Thursday, July 20, 2017

another tree bites the dust


Earlier this year, when we had some really windy days, I was talking about how we'd had such strong winds in spring of 2016...that one of our big healthy pine trees had broken off at the base.

As I was saying that, I looked out the front window and noticed that another of the pines (planted at the same time) looked like it was leaning a lot more than it was before.

I thought it might be my imagination but over these months I've been trying to pay attention to any changes in the slant of the tree. Then, last time I was mowing out there I could see a big difference.  One side of the tree (forked trunk) was leaning way away from the other side.

I called our tree company, who said they might be able to cable both sides of the tree together and keep it from falling...but it would be Monday before they could look at it.

Well, Monday was too late.  Sunday evening when my sons were leaving they actually saw the tree falling like slow motion...or half of it anyway.

 I was hoping the other half could still be saved, but no, it was leaning the other way.
This photo taken from the opposite direction.



When the tree guy came to the door on Monday, he had a funny look on his face. He must have  thought I was expecting them to put the tree back in position!
He seemed relieved when we just asked them to finish taking it down and haul away the mess.

They did it the next day....

I guess we were lucky it didn't fall on that Spruce there on the right and damage it too.

Those two tiny trees in the center of the photo are 2 hollies I put in last year to replace the other pine that fell.  I'm thinking about getting 3 more hollies now to fill in this space.
The pines are pretty and fast growing though...hmmm...and Giant Thujas are another possibility.

We need something there though, not just for privacy, but to block noise and pollution from the highway.


Here's the same view from 2014...much nicer than seeing that neighborhood across the street - and the telephone pole- and the gas company thingy.

Time to start shopping for new trees!



Saturday, July 15, 2017

cool summer beverages

My sons are getting pretty good a spotting recipes that I might be interested in trying. Here are a couple of refreshing summer drinks.


First off - the Sasquatch has been suggesting that I try making Cold-Brewed Coffee.

Instructions HERE

He's the only one of us that isn't a coffee drinker, but he thought he might like it this way since it results in a smoother brew.  Nope, he still doesn't like it, but I think it's a great way to have coffee ready to make iced coffee at any time.

All you do is soak the coffee grounds in room temperature water for about 12 hours. (1 1/2 cups coffee grounds to 8 cups water).  Strain the grounds...first with a strainer - then through a coffee filter.
It's done!


The instructions say that this makes concentrated coffee, so it's just right once it's poured over ice and cream is added (and sweetener if you wish).

A nice pick-me-up on a hot afternoon!


Next up is a recipe Chopper found...something we had never even heard of...Horchata - a Mexican beverage.


Chopper found this recipe online after a friend posted a photo of himself drinking this at a Mexican restaurant.  

The ingredients are simple so I told him I'd try making some.  Strangely enough, you get it started by soaking uncooked rice in water, then later straining it and adding sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and milk.

Serve very cold or over ice.  Sweet and creamy like a milkshake but not thick and heavy.


You can sort of see that the cinnamon sinks to the bottom of the glass.  Some who commented on the recipe said they use cinnamon sticks during the rice soaking step to get the flavor without making that last swallow a mouthful of ground cinnamon. Good idea.

It's always fun to try something different in the kitchen!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

ninja crib quilt finished

I finished adding the binding to the ninja quilt.

No, it's not a quilt for a Ninja...it's a quilt with ninja print fabric.




As I mentioned here before, I only had a small amount of that fabric so I had to do some figuring to get it spread evenly around the quilt...and I wanted to keep the design simple, so the fabric would be the focal point.


It measures roughly 41" x 50".   Not sure who this one will go to yet.  There are a couple of babies due to arrive before the end of the year.


Might as well add a photo of it on the swing too.
One of the other fabrics is a print with Japanese letters/characters on it.  I'm curious if it actually says or spells anything.  If so, I hope it's something nice!


This may seem like sort of a strange choice for backing...a nautical print.  I had pulled it from my stash for the sail boat quilt and noticed the colors would work good with this quilt too.
I had enough for both quilts with about 6 inches left over.



A different theme altogether but it will give some wee toddler a lot to look at.  I could even see using it for a matching game...for example asking the toddler to "find another lighthouse like this one"

Now, to get the binding on the sail boat quilt...then back to work on my main quilt project.



Monday, July 3, 2017

catalpa worms and outdoor stuff

I have written about Catalpa worms here before and to this day, there have more visits to those blog posts than any other pages I've posted.

(Here  ,  and here )

This time it's a little different.  This is the first year my own Catalpa tree has attracted Sphinx moths to lay eggs on the leaves.   Now I have a multitude of small Catalpa worms!

Let the leaf munching begin!


These must be the older cousins...larger but not quite adults.



This is how the tree looks now. I'll show another photo once the worms have moved on. It doesn't hurt the tree and it's an interesting cycle to observe.

I grew this tree from a seed off  The Sasquatch's Catalpa tree...it's the one I have shown in the previous posts.  
This one will make a beautiful shade tree in a few years.





I couldn't resist starting another one this spring.  Not sure where I will plant it, but I'll move it up to a bigger pot for now while I am deciding.




Also around the yard...
I saw this tortoise one morning after a rain,  He was so shiny he looked like he had been through a car wash!



Back in May, Bullitt County Soil Conservation was giving away free tree seedlings.
Image may contain: one or more people, tree and outdoor

They had several kinds. I asked for 2 Pawpaw trees and they gave me about half a dozen.
At that time they were leafless and dormant...dead looking really.

I planted two in the field and the rest in the woods.  The ones in the field are doing great and the good thing is - deer don't seem to bother them.
Pretty leaves!


I haven't checked on the ones in the woods. It may be too shady there for them to get a good start.

If they have the give-away next year I'm going to get there early and get some Persimmon trees. They had ran out of them this year.


Our gardens are doing good.  Lonnie's on the left...full of tomato  plants.  What will we he do with all those tomatoes?

I planted zucchini, eggplant, and Armenian cucumbers...and grape tomatoes.


The zucchini blooms are the most beautiful perfect yellow.  I'd like to paint my kitchen this color..."squash blossom yellow"!


Some nice blooms on the Russian Sage out by  the driveway.   Oops...someone keeps knocking her rock border apart with the riding mower.



I should have photoed these Hostas last week...the blooms are a bit past their prime today.

Well, I can't show any other flower beds right now - they are much too weedy and I'm inside in the A/C!

Monday, June 26, 2017

donation quilt finished

I don't think I have shown this little quilt here yet. I put it together back in late winter and it's been folded up in the sewing room waiting for me to put a binding on it.

 I had to put the walking foot on my machine to bind the Sailboat quilt (and the Ninja quilt), so I took the opportunity to go ahead and finish this one first.



The pieced blocks were from an abandoned project I started working on several years ago. Set on the diagonal with the solid blocks, it makes a good size for a donation quilt. Organizations usually ask that the quilts be lap sized...not too big to handle and wash.

(In the foreground here you see my Purple Smoke Tree. It has recovered nicely after caterpillars stripped it bare last month)


When I originally made the blocks, I was using the book below. I was going to precisely follow the instructions for all 12 blocks in the book...hoping to correct any bad habits I had picked up from being a self-taught quilter.  
Instead I developed a new bad habit...not finishing what I started on!   But, someday I will make a sampler quilt like this...but with a different color scheme.


I did try a slightly different method for sewing on binding. This time I sewed it to the front, pinned it to the back, and did a "stitch in the ditch" on the front...catching the back edge in with the stitches.

 front...

Well, I mostly caught that edge...ran off the road in some areas and had to rip and re-do. Here's a good spot to show you.

back...

For the quilt backing, I used more of the same fabrics.


Hey, perfect size for the swing!


It looks sort of ready for Independence Day...mostly red,white, and blue!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Lonnie and sons


Lonnie's son, Victor, invited him for a day trip on the day before Fathers Day.

Vic is a real history buff and also interested in his ancestry.   He has recently been digging around in county records around Bowling Green trying to find out more about Lonnie's family tree.

He found mention of a cemetery where Lonnie's great-great grandfather was buried, but no one seemed to know exactly where the small cemetery was.

Through a series of coincidences, talking to locals, driving around and slowing down to look at a hen turkey near the road, Vic noticed a farmer bush hogging a field but leaving an area untouched.
He got out of the truck and walked over to talk to the farmer, and sure enough, there was the cemetery, hidden in a patch of weeds!

Vic phoned Lonnie and arranged the trip to go back down there.  Lonnie's other son, Chris, and grandson, Dylan also went along.


Here it is...Hopewell Church Cemetery. Pretty neglected.


Vic took along his trimmer and some pruners to do some clearing. I'm not sure how he got inside the fence...look at all those spikes along the top!


The great-great grandfather was buried inside the iron fence along with a daughter who died in her teen years.  For some reason, his wife was buried outside the fence!

Lonnie at the grave site of his great-great grandparents William (1825-1878) and Elizabeth (1829-1910) Hunt.



After that the group made a stop at another cemetery.  This is Lonnie, Vic and Chris, at the grave site of his great grandparents... John and Gamaliel Hunt.
 His grandparents are buried in this cemetery too.



One more photo to include grandson, Dylan.


Vic had another surprise...he had gotten up early that morning and baked bread, and made sandwiches with it, that he brought in a cooler with a jar of pickles he had made as well.
A nice picnic lunch.

Lonnie couldn't have asked for a better day with his sons and grandson.






Monday, June 12, 2017

June 12


My sons were recently talking about a time they cooked steaks at Chopper's house a couple of years ago. They used Alton Brown's method, and said the rib eyes were some of the best they had ever eaten.

Chopper generously said he would pick up some big Rib Eye steaks at Kingsley Meats for Sunday dinner...whoa!...nearly one pound each!
The Sasquatch brought over a couple of his cast iron skillets to use since they are essential for this combination of pan searing and high temperature baking.

Below, you see the pan searing step. The method calls for heating the pan in a 500 degree oven, then placing it on a stove burner while each side is seared.
I was worried that the super hot pan would crack my glass stove top, so we used a hot plate burner instead...placed on the stove top so it would be under the exhaust fan.


Then the pans go back into the hot oven for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. The Sasquatch helped me with moving the pans in and out of the oven. I did the flipping of steaks and Chopper helped with the timing and took photos. Lonnie cheered us on!






They came out melt-in-your -mouth delicious!   


I think we could have got better outside browning during the searing step with a gas stove or regular electric burners, but overall, we were all happy with our big steaks!  
Thanks for the treat, Chopper!


Later that afternoon Lonnie walked out back and heard baby crows squawking for the parents to feed them...so he gathered up all the fat scraps from the steaks and pitched them out in the yard for the parent crows to gather up.

The Black Vulture must have got a whiff of the delicious treat and soon he landed in the yard to see if anything was left. He was too late - the crows had cleaned up every bit,  
Then he walked over by the pool and kept spreading his wings.  I really think he wanted to take a bath but eventually gave up on that idea and flew away.



Other cooking...I made this casserole for a week night dinner...no actual recipe....stewed chicken with broth, thawed frozen spinach, artichokes, cream cheese, whole milk, mozzarella cheese.salt, pepper, oregano...baked with shredded Asiago on top.  It was pretty good.  Rich and filling.



And one Sunday, when we had breakfast for dinner, I baked scones with a packaged mix that I bought at World Market.  The Sasquatch brought his cast iron scone pan for me to bake them in and we ate them with a thick spread of Double Devon Cream and Raspberry- Jalapeno Jam (also from World Market).
It was a perfect combination...so good!     




I also tried a recipe that Chopper found online and suggested as a dessert for a hot summer day...Strawberry Pretzel Pie.   A crust made from crushed pretzels, then a layer of sweetened cream cheese mixed with whipped cream, topped with a strawberries in Jello mixture.
A good dessert!  Lonnie said he likes it better than a regular strawberry pie. 



Gosh, it looks like all we do is eat!   But we do other stuff too....

I went to Guitar Emporium one day with Chopper.  He is a bass player and had seen a bass guitar on their website that he was interested in and wanted to take a closer look at it.

Wowzer...look at the variety of basses thay have to choose from!  Everything from beginner instruments to rare collector ones that cost thousands of dollars. The opposite wall was just as full with regular guitars.  A really nice store.



So Chopper tried out the bass and immediately liked everything about it.  He did some bargaining on it with a trade in, and took it home.


Also in the store - this old "Voice-O-Graph" recording booth.  About the size of a phone booth, one could step inside, insert some coins and make a short recording that would be dispensed on a 45 rpm record.   This one apparently still works...except now they charge $15 instead of the 35 cents that it cost back in the 1960's!.   
It was fun to look at though.



Still haven't had a lot of sewing time...here is where I am at on the sailboat quilt...

Well...that's a sunbeam in the middle of the photo.  I'll be adding more dark blue blocks and a few red ones.

And I did order a quilt pattern  book...


I specifically wanted this pattern. I saw a quilt made like this on a blog I read. It just really appeals to me. A lot different than what I usually make.


After looking through the book, though, there is only one other quilt in there that I think I would ever make, so I might just make notes of the fabric cutting instructions and list this book right back on Amazon to re-sell while it's still popular.  That way I'll recoup some of the cost and not have the book stacked up in a pile gathering dust.


Well, we finally got brave and cancelled our cable TV.  We had to have it when we moved here in 1986, because the local channels had horrible reception...and we've had it ever since. But lately, nearly every time we turn on the TV we go directly to Netflix. We were hardly watching the cable channels at all.

It wasn't easy to get our cable TV shut off.  The first time I called, they offered me a better deal and I was weak and said okay to it.  Then after thinking about it for about an hour, I called back and told them I wanted to cancel after all.  
They asked a lot of questions about my reasons, then finally said they would cancel.

Well, the next day we still had cable TV...so I called for the third time, answered all the questions again but I was mean and nasty this time (apologized to the representative at the end of the call).
So then - it was turned off  right away.

So, I have been told that I could get local channels by hooking up an antenna so I shopped online for one.  First I tried out this indoor one. Chopper helped me hook it up but we could only get one channel...and that was with me standing in the front window and holding it up.

It sure looks different than those old set-top "rabbit ears"!


This one will be returned and we'll try an outdoor one. 
We could do without it but it would be nice to have some local news channels available.


It looks like some hot summer weather for this week.  Perfect for outside work in the mornings and evenings and maybe some sewing during the middle of the day.
Nothing wrong with that!