Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Movin right along, the Dollivers decide to cook

The storm having come and more or less calmed down, about ten inches of snow, not much wind, but not the huge event we were promised, the Dollivers decided that the emergency was over, so they needed to get to work in the kitchen.



Yogurt on the menu here.  Studying the thermometer to bring the milk up to close to boiling, before cooling it back down to lukewarm, and Call Me Michelle ready to add the starter, which in this case is a bit of Dannon left for the purpose. Usually it's just some of my homemade yogurt, but I wanted a change of texture.

Blondie Firstborn, not actually working, just supervising, is keeping track of the activities.  The others are still sleeping, after the excitement of the emergency preparations.

And on the patio, the suet cake I hung yesterday for the hungry birds was yanked down and run away with by a squirrel this morning. I just happened to look out and see him making off with it towards the fence. 

However, his plans fell down when he found it was too heavy to climb with and he couldn't get it under the snowbound fence. So he dropped it, and now there's a crowd of juncoes having a great feast back there.  

Still snowing, but it's looking more and more like a big snowstorm rather than a historical event. I won't bore you with snow pix, everyone knows what snow looks like..

Monday, January 26, 2015

Keep Calm And Find The Batteries

So, since once again we are in the direct path of a big storm, this time snow, high winds, possible thunder, up to a couple of feet of snow, and so on, I figured I'd better just check to make sure I have a flashlight where I can find it. State of Emergency in the state since early afternoon, storm here already, to go on into the foreseeable future, well at least till tomorrow night.

We rarely have power outages, but there's always a chance.  So I remembered my Survival Kit, very dramatic, given to us during Andy's last days on earth, don't ask me why, the timing seemed very ironic, considering. But anyway I thought I remembered a nice big flashlight in there.




Opened the bag and there was a mask, waterproof matches, sign to put in window or car seeking help, a brick of five year shelf life food what can it be, bags of drinking water, aluminum blanket for warming person, little first aid kit, towelettes, battery operated radio with LED lights.  No flashlight.

Then I remembered I'd hung it in the coat closet so I wouldn't forget where I put it...well, to be fair, this was a few years ago, and stuff has happened since.  And there it was.  Dead as a doornail.  Nothing daunted, went into the battery drawer and found every size and shape of battery except, you are already onto this, the size it takes.  Right.

So I knew I had a flashlight upstairs, went and checked that and it works fine.



At this point the Dollivers got in on the act since they have advanced survival skills with living around two cats, and insisted on posing.  Blondie Firstborn pretended to faint so they could practice their revival skills, but they all rose above it, she's such a showoff.

And I thought, ah, little battery radio, good stuff, try it out.  Batteries dead as a doornail.  So back to the battery drawer and found two new batteries that fitted, yay.  And discovered, on pushing all the little buttons that not only can I get the New York station that is probably best for storm news for this region, but the base of the radio is a little LED flashlight, very bright beam.

So I'm ready for anything now.  More or less.  The radio can hang around my neck so I don't have to go in search of a light.  If I remember it's there, that is, and don't lose it in the bedside table or my pantleg, longtime readers will know what that means, new readers can feel free to scroll back through my misadventures and find out.

Seriously, friends, though I live alone, I have at least six neighbors in the immediate vicinity, i.e. feet away, I could call on if necessary and who would bang on my door and come in to investigate if they thought anything was amiss.  So though I'm prepared, I'm not unsupported!  Handsome Son will probably be marooned at home until they get dug out, but he has neighbors, too.

Just wondering if this will be curtains for the rest of my cherry tree, though. Oh well. Hoping all the people will be okay.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

GROW YOUR BLOG DAY 2015

Welcome to new readers, and thank you for coming back, regular readers and commenters.  See the button to your right, which takes you to the blog of the fearless leader of this annual event, Vicki, of Two Bags Full, whose idea is to introduce blogs to new readers and readers to blogs they might never have found before.

Meanwhile, back here, this blog is what you might call wide ranging, from stories of my houseplants and the adventures of being the neighborhood Plant Clinic Lady, not a job I applied for







To book reviews and why I liked or didn't what I'm currently involved in reading




To food and the adventures I have in the kitchen, creating and improvising all kinds of dishes, particularly with vegetables from my farmshare, and the occasional recipe review from other people's books



To the resident pets, Marigold the Burmese and Duncan, the Big Black Cat, and, watch this space, there may be a new resident chez Boud before too long, a singing one..


 Marigold here suspiciously checking on a mouse I knitted from yarn I'd spun


 And Duncan assisting with stick weaving

To all kinds of crafty and home decorish ideas usually low or no-budget ones

 No cost rearrangement to free up counter space


 No cost arrangement to provide myself with lower counter space to accommodate my lack of inches.

To my local walks in a beautiful region






 

Local events get in here, too, here the Italian American festival of 2014, best food evah



and last but they would say far from least, to the life and times of the Dollivers, my five character dolls, Blondie Firstborn, Dreads, Call Me Michelle, Bette David and NameMe, who have adventures in Field and Fen, get about all over the place, pose everywhere, and have their traveling accompanist, pianist Elton, who creates popup concerts on request.

They have an extensive wardrobe, thanks to their endless demands on Boud to create outfits, knitted, crocheted, stitched and draped, for every new venture


  
Serious weight training, left to right NameMe, Dreads, Call Me Michelle, Bette Davis, Blondie Firstborn



 Birdwatching at Cape May

 Doctor's office visit

  
2014 Westminster Dog Show at home, with Dog Wrangler Name Me dolled up to show her kennel, see the Westminster winner at her feet, from the Dolliver Kennels


NameMe is active in the kitchen, too, here making pasta from scratch


 She left the resident agility mixed breed in charge of the Easter eggs



 Pianist Elton leads a singalong


Friend in both art and music, Stefi accompanies the singers dressed in their best black




 And here the assembled company welcomes back the Chilean miners to safety, wearing sympathy hard hats


They love a wedding, note the fascinator worn by Bette Davis


This blog also comes with a little gift to be drawn at random from your comments on this blogpost.  To see it, scroll back a post or two..how cunning I am, forcing you to read more..but be aware that you don't need to sign up as a follower, though I'd love you if you did, and that you don't need a blog in order to be in the drawing for the little giftie.  

All you need do is put a comment in here.  Drawing will be on February 15th, when I'll announce the lucky winner and request an address to ship to.

And thank you so much for stopping by today, please browse here and enjoy the fun.

 

My Glasses. Out to Get Me 6WS

Yesterday was one of those starts-out-simple-gets-complicated kind of early mornings.  I woke early, took my early morning pill with the entire glass of water they insist must be finished, switched the pill bottle with the one that alternates with it daily, put away the day's bottle, fell back asleep again.  All very usual and uneventful. All done on automatic.



The scene of the crime

Woke again ready to get up, feel about for my glasses without which I'm a bit hampered, and there they weren't.  Usually they're on bedside table, along with the book I read last night.  Not there.

Searched the floor all around the bed in case dear Duncan had knocked them down, which he sometimes does. Pulled out the massive bed a little way in case he'd hidden them back there, something he used to do as a kitten during the night. 



 Possible culprit


 
fleeing the scene of the crime in case she gets blamed

Not too farfetched an idea, since he's started with some kitten behavior lately, such as burrowing under the blankets and playing with my toes, ouch.  No glasses there.

Stripped the entire bed in case the glasses had got in there when I fell asleep.  Decided, since the bed was now stripped and no glasses in evidence anyway, I may as well change the bed, did so.  No glasses.



 Put your glasses on and peer at this picture.  Clues here.

Couldn't imagine where else they might be. Not in robe pocket, how could they have got into a drawer by themselves..but anyway I opened the bedside table drawer and they leapt out!  had evidently slid in and got partly trapped in there when I shut the drawer earlier. Completely invisible to the seeker who had no glasses on.



Duncan exonerated, I put the glasses firmly on my face -- I had actually checked my face several times in the course of the search because I've been known to lose my glasses on my head, sigh -- and went off for a restorative cup of coffee.

I think it's glasses revenge for fainting on them and bending them a while back.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Giveaway gift for lucky random commenter, Grow Your Blog Day January 25

Here's what the lucky random winner will receive, to be announced February 15th.


Image of two acorns on twig, goldwork including purl and plate, total image size 3 x 3 inches, stitched on Belgian linen.

Please note that all you need to do to enter is comment on this blog on January 25th.  No need to have a blog of your own, no need to sign up as a follower, unless you're dying to do that, just comment and you're in. Your comment can be about anything you've found on the blog, or whatever you love in stitching or any other art or craft, it's up to you.

Mark your calendar, tell your friends!  Some readers don't know how to comment, but do respond via my mailing list, so I will include you.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Possible visitor, possible little snack with cup of tea

The art materials may be picked up today, and I asked the picker up if she had time for a cup of tea, maybe, and just in case, I made a cake last evening.  More civilized to offer a bit of hospitality in addition to a donation.




This is chocolate almond cake, invented by moi, using almond flour in place of most of the ap flour in the recipe. I had to put in a bit of ap flour because the batter was very thin.  And it worked out okay, moist, nice, a bit crunchy with the almonds. I tested it out of course. This is that universal chocolate cake recipe that is named crazy cake or some such name, see it all over.  It's quite adaptable.

I'm not a chocolate fan myself, but so many guests are that it's a good one to make and offer.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Before and After. Martha's arrangements somewhat more organized

So acting on the urgent need for midwinter fruit, I remembered that I had frozen and stored farm apples in the chest freezer next door, courtesy of good friend, since my own freezer was jammed.  So I moseyed off to retrieve them.  





And remembered that since the freezer is in his outdoor storage closet, he stacks a lot of items on top of it.  Since my wrist is not yet up to moving heavy items, I had to catch him home and get his help, given willingly, to remove all the stuff so I could lift the lid and get into my apples.

The stuff involved auto parts and tools, gardening equipment, picnic items, a pogo stick (!) and various electrical gizmos. And I did get in and find the desired apples.

So home again, here's my favorite dish waiting to be filled. 






 I did make a slight error in the amount of butter for the topping for my apple crumble, Martha recipe, and found I had no oats for it either, having made them all into flour. And I added in walnut flour, great with apples.

So I soldiered on anyway, and it turned out well enough that when we had afternoon tea in the middle of sorting the studio, a lot of it vanished, son playing an active role in this activity to restore his strength.   






The reason it turned out well was that the apples had such flavor, frozen same day as picked, wonderful apples last year, so I could have missed out on more ingredients and still had something good to eat.



And then it was empty again...

Speaking of missing out and being careful not to, note the button on my blog up there about Grow Your Blog 2015.  I'll be posting a special post on that day and invite you to come in, comment, and be in the running for a little giveaway.  

Haven't decided what it will be yet, since I work in many media, but it will be an original artwork by me of some kind.  I'll pick randomly from comments in mid February, date to be announced on  Grow Your Blog Day.  And I'll be glad to visit your blogs, too, if you have them. 

No need to have a blog to enter and comment, though, all readers are eligible.  Last year I discovered some wonderful blogs I hadn't come across before, through this blog party, so I invite you to do the same.  The Fearless Leader of this event is Vicki at Two Bags Full, and if you click on the button, you'll find yourself at her blog.

And, following on the great suggestion at Comptonia, one of the blogs I found last year and have become a devoted follower of, nemmind the grammar, please let me know if any weirdness happens when you comment in here.  Sometimes Blogger installs a function the blog writer is unaware of and I really appreciate a heads-up.  

I do have comment moderation installed, and I'm very quick to read and publish your comments.  But I don't use those awful guess the word and type it in things. If that appears, please tell me and I'll remove it.  

And I do allow anonymous comments, but please do what a number of wise commenters do and insert your name into the body your post so we know who it is!  I'd rather strip out spam than miss the comments of readers who don't happen to have any of the online IDs called for.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Cats, Hobbyhorses, Meditating and the Monkeymind 6WS

Recently I've reintroduced meditation into the morning routine, and notice that the cats notice instantly when I start, then sit with or on me, and the second I stop, jump down and stroll away,even if I'm still just sitting.  No idea how they know, but they are tuned in.



They are naturals at not doing anything but let things pass before them, exactly as meditation aims to do and mine so rarely does.  

My monkeymind, never stopping its headlong rush in all directions, gathers up all the hobbyhorses from the fields and leaps on now this one, now that one, and creates dialogs some funny, some indignant, all irrelevant. 


What's that galloping by?  horse? monkey?

 I have to remember to let the ideas go on their way, not to follow up new art ideas, if they're good they'll come back,  not to continue dialogs from decades ago, and resume the breathing and counting, and most of all not to judge whether a session has been "good" or not.  It just is.  That's the hardest thing of all for me to grasp. 


It was a monkey riding on a horse..

All these animals milling around get in the way!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Midwinter dessert

Midwinter, warm food required.  So I made a pot of soup from green beans,frying peppers and bell peppers , with the shells of the garlic from roasting garlic, big sprig of curry leaves, the last of the Worcestershire sauce, must put it on shopping list, and made a great pot of green soup.  With croutons from the trusty castiron pan. One helping for lunch, three more in the freezer, one in the fridge.

Then I finished up the current pancake mix, the almond flour one, which came out fluffy as ever (half cup of ap flour, one cup almond) and stuffed two pancakes with frozen berries, poifect midwinter fruit.  



You see one done and one waiting to be flipped and finished. The rest of the berries in the dish, and I spooned the juice over the finished pancakes.  Ina Garten has nothing on me!

I don't buy "fresh" fruit in winter, since it isn't, and it tastes like items which have been puffed with various preservative gases and shipped thousands of miles to my store. After you buy fruit which really is fresh from the farm, it ruins you for the substitute apple- and peach-like things in the stores right now.

Anyway, leaping nimbly off one hobby horse and onto another one, I have a herd of them in the paddock, I'm about to make walnut flour this afternoon.  

The trick with oily nuts like almonds and walnuts is to grind them just enough to reduce them to powder without doing that one extra second which will make them butter.  It's okay if that what you wanted, but right now I would like to add to my flour repertoire.

To wit: lentil, split pea, oat, chickpea, almond. I might consider peanut flour, too.  I hate peanut butter, so I have to be careful not to make it by accident.  Okay, off to bring fodder to my hobby horses milling about out there.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The studio journey goes on, light showing..

More work in the studio today. I've found that the best method is to decide before going up there what I'm going to tackle, so that I don't get into a blur in a minute.


 Stretchers, printmaking and watercolor paper in rolls, and some great roofing paper which makes excellent prints, plus assorted plexi pieces for plates, mats and matboard.

 




Today it was about frames and stretchers, and framing material, and in the process I found a weaving I did ages ago and had left on the picture frame loom.  Since I wanted to donate the frame it was on, I removed it from the frame, and found I quite liked it, so it now has a place downstairs.



Since people are often interested in dimensions, this piece is 38 inches h. by 14 inches wide.  It's crocheted in double crochet, constructed like the shopping bags I made, then I stretched it on the frame then wove in raw roving -- you see that top and bottom,  and yarns, the yellow geometric form on there, then finished it with brass chain draped in front.  All the materials were donated by other artists!

 
I'm donating enough materials to set up a nice monotype making program for adult artists!  inks, extender, plexi plates, brayers, plastic aprons, matting and framing materials.  And a ton of really really good paper, the kind that's hard to afford.  

Also rubber stamps, liquid acrylics, kids' easy printmaking scratchboard, sun printing paper, stickon dots, all sorts of fun! all ages catered to...

Anyway, this is getting to feel better now, though it's hard to close the door on my past art, even though it will open the door to the next adventures.  I have to remember the nautilus, my iconic image, where the sea animal completely closes off the last compartment of
the shell while building the next, bigger compartment.  This is a nautilus moment.

And I thought it would be good to reward myself, so I ordered a climbing yellow rose from White Flower Farm, unfortunately named Golden Showers, somebody should explain this to the good folks at WFF, but it's beautiful anyway.  



I had one many years ago and remember what a great performance it put on for years. So now I can plant one against the highest part of the fence on the patio.  Pix will happen in the spring when it arrives. 

Along with more adventures in art, I expect.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Another friend has moved on

Please join me in giving thanks for the long and wonderful life of Marian Morgan, commenting here occasionally as Annie 





We have known for some time that her remaining days were limited, but she still valiantly emailed and posted, and sent me my annual Advent Calendar, and it was only a couple of weeks ago that she asked me to take her off the blog mailing list, not enough strength to read here, but she had loved it. 

Annie was one of those people who always got it.  Loved 1066 and All That, Gorey, George Price, and other humorists I loved too.  Such a friend. We had an actual written correspondence for some time, since she had lost a number of friends to old age, and I offered to stand in and exchange letters, great pleasure for both of us.

She had a life full of incident and experience, some good, some not so much, lived in several countries, and her last years were very happy with husband Barry.  Her daughters will look out for him now.

I used to say I wanted to be like her when I grew up!  amused her hugely.   And there was a running gag about a sweater coat she could simply not get finished, and I persuaded her that it had iconic status at this point and shouldn't be finished. She liked that, and acted on it.  Or rather didn't act, leaving the sweater coat in its perfect state of incompletion.

Send up good thoughts for her and Barry and her two daughters, and grand children.  And her many many friends who have suffered a great loss this morning.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunday breakfast

Remember that cornmeal and sugar topping that was surplus to requirements in the Moosewood cookie caper? it found a home in these pancakes.  



Along with more cornmeal and a cup of almond flour, which I'd made in my coffee grinder, leaving quite a few crunchy bits, and the usual other ingredients.  This made a lovely light pancake, well, quite a few, enough for several breakfasts or desserts later.  

Trail of good honey, real honey, from actual bees, not that supermarket impostor which can be labeled honey and still contain corn syrup, gah.  Amazing that they are allowed legally to say honey as long as they don't say pure or one hundred per cent.  The sugar lobby's clout, I suppose.  However we can read labels and buy only the very good stuff with the flavor.

And, amid the frenzy of freecycling fabulous cookbooks, expensive, unread, to various happy people, I thought you'd like to see my own favorite.  




Well, you could have guessed from its condition that it's well used.  Food stuff on most pages, notes everywhere. Spine fell off years ago and is now a bookmark. Pancake recipe from there, and various other simple and good stuff, too.  What you might call unpretentious.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

How Did I Get Into This? 6WS








The Sorting of the Studio is getting past the idle thinking stage and into the execution part.  To date I have two gigantic bags of paper to recycle, and large numbers of old print photos and slides which I will never again have any interest in seeing.  

I did hold onto a few pix for Handsome Son, though, didn't count on the emotional meltdown of finding pix of Handsome Partner younger, still walking, cheerful, but I struggled on and just saved a few.  Also found a pic of the Great Me on the day I graduated from the uni, gosh all that hair!  so young!  

And sorting HP's tools and toolbox, amazing that they should have such emotional bandwidth, too.  A friend is taking the box and some of the tools I won't use, this morning. This is good. They'll be in good hands.  I'm amazed at the number of screwdrivers we amassed between us, and pliers and hammers.  I guess when we blended households we didn't thin out the tool department.

I needed to rest after an hour, hadn't realized I'd tackled the hardest part first, but now I'm ready to resume.  I have plans for quite a few items already.

Next I'm bagging and boxing items that are kid friendly and can be freecycled.  A lot of my printmaking inks and materials really need to be in adult hands, partly because of the quality, partly because of the techniques they need.  But I have an idea for those, too.

The bad part about reorganizing and tossing is that once you start, the place looks worse than before, until you make a bit more headway than I have to date.  Next weekend HS is coming over to lend his time and strength to move big stuff out, yay.