About The Country Wife Blog

Friday, July 29, 2016

Food Friday: Spaghetti, Kale, and Eggplant

In the interest of saving money, using what we have on hand, and trying new things, I concocted a supper last night that I really liked.  Dear One ate a large-ish serving, too!  Of course, I did NOT tell him what he was eating until WAY later!

Recently the (sort-of) local Hannaford has been selling spaghetti in pot-size boxes. I love that.  No need to break the noodles up, spreading a fair number of the strands on the floor...Hannaford had these boxes on sale recently for a good price, under a dollar a pound, so I purchased eight of the boxes.  Last night I used some of one box for the first time.

1/3 pound pot-sized thin spaghetti
1 small Vidalia onion, chopped fine
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 leaves kale, stripped from rib and chopped fine
4 stems fresh basil from the garden, chopped fine
1/2 eggplant, sliced, sauteéd, then mashed
1-2 cups prepared spaghetti sauce (don't know for sure how much...more than one cup, probably less than two cups--this fed two people)

Start cooking the spaghetti in well-salted boiling water.  It will probably be cooked in 5-7 minutes, but check to see if you like the tooth.
This is all that was left after Dear One ate.  I consumed it with relish/glee/delight.  So yummy.

In a large cast iron skillet melt coconut oil.  Add onions and sauté until transparent then add the finely chopped kale and basil and stir until soft.  Add the mashed eggplant and spaghetti sauce and stir well.  The mashed eggplant disappears into the sauce. Taste the sauce and correct the seasoning. You might want to add some granulated garlic or other stuff, but check before you do it.  No need to make this inedibly salty...

Drain the cooked spaghetti then put noodles back into the cooking pot.  Pour the sauce over the pasta and stir well.  Serve. Either from the pot or in a pretty serving dish. Add cheese if you must but it is perfect without.

Dear One thought he was eating spaghetti.  When he had finished and I told him, he said he had been hoodwinked. But he said it with sort of a smile.  Well...he ate some good food that was healthy food and good for his innards.  Even if not for his un-adventure-some brain!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The First Cucumber!

After last year's cucumber fiasco (some creature came by and sheered them off at the ground, twice!) I really really wanted to have the cucumbers succeed this year.  (This is only our second time growing cucumbers....)I used the hay bale garden model with a little bit of trepidation but went all out.

For weeks we have had lots of cucumber blossoms.  Such a pretty yellow blossom on the end of tiny little cucumbers BUT no big cucumbers.  On Saturday I finally broke down and went out to see if I could pollinate those little guys.  It seemed like there were no male blossoms, and no bees flying around.  When I looked at them again, I thought I saw that the tiny cucumbers had plumped up a bit so I decided to wait a while longer before that hand-pollination effort.
Baby cucumber fattening up, with several sisters hanging further down the vine!

Today I went out and looked at the plants from about a foot away instead of three feet away.  THERE WAS A CUCUMBER READY TO EAT!!!  So exciting.  I picked it, scrubbed it, sliced it thinly, and ate it in salad for lunch. 

This cucumber was hiding behind a leaf.  Do you wonder that I did not see it before?!

I would like to say that cucumber was "so good" but I really don't like cucumbers that much.  I wanted to raise them for the challenge, for fresh food with no pesticides, and for any  health benefits that might exist.  It appears that cucumbers are healthier than I thought!  I DO love dill and other pickles and relishes  though with all the sugar and salt they are probably not man's best friends....

First picked cucumber 2016...half the size of the Klean Kanteen insulated bottle.  Notice the Bug Baffler above and below the Klean Kanteen.

It appears that cucumbers should be eaten skin-on.  I did not know that except I really like to keep skins on most foods that we eat.  I think they are better for you that way.   SO, by a fluke, we had unpeeled cucumber in our salad.  The whole cucumber went into the salad except for a good slice off each end. I have not eaten cucumbers by choice for fifty years or more.  I had some bitter slices a long time ago.  At my sister's house  last year I learned that you need to slice off both ends before eating.  No bitterness!

You see those two Klean Kanteens in the basket of my stroller.  One we have had for several years.  In May when I was visiting Son #1 he showed me his new insulated Klean Kanteen.  He said that he filled it with ice and water in the morning, left it on his car seat in the hot sun all day while he worked and when he got back in the car to drive home at the end of the day there was still ICE WATER!!  I decided to believe that...even without him swearing on a stack of Bibles.

When I got home I mentioned these containers to Dear One.  On our way home from the temple we passed by an EMS store which had one in stock according to their website. Dear One had printed out a discount coupon just in case.  When we got there we found there were TWO and they were both wide mouth which is what I wanted.  With the coupon it was still a good amount of money but Dear One was happy to see me home and very generous.  IT IS TRUE!  These keep water ice cold for many hours.

The Bug Baffler is another great piece of equipment.  Many years ago a friend who owns Country Woolens in Lebanon, NH  and I were talking. I had stopped walking because I hated the mosquitoes and other bugs flying around me and  landing on me.  She told me about bug bafflers. I purchased one right away.  Now it is just laziness that keeps me from walking.  One problem with it is that people don't really want to be seen with you when you are wearing one.  I just think they are sorry they don't have one, too.....

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Genealogy: The Genealogy Guys and Genealogy Connection

Finding family is one of my favorite things.  Genealogy podcasts can be  such a boon to family hunters.  They give lots of information on "how to" many different genealogy topics.

Today I went for a walk in the sort-of-early morning humidity.  While walking I was listening to the Genealogy Connection #003 podcast, an interview with Jen Baldwin about using social media in genealogy research.  Well, sort of.  Drew Smith and Jen Baldwin spoke of many things, most of which were known to me, but in the smallest  bits.  This made me want to sharpen up on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media tools to help locate some people I am trying to find.  Thanks, Drew and Jen!

When I got home, I logged into my Twitter account and found it was still active! Hallelujah!! I have not touched it in ages.  Maybe I will get my Twitter/genealogy act together and begin working it!  See you there!


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Watercolor Painting: Another Lighthouse

This week I tried another lighthouse painting.  Watching The Frugal Crafter was such a bonus!  Her lighthouse tutorial made all the difference.  Well, maybe not, but it gave me the confidence to try again.  It took only about ten minutes to watch! 

This painting was done with a friend.  I brought my laptop to her home and together we watched the tutorial all the way through.  We then halted the video at the end with Lindsay's finished painting on the screen.  That was our sample.  We both painted the same painting and got very different but so fun results.

Just now as I re-watched the tutorial to get the URL to share I noticed that I had left out the land mass behind the lighthouse. I also noticed that the lighthouse might not survive another serious hurricane...

Monday, July 25, 2016

Failure, or Start Again?

My Fitness Pal helps me to keep closer to the straight and narrow path health-wise.  It is a website/web tool that helps you track your movement and your food. You can use it on your computer as well as on a mobile devise.  Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to knowing what is actually happening in your life rather than what you think is happening or even what you HOPE is happening.  My Fitness Pal is your friend in this effort.

This application helps you quickly record things like weight, exercise, food consumed, even various measurements.  Quick and easy.  The app very clearly shows you what you have done which helps you in your daily choices.

Well...I have been recording in My Fitness Pal for quite a while.  In fact, I have done it EVERY DAY for 162 days.  Until yesterday.  I did not do it yesterday. What a bust.  I have not done ANYTHING that many days in a row in my whole life!!  So...today I am in a small dilemma:  do I just look at myself as a failure and throw out the whole thing? OR  do I pick myself up from the heap on the floor where I threw myself is disgust and disappointment, and start again?

Failure, or New Beginning?

Well, since I did not know I was a failure (having not recorded food or weight or exercise yesterday) until I opened the app to put in my new, and better, I might add, weight number early this morning,  I guess I have already begun again. I think I will compound that new beginning by going out to take a walk while it is still cool and misty.

Rats!  Not long ago I was imagining to myself what a coup it would be to have recorded every day for a whole year.  Well, pride goeth before a fall it says in the Holy Bible. I even THOUGHT about My Fitness Pal once yesterday but it was not convenient at the moment to stop everything and record.  Oh, well. Into every life a little rain must fall...

Friday, July 22, 2016

Food Friday: Kale Sauté with Vidalia onion, and Mushrooms with Montreal Steak Seasoning

Yesterday I planned to make a sweet treat for Dear One when we arrived home from temple service.  It turned out we were later than I thought we would be. I was too tired to start in then, even though it is a fairly quick treat.  Maybe next time.

So, today I am sharing my breakfast and lunch treat!  It is Kale Saute with Vidalia Onion and Mushrooms with Montreal Steak Seasoning.

I use this to top just about EVERYTHING!  I love this stuff.

This is quick and easy and tastes so good.

Kale Saute

1 Tablespoon coconut oil---you could probably use your favorite other oil
3 large kale leaves, chopped
1 medium Vidalia onion, peeled and sliced
1 small box mushrooms---this was about 10 mushrooms--peeled and chopped
Ground black pepper to taste
Granulated garlic
Montreal Steak Seasoning.

In a large cast iron skillet melt the coconut oil over medium heat.  Add the sliced onions and chopped mushrooms and stir with a wooden spoon until the onion slices begin to become transparent.  Add the chopped kale and stir until all parts of the kale are slightly shiny from the coconut oil.  Put a cover on the pan and let cook about three minutes.  Remove cover.  Stir well then sprinkle on to lots of black pepper, granulated garlic, and top with a good dusting of Montreal Steak Seasoning.  Stir again, turn off heat,  then put cover on again, and let sit for another two or three minutes.  This activates the Montreal Steak Seasoning.

Cooked just right for me.  You might want to watch it closely and stop cooking when the kale is all still bright green.

You can now serve this.  I had a bowl for breakfast.  I also had a bowl for lunch.  That was all there was in this recipe.  Dear One did not indulge.  Sad for him...

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Early Morning Garden Jungle

This morning it is very lovely, cool, and misty outside.  I went out with my iPad to take some pictures of the garden.  I realized that it is more jungle than garden!

The tomato jungle, not close up!  With rhubarb at the left.

Another thing I noticed was that one of our tomato plants has some leaf damage. I need to look into that.  The Gardening Guy  had a post about tomato blight a while ago.  I guess I need to go back and find it, read it, and take action.  Of course, I don't know if this is blight yet, but...

See all those blossoms?!  No fruit matures...

And the cucumbers continue to make lots of lovely little female blossoms with tiny cucumbers attached but no cucumbers mature. I have sent Henry Homeyer a message to see what the scoop is on that.

Happy kale!

Over the last year I have become very much enamored with kale.  I eat it nearly every day.  Kale from our own garden is much more tender and delicious than what I buy at the store.  I have been clipping off a few leaves most days to eat in salad with a little lettuce, broccoli, Vidalia onions, and celery.  Wonderful salad!  I hope this selective harvesting is good for the plants and that they will continue to produce for a long time...

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Merino Fiber: Ready to Card?

This fiber project is taking on a life of its own!  The whole batch is now dry.  I wish I could say it is now clean and dry BUT that is not really the case.

This has been washed twice...

My biggest concern is the amount of lanolin still in the fleece.  Currently I do not like the feel of the lanolin-rich fiber in my fingers.  I may need to readjust my likes and dislikes....

Last night as spinning group I felt some other merino fiber.  It also was quite lanolin-y.  Maybe I will just have to suck it up and move forward with preparing this fiber for spinning.

We shall see...!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Watercolor Painting: Lupins

A friend and I have decided to paint together.  She would like to try her hand at a landscape.  I volunteered to download some of The Frugal Crafter's YouTube watercolor tutorial videos because I have seen several of her landscapes which look very do-able.

While searching for those landscape tutorials I found this Lupin video that I thought I would try.  Mine does not look like Lindsay's at all, but I am beginning to become comfortable with not comparing myself, in any way at all, to others and/or their work or being.  This life is a one-time journey.  Comparing ourselves to others sets us up for unhappiness  and distress.  Why choose to be less upbeat than we can be?  I choose happy!

You will notice the white at the top of the painting.  If you look closely you will see stitches there.  I am using the beautiful book Daughter made for me with marvelous 140-lb cold-pressed watercolor paper.  I have decided I will use that for much of my painting, unless I plan to send something as a post- or other card, or unless I need a larger piece of paper for a potential painting.

Painting is fun.  Just do it!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Newsy Bits: The Hill Cumorah Pageant 2016

When we learned that Son #1 and his family were going to participate in the Hill Cumorah Pageant this summer, we were elated.  We had not been to The Pageant together since our marriage trip 43 years ago.  We expected there were many changes...and there were!  It was even more spectacular than we remembered.

What The Hill Cumorah Pageant is:  a giant outdoor pageant on a lovely hillside in western New York farm country.  It is the story of  parts of The Book of Mormon as well as the coming forth of The Book of Mormon.  It tells of a family who came to the American continent 600 years before the birth of Christ.  They live in the Promised Land through ups and downs eventually enjoying the visit of the Risen Lord, Jesus Christ, to this continent.  It concludes with the Angel Moroni delivering golden plates to the young Joseph Smith which he later translates by the gift and power of God to become The Book of Mormon.

The seven stages with some light towers visible.

There are seven stages set up on The Hill with giant lighting towers on each side.  Six thousand chairs are set up in the meadow below the stages. Glorious music is played over loud-speakers as Pageant-goers visit with one another, eat picnic supper they had brought with them or which they purchased from local charitable vendors whose major annual fundraiser this is as many thousand people attend over the seven-night performances.
Panorama attempt...

Nimble young lighting technicians ascend the scrawny ladders secured with cables around their bodies shortly before dusk begins.

As the hymn, "The Spirit of God Like a Fire is Burning" plays over the sound system, all 750 costumed actors who have been visiting with the audience for 90 minutes find their way to the central aisles and then, at a signal,  they all forge forward.  Very impressive to see them as they move slowly then more rapidly as they approach the staging area to take their places behind the scenes or on the stage.  An opening prayer, and then The Pageant begins.  An hour and a half later we all wonder where the time went as the lights go up so Pageant-goers can safely return to their cars in the fields beyond.

It was worth the 7-hours-each-way trip, especially when we were able to visit with this costumed lot:
One of King Noah's guards plus dancers in different scenes.
The Hill Cumorah Pageant has been produced annually since the 1930's for seven nights in July, Friday, Saturday, then Tuesday through Saturday of the next week.  A wonderful family activity if you have the time for the travel.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Food Friday: Swedish Apple Pie

Years ago Judy made a delicious apple pie.  She gave me the recipe.  I tried it.  It was not an unqualified success the first time.  It was fabulous the second time. 

Shirley told me about a wonderful apple pie recipe and gave me a copy.  It was the same recipe!  In the mouth of two witnesses...!

Swedish Apple Pie, going fast!  Dear One has a giant sweet tooth.


1 cup sugar
1 cup Flour
1 egg
1 1/2 sticks butter (melted)---USE ONLY BUTTER--never ever use margarine.  It does not work.  At least it did not work for me.  Maybe coconut oil would work. I will try that next time.  Maybe.
Approx. 5 apples peeled, cored,  & sliced into small pieces.
1/4 cup chopped walnut

1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Fill a high-sided pie plate approximately 2/3 full of apples. 
3.  Sprinkle chopped walnuts over top then sprinkle the cinnamon and the 1 Tablespoons sugar evenly over the apples. 
4.  In a small bowl, beat flour, sugar, and melted butter together well then add egg and beat until smooth. 
5.  Spread evenly over the top of the spiced apples and nuts. 
6.  Bake 45 minutes or until golden brown.

This is just great by itself but goes well with a dollop of whipped cream on top or vanilla ice cream on the side.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Beautiful Lily

Today I went to the dentist, one of my least favorite things to do, even though the dentist and all her staff are lovely people.  When I came outside (I did not notice on the INside...) I saw a beautiful array of lilies.  Because I imagine myself a beginning watercolorist, I took some pictures.

Here is one.  Don't you think that would be a pretty painting?!  It looks sort of interesting to me and will surely tax my abilities.

Lilies at the dentist's office.

If I ever get a painting made from this photograph, I will insert it here!


Here are the beautiful pansies Son #3 and family gave me this spring.  They are still alive!!!  I cannot believe it.  This spring and summer I have been watering and dead-heading nearly every day. PLUS  I put in fertilizer spikes a month ago and again this morning.  In the past I have not been reliably watering the hanging planters and certainly did not dead-head the blossoms.  This has been a very big mistake.  Now look at how beautiful and full these pots are!

I am so happy with this beautiful display.  They make me remember Grandmother Nina Belle Merrill Corwin who had a hillside of glorious pansies.  One of my favorite things to do was to walk along the path at the foot between the hill and the brooder house and look at all the different sweet faces on those pansies.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

More on Merino Fiber Project

Because I will be going to the dentist today, I thought I would make it a clean sweep with difficult things!

Two days after the previous business with the merino fiber, I decided to see if I could wash it.

1.  I pulled a batch of the wet fiber out of the tub where there was even more green slime.

2.  After zipping that fiber into two "delicate laundry" bags, I took it into the kitchen, filled the sink with hot water and Dawn dish soap, immersed the fiber bags in the water, and let it soak for 30 minutes.

3. After 30 minutes I filled the other sink with clean hot water, and, after draining the disgusting water from the soapy sink, let the fiber sit in the clean hot water for another 30 minutes.

4.  Repeated several times, gently smushing out the dirty/lanolin-y water.

5.  Went to the garage for an old screen door that I used for this project once before.  Instead of bringing the saw horses to the front of the house to support the door, I placed the door on the railings at the corner of the porch, then place a sheet over the door and laid out the fiber.

6.  Covered the fiber with the rest of the sheet to keep bugs out, and let it start drying.

The fiber was VERY lanolin-filled even after several Dawn washes.  It was also still very dirty.  After it dries I will try again washing it.

In the meantime, the rest of the fiber is still in the big black tub.  At spinning group tonight I learned that I should have put soap in the big tub closer to the beginning of this project.

Well, the plants most likely enjoyed the "barnyard tea" that I took out of the tub the first two times.  Maybe I will do more watering with the tea tomorrow. 

Dear One was rather perplexed when he returned home and found that our house smelled like a sheep fold.  I sincerely hope that I can get the smell out before anyone comes to visit.  This is even worse than the day dear friends came to visit when I was making vegetable broth.  Since I had been in the kitchen all morning I did not notice the smell of the vegetables simmering away on the stove.  When I returned to the house after being away several hours, there was a VERY SHARP vegetable smell.  How embarrassing.  Our friends did not say anything.  So polite...

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Watercolor Painting is Fun!

This time when we got together with Ann to paint, we worked on a floral arrangement.  There were sunflowers, delphiniums plus nice red unknown-to-me blossoms on a long stem, some white also-unknown-to-me blossoms on a shorter stem, and nice greenery.

Well...do you think I could paint those things?  Think again!  I could not.  Especially when comparing my work to Ann's. That is REALLY foolish, but even when comparing my painting with another class member's beautiful flowers, mine were less than stellar.  The good news is:  I still had a good time, and, being watercolor, I can go back and re-paint spots I want to make better.

Second class with Ann.

Even though the expertise level is very close to nil,  I still like this painting.  I may cut it out of the 9 by 13 sheet of 140 lb cold-pressed paper and turn it into a postcard.  Maybe I will try putting it in a vase, but that is pretty risky...

Monday, July 11, 2016

Newsy Bits: Hacked...

Not long ago I received an email from a friend in Bolivia asking me if I really sent "that message".  I looked at the message.  Immediately I wrote back that I had NOT sent that message.  One minute later his wife called to tell me that he had just received a message saying that I HAD sent the message so he wanted me to know that the hacker still was active online.  What a shock!

Well, it was shocking to be hacked.  Even more distressing to know the guy was still there.  Only one good thing came from this experience:  some lovely friends with whom I had not communicated in ages sent messages.  That was nice.

Not so nice was having to change all my passwords.  Dear One had a program that lets you have one main personal password then all the other website passwords were sort of descendants under that password...with all new passwords.  I had intended to make these changes but had not gotten to it yet....  Such a hassle to make all those changes.

Upshot of this experience:  it is a good idea to have impossible-to-hack passwords.  Long, with letters, numbers, and other characters.  I hope my new ones fall under that category...And I hope yours do, too.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Food Friday: Ginger Limeade

When I was visiting family last month I was shopping for some kale which was not a staple in that kitchen.  I happened onto a ice-chipped display of lovely square 16-ounce bottles of limeade:  Raspberry Limeade, Peach Limeade, Mango Limeade, just plain Limeade and several others.  I went for the raspberry and loved it.  It, of course, helped that the temperature was in the 90's that day...

When I came home I found another square bottle, though this company was a cheapskate because there was only 11 ounces in their bottle. The price was the same $1.69 a bottle.... This one was ginger limeade.  Because I believe ginger to have many healthy qualities, I looked around for a ginger limeade recipe.  Finally I found one which I used for a base, but it was a base only.  I am pretty sure I found the original recipe on the Yankee Magazine website.

Fun handled canning jar with 8 ounces ginger limeade over ice.  Refreshing!

This is what I did:

2 cups sugar
2 cups water plus 6 more cups water later on
4 fat green limes
2 inches plump ginger root
4 Tablespoons lime juice

1.  Wash your limes and scrub your ginger root.  If there are any dry or unsightly spots on the ginger root, cut them off, making sure you will have at least 2-3 Tablespoons of ginger pulp.

2.  Using a fine grater or microplane, zest the limes into a small bowl and set aside.

3.  Cut the limes into quarters and the ginger root int small chunks and put in a food processor.  Pulse several times to start the chopping process, then process continually for 1-2 minutes until a very slushy mix results. 

4. Put the sugar and the 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is simmering.  You really do want the sugar syrup to simmer, not just dissolve the sugar.  Remove pan from heat and let cool 5 minutes or so.

5.  Remove the lime/ginger slush from the food processor and the reserved lime zest and place in the pan of sugar syrup.  Use a rubber scraper to remove every bit of flavorful bits from food processor bowl.  Stir well then let steep for 10 minutes.

Ginger Lime Sludge in a sieve after being pushed through the fine mesh.  Ready for compost pile...

6.  Using a fine sieve pour the mixture into a large pitcher.  I used a one-gallon plastic container since I was unsure of the amount of ginger limeade I was going to obtain.  Use the rubber scraper to smush the ginger lime slush through the sieve until it is a more or less dry sludge then remove sieve and set aside for the compost pile.

7.  Add remaining 6 cups water and stir well.  Serve over ice.  This made a little more than one-half gallon.  It has a tiny bitter note which was quite interesting.  I love it.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Nannie's Peonies

Nannie McIntosh, my great-grandmother who was born Julia Emily Burbank in 1864, was a remarkable woman.  She was a hard worker.  Among other things, she made homemade mincemeat which she shipped to the Boston, Massachusetts market and S.S. Pierce Foods.   She made and sold mincemeat well into her 80's shipping more than one half ton mincemeat her last season.

Nannie's recipe was a closely guarded secret which was never sold though she had multiple requests for it.  It is believed that one of her granddaughters had possession of that recipe after Nannie's death but the recipe did not pass down to the next generation.  This is sad because some family members still love the rich taste of homemade mincemeat, which is very much different from current store-bought mincemeat.

Nannie was also a fabulous flower gardener.  Her perennial bed was renown for miles around and people came to view it on their Sunday drives.  One of my greatest treasures is the clump of peonies that I received from her garden, one of the last of the plants that survived there years after her death.

Nannie's peonies, Summer 2016--taken from the porch while waiting hopefully for the bear that scared me on the road to come to the compost pile.  He did not.  The peonies are way more beautiful than they look in this photograph.
Originally we owned two clumps of this beautiful plant but one was moved during some construction and did not survive that move, which makes this current clump so precious.  They made a glorious showing this year.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Working on the Fleece

The day after the first fiber-spinning group almost two weeks ago, I put a big fat fleece in a black tub purchased especially for the purpose of cleaning fleeces. I have several fleeces on hand. I believe this is the merino one.

My process was to set one end of the tub on a 2x4 piece to help level it, then filled it with water from the outdoor water hose.  When the tub was full, I put in the fleece and carefully pushed it down into the water to submerge it completely.  Since the fleece kept rising to the top, I brought out our cookie cooling rack which was almost exactly the right size to place on top. I thought it would hold the fleece down.  It did.  Sort of.

Merino fleece in tub with cookie cooling rack and bridal veiling on top.  It DID keep out the bugs!

Next part of the process was to put a double thickness of bridal veiling I found at Joann's over the top and tied some 1/4-inch elastic around it.  I thought this would keep bugs from  getting into the soaking fleece.

Today I went out to see if the "organic fertilizer" had dissolved and the vegetable matter changed its situation. WELL...there were several things I noticed.  Number one:  the cooling rack had added some rust to the fleece.  Number two: there was some green material...perhaps algae...along one edge.  I decided it was a good thing I worked on this today!

Note the rust and green slime.  Not things you want on a beautiful fleece.  We will see how it turns out.

In the cellar I found a 5-gallon bucket.  In the kitchen I found my one-quart Revere Ware saucepan. I took the both out to the fleece tub and started dipping out the "fertilizer water".  All the plants in the front garden and in the side garden received one quart of fertilizer each.  I filled the bucket more than half full and carried it out to the hay bale garden in the field.

WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT!!!! when I got to the hay bales to water those plants I found that EVERY SINGLE WAX BEAN PLANT had been sheered off.  On Saturday evening when I was out there the beans were looking fabulous. I was expecting by the end of this week to find blossoms coming. In just a few more days there would be string beans.  Yum.

Every wax bean plant shorn off.  Drat that deer.

 Early yesterday evening I saw a lovely white-tailed doe deer out eating in the field.  This is near the hay bale garden.  Now, I do not want to point fingers but...who else would have had the nerve to eat every one of those plants?!  I know, I know!  Daughter-in-law A always sticks up for the animals and reminds me that they need to eat, too.  I agree, so I am really not mad, BUT there is nothing like eating fresh produce for lunch that twenty minutes ago was in the garden.

Well, back to the fleece cleaning project:  After removing several gallons of fertilizer water I then started dipping out the fiber and laying on the hood of the car on top of a black plastic contractor bag to drain.  It made quite a nice pile.  When I was down to the last of the water, I dumped it where it was to water part of the lawn, well, and part of the driveway since it was too heavy to do anything else with.

Last thing I re-filled the tub with clean water, added back the fiber, and replaced the bridal veiling and elastic but NOT the cookie rack!  I will give it another day to soak then see if the water is mostly clean.  If so, I will go on to the next part of the plan to clean the fiber.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Fun Owl Birthday Card

It makes me smile when I come up with a birthday card. I always love the person for whom I make the card and think of sweet times together in the past and hope for more in the future.

 This card uses the Stampin' Up owl punch.  I love that guy!  I have made lots of owls for various uses.  This is my latest:

This does make me smile, but it needs a little more...maybe some more flowers here and there?  I don't know.  If anyone reads this and has suggestions,  please do put them in the comments!  Thanks.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Newsy Bits: Memories of "The Fourth"

When I was a little girl the 4th of July was a big day.  We children looked forward to it for weeks.  School was out.  Haying had started.  The garden was in and growing.  It was time for a break from the everyday hum of hard farm living.

Our own town did not have a big celebration because two towns away there was a really wonderful annual event which drew people from miles around.  There were three parts to the Fourth of July celebration, at least when I was young.

 There was the parade.

What a joy that was for us to watch pass by.  The parade marshal would sometimes lead the parade on a beautiful horse.  Other times there would be a fancy open car or an antique car someone had donated for that day.  Always there were decorated floats from many organizations.  As children we preferred the floats where the people on them tossed candy in tightly wrapped cellophane into the crowd.  We almost always were able to acquire at least one piece of candy. 

There was also always a high school marching band and sometimes other musicians as well.  Hats always came off and hands were placed over hearts as the national emblem of our country went by in front of the band.  As a high schooler myself, I loved the marching band as I was in the percussion section.  There is nothing like a rousing street beat as the band prepares to play "The Stars and Stripes Forever".  Who can watch our flag go by and listen to that wonderful music without a tear or two dropping?  Certainly not I...

Perhaps a clown or two would saunter by in and out of the crowds lining the street.  Local notables rode either on floats or bright new (or very old!) cars from local auto dealerships.  Once we had the state Dairy Queen on one of the floats.  A little girl looked up to that lovely young woman, admiring her shining hair and gorgeous pale yellow satin dress and armful of luscious dewy gladiolus stems.

Two:  there was the chicken barbecue.

The Lions Club, or perhaps the volunteer firemen, created a delicious chicken barbecue on huge homemade barbecue grills that could grill 50 or more chicken quarters at a time.  They often served beanhole beans and potato salad with the chicken.  A lettuce salad would not hold up to service on a plate of barbecued chicken so the more sturdy side dishes were the order of the day.  This barbecue was one of the best fund-raisers of the season for its sponsor as it is hard to resist the meal on a beautiful summer's day when spirits are high from celebrating the glorious freedoms we enjoy  in our country.

Three:  the fireworks!

The firemen were usually those who set up and manned the fireworks display each year.  A large open field where there was plenty of room for cars to park and yet remain safe from falling debris from the rockets was just the place.  Different years different fields were chosen.  That was always quite an affair.  Of course, as little children, the noise was very difficult to bear but the bags of popcorn we brought from home and bottles of homemade root beer added to the magnificence of the colors in the sky making it a must-do event every year.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Food Friday: Crispie Chocolate Bites

The youth from our Church were scheduled to come over for the evening. I wanted to make a treat for them.  I found a recipe that was reported to be a cross between rice krispie treats and s'mores.

12 ounces chocolate chips
3 cups Special K cereal
1 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows.

Using your kitchen scale, measure out 9 ounces of chocolate chips.  In a microwave safe bowl melt the chips in the microwave on low.  (Don't make the mistake of melting them in a saucepan on the stove when you are making supper....There are few things nastier than burned chocolate...) Stir after every 30 seconds until they are melted completely.   It does not take long.

In a separate large bowl pour the Special K cereal, the miniature marshmallows and the remaining 3 ounces of chocolate chips.  Using a rubber scraper, scrape the melted chocolate over the other ingredients and gently mix until they are well-combined and rather homogenous.  Using a 1-2 Tablespoon portion scoop, scoop out the mixture and place on a lined cookie sheet.

This recipe made 24 chocolate bites.

The youth came for their evening with the bishop and ate nearly all of them plus a large bowl of Northwest cherries which were so good. I was very happy to have them consume everything.  Less of a temptation for me....

PS  If you think it is strange to use Special K cereal, well, it is.  I went to the store in a rush and pulled the Rice Krispies off the shelf, got the other items I needed them headed home.  When I opened the box I discovered Special K, NOT Rice Krispies.  The bane of my existence is my obliviousness to just about everything...  Well, the kids and Dear One did like them anyway.  AND there were no nuts which is good because there are nut allergies to worry about.