Thursday, April 24, 2014


We have morels!
My husband discovered them as he was cutting the grass,
popping up at the base of our old ash tree.
Just a few feet away in an undisturbed wooded area 
I found more. That calls for a hunt.  
They like to grow near certain trees, especially where 
there is dead and decayed wood- perfect conditions here.

Both my mother and neighbor advised me to soak them first, 
slice, batter and fry them- in  butter according to my mom . 
When I was young I wasn't much of a mushroom fan
except when mom cooked these! They are so different!
You can read more about them HERE.

If anyone has other recipe ideas, please let me know.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

It Really Works!

And you thought you couldn't learn anything from Facebook!
I saw a post on how to really open a banana 
without all the stem struggle.
Don't try to break and peel from the stem.
You split the bottom by pressing.

Then peel.

No more banana!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Garden Boxes

 It never hurts to put a girl to work.
We created new planting beds up at my in-laws house in an area 
that started out as a brush pile when the home was built.
 My husband and brother in law put together the first six
4x4 boxes.   My husband wants to try the square foot gardening
method on one of the boxes and compare that method to what 
we have done in the past.  My sister and brother in law are
selecting their favorites and I am certain Taylor will want a 
a few plants of her choosing as well.

We amended the soil with compost, manure and peat ,
tilling it in so it is well mixed.  We lined the pathways between
the boxes with cardboard and then covered it with mulch
from our pile that has sustained us for the last three or four years.
My husband attached the dirt scoop, drove backwards into the pile
and then drove the mulch up the street to the boxes.  
He was able to back next to the pathways and release the 
scoop so most of the mulch fell where we could easily distribute it.

Taylor enjoyed driving the small tractor.  They were using the 
blade to keep the mulch in an orderly pile. She tried the first
few times but my brother in law took over to speed up the process.

Up at our place, I've planted our small side garden with cold tolerant plants
such as spinach, radish and collards.  We're holding off until
next week to plant the larger garden since you just never
know when the last frost will be here. They say it is
April 15 but most say you should wait until May 1.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spot Says- No More Snow

No More Snow

  Spot the cat hit it right on the nose.
The trees are flowering, early wild flowers are making their debut
but what happens tonight?
A Freeze Warning!
And now It's Snowing!!!

Let's take a look at the place a day ago-

Dutchman's Breeches


May Apples

I'm not certain what this is, we had some guesses last year.

Around here the last frost is supposed to be April 15 
but to be on the safe side you should wait until at 
least May 1 for anything other than cold tolerant plants.

And speaking of May 1, that's only a couple of weeks away.
My husband and I will be celebrating our wedding anniversary-
32 years of marriage.  He was my Jr. High School boyfriend 
which puts us at 40 years together on April 29.
We would love to take an overnight trip some weekend to celebrate 
 but with the cats and chickens (mostly the chickens), 
we really don't get away so I'm looking at the 
MO Visitor's Guide to see what nice day trips we might
 take sometime in May so we can be back that night.

Here's hoping Spring will decide to stick around awhile!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A Close Strike

 The thunder and lightning exploded with a red flash outside the window, 
a strike in the front yard during our early morning Palm Sunday storm. 
It was the sort of strike where you know something 
bad might have happened.
The skies had grown dark just before the hail started and gigantic
drops of rain came crashing down.

Rivers of rain were flowing across the courtyard and cascading 
down the side yard churning up my newly planted spinach 
and lettuce beds. Hopefully the seeds will still sprout 
even if the rows are no longer straight.

The downspouts were full

and the culvert was once again flooded,
very much appreciated by the frogs and toads
that will soon be laying floating gelatinous egg strands
that we will scoop up and transport to the fountain.

We had no outdoor damage
although the electromagnetic pulse of the lightning
took out the power supply to our TV tuner but 
fortunately the TV survived.

We do have damage from the past winter storms.
What was once minor damage to the garden wall pond liner
is now fully cracked and in need of replacement.  
We left debris from the winter inside until we remove it
so whatever may fall inside has some footing to get out.

We will have to either replace the hard plastic liner
or create our own shape with soft liner.  
We had something like this originally and at the old house,
similar to a small grotto with pretty rocks stacked up
and ledges for  small waterfalls.

What I cannot repair is the missing red bud that
my husband cut down while thinning the volunteers that
have grown up over time. I didn't realize he was going
to cut this one with the rest, it gave a nice background to the 
pond.   Now I have mulch piled up over the stump until
I determine what I will put in as a replacement.

I took a walk after the storm and caught some nice photos of 
  blooming  wildflowers and mossy rocks. I'll share those later.
We're expecting more storms overnight, some may be severe.

Don't forget- when you are walking around after a storm
Look Up.
Watch for damaged branches that may fall on you without warning!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bee Fly - Bombylius

White Spot on Abdomen
As I walk out the front door I  breathe in the heavy sweetness, 
something that registers honeysuckle in my mind but impossible on 
this early Spring afternoon.  My husband commented on the insects
that  are swarming both our flowering dwarf plum 
and also the yews that line the front porch.  Obviously they too have
been attracted by the drifting aroma of the
almost imperceptible flowers that cover the bushes this season.

Yew flowers with insect
On closer inspection there are hundreds of insects hovering, 
flying and crawling over and in our bushes.  They are neither aggressive
 nor passive, mostly immune to our presence other than using us as
an occasional landing port or to part so we may travel through.
Our initial question was Is it a bee or a fly?
They have the mannerisms of a fly: rubbing their legs, the fly like walk.
There is no perceptible stinger but they are furry, buzzing and sipping nectar.

We believe these to be Bombylius, or Bee Fly.
There are several types each having slightly different 
characteristics but generally the same shape and similar coloring.
They are considered a pollinator with caution as they can be a 
danger to bees when they lay eggs in bee nests where their
larvae feed upon the stored pollen and bee larvae.

We'll have to read up on these or perhaps call our local
extension office since we are working our way into keeping bees.
 If you have any information please pass it on.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Temptations in a Jar

"You keep your cat treats in a cookie jar?" you might ask.
"And who doesn't" I would reply.

 Many visitors look in my treat jar to see if the snack of 
the day would be cookies, jelly beans or maybe malted milk ball eggs.
Grab yourself a treat today and it would be a savory salmon treat!
Yummy, huh?
I'm not sure I'll many human takers, but you never know.
One thing's for sure the cat agrees, they are tasty treats.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Rainy Days and Dentists- Owls Well Now

I thought I deserved a reward for a good dental visit,
believe me, it's a first.  No cavities and nothing needs pulling.
 I took a half day off since my appointment was at 1 PM;
however, the appointment before me canceled so I was able
to scoot in early.  After getting the All Clear from the dentist
I had some time to see what was happening in Eureka (MO).

We lost our quilt shop, she moved to a better location
but we still have Ben Franklin which has a wide variety of
fabrics on sale between now and Easter.
There are four tables, each with fabric priced accordingly, 
probably making its way over time to the $3.99 table - which can be
a great find if there is anything you are interested in.

I spotted the Owl.
Not a Spotted Owl, but a whimsical childlike pattern
with all the colors I love.  It's Honeycrisp from Dear Stella 
and I found some coordinating fabric - you can see the selection on the link.  
I did not choose the dark brown although they had it, it was just too dark.
I did pick up some houses by Dear Stella although not part 
of this particular collections.  It was all on sale for under $6/yard.
I will probably make another Wickedly Easy patch quilt 
that only requires a fat quarter of each fabric 
so I'll have plenty left for coordinating items.

I also found these hens and chicks.
Plus this travel fabric that I'll add to my
National Park Vacation someday quilt.

Not at all a bad day considering a dentist was involved.
It's not over though, they are working up a bid and
coordinating with the insurance company for a partial
plus some bonding to fix a bit of wear.  

 I can't imagine what I'll deserve after I'm through with all that!

Web Worms

Spring has finally arrived and I thought things were going pretty well.
As I was taking some photos of my dwarf plumb I noticed something
was wrong, something really really wrong.
It's started.

There were web worms in three different places.
Some may know them at tent worms, I think they are the same.
Regardless, they multiply quickly and will eat every leaf 
off a bush or tree in a matter of a day or two.
They got my sand cherry a couple years ago so I'm very 
careful to watch for any signs of webbing.
This one surprised me, we've had nothing but bad, cold weather
so the hatching must have happened fast.

I'll attempt to avoid sprays so I scooped as many as I could off.
This won't be enough because I surely missed several.
Then I took them to the fire and plunged them in.
I 'll have to check every day to see how the tree is doing
and keep close eye out for my sand cherry.  It doesn't have
fruit but it's that pretty deep red color and makes a nice
accent against the white siding.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Meeting

They meet as if they were boxers.
It begins with the dance, circling each other
with a quick jab or two as they size up their opponent.
One backs off only to lunge forward with a quick
blow to the beak, the other sidestepping and
throwing an unexpected left.

But after all the pecking, the confrontation, the drama . . .
they are nothing but sleepy little chickens, eyes
closing as they slowly melt into a restful slumber.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Preserving the Scarves

 Preserving the Scarves
 Drawer after drawer was filled with favorite pieces of jewelry,
old cards, letters, white dress gloves and clothing accessories
that were once favorites but now laid in drawers
gathering that musty scent that seems to attach itself to 
items that are packed away for years on end.

The girls began cleaning out dressers after my father in law
passed away.  My mother in law resides in the nursing home
 and won't be wearing what remains in the house.
My brother in law and his wife recently  moved back to town
and will be staying in the house to care for the dog until
their house is built.  This has been a real help 
since a house needs to be occupied and cared for. 
It is right next door which makes it even more convenient.

We've split up the items that each family will use.
We have items that will be donated but others are
either not the type of thing you would donate or
so personal that we want to save them but may not
actually wear them.  I've been looking at the scarves
she's collected over the years plus some vintage hankies.

I think I can make some type of memory quilt from  the 
old scarves if I use a foundation piece.  I have seen 
recommendations of fusible webbing or sewing them 
to muslin before piecing them together. There are 
also several men's ties that I could combine if 
no one else wants them.  Not enough for an entire
tie quilt so mixing them would be a good alternative.

There are several pretty hankies, some pictured here
but not enough for an entire throw but perhaps
I can reuse them in other ways.
There is still more to go through, 
but fortunately we have time.
I'd love to know what you would suggest.