Friday, January 29, 2021

Dumbbell of the Year Award

 I made attempted to make an ice cream cake roll as a special dessert for dinner one night this last week.  Papa Pea walked through the kitchen as I was mixing the batter for the chocolate cake part, and I asked if I should put mint ice cream or chocolate ice cream in the cake roll.
"Oh, chocolate!  Chocolate, chocolate, CHOCOLATE!" he replied.
I had a taste for the mint (sigh) but because I had asked (my first mistake) and wanted to please him (grumble, grumble), I used the chocolate.
I apparently was totally lacking brain function in that I didn't stop to think for one second that in using the chocolate ice cream with the chocolate cake, the whole visual of the spiral in the roll of ice cream and cake would be lost.

Not only did the roll turn out difficult and ugly . . . 

. . . but the slice of it on the plate looked exactly like a round piece of meatloaf.  Yuck.
(Gosh [she said shaking her head], and the cake rolls looked so attractive when they made them on The Great British Baking Show.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Mid-Week Wednesday

 Despite the fact that it was 10° below zero this morning when we got up, and our high temp for the day was 11° above, we had sunshine all day long.

This was taken at 2:45 this afternoon with the glorious sun streaming in our south facing windows.  The sun has been extremely shy about showing its face so far this winter so when we get a sun-filled day, it's a cause for a mini celebration.
The wear and tear on my fingers will be forgotten when I finish hand-quilting this wall hanging that I worked on today.  Even with a good thimble, there are spots on my fingers that get really sore.

One of the items on Papa Pea's list today was to replace the gasket on the door of the wood stove in the living.  He put on his handyman hat and did a thorough, efficient job of it.

Then he decided to take a nap.  The truth?  He's lubricating the track that the door slides on (under the stove) when we have an open fire.
Anyone else ever noticed how those homestead/household maintenance duties are n-e-v-e-r done?  Even when you think you're "set up?"
What's the most recent maintenance you had to do around your place?

Sunday, January 24, 2021

If I Had Such A Good Day Yesterday . . .

. . . why did I have nightmares last night?  Oh, well.  I'm not going to dwell on it, but rather just chalk it off to these times we're all doing our best to function in and move on.  Yep, to move on and try to make the best of each day is the way to go.
And, boy howdy, I did have a good day yesterday.

Look, look!  The geranium I brought in from the garden is blooming.  It's no secret I've never had much luck bringing in plants and wintering them over inside.  Herbs, flowering plants, whatever refuse to be happy and thrive for me.  Maybe it's the fact that my daughter (who does have a lot of luck bringing plants in at the end of the growing season) potted up this geranium for me.  It's actually starting to bloom!

Just took these loaves of Oatmeal Bread out of the oven.  I made one of them (on the left . . . I think) into Cinnamon Oatmeal Bread.  As soon as they've cooled enough, we're diving in to the cinnamon one for breakfast.

We finally got some snow overnight.  Wahoo!  The frames of my raised beds are almost, just about, finally covered.

I worked like a little beaver (a sewing beaver . . . do beavers have opposable thumbs?) yesterday to finish the machine quilting on this couch quilt that has been waiting to be finished for one heckuva long time.  I just have a smidge bit to finish on the binding before it goes into the washing machine, then the dryer and will be on the couch tonight.  With me snuggled under it while knit-stitching away.
Yep, it was a good day yesterday.  Sending wishes we all have a good day today, too!  (And no bad dreams tonight, please.) 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Turning Negativity Into Positivity

Much time has been spent in the last week or so trying to come up with an interesting, uplifting bit of a post to put up here.  It's evident my brain cells have not been up to the task.

I do believe the general blogging atmosphere is in a slump right now, and I can't help but think it's because of the political atmosphere, both here in the U.S. and worldwide, that is affecting our daily thoughts, actions and plans for the future.

And, of course, there is COVID that has had such overwhelming consequences which we've all had to deal with in our own personal lives.
I don't believe anyone with functioning gray matter can continue on these days with their head in the sand without heavy concern as to the changes around and most likely before us.
All of this makes me extremely grateful for our lifestyle and the daily many blessings we can still count in our lives.
I can't do anything but work through the days I may have when that underlying sense of unease threatens to take over.  Let's all keep doing the very best we can on a day-to-day basis, remembering to be kind and helpful to all those around us (including ourselves) as being unkind never, ever helps but only hurts (once again, ourselves included).  Let's put the emphasis on all the positives and avoid falling into the depths littered with the negatives.
So, on with the blessings.
Liverwurst!  Our good neighbor has been sharing his latest culinary creations with us.  A couple of days ago we received some of his homemade liverwurst.  We happily dined on it for our dinner that night and found it really yummy.  Yesterday, he brought over a package of his head cheese for us to try.  That's on the agenda for sometime today.  He grew up on a farm where his mama used every bit of all they grew and raised to feed her hungry brood and now in his retirement, he's had the time to do what he enjoys, and he's darn good at it.  Lucky us.

Yep, the X-stitching bug is still with me.  The current project is an Easter motif piece which I've just barely started.  "Happy Easter" in the center surrounded by bunnies, carrots, flowers, etc.

In the works is a new rag rug for in front of the kitchen sink made in dark blue to go with my blue and white January decorations.  Good choice I made to use dark blue rather than white, eh?  (Tongue firmly held in cheek.)

The first sock of the latest pair for Papa Pea is almost done.  Because Mr. Big Foot needs big socks for his big feet, I wasn't sure this particular skein had enough yardage so chose to make the cuff, heel and toe of the contrasting gray color.

Today I'm determined to sandwich and start the quilting on this couch quilt that has been shaming me for months by hanging on my design wall in its unfinished state.  I'll machine quilt it with an all-over meandering design.  I think.  But I could change my mind.  But probably won't.
It's now 9:30, we slept in this gray, windy morning, and we have yet to have our breakfast, so I really should step away from the computer here and get on with the day.  It's gonna be a good one! 

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Planning for the 2021 Garden - Too Early?

Remember when seed catalogs didn't start showing up in the mail until March or April each year?  No, you probably don't because that hasn't happened in a long time.

All of these arrived before the first of the year.  And there were more that I've already taken to recycling.  Still more, I'm sure, will arrive shortly.

However, having the catalogs and the availability of perusing gardening seed websites online is a good thing.  
(Did you know some seed companies have already closed their websites to more orders because of extreme overload?) 
This has all urged me to take out my gardening book and plot out what I'll plant where for this coming gardening season.  I have a feeling being as prepared for the spring seed starting months as I can will be of future benefit to those eager eaters who partake of meals at our table.

At the end of the harvest season last year, I went through all my seeds and placed a couple of small orders to resupply any seeds that looked even a little low.

Being aware of current information available on social media (real and/or fake), I've decided it might be a good idea to recheck myself and possibly order more.  Can't hurt and might even help out someone else.

What are your plans for gardening this year?  Do you garden yourself?  Or perhaps subscribe to a CSA near you?  Do you use space in a community garden plot?  Are you a long-time gardener?  If so, have you expanded your growing space in the last year or so?  Do you plan to have a garden for the first time this year?  What do you feel is most important to grow?

P.S.  There will be NO zucchini plants in my garden this year!

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

The Month of January - Like It or Lump It?

I luv the month of January.  Many people complain it's such a loooong, dreary month to get through after the celebrations and festivities of the just past holidays.

Say what?  January is a long month?  It could contain sixty-two days rather than thirty-one and I would jump for joy.
Each year after our extremely busy summer season, I'm always glad to see harvest time and autumn arrive mostly because it signals that the winter months are getting closer.  Winter is the time I can look forward to more down time for personal pursuits than at any other time of the year.
But.  Before my month of January arrives, we have to get through (dum-dah-dum-dum!) The Holidays.
Thanksgiving, Christmas and then the day or two celebrating the New Year.  Not to say there aren't a lot of warm, wonderful feelings surrounding those holidays that begin at the end of November and go all the way to the start of January, but let's face it.  Doesn't most of the planning, preparation and w.o.r.k. associated with the holiday season fall to the female(s) of the household?  Yep, it sure does.  And it all makes me tired.
What I'm trying to say is that my winter of content doesn't start until the holidays are over and we turn our calendars to the first month of the new year.
Rosemary Beck (Content in a Cottage) wrote of her feelings regarding January:
"January is my absolute favorite month of the whole year.  The holidays are behind me and there is nothing pressing before me.  Perfect for nesting and doing self-indulgent things like watching movies, reading books, knitting, sprucing up my blog, or anything fun."
Amen, Rosemary!
So not it's your turn.  Do you treasure this month of January for reasons of your own or would you rather just give it a boot in the butt, skip it and be that much closer to spring?  My inquiring mind wants to know.   

Sunday, January 3, 2021

The Good Old Days?

There's a delightful blog I follow written by two ladies in Iowa (The Iowa Housewife) and this morning the post was a picture of a line of clothes hung outside in a cold, blustery, snow-filled back yard.
Oh, the memories.  Back in the days before I had a clothes dryer in the house, I did hang my clothes outside year 'round.  The biggest hurdle in the winter I found to be finding gloves (mittens were much too clumsily frustrating) to wear so that my hands didn't suffer frostbite.  (A goal never quite reached.)
The first several years we were married, I took our laundry to the local laundromat.  (Ugh, I hated that.)  Then around 1970, we moved and rented what was the ground floor of an old farmhouse that had been remodeled into a lower and upper apartment.  (When I say this farmhouse was old, I mean it.  The original part of the structure had been built as a stagecoach stop.)
Mrs. Rector, our lovely 80-some year old landlady, lived in the apartment upstairs and kindly told me I could use the clothes lines in the back yard to hang our washed clothes.  (I did have a washer then, but no dryer.)
This was back in Illinois and many days in the winter, the temperature stayed below freezing.  If there was sun and a breeze, the clothes dried better than you might think.  But many times, at the end of two (or three) days, everything would still be frozen and I would give up and bring the laundry inside to drape over every surface possible to thaw and finish drying. 
Dear Mrs. Rector, being of the old school when many babies didn't survive infancy, repeatedly warned me that bringing in all that cold, frozen laundry would lower the temperature of our living space and I needed to be very careful that my then infant daughter didn't "catch cold."
I do remember awkwardly bringing in sheets that were frozen stiff and felt like the sails of an ocean-going vessel.
In the area at that time there were many farm auctions and we frequently attended them.  At one we purchased (for $7.00) a large, wooden, folding clothes rack which I used in the winter to hang as much of the laundry inside as I could.  That helped the situation a lot.
That rack was made rock-solid and I still have it (some fifty years later) and used it once again earlier this winter when our gas dryer went on the fritz and wasn't usable for three weeks.  That rack is one piece of household equipment with which I'll never part.
Were those times the good old days?  In many ways, yes.  Nothing wrong with a little challenge (little, perhaps, being the operative word) and knowing you can successfully bring self-sufficiency into play.  Plus, there's something about seeing laundry hanging out on the line by a house that makes it all feel lived in, efficient and cared for. 

Friday, January 1, 2021

Greetings from the First Day of the New Year of 2021

Has the start of a new year ever been greeted with more hope and heartfelt wishes for it to be better than the one just past?  I think not.  Or perhaps some of us are just girding our loins (what a mental picture) and preparing the best we can for whatever awaits in the coming months.  I am so very grateful for where we live, our community, the little oasis we've managed to build around ourselves and our remaining brain power that enables us to make wise decisions that will keep us safe, sane, healthy and happy as we go into this new year.  I wish the same for all of you.

This is the front of a nifty little book my daughter gave me for Christmas.  Upon unwrapping it I thought, "Well, there are probably good tips in here, basic mechanics of sewing machines I should know.  Maybe."  Then it slowly dawned on me.

You see, a couple of months ago, she, being our resident computer guru, had asked me for my password to some site or another I was having trouble accessing.  My password to that particular site?  Hmmm.  Wait, I have it somewhere.  Some place.  Now where did I mark that down?
It's been my practice to enter my different passwords (as least I'm meticulous about using all different passwords) either on the inside of particular folders or on index cards held together with a big paper clip and tossed in a small box on my desk top.  Wise daughter suggested I organize all my passwords in one spot.

Ta-dah!  Here's the secret, hidey place in which to do just that.  Slipped in with the other "important" books and pamphlets on my desk, not only will all my passwords be in one handy-dandy spot which will be easily accessible, but a burglar looking for all my highly sensitive material (yeah, right) will never be tempted to steal Sewing Machines - Home Guide Series