mostly blues- SKY.  I want to make houses and have blue skies. Homes.  I want to make Homes. Where the heart lives.  That basket can be moved and the space it's taking up can have two stacks of fabric.  That middle stack?  Needs additional cloth.  Under that lower shelf is open space.  Filled right now with baskets of "ready for the dye" cloth.  Linen shirts and mordanted white cotton.

You would think----with all this Time on my hands--that I would be doing plant or rust based dye experiments. I am not.  The freezer on the porch is filled with avocado pits.  Bags of them from my friend who eats one a day.  Another friend is dropping off bits and pieces of rusting metal.  I still have black walnuts.  The little crock pot is ready to go.  I even have a commercial indigo dye kit. I now have a dedicated large kettle for steaming.  And a large ball of string.  No- I spend my time looking at those 8 hand pieced works pinned to the wall.  Thinking.  Considering.  How large do I want them to be? Would any of them work with any of the others?  What do they need if they were to grow larger?
What would happen if I sliced them in half like I did to one of them.  In half, with something new made to be added in between the two halves.

And I still haven't measured myself for the making of a Boro Robe with Jude of Spirit Cloth.  I am not sure I want to (or will) wear patchwork.  I wear very plain clothing.  I wear clothing the way people wear uniforms.  I always look the same.  But I might use the pattern making technique to make a new white shirt.  Like all my others.  Perhaps with different kinds of white. I am still considering.

I am also considering making binding and finishing the king sized quilt I made.  It's taking up space on the very top shelf of the Small Closet in my sewing room.  And it would be a hand sewing project turning and hand sewing the binding to the quilt.  Something for weeks 9, 10, 11.  Its a lot of binding for a king sized quilt.  And I have to think about how to make it.

Other than avocado pits- no mention of food today.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Daily Notes- April 23- Sunshine


Confetti Cookies.  It was slow day yesterday.  So much news regarding the Virus and blood clots.  People might not be dying of the Virus itself but the secondary thing- the making of blood clots.  Not being able to breathe due to clots in the lungs.  This is more worrisome than a fever and cough.  I have trouble just breathing if it's too cold, humid, dusty or whatever.

My Primary Care doctor went before the Town Council last night and asked that people Working in the supermarkets, etc wear masks.  And that ALL in the stores- wear masks.  Everyone.  The workers have not been masked.  They are...... since this morning.  My Doctor.

My interest today is in taking more of the "office" things out of my little cloth closet.  Bringing things down from the Attic to have on the shelves in the Little Closet-  Very small space.  Where to put the things I take out?  No Goodwill drop off anymore.  I will, I think, carry things up into the Garage Attic. So many Attics. Four.  I have to be careful as steps are narrow.  But if I go straight across and not take stairs- it should be okay.  I have a long wire shelf in the guest room closet.  I will see if it fits in the Little Closet. Husband might help attach shelf to the walls (without creating a "big deal").

I brought down colorful florals.  I will go back and see if there are more like that.  It's been a long time since I used them.  One looks very much like the Virus.  Might be used to make a mask.

I thought I would make a suggestion if any Readers here were at loose ends with nothing to read. Over in the side section there are the early years of this blog- I spent hours editing and writing long essays.  Long stories.  You might find them interesting to read.  They are not like the Daily Notes I write now.  I was writing just to enjoy telling a story-and hardly anyone has ever read those posts.

Well, I am excited to have a project.  And anxious to bring more fabric down into to my workspace- and take more office furniture out.  The room is getting very very crowded.  Next I am taking my gift wrapping paper upstairs and opening up floor space in the closet for the baskets of linen shirts I have collected at Goodwill.  I will find a new home for the first aid supplies as well.

At some point I will ask husband if we can empty his two bookcases.  But not until the Virus is over.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Daily Notes- April 22- Earth Day


This Blue Exercise Ball will have to sub for the Blue Planet on today's post.  And the Good News that the atmosphere is less polluted after only the 40 or more days of quarantine. I love seeing the empty highways.  I love the quiet overhead.  No airplanes.

I hardly think most travelers will put up with the sardine can seating on planes anymore- I won't.  I think, in order to do business the airlines are going to have to change their business plan. And I can't see myself EVER going on a cruise.  And I am rethinking retirement communities.

 My grocery shopping today was lovely.  Over 50% of the people in the store had on masks. I avoided the ones who didn't have them.  There was no line getting in and the store had nearly everything on my list.  There was flour on the shelf. I bought one bag thinking there might be a friend or neighbor needing a bag.  There was no toilet paper.  I push my cart to that aisle first thing on my weekly visits.  They had hand sanitizer. Small bottles- I got 2.  Husband can carry one in his pocket.

Daughter visited yesterday to see if we had cement edging pieces for her expanding flower beds.  She gave up on grass years ago and has a nice small yard full of  clover (she hates mowing).  She found exactly what she wanted in the way of edging and her father broke some longer segments into small ones so she could do more curves.  Sun is shining today so G will be outside doing stuff.

I planted up an additional 7 milk jugs with tomato seeds.  All kinds of varieties of tomatoes.  Several different kinds of cherry tomatoes. One very interesting Italian tomato.  This summer I am freezing tomatoes whole in small packages.  Skin, seeds and all.  Using them frozen for soups etc.  Instead of canned.

I also sat and gave thought to the robe project on Spirit Cloth and was thinking the rectangles of the robe were pretty close to the design of my favorite camp shirts.  I could imagine cutting a piece of linen into the shape and making a new camp shirt.  Even the collar is just a long rectangle.  I had been overthinking it.  And the robe diagrams on Jude's blog- opened my eyes to how simple it actually would be.  How one thing leads to another.  A single line of thought and design........

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Daily Notes- April 21


Random things with a patchwork look to them.  The large bottle, drinks carton.  So many things are changing around here with the staying at home thing.  I'm thinking as we work our way into warmer weather --perhaps a daily afternoon cocktail out on the back steps should be added to the day's activities.  The front steps would be nicer but the front faces North and it will be months before its warm out there.  July.

The past few days I have been feeling tired and sleepy.  My eyes feel sticky and I have added gel drops to them but it hardly helps.  Second cup of coffee.

Summer Music Theater has cancelled the Season.  Refusing to refund season tickets.  Say they have "already spent the money".  Well, isn't that "too bad, so sad".  We should just "use as a deduction on our taxes".  I wrote them a very short and to the point letter.

We did take out last night for dinner.  And the Dairy Queen is open.  So, we are planning on ice cream today- even though it's 41 degrees. Three days of rain in our Future so today is the only possible day for ice cream.

I made the cookie dough (delicious raw) yesterday and will bake the cookies today.  Once baked, they hold little appeal to me.  But they are very carnival-like with all the Sprinkles.

My second cup of coffee.

I have no path to follow today.  Nothing urgently in need of doing.  No hand sewing calling to me. No load of washing to be done. Husband has found a new puzzle to do.  He can work in the yard today. Next three days will be cold and steady rain- or so the forecast says-so he will have to remain in the house.

Maine's Virus trajectory flattened and is now heading down slowly.  875 confirmed cases- 426 active right now, 414 have recovered (good news) and 35 have died.  I'd say we are doing a great job of staying away from each other.  But I might need to figure out how to order books on the internet.

Dr Fauci said he is amazed at how easily the virus is transferred by human to human contact.  He has never seen anything like it.  Now that is reason enough to stay at home.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Daily Notes- April 20th


Somewhere on the internet, I read that if you take a bunch of bananas apart they will last longer- not all ripen at once.  These have been on the counter for 5 days now and still looking good.  Not over ripe. tiny black fruit things flying around- landing in our coffee.

Today is my first day with store brand decaf.  Better than the Folger's. And on the side of the jar- instructions for making iced coffee.  Because these are "instant" crystals. We'll see.

Store brand oatmeal was like eating PASTE.  It's in the compost pile now.  I know Deb- you could have used it for the dye works.

Years ago- in reality- I had brought home a ground cover sedum that is lime green in Summer and orange lime in Fall. I planted it in one of the unused raised beds because I didn't have Time to think about where to actually plant it...  It flourished.  And went from a 6 inch circle to a 3 foot circle of lush growth.  Roots are shallow so I was able to use my old chef's knife to cut 12 inch segments and carry them to new homes.  Edging some of the beds behind the house and near the newly pruned Mugo Pine.  In the back Peony bed, I got two placed correctly (to my eye) but the third is too far back from the edge- so today I will re- plant it closer to the edge of the bed.  And consider cutting two more- always uneven numbers in plantings.  Always.  Uneven.  More pleasing to the human eye. When in doubt- only one.  All groupings- uneven numbers.  Three is actually a perfect group. In plants.

I learned from the psychologist down the street that three is never a good number when having children.  I was one of three.  It's the truth.  Always, always, two with one on the outside feeling abandoned.

I never got around to making the cookies yesterday.  Yesterday, I was very very tired.  Like I had no surplus to get me to do anything.  So I went to bed early.  And fell asleep.  I recollected dreams as I woke but can't remember them now- but they were gentle dreams.  Not sad or troubled.  I am still vaguely tired.  But the anxiety I felt in the early days of the Virus is gone.

I have noticed few- if any delivery trucks in the past week.  My neighbors are active on line purchasers.  At Christmas they had two and three deliveries per day. The post office still comes each day.  My fertilizer for the Grow Boxes hasn't come yet but G says it might take 10 days to 2 weeks.

My Gardening/Seed buddy has just started her tomato seeds so today I will plant my own seeds in the little milk jug greenhouses.  Then I will  have an even two dozen containers out on the back deck.  The tiny doll house sized limes continue to very slowly increase in size on the lime bush in the house.  The leaves on the Fig Tree in the Vestibule increase in size.  I leave the back door open so the tree is getting used to outdoor temps during the day.  Small Breva (first growth) figs- just 5- are slowly growing.  My Rosemary plant made it thru winter still green and will soon be repotted and out on the deck.  The Chive plants out in the garden and in the landscaping near the deck- are sending up new shoots. It's all good.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Daily Notes- April 19th


One Jude Robe to stitch and one Robe to just wear.  In the linen closet- top shelf- Bark Cloth from the "Buying All Things Depression" Era.  I wouldn't sew things to the Bark Cloth. Just enjoy it as is. And (Dee) I did reject the linen sheet because I worried about difficulty hand sewing. But linen is easier than commercial tight weaves. But still, why buy trouble.

Fewer and fewer people coming to read the blog these days.  Half.  Yesterday I wrote email letters to friends and neighbors on my street and close by.  They replied right away- enjoying having a little chat and a laugh or two. I had wanted to send cards out for Easter but they were all gone by the time I went looking at the Hallmark selection at the grocery store.

 I spend some time each day on reading about what to cook when "blank" is all you have.  A feed I get on Sunday's had a few interesting ideas and today's Sunday paper had a wonderful chef who was open to people sending a list of what they had to cook with- and he gave them a recipe that he made up.  He has stopped doing this as he said it "used up his entire day".  Alton Brown has Quarantine Kitchen on U-tube if you are interested.  He is using what they have in the fridge.  Alton spends time smelling things in the fridge and deciding if he'll eat it or not.  He left his favorite scale on the center part of his stove- it's a griddle- and it was on.  Melted.  And he can never find tools in the junky drawer.  Just like home- and it is his home.

My bread was not perfect but it was still good enough to eat.  This morning I had toast with strawberry rhubarb jam. I also started the day with a long hot shower.  I smell good.  When I worked at the greenhouse for those ten years- coming home and taking a long hot shower was the highpoint of my days. Being clean (I got incredibly dirty at work).  Smelling good.  Which is odd because everything I use is unscented.  I might just be not smelling bad???

I used up the last of the Folger's Decaf and next up is the Store Brand.  I am apprehensive. But I was surprised that the store brand (all that was available) of diced canned tomatoes was way better than the name brands. Really nice color and flavor.  Best Pantry Soup Ever.  So far.

Well, those Confetti Cookies using an entire container of Sprinkles are not going to make themselves.
I made them around Valentine's Day for G after seeing them on DebL's blog.  Very very sweet.  Very. G wants them.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Daily Notes- April 18th


Baking No Knead Bread.  Having some difficulty with the Gold Medal Flour as it's not my usual  King Arthur.  Too soft.  Next time I will weigh the flour and not scoop.  It's cooling on the counter now and not pretty enough to take a picture.  But it's bread.  And it looks crusty.

I am thinking I might venture into a health food store to see if they have wheat berries.  I have the dry attachment for the VitaMix and can grind grain into flour.   I know wheat berries get rancid FAST so most stores probably do not stock them.  Perhaps they carry Maine Grains. They make superb flour. We have local flour and oats.  Very expensive but quite tasty.

Texting with our son last night- he had wanted to make biscuits but couldn't find any baking powder  or baking soda in the stores he goes to in California. You can make baking powder with cornstarch (?) and cream of tartar but he didn't have those things either.  Or is it baking soda and cream of tartar?

We are slipping into "flexible time" here in week five of quarantine.  Breakfast anywhere from 8 to noon (we have nowhere to be).  Lunch at 4 or 5 pm or later.  Supper- usually we forget about it and have a snack.  Cooking?  I am making soup mostly but we ARE enjoying the spaghetti and meatballs.  And I still have that very small quarter of a ham in the fridge.  Still sealed in it's packaging so- indefinitely available.  Husband has asked me to bake cookies. The ones that use up an entire large tub of sprinkles.

Dark today.  Threat of rain.  Hard to say if it will or won't.  He's going out to work in the garden. Clean out the birdbath.

Found an old vintage red linen tablecloth in the Magic Attic to use to make a "large cloth" robe or jacket for Jude Hill's new class on the internet.  Now need to measure myself.  Decide just how to make cuts so the jacket is lovely and wearable.  It will have additions appliquéd to it as it grows into itself.  I could have used a white linen twin top sheet as well.  But the red has some "weight" to it. Like a nice hug.  I think that will feel good.

So.....the news that The Man Who Doesn't Know How To Be President is inciting his followers to mingle in public (crowds) and not wear masks because he is anxious to have rallies without public distancing.  He wants the people to experience the "flavor" of the rallies.  Experience The Virus.
Part of me is screaming NO!!!  The other part says- people only learn from their mistakes.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Daily Notes- April 17th


I slept later than usual (was reading until 1am).  Then dressed and out for my weekly shopping trip.  Scored Dove ice cream bars (swooning as my store has NEVER carried them before today) and two containers of  Sprinkles.  G is asking for Sprinkle Cookies (Deb!!).  And I selected a bottle of Balsamic Glaze to drizzle on my stacked eggplant and fresh mozzarella.

The aisles at the grocery are labelled very clearly in BIG LETTERS- enter only or exit only.  We are supposed to go one way- like a long snake.. So many going every which way and hard to be 6 feet away. So I just adjusted my expectations (waited for them to be gone) and was happy to be wearing my gloves and mask.

90% had on a mask.  I stayed away from the ones who did not--mostly young people--who looked very confused by everything.  Didn't have to wait outside in line.  So panic shopping might be tapering off.  No toilet paper.  No fig jam.  They did have 12 boxes of store brand kleenex.  Don't flush kleenex.  It doesn't dissolve.  Use it and bag it-!!!!!  My public service announcement.

I got Tylenol for Arthritis.  It says it's good for tooth pain and so far- I only took one pill not two-- my jaw is not aching.  Still making noise but not as much. Good enough.

I bought radishes and two broccoli "crowns" and ate a few of the radishes- so crisp and delicious- I was wishing I had bought MORE. I was craving crisp fresh veggies.

In answer to Deb's question in the comments- the meatballs and marinara-- so so fine!!!.  And the best part wasn't the food itself.  It was the 60's rock and roll I danced to while making the food.  Only one in the house, so got the volume WAY UP and just had a really good time.  Was having flash backs of college and the music in the hallways before it was Time To Study.

Picture at the top is my vintage washer dryer.  I had to do a load of gardening clothing G wore yesterday.  If you look close- a little 2 is in red on the panel.  This is the spot where things go wrong if I don't watch.  So I watch and jump up if the water fills overlong.  And manually make it move to rinse and spin.  Better than the big mop up of gallons of water on the floors.

Oh....I bought a pair of socks at the grocery store.  They are in the washer.  They are not wool.  I am waiting to see what they are like after washing and drying and if they are good- I will buy more.  The grocery has them in brown (ones I got) and black.  I am NOT getting my hopes up until they come out of the dryer. Husband says they will all be gone when I return next Thursday.  That's okay. It will take time to find out of they are good socks.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Daily Notes-April 16th


I have mentioned that about ten cloth collages are on the wall across from my place at the dining table. And that I look at them often.  Contemplating.  This particular one wasn't working so I took it down and removed a peach colored strip.  Then cut right down the center and turned one half  upside down and sewed them back together.  Then added green on the right edge.  Instead of a quarter inch. I turned one side under and appliquéd the edge.  More "organic".  Easier as well.

G had a doctor's appointment (wellness check) on the phone this morning.  Next time his doctor will attempt a video call.  Before the call we worked on a few things G could talk about- I wrote them down and he worked his way through all of them. The doctor would like him to be taking his blood pressure but he no longer has a machine for that here in the house.  They sent him home from hospital with one after open heart surgery a few years ago.  But it stopped working.  We can ask his heart doctor to prescribe a new machine?

My Walking Buddy (we no longer walk but do meet for coffee and a stroll around Town) dropped off a bag of books for me to read. And this morning reported that People Plus, an organization for folks over 65, had decided to place a little something outside their doors with books, sanitizer etc.  People had been mentioning how sad it was the library was closed and they had nothing to read.  My friend said if I had books to donate- she would swing by to pick up.  A very good idea to provide reading material. I'm sure one of the guys will be building something nice and sturdy. Goodwill always had a very good selection of books and now that Goodwill is closed- that source of reading material is gone and the library will not be re-opening any time soon.

I have stopped watching any televised messages etc by the Man Who Doesn't Know How To Be President.  I am feeling much happier.

I made spaghetti and meatballs yesterday and fried my eggplant.  I listened to Golden Rock and Roll from the 50's  and 60's.  There was dancing as I mixed and cooked.  So fine.

I don't have any of the thick Balsamic "drizzle" that restaurants use but I am thinking if I slowly reduce some Balsamic vinegar (I have lots of that) in a saucepan - I can achieve something thick and concentrated to drizzle over slices of eggplant stacked with fresh mozzarella and basil leaves. I'm going to search the pantry once more to see if a small bottle of "drizzle" isn't hiding in there.

I ran out of bread crumbs.  I had Stove Top.  So I buzzed it in the food processor and used it with added oregano.  The flavor is a bit strange but-- it's still okay.  Pandemic Pantry.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Daily Notes- April 15th


How does my Garden Grow.  The top two rows were already started in March.  The next two rows have been added to- even yesterday.  The older ones- mostly have seeds sprouted and one or two are showing secondary leaves.  I cannot plant root vegetables in these containers.  They do not appreciate having their root tips touched.  And I have not started my tomatoes.  I did start a container of green pepper seeds even though I read that it is too late.  My garden is hardly ready.  It is still very cold at night here in Maine.  The Tundra.

My citrus plant- in the house- has very tiny limes growing.  My husband says not to get too excited. But I am pretty excited.  They are tiny but look "like themselves" as they look like very tiny doll house sized limes.  My Christmas Gift Coffee plant- is recovering from it's freeze in the vestibule prior to Christmas Day.  I even gave it a spray with some liquid fertilizer.  And then re- thought that.  But all it's leaves are green and shiny.  The Fig Tree in the vestibule is getting a daily shower of mist. Still too chilly out on the deck for it.  My avocado pit- wrapped in a damp towel in a plastic bag on a sunny window sill has not sent out the root yet.  But the pit has split and I can see the root.

These "growing" things help me to see that Life Goes On.

The Governor of Maine has spoken.  We "stay at home" until the end of May.  The 31st of May. No matter what the President says, the Governor has spoken.  We are not opening up for business until the end of May.  Suddenly, we have more new cases - most in Senior Living environments-- which was always anticipated.

Today I am making meatballs in marinara sauce (in fact, right after I push publish).  And I am frying my slices of breaded eggplant.  Husband may actually eat some of both if I layer the eggplant with enough cheese and marinara. I tend to eat the eggplant as I fry it.  After the fried slices cool off or ice cold from the fridge.

I have already done two loads of laundry. Husband has been gardening (weeding) each day and I have to keep up with all the dirty gardening clothing.  I have promised him a haircut and he rushes out to the garden. I brought in my father's haircutting case.  Lovely sharp scissors.  Even a cotton drape to cover the "customer" while his hair is cut.  I am excited to give it a shot- husband is not so excited. I have the impression my dad cut hair for many of his older roller skating friends.

I went out yesterday and checked on my rhubarb plants- always so slow to wake up (I will have to send an email to my friend Patty for stalks of her rhubarb).  I uncovered my rhubarb and gave them a good side dressing of mushroom compost.  Lovely stuff.  I also moved a few small perennials out of the raised beds and tucked them into the front of the house beds.  Better to see them.  Columbines.  Pretty blue flowers. The Sun is shining today. a better frame of mind.  And two separate friends left brown paper bags of books on the front porch this morning.  I have cloth, paper and paints, books and cooking.  My days are filled with good things and occupations.  I can make it to the end of May.  I can. I will.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Daily Notes- April 14th


Thinking about an appliqué leaf on this one.  Not sure of where to put it.  So I left the paper pattern there on the left with a pin.  Added grape dyed cloth to the bottom and right.  Wrinkled.  I haven't been tempted- at all- to press with a hot iron. so...not like me.

I was out early- to the grocery (senior hours) so G could have yogurt with his breakfast (I actually do care about him).  No line.  They were still counting and hadn't reached 70 as yet.  I found boxed brownie mix.  Remembered to buy the eggplant.  Got ham, turkey and cheese for G.  Not the extremely thin stuff he likes- but as I told him, gently, he is going to have to "try new things" during this period of crisis.  If he refuses- I'll eat the ham and Swiss.  The turkey? no.

I got down on the floor (at the grocery) to pull all the oatmeal forward.  And bought one for myself.  The store was out of my usual Lipton teabags so I had to look and decide which "new" brand I would try out. Tetley.   "try new things" for me also.

I also purchased a 99.9% disinfectant spray (citron) in the METHOD brand that I like.  I sprayed and cleaned the sink, stove and counters.  Hardly any scent- which is why I like that brand.  Scent gives me a headache.  Migraine.

I remembered to buy an eggplant.  It is sliced and salted and in the fridge.  I also purchased some ground beef for meatballs.  DebL said I had to.  She Who Must Be Obeyed. Just joking.  She knows I love meatballs and marinara.

I made huge pot of chicken soup for G.  It was cold and dark yesterday.  He appreciated eating soup. Myself- I was reading and at around 9 or 10 pm realized I hadn't eaten much besides some cheese.  Wasn't hungry.

On the news they were talking about a vaccine for this virus and talked about the polio vaccines.  I am old enough to remember both of the ones they "tried out" on us in elementary school.  The liquid one and then the shot.  My brother was on the couch at home in those days- unable to walk.  So, that period of Time is pretty much etched in my mind.  He got better.  They are thinking of using the older versions of polio vaccine on this virus. Not the newer ones. They had a scientist explain the reasoning but it was after 10pm and I was too tired to follow the thread.

I have the right book to read this Time- actually Margaret.  Yesterday's was a fun read.  So, until it's Time to bread and fry the eggplant- I am going to do some laundry.  Have a good day, any of you visiting here.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Daily Notes- April 13th


All of this was covered in heavy, very wet snow two days ago.  The daffodils were making a great effort to stand again and hold up their flowers.  But.....Mother Nature had other plans and it is raining hard today and it's cold.  The house is dark and cold.  I have all the lamps turned on but it hardly makes a difference.

Perhaps the Earth itself is trying to wash away the virus?

I finished my book- the ending always makes me cry.  I have another ready.  Margaret.  Sturdy enough to use a broadsword.  The interesting thing about these books of mine- read, over and over again- they show no wear.  The spine is not cracked.  They do not fall open.  They look to have never been read at all.  I should go online and see if this author has written any new books which I do not know about.  That would make my life complicated- as I have no experience with the new way to buy books- on the internet.  Only from a bookstore.  I am really past my "use by" date.

We had Sunday Pizza.  It was good.  We even found a very old football game to watch as we ate it. We have no idea how old but Tony Roma was playing.  And not well at all.  So we switched to soccer.  USA vs Ecuador.  Then we retired to the couch to read our books.  I think I will open my large bottle of wine today.  Lambrusco.  I am peasant stock.  Nothing fancy even though I own and enjoy the very good wine in bottles from Europe.

G is eating his last yogurt and has no cheese to roll up with his ham and turkey.  And to fix that one of us will have to stand in line at the grocery waiting for our turn to go inside and shop.  I have a very nice raincoat and umbrella so I don't really mind doing it.  I just checked the fridge for cheese and I have somehow purchased three rolls of fresh mozzarella.  What to do with it?

So, on this very very dark and wet Monday- I am going to troll the internet for books and recipes.
And then read my book.  I might make a mozzarella frittata.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Daily Notes- April 12- Happy Easter


The Pandemic Sloth of Maine-  Just hanging out at home.  Today's paper- the fully loaded Sunday with more than 2 sections.  The Food section is always my favorite- but during the pandemic, the food people are writing things that just irritate me.   The Vegan writer was all about making burritos, tacos and  burgers.  She did make her family one soup this week.  No pasta.  Making food items that are usually made with "meat" makes me sort of crazy.  Make vegetables!!!!! Black bean and sweet potato burgers.  Homemade not from the Whole Foods freezer section. I'm starting to think she writes but can't actually cook.  Last Sunday a guy wrote about making bread (wonderful if you snagged any flour and yeast).  The egg person wrote about making a chocolate bourbon drink (containing egg).   Bourbon is not.

That's my rant for the day.   The egg columnist wrote about "stretching" a dozen eggs to cover a week's meals.  Eggs are hard to come by here in Maine.  I guess.  I buy Egg Beaters.  Eggs in the shell give me the willies.

I sorted my sock basket.  Of my favorite green (non wool) socks- I have three.  Yeah.  Three.  Of the black (men's cheap not wool) ones- I have four.  Of the Smart wool socks I have 300.  But I seem to have developed an allergy to wool socks (itch, hives and then red angry hives).  I do have 10 pairs of the black men's brand sock in an ankle high variety.  I also have some in the low cut variety that I wear with Crocs to my daughter's HORROR. "Did you go OUTSIDE like that??????"   Yes.  Every day.  I'm old, who cares?????

I woke up crying.  I had been thinking of writing about the 32 days in quarantine but realized it's been  almost one year and 32 days.  G and I sort of went into quarantine in March 2019 when Riley started being anxious about sleeping on his dog bed.  And one of us had to sleep on the couch with one foot on the dog's back while he shivered in fear, anxiety or pain.  We stayed home. Emotionally and physically exhausted. When he started being afraid to get in the car.  When we couldn't leave him home alone.  When we stopped going anywhere.

We had just started to go out for meals- usually lunch.  You know, without crying in public-that's the hard part to get past.  We had gone to three movies (I cried as soon as the lights went down and tried to stop by the time the credits started rolling- not about Riley- about the people in the movies).  Little Women, Star Wars,Yesterday. Coming attractions (one about a dog).  And I was excited to go see Emma. Looking forward to it but we missed out by a day.

So I am not writing about Quarantine.  I have a ball of store made pizza dough on the counter trying to reach room temp.  We'll have it later in the afternoon.  I just started one of my medieval romances- this one is terribly sad. Terribly sad.  But it's also one of my favorites. Iolanthe.

Because it's Easter I cracked open one of my tubs of dark chocolate caramels from Trader Joe's.  Won't last the day.  

I also measured out my instant coffee with a different spoon this morning and....quite the improvement. I think I will have a second cup.  The miniature daffodils are making a valiant effort to stand up after the heavy wet snow crushed them.  They were in full flower.  The taller ones are struggling.  The Hellebore are fine.  Hyacinths- my beloved dark blues- are struggling. Still 200K in households waiting for their electricity to be fixed from the heavy wet snow we had.  Help coming from Quebec Hydro.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Daily Notes- April 11


Two Days in a Row I have been surprised by mail.  For me.  This is the second day surprise.  Torn from a Better Homes and Garden magazine.  Mending.  And SOCKS.  Connie is the best internet friend/source- well, tied with Paula.  And then there's Dee with recipes.  And then Diane in Fla with masks. And there's Jude, Deb L, ml, Grace, Annie (who thought I knew how to make buttercream frosting without a recipe- which still makes me laugh), Diane in CA.......and so many others that my pandemic solitude brain can't conjure right now.   Oh, you save my Life some days.

The Sun has reappeared but it is a cold Sun.  The snow on the driveway has melted.  Not on the lawn or the daffodils.  I check even before I make coffee and oatmeal.

I sorted out my sock basket this morning.  Finding the favorite socks to mend.  The magazine suggested a tennis ball for mending the socks.  I think I have one- safer than the light bulb. Unless, of course, Riley had his way with all the tennis balls we own and they are long gone.  I had to go back and change the verb tense.  Odd how it sneaks up on you....... sniff.  April 4th would have been his 13th birthday.

Pantry Soup was even more delicious this Time.  I took Time to chop and saute and measure and did not add salt, did add some red pepper flakes.   One of my onions from local farm had sprouted green at the top- so now it has it's own dish and water for it's roots.  Another is just beginning to sprout so I have to decide whether to use it for a recipe or let it make green shoots.

I am chopping a chocolate bar or two or three to make a pan of Brownies today.  And I need to make some sort of main dish item for G to eat.  He is saying no to most of my suggestions.  He is bored with home cooking no matter how tasty it is.  Eating out is ALWAYS better in his opinion.  No wonder I rarely cook anymore. There are Chinese Dumplings in the freezer- he'll eat those.  And I'll have soup.

I can eat the same grilled cheese sandwich for days on end and never care one way or the other...... I think both the children took after me.  Food isn't something we see as "entertainment".

Friday, April 10, 2020

Daily Notes- April 10


This image was in my email box this morning. From the Wild Seed Project here in Maine- getting us to try and grow Native plants.  Mostly, (the image here) because I love seed starting and because this is what is going on in my milk jugs out on the deck- covered in wet snow this morning.  Little tiny sprinkles of green. (my milk jugs are still closed not open like this) These native seeds like a more gritty soil mix which is why some the pots look grey.  Sand or grit for the medium and not soil.  These pots are all outdoors- started in December or January.  Outdoors.  Uncovered.  The way Mother Nature does it.

At around 9 pm the lights started flickering here.  The snow had continued to fall for hours and temps were flickering also- between 40 and 36.  So wet snow.  Heavy snow.  And husband and I headed out to shovel- push- snow around. Geez, it was heavy.  And I mentioned to G how happy and relieved I was to find the shovels still piled on top of hatch to the crawlspace.  Instead of having to crawl around down there.  He said he was happy he had procrastinated about putting them away properly. We gave up just before midnight.  And fell asleep right away.  Good sleeping.

70K are without power this morning.  We don't do proper tree removal here.  And heavy snow equals trees down, power lines down.  Simple math. Been here since 1991.  Nothing has changed.  Old, sick trees hanging over power lines.  Stupidity. (daughter just called reporting explosions and red in the sky last night as trees hit power lines in Town)

The news this morning- that while people are still dying we may be close to the plateau here in Maine with 342 cases right now (that's our high number).  The Virus curve could be flattening.  In California my son says 2 weeks.  In 2 weeks they will know out there, if theirs is flat.

I am going to be making soup today.  Dee's Pantry Soup.  It's my hands down favorite.

My daffodils had just started to open.  I was looking forward to their cheerful display.  Now they are crushed under 6 to 8 inches of heavy wet snow.  Deep Sadness.  Deep.  While I was shoveling the wet snow off the deck- sway from the beds of daffodils- I was sad.  They were my one ray of sunshine. Outdoors.  Here in the house- I am happy most of the Time.  Happy I am not sick. Happy none of you out there are sick.  It's good.  Let's keep it that way-okay?

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Daily Notes- April 9th


It's raining and dark and cold outside.  So my vegetables aren't as bright as I think they might be on a sunny day.  New Rules at the grocery.  Limit to number of people in the store at one Time.  I think they count the people when they open and from then on- "one out/one in".  And the line going in is long and it was windy, cold and raining.  Some Presidential Supporters were vocally abusive to the RULES.  We all stared them down.  They either shut up or left.   They didn't have on masks.  We did.
Masks make the "stare" better I think.

I forgot the eggplant. Remembered Ketchup!!!! Bought a small ham. They had gnocchi. G didn't put yogurt on the list.  I remembered the wine- but forgot the tonic for gin and tonics. Next week.  There's always next week. I bought Fritos.

No Tylenol to be found.  Entire section is bare.  Doctors on TV said take only Tylenol as Advil and Aleve complicate the VIRUS if you get it. Up on my tippy toes and stretching arm way way way back- two small bottles of Tylenol PM.  Good enough.

I did buy a fresh basil plant just for the gorgeous SMELL.  A Glorious smell on this day inside.  No gardening will be done.  I have the bare roots sitting in an inch of water is a tall drinking glass.

Only fresh paper and plastic right now with our groceries.  I get paper.  I can use it to make journals, drain fried foods or I can recycle it thru the shredder and into the compost.  I am always in need of dry (brown) to go into the mixture. I have mentioned my grandmother and father suffered terribly in the Great Depression? They influence my Life choices to this day. I collect glass jars and lids.

Daughter showed up while I was in line- asked if she could join me- I said no.  Found a sticky note on my car- "I love you".  Same to all of you out there. Yesterday 47 came to visit.  Brought such joy.

Well, re-reading what I have up top- evidence that Thursday Grocery Shopping is the HIGH POINT of my week, huh??? But this blog is a record of the way it goes- so I'll keep it.

Yesterday was the first day that I have felt exhausted by all of this.  I was up at around 4am yesterday morning and couldn't sleep.  So I read until G woke up and we had breakfast and all that.  Later we did some gardening and pruned the crab tree to the left of the front porch. Big heavy branch.  I think it was just allowing myself to feel despair.  To shed tears.  Give myself over to it for just the day.  Today, even with the darkness, the cold, the rain....I feel able.  Able to keep going.  Even to laugh. Be happy about very small things.  And a post it note on my car- I love you!

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Daily Notes- April 8


If you have nothing else to grow this Spring- no seeds, or bulbs etc---you can set the root end of celery, carrots, onions, fennel in water- just a half inch to one inch- as the bottom is the only part needing to be in water--and wait.  A sunny facing window would be prefect.  And because you are taking care- of so many things right now- this will be easy- just freshen the water every few days. Pour out the old and add new.  And wait.  My favorite is the end of a bunch of celery.  It starts making little celery leaves quickly.  Jude on Spirit Cloth has vegetable ends rooted and growing on her new deck. The photo above is from Food52.

I was cleaning out a drawer and found some seeds.  I still have a nice collection of half gallon empty plastic milk jugs.  I still have a quarter of the large bag of potting soil.  No problem to start a few more seeds- the tomatoes and peppers.  Out on the back deck five of the jugs have tiny seedlings- still with the seed leaves only (two tiny leaves) and none of the true leaves (ones that look like whatever it is you are growing) yet.

I made my masks with interfacing inside- very hot and sweaty inside the mask.  I don't think that is the correct way for it to be.   None of the vapor I was producing was evident on the outside.  So perhaps it is a good idea? As nothing can get inside either.  Any one out there have an opinion? And I am seeing folded thin wire and pipe cleaners (folded double) used for the nose piece- to press into the top of your nose to hold the mask in place.

I think the population has hit the wall so to speak.  Few blog posts.  No commenting.

Yesterday we pruned the Mugo Pine into a more flowing Japanese Garden shape.  Sort of like a real life sized Bonsai.  Now-- flat and moving right and left-- not up.  Under the north side is a stack of rocks.  Round one at the bottom and then a flat one (balanced) and then several small round ones in a row. A very heavily pruned rhododendron (over 30 years old and still only four feet tall but 10 feet wide- leaves and flowers touching the grass) next to the Mugo and the stacked rocks. To the other side a PeeGee (smaller) rhododendron relative which was pruned two years ago and now needs  works again.  But not until it blooms.  Gorgeous lavender.  I prune flowering shrubs after they bloom.

Husband has gone out to begin a new project in the yard.  He says there is "too much to get done" but I think he looks for jobs to do- to make the day go faster.

Finally, the scourge of leaf blowers have attacked the street I live on.  I don't know why.  The leaves in my yard were blown- (Riley and I hated every minute) by husband in the Fall- for hours.  And they are still where he sent them.  No need for any further leaf removal.  There are a ton of acorns embedded in the lawn.  Only a good rake will move them.

The book I am missing is Blood Of Roses by Marsha Canham. If any romance reader out there has it, I can pay postage, read it and then send it back promptly.

Only one library is Maine has a copy but all the libraries will be closed thru August.  I am assuming-- as they say the virus will be here into the Summer and beyond.  Here in Maine the Governor tells us the unvarnished truth.  Thru the Summer.  For the first wave.  Viruses are the gift that keeps on giving long after it has outworn it's welcome.

Thank you for visiting the blog and reading the Daily Notes.  No comments is okay- more than okay.

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Daily Notes- April 7th


Paddington sends his love to all of you!!  I bought him on my first European trip to England.  I was collecting bears and it was fun to carry this one home.  He has red rubber boots.

Yesterday I went out into the garden to help mulch the blueberries and give them fertilizer.  We were both very tired- in a good way-- after the work outside.  Enjoyed hot showers and hot soup for supper. Each day seems shorter than the day preceding.  I don't know why that is.  But it's a good thing.

G is out of soup and so am I so there will be some sort of cooking today.  I wish I had an eggplant. I would like eggplant parmigiana.  But shopping day is Thursday.  So we will wait.  I have eggs so I might make a frittata.  Not sure if G will eat that.  Pretty certain he won't. I am also wanting Brownies  but will have to look for a recipe.  I usually make a boxed brownie.  This will be today's "adventure". I didn't go to the farm stand.  I have enough of everything so getting more seemed...well, not right.

Paid bills today and ordered fertilizer packets for the Grow Boxes etc.  From Louisiana.  Hope they are still open for business.  I know that state is having a really hard time with the virus.

It was supposed to be a sunny day today but the clouds rolled in a day early.  And it feels chilly in the house when they are overhead. Every little while the Sun reappears.  We found a station on the very old tv that plays "light classical" music with no interruptions.  We had it on yesterday and again this morning while reading the paper.  Husband is still listening as he does his word search puzzles. I brought the tv back when we emptied my father's house in Ohio after he died.  Twelve years ago.

What would my father have made of this quarantine?  He would have started up the sewing machine and made masks for sure.  He could make anything.  Like so many who lived through the Great Depression.  He'd also have made a sour dough starter and been baking bread for himself and neighbors unless he couldn't find flour and that would have made him really mad.  And he would have been worried about me.  The old tv got me thinking of him.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Daily Notes--April 6th


My husband's mask.  Made from a reusable poly fabric grocery bag which is very very tightly woven. He read about it in an email from Popular Science.  He didn't like it because it needed "a nose thingy" and his glasses fogged up...   He went into his shop and found 6 paper masks ( inexpensive ordinary ones, not special ones) but they had a nice metal nose strip that I removed and inserted into the mask shown.  I also made the mask narrower.  Popular Science got the dimensions wrong.  And I made ties from batik and much narrower so easy for him to tie.  He LIKED it!!!

I was having no luck making a good mask until daughter sent a text that she was going to work wearing a bandana layered with a Swiffer dust cloth.  JUST NO!!!

I used one of the patterns I saw made (I watched like five times) and made a very nice mask from a lovely batik I found in the back of the closet.  And used the nose metal thing from a second paper mask.  I even started my car and drove to daughter's house.  It was my second attempt.  The first one wasn't good.  I lined the batik in daughter's mask with interfacing on one side of the cloth (before I folded it.  The first one had interfacing on the full length and when folded- double the interfacing.  Hard to breath.  And since I added the interfacing- no need for the pocket to add an addition layer.
And washable.   Diane is making me a mask in Florida.  Diane is a very nice person.

I raked all the nasty stuff out from under my blueberry bushes after the sewing and gave each plant a double "soup can" full of fertilizer.  Then I went out behind the garden and scooped bark mulch (the pile has been back there for two years now and is ready to be used as mulch.  I had to scrape the surface stuff because the pile itself is still frozen solid.  It's Maine.

So the blueberries have been raked, fed and blanketed with nice maple/pine mulch. They like acidic soil. We also trimmed off the really old branches.  Already budding up.  Always a nice start to gardening season- getting the blueberries fed and cleaned up.

Husband was out there cleaning up the beds and the paths.  We planted three tiny "evergreen trees" that we found in the woods a few years ago into one of the raised beds and they are now ready to be dug up and planted in the front yard.  It will be years and years before they are even waist high.  We planted a tiny pair of trees many years ago and they now tower over  us.  Real beauties.  We should have gotten in the habit of planting new tiny trees every few years.

I was reading the post over to check for mistakes and....those cheap little masks also have real skinny elastic ear things.  Elastic.  Need to think about that.

I just read book one and book three of a medival romance series by Marsha Canham.  Book two is missing from my little stack of books.  I am pissed.  The one with the blonde archer. I read the book. so where did it go????  Damn.

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Daily Notes- April 5th


Day 23.   After reading the Sunday paper, eating my daily bowl of oatmeal, coffee and banana- I walked to the kitchen and sorted out my dry goods jars.  Emptied my bag of flour (shared by a woman in the flour aisle that first weekend) into the flour jar (which was quite empty going into the pandemic), found my pizza dough recipe and my packet of yeast.  Measured, mixed and kneaded. Now it's in a greased bowl in the oven with the oven light on.  The light gives just enough warmth to the oven to help dough rise.  We're having pizza today.  Sunday Pizza.

On a day of the week better known for our visit to Goodwill.  Before.

I was outside yesterday afternoon and raked out the dead and winterized Hosta leaves under the crab tree.  And then I went to the front of the drive and raked leaves out of the bed out front with plants whose name I cannot remember right now.  I used a very small rake because it gets caught in the under growth less than a larger rake.  A larger one would do little to nothing in regard to cleaning out the old leaves. That area has, typical to my land, the worse soil in Maine.  Acidic sand.  No nutrients.  Nothing to hold water.  Nothing, really, to hold roots- which is why the trees get just so tall and then fall over.

Husband (studied Botany) just brought in a sample of the plants- we will look it up in a plant book but first he is looking for something to do with a car battery.  Which he has misplaced. I asked him to hand it to me if he finds it and uses it.  Then we will know where it is.  I'm thinking it might be too large to fit in my underwear drawer where everything else (he mis-places) is stored. Might  need to empty the next drawer down and fill it with his "important" things.

I am happy that I went looking for elastic again yesterday.  Finding my stamps (yeah!!!) and my box of stuff for dye-work.  Most is for mixing up a colored dye solution that can be stored in the fridge and used to paint the dye onto fabric.  This is something I learned how to do in a class and something that I want to do again.  It's a slow process.  But I am thinking it would give me a way to have swirling Van Gogh skies and other interesting things.

But I would need to wear a very good mask while mixing the dye into the solution.  A professional mask.  So dye mixing will wait until this pandemic is over.

My dear friend in Florida is making me a mask to wear.  I am still trying to make a good one (myself) from the many instructional videos on the internet.  So far- they "look" fine but do not "wear" fine. I am doing something wrong.  If my friend in Florida was here she would say- Joanne- this is in the wrong place or you cut this piece too wide or the pleats are this or that.- and then I would get it right.  But i just can't see the mistake myself.

But the pizza dough came out perfect.  I did that right.  

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Daily Notes- April 4th


FOUND.  In a place I would never in a million years have looked for them.  But in the search for quarter inch (or any size) elastic I moved some object on a shelf and "what to my wondering eyes did appear?"  The box with STAMPS written on the side way, way in the back of a shelf of picture frames..  My DYE supplies were right next to the STAMP box.  Some letters are missing.  And number 2.  Unless I used the 5 upside down.  Sounds like something I would do.  But not sure how that works?

See my Riley stamp right below the big circle?  I still tear up when I think of him.  Moving on......

We (I) was up really late finishing up my book.  And then we were both up very late this morning. G is outside doing cleanup things.  I have been watching the same "make your own mask" video the entire time between breakfast and go into the Attic to try and find elastic.  I did not.  A friend in Florida is senting me a picture of her mask-- no elastic.  So, I am going to clear off the cutting board table and cut up some batik.  Leave a pocket where I can add some sort of "liner".

Daughter is now enforcing the mask rule.  She really does not want to become an orphan.

The weather has gone from dark gray and wet to sunshine and blue skies.  Husband is out picking up all the tree branches that fell during the rain and wind.  I think I might go out and pick dead things off the shrubbery.

And making plans for Easter or Spring cards for all the neighbors addressed with my stamps.

I really need to start rotating some PROTEINS into our diet.  We are eating way too many carbs.  I watched Alton Brown make rice on it U-tube?  He also made chili-spiced saltine crackers on another episode.  AB has gotten quite annoying as the years have passed, but I could have gotten less interested as I got older.  But before we rotate in any proteins-- I have to send a search party into the freezer side of the find them.

Friday, April 03, 2020

Daily Notes- April 3


The view from outside the front door looking east.  This center island is supposed to be Japanese in design.  The Mungo Pine is getting a bit too tall.  I think some pruning in the center section will do the trick- on a day when my husband isn't around to say "no".  The sidewalk has a nice curve. Just under the roof line of the porch to the far right you can see the pussy willow catkins. All those trees you see in the background don't amount to much of anything.  Well, they do an excellent job of blocking the Sun.  And the horizon line.

And that's the light (ha) situation here in Maine at 11am.  Another wet and gloomy day. I have all the house lights on.  In order to see anything.  It seems like we just got up and already it's half passed eleven.  Where does the day go????

My husband sent me an article from Popular Science magazine regarding the making of face masks from the lightweight washable poly fabric grocery bags we are sometimes given or buy.  These masks would not be soft cotton but better filters of germs.  And they are able to be sanitized in boiling water for 10 minutes after each wearing and then air dried.  Double layers.  Also the little wire closure things we find on our produce in bags etc- makes a nice nose thingy.  Especially if plastic and not paper backed.  So that's my task for the day.  G has found a nice dark blue bag.  I did not find one for myself.  But I think husband has a pile of bags in the car that might hold one for me.

I had baked potatoes for supper again yesterday.  That will be the last time, for now, as I am out of sour cream.  I think I had purchased the baking potatoes to make gnocchi dumplings not baked potatoes.  At this point, there are enough potatoes to make dumplings.

I've decided G's next soup (after he finishes the chicken soup) will be tomato with little cheese dumplings.  And a swirl of cream.  I don't like it.  But he does.  I make the little dumplings just like my grandmother did.  Only I add cheese.

I have not baked anything and I had planned on using some of the ripe bananas in the freezer to make husband some banana bread.  I think I might look to see if I have dates and make myself some date nut bread.  The two of us never eat the same foods.  Well, hardly ever.  We both like brownies and apple cake.

I have to thank Paula for mentioning using a light bulb as a sub for the wooden sock mending tool. And for the news that I could un-twist yarn and use the separate strands.  But right now- I am going to be making husband his mask.  So we can follow guidelines to wear masks in public.  AND giving the cloth a test dip in boiling water FIRST to see if it melts.  The fabric is made from (recycled) plastic.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Daily Notes- April 2nd


I think I found the right background cloth for this one.  Looks very Corona Virus.  I was sorting things out of a mixed up box of cloth.  And this was at the bottom (I actually found a few missing pieces of cloth in that container) and I was sort of surprised by it.  No memory of owning this cloth. I have two others in different color ways (pink and blue).  Much less vibrant.  You all know I love dots. It's a real or false batik.  Very tight weave.

No hair cut this morning but, since we were in the neighborhood, we went to a different grocery store and I got a large container of oats for my daily oatmeal breakfast and the 1% lactose free milk that is good for me and my lipids.  I also got G some deli turkey- their deli was still functioning.  He is really enjoying his luncheon roll ups right now.  Cheese and meat.

Two days of dark, damp rainy cold weather.  We have the heat on but there is still a chill.  I haven't decided on my next mending project.  I would like to tackle socks-- the heels of my favorites have holes.  But I would need special sock yarn- very soft and thin.  And one of those wooden sock darning things.  I can remember my grandmother having one of those. She must have darned lots of socks in her lifetime.  She made almost all her own clothing.

 I found wonton wrappers so will move forward with the cupcake tin mini lasagnas.  Some for us and some for our daughter.  She was eating soup while talking to me on the phone- turmeric noodles.  I had seen them today at the new grocery.  Daughter says I would like them. No flour but they had masa.  I almost bought it.  But the bag was very large.

I paid bills this morning (I forgot to do it yesterday) and sent a letter to my penpal with a few new stickers. I am now in the habit of sending him a letter on bill paying days.  Every two weeks-- I know he likes getting mail.

That's about all for today.  I'm going to visit my favorite blogs now to see what everyone is doing.   And then go over to Jude's blog and listen to her lovely voice and words.  My daily dose of Zen.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Daily Notes- April First


A friend texted to ask "do you have upholstery padding" with a photo of a kitchen chair.  I went up into the Magic Attic to see what I had.  I did have some.  And as I walked back- there was a roll of papers tied with cloth.  I brought it down.  Told G it was a "surprise" and I needed one.  Opened and unrolled the papers.

Black and white line drawings- tracings- of appliqué designs.  The majority of them fruit.  This is the Pomegranate.  I did not make a copy of the color chart.  But I did make a color copy for the finished quilt.  I didn't make a chart because I knew - just from the quick look this morning-  that I didn't like the colors the designer chose when I made the drawings.  But I have a reference of darks and lights. And with the numbers- I can see where the same color would be- whatever I choose.  If ever I make even one of these needle turn appliqué designs.  Been waiting over 20 years to be unrolled.

While in the Attic I watered the Salvia pots up in the bathtub.  One of the plants is almost 2 feet tall. They look very happy.

Today I will have one of the jars of Bean and Escarole Soup from the fridge. I had oatmeal this morning and a banana.  I am also thinking of baking sweet potato biscuits today and I am tempted to make that two day bread baked in a cast iron pot one of these days.  Forget its name.  I most likely will do neither.  My friend is making black bean and sweet potato burgers.  But she can't find the recipe.  I looked in my recipe box but only found sweet potato patties with her name on the card.

I did no reading yesterday.  I did no sewing.  But the day passed very fast as it has been doing since the 10 day mark (I am reminded I did the laundry).  Today I have bills to pay.  Checks to write.  Then a nice walk out to the road to put my mail in the box and raise the little red flag.

There is no traffic on my road.  We saw a few young adults on skateboards the other day.  No sounds of children playing (which we usually hear).  No airplanes passing overhead.  No sirens. No sounds of traffic at the end of the street (the road to Town).  The few birds in the yard are just sitting.

Entirely too quiet.  G had missed his haircut appointment early on in this three or more weeks.  I asked if he wanted me to cut his hair?  He said no.  He has a shaving tool with many additional attachments so it is possible for him to run it over his head and have a haircut similar to his son's. I believe he has done this in the past.  My hair was cut shorter than usual last time and is okay but tends to attain too much "volume" if left to it's own devises.  That could be a problem going forward.