Tuesday, June 30, 2015

around the yard

Today, I have some assorted photos of things around the yard again.

I was weeding a flower bed when I suddenly noticed this box turtle all closed up in his shell.  He had been there the whole time I was working in that area and I hadn't noticed him.  The markings on his shell are really good camouflage!

I went in to get the camera and also a small chunk of cantaloupe to see if he would eat it.  He must have realized I had left the area, and when I got back outside, he was running toward the field at top speed!
They can move fast when they want to!

He wanted nothing to do with the cantaloupe, so I just quickly snapped this picture and quit harassing him.

So, what's blooming?   This Artemisia has very tiny yellow blooms on it.  These are such dependale perennials, coming back year after year...and it can easily be divided to make more plants.

This is a shady area with a Heuchera, it's small pink blooms are leaning over a Japanese Painted Fern, I need to work on this area - and move some of the plants around. It will have to wait for cool weather, though. It will be lass stressful for the plants (and me!).

This is Orange Butterfly Weed, and it's actually in the field next door.

That orange is so vibrant...I can see several clumps of it farther out in the field.  I sure wish this was in my flower bed!  I have read that it has a long tap root, though, and usually doesn't survive a move.

More orange in these Ditch Lillies, growing in a hard to mow spot by the driveway. Their blooming time is almost over. When the foliage starts turning yellow, I will cut them back and then more green leaves will emerge and look nice for the rest of the summer.

Below are some Day Lilies that I haven't moved yet. They are blooming really well, trying to make me feel guilty about moving the other ones. 

The tall red flowers behind them are Crocosmia. The hummingbirds really like those!

It was a windy day, making it hard to get a photo of the flowers with their stalks waving in the breeze.  Soon, dark clouds rolled in and we had an afternoon thunderstorm.

More rain in the forecast all during the week. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

fried rice

Remember how Chinese restaurants used to be?  Kind of mysterious and exotic, nicely decorated, and the costumed waitress would bring a cute little pot of hot tea, automatically, to go with your meal.

And the food was good!  Now all the Chinese places seem to be the same. Enormous buffets with many things that aren't even remotely Chinese food.

One of our favorite menu items before, was the fried rice.  I can't duplicate it, but I often make this version that we like pretty well.

Fried Rice
olive oil, or sesame oil, or butter
6 to 8 cups cooked Basmati rice
1 onion, diced
1 or 2 green peppers, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 cup diced carrots
 3 Tbsp. chicken soup base (not bullion - too salty)
3 or 4 eggs

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add diced veggies and saute until tender crisp.

Add about 1 cup water and chicken soup base mix. Simmer until soup mix is dissolved. Stir in cooked rice.
Return to simmer and cook until broth is absorbed.

Scramble eggs ( I do this in the microwave). Dice them up and gently stir into rice.

Coarsely chop almonds and mix them into rice.   Time to eat!

I sometimes use other veggies too...frozen peas or pea pods, water chestnuts, those cute little miniature ears of corn, and so forth.  You could also add chicken or pork.  

It holds up well in the fridge for several days and reheats just fine in the microwave.

We had it for Sunday dinner, along with Famous Butter Chicken, and steamed buttered broccoli. (Only three of us for dinner this week)

Blueberry Cream Cake for dessert.

(yes, it's a little overdone)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

June block of the month

My quilt group that meets at the extension office had a meeting this week.
Less than half of the members showed up. I guess everyone is busy with summer chores or maybe vacationing.

We received our instructions for our June block of the month...which is actually 2 blocks.
The next evening we had thunderstorms...and I like to sew when it's raining out side, so I was able to get  my blocks put together.  I am all caught up.

And here are all the blocks finished so far...

Six sets of finished blocks means we are halfway through!...and that means 2015 is half over! 
Unbelievable how fast time flies!

Friday, June 26, 2015

garden veggies

Lonnie planted green peppers and jalapeno peppers this year.  He is getting some nice peppers from both, already!   He suggested that we make some stuffed green peppers.

I think I have only made those once in my life, but I see a highly rated recipe on Allrecipes.com, so I might give it a try.

The leaves on the plate are basil that I planted.  I haven't grown it before so it's trial and error on how big the leaves should be for picking.   So far, smaller is better. They get tough and sort of hot tasting as they get bigger.

I had planted zucchini seeds too. They came up and got their first true leaves and then just stopped growing. I pulled one up and the roots didn't look normal. They were just short claw-like roots, with none of the fine hair-like roots that you might normally see.  
I think it's a problem with the seeds. It's the same packet I used last year and those plants produced very few zucchini. They would bloom but no zucchini would form afterward.

Elsewhere around  the yard, I have started clearing and mowing a path through our wooded side lot.  It doesn't go far yet, but it's pleasant and inviting to look at.

that's a curve...not the end

Can you see Ms Rabbit in the photo below?  She is sitting right in the middle of her dinner...that patch of white flowers.
I had taken the flowers out of a hanging basket and planted them in the ground, because the basket would dry out so fast.  It only took about 2 days before Bunny had nibbled them off at ground level.

She is just so cute that I can't be mad at her!

These 3 little fat squirrels are thoughtfully munching on some cantaloupe seeds and pulp that I tossed out for them. They seemed to really enjoy it.

We did see a coyote come up to the edge of the yard a couple of days ago. I hope he keeps moving along.
They do carry rabies and have been known to attack and bite humans when rabid.  
If I see him again I will scare him away  and make him think twice about coming around.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

a few more fair ribbons

The Bullitt County Fair is over and I have picked up my textile entries.

I am happy to report that I got a ribbon on each of the four things I entered!

A first place blue ribbon on the mini quilt there on the left.  They didn't have a category for mini quilts, so I entered it in "wall hangings".

The black,yellow and pink pocket pillowcase earned a second place red ribbon.

The stuffed patchwork Christmas dog and the dog quilt each placed third in their categories  - those are the white ribbons.

And I waltzed away with $12.00 cash prize winnings!

Bear in mind, that it is a small county fair...so really not a lot of competition in some of the entry categories.
In fact, I think my pillowcase was the only  one entered!

But it was a fun experience and I will probably do it again next year.

Now, here is my Blue Ribbon winning chocolate dessert recipe.....

“My Lonely Days are Over”  Chocolate Cake

Cake Layer                                                                           Topping Layer
1/3 cup sugar                                                                          8 oz. cream cheese, softened
¼ cup water                                                                           ¼ cup sugar
pinch of salt                                                                           8 oz. Cool Whip
9 oz. Ghirardelli Semisweet Baking Chocolate      
½ cup butter, softened
3 eggs

1)      Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Prepare an 8” springform pan by spraying inside with non-stick spray and wrapping outside with foil.

2)      Combine sugar, water, and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.

3)      Melt chocolate in a microwave safe dish, microwaving and stirring, in 30 second increments, being careful not to scorch chocolate.

4)      Pour chocolate in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix in butter, one tablespoon at a time.  Slowly add warm sugar water mixture. Mix well. With mixer running, add eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated.

5)      Pour batter into prepared springform pan.  Bake the cake in a water bath by setting the springform pan into a 13”x9” pan.
Pour enough boiling water in the larger pan to come about three fourths the way up the sides of the springform pan.
6)      Carefully place in preheated oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. Edges of the cake should be firm but not dried out. Center should look moist but not jiggley.  Remove foil from pan and allow to cool completely.

For the topping…

1)      In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend cream cheese with sugar until fluffy. Gently fold in Cool Whip by hand. Spread over cooled cake layer.  Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours.

2)      Run a thin knife around the inside of springform pan. Carefully open and remove the collar.   Garnish cake as desired.  (drizzle with chocolate or top with chocolate shavings, fruit or finely chopped nuts). 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

barbecue and buckskins

My husband's middle son, Victor, called last weekend and invited us to join him and his wife for dinner at a favorite  barbecue joint, in honor of Fathers Day.

Victor told us they would be coming directly from a "Muzzle Loader Rendezvous" and would be wearing their "buckskins".

It looks like they walked right out of the past, doesn't it?
What these "Rendezvous" are, are events where history buffs and muzzle loader enthusiasts meet to create a sort of living history type gathering ...dressing in clothing that would have been worn back then (1800's) and participating in muzzle loader competitions...and more.

When Victor began going to these events, he decided he would not only wear authentic buckskins...he would actually make them....the whole process...from skinning the deer to cutting and stitching the garment.

Here is a close look at his leggings...pretty nice stitching for a first timer!

He has described the treatment process of the hides. It involves soaking them in a lye mixture to remove the hair. The outer layer of the skin is removed (or else it would be stiffer leather - not buckskin). Then it's a soap bath and a lot of stretching and rolling the hide.  Victor said, near the end of the process, the hide suddenly just changes and softens.

Here is Marie's leggings. He stitched hers differently, using strips of the buckskin to lace through the punched holes.   

He has even sewn a buckskin coat, but of course too hot to wear at this time of year.

He made their moccasins. Those are harder leather - not the buckskin.

He also made this antler handle knife and the case for it.   Pretty clever!

They both enjoy going to those Rendexvous events...both shoot the muzzle loaders too!  

I like to see people so gung-ho with the things they are interested in. It makes them interesting.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Henry Bain's Sauce

Last week, the Sasquatch brought over this bottle of Henry Bain's sauce that he bought on close-out at Kroger. The bottle is usually $7.99 ... but was marked down to $1.59, and so he thought it would be something interesting to try out.

Does it sound like something you have heard of before? We all thought so. 
It is a local product, named after it's creator, Henry Bain, a former employee (long deceased now),  at Louisville's Pendennis Club.
He developed the sauce in the very early 1900's, to complement wild game that members brought in to be prepared at the club, and also for steaks served there. 

So this week I have been searching the internet for recipes using this sauce. Most of the recipes were for beef tenderloin, which is way over my Sunday dinner budget!
And I can guarantee you that no wild game will be prepared in my kitchen...so I settled on making up some meatballs to pour it over.

I baked  the meatballs first and drained the fat off, then poured the sauce over and put it back in the oven for a few minutes. 

We liked it, but not enough to pay full price for a bottle of it. It is fun to try new things, though!
The Henry Bain's sauce is tangy and sharp...pretty much like a good quality barbecue sauce.

For Sunday dinner we had the Henry Bain's meatballs, homemade potato salad, cornbread casserole, Bush's baked beans, and steamed mixed vegetables...oh, and fresh cantaloupe chunks.

Sugar cookies for dessert.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

my flag goes to Frankfort

Back in May, I posted this photo and told about how a few members of my quilting group, Mt Washington Quilting Bees, set up a display of our work at the welcome center to participate in Bullitt County Tourism Week.

A few local officials came by that day to give speeches, including Representative Linda Belcher (on the far right in the photo).

While they were there, Ms Belcher fell in love with a bargello patchwork flag that I had made (there on the front of the table.)
She asked if she could buy it...or if I would make one for her. She wanted to frame it and hang it in her office!

It didn't take me long to decide to just give her that flag. It has just been rolled up in the closet at my house for a couple of years..

She was so happy with it and I was really flattered that someone liked liked something I'd made, that much.
I did ask her to email me a photo when she had it up in her office.
So earlier this week, I got this email.....



Linda Belcher replindabelcher@gmail.com

Jun 17 (2 days ago)
to me
This is your flag framed ready to be hung in my Frankfort office. I love it -- hope you like it too!  Thank you.
Linda B

Sent from my iPhone

Here it is a little larger.  This makes me happy!  I am having a good week!

Friday, June 19, 2015


Before the internet, I was a catalog shopper. When we got our first home computer, the first thing I did was set up an email account and then ordered a pair of tan corduroy jeans from LL Bean, online.

Now I order nearly everything online. I like the convenience (and the fun of getting packages delivered!).
The downside, is that I have a lot of cardboard boxes and other packaging to deal with....and I feel wasteful and sort of guilty just throwing it in the trash

That's why I get aggravated when companies mindlessly use excessive packing materials. This is one of the most ridiculous examples...

The outer package was that blue heavy plastic bag.  I couldn't imagine what was in it because of the size..and I could feel that puffy bubble pack thingy inside.

So, I was a little excited for a minute, but then I could see inside that it was only wart remover pads. Nothing glamorous after all. Notice that they felt it was important to stuff a wad of brown paper in the bubble pack, too.

So, the blue bag, the bubble pack, the brown paper...and now the box that holds these thin plastic wrapped wart remover pads....which could have easily been mailed in an envelope.

So wasteful!   I think I will email the company (and Amazon, whom the order came through) and include these pics. Maybe employees need to be better trained on packing the orders.

And now everybody knows I have a wart.  Sheesh!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

a big fat Blue Ribbon !!

We always get a booklet in the mail about the Bullitt County Fair. It lists the shows, exhibitor categories, and contests.
My son was looking through the booklet and convinced me to enter a special chocolate dessert contest with my Flourless Chocolate Cake.

Now, the Flourless Chocolate cake is not a pretty cake to look at. It's very plain, and the rules stated that the desserts would be judged on...

... appearance/presentation, originality,creativity, taste, and clarity of instructions (the recipe had to be included).

So I knew I needed to do something to dress the cake up a little.  I decided on a fluffy cheesecake type topping, then decorated the top with chocolate piping, raspberries and mint leaves,

Here it is in the pan (for protection) just before Lonnie and I left for the contest.

Arriving at the fair...

The fair building isn't air conditioned and I was afraid my dessert would melt right off the plate before the judges got around to it!  They spent about 5 minutes on each entry, tasting, checking the recipe, and filling out score cards.  

Here you can see how it looked for judging...

I believe there were eleven or twelve desserts entered.  I will show you a couple of others...

My friend, Linda's, Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake!

wouldn't you like to dive in there?

Pretty candies, a chocolate cobbler, and maybe a German Chocolate Cake?....

Is your mouth watering yet?  A slice of each dessert  along with the recipe was set aside to keep on display at the fair...

And guess who won the first place big old fat blue ribbon?  

I did !!    Inwardly, I was squealing and doing cartwheels! Outwardly just grinning from ear to ear!

This photo is weird because the cake is setting on top of a glass display case with baskets in it.

Not only a ribbon but $50 cash prize!

I will post the actual recipe in a couple of days.  For now, I am just resting on my laurels, hee hee!

I believe I may have had some second or third place wins on some textile items I entered. It was hard to tell, because quilts and things are stacked and overlapping since there aren't enough display cases to really spread things out.
When I pick those things up after the fair I will find out and let you know.

Now it's back to Cloud 9 for me!