Monday, May 29, 2006

memorial day

When I was a child I loved Memorial Day. The fireworks, the parades, it was all fun. I still enjoy the fireworks and the parades, especially the parade here in our little town which has an almost Rockwellian quality to it.

As I've gotten older I find it is a time to truly solemnly contemplate those who served so that the rest of us may live free. We need to truly honor the men and women of our armed forces for their sacrifices and be grateful for what they have given us.

At 3 PM there is a moment of silence across the nation. 3 PM was chosen because it was thought that this was a time when everyone people would be together. If you are in your car you are asked to turn on your lights. Many radio stations are planning to play Taps. I plan to make tissue paper poppies with my kids at that time.

Here are some other links to learn more:


The Memorial Day Foundation

Wikipedia Memorial Day

Beliefnet Memorial Day

For those who have served in the past and are serving now, for those who have given their lives that we may live in freedom, we honor you and are grateful to you and to your families.


As part of my laundry update I come to the subject of socks. Lots of people have written about missing-sock-from-the-dryer syndroms, Erma Bombeck being inarguable the most famous of them.

My dilemma is slightly more tricky. Two out of three children in my house (sounds like a commercial doesn't it) prefer to wear mismatched socks. Sometimes not even matching the outfit they are wearing. On occasion not even matching in length. Does this bother me? Not one iota. Why you ask? Well...

it's a form of self-expression,

it means I don't have to worry about matching up socks out of the laundry,

they're old enough to dress themselves, if they wear blue pinstripes and orange polka-dots who am I to quibble about matching socks,

it means I don't have to buy socks as often because they will always have a pair

The one problem with this theory is that all socks are fair game (well, except for Dad's but they don't seem to be drawn to men's black dress socks so he's safe for now. I'm sure in a pinch if they were desperate and thought they could get away with it all bets would be off). This means each others' and, most importantly, mine! [note: let's not even begin to discuss shirts, shoes, pajamas and purses]

Sometimes it can take up to six months for me to get a sock back especially since one of the two does her own laundry. She pilfers one of my socks and who knows when I'll find out about it. Unfortunately sometimes it's been washed so many times more than it's mate that they no longer match, then the child in question gets "new" socks.

I have a section of my sock drawer reserved for singles. It's depressing how many socks are in that part of the drawer. I have, upon occasion, been tempted to rip one of my socks off the foot of a child spotted wearing it. Usually I just request that they return it when they are done with it. Unfortunately I am so brain dead that I don't remember and they continue to wash-and-wear until the next time I notice or until I happen to get to the dryer before they do and remove my socks to safety.

My biggest fear is that one day when they move out I will discover that I actually own several hundred pairs of socks instead of the measly couple of dozen I currently have in my drawer.


It seems to be a never ending task. Having just gotten our brand-y new dryer (hey now the washer and dryer doors FACE each other instead of the same cool is that?) we can safely dry laundry in the machine without fear of explosion or other mechanical devastations.

I was going to write a rant about laundry and children but Stephanie did it so much better than I ever could that I'll let you read hers. My only comments?

1. My darlin's don't understand when I get upset about their wanting new clothes. Somehow I can't see buying them new ones to sit on the floor of their room. After all, it's clothing not carpeting.

2. While two of the three do their own laundry, in a new and novel twist they have starting using the laundry/mud room as their personal hamper.


alphabet game

Shannon over at Rocks In My Dryer sent me a letter for the Alphabet Game. It's the letter C So now I have to think of 10 things that start with that letter and why I like them. If you want a letter too just let me know and I'll send you one (psst...wanna buy a vowel?).

1. Cookie - I loved Sesame Street and the Cookie Monster was great. Since this was the first thing that popped into my head when I got my letter it winds up on the top of my list.

2. Chocolate - no explanation needed

3. Cows - I love cows, I think they're cute. I used to collect cow stuff but had to stop at 23 because my husband said the house was getting too crowded. I no longer collect them but love the ones I have.

4. Children - mine expecially, but others as well. I think children are such a gift and such amazing people, I really enjoy their company.

5. Cats - I grew up with them, have one now, find myself drawn to them when I visit others. Don't know why but they are great.

6. Cathedral - I love visiting them. There's an aura that pervades them and I find it so delicious to soak it in.

7. Castles - see #6 above.

8. Curry - mild only but I find it delicious. I've been very fortunate in my life to have several friends who are from India. They seem to delight in feeding me and are impressed that I like their food (what's not to like?) so I get fed often, yumm.

9. Corgis - I think they are adorable, there is just something so cute about them.

10. Cousins - very important people in your life. I'm lucky that I have so many and so many wonderful ones at that.

garden book meme

My Mom has started a meme (she said propigate--can you tell she's a gardener?) over on her website and asked me to participate. I think this is a free-for-all so if you like gardening and like books join in!

How many gardening books do you own?
89 - seems like a puny collection compared to my Mom and her friends but it is HUGE comparred to most people I know

What are your five favorites?
What Plant Where, I find this to be a very useful book when trying to figure out how to put things together or figuring out why it's not growing properly.

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to Gardening, I seem to refer to this one over and over, it's so easy to understand and is a very useful book.

Gardener's World of Bulbs, (and not just because my Mom wrote it, really) I love the pictures and the information in this book. I pull it out just to look through the pictures sometimes and to read snippets here and there; I like the way she writes (read her Garden Diary to see for yourself).

Nature Notes of the Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady, I love pulling down this book from time to time and reading through the current season, month, week, whatever. Every now and then I think that I should write my own notes (or even have my kids do it too) to showcase the differences between then and now but somehow it never seems to happen...perhaps one day.

The Kitchen Garden, (I have the earlier version than the link shows) I really like this book, the pictures, the way it's laid out. I dream of one day having a garden that all comes together so nicely. Of course now that I've stopped growing vegetables that probably won't happen in this garden but who knows what the future holds.

What is your most recent garden book purchase?'s been so long since I've purchased one that I really don't know.

weekend update

It was a very busy weekend, so much going on that I had no time to write it all down until now.

Saturday I got together with my NBF Holly, her daughter E, her sister Wendy, my daughter D, my Aunt Susan and we had a great time. Lounging, laughing, going out for yummy Thai food (I left my take-away in your fridge! - wah), going to Ikea for hours, back to the house, quick dinner, drive home, collapse into bed.

Sunday I was very priviledged to be able to attend a lecture by Swami Asokananda on meditation. He's a very gifted speaker, witty, amusing, thought-provoking. I felt that I really gained a lot from listening to him and having the opportunity to meet him for a moment after his talk.

After that I went to Stormville and wandered around in the hot weather for a little while. I found a few pieces of vintage cloth (tablecloth, etc) and a couple of lovely embroidered pillow cases. My Mom had given us a few very nice handmade lace edged pillow cases a couple of years ago and I think these go nicely with them. It was so hot though that I really didn't stay too long.

Came home, went out with my kids, came home and collapsed (does this seem like a theme?). As I said, it was a long weekend but a lot of fun. Thank goodness today is a holiday so we can have a quiet day at home to try to catch up on chores and relax a lttle.

Friday, May 26, 2006

things are achangin'

Lately I seem to have been on a blog kick. Finding more and more new blogs that I really enjoy and want to read. But there are only so many hours in a day and I need to focus on those things that benefit my family (like, oh, laundry?? meals?). So I am slowly winnowing out my blogs to get them down to a more reasonable level.

One thing I have discovered is that as much as I love the crafting blogs a number of them are probably not going to remain on my list because they are for crafts that I don't do. And while I like them I would rather read my favorite knitting blogs, mommy blogs, etc. Of course the comics/pictures stay (Sherman rocks!) but that's because they are a quick read.

As I was making coming to the realization that I have too many blogs I came to understand that it's almost a metaphor for how I sometimes live my life. Get over-involved with too many projects/good causes and feel overwhelmed but somehow feel that it is unacceptable to let anything go. As if I am somehow failing by admitting that I cannot volunteer for five different committees and take care of my family and house and find a smidgeon of time for myself. By focusing on my priorities husband, kids, house I will ultimately be less stressed and we'll all be happier. It's great to want to give and do for others but you have to make sure you and yours are taken care of first.

Okay, off my soapbox, thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

whoops sorrell

I went to plant my herbs in the garden and discovered a duplicate. In the far corner, next to the currants (?) is a sorrel. Looks like the one I just bought. A sample nibble proves that it is indeed exactly what I just bought. But I have never bought one before! Not sure where it came from but now I have two.

Interesting uses lie ahead I am sure:

medicinal uses

Here are a couple of recipes from Garden Guides

Sorrel Omelet

4 eggs
1 tablespoon cream
1 cup sorrel, cleaned and trimmed
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1/4 tsp salt

Shred sorrel. In a heavy pan, heat half the butter and add sorrel and salt. Cook for about ten minutes, while stirring. Combine the eggs and cream in a bowl, beating gently. Add the sorrel mixture and combine. Add the remaining butter to a skillet and heat until butter is slightly browned. Add the egg mixture and stir briskly with the back of a fork or spoon until the eggs are evenly spread on the bottom of the skillet. Keep moving the unset eggs around with the utensil smoothly until there is no liquid left. Do not overcook. Shake the pan gently over the heat a few times. Fold the omelet over in half and serve.

Sorrel Soup

1/2 pound sorrel
2 tablespoons butter
6 cups water
1/2 pound potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
1 egg yolk

Clean and shred sorrel, then chop. In a large heavy pan, heat butter. Add sorrel and cook, stirring, for ten minutes until reduced to about 1/2 cup. Add the water, potatoes and salt. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 1/2 hour. Strain and mash or puree the vegetables. Stir the cooking liquid into vegetables and return to pan. Bring to boil. Stir in milk and yolk. Cook until hot, but do not boil. Serve with French Bread.

and more from John Morrell

New Potatoes with Salami & Sorrel

1 lb Small new potatoes 1/2 t Coriander seed
1 sm Handful of sorrel 1/2 t Wholegrain mustard
2 oz Italian salami (or more) 2 T Olive oil
-- thinly sliced 1/2 t White wine vinegar
1 sm Onion Salt & Pepper, to taste

Chop the onion roughly and partially soften it in 2 generous tablespoons of
the oil. Do not let it brown. Scrub the potatoes (but on no account peel
them) and steam them. Wash and dry the sorrel, discarding tough stalks.
Roll up the leaves tighly in your fingers, just a few at a time, as though
making a cigarette, and snip across into fine ribbons.
Tip the softened onion and its juices into a big bowl. Stir in 1/2
teaspoon each vinegar and mustard, some salt and lots of pepper and
coriander seed. The coriander seed should be freshly toasted and ground
coarsely using a pestle and mortar or a spare peppermil. Add the potatoes
to the bowl while still piping hot, so they drink up the flavours of the
dressing. Cut each potato in half or into quarters depending on size, and
toss gently. Scatter some of the sorrel over the base of a shallow serving
dish. Pile the potatoes into the centre, encircle them with the sliced
salami and scatter the remaining ribbons of sorrel over the top. Serve
while potatoes are still warm.

Split Pea Soup with Sorrel

2 T Sweet butter 2 medium Onions; roughly diced
1 small Ham hock; -=OR=- 1 medium Carrot; roughly diced
6 oz -Cooked ham or bacon 2 Celery stalks; roughly diced
1 Lemon, cut in half 1 t Finely minced garlic
3 bn Fresh sorrel 1 c Whipping cream
6 c Chicken stock or Chicken Broth Salt and pepper; to taste

IN A STOCK POT, over low heat, melt the butter and add the onion, carrot,
celery and garlic. Let the vegetables cook, stirring, until limp, about 15
minutes, being careful not to brown. Add the split peas, stock, ham hock
and lemon and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30
minutes, or until the peas are completely soft. Remove the ham hock and the
lemon. Add the sorrel and cream. Transfer to a food processor or blender
and puree until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve. Taste for salt and
pepper and adjust as desired. Serve this soup piping hot or well chilled.
NOTE: If the soup is chilled, thin it with an additional cup of stock,
low-sodium broth or water.

and one from Better Homes and Gardens

Asparagus with Sorrel Dressing

1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing
1/4 cup finely snipped sorrel or fresh spinach
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning (optional)
1 pound asparagus spears, trimmed
2 tablespoons water

1. For dressing, in a small bowl combine yogurt, mayonnaise, sorrel, green onion, and, if desired, lemon-pepper seasoning. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
2. Fold a 36x18-inch piece of heavy foil in half to make a double thickness of foil that measures 18x18 inches. Place asparagus in center of foil. Fold up edges of foil slightly; drizzle asparagus with the water. Bring up 2 opposite edges of foil; seal with a double fold. Fold remaining ends to completely enclose asparagus, leaving space for steam to build.
3. Place asparagus on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium-hot coals. Grill about 15 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender, turning once halfway through grilling. Serve the asparagus with dressing. Makes 4 servings.

It's very lemony tasting. Should be a yummy addition to the summer kitchen.

wfm wednesday

Another Wednesday, another tip that works for me (okay, it's Thursday and I'm a day late but let's pretend, shall we?):

When hanging my laundry I hang the shirts on hangers and then use a clothespin to secure the hangers to the line. This way when they dry I can take them down and put them away much more quickly.

Don't forget to check out other tips at Rocks In My Dryer.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


My rhubarb has been growing by leaps and bounds. Today I decided to make one batch of jam. The Lemon Rhubarb Jam I mentioned earlier.

The recipe is quick and easy. It made 4 and one half 8-ounce jars of very tangy jam. Steve isn't going to like it because he is not a big citrus fan but I am loving the tastes I keep slurping licking from the pot.

For the next batch I'll probably make more Rhubarb-Apricot since that is a big family favorite. This may wind up being my own private stash of four jars if no one else in the family likes it.


My rhubarb has been growing by leaps and bounds. Today I decided to make one batch of jam. The Lemon Rhubarb Jam I mentioned earlier.

The recipe is quick and easy. It made 4 and one half 8-ounce jars of very tangy jam. Steve isn't going to like it because he is not a big citrus fan but I am loving the tastes I keep slurping licking from the pot.

For the next batch I'll probably make more Rhubarb-Apricot since that is a big family favorite. This may wind up being my own private stash of four jars if no one else in the family likes it.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

the littlest sister

Although she is only two weeks old little E came to Stitch Sisters tonight. I confess that I was the lucky winner of the hold-the-baby-and-feed-her lottery by virtue of snatching her from her mother's arms. She is the sweetest little poppet all squeeky and wriggly. She has that lovely baby smell. Mmmmmmm.

Needless to say I didn't get much knitting done. I shamefully confess that I am still working on the same square that I was working on last week. But it was worth the sacrifice *grin*.

buying plants

Today while running errands I stopped at the nursery just down the street. She always has such lovely things and I really enjoy visiting with her as well as purchasing plants. The hard part is that everything looks so lovely I usually wind up buying much more than I need.

Today I was fairly restrained. I bought two tomato plants (one is a patio type to see if perhaps I like that better than beefsteak for the limited growing space). Although we get tomatoes from the Farm I like having fresh from my garden as well. I also bought a thyme to replace mine which does not look like it is coming back, parsley, a catnip (which I will hide from Chloe on the upper deck) and a sorrel plant. I resisted all the lovely jewel-like flowers she had. I'm trying to rip out my backyard the last thing I need to do is to make more work for myself.

When I got there it was a planting party. Her son and two of his friends (all in kindergarten) were helping her make container gardens. They were busy mixing the soil in the wheelbarrow, filling containers with the soil and then planting the flowers she gave them where she told them to. I mentioned that her house is probably one of the most popular ones for are encouraged to play in the dirt there. It was so sweet to see their little faces enjoying the dirt and yet being productive as well.

Friday, May 19, 2006

thump grrr grrr clunk grrr

That's the noise that my *sigh* dryer is making. Now I'll need to go get a new one. It actually starting making this noise a while ago. Steve managed to fix it but a couple of days later it's doing it again, worse than before. It actually frightens me to run the thing. In it's defense I should point out that the dryer is 18 or 19 years old; so I shouldn't complain but...

One of my dear friends, Anita, suggested that I could just have all my friends come over and blow on my laundry. "With all the hot air we've got we should have it dry in no time, doncha think?" OMG that is too funny.

What's not funny is that in the last 18 months we have been through a well pump, water softener system, hot water heater, FURNACE, dishwasher, clothes washer and now this. BLEAH!!! Normally I love shopping for new appliances but I think I've had more than my fair share at this point.

works for me

Shannon over at Rocks In My Dryer started a pretty cool idea. Every Wednesday write down a tip that works for you. Could be one someone has heard before, doesn't have to be earthshattering, but it works for you. I'm officially delving into the fray with my first tip:

When I clean out my vegetable drawers in my fridge I line them with paper towels. That way when I go to clean them the next time any gunky stuff (like the tomato that got squished at the bottom of the drawer) doesn't stick to the bottom of the drawer and is much easier to clean up.



Name / Username:

Name Acronym Generator

Thursday, May 18, 2006

sounds of spring

In addition to the tweeting of the birds, the peeping of the spring peepers a new voice has joined the chorus to let us know that spring has arrived.

Spooky, my little donkey friend who lives down the hill, has obviously been turned out into his field because we can hear him braying. He's very sweet, white with grey spots. He's named Spooky because he was born on Halloween eve. He has a little harem of six brown lady donkeys but I don't know their names.

The first of the iris has also started to bloom. That vivid purple color is so lovely and really lets me know that the growing season is here in full force.


As I've mentioned D has recently become a Vegetarian. This means no more marshmallows. Well, that's not exactly true, there are Vegan Marshmallows by Vegan Essentials but they are $3.99 for 10 ounces. Not enough to satisfy one hungry teen on a s'mores feast mission.

I did discover by careful examination of containers that Marshmallow Fluff is made without gelatin. Vital to my daughter's vegetarian happiness. Luckily they have lots of desserty recipes including Rice Krispy Treats, that childhood staple, and Whoopie Pies (which I have never made but now that I have a recipe maybe I will).

magic loaf

One of my favorite blog reads is Jennifer's Vegan Lunchbox. We've ordered the boxes, waiting for them to arrive, and I've been scoping it out for ideas. Since D has become a Vegetarian it's also useful to garner a few recipes here and there.

The entry I just read was excellent!!! It included a link to her Magical Loaf Studio with a great way to combine stuff to make a veggie loaf. Of course I still need the Magical Holly Lentil Loaf (are you reading??) but this will do in the meantime. I'll have to try it and see how my family likes it. I think it looks pretty good.

And here is my first loaf recipe created by the MLStudio:


1/2 cup pine nuts
2 TB olive oil
One onion, diced
One large garlic clove, minced
One large carrot, peeled and grated
Two celery ribs, diced
2 cups cooked kidney beans
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 to 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth, as needed
1/2 cup cooked oatmeal
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. dried basil
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
2 TB ketchup
Several dashes vegetarian Worcestershire Sauce
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp. celery salt


Preheat the oven to 350º. Oil a loaf pan or spray with nonstick spray and set aside.

Grind the pine nuts into a coarse meal using a food processor or spice/coffee grinder. Place in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Sauté any vegetables you've chosen in the olive oil until soft. Add to the large mixing bowl along with all the remaining ingredients. Mix and mash together well, adding only as much liquid as needed to create a soft, moist loaf that holds together and is not runny. Add more liquid or binder/carbohydrate as needed.

Press mixture into the loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until cooked through.

Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a plate or platter and slice. Serve with potatoes, vegetables, and vegetarian gravy, if desired.

skip to the loo

I found this website and think it's hilarious. It's a list of where to find clean potties when you are traveling. It also has horror stories of those who did not find appropriate facilities.

Because of how they list them and the lack of pictures it's hard to tell if the list from Basel, Switzerland includes this one.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


It stands for Stitch Sisters Seal of Approval. Yes folks, tonight was Stitch Sisters. I am, as I have mentioned before, so very grateful for this wonderful group of women. The friendship, laughter, encouragement, and more is just an amazing blessing in my life.

Tonight my brain was total mush. I was working on a square and wound up knitting the same row three times! More tired than I thought I was I guess.

But we had neat show and tells tonight. One member has finished her sweater and is seaming it together. It's beautiful and we all want it. Unfortunately I don't think she's sharing :-( Another is working on the first of many teeny-weeny doilies to make a tablecloth. Several beautiful scarves, an adorable baby hat (not for our Hats for the Homeless project), some wonderful beading projects and a couple of amazing embroidery/stitched cards and things. The creativity really astounds me and inspires me at the same time.

We also instituted the Stitch Sisters Seal of Approval. One of our members is going to her prom in two weeks. She brought two dresses to model for us to see which one she should wear. We all agreed that she should wear this one gorgeous red dress. She has very pale skin and dark dark hair plus she's slim and gorgeous. She looked just stunning. We had fun watching her model for us and can't wait to see the pictures from prom.

So while I didn't make much knitting progress I got an emotional recharge that I really needed. Definitely worth it.


Did a little chauffeuring this afternoon. Had to pick D up from babysitting and take her to piano practice. She got paid for babysitting and left it in the car while she was at piano. Once we got home I told her, "Remember your money, otherwise the next person to drive the car get it."

She gasped in surprise.

As she was getting ready to get out of the car I pretended to pick it up. She yelled, "Mama!"

"What no tip? After all the driving I have done for you? For free! With the price of gas these days??"

"When you're old and I have to drive you around for free gas will probably be $20 per gallon." She told me.

She may be right. It was a very funny interchange. But I hope we have a better answer to energy consumption well before we get to that point.

raining pouring and rhubarb

It's beginning to look like we might need an ark. The rain has been coming down for DAYS. And it's been a pretty thoroughly soppy wet rain too. No gardening for me. I can see masses of green everytime I look out the back window however I avoid looking too closely since I know it is probably all weeds.

I did notice today that the rhubarb was flowering (silly thing doesn't it know it's not supposed to do that?). So I ran out in between raindrops and cut off all of the flowers. While I was out there I got a good look at my rhubarb crop. Whoooo-ee! Lots o' rhubarb. I think next week I'm going to have to start canning because I am a wuss and don't want to gather it in the rain because there is way to much for my family to eat in baked goods and next week it won't be raining this week is not convenient. Of course our jam supplies are getting low so that's not a bad thing.

One thing I think I'll be able to make this year is rhubarb chutney. Last year I made mostly jams and baked goods but I have such a bumper crop this year I don't have to limit myself. I love rhubarb chutney (although I need to make it in smaller containers), it's delicious as a side to cheese and crackers, crudite dip, served along side roast meats and also as a glaze. The kids don't like it plain but don't seem to complain when it's a glaze. Perhaps one small batch.

Rhubarb Chutney

1 C. brown sugar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1-1/2 T. minced fresh ginger
1-1/2 t. grated orange peel
4-1/2 C. coarsely chopped rhubarb
3/4 C. raisins
1 t. mustard seed
4 green onions, chopped

Cook sugar, vinegar, ginger, and peel at medium until sugar dissolves and mixture boils.
Add rhubarb, raisins, mustard, and green onions, bring back to a boil.
Reduce heat, simmer 5 minutes or until rhubarb is tender.
Place into sterilized canning jars, hot water bath 20 minutes.

According to instructions from the University of Illinois Extension Service:

Rhubarb can be boiling water bath canned for later use in pies, sauces and other dishes. Rhubarb should be HOT PACKED in order to drive out air in the tissues and to reduce the browning reaction that occurs as substances in light colored fruits and vegetables react with oxygen. Hot packing also increases the amount of fruit relative to juice which can be packed into one pint or quart jar.

About 1½ to 2 pounds is required for a quart of canned rhubarb (or about 10½ pounds for a canner load of 7 quarts). Trim leaves and stems and cut into ½ to 1-inch pieces. Place fruit in a large pan adding ½ cup sugar per quart of fruit. Allow to stand until juice appears. Gently heat to boiling. Fill jars immediately leaving ½-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe sealing edges to remove sugar or sauce. Prepare lids according to the manufacturer's directions. Adjust lids and process pints or quarts for 15 minutes (altitude of 0-1000 ft) or 20 minutes (altitude 1001-6000 ft). Water level in the canner should be at least 1-inch over the tops of the jars. Start counting processing time AFTER water in the canner returns to a full


Friday, May 12, 2006

rain today

It's been raining since last night. A lot. Which is good, we need it. The weather forecast predicts rain all week so I guess I won't be getting much gardening in.

Chloe asked to go out this morning. I opened the door to show her that it was raining to hard. She crouched down, watched it for a moment, shook her head in disgust and walked over to another door where she started meowing loudly. I guess she thought that perhaps it wasn't raining at the other door?

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Like I have nothing better to do in my life...gah! Reading the blogosphere I come across an adorable little thing called an Otama. Apparently they are from Japan. They are crocheted. No idea what they are supposed to be for...cute/fun/toy I guess. You can find the link on how to make one of your very own here.

I haven't crocheted in a long time and it looks like it's cute and quick. A great way to use up scrap yarn. No one mentioned addictive because I find myself wanting to make more (I've made three so far -- have to see if I can get a decent pic for you). Each one comes out totally different and with it's own personality. And they are kind of cute.

We won't mention things like housework, laundry, knitting, gardening...just taking some me time and *ahem* making stocking stuffers [yeah, that's it...stocking May].

cookbook meme

How many cookbooks do you own?


Which cookbook is the one you bought most recently?

The Splendid Grain

Which cookbook is the one you read most recently?

Fix It and Forget It

Name five cookbooks which mean a lot to you:

1. Joy of Cooking (the old one)
2. Beard on Bread
3. The Occasional Vegetarian
4. Good Things
5. Ball Blue Book

Do you cook? Do you have books? Consider yourself tagged.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

five things meme

1. Five minutes to yourself: how would you spend them, ideally?
sitting in my treehouse with my DH

2. Five bucks to spend right now: how would you spend it?

3. Five items in your house you could part with, right now, that you hadn't thought of already?
I'm sure if I waded into my attic I could find more than that.

4. Five items that mean a lot to you in your house?
materialistcally albums and some handmade items made by family members. It all add up to more than five.

5. Five words you love?
onomatopoeia, montage, mosey, swashbuckle, anthropomorphize

If you're reading this consider yourself tagged. Next!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

how to subscribe

I had an email today from someone asking how they could know when my blog is updated. This way they don't have to keep checking it.

My personal favorite it to get an account with Bloglines. It's free and they keep track of all of your feeds for you. There are other news readers out there, this just happens to be the one I use, I'm not getting any money or anything for telling you about them.

Basically this is an RSS feed aggregator; if you want to read cartoons, blogs, news feeds, etc you can sign up for them with your Bloglines feed and when your subscriptions have new posts it lets you know.

For my feed under Bloglines you can put in

Hope this helps.

a helping hand (er foot)

It's nice to know that there are still people out there who do nice things to do nice things.

To hear about more good things don't forget to check out:

Happy News

We need all the good news we can get.


You Passed 8th Grade Geography

Congratulations, you got 8/10 correct!

on the farm

I'm so excited. I drove past "our" farm and it's looking really good. The farmer and his apprentices are all out there working the land. Not too much longer now and things will be growing. A little after that and we will be able to start picking up our share.

I really love this idea. Last year with the exception of celery, cucumbers and the occasional out of season purchase we bought no produce except from the farm. It's local, organic and far better than anything you could ever get in the grocery store. This year will be the first year that I am not growing vegetables in a very long time. I still plan to put in one cherry tomato plant and I will plant some herbs. But otherwise it's all been converted to fruits. Less maintenance for me and a wider variety of foods for my family than I could grow in my little fenced section.

The costs are very reasonable also. Less than $24 per week (€19 for my European readers) for a lot of produce. As a matter of fact last year at the height of watermelon season we chose not to take our last watermelon because we had had so much we were watermeloned out. In the beginning of the season, June, it's mostly salad greens. As the season progresses we get more and more stuff. In the height of the season I start canning. At the end of the season it's mostly cabbages, squashes, and root crops. Last year I was able to root cellar a fair amount of them (although I did learn that certain ones need to be eaten sooner rather than later so we'll make sure we do that this year).

D and I are also thinking that this year we will donate one day of labor to the farm. Not required since we pay a full membership (you can do partial pay partial labor but we weren't sure we could make that work committment). I think it will be fun to go and help out. Plus it will be good experience for us both. D wants to bring a friend. If she can find a friend who wants to go I say bring em', we'll see if that actually happens.


Ever feel like the universe is trying to get your attention? Sometimes with a two-by-four? That has happened to me recently.

It started with the book Enough is Enough that came into my life. I read it, it was interesting. Basic premise...we are not superwomen but we are somehow convinced that we need to be or at least not let anyone know we aren't. And we suffer for it.

Then I read this post by my dear friend K who mentioned another post.

Then a friend lent me a copy of Confessions of a Slacker Wife to read. BTW although I haven't finished the book I have to say it's very funny and now I will probably go ahead and read the prequel (if you will) Confessions of a Slacker Mom.

Okay, I think I'm getting the picture. All of this in one week is a lot to absorb. But it has made me sit down and realize just how much I'm trying to accomplish in any given day. My list is NEVER completely checked off. I always have far more to do than can be accomplished by anyone no matter how organized/efficient/super they are. For those of you who manage, I'm happy for you but I can't do it.

Of course in sitting down to think about all of this (and, I confess, write down exactly what I try to do in a day as referenced in "Enough is Enough") I've realized that I'm much better than I used to be. But I still have a long way to go. I've got to learn to ditch the expectations I place upon myself. I won't bore you with a long diatribe of all I used to do. I won't even bore you with what I do now, but I will say that I am working on being more focused on the necessary things in life.

Laundry, cooking, cleaning are definitely necessary. But perhaps I need to rethink how these things happen and learn to accept that sometimes the laundry piles up or we run out of milk. Volunteering for two school committees, to run a neighborhood function and two town projects, not necessary. Playing really bad basketball with my kids, totally necessary.

Being aware of all of this is probably the first step in the right direction. It's definitely time to give up blind acceptance of the message that society is trying to stuff down our throats about how we are supposed to appear. Private reality is always different than public view but I refuse to deem it necessary to apologize or feel guilty for the difference anymore.

Okay, down off my soapbox. But if you have any similar thoughts, or links to other places please post them for me and for those others who read this.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


The rhubarb has been growing really well. It's time to start harvesting. So our first rhubarb recipe of the season is a whole wheat apple rhubarb cake. I'm not ready to start canning the stuff just yet...I'll make some desserts and then when my family has had enough begin to process it into jams or whatever.

Although this recipe looks really delicious and will need to be set aside for when I start canning:

2 pounds chopped, raw rhubarb
8 3-inch strips lemon peel, about 1/4-inch wide (no white pulp, just yellow peel)
1/2 cup water
2-1/2 cups sugar
Combine rhubarb, lemon peel and water in a heavy, non-aluminum 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook gently for 30 minutes. Stir often. Turn up the heat and begin adding sugar 1/2 cup at a time, waiting for the liquid to return to the boil before adding more. continue cooking over a high heat, stirring constantly. If the jam begins to splatter, turn the heat down slightly. Cook and stir until the jam thickens and reduces to about 3 cups (about 20 minutes).

Of course rhubarb mixes well with lots of things for jam, strawberries, pineapple, blueberries, peaches, apricots. Mmmm...getting hugry just thinking about rhubarb jam on toast.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


I was reading Niina de Norse's blog where she mentioned these lovely little treats...belgian chocolate on a stick that you dip into a cup of hot milk to make the perfect hot chocolate. Ooooh sounds fabulous.

You have to buy them in packs of 33, no problem.

Unfortunately they don't seem to sell them in the US, wah!

Monday, May 01, 2006

who's on first

My daughter, yay!

Tonight was D's first softball game ever. Steve and I took her down to the field. It was a lot of fun and very funny. For a first game it was pretty good although a lot of kids got walked.

D was very nervous because she's never played softball before and she was sure that she would do terrible. Her first ever time at bat and she hit a solid thunk to the outfield and ran for first. It was so cute. When she got there she looked at us, held out her hands to either side and said, "So did I make it?" Cute cute cute.

Lots of funny comments from the parents in the field. Since we'll be seeing a lot of them over the next two months I'm sure we'll get to know them well.

PS the score? They lost, but they played really well so it was all good.

my mistake

The weigelia by my front yard is not a weigelia. Apparently it's a viburnum carlesii according to my mom.

I guess that means the weigelia is on the other side of the yard.