Thursday, July 31, 2014

Seize the Day

Carpe diem, said Horace.  We did.

Corn growing yesterday early morning, with the help of Gene's green thumb and God's good sun and water:

And, later in the day, it was eaten an hour after cutting it from nine foot stalks:

(the cosmos and coreopsis are now in full bloom)

A trip up to the mountains for lake fishing:

This scenery was behind me at one spot where I fished. A bearded "mountain looking" guy came by on the trail and said that he had been angling directly across from us, near where beaver had cut down trees for a small dam.  He said he moved because he could hear pups nursing in the brush beside him but decided to quietly move on because he did not want to disturb the mother and pups.  He said he figured it was beaver pups, but did not even try to get a peek.  Now that is a considerate fisherman.
breathtaking trees with the reflections mirrored on the lake

This little chipmunk kept crawling over my shoes and assortment box, trying to get into my trail mix.  Never did let him get a bite, though.  These creatures were seen frequently and had no fear of humans.  I suspect many people feed them, although it is not a park-approved practice.  This baby chipmunk was about six inches long.  He may have been the one to have stolen the top piece of bread from a bologna sandwich in a baggie, unbeknownst to Gene until he reached into the Ziplock to take a bite of lunch.

Total catch for the day: two fish. One was a splake (a cross between a lake trout and a brook trout) and one was a rainbow trout. The splake is an oilier fish with redder meat than what a rainbow trout sports.  It was delicious, tasting somewhat like salmon.

Besides the corn and the fish, our dinner was completed with tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden, along with cilantro butter from Kepanie's Pinterest pin::

That was our seizing of the day.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Gardening Question

Having searched the resources available, yet not having talked to a REAL gardener, I can't find an answer to my question.

Question: after sixteen years, why are the blossoms on these old chrysanthemums so small?

wee mum flowers are on lower right of picture

My stylist this morning said that the roots after all these years probably have worn out.  The Walmart flower seller guy said that genetically, maybe the flowers are just not supposed to bloom after a certain undefined number of years.  So with those expert witnesses to testify on my behalf, the mums will be dug up, discarded, and and replanted with fresh pots of mums.  

Sadly, I must wait at least two weeks until shipments of new mums arrive at the local stores.  Home Depot is my usual supplier.

The red mums above seem to be doing well and are the usual sizes.

Cosmos with flower garland seem happy.

Columbines on second flowering of the season after roots have been shaded with bark and flagstone rock. Some columbines have been moved to different locations, but have not overcome the shock of their rude upheavals, so the pictures would not be pretty if they were shown.  Trust me, those flowers and the daisies that were also dug up and moved are in a sad state of trying to survive in their new surroundings

On a happier note, new hostas have found their places this morning in the wildflower garden, although they really should be banned from living with the wildflowers.  Let's just say the wildflower garden is becoming more civilized with the hostas growing alongside the columbines and penstemon and daisies.

Lots of rain has kept us indoors a bit more the last few days, so I've caught up on Last Tango in Halifax (my new favorite PBS series), Endeavour (another PBS series) and reruns of Midsomer Murders.  John Nettles of Midsomer fame is my new best male friend.  Cannot forget Poirot, either.

Wishing you a big, beautiful bowl of ruby red cherries.  Hope your July ends on a high note!

And if you know why those flowering mums have become so small, please leave me a comment.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Decorative Ice Buckets with Flowers

My mother toasting you from years ago! Note ice bucket in foreground.

(1995, Ann McCarroll)
I dropped a tear in the ocean. The day you find it is the day I will stop missing you.

It is that hot time of summer in the northern hemisphere, so time to make a few ice buckets.  Just because they are pretty!

Here is a link that will tell you all about how to do it.  Back in the day, I did not go to near that trouble, using a half gallon orange juice container with an empty wine bottle placed in the middle and layered flowers in the waxed juice box.  Then the entire container was frozen overnight.  After the ice block was frozen solid and just prior to serving, the waxed boxed was peeled away and discarded and wine was decanted into the empty wine bottle.

Updating on that picture from the 1990's, last week I layered flowers into a plastic bowl, freezing differing buds and flowers between one inch layers of water.  It came out almost as pretty as the what the supplied link showed. If you go over to Betty's blog, she shows one she made June 23; she suggests putting a votive candle in the middle.  That would be attractive for entertaining in the simmer dim hours.

The local craft store supplied the clear plastic container that holds the ice bucket, keeping drinks cold with extra ice cubes melting around the drinks.  This time, I did not make an indentation in the ice bucket, but did include a couple of tiny plastic fairies frozen in the ice for a teeny bit of whimsy.

That ice block held drinks cold for several hours, even in 90 degree temperatures in the shade.  A couple of friends came over yesterday for lunch and drinks on the patio.  It was almost a party!

Speaking of parties, today is Prince George's First Birthday!  His maternal grandmother, Carole Middleton, gave a Peter Rabbit themed party that the Daily Mail reported to be very 'middle class'.

read here that "the now defunct left-wing Inner London Education Authority banned him (Peter Rabbit) and his cousin Benjamin Bunny from London schools in the 1980's because it said the rabbits were too bourgeois."  Now can you imagine that Peter Rabbit would be too bourgeois? Ha! Sniff!  What would Beatrix Potter think?

Happy Birthday little Prince George!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Card Table Toppers: Easy Sewing

Following the advice of my mother from years past, one should not put plastic on the table, be it flowers or vinyl tablecloths.  That maxim has stuck with me.

So when we use a card table, I usually end up folding a tablecloth in half and throwing it over the card table. Inefficient.  But this week I decided to use fabric on hand, as well as purchasing a bit of new semi-coordinating cottons and made two card table toppers.

 Yellow Brick Road fabric
 Fleur di  lis
 Cabbage Roses

They make me happy.  Half inch seams all around.  35 inch squares for the top; envelope sides, 18" deep. Easy peasy. Coordinating cloth napkins are in sewing process.

Now for eating alfresco.

Son in law Jack's picture of a rabbit in his yard this week, taking a break to scratch his ear before hopping away:

Friday, July 18, 2014

Refrigerator Pickles and Last Year at this Time

Using Gumbo Lily's recipe for refrigerator pickles, this batch was made prior to driving up on the Mesa for fishing yesterday. The Left Handed Housewife told us that she had made a batch, and Gumbo Lily's picture looked so aesthetically appealing that a copy cat version had to be tried. Green beans, carrots, cucumbers, garlic, onions and red and green peppers were cut up are now ready for consumption since those 24 hours of pickling time have passed.

The fishing report for areas around Grand Junction, Colorado on July 15, 2014, courtesy of Sportsman's Warehouse:

We went to the Mesa Lakes area, about an hour away and 11,000 feet in elevation, where Gene and I caught six rainbow trout.  Fun was had, weather was perfect, the old green camp chair was comfortable, the aspen trees were in their full summer greens. And fish were jumpin'.  The two largest trout were grilled last night for dinner, and the remaining four will be used Monday in trout cakes.

Today's recipe agenda is calling me to make Ina Gardner's gazpacho.  You won't recall, but I do well remember posting this excursion into healthy eating here. Apparently, we were big into apricots three years ago as well, looking back at that post.

Mid July flowers growing, front and back of the house:


Last year at this time of summer I was on one of the Shetland islands when the daylight lasted for about nineteen hours and the produce was at its height. What an experience!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wednesdays Are For Fishin'

Got me a new Fishing Shirt with all kinds of bells and whistles on it that includes loops and pockets and more loops.  It is a man's shirt, all cotton, and of course I was glad I had that big one ordered, knowing all too well the properties of cotton being tumbled in a hot dryer.  Oh, and it is pink and white striped.  It takes some king of macho guy to wear that color fishing.  But for me, pink is great.

Gentle readers, don't judge me, but I failed to report that last week I caught seven rainbow.  This easy, quick aioli sauce is my favorite to use with trout: no bottled tartar sauce for me, thank you.

For the sewists:

Look at the Tessuti site from Australia that was recommended by a friend.  Boy, was I glad to find this shop.They even have free downloads, so of course this shirt was a must:

The Fave Shirt found here and free:
Downloads are about 40 pages long, but only have a few lines on each page, so the printer ink is minimal. Then you fit the pattern together like a jigsaw puzzle, ingenious.  Be sure to get the A4 paper, not the American paper that comes in 8.5"x11".  I purchased a ream from Amazon after going to Office Max where I was told no place in the USA carried this style paper (wrong, don't believe everything you hear).  And as for the printer settings using A4 paper, be sure to also set your printer for that size paper.

It will be a fave top; already made one and another is on the machine all cut out and ready to go. It uses a twin needle for hemming the top, so that was another foray into finding the one called for.  The first top I made was a bit snug on the forearm, so it was increased at the bottom of the sleeve for my fat arm accommodation.

Look what opened this morning...
from zinnia seedlings started in April...

The kiss of the sun for pardon, 
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God's heart in a garden 
Than anywhere else on earth.    ~Dorothy Frances Gurney

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Hello in There

John Prine: Hello In There

We had an apartment in the city,
Me and Loretta liked living there.
Well, it'd been years since the kids had grown,
A life of their own left us alone.
John and Linda live in Omaha,
And Joe is somewhere on the road.
We lost Davy in the Korean war,
And I still don't know what for, don't matter anymore.

Ya' know that old trees just grow stronger,
And old rivers grow wilder ev'ry day.
Old people just grow lonesome
Waiting for someone to say, "Hello in there, hello."

Me and Loretta, we don't talk much more,
She sits and stares through the back door screen.
And all the news just repeats itself
Like some forgotten dream that we've both seen.
Someday I'll go and call up Rudy,
We worked together at the factory.
But what could I say if he asks "What's new?"
"Nothing, what's with you? Nothing much to do."

Repeat Chorus:

So if you're walking down the street sometime
And spot some hollow ancient eyes,
Please don't just pass 'em by and stare
As if you didn't care, say, "Hello in there, hello."

Ya gotta remember to say "Hello in there, hello."

Friday, July 4, 2014

July 4th, 2014 at the American Homestead

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.  (Original text of The Declaration of Independence at bottom of post...)

 Local Boy Scout Troop put this is our yard at dawn this morning
 A Snoopy shirt from Julie celebrating the day, modeled by the husband
Daughter Julie sent little patriotic ducks

 now independently floating in water

This is the final version of the text. Some phrases are different in the first drafts.