Saturday, August 29, 2015

Wildflower Lighted Centerpiece

We were sitting on the porch last night talking 
and listening to music when my granddaughter,
Taylor, walks up with a collection of wild flowers
that she fashioned into a bouquet.

She used a rubber band to secure it,
placed it into a ball jar with water
and tied a bow with twine.

I had her shine a light on it to get some photos.
In the first picture she placed it on a lighted
phone so it would shine up from the bottom.

Here is what it looks like this morning.
It's really pretty and full of texture.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Donvier- Ice Cream on Demand

Ice cream on demand.
My mom gave us her Donvier ice cream maker that
she no longer uses.  We downloaded the instructions
along with several recipes on line, purchased some
heavy cream and had our first attempt last night.

We selected the no cook recipe which requires
 eggs, sugar, cream, vanilla and milk.
No electricity is needed but you have to freeze the 
inner container for at least 7 hours. We kept our in the deep freeze.
Don't touch the frozen inner container with wet hands.

Mix the eggs and sugar and add the remaining ingredients.

You give it a few quick turns at first and then turn every few 
minutes for about 15-20 minutes.  

We found it was a bit milky at first so we let it sit longer.

The sides were frozen pretty hard, the middle similar to
fresh churned homemade but a little runnier.
It was still good to me, I don't like thick ice cream,
in fact I favor soft serve so homemade ice cream is the
best on the first day for me.

I froze the remaining ice cream for later.
I would recommend the PINT recipe, we had too much
with the full recipe.  Maybe we had too much in the container
which is why it took longer.  

All in all it was easy and quick plus does not need electric
other than to freeze the inner container.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Breakfast Visitor

Our morning ritual includes feeding the porch cats,
one scoop each, a scoop for the birds and one for 
little raccoon that waits under the porch for the breakfast call.

I'll default to "she" since I haven't been able to determine
if it's female or male.  She peeks out from under
the porch or comes up on the first step or two.
She gets her scoop and is content to sit on the steps
and eat while the cats get their fill on the porch.
(unless the cats take too long!)

I'll sit on a chair and have a brief conversations,
a bit one sided but she does look up and listen.
We generally discuss how beautiful she is or
what a nice day it is turning out to be.

If the cats don't eat everything (or if she eats faster)
she'll come up on the deck and scavenge for the remaining 
pieces.  While she goes back to sleep shortly thereafter, 
she'll be back at dusk to see what I have left her in the yard.
It might be older eggs, leftover scraps from dinner and anything
the cats have not eaten.

She's really quite calm and there is never a growl or 
any aggressive behavior to us or the cats.  If another 
raccoon comes up I make sure to leave but I will stay
(as you have seen before) if little skunk arrives, I just
stay on the "right" side of the skunk!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Cookie Cutters

While we were in Arkansas, Mom gave me some cookie cutters that were passed down in the family. The oldest are handmade from around the late 1890s to 1900s and belonged to Mary Smith (Grandmother Templeman) 

The middle shape is a Pillsbury Comicooky item from a comic strip. This shape looks like Lillums from 1937 from the cartoon Harold Teen.  You got the cookie cutter and cut outs to decorate your cookie after baking.
I found this photo under Hake'

There are a few others as well.

I have some other old cutters stored in a tin.

The chicken looks to be very old.  I love the handles on the 
stars, moon and either a biscuit or sugar cookie cutter.

Christmas themed

and a fish.  Taylor and I will have to make cookies
this year!  I've seen some really cute frosting methods on 
Facebook lately. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Hot Springs, Arkansas Trip

We were Arkansas bound last Thursday.
We packed up our granddaughter, Taylor, and 
stuffed the Jeep with everything we would need
for a couple of days visiting Mom at her house
on the lake.  

We always make a stop at the Arkansas Welcome Center
just north of Corning, AR.  It's a very clean and pleasant
 place with lots of travel information, displays and
sweet women to offer you coffee, maps and whatever
freebies that they happen to have.  For awhile people 
would donate magazines for the taking.  Take one and
drop one off next time!  

While I ran some errands with Mom, my husband
took Taylor up the mountain (right in the middle
of town).  There is a lookout tower that we have
visited before but this trip they just stopped at
the overlooks which provide great views of the area.

The town is called Hot Springs for a reason.
There was a time when my parents collected their
drinking water right from the springs that run
under the town, some are hot, some are cold
and each has it's own special properties so you can
select which spring you want to drink.

This is right on Bathhouse Row in the center of town.
The spring here is really hot.  I am still recovering
from some leg injuries so I chose to not climb the 
steps but Tom and Taylor were game!  

This structure winds all the way to the top of the mountain
behind the bath houses.They didn't go all the way 
up but made sure Taylor posed for her portrait along the way.

Some of the bath houses have been restored as spas, 
a museum and this one, the Superior Bath House, 
is now a brewery and distillery plus a restaurant.
Mom and Tom are enjoying a micro brew while 
Taylor opted for a root beer.

We walked up and down bathhouse row.
The other side of the street is full of shops
selling pretty decorations, clothing and wonderful
treats.  You can't forget the tourist shops
and Duck tours plus the wax museum.
What a fun place to walk around!

Back at the house Taylor pilots the party barge.
The lake is about 26 miles long and very deep.
We can stand in the water by the sea wall but a few 
feet out and it drops off so you can jump off the dock
and swim around.  I'm a chicken so I stay closer to the wall.

Taylor would have stayed in the water the entire
time if we would have let her!  Here, Pops takes 
his turn keeping her company.

This is a view from one side of Mom's deck looking out 
towards an island.

Mom has a couple of crepe myrtles that were in full bloom.

The hummingbirds were fighting each other for drinks
in addition to being chased by wasps that also claimed the feeder.
Here bees, a wasp and a bird face off to see who gets the nectar.

If you ever get down to Hot Springs you have to stop
in at Mr Whiskers.  I don't like fish much but I can't wait
to go here.  They have the best butterflied shrimp,
homemade hush puppies and sauces plus cole slaw
and fries.  If you order other sides make sure to try
the pickled green tomatoes because they are fantastic.
My mom and Tom love the fried okra too.

This is a photo of Tom's fried oysters.

Almost everything was perfect when we returned.
My brother and sister in law were taking care of the house
but a pesky late night visitor kept digging up my potted plants.
I thought it was an armadillo since my husband heard one
but now I am leaning towards a raccoon.  They have never
bothered them before but the cats' large water dish
was full of dirt yesterday- from washing their hands!
And now someone is eating my green tomatoes and not just
one bite and moving on.  They eat the entire thing!

Someday I'll get a trail cam and find out what sort of 
wild parties are going on late night on the porch!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

An Unwelcome Visitor

It was completely destroyed, ravaged right under our noses.
For the second time.

Now anyone who reads this blog knows that I Love the
little woodland critters.  We have regular visits from raccoon,
opossum, birds and even skunks!  They all get their little treats,
of left over cat food, older eggs, dinner scraps and 
at times some nice conversation, although a bit one sided.

This; however, takes the cake.
Or the coleus, to be more exact.

The culprit?
Based on the late night vocalizations and recent roadside carcasses, 
the Armadillo!

I was sitting with the cats and a juvenile raccoon yesterday, 
everyone enjoying a bite or two on the covered porch,
when we heard a screetchy scream,
then another and one more.
The cats and raccoon stopped in their tracks, 
ears up and heads turned in the direction of the scream.

Oh oh, I thought, I'll bet that's one of them now.
Sure enough, this morning my planted pots were dug up again.
It got 5 of them last time.

What might an armadillo do?
Dig holes in your yard 1-3 inches deep
Uproot plants
Damage underground pipes and wires
Cracking sidewalks and building foundations
Their burrows attract other tunneling animals
and could lead to foundation cracking.

We cannot have this

How does one get rid of an armadillo?
According to one site:  good luck.

According to another: get rid of brush and woodpiles
(we have 5 acres full of brush piles)

Other methods are to trap them (and then what?),
fence the yard (5 acres?)
remove grubs and insects (laughing).

We'll see if it sticks around or if it follows the path of 
most of the armadillo we see around here.
It might be interesting to actually see a live one!

If you have any suggestions- send them my way.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

How Do You Like Them Eggs

How Do You Like Them Apples Eggs?

It's no wonder that laying time sounds like
total mayhem in the coop!
Would you look at the size of that egg?
It won't even fit in the egg carton. 

The girls are astounded!

Maybe it's a double yolk?
We'll have to wait and see, we eat the oldest eggs first. 

Poor girls!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

A Few Hot Days in the Garden

A few hot days in the garden normally would result in some
great progress; however, with the weather being so fickle this
season, the vegetables just don't know what to do.  The 
tomato was growing well during the rains but not turning red.
Then when the rains stopped, the temps jumped to 100
which was equally as bad.  I have dead leaves and only a couple
of ripe tomatoes.  Hopefully they will turn before the entire plant dies.

The tomato tower is great but bugs found the horseradish.
That might be OK since I'm after the root.  I would have thought
the leaves would be bitter or hot and not too attractive to bugs.

A few green peppers have developed, they are
supposed to turn red so not picking them yet.

The square foot garden up at my in-laws's house is doing much 
better but it also has better exposure and ground.  We did not
plant up there this year but maybe we should have.
Lots of beans, tomatoes, peppers, etc.

I'll plant a fall crop, in fact I am going through my seeds now.
My leg and foot are still bothering me so I"ll keep it to a minimum.
I'll see what the Doc says next week, maybe it is just horrible
arthritis with the huge amount of continual rains we have had.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Bees Everywhere

We have had an abundance of bees this year, even the 
news stations have commented on it.  The amazing thing
is that they are so docile around us to the point of moving
aside so we can tend to the flowers.  Sometimes they hover
just in front of your head as if they are just checking out
what you are up to.

I think they are carpenter bees. 

And they are everywhere on the flowers.
The cone flowers really draw them plus the hosta blooms 
and of course the bee balm which you can see here in the background.
I do find them asleep on the flowers on occasion, thinking they died but
later they are gone so our nectar must be pretty good stuff!

We don't see carpenter bee damage, maybe on the very edges of the 
deck but nothing major anywhere.  I have to say I truly enjoy
watching them, especially since they don't mind me getting close
and taking photos of them.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

All The Fruit I'll Never Eat And One I Will

The blackberries have done well this year with all the rain.
They used to line our road, huge fines with giant berries
that you could fill your freezer with after making jelly or sorbet.
Then the developer sprayed them! 
I suppose that they were trying to clean up the lots so they 
were more attractive, not thinking that anyone moving
out in this area would probably rather have the berries than
a manicured lawn.  They just never recovered.
Some started popping up in our yards and this year was a good one.

Except. . .  I can't eat seeds anymore and all the cute and adorable
animals I love to watch plus the birds that visit me on the porch
all love blackberries.  We were not proactive enough
to pick and freeze until we had enough so I'll not eat these.

The peaches are plentiful this year as well, small but nice.
The fronts are nice and peachy color but the backs are green.
With this couple days of hot weather they are getting nicer 
but like last year I know I'll walk out one morning and find
the tree bare!  One night branches are hanging heavy with 
fruit, the next day- nothing.  Will I get to eat these?  Maybe
but not keeping my hopes up.  With my leg and foot still acting
up I am not walking up to the tree much so the deer and raccoon
will likely get these too.

Here's another little bunch of berries at the wood line.

The ones I planted are doing well too and next year should
be producing more and better. 

I also have to get a mate for my elderberry.  
I am looking for a Wyldwood for my Bob Gordon.

I did get a couple of my plums but they mostly had worms.
I don't want to spray them since the bees were all over it
this year, hundreds of large down to teeny tiny ones you could
barely see along with strange fluffy flies and the moths
that probably laid the worm eggs.

I did get to taste my fig!
It was overly ripe, sweet and gooey.
I can't really eat it due to the seeds
(I know, why do I plant seedy things when I can't eat seeds?).
Do you see the baby fig above and to the left of the ripe one?