Tuesday, September 30, 2014

antique optometrist's set

It seems that my paternal grandfather really enjoyed going to auctions. He was looking for bargains and I am guessing that he liked finding unusual items.

This old optometry set is one of them.
 As children, my brother and I would examine it sometimes when visiting my grandparents...looking through the different lenses until we would have to put it away before we "ruined our eyes".

It's in a suitcase-like leather covered box with a lift out velvet lined tray filled with lenses to correct nearsightedness and farsightedness.

Some things may not be original to the kit...they have been added to the box over the years.
There is this black gadget with a hole to look through, some spare parts for glasses, and the frame that the lenses are inserted into during the vision testing.

The frame has numbers and measurements for making individual adjustments.

A little sample case of sealed glass ampoules. 

A few family member's eyeglasses have ended up being stored in here too.
These are my great grandmother's glasses. They are tiny little things with very thick lenses.

We had the case out last month after the fish fry...doing the same old thing...looking through different lenses and marveling at the unusual things inside.

My dad is thinking this set would be better off on display in a museum and is checking into maybe putting it out "on loan" to a small local museum.

Monday, September 29, 2014

deviled eggs

Deviled eggs are my favorite thing to take to a pot luck meal...and I nearly always serve them when we are having a larger number of guests at our house and the food is buffet style.

Deviled Eggs
12 hard boiled eggs, peeled and cooled
1/2 cup Miracle Whip
2 tsp. yellow mustard
1 Tblsp. liquid from dill pickle jar
dill (optional)

Slice eggs in half, gently removing yolks.  

Mash yolks and add Miracle Whip, mustard, pickle juice, salt and pepper. Blend until creamy.

Spoon yolk mixture into egg halves. Sprinkle with paprika and dill. 

Keep chilled until serving time.

Things I have learned about making deviled eggs:
   Fresher eggs are harder (but not impossible) to peel. It's best to buy  the eggs about a week in advance if you know you'll be making these.
   Make sure the cooked eggs are completely cool. If they are even slightly warm when you put the finished eggs in a closed container in the fridge, condensation will happen and it will rain down on your eggs, turning them into small white boats floating on a sea of watery yellow goo.  I know this.

Friday, September 26, 2014

quilt blocks all sewn

I had a chance to do a lot of sewing and I got all 12 blocks completed for the baby quilt.

The colors are not showing true here. The darker blocks are not that dark.

I was thinking of using that stripe fabric at the bottom there as sashing and borders...but I kind of like it without sashing too.

I'll keep thinking it over. Meanwhile, I've got some batting trimmings I'm going to piece together for it and also I can get the backing and binding ready. 
I will have more sewing time in the next couple of days so this will be a quick finish.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

finished up my mum bed

I have been thinking I wanted to re-do this birdbath area for quite awhile. When we moved here, that spindly looking bush was there - but healthier looking then. I put the bird bath there a few years later and planted some flowers around it.
That's when I was working and my boys were young...so I didn't have time to keep it trimmed and weeded. I eventually gave up on the flowers and piled a mound of rocks there.

a couple of deer back in the shadows in this photo

The rocks were a problem too. leaves get stuck in them. Creeping Charlie climbs over them.

This week I moved the rocks away from there and took the bird bath apart. Then I had this stump to deal with. It's from a Redbud tree that came up there and I was letting it grow for a while.

With some digging and the Sawzall I got rid of that!

I got my Mums planted. They are small now but hopefully they will come back next year and grow bigger.
In between them I planted some Dwarf Iris that came from my younger son's house.

The Iris should bloom in early summer...then as the mums grow and bud out they will hide the yellowing leaves of the Iris.  That's the plan, anyway. I've planted grass seed in that bare dirt area.

I changed out the birdbaths too, and put a smaller one on the pedestal.

The one with the cherub went over to my large flower bed (which needs weeded).

I had taken a few pictures of the backyard from an upstairs window and my photo sharing app turned a couple of them into this panorama without me telling it to.

It's all weird angles because, in reality, the front of the Jeep is actually in line with the edge of the porch...not pointing at the pool at all. 
Kind of neat, though.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

a few more quilt blocks made

I've got all the blocks cut out and a few more sewn for the baby quilt I started.
I had been considering using a green print for sashing between the blocks but when I looked at it in the daylight...it was all wrong.

I am leaning toward no sashing or maybe more white as the sashing to separate the blocks a little.

This is another bad lighting photo. Eventually I'll have a daylight one to show.

Now it turns out that there will be another little girl quilt to sew! A young couple in the family just brought home their newly adopted 4 year old daughter from Honduras. They have been working with the legal system there trying to get the adoption finalized since just after their girl was born. Delays and promises and traveling back and forth all this time. Imagine the joy they must be feeling to finally have their daughter home.

I think I will finish this quilt for the 4 year old - then start another for the yet-to-be-born baby girl. Maybe using these colors but a different pattern.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Famous Butter Chicken

Like many of my recipes, this one came from allrecipes.com.
I tried it out because it had so many good reviews. We all like it and it also makes a good company dish.
The chicken breasts are juicy and tender after baking!
 I do a couple of things a little differently than the original recipe...so this is my version.

Famous Butter Chicken
2 eggs beaten
1 cup (or more) of crushed Ritz crackers
garlic salt
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
5 Tblsp.butter

I crush the Ritz crackers in my Kitchen Aid mixer.

If the chicken breasts are really large I cut them in half. This allows them to bake quicker and have a better crust to meat ratio.

Dip chicken breasts in beaten eggs. Sprinkle garlic salt and pepper on both sides then roll in cracker crumbs to coat.

Place coated pieces in a baking dish without touching or crowding.
Slice butter and place around and between breasts...the chicken breasts that is!

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. Check for doneness, and cook a little longer if needed. Try not to over bake and dry them out.
Spoon juices over all before serving.

This is good served with nearly any side dish.
For Sunday dinner,we had it with fried rice, green beans, honey carrots, and garlic bread.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

lawn mower = bad juju

Remember weeks ago... that I was griping about the riding mower not starting?  Well, Lonnie took it to the repair shop...and they repaired it...in only 29 days !

That's right - they had our mower for 29 days. Most of that time was waiting on parts...and then a couple of extra days waiting for the mechanic to finish a training seminar out of town.

But finally, our mower was ready!  Our grass had gotten pretty tall so I cut it at a 5" height the first day.

The next day I was going over it again, a little shorter and.....

...well, I'll let the picture tell the story...

I ran over the water meter cover and caused a belt to snap (obviously chopped up the water meter cover too).

It was covered with grass from the day before and I didn't see it.  Yes, it has been in the same spot the entire 28 years we've lived here...but it is sort of out in the middle of nowhere in the front yard...and I was distracted by a dog poop type smell coming from somewhere.

I guess I'd better call the water company and tell them what my husband did... tell them what happened.

So it's back to the repair shop. Hopefully it won't take so long to get the belt replaced.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Quilting Bees - community service

Members of my quilting group, Mt Washington Quilting Bees were invited to do a brief quilt Show & Tell at Alternative Adult Day Care Center here in Bullitt County.
There were six of us who brought a few quilts to share.

It's a good thing that more quilters didn't show up because space was limited!

We had a good audience! They were enthusiastic and asked questions and gave compliments!  

The care givers seemed genuinely nice, too. They knew a particular attendee/patient  liked the color pink and another liked butterflies. They took photos of some of the attendees with their favorite quilts. (they must have liked the backing on this one!)

Isn't this one pretty! My friend, Sandy, made this one.

I had taken my little quilt with dogs on it...and some really liked that one! (this photo taken at home).

We had just enough quilts to show to take up an hour..which turned out perfect because it was getting to be time for their lunch.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

what I am reading

I was reading "Widow of the South" by Robert Hicks. A historical fiction.

This story is based on a real woman, Carrie McGavock, whose house was commandeered by a Union general for use as a military hospital after a battle in Franklin Tennessee during the Civil War.

In the fictional storyline in the book, Carrie must overcome her devastating grief over the prior death of three of her children to help care for the wounded soldiers filling her home
Even though she is married, she falls in love with one of the injured soldiers recuperating there.

Lot's of drama takes place.

Then back to the true part of the tale. Years after the war Mrs McGavock and her husband, with some help, moved an entire cemetery of Civil War dead on to their own property after the owner of the burial ground wanted the land back for planting cotton. The McGavoks kept the records and maintained the cemetery until their own deaths.

I am sorry to have to tell you that the author did a terrible job of writing this book. I think he might have clearly imagined the scenes and story in his mind but just wasn't skilled getting in it on paper.
The characters are shallow with unexplained motives, the dialog is not believable, the battle scenes are unnecessarily gory, and I really don't like the fact that he wrote a fictional story that is unflattering to a real woman who was a heroine and a pillar of strength.

I almost gave up on it several times but kept plodding through to the end.

The best part of this book is a small section in the back that tells the true story about the real Carrie McGavock and Carnton Plantation.

Carnton Plantation is still standing and has been restored and open for tours. I'd like to visit there now that I know the story. Battle reenactments are held there as well.

Click for their website:  http://www.battleoffranklintrust.org/carnton_history.htm

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

flowers and berries

Even though it is the middle of September there are still a lot of flowers blooming - some in the yard and some wild.

In the flower beds it's the Autumn Joy Sedum.  The name makes me think of my sister, Joy, since her birthday is in October...she is "Autumn Joy" too.

These are so reliable. I have several bunches of them growing..all divisions from one plant I bought probably 12 years ago. They reach their peak bloom time when other blooms have played out.

Ordinary Marigolds... but they are some of my favorite annuals. Cheerful fall color!

The field next to our house is a sea of yellow Goldenrod.  The perfect shade of yellow!

Over on one edge is a patch of " Jewelweed" or "Touch -Me - Nots" ( the small orange flowers). If you brush your hand over the blooms the seeds will pop out of the flower! These are a little past their prime.

A few Thistle blooms. Such a pretty flower for such an annoying and invasive plant.

Now...the berries. First the dogwood tree in the front yard. Birds will eat every one of these. They are not entirely ripe yet.

At the edge of the woods is such a pretty little tree with it's shiny leaves and red berries.It's a "Carolina Buckthorn" or "Indian Cherry". I have wanted to transplant one to my yard but they seem to be an understory type tree...preferring some shade.

Wild Grapes. They are food for wildlife but I don't like them because they choke out so many trees.

I am working on a mum bed for a little more fall color in the yard. All of mine were killed off by last winter's harsh weather. I hope to have that finished this week

Monday, September 15, 2014

Vanilla Pie

One of my favorite stories to tell is about this kind of pie....

A couple of years after we moved to Bullitt County, I thought it might be fun to enter something in the county fair.
 I decided to bake a pie to enter, using this recipe.

There were a few pie categories...fruit pie, custard pie, and so forth. This one didn't fit any category except "other pie".

The rules stated to bring 1/4 of a pie on a paper plate and your $3 entry fee the morning they were to be judged . I dropped it off at the fairgrounds and went on to work.

After a couple of days passed I realized the only way to find out if  I'd won anything was to go to the fair and see. So I went to the fair and paid my $5 entrance fee.

I found the pie exhibits and was tickled to see that I had won a third place ribbon!  The happy feeling only lasted a few seconds as I realized that only 3 pies had been entered in that category!  There was no one else to give the 3rd place ribbon to.

A week or so later I received my ribbon and $3 prize money in the mail.  That's my pie story!

Anyway...here is my prize winning recipe....

Vanilla Pie

 1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
2 Tblsp. flour
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups water
1 Tblsp. vanilla extract

1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter

...and 1 unbaked pie crust

In a small sauce pan combine filling ingredients except the vanilla extract. Whisk together until mixed well and bring to a boil over medium high heat stirring frequently. Remove from heat, allow to cool, then whisk in vanilla extract.

( Note...be sure this filling is really mixed thoroughly before you begin heating it...otherwise, small bits of egg will seek each other out and cook up into scrambled eggs- which will be suspended in your pie filling and will not look appetizing in your pie...so you will have to pour the mixture through a strainer to get the egg bits out.  Not saying that this has happened to me...just alerting you to the possibility!)

Meanwhile, while filling is cooling, prepare topping mixture. Mix dry ingredients together in a deep bowl or large measuring cup. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.

criss cross 2 knives repeatedly to cut in butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour filling into unbaked pie crust and gently spoon on the topping.

Bake about 40 minutes or until filling seems thickened (when you jiggle the pan).
Don't let the top get too dark.

It's good with Cool Whip..and probably good with vanilla ice cream.