Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Favorite dalhia

This is a new one this year.  Of course I didn't save the package so don't know the name.  It probably came from Wal-Mart.

The purple edging is so pretty. 

It's  meduim sized blossom.  Here it is in an old infant formula bottle:

The youngest and I walked/jogged three miles this morning.  The kids and I spent the day cleaning and organizing the living room, the hope being to get it to a point where it looks like adults live in house too.  The toy clutter is driving my husband and I nuts. It's going to be an evening of boring adult stuff. 

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Shades of blue

I look like some sort of Amish hooker here, sorry.

The Welsh Harlequin ducks are still molting. Their wings have the most wonderful blue jewel toned patches. Why has no one bred an all blue bird? 

We camped in Andover for the weekend. It was somehow both an epic disaster and the best time ever.  I'll post about it tomorrow but today am really, really looking forward to laundry and a shower.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Colorful days

Some pictures taken this week. I will like to look back at them when our days are cold and full of snow.

A tray of tomatoes put in the freezer for lack of time to do any canning.

 An evening painting.  This is an underwater landscape. He's learning to mix colors.  Earlier this week we spent his little brother's nap time at the sink with water and food coloring learning things like red+blue=purple. 

It's fun that the youngest at 14 months has picked up on things like painting and playing with play dough by watching his brother work.

Beautiful dalhias.

The pink cactus one is new along with the white one with purple edging.  The majority of the dalhias are just now starting to bloom.

My favorite. A flower picked for mom when she really needed one.

An  octopus bandaged and cared for. It had been attacked by a sea cucumber,  apparently.  He adores this octopus and talks about our trip to the Cleveland Aquarium almost daily. That $30 stuffed octopus has turned into his version of the Velveteen Rabbit.

A handful of beans, trimmed, seasoned and packed in a baggie for the weekend. 

We are going camping.  Tomorrow should prove to be an interesting day; cleaning, finishing stocking and hitching the camper with the husband at work and with two little helpers here.  My father has upped the camping ante by planning to cook scallops and fish tomorrow so I need to bring a better game than chips and hotdogs. Papa doesn't cook. At all.  So that's an amusing sentence in itself. I am roasting a bag of potatoes that we can warm on the fire for different meals. I've also prepared lots of ingredients for making omelets with the eggs and whatnot put into baggies and cooked in simmering water.  I learned this particular technique from a friend of ours who has turned 93  (94?) this summer.  She hoasted a big brunch this spring where we all did this in her kitchen, it was tons of fun and I'll write her a card talking about it after the weekend.  The weather is going to be all over the place as far as clothing so I need to have everything from bathing suits to jackets at the ready.  In multiples since both children love wet and dirt.  This has gotten a lot more complicated since the days when the husband and I only required a tent, coffee, a pack of hotdogs and beer to be happy.  But both the littles already love camping so whatever the weekend brings is going to be a wonderful thing.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

What's this blue flower?

Does anyone know what this flower is? It came in one of those off-brand "cutting flower mixes" that sell in packets 4/$1.

It looks like a forget-me-not but larger, more upright and without the pink and yellow centers.  The blue is also darker.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Making soup, closing the garden

Our front porch.  A marching line of ripening tomatoes, one of the few things the deer didn't eat.

I'm starting to close down the garden. 90% of the kale and all of the chard has been blanched and frozen. Tomatoes are being picked at the first hint of color and set on the porch to ripen, away from the chickens.  We've been having a lot of BLT's and soup.

We tried a tomato soup recipe that looked very promising . I got out the kitchen scale and put the oldest in charge of washing, sorting and weighing the tomatoes hoping that being involved in the process would make him more inclined to eat the finished product.  It didn't because the soup ended up being a bit spicy from the chili pepper. Plus I, god forbid,  garnished my own bowl with basil causing him to protest "I'm not eating leaves!" Well, sorry little buddy, Aldi seems to have discontinued your favorite tomato soup so we're going to have to come up with something.

Everything was roasted before being pureed. It was compined with chicken stock, cream and woshishire sauce. My husband did say it was the best tomato soup he'd ever had so that's something.  We'll try it again without the chilli pepper.

Here was tonight's soup: roasted sweet potato, carrots, onions and apple with chicken stock and heavy cream.  The bonus part of the soup making is that there is an entire meal's worth of each in the freezer to be had later.

We went to fair again on Saturday night in part to collect or ribbons.  It was the first closing night of the fair that I can remember where it wasn't pouring rain on Saturday night.  It was a fun night out as a family

The oldest has been back to preschool exactly a week which is just long enough to get the ever-present "preschool runny nose and cough". And give it to his little brother.  Turns out no one sleeps well with two littles in the house with nightime stuffy, runny noses.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Dutch babies and space aliens

I recently subscribed to 3 magazines at a deal for $5 each.  The hope being that if I cooked just one new meal a month we could be trying some new things.  This is from the September issue of Southern Living.

This is what we had this morning. Not wanting to wake the family I did not make it in a blender but mixed it using an archaic kitchen item called a "fork".   I don't understand how this is supposed to be 4 servings as it was very, very thin after it deflated but it was a good size for our family and 3 of us really liked it. It will probably be something made on the weekends often.

Look at this funny little thing in the kitchen window this morning:

Ok, it's just a moth but it also does look like some tiny, fuzzy, space-alien bear creature waiting for the ship to return.  It's adorable. That dirt is on the outside, by the way ;)

Today: cleaning the house, maybe a walk, picking up our stuff from the fair tonight.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Homemade sushi & another fair

Last weekend at my sister's house I had some excellent sushi which *almost* made me wish we lived closer to civilization.  Then it occurred to me that I could try making it at home. Aldi and Walmart had everything needed (including a bamboo mat to roll them) but for the seaweed sheets we had to go to Hermitage which gave me to chance to talk to gentleman at the sushi counter while trying to discreetly watch him make rolls.

Maiden attempts and California rolls and Philadelphia rolls.

It was very fun and very messy. I cut the hole in the piping bag too large for the sauces and there was sushi rice everywhere. But! This is the fun part. It seems like sushi is one of those magical things that was born out of frugality.  Like a good omelet or burrito it only takes the throwing together of tiny bits of this and that to make something delicious. Really, what goes inside the roll besides rice is so small that it could be a garnish.  I only used 3 of the seaweed wraps and a pack of 10 was about $4. So we'll be doing this again, and soon. 

After dinner the my husband watched the baby and oldest and I went to the Jamestown fair just the two of us. We had a blast.  We saw the amimals, he rode a pony, we went down the huge potato sack slides with him sitting on my lap (frighting for me but not, apparently,  for a 2 year old girl we saw riding solo). He played in the corn box and we ran into his former pre-school teacher. 

We hardly entered anything this year, what with the garden doing so poorly. But I'm grateful for what we were able to contribute to the displays.

We found the picnic table that my dad donated in my mom's memory. Nothing spells classy like an adult  quiet weeping at a fair.  That blur is a bag of cotton candy. We got a corndog and fries. It was a wonderful time. I miss spending time alone with my oldest.

The kitchen still has rice on the floor and dishes in the sink but I am off to Downton Abbey and a glass of wine.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Signs around town

I had so much fun with the "Doors Around Town" post  that this week I thought to take pictures of my favorite old advertising signage around town.  The locations of the first two are blindingly obvious.


Exposed by a fire.

Along a rail line.

But the first two were just bait to show off my favorite in the town.  Does anyone else know where it is?  I love that it is SO hidden *in PLAIN sight* that I just saw it last summer and my father, a serious local historian, had no idea what I was talking about.  Honestly, he can identify any location from a 100 yr old photo and didn't know what this was:

That building is smiling.  Let's look closer:

Do any of my local friends know where this is?

Hint #1: You are usually driving past this building at about 45 MPH.
Hint #2:  Located in the old village of Shenango.  Which back in the day had its very own train depot but now has been reduced to a place people speed through on their way to somewhere else that is more important.

Anyone want to play?  Where have I been lately?

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Fair day

One of our best friends invited us to the Canfield fair today. I was excited as the husband is out of town and we were looking for something to do. Plus it's the largest county fair in Ohio, absolutely huge and I'd never been to it.  She was such a blessing helping with the kids and they adore her.

We saw ponies and draft horses.

Sebastapol geese.

Magpie ducks.


Touched toes to wool.

Made new friends.

Checked out the rides.  The oldest was obsessed with the idea but was only tall enough for the "Twirling Dragons".

Which brought him much joy and me nausea.

Ladies a-milking. Boy, this scene looks familiar for some reason.

There was also fair food.  The baby ate an entire corn dog, plus fries.  I don't know where he puts it

They've just now gone to bed.  The oldest fake snoring, causing the youngest to imitate him, causing all of us to laugh uncontrollably. 

It was a wonderful day.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Pickling eggs with Mrs. Patmore

I've been rewatching Downton Abbey in preperation for the new movie and it's been great. Currently on season 6 and last night was the episode with the extremely akward and hilarious scenes between Mrs. Patmore and Carson.. At one point she was in the kitchen brooding while diligently making dozens of pickled eggs.  Which led me to think that:

1) There is possibly no conversation more akward than asking the future husband of your best friend if he intends to have lots of sex with her and

2) Man, I haven't made pickled eggs in a long time.

Which led me to a post I did a couple of years ago for these:

Here they are later in the day:

Can we all admire this egg holder for a second? It's beautiful. 

I thought I would have to screen shot it but if you google "Downton Abbey egg holder" apparently it's a real thing that people still make and sell on Etsy.