Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year's Eve!

Penny and I wish you all a wonderful 2016.
Happy New Year!
From our house to your house!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Got myself a Peeler for Christmas.

Yippee, now I'll be able to make potatoes for my meals more often.  I love potatoes but with my thumbs and wrists acting up like they do, I have to limit them in my diet.  I sure have been missing them.
Well, a friend told me about an automatic peeler she got that peeled and sliced her apples for her crockpot applesauce.  Sounded good to me.  I looked it up on Amazon and then looked up demos on YouTube.  Saw it slicing apples while it peeled them and another demo with potatoes just being peeled and it looks so darn easy.  I ordered one.  Its my Christmas gift to me this year.

When I get it, probably around the New Year, I'll be trying it out.  Will take pix and post them here so you can see them. 

In the meantime, Merry Christmas to all!
From me and my little corgi, Penny.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Christmas in Less Than a Week.

Its getting so close, that wonderful holiday, Christmas.
I've still a few stocking stuffers to buy since we are having a couple extra folks staying over with us for Christmas Day.
Breakfast will be a brunch actually, after gift opening and my DDIL is the good cook in the family so she'll be making that meal for our guests and us.  I'm contributing some Buttermilk Pancake Mix and Maine Maple Syrup from L.L.Bean, a gift to me from a very good friend.
Thank you KC, you know who you are.
I've got a 15-plus-pound turkey planned for dinner, with my sausage stuffing which was so well received by our family and guests on Thanksgiving.
On Christmas Eve we have our annual Christmas Party.  Its a potluck with invited guests bringing something to munch on but its an open house so anyone can drop in, and usually do.
My offering will be my Lithuanian Bundies, a meat-filled pastry that seems to go over well on holidays.
Pie pastry is filled with the meat mixture and baked.
You can serve it with beef gravy or ketchup if you like, but I like it plain and tasty.  Hot or cold, these are enjoyed.
I have a couple of candies planned for the days also.
 
I hope you all have a nice and Merry Christmas!
 
Merry Christmas from me and my corgi, Penny.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Dark-eyed Junco

With my DDIL's help, I was able to get these pictures for you.  I had a visit from a half dozen Dark-eyed Junco birds yesterday and they are lovely. 
These little guys are a pretty slate gray with a light beak and light belly.
 
Here's another view of one so you can see its belly.  They also have some white in their tail feathers.
What was unusual about my visitors is that they were all gathering the fallen seed on the ground.  The other birds like the larger seeds better and scratch much of the small seeds out of the 2 feeders.  These birds seem to thrive on the scattered seed or else they are wary of feeders, for they only ate the seed on the ground.
I'm very glad to have seen them and taken a couple pictures.  I hope I see more of them thru the winter.
Have A Great Day!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Chocolate Walnut Clusters

Its Christmas Time and time to cook all our favorites to eat and to give.
One of mine is Walnut Clusters. 

Ingredients:
12 oz. Sweet German Chocolate Squares (Baker's brand in the Green packs)
1 can Condensed Milk (Eagle Brand)
1 1/2 Cups Chopped Walnuts
Note:  You can use any favorite unsalted nuts you prefer.

Melt the Chocolate in double boiler. Remove from heat and add the Condensed Milk.  Stir together well until its no more milk shows.  Add the Nuts of your choice.  Stir until its all mixed in together.
Here's how mine look with everything incorporated and ready to spoon out.  It will start to thicken quickly so don't dilly dally.
 
Spoon the mixture onto waxed paper on a sheet pan and cool in the refrigerator a couple hours until chocolate is firm.
You can make them as small or as large as you like.  You can get about 2 dozen candies from a batch. 
Mmmmmm, they are so sweet and good!
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Happy December to you all.

Well, its official.  The winter season is upon us and Santa is busy working in his toy shop with all his elves.
As for me, I've got to mail things out I made especially for friends and relatives so they can use them for their Christmas d├ęcor and use.
I also have Christmas cards to write.
And a Christmas wallhanging on which to work so I can put it up before Christmas.
Today here in southern Maine its bright and sunny, but cold.  Temps won't rise out of the 30sF today and tomorrow.  There's such a crispness in the air.
 
To date I haven't seen any red cardinals at my feeders.  I'm hoping.  I bought a new type of bird seed that has seeds they enjoy and lots more sunflowers seeds for all the birds around here.  Even the little Chickadees and Titmice love the black sunflower seeds.  I've watched them grab a seed, fly to the fence, place the seed under their foot to hold it steady and eat the seed.  They keep going back and forth filling their little tummies.
Today I saw our squirrel neighbor at the flat feeder.  He's fat and bushy-tailed and has no trouble getting up that pole to the seeds.  I love all wild creatures so I won't deny him his seeds.  He's got to live, too. 
I hope everyone is getting in the mood for a fine Christmas.
Merry Christmas season to you all!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

I just wanted to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

May you have lots for which to be thankful!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Computer problems

I can't post pictures but this time its my picture downloading system.  The window changed when I upload from my camera and even tho it says they have been downloaded, I can't find them on my computer.  I just wish Win10 would stop changing things willy nilly. It didn't change from anything I did or changed.  Since its on my computer and not thru Explorer or Edge, its frustrating right now.

But I can still type so that's a blessing.  I'm preparing for adding my food to our Thanksgiving menu.  We will be at least 18, probably more, and there will be 3 birds made.  I'll stuff one of mine with sausage stuffing and my DDIL will deep fry one of mine and make Italian stuffing in a casserole dish.  Her brother is bringing the other turkey.  We like to have lots of food for folks to take home leftovers.
This year we're having lots of time for appetizers.  Mine will be pepperoni rollups which are usually well received. I understand there will be plenty.  The idea is to keep them all happy while the main turkey course is finished and food set out.   My other dish will be mashed potatoes.  This, too, is well received at dinners.

Tip on making tasty mashed potatoes:
Use peeled Russets, each cut into several pieces, and fill pot to just covering the taters.  Add 1-3 teaspoons of salt to the water, depending on how big a pot you're making.   Boil them over medium heat til they are tender.  Drain.
Put them back into the same hot pot (now empty) and place over the burner to help dry out the potatoes.  Its the wetness that makes them gummy. I stir them around over the hot burner with a wooden spoon for a few minutes to release the dampness.
Remove pot from heat.
I add butter, mash just a little til melted, then add cream and milk and mash some more, moving the masher in a clock-wise direction around the pot.  I use any old-fashioned masher available.  Salt and pepper to taste.  At the end I take a wire whisk and whisk those taters till they are smooth.  Add a bit more milk if the taters feel too thick.
If you don't have cream, try coffee creamer or a bit of sour cream for richness.
Note:  I never use a mixer.  It breaks down the potatoes too much which in turn lessens their rich flavor.

I know that everyone coming to our house on Turkey-Day will be bringing a side dish so we'll have plenty to share.  Some are bringing desserts, others side dishes, some appetizers, and some just themselves.

I hope you are having a nice Thanksgiving and have reason to be thankful for the food on your table this year, whether friends and family join you or not.                  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Downy Woodpecker visited this morning.

This little guy came to the feeders this morning.  Its a first one I've seen this season.
I had to take pix quickly so took them thru the blinds.
 
Another view.
 
The last view before he flew away.
I know, not very good, but the best I could do under the circumstances.  If I opened the door, I knew he'd be gone in a second.
 
I'm just happy to add another bird to my list.
Have a Wonderful Day.!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A few more pairs of towels.

I've finished a few more pairs of towels. 
A few more towel sets to put in the Turkey-Day basket for guests.
 
This is the rough drawing from which I make my wallhangings.  I draw a scene the way I want it, and then use it for the final product.  The fabric is layered on the backside of this sheet of paper and stitched.  That's why I love this technique.  Its not difficult at all.
 
This is what you see on the front side.  Of course, this one isn't finished yet. 
 
 
This is the first replique piece I worked on.  It took first place in the applique division of a quilt show some years ago.
I've made several wallhangings in all sizes since then and love every minute of it.
 
Butterfly Garden is one I finished most recently.
 
Have a Wonderful Day!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

A Christmas Wallhanging is in Progress.

I needed to get in the mood for quilting again so to start, I drew a Xmas design and I'm making a replique wallhanging from it.  This is it in progress.
Frosty and His Friends
 
There's still quite a bit to do.  I have a couple of red cardinals I want to add to the tree and some holly leaves and berries.  And the touches to Frosty's face; carrot and eyes and so forth.  The finishing touch will be the wide satin-stitching so it looks like its stained glass.  I love the technique.
Have A Wonderful Day!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

I've been working on crocheted hanging dish towels.

I like making these dish towels that hang on the door of one's oven.  You can make them in all colors and all themes.  I started out with Halloween towels for gifts for family.
This is one pair.
 
Here's another version.  I gave these out to different family members, a pair to each person.
 
Then there are the Thanksgiving towels.  One pair here.
 
More for another family member.
 
A little thing I do at our Thanksgiving Dinner, is make some small project that I give out to guests as gifts.  Sometimes its towels, or placemats, or gift bags or sleeping masks.  This year I bought a supply of Xmas theme towels so I'm making these up for the guests.
 
Here are a few more pairs ready for Turkey Day gifts.  I have several more pairs to make before Thanksgiving Day rolls around.
Luckily they are fun to work on while watching TV in the evenings so I manage to get them made then.
Have a Wonderful Day.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Purple Finche dropped by today.

I had a visit from this little guy this morning.
Its a male Purple Finch.  See his little topknot.
 
The finch is on the left and on the right is a white-breasted Nuthatch.
I love checking the birds every morning to see if anyone new shows up.  They are always so cute and busy.
Have a Wonderful Day!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

White-Breasted Nuthatch

I finally caught a White-Breasted Nuthatch at my feeder this morning.
They have a black head and white face and their bodies are gray.
Here's one at the feeder.
 
Another view.
 
Its a cool one today, in the high 40s but sunny so I'm not complaining. 
I made a pot of chicken rice soup last nite which should last me a couple days.  I love hot homemade soups in the fall and winter.  That's one of the perks of Maine winters, our hearty soups.
Have a Wonderful Day!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Birds in my Back Yard

I moved the two birdfeeders closer to my kitchen door so I can easily refill them when the snows come and bury the yard.  I can also see the birds more easily to identify who's visiting. 
I took a few photos but failed to catch the White-breasted Nuthatches that have been feeding lately.
One of our many black-capped chickadees.  I just love to watch these little guys.  They are so active.
 
We have a couple of Blue Jays in the neighborhood lately.  I know they are considered gangsters, but I love all Mother Nature's creatures so I wouldn't chase these guys away.
 
This is a Tufted Titmouse.
 
Here's a Chickadee and a Titmouse at the tray feeder.
 
I'm not sure about this little fellow.  It looks like a tufted titmouse but this one is bluish instead of gray.
 
Another visitor I can't name right now.  Looks like a bluejay but is duller and a lot smaller.
 
I'm really enjoying these feeders being just outside my door.  I can take photos right thru the glass door on my storm door.
Its a beautiful day in the 50s with lots of sun.  The wind is blowing so the leaves keep drifting down. 
A good day for that chicken rice soup I have planned to make today.
Have a Wonderful Day!
 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Ground Beef Pizza

Its a marvelous day here in southern Maine, sunny and bright and its presently 72*F here.  Just wonderful. 

I bought the pizza dough (frozen) at Walmart and defrosted it last nite.  Today I made my favorite pizza, ground beef pizza.
These are 10 by 13 inch baking sheets.  I get two pizzas from one lump of dough. The pizzas themselves are about 7 or 8" by 11 inches.

This is a closeup of one.  Its pizza sauce, shredded Mozzarella cheese and pepperoni and covered with ground beef that has been browned with a bit of pizza sauce for moisture.  I love my pizzas this way.  Its definitely a whole meal when one has these.
 
Tip:  Sprinkle a bit of cornmeal, very lightly, over your baking pans and the pizzas won't stick and you won't have any grease to deal with by just this added effort.
Have a Good Day!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

I still have color in my own yard.

Its always nice in the fall when the color lasts a bit longer than expected.
I've got color in my yard this year and its near the end of October.  Not only that, but we had one heck of a windy day yesterday that was blowing leaves off the trees by the thousands.
This tall one is lovely with both yellow and red in its leaves.  It sits among tall pines so its noticeable.
 
I even still have a little red in the back corner.
 
Today is a very cool day here in Maine, in the 40s, so its a good soup day.  And I'm going to make a big pot of vegetable beef soup today to warm my innards at dinner.  It'll keep me warm while I watch some of my favorite Britcoms on PBS.
Have A Good Day.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Last of 2015 Fall Photos

I'm sure this is the end of the pix I'll be posting.  A gardener friend sent these to me to use in my blog.  She's a very good photographer so its always a pleasure to see her work.  She's given me permission to post these.
In this photo you can see Mt Katahdin in the distance, looking like a gray shadow.  I love all the colors in this photo.

This is a red maple that is just stunning.  Its on the road to Lincoln Maine.  What a beauty.
 
I know that Burning Bush is invasive, but you can't deny its shows some lovely color in the fall.
 
As for sunsets, this one in Enfield is glowing.
 
How's that for good photography from my friend Christina in northern Maine.  Thank you very much Christina for sharing your photos.
I think this is the perfect way to say "Good Night" to the fall season.  We actually had a few snowflakes today, but they melted as soon as they hit the ground.  Winter is just around the corner, I fear.
Have  A Wonderful Day!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

New Fall Photos Oct 17th

On the way to our mailbox, I took a few pictures along our country road.  The wind has taken many of the leaves with it, and the reds are turning to a deeper bronze from the cold nites.  I'm afraid this is going to be the best of the color this year.
As you can see around our fire pit in the back yard, the colors have just begun.  The leaves are still green but they won't have time to turn I don't think, not with the nites being so cold and the winds being so blustery these last couple of days.
 
Yes, the leaves are pretty well blowing away today as you can see from this view in my side yard.
 
Its still nice to see the contrast between the gold and the bronze in these trees along our road.
 
Here's a little green, yellow, bronze, gold, and red in this short stretch of road.
 
Here's what I see when I stop at the highway before turning out from our country road.  There's still some color out there among our evergreens.
 
At least the yellow leaves are still pretty full and bright.
 
If you look hard enough, you can spot a red tree among the gold.
 
Its been a wonderful summer, full of great weather, not too hot too often and the evenings always cool and refreshing.  It was warm longer this year so the fall color is running late.  Usually we're going into full-color mode in my neighborhood around Columbus Day.  Its running a few days later this year and into the windy days of fall which pull the leaves from all the lovely trees a little too quickly.  Still, its been a pretty year.  I wish fall and her beauty would last a little longer, but alas, I'm thinking winter is right around the corner in our area.  They're calling for snow tonite in the higher altitudes around the White Mountains just 45 miles from here. 
Have a Wonderful Day!