Friday, May 29, 2015

a very short hail storm

We have had rain every day this week and one day we had about a 3 minute hail storm.  Not big balls of ice, about pea sized,

You always have to wonder if it will get worse, though, and dent the cars. Not this time!

It's funny to see the hail falling in the pool and the water splashing the pool is boiling!

Have you ever heard that hail is poisonous if you eat it?  I've heard that sometime in my life and it has stuck in my mind.   I looked around on the internet and couldn't find any info on poisonous I guess that it isn't.
I still won't be eating any...just in case!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

honey lime fruit toss

We had breakfast for dinner last Sunday and I made my favorite fruit salad to go along with it.

The recipe came from  a ladies magazine years an ad for Dole pineapple.

Honey Lime Fruit Toss
16 oz. can pineapple tidbits in juice
large can mandarin oranges
sliced bananas
sliced strawberries
sliced peeled kiwis
1/4 cup reserved pineapple juice
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp honey

Drain cans of pineapple and mandarin oranges, reserving 1/4 cup pineapple juice.
Combine all fruit in a bowl.

In a separate bowl combine 1/4 cup pineapple juice with lime juice and honey. Pour over fruit.


Toss gently.  Refrigerate until serving.  You don't want to make this too far ahead because it doesn't hold up real well. (tastes as good though)

Pretty and refreshing!

Are we going to get any decent strawberries at the store this year?  I have bought them 3 or 4 times and all have been practically tasteless.
Maybe I can get some locally grown ones here in the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

daylilies - flower garden bullies

My new plants have been waiting for me to clear a spot for them in this flower bed.

  Daylilies that were here, had been multiplying and advancing until they were hogging this whole area.  I made the decision to remove them all, because they are so aggressive in my nice loose flower bed soil. 
They are supposed to be lifted and divided every couple of years in  the fall, and that's not a task that I enjoy.

Finally, I have this section cleared of them...except the tubers that dropped off and stayed buried. I will have to deal with those later.

Many of the daylilies have been temporarily replanted in a daylily purgatory in the bare spot where the shed was torn down.

Others are being given away for free as I get them dug up and taken out to the road. 

yes - the sign has a misspelling

I still have all of these to dig.  It really is the wrong time of the year to move them...but they are tough and I  think they will rebound.  

Here is a little deer - just waiting for me to put my new plants out so he can bite them off at ground level. 

He came up pretty close...maybe 15 feet from the back porch.  I took that  photo from inside the kitchen window.

Monday, May 25, 2015

almost a huge problem

Lonnie and I were sweating bullets one evening trying to avoid a costly problem.

It all started when I hooked up our automatic pool cleaner.  It moves around on the pool bottom vacuuming  with the suction of the pump that circulates the water.

All you do, is insert the end of the hose through that skimmer opening and into the pipe inside.

There is a rubber plug on the end of the hose to hold it snugly in place. That's it, there on the right in the photo below, on the end of that white plastic regulator.

Anyway, after a few minutes I noticed the cleaner had stopped moving. After checking a few things, I discovered the rubber plug had come off the white plastic piece and had gotten drawn into the pipe.  
I was able to get it out with pliers, but then I did a dumb thing...I put it back together and stuck in the pipe again.

Well guess what happened.  It got sucked into the pipe again!  Even further down.
Lonnie hurried to shut off the pump, but this time I could not get it out with fact, it kept going further in.
The worry was that it would get sucked through the pipe and get stuck at the elbow and block or restrict the water circulation.  The pipe runs underground, so it would all have to be dug up to find the blockage.  $$$ 

For the next half hour we kept taking turns laying on our stomachs with our arms in the opening...trying every tool we had, and any hook shaped items.  The stupid plug just kept going farther in!

Finally, of all things, we were able to hook into the rubber with an aluminum fishing stringer. The chain broke trying to pull it out but we were able to grab onto it with pliers...and out it came!

Whew! What a relief.

We have a new plug ordered...with a bigger lip on it.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Shimmering Stars crib quilt finished

Earlier this week was Mt Washington Quilting Bees "play day".  It's one day each month that we get together and sew whatever we want to. There is no meeting or lessons...we just sew...and talk.

Sometimes I talk more than I sew, but this week I made good use of my time and got the binding on the Shimmering Stars quilt. I have the name tag sewn on. It's finished!

I have always used smaller blocks in crib quilts, but this is the second one I have made with twelve 12" blocks and I really like the way it looks. Maybe it's just nice to do things in a different way sometimes...break out of the routine!

In this picture you can see the quilting a bit better. It's an all over swirly design.

I will wait until Tuesday to ship it out to baby the box isn't just sitting around at the post office while it's closed for the holiday weekend. 

I am itching to get started on the next quilt, but first, I need to work on what's in my mending basket. It's splitting at the sides with stuff that needs attention. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

cream of broccoli soup

Brr!  We had a cloudy, chilly day yesterday, so it seemed like a good day to make soup one last time before hot weather is here to stay.

I had broccoli in the fridge.That made me think about Cream of Broccoli Soup, which I haven't fixed in a long time. I checked to make sure I had all the ingredients...yes!

Cream of Broccoli Soup
3 or 4 stalks of celery
3 or 4 carrots
half a large onion
1 bunch of fresh broccoli (or 2 heads)
4 Tbsp. butter
2 cups chicken broth
1 can evaporated milk
4 Tbsp. flour
2 dashes of nutmeg
2 cups lowfat milk

Chop the celery, carrots, and onion.

In a soup pot, saute these veggies in the butter until softened. Add chicken broth.
 Meanwhile chop the broccoli into bite sized pieces and add to the simmering pot.

Cover and cook until all veggies are very tender...about 25 to 30 minutes.

While this is cooking, prepare the cream sauce.  Pout the evaporated milk into a medium bowl. Add the flour and nutmeg, and whisk until smooth.

Add lowfat milk and whisk again.

Add this mixture to the soup pot when the veggies have finished cooking.

Stir and return to a simmer. Cook until soup is thickened...adding more broth or milk if needed.
Taste, and add salt if needed, and pepper if desired.

It was hard to resist adding some velveeta cheese to the soup pot!  But with the evaporated milk it's already pretty rich tasting.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

what I've been reading

I just finished this book....

"Catfish and Mandala" by Andrew X. Pham.

The author is a Vietnamese American and this is his true account of his journey through his birth country, Vietnam, on a bicycle.
But it's more that that. As Mr Pham tells of his bicycling experiences, he also fills us in on his family history.

He is a good writer and has an interesting story to tell, like how his father was held and later released from a labor death camp after the fall of Saigon. His parents and their five children, including the author who was eight years old at the time, began to make their way south, staying with relatives, until they made a dangerous  night time escape from the country on a fishing boat.

They were almost lost at sea. When they were finally picked up by an Indonesian freighter, they were out of food and water, low on fuel, sick and exhausted.  They spent time in a refugee camp in Indonesia and finally made it to America with the help of a Baptist charity.

The Pham family had a difficult time adjusting to life in the United States, but his parents were hard workers and made a good life for their family. But, the author felt a strong urge, as a young man, to go back and visit Vietnam. Since he had experience with long distance bicycle travel, he made the decision to tour Vietnam by bicycle.

It's not an easy trip. Mr Pham does have relatives that he stays with for awhile, but he feels out of place and a bit dismayed or embarrassed by their ways and by the ways of many Vietnamese he has encounters with.

On his journey he is treated rudely and disrespected when the Vietnamese people learn he is a Vietnamese American. Several times he finds himself in danger because of this resentment.  But then often he is helped and befriended as well.

There is a lot more to this book, but I don't want to rewrite the whole thing here! It was a very good book and I highly recommend it. Good descriptive writing, interesting and educational.

I will read other books by this author!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

a new tab added to blog

Finally, I have my pictures all organized of the quilts I made in 2010.

You can click on the new tab up near the top of the page, to see them..(that page will always stay the same).

Then, click back to the  "Home" tab to always see the newest posts.

While I was browsing through my pictures from 2010,  I found this one that I took of a turtle I rescued from the pool skimmer.

He is a handsome fellow!  He didn't really like me very much though.

Monday, May 18, 2015

quilting the crib quilt

This "Shimmering Stars" quilt is getting closer to being finished.  I had been working on it  for ten or fifteen minutes at a time...whenever I pass by the sewing room.
Then we had a couple of rainy days in a row, and rainy days are good sewing days, so I made some real progress.

Anyway, I had posted a few days ago that I wanted to try to quilt it with a swirled design - to go along with the swirls in the dark blue fabric.

I am having fairly good luck with swirls but they look nothing like the ones in the fabric. It doesn't matter though, I still like it.

The next step is trimming the sides and squaring the corners.  The binding is ready to go - made from scraps of the fabrics in the quilt...multi-color.

I am in the "home stretch" with this little quilt!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

layered taco salad/dip

This isn't exactly a salad, but it doesn't seem like it should be called a dip either...even though you eat it on Doritos.  You have to sort of shovel it on the chips with a maybe it is a salad.

Spread warmed refried beans on a platter, then top with a thin layer of salsa.

The next layer is taco meat.  I used a packet of taco seasoning prepared as directed on the packet, but I used ground turkey.  Top that with shredded cheddar.

 Generously smear sour cream over the shredded cheese layer, then pile on shredded lettuce.

Finish off with diced tomatoes and onions, then spot a few jalapeno slices around on top.
Serve with Doritos.

It was a lovely afternoon so we decided to eat out by the pool.  There is my husband with the umbrella opened and the table set!

We like to eat outside or in the screen porch unless it is really hot and humid. The meal seems more leisurely and relaxed.

Except today, a wasp kept buzzing around us. He might have had a nest in the folds of the umbrella that he was trying to defend. No stings though.

But back to the taco salad...leftovers can go in the fridge, but it does get a little watery. 
It's good cold or you can spread it back out on a plate, microwave to take the chill off and hide it under a fresh pile of shredded lettuce. It's still tasty but not something you could serve a guest.

Friday, May 15, 2015

what's blooming around the yard

All the plants that seem to "hurry up and bloom" as soon as the weather warms up, have put on their show for the year. Now  we are seeing the late spring bloomers!

These Bleeding Hearts are a little slower to fully bloom...

These larger Purple Iris bloom after the smaller ones are finished. They have beautiful and long lasting blooms as long as I don't let them get too crowded. They are standing up nicely this year. Some years, if we have a lot of wind and rain, they flop over.

The ants have done their job...tap, tap, tapping on the Peony buds until they open up.

They look especially good this year because they haven't been beat down by rain.

Some plants have had a rough winter. The Mimosa tree is dead, but I think they grow fast and have a short life.

The Azaleas that were here when we moved in, look like they almost bit the dust. See at the bottom? Just a couple of branches with leaves and blooms. 

These Leland Cyprus were killed by a blight. I tried to trim off the affected branches last spring  - but that didn't stop it. They will have to be cut down (they're only about 8 feet tall so it's not a huge problem).

I have noticed other Leland Cyprus along the road that look like they have the same problem. They must be prone to getting this blight.. 

I am not sure if I will replace these with something else, or leave it empty for awhile.  I'll keep my eyes peeled for something suitable!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

painting class

Remember seeing this guy on TV back in the 80's ?

It's Bob Ross, the man who could paint a beautiful landscape in a half hour PBS program.
Mr Ross passed away in 1995, but his painting style and methods are still in use.

At our extension office, I had a chance to take a landscape painting class from a "Bob Ross Certified Instructor".

The instructor and her husband set up a table for each of us (8 students) covered with paper. There were different types of brushes, several blobs of oil paint, a stack of folded paper towels, and an easel with a canvas. 
We could paint sitting down or standing up.

After coating the canvas with a thin layer of white paint, you start with the sky and clouds..and for this scene you bring down some blue for a lake.

Next add trees and bushes and add reflections to the lake.

Then you fill in the foreground and add some closer trees. Remember that nice clean sheet of paper that was on the table? Take a look at it now! That's where you mix and blend paint colors.

Everyone did their own interpretation of the same painting. They all turned out good!

Here is my friend Cheryl with her painting...


And you can see a few of the others in this photo. That's the instructors painting up in the front of the room..

Zee masterpiece is complete!  And in only about 3 1/2 hours.  

I sort of wished that I would have made the pinkish tree on the left more the trees behind would show through more. 

It takes about a week for these to dry, so you have to be careful where you put it when you take it home.
It was a fun class and I would enjoy doing it again sometime.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

family quilts

My mother has a couple of quilts that were made by family members who are no longer with us.  I hadn't seen these quilts for years...since way before I started quilting.
When I was over there for a visit this week we pulled them out of the closet to spread them out and take a look at them (the quilts - not the departed family members!)

Right away I can see my love of bright colors is inherited!
This quilt was made by my mother's grandmother...likely with some help from my mother's mother, whom she lived with for a time while my mother was growing up.  This dates it anywhere from the late 1940's to late 1950's.

I didn't have room to spread it out completely so that's the backing you see folded over the right side.

I don't know the name of this block and I couldn't really tell if the blocks were sewn by hand or machine.
It is hand quilted with straight lines all the way across.
This quilt must have been made with all new fabrics since they are the same throughout.

This second quilt was pieced by my mother's Aunt Rose.  The story goes that she was a prolific quilter and that when she passed away, quilts and tops were found packed away everywhere in her three story house.

I am not sure if she gave my grandmother this quilt top before she died or if it came to her afterward - but, my grandmother did the hand quilting of the quilt (late 1970's)

It looks brand new. It has always been stored...not used or displayed.

Do't you love that orange sashing?  It sort of seems like it should have been continued as an outer border too...but its pretty just as it is.

I am thinking I need to make some labels for these quilts and stitch them on when I go over to my mother's next time.  These talented ladies deserve to be remembered.