Thursday, July 31, 2014

Monday, July 28, 2014

a not so plain dress

I made a very simple a-line, short-sleeved, pull-over-the-head dress which could have been rather dull,

except for the ruffled net trim which is just the thing for it.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

salt of the earth

"...salt flavors and preserves. G.K. Chesterton offers a lovely thought on our role as salt:  Salt seasons and preserves beef, not because it is like beef; but because it is very unlike it. Christ did not tell his apostles that they were only the excellent people, or the only excellent people, but that they were the exceptional people; the permanently incongruous and incompatible people; and the text about the salt of the earth is really as sharp and shrewd and tart as the taste of salt."

                                 James C. Howell,   Servants, Misfits and Martyrs

Friday, July 25, 2014

gone, but not forgotten

At Agway they had so many plants on sale as gardening season was moving along, and I couldn't resist buying a few strawberry plants. And a pot to put them in. What I didn't expect was a few blooms, and the possibility of a strawberry or two.  How exciting!

I was pretty sure that today was the day this little fellow would be ready to pick. Apparently, I was correct. Because, when I went out today to water, that little fellow was gone. Disappeared, without a trace.

ahhh.   I hope whoever it was, well - I hope they really enjoyed it.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pinterest recipes: banana-peanut butter "ice cream"

This was pretty darn good.

I've got it in my "recipes to try" board - only three ingredients: bananas, peanut butter and cocoa. Basically, you take four very ripe bananas, slice them and put 'em in the freezer for two hours. Then they go into your food processor - sorry, but the blender is not powerful enough, according to the originators. Whiz it till it's entirely pureed, then add two tablespoons of peanut butter and a spoonful or so of cocoa powder and whiz again. Eat as is, or freeze for a bit. No dairy, so that will be good news for some.

I'm not a big banana lover - I may eat a whole banana twice a year, at most!  I prefer my fruit to have some juice in it, and bananas are awfully sweet. But my brother always has some around, and it just so happened that there were four overripe ones he wasn't going to eat!  Well, I had to try the recipe.

Now, the surprise - it doesn't make very much. Those bananas puree up into a fraction of their former selves.  Would you eat four bananas in one sitting? Not I. (aside from the time in my twenties when I ate two Banana Royals at Friendly's, but that was a long time ago) Well, I can tell
you that it was easy to finish off this whole dessert by myself. Oh, dear. That's a lot of sugar, I think. But I've got eight bananas on the shopping list, because I want my brother to try it. Try it yourself!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

an early start

'It is the essence of adventure to see the break of a new day... What may it not be ushering in?'

                   -     L. M. Montgomery,  Jane of Lantern Hill

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

a night walk in summer

"The cool evening air was heavy with dew when they started. The winds were folded among the shadowy glens. The spice ferns were fragrant in the corners of the upland pastures. It was so calm and still you could hear all kinds of far-away sounds... She heard the distant bark of a fox...the sound of tiny feet in the fern...she saw the pale glimmer of night moths and took friendly counsel with the stars. Almost they sang, as if one star called to another in infinite harmony."

                                               L.M. Montgomery, Jane of Lantern Hill

Monday, July 21, 2014

Pinterest recipes: oven-roasted corn

I didn't take a picture, but I had some corn yesterday and thought I'd try this for a change. It was a great disappointment. The corn was starchy, and the kernels didn't have the juiciness you get from boiling. I won't do that again, although wrapping them in foil may bring a better result from the oven.

On another note, I found out the handsome cat's name. It's Yogi.

I think I like him because he looks kind of like a Norwegian Forest cat, which breed I just love.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


Psalm 37

Do not fret because of the wicked;
do not envy those who do evil:
for they wither quickly like grass
and fade like the green of the fields.

If you trust in the Lord and do good,
then you will live in the land and be secure.
If you find your delight in the Lord,
he will grant your heart's desire.

Be still before the Lord and wait in patience;
do not fret at the man who prospers;
a man who makes evil plots
to bring down the needy and the poor.

Calm your anger and forget your rage;
do not fret, it only leads to evil.
For those who do evil shall perish;
the patient shall inherit the land.

The parable of the weeds and the wheat captures the tangled ambiguities of the human heart. The word translated as "weeds" actually refers specifically to darnel, also called "false wheat". 
Darnel, poisonous to human beings, is easily mistaken for true wheat until the ear, the fruit, appears. Jesus counsels patience; the true will be sorted from the false when the time comes, even within our own souls.

                                         -  from Magnificat, July 2014

"By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Just so every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them."

                                                -  Matthew 7:16-20

Friday, July 18, 2014

snake plant blossom

When I was watering the plants at the library this morning, I found a "blossom" on the snake plant.
After more than twenty years, this is only the second time. I had no idea they bloomed at all!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pinterest recipes: Cheese, Olive and Buttermilk Herb Bread

I have a Pinterest board which is just appealing photos of food - it may be my favorite. But I thought I could try some of these rather than just enjoy their appearance. So I decided to make the Cheese, Olive and Buttermilk Herb Bread, recipe here.

So delicious! Theirs, of course, looks better than mine. (That's why I collect these pictures, isn't it?) It's very moist, even with just two and a half tablespoons of olive oil - almost like a savory cottage pudding. Do try it!

Sunday, July 13, 2014


Some of the hollyhocks actually peep in my brother's window -

some look the other way.

Friday, July 11, 2014

a new pillowcase

In the interest of using up fabric, and satisfying my longtime desire to sew a pillowcase, I made one yesterday, using these very clear instructions.

There are threads which need cutting yet. I think I'll make another.

Monday, July 7, 2014

the littlest garden

Yes, that's my garden - just three feet by nine, and some things which haven't even surfaced yet. I bought my greenhouse rather late, and some things from older seeds didn't sprout in the house, so I replanted them outside.  I don't mind; I'm learning. And there's time. 

Last year I bought a metal raised bed with interlocking sections. It was a nice idea, but because it didn't stick into the ground, it shifted over the winter and the rectangle went askew. It was a mass of weeds, and looked terrible to me. Then I went to Debra's and saw her oh-so-orderly oh-so-beautiful garden. She got her ideas from the Square Foot method, and that's what I resolved to do. 

I removed one or two sections at a time, weeded just that square foot area and planted in that spot. Bamboo skewers are stuck in here and there to delineate the 12-inch areas. It's still a raised bed, just without borders. But it looks so much neater. And weeding a square patch is so easy, so fast - it's nothing!  

We'll see what comes up.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

a little recipe for little berries

It's time again for our wild black raspberries. We won't approach last year's pickings, but whatever we get is a gift!

Yesterday I made some quick light ice cream; based on Anna's vanilla recipe.

Into the blender, put one cup of milk, three quarter cup sugar, a heaping serving spoon of cocoa and one cup of these berries, if you're so lucky as to have them. Whiz it up good.

Mix gently with a pint of light cream and half a teaspoon vanilla. Chill well, then proceed in the normal way of making frozen desserts. The little bit of chocolate really adds something, I think.

Lots of seeds, but real good.

Friday, July 4, 2014

God mend thine every flaw

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law.

                 -    America the Beautiful,   by Katharine Lee Bates

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

yes to hollyhocks

There's a very small flower bed next to the front steps - it's about three by four feet. And a number of years ago I bought some perennial hollyhocks and put them in this bed. They grew to eight feet tall! A medley of colors - yellow, pink, white and deep maroon. They were fabulous at first, but soon their leaves got chewed-looking, which wasn't so good, and after a few years of this I thought maybe they weren't suited for this area and decided to pull them up. But they came back the next year.

My brother even got into that small space once, with a shovel, and dug them out (I can see him in my mind's eye even now). They still returned the next year.

I tried again one year by layering newspaper all over the bed, knowing it would also kill my daffodils, but I had to get rid of those hollyhocks. Still, they were there again the following spring.
I know their leaves by now - I know a hollyhock leaf in a second!

You may think I dislike them. I assure you, I love them. What anglophile doesn't dream of a cottage-style garden? And what cottage garden doesn't include hollyhocks? Did I say they were at least six feet tall? Usually seven, sometimes eight? I loved them. But they would look so buggy and awful.

Anyway, what I'm getting at is this - these are not old pictures. They want to stay? Okay - stay! It's yes to hollyhocks from now on.

I give up.  I'm even happy.