Saturday, June 30, 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012

jam and roses

Sunday we visited a park which is devoted to roses - pretty would be a gross understatement.

If you can imagine a place where everywhere you look, there are roses - that was it! It was hot though, and a lemon ice was very welcome after a half hour or so.

I was happy to pick enough of our wild black raspberries to make some more freezer jam from Organic Gardening. The recipe was for blackberries, but this is what we had so I tried it, with some lavender graciously donated by Linda who bought it on a trip to England. I guess she bought more than she needed. 

I just tasted some. I had forgotten that these very small berries have a seeming overabundance of seeds and aren't terribly juicy, so if you can imagine good-tasting but tough jam, well - that's it. Still, I'm pleased at the idea of freezer jam and am willing to learn by experience. 

I let a friend borrow my camera for his son's wedding and asked him to take my picture for practice. I thought I might as well ham it up while still looking like a librarian with my ever-present reading glasses.

funny, I suppose

Some librarians do have a sense of humor. 

round button chicken Joining in with Leila and Rosie again this week.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

washing windows

I just got around to washing the last of windows, and it's almost July. I think this is the latest I've ever been with them. (well, I still have the doors to do)  This one is over the kitchen sink, and I clean it by getting into the sink, etc.  I'm relieved this one is behind me.

don't know what this is?  It's a clean window.

So, washing windows every spring and every fall doesn't seem to be working for me anymore. I have decided to just do them as they need doing - when I'm cleaning that particular room and the window is dirty, I'll clean it. Maybe that will work better.

I found a recipe for window cleaner which is pretty good. It's from Simple Country Wisdom, a Country Living book, but I've also seen this recipe on the internet. Mix one cup of water with one cup of rubbing alcohol and add a tablespoon of white vinegar. It dries pretty fast - the high alcohol content - so that's something in its favor. You're not wiping terribly long.  I wonder - why the small amount of vinegar? 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Henry's dilemma

"Hmm. I think I'd like to do a bit of sewing."

"..but I do so enjoy the internet."


Thursday, June 21, 2012

just like auntie Adeline

I never thought I'd be buying one of those big cans of olive oil like Auntie Adeline always had at her house. She was my father's younger sister, and a great favorite of mine. I see them and I think of her.

They're so big! I don't think my mother ever bought this much at a time. But it was half price, and what with the olive oil butter I'm making more of lately, the stuff does seem to be going a lot faster.  

Kind of iconic.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"the first real time of freedom and living"

"It was a quiet morning, the town covered with darkness and at ease in bed. Summer gathered in the weather, the wind had the proper touch, the breathing of the world was warm and slow. You had only to rise, lean from your window, and know that this indeed was the first real time of freedom and living, this was the first morning of summer."

                                                  - Ray Bradbury,  Dandelion Wine

Monday, June 18, 2012

freezer jam

I just started getting Organic Gardening, and got my first issue the other day.  They have an article about how easy it is to make freezer jam. and made it sound so good that I looked at my overabundance of farmers' market strawberries with an eye to making some. Read it yourself!

Balsamic Strawberry Freezer Jam -  maybe a little exotic sounding, but too hard for me to resist. It was the lower sugar which got me; I usually buy Polaner brand which is sweetened with fruit juice, so when I have any regular jam it's unbearably sweet to me.  I got me some pectin, and went to work!

With less fruit than the amount called for, I had to re-figure the ingredients. The process took very little time and before I knew it, I had three plus jars!

It's a little thin - I think I mashed the berries a little too much. But this morning I put some on my English muffin, and - boy was I surprised! Delicious.  I may put some in the slow cooker with a pork roast come fall.

Our wild black raspberries are almost ripe - I think I'm going to try the Blackberry Lavender jam!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

June {p,h,f,r}

During the past week, I've been working on binding my quilt, which is a conglomeration of some pretty fabrics and colors

my stitches are too big, I think

What is nicer than opening a window first thing in the morning to a wonderful cool breeze wanting to come in?  Puts one in a happy frame of mind right away.

My lettuces are really bolting. But I've been enjoying my gardening adventures - I've never grown vegetables before.  

The picture below may be funny to seasoned gardeners - I planted too many beet seeds in this pot, knowing that I'd be thinning them out. But I did enjoy some tasty beet greens in my salad yesterday.

 Thanks to Leila and her family at this joyful time.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Friday, June 15, 2012


I spent the better part of a half-hour trying to photograph fireflies out my bedroom window tonight.  Nothing.

"There is certainly something a little supernatural about fireflies. Nobody pretends to understand them. They are akin to the tribes of fairy, survivals of the elder time when the woods and hills swarmed with the little green folk. It is still very easy to believe in fairies when you see those goblin lanterns glimmering among the fir tassels."

                                        -  L.M. Montgomery,  The Golden Road

Thursday, June 14, 2012

blooming where it's planted

Walking along my street the other day I noticed this little red flower. It's growing out of a miniscule crack along the side of the curb in front of my next door neighbor's - the only one like it around the block. His property is nicely landscaped, and I suppose this flower would rather be near his home than anywhere else.

It's so well established there and so determined to shine in the middle of all the pavement!

Monday, June 11, 2012

making big dents

About four weeks ago I got tired of wading through fabric and firmly told myself to use it up; as quilts are large, a few of those would do the trick nicely.

I took hold of the nearest piece which was this colored toile. After a week of having some real time to devote to it, it's ready for binding.

I have never made a quilt from start to finish. I started my circle quilt, and have done a lot on it, but I'm kind of hung up with that, waiting for inspiration on how to continue.  With this, I just plowed ahead. And I used up a few of my big pieces!

I made a lot of goofs, but I am not a perfectionist. I imagine practice is going to improve my "technique", such as it is.  Meanwhile, they'll all be warm, and colorful.

Friday, June 8, 2012

well, it had to happen sooner or later

I was minding my own business in the living room eating an apple, when Dolly accosted Henry. Well, she does it regularly - to keep him aware of who's boss around here. They wrangled for a few seconds only; she meowed, and hissed at him; that was different. Meowed again. He went off a few feet and she yawned.

Then I started to see it.
the smaller the picture, the less gory

Her nose was bleeding.  He'd scratched her - well, I can only be surprised it hasn't happened before this!  So, I'm following her around, dabbing at her nose, which was seeping. She seemed unconcerned, but I was concerned - concerned about the curtains, concerned about the ironing board cover, the chairs, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

I can hardly blame Henry, even though he won't let us close enough to clip his nails - he would never start anything with her - she is always the protagonist.  Yeah, sweet Dolly - you wouldn't believe it, would ya?

She sneezed - there was I right behind with a wet washcloth.  My co-workers insist that the cats are playing when this goes on, but I'm not convinced it's play.  I wish somebody would figure out cat behavior and write a book about it. So far, it's all speculation as far as I can tell.

Portrait of a Pusillanimous Puddy Cat 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

smooth stuff

I used to listen to an herbalist on the radio; she talked about making "better butter". 

You mix softened butter in the blender with a good oil - equal amounts. It's better for your cholesterol.

Way easier to spread, too, but it's not for baking.

I used to make it with canola oil for some things, and olive oil for others, but now I just make the olive oil version; it's healthier. Tastes very nice on morning toast or English muffins. It goes pretty fast around here. When I realized I was making it once a week, I doubled the recipe.

Monday, June 4, 2012

a museum by a river

Yesterday we took a little road trip with friends to an art museum which happens to be alongside a picturesque river. A big old home where a single lady decided to open up an inn.

old New England houses look nice in yellow, I think

It ended up being discovered by a group of artists, which gave her a steady stream of customers and also a "family" of sorts. My favorite part of the house was the long dining table on the porch - ah!  Some visitors were seated there, so I didn't take a picture.

Aside from the impressionist paintings inside, the entire place was very appealing. All sorts of varieties in a flower garden - they had poppies about a foot in diameter!

And we managed to get some pictures along the river before it rained. There were a few geese hanging around, quite unconcerned about the people nearby.

a photo of my friend taking a photo

Really a beautiful and relaxing day.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

how to make a mobcap: a fast and dirty way

My boss needed a mobcap, so here's what I figured out. This is not to be worn to a reenactment of any sort - it's just a quick, easy solution to a costume problem.

First, iron your fabric, then draw a circle on it - eighteen inches in diameter. Cut it out with pinking shears.

Now, take some purchased bias tape - single fold - and press it open. The fold lines should still be visible. Pin it to the wrong side of the circle two inches from the outer edge all the way around.  Stitch along those fold lines, first one, then the other, leaving a space where the two would meet; you want to be able to thread your elastic or drawstring in there.

For this, I tied a little knot on one end of the cord, put a safety pin through the knot and threaded it through the channel. But after adjusting it on my own head and then tying it to fit, I decided that was too fussy - I redid it with elastic.

I had a very narrow length of elastic and threaded it through with a pin, as above.  I didn't even measure the elastic beforehand -  could just tell it looked okay when it got a certain ruffled look to it.

This a very basic method, but very simple!  And, do you wonder why a library director wants a mobcap?

Well, every year we try to plan a whole summer of fun for the local children, and she and Trisha gear up in costume (related to that year's theme) and travel to the local schools to tell the kids all about it. This year the theme has to do with dreams and nighttime, and they're wearing their pajamas!  So, she had the idea that a sleeping cap might be in order. Trisha won't be needing one - she'll be pigtailing her hair.

(You could of course make this larger if you want - for some reason, the eighteen inch size was what I kept finding in my online researches - even Colonial Williamsburg gave that dimension.)

morning cats listening to Sunday Baroque

with an emphasis this week on coronation music, in honor of the queen.

 I wonder if she ever leaves her bed unmade when pets are on it.

Friday, June 1, 2012

the whole house smells like onion

In view of rainy days ahead, I decided to pick some of the chives along with the drying blossoms. (And a bit of grass mixed in.)

So we have the chives drying on a tray, and the blossoms in a bowl, because even though I don't need all the seeds, who can resist them?