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. 

Monday, August 26, 2019

Finding our days

My dear husband has gone back to work after the summer.  The days have gotten longer and we miss him very much. Here's a bit of how the kids and I have been filling our time. 

Drinking coffee and playing checkers downtown. We'll probably do this once a week.

We've been playing in the camper every day.

Today we took a picnic lunch out there and sat around the little dinette eating our turkey sandwiches and chips.  Happily they will both play in there for hours. 

Going to the library.  This awesome chicken coop is out of a Jan Brett book.  We'll try the library once a week as well. The oldest was the oldest kid in the play group last week and kept calling all of the female toddlers " little lady".  As in "Hey, little lady! Look at this book!". It was hilarious. 

We went to to lake today. It ended up being an epic disaster. One for the record books, really. There was much screaming and crying when we (eventually... oh, eventually) left, and the whole way home.

Playing in the yard.  Here he's constructing a beaver dam out of sticks and mud in the wading pool. After several days it was really a stinky, hellish mess. Oh well.

We're all getting into a new routine.  It's going to take awhile.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Tomato time

Photo taken seconds before the oldest flipped the basket into the air. 

In spite of the horrible year with the garden we are getting some tomatoes.  About half of them have blight or end rot and are being thrown to the chickens straight off the plant.  There are a small handful to bring into the house here and there.  For which we are grateful.  Store bought tomatoes are just awful.

I'm picking them when they're just showing color and letting them ripen in the house. The plum lemon and striped Roman heirloom tomatoes are so pretty. 

Saturday, August 24, 2019


To my sister. Who ran a 50k today in under 7 hours. And acts like it's no big deal.  For regular people this is like running to the moon.

50k. 31 miles.  I'm proud of you. 

Monday, August 19, 2019

Bubble soap

The bubble soap we've been getting from the store lately really stinks.  As in, it doesn't make bubbles in spite of the fact that it's the one job the stuff is made to do.  So today, thinking we had nothing to lose, the oldest and I whipped up a batch of it ourselves.

We used the recipe we found here.

2 cups warm water
1/3 cup dish soap (Aldi)
1/4 corn syrup (the back of the baking cupboard, not even sure why I own it)


It really does make excellent bubbles.  I wanted to post it here because I'm sure we'll be making another batch again very soon.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Curiosity cabinets: dream rooms

I spent some free time this morning cleaning a snapping turtle shell and skull for my curiosity cabinet.  Unfortunately they're so fragile that when put into a peroxide bath they totally fell apart and will need to be re-constructed.  Which I'm willing to do but will be a painstaking process.  I also checked on the fox skeleton.  It's coming along well enough and may be a winter project for my husband and I; after I clean and sterilize it we might try to articulate the skeleton together.

If you are at all interested in natural history preservation, please visit this site: Jake's Bones.  Jake lives in Scotland.  When he was blogging he was still barely a teenager.   This kid is an amazing wealth of knowledge.

Later in the day I was stuck in the driveway, both kids sleeping in the car, unable to take them in because we were in the middle of a severe downpour.  I used that time to browse Pinterest to look at images of curiosity cabinets and rooms.   I really like these ideas and hope some day we have a library room where *one* wall can be dedicated to this kind of thing.  My collection is 90% natural history finds.  It's great to be able to watch a nature program with the oldest and then go pull an object out of the collection to discuss together; skulls, fossils, beetles, stingray egg cases.    i'll have to post about our collection at some point.

Anyhow, these are some things that I really like:

I like the order to this along with the globes and the clocks.  My father is a clock collector and some of the early ones are so very interesting.  My husband and I have seen the great astronomical clock in Prague.  It would be fun to add an old clock to our collection.

I don't know if these are paper cuts or what but they're very beautiful.

I've collected and cleaned a large collection of eggs from domestic birds from friends and family.  Everything from ostrich (my aunt and uncle raised them) to quail.  A domed frame like this would be a treasure.

The pressed ferns here are a nice touch.

Our Native American artifacts displayed like the frames at the top, from the Warther Collection in Ohio.  The bottom two rows are made of buttons.

I love a lot of things about this; the seafoam green color of the display, the red coral, whale prints and oh, yeah, the giraffe of course.  Probably not going to get a taxidermy giraffe any time soon but it's always fun to dream isn't it?  

Friday, August 16, 2019

Oh... crap

Our new roommate.  Yes, it's that big.

I had an entirely different post in mind for tonight but life has a way of intervening sometimes, doesn't it?

All four of us were outside this evening by the backdoor when, mid-sentence, I spied this huge beetle on the foundation of the house.  We quickly picked it up, took some photos and I carted it away into the house in the bug cage belonging to the oldest, under the guise of "looking at it later".  What I really had intended to do was put it in the freezer to humanely kill it so that we could add it to our collection of insects we've found on the propriety.  But then I got distracted, mainly because the kids were driving me nuts so I went out to spend half an hour in the camper with a book and a cold beer.

Inside, and much later, I picked up the bug cage to try to identify the beetle.  But.... the beetle was missing.  There was no beetle in that bug cage.  Going into the living room, holding the cage in the air, I hesitantly asked "Umm... guys? What happened to the big beetle we found outside?"  The oldest  "Oh, I lost it."  Beg your pardon? ' I was playing with it and I lost it."  Where?  I asked.. "Oh, I don't know".  "What the actual H?"  I said, half-joking, panicked.  "Are you all serious?  There's a huge, angry dung beetle loose in out house?  One that's the size of a small pony?"  No one else seems bothered by this.  I can only picture it crawling on me in my sleep.  It was suggested to me that I calm down and look under the rug.  No, it's not there.  It's hiding and plotting an attack.

Also tonight I stabbed myself in the toe with a fork.  We had "breakfast for dinner" and in the hurry of trying to get hot eggs on the table, with forks perched on plates, a fork slipped off of one plate and fell.  I felt it hit my toe, yes it hurt, but seemed like no big deal until the bleeding started.  Two of the tines had gone into my big toe.  Blood was everywhere.  It looked like a crime scene.  Yes, I'll live but my toe hurts. 
 First-world problems.

It just occurred to me to worry of the huge beetle roaming loose in the house will be attracted to the band aid on my toe.

Post script: after writing this we saw our cat Elyse doing her "pointer dog" pose at a corner of the living room. The beetle has been found.  Thank God.  

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Crock pot freezer meals

Last week I went to a ladies' night hosted by one of the wonderful women from book club.  It was an evening where we all came together to assemble meals to take home and freeze.  The idea being that these could later be thrown into the crock pot for easy meals.  We also all took home cute insulated bags.  And there were margaritas.  It was fun for me to learn to assembly-line meals in this style.

I was looking forward to trying this one because it sounded like the strogonoff my mom used to make when we were growing up: ground beef and mushroom soup. It didn't, but more garlic salt and onion powder helped.  I made homemade egg noodles.

We were instructed to write the directions on the bags before we filled them but I didn't so here are the rest:

I can see these being used as time-savers on busy days so "yay" for that. It was fun and I'd do it again.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Aldi Thai Chicken!


I just had to share this awesome thing we got from Aldi this week because I know for certain of at least one other person that loves both Thai food and Aldi as much as we do.

It's this.  The chicken and sauce come already cooked in the packet and you just heat it up.  I added zucchini to ours as it simmered to heat.  Made some rice and sprinkled cilantro on top.  If you added another vegetable (peas or potatoes?) and served it with naan it could absolutely serve 4 for dinner.  And it cost about $5!

Next post: our friend got married this weekend and the oldest was a ring bearer.  We all took another long walk this morning.  It's been a good weekend.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Morning walk

The oldest had spent the night with his grandparents so my husband and I loaded up the baby and went for a walk this morning on the Rails to Trails path. 

Blue Jay feather.

Male Monarch Butterfly.

Identified as a Splendid Earth Boring Beetle.

His (?) underside was a bright metallic blue.

The rains had washed some slag glass free from the old railroad bed.  These were a by-product of the iron furnaces in the 1800's. They're now decorating our bird bath.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Cutting boards

Before my grandparents' farm house was auctioned I helped myself to the two wooden cutting boards in the island cabinet.  I'm positive Grandpa made them as I can't imagine a man who cut his finger off with a table saw to save me a few bucks would have purchased them new or even second-hand.  They are beautiful but they hadn't been cleaned in, well, years probably.  Soap and water just wasn't cutting the years' worth of accumulation of grease and whatnot that was so thick that you could scrape it.  So they got stashed in a cupboard here until this week when I got tired of chopping vegetables on plastic and decided to do something about it.

I pulled out the big guns: the steel wool Brillo pads embedded with soap.  When the boards were good and wet and the gunk loosened I scraped them hard with a bench scraper taking off all of the yuck along with some of the wood.  

Look at how pretty they are.  I love to think of all of the years' of Sunday meals being prepared on these.

They probably should be sealed with some kind of food grade oil.  

So here are all of our cutting boards.  The largest is for making homemade pizza and pasta.  The smallest one (Ohio) is mainly used for cutting the tops off of popsicles.  Now that they're out on the counter and not out of sight they do get used more.  I'm thinking of some kind of rack to hold them... maybe like one for dishes?  Does anyone know more about taking care of wood in the kitchen?