Thursday, October 8, 2015

even happier

Well, last night's post was a bit premature. This morning my problems returned as before, and then a friend sent me a link about Akismet. They work with Wordpress in dealing with spam.  And a nice fellow named Nick has just assured me that it's been fixed (although he can't go into details) and it won't happen again.

So here's a pretty fall image I snapped while zipping along the road the other day (after a bit of photoshopping).

And we can forget about the whole thing as if it never happened. Hopefully.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

a happy solution

Back in the early days of email, I found a small site which offered email services and had little problems with it for several years. Meanwhile, five years ago I started this blog. I never had any problems commenting on blogs which weren't on blogspot. My comments always appeared.

About one year ago my email service ended and I had to find another; gmail seemed the best bet - people like it, and it's a google thing, as is blogger, so it seemed to make sense for me. But since that time, I have not been able to leave a comment on non-blogspot blogs. 

Well, I could leave the comment, but it would never appear. At first, I didn't notice, of course. But once in a while I'd go back to see if anyone had replied, and my comment wouldn't be there. I didn't know what to think. I emailed the situation to one blogger, and she found my comment in her spam folder; but I wasn't about to email these people every time I wanted to comment! I mentioned it on another occasion on the Colette site, and Sarai's husband, Kenn, suggested I leave off my URL when I comment. He thought maybe the web was used to my URL belonging to that particular email address, and now that I had another one, there was a problem. It made sense, so I tried it. It worked of course; I just left that line blank. But there was no link to my own blog. That was okay for the most part; I was happy that at least I was able to comment, and that was the main thing. But it was too bad that nobody could see my blog, and decide whether they liked me or not. Kenn also had said that maybe after a couple of months the "system" might get used to my newer email and I'd be able to include it, but - no. After a year, it still hadn't made any difference.  

I asked two friends who are both knowledgeable on computer matters, but they had no idea. I emailed my problem into a local weekly radio program on computer issues, and they never addressed it either time!  

Today at the library we had a young fellow come in to give a class on the new version of Publisher, and I decided to ask him. He really didn't know why I had this problem, but he thought it might be the URL, and suggested I google "URL shorteners". I'd never heard of such things. He mentioned one called Bitly.  I was glad to have any new idea, but didn't really think it was the URL per se - still, when I got home, I did the search. I found Bitly, but couldn't resist choosing one named "tiny"  and lo!!!  It worked! I have commented on two blogs this evening, and leaving a link back here which I haven't been able to for over a year.  Hurrah, as the English say!   I can't believe it. And I'm telling you in case you have the same problem.

Now I just have to figure a way to remember this new funny URL which doesn't spell anything. But that's okay!  That's nothing. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

apples and ice cream

Apples again.

I saw an image on pinterest of hollowed-out apples with vanilla ice cream in them. This sounded very good, except I thought it would be nicer if the apples could be softer. Partially cooked, at least, but not falling apart. So, one day I steamed a few, mainly because the oven was in use. But they got too cooked and were too soft. So the next time I had them in the oven for twenty minutes or so. It was a mix of different kinds from the reduced produce section (not our own apples). Of course, they ended up cooking at different levels. There were three of us, so I picked the three best and served them with a drizzle of maple syrup over the ice cream.

They were pretty good. A little messy, and a little sweet, but nice.

Monday, October 5, 2015

much better than it looks

I'm still dealing with our apples; today I made more applesauce and then thought I'd try something else - these apples aren't pie material, but a crisp or something, maybe?  I thawed some butter and made one of Margo's press-in pie crusts, then mixed up some apple with cranberries and cinnamon. Just some brown sugar sprinkled on top, not even mixed up.  No topping.

When I took it out I could see the fruit amounts were a little sparse, but it was too late to add any more. Or was it?  I grabbed cold applesauce and plopped some on top, very carefully mixing it. So that's why it looks messy, but it's very tasty!  A good thought.

Friday, October 2, 2015

feast of the guardian angels

They come, God's messengers of love,
They come from realms of peace above,
From homes of never-fading light,
From blissful mansions ever bright.

They come to watch around us here,
To soothe our sorrow, calm our fear:
Ye heavenly guides, speed not away,
God willeth you with us to stay.

                                            -  Magnificat,  October, 2015

Friday, September 25, 2015

a responsibility to be vigilant

"You are the heirs of a great testimony, a precious witness to Christ. He is the Light of the World; he is the light of our lives! The martyrs of Korea...handed over their bodies to their persecutors; to us they have handed on a perennial witness that the light of Christ's truth dispels all darkness, and the love of Christ is gloriously triumphant. With the certainty of his victory over death, and our participation in it, we can face the challenge of Christian discipleship today, in our own circumstances and time...

Keep close to one another, draw ever closer to God, and with your bishops and priests spend these years in building a holier, more missionary and humble Church, a Church which loves and worships God by seeking to serve the poor, the lonely, the infirm, and the marginalized.

In your Christian lives, you will find many occasions that will tempt push away the stranger, the needy, the poor, and the broken-hearted. It is these people especially who repeat the cry of the woman of the Gospel: Lord, help me! [This]...plea is the cry of everyone who searches for love, acceptance, and friendship with Christ. It is the cry of so many people in our anonymous cities, the cry of so many of your own contemporaries, and the cry of all those martyrs who even today suffer persecution and death for the name of Jesus: Lord, help me! Let us respond, not like those who push away people who make demands on us, as if serving the needy gets in the way of our being close to the Lord. No! We are to be like Christ, who responds to every plea for his help with love, mercy, and compassion.

A responsibility which the Lord gives the duty to be vigilant, not to allow the pressures, the temptations, and the sins of ourselves or others to dull our sensitivity to the beauty of holiness, to the joy of the Gospel."

                                                             -   Pope Francis,    from Magnificat, September 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Note to Self:  When mixing ingredients for a cake made with butter, please ignore instructions to mix all together at once - remember to cream butter and sugars together thoroughly before adding other.

Today I baked a spice cake; the butter *was* sufficiently softened. The recipe said to mix it all together at the same time, so I did; and no matter how long I made that KitchenAid work at it, I saw small pieces of butter which would not completely incorporate into the batter. I even tried using the whipping beater - nope. I got out my hand-held mixer, thinking I'd have better control; but that didn't do it. The pieces did get somewhat smaller, but they wouldn't disappear. So I had to just hope for the best and bake it anyway. Well, it does look pretty normal - it's in the freezer.

I'm hoping for the best.

Monday, September 21, 2015


I can't believe I actually made yogurt today. I've been wanting to for years, but kept putting it off.

I used Anna's crockpot method, and Margo's guidelines for temps and starter amounts.

It's very thick - I haven't tasted it yet.

I can't believe it.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

knitting a hat

I made myself take yarn from the stash recently and find something to knit with it. What my hand ended up grabbing was a skein of Berroco Flicker; I got it greatly reduced when a local yarn shop was closing its doors.

I'm not sure why I chose it at the time, as the color is rather insipid, and I just ended up with the one skein - everything was very picked-over.

I chose the Simple Slouch Hat, a free pattern I found on Ravelry.  It's looking pretty good, which is a pleasant surprise. The yarn is funny and I didn't know what to expect from it - it's a braid, and if you can't see it, click on the picture and you will. It's also got a fair amount of stretch - maybe because it's braided?  There are also gold sparkles throughout, which I think I captured in the photo.

It's coming along much better than I expected, so maybe this funny braided yarn isn't such an odd thing after all. Nothing could be simpler than this pattern which is all stockinette to a certain point, then just decreasing down to a nothing. No edging, but still a very cute design.

Friday, September 18, 2015

cat naps

"Cats are rather delicate creatures and they are subject to a good many ailments, but I never heard of one who suffered from insomnia."

                                  - Joseph Wood Krutch

Thursday, September 17, 2015

pink applesauce

After one batch of slow-cooked applesauce, I am relieved that our slightly mealy apples still made good sauce with a slug of cider to help them out. And since we don't spray the trees, I didn't have to peel. I like pink applesauce!  So, I can safely make larger amounts next time. Which will be Saturday.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

fabric bow

with brown packing paper for the wrapping. I just tore strips the width I wanted; the paper got ironed this time.

I guess I'm just tired of buying wrapping paper which doesn't always thrill me. And ending up with too many mediocre bows. I'd rather use what I have.

Monday, September 14, 2015


It's been either so hot, or rainy, and I hadn't gotten out to pick any apples, but while mowing this evening, my brother thought he'd better - the branches were touching the ground.

This shopping bag is three quarters full. He said there's loads more. I guess Thursday will be applesauce day.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

while she sleeps

Sshhhhh.   While Dolly is sleeping, I'll tell you a little story.

You have heard this story before, in different versions; so if you're not a cat lover go ahead and change the channel.  But we don't seem to tire of it, because Dolly is our little princess.

Anyway, I was in the kitchen last evening, the dishes draining, baking a few cookies, and it was around eight I guess. I'd heard my brother say something to Dolly so I knew she'd gone into his room to sleep for the night. The radio was on in the kitchen.

They were playing oldies and standards, but when they announced they were going to play "Honey" by Bobby Goldsborough, that was it. Said I, "there's a limit to what I'll listen to!", and I shut it off and switched on the cd player.

I've been bringing home jazz cds from the library, and what was in there was the Dave Brubeck Quartet - Jazz at Oberlin.  The first track is "These Foolish Things (remind me of you)", and you immediately hear Paul Desmond's smooth saxophone.  

my brother:  Is the radio on?

me: No!  They were playing "Honey" - I shut it off and turned on the player.

bro: The instant Dolly heard it, she woke up and sat up - she's listening to it.

I went to his room. There she was, sitting up perkily on his bed with her head tilted, reminding me so much of the little RCA Victor dog - remember him?  

I guess they sell statuettes of him - and this is just how she was looking

me: For Pete's sake, am I going to have to buy her the collected works of Paul Desmond and Stan Getz for Christmas?  (Dear Readers, I already bought her Trane's Blue Train - must we own every jazz saxophone classic ever recorded?)  

Of course not - I'm joking about that, but whenever this happens, no matter how often, we can't help laughing in amazement. She just loves those saxtones.  Funny girl.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

apple bounty

We have got a crop of apples redder and more abundant than two years ago! I must take a picture. I've picked several which have absolutely no marks, dimples or holes in them, and that's sayin' somethin', since we don't spray.  I've really got to take a picture! The ones I tried so far are slightly mealy - this is unfortunate, but they're not so bad that I can't try and make applesauce out of them; if I add some cider to the pot I am hoping something nice will come out of it.

Meanwhile, they make perfect weights when cutting out fabric.

 I'm finally trying to make a Dottie Angel frock - we'll see how it comes out.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

making quiche

When I made this very tasty quiche recently I grabbed what was at hand, using Julia Child's basic formula: into a 2-cup measure, beat up three eggs, and then add enough milk or other liquid to bring up the level to one and a half cups. When I say other liquid, it means milk, heavy cream, light cream, half and half, buttermilk, watered-down yogurt, etc. Whatever's in the fridge.

I also like to pre-bake the crust for these: I do that at 375 for fifteen minutes or twenty, and then let it cool for the same amount of time.

So, for this quiche, I took the cooled crust and sprinkled some shredded parmesan on the bottom - it may have been one quarter or one third cup. I had already seasoned the liquid mixture with salt, pepper, oregano and maybe some onion powder. I then poured it into the shell. There was a bit of leftover zucchini around, so I put that inside, and topped it with some fresh tomato slices and dried basil over all. This baked at 375 for about half an hour or slightly longer.

This is all you have to do to make a quiche: just have your cooled pie shell ready, remember the amounts of egg and milk/cream, season accordingly and include whatever leftovers you think will make it tasty and interesting; cheese is often a good idea.  Voila!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Friday, September 4, 2015

the cat who loves greens that much

Did I ever mention how Tootsie loves greens?  Like a rabbit. Back when she lived with us, I was concerned that she'd eaten some long green thing which I feared was an elastic band. Turns out it was a corn husk which had fallen near the fridge. So, I gave her some more. I said corn husks. She ate them. I waited for consequences. There were none.  (by the way, I've never know her to throw up, in the common way of cats - ahem)

I would never give corn husks to Dolly or Henry. (well, they wouldn't eat them, anyway) But there's something about the little Tootsie-cat  - my brother says she's like a street kid, and I think it's apt. I could give her a three inch piece of lettuce - and I have - and it would disappear into her mouth as if she were a bunny. She gets all excited when she hears the rustle of greens.

So yesterday I couldn't see the onion greens in the garden so I decided to pull them out. Well, I'm not sure they are any larger than when I planted the sets - but I don't really know what I'm doing in the garden, anyway.

When she realized there were greens, she jumped onto the counter. These were greens I didn't want her to have! I have heard that onions and garlic can make a cat very sick. So, down she went. But she sure wanted up again.

The onions are now in a bowl atop the secretary.  Otherwise, she's been a good girl.

The End.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

meager fruits

As pitiful as my garden is this year, it still is amazing to be involved in the mysterious growing process.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

yellow wildflowers

growing abundantly across the brook. They look like small dandelions with long slim stems, but they're not.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

return of the ninja

Well, Cindy is back for another visit - two weeks this time. And that has to be the last time I call her Cindy, because she's been Tootsie at her new home for a while and I must get used to it.

a little sad I think, on top of the fridge

It's going to be like playing the shell game, shuffling cats and litter boxes. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Pinterest dinner

I made two Pinterest recipes for today's dinner. Chicken with Lemon, which was delicious, although I used "thin cut" but thicker-than-they-called-for chicken breasts, and not the tenders I was planning to buy; so I just cooked them a little longer - very lemony and good!

And I made zucchini cakes. The recipe called for a large zucchini - well, what is that, exactly? I had three small-to-medium ones, and an end of another. I grated the lot. After mixing everything together I could see it wouldn't hold, so I ended up adding two more eggs - perfect!

the recipe:

grate a large zucchini - i.e., whatever that means to you!
squeeze the liquid out of it, and mix it up with -
1 egg, a cup of panko (I used regular bread crumbs), a half cup of grated Parmesan (mine was more like shredded), one quarter teaspoon of paprika and one eighth teaspoon of nutmeg, a few shakes of pepper and half a teaspoon of salt.

When you mix it up, you'll probably see it needs something to keep it together, so add an egg or maybe two - you'll know when it's right.

Brown on medium heat four minutes per side, in some olive oil. Good hot, cold or in between.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

good prayer for protection

O God, who knowest us to be set in the midst of so many and great dangers, that by reason of the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright; Grant us such strength and protection, as may support us in all dangers, and carry us through all temptations, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

detail of the Nativity window at church

Saturday, August 22, 2015

a sweet surprise

A heavy box arrived in the mail; I wondered what the heck I had ordered and then forgot about. Put on the glasses, only to see Beth's name on the package. What did she send me?

Several jars of homemade jams: rhubarb, strawberry, grapefruit!  And a grapefruit marmalade! But you know which one I opened first?

How cool is dandelion jelly!

ever green

Beauty, strength, youth, are flowers but fading seen;
Duty, faith, love, are roots, and ever green.

                                                                           -  George Peele

Thursday, August 20, 2015

stuffed vegetables

I have to make an effort to remember that you can stuff vegetables with anything; it isn't something my mother was in the habit of, except the well-known stuffed peppers with the rice and ground beef mix and tomato sauce to cover.

I recently bought some inexpensive yellow peppers and just layered leftover rice, shredded zucchini, lots of basil and shredded parmesan in them after parcooking. Into the oven in a covered dish and - that was easy.

Monday, August 17, 2015

"quite a task"

"To live fully, outwardly and inwardly, not to ignore external reality for the sake of the inner life, or the reverse - that's quite a task."

-  Etty Hillesum,  from Simple Abundance