Saturday, May 30, 2009

How shall I put this?


Here is the low down, work has been crazy for a few months now.

Crazy as in 12 hours of work needed done in 8 hours given. This ritual has been in place since I started, but a couple of weeks ago that all changed. A new team member came on board, and my work load has magically turned to normal this week.

Now, normal is an interesting word. I personally have heard the word normal offered as a joke, or a benchmark of unknown value, or even as a unit of value that could not be quantified.

But normal can also mean real. As in:

I have a normal life.

I normally cook dinner and we eat together.

On a normal day, I feel like I get everything done.

But you see, I have not been normal.

I have been crazy. And let's not forget:

drained,
tired,
uninspired,
and sluggish.

I had actually started to think of myself as lazy.

Which I did not like. Because there is a lot I want to do. Before that however, is the things I need to do. The bare minimum had been done all along of course, but I prefer more.

And I think I can have more, now.

Now, about the lack of cooking. I got another cookbook, well actually a couple of them. But today I am going to make a trip to Costco and then make a couple of the recipes from the book and get the freezer stocked with some "quick decision dinners". Dinners that can thaw in the fridge while you work, and be cooked when you get home with nothing more to think about. Everyone needs a few of those.

Tomorrow is Sunday Cafe, I have not yet decided what we shall eat. But I have decided that it needs to include the outdoor grill. This will be the first grilling of the season, so I need to get it ready.

As always thanks for taking the time to stop by,

M

Monday, May 25, 2009

Monday night brights

What a busy weekend, I needed all three days to get it all done! The backyard is presentable, finally. Granddaughter spent the night Saturday, and all that you see below got done as well.

Out door dining, we are ready for summer and cook outs! The BBQ awning from last year did not make it through the wind storms of fall. This time I will wait for Honey to build a wooden/strong awning. Honey.........

A second bed for strawberries was added. I cannot find any to plant in it, but I will be ready next spring, if I have to wait that long. To the left are herb pots, so far basil (3 varieties) and rosemary. To the right, 2 current bushes. I want to plant a couple of varieties of mint in the third one. The shot would of been prettier without the wheelbarrow, drag cart and sack of garden soil; but I ran out of gas myself!

The raspberries and marionberries were edged with used bricks. You can see the corner of the outdoor table in the lower left of this shot. This makes a nice privacy screen for out outside eating area. Our back yard is open to the park and school, only separated by a cyclone fence. It is nice to see folks enjoy the park, walk their dogs etc. But when I am eating, I want a bit more privacy.


The blueberries were doubled, now there are 4 bushes. The two on each end are the same variety. I am on the look out for more used bricks to edge this side of the raspberries and marionberries. Oh and there is a bit more weeding to get done on this side, but this has been a very busy 3 days.

The rhubarb was also doubled, now there are four. I have always thought that a garden was just the spot to relax in, and that is what I wanted when this whole Potager project began. I have little spots for food, others for relaxation and even more for a little whimsy. See that old green (almost worn out) birdhouse to the far left? It was in the front yard when the house was bought 3 years ago. I renamed it the "peanut house" and moved it to the backyard. Our granddaughter loves to put peanuts in it for the squirrels.


This is our "sit down and get caught up with each other" place. It is shady and I wanted to do something different and yet fun. See those concrete stands? Those are salvaged fence post anchors. They were dug out when Honey put up the new fence. I wanted them, I did not know at the time what for, but hey I knew they would be good for something. They are candle holders for our relaxation spot. The concrete is perfect for that, it won't burn and they are about 6 feet away from the house.

Have a great week! With all of the pantries in place and a kitchen that is set up to cook and the yard presentable, I can start cooking again!

As always, thanks for taking the time to stop by.

M

Monday, May 18, 2009

Monday night brights

First harvest of rhubarb. It sure is pretty, just a few this first picking; but I will process and put it in the freezer. Soon there will be enough for some jam or chutney or a pie or.....


Here is the 3rd hutch. I am so happy! The kitchen is now a kitchen with storage space. I swear the 70's kitchen this house was built with was for a non cook, or Betty Crocker herself; with a box for every dish. The shelf to the right is to cover up the right side that was against the wall in the house it come from. Honey will build a right hand side similar to the shelf unit. See those drawers? I am in love :).A silverware drawer, is there anything better?

Only this spice drawer.

Or this utensil drawer.
Or this one.
How about this one with all the skillets?


Or these two pan drawers, there is also a drawer that holds all the lids; but I deleted it in my excitement.

Thanks for stopping by,

M

Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday night brights

It is not "strawberry fields forever" but it is a bed of berries. I set 18 plants on Mother's Day, I hope to set about the same amount to the right in another raised bed. I also dug a hole to plant another blueberry bush, and dedicated a spot for 2 more rhubarb plants. I also weeded the front yard, but that is not as much fun to photograph and share!

I need to get a few more pieces of the formed concrete to make another circle. This one holds garlic chives, peppermint and rosemary. I have not decided what will go into the other one, but I am sure I won't have much trouble when I get to that point.

I really enjoy this red maple. It provides shelter and shade for the birds. I have suet blocks in the "house" to the far left. There is also a bowl for water in one of the crotches. I have various food and water spots throughout the yard, for the birds and the squirrels. I am trying to get a photo of the friendly squirrel that comes to the slider when he/she spies me, cute cute cute. That one will take the peanut from me, I am careful as I don't want to be bitten, but then again so is the squirrel.

The ceiling is textured. Wet but otherwise the pattern is very similar. It is coming along. Special thanks to my Honey!

And he has the "drips" to prove he worked hard today.

He is ready to head to the shower, when I showed him this shot he remarked "I look like a grump", well honey.................................................

The evening is very breezy, which is good. The house is full of fumes and such from the days work. This part I could do without, but it goes with the territory. Tomorrow should be the last day of sanding the sheet rock/mud / tape process.

The house currently has a fine white coat of sanding dust on everything. Everything! I decided to just wait until the last day, I can only clean the same surface so many times before I lose my manners and forget how much I appreciate the hard work!

And really I do!

Thanks for taking the time to stop by,

M

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day 2009

We were asked to arrive at 8:30 a.m., Mother's Day was to be celebrated at Son's house.

We have all been so busy with work, classes and life, it was nice to get together.

Son and Daughter shared cooking the meal. Son made a baked egg dish, fruit plate, juice and coffee. Daughter made cinnamon rolls, pecan sticky buns and sausage.

The morning started early, this broken bunny was my first gift; "my Grammy can fix it". This is what it is all about.

We then moved on to this wonderful gift. I will treasure it and read something daily. Then put them all back and do it again and again............

The top of the lids reads: Memories and thoughts and things we like about Grammy

And from daughter and son in law, this beautiful red cyclamen in a gold planter.

I love red and gold together.

Everyone enjoyed a wonderful shared meal, then off to church and work. Me I came home and worked in the dirt.

I hope your day was wonderful and thanks for sharing your time here.

M

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Itchy hands and dirty PJ's

Odd title I know, but intended.

I have had such a case of the dulls here lately.

OK, your right for a couple of months; oh all right you win - a few months. Yes as a matter of fact I do know a couple is only 2.

Everywhere I look something needs to be done. Don't get me wrong, plus I don't want you to think I am a slob, the house is clean and my job was not let go, no write ups or anything like that. However everywhere I turn here, in the house and yard; something needs to be done. And please don't let me start on my lack of cooking, even I am sick to death of that!

When you have all that staring at you, oh my gosh. Where to begin? But fortunately as heavy as all that can be upon one's shoulders, it can lift with a swiftness unknown until that moment.

Which leads us back to the title.

I sit here with my hands itchy from being scrubbed clean at the sink and wet dirty kneed PJ's because I tackled some of the weeds in the backyard. About 1/3 got done this morning. And that start will lead to more sessions being accomplished, until it is where I would like it to be.

For years now I have gone out in the early morning in my PJ's and a sweatshirt to work in the backyard garden. I should probably refer to that area as dirt, because it is more dirt than garden. I learned a long time ago, that once I am dressed and busy I won't get back to the weeding for that day. So now I do that first.

I bookmarked some pages from another blog to cook, my thanks to Mary. I have 3 nice zucchini that I will cook. There is a trip to Costco to stock the cupboards, gas to get for the car, another stop to make at BiMart. And I must make this coffee cake, thanks to Cathy of Noble Pig. See the weekends are like that, now you know the secret. Start your day in the yard in your PJ's!

Have a wonderful weekend, and Happy Mother's day to all!

M

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Key lime pie or bust!

They look a bit frightful, but fortunately they still juiced up great.

I purchased a nice little bag of key limes at the market. And for the record a little bag of limes will produce the 1/2 c juice needed for this recipe. I did not add zest to this recipe, I believe the picture explains why! The limes had been here awhile, 3 hutches later they were a bit past prime in looks, but only in the looks department.

Here is granddaughter helping with the crust, crushing graham crackers is fun. She wanted to eat as she worked, so a graham cracker was her payment for services rendered.

Spent limes. They sure smelled good, and spurted a lot of juice. I wanted to show how many it took to make 1/2 c of juice. You could certainly make this with Persian limes as well.


I know I said pie, but for something creamy like this I prefer a bottom crust only. It is a bit easier to cut and serve.

Key Lime dessert/torte/pie

325 degree oven

12 - 13 graham crackers crushed, to make a rounded cup
3 T sugar
5 T butter, melted

Combine the crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Spread evenly into the bottom of a 9" square pan (or the equivalent). Tap on the counter top to distribute the crumbs, then gently pat down with the palm of your hand. Bake 10 minutes, remove and set aside.

4 egg yolks
1/2 c lime juice
1 t finely grated zest
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Beat the yolk, stir in the lime juice. Add the milk and stir to combine evenly. Carefully pour over the warm crust. Return pie/torte/dessert to the oven and bake an additional 15 minutes. Remove to cool, then refrigerate until cold.

Serve chilled with whipped cream or plain if desired.

Serves 6 - 9

Recipe rating:  Oh Yes! (will make again)

Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

M

Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday night brights

Long time no blog!

There is a reason for my absence, and it has to do with a hutch well not really it has to do with 3 hutches.This is hutch number one, it is my original hutch. I have had it for a number of years and it just was not large enough. But I really did not want to have to get rid of it. It is a nice piece of furniture and besides I needed a place to keep stuff. You know really important stuff like trinkets and photos and gifts from the grandkids. So we moved it to the living room and I have a few things in it, just so it did not sit there empty.

This is the replacement hutch, also known as hutch number 2. I love it. It is a bit more shabby that the photo showed it to be, and after the years of grime were washed away. But I am enjoying it, a lot. The door needs some adjusting, but that did not stop me from scrubbing and filling it up.

And then I found this! This is a kitchen hutch (a built in unit) from the 60's. By default we shall call this one, hutch number 3. It came out of the kitchen in a house being remodeled. See those drawers? I love those drawers. The actual hutch part is sitting behind the drawer unit. It needs a quick sanding and refinish and it will be a free standing storage hutch/pantry in the kitchen. I cannot wait, truly!

This is one of those little hinged boxes (which I have a fondness for). It is in the new hutch in the dining room, on the shelf between the plates. It is not readable but it has a little pillow that says "home sweet home".

How the dining room looks with the new hutch.


A another shot of the raspberries. They really took off after being stakes up. Might have enough berries for a batch of homemade jam with home grown berries.

I have washed more surfaces and dishes that I can count, but it is nice to be getting these things done. One of these days I might actually cook something again!

Thanks for taking the time to stop by.

M