Saturday, April 29, 2017

Lets Take A Walk Thru The Back Garden

The sun came out today after 4 days of rain and was very welcome.  With it came blossoms which are brightening up our back garden.  The river is flowing fast from run-off further north of us. 

Here's the bridge to the next town and the view from our back patio.  The pink blossoms on the trees are getting thicker.

Its nice to see spring blossoms at last.

The view from the end of the garden walk.  The flowers in the raised beds are blooming and the trees all have pink flowers.  Maybe they are Korean crabapples but I don't know. That light building right I the center is beyond our land and is the abandoned factory that made everything from gunpowder to woolens it its heyday.  To its right is the dam building.

We have quite a few groups of daffodils blooming right now.  These are the white with yellow centers.

Here are some white ones.

This small patch has daffies and some tiny purple flowers and I can see the iris blades are coming up strong.

A view of the patio where we will have our container plants in the very near future.  There are already some empty pots out there. 

You can almost hear the gurgle of the rapids as they thunder southeast toward the sea.

Here's the view of the water falls from our patio.  I see there's no one fishing today.  The current is much too strong.

Let me finish with this shot.  My corgi eagerly awaiting the opening of our elevator doors.  When we reach the floor and it stops, she practically sticks her nose in the crack, probably thinking she's opening the doors for me.

Well, I'm off to the shower.  I got a late start today.  Have a nice day.

Friday, April 28, 2017

I Made Pizzals Today.

Not pizzelles, the flattened cookie that has grooves in it, but pizzals (little pizza dough) that you fry in hot oil.

I took a shortcut today.  I made them from frozen pizza dough.  I just defrosted a lump from the freezer in the late morning and it was ready to fry by suppertime.
First I shaped the thawed dough into a long torpedo on a floured board.

While vegetable oil heated in a small skillet (I like using a small one to have more control over the cooking process) I cut the dough into sections and flattened each piece with my fingers to get the air bubbles out of it.  I only cover the bottom of the skillet with about a half inch of oil.

When the oil started to shimmer, I dropped two pizzals into the skillet.  I let them cook on the underside, and when the edges were turning brown, I turned them over to cook on the other side.

You can top them with whatever topping your prefer.  Some like cinnamon sugar, some like powdered sugar, others a combo of the first two, some like a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.   Some folks just like them plain without any topping.   I prefer plain sugar on mine.

You can keep these in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave as wanted.

Hey, there was a bit of sunshine this afternoon.  I took Penny out and brushed her coat and plucked out the clumps.  She, a corgi,  doesn't shed like most dogs.  Her hair clumps up in a lump and its easily pulled out.  It doesn't hurt her at all.  She looked so much better when finished.

Have a good evening.

Sorry I Have Been Remiss.

I haven't been posting lately.  The weather's got me down.  I have SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which not only affects me in the winter when there's no sunshine, but on dreary and rainy days when the sun is hidden from view.  Its been 4 days of rain, rain, rain, here.  Not deluges, but showers and drizzles and then some hard falls, but just plain miserable with a constant wet feeling in the air.
I have to take out my dog regardless, so my umbrella has been getting a work out.
I haven't been sewing for the simple reason I don't feel like doing much of anything.  I've read a bit which is good since I have a few cardboard cartons of paperbacks I need to read before I'm called to the Heavens above.  And I've cooked a bit, but not much.  I prefer to get something from the freezer I can zap in the Microwave rather than cook from scratch.

Still, I get up each morning thinking of the 3 things for which I am thankful.  Like today....
1.  I woke in good general health.
2.  My TV is working so I can catch up on the shows my 'box' has recorded.
3.  I've caught up on some needed sleep.  And yes, I believe you can do that unlike doctors' claims that its not true.  I feel better when I've had a few days/nights of good sleep.

So that's my three for today.  How about you?  Have you counted the three on your fingers today?

Have a good day.

The white daffodils are coming up everywhere.  A good sign of spring.

Friday, April 21, 2017

I Made Lithuanian Bundies This Afternoon.

Pie Dough Recipe:
4 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Cups Crisco-----or 1 Cup White Shortening (Crisco) plus 1 Cup Cold Butter
1 Large Egg
3/4 Cups Cold Water
1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
1 teaspoon Baking Powder

In a large bowl, Cut flour and shortening together with pastry blender til pea-sized and smaller bits.
Put egg in measuring cup.  Blend with fork.
Add water to the 3/4 Cup line. 
Add the vinegar and baking powder and whisk with a fork.
Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and stir together with fork.  When blended, form into 2 large balls with your hands, cover with clear plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to cool for 30 mins. minimum.

Meat Mixture Recipe:
2 Lbs 80% Ground Beef  (the fat content gives a better flavor)
2 White Bread Slices, crumbled very small
1/2 Cup Milk
1 Pkg. Lipton's Dry Onion Soup Mix
1/2 Cup Stove Top Stuffing Mix or Bell's Stuffing (I use chicken-flavored)
1/2 Cup Italian Bread Crumbs
Seasonings: salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, red crushed pepper flakes, dry oregano.
1 Large Egg

In a large bowl, Crumble your white bread, add the rest of the dry ingredients and the seasonings, then the milk.  Stir it all together.
Add the meat and stir together with fork or use clean hands but don't overdo the hand mixing or it can toughen the meat. 
Add the egg and stir together with fork, then use your hands to combine well.
Form into 2 large balls, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to cool for a half hour.

Remove one ball of dough and one of meat from fridge.  Form both into equal parts. 
Take singular piece of dough and roll in your hands, then spread onto floured board.  Roll out to oval shape.
Form a meat section into a ball in your hands and shape into a half-moon shape.  Place on one side of dough, pull other part of dough over the meat, crimp around the edges to seal. 
Place on parchment-lined baking sheet.  When you have a baking sheet full of them, brush them with egg wash over their tops.
Bake in preheated 360*F Oven (Yes, I like mine a bit warmer than 350) for about 20-25 mins, (by this time the undersides should be browning), then turn over to bake on the other side.  Usually for about 15 or 20 more mins.  When the meat inside is cooked, they are done.

Personal Notes:
The seasonings I never measure, sorry.  I just shake some of all the components onto the dry ingredients.
Adding milk to the breads keeps the meat from getting too tough as it cooks, like it does for meatballs.
You can just use your favorite meatball mixture or meatloaf mixture if you like.  The taste is up to you.  Mine often tastes a bit different each time depending on what I have on hand or don't have.  Its a recipe that works well when tweaked.
Serve either hot or cold.  Store in refrigerator in covered containers.  Serve with gravy or ketchup or steak sauce.
They re-heat well in microwaves for 30-45 seconds.

There is a lot of labor involved with making Bundies (pronounced boon-dees) but they are so good its worth it now and then.
I wanted to come out even with meat and dough, so shaped them in a wheel and cut them equally (both meat mix and dough) to the same numbers.  The portions above are from ONE of the covered balls of dough and one covered ball of meat.  Since I cooled 2 large balls of each I ended up with 32 bundies.

I roll out the dough oval-shaped and place the meat on one side.  Then pull the dough over it.

I score them with a fork and then use a  pizza cutter to trim off the excess dough, or you can just crimp the edges up and over around the turnover.  I have some of both pictured below.

When they are baked, they go into airtight containers I the refrigerator to serve whenever I feel the need.

This is how they look inside.

Have a good evening.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Water Lily Fairy with Leading

I got the leading done on this wallhanging.
She measures 14 by 18 inches long without any border.  I still have to remove the back papers and get it layered, pinned and quilted.

Here's a close-up of the critter on the small lily pad.

The close-up of the dragon fly.

Here's the Water Lily Fairy.  I see there are a few spots I need to touch up a bit but overall, I'm pretty satisfied at how this came out.  A narrow border in a pretty color should add some nice detail to it.

Its a gloomy day here today.  It rained a lot last nite and dropped into the 30sF so I had to wear my heavy winter jacket when I took out Pen for her last walk of the day.  It was very gusty out as well.

The Canada Geese left the same afternoon, and the swallows are coming back.  I saw a couple of them fighting and rolling on the ground, probably trying to impress a gal who was hopping around nearby, waiting to see who was the victor in this skirmish.  The swallow condo itself has only had visitors checking the openings but I see no tenants at the moment.

Have a nice day.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Another African Violet.

I went to lunch with a very dear friend today.  We were celebrating our  BDs a little late but due to weather, we had to be sure no more snow was in the offing since she comes from out of town.
She remembered how I was adding to my indoor garden with African Violets and she brought me this lovely plant (above).  Its sooooo gorgeous, and with my other 3 they are now 4 sisters.  They are all so pretty on my windowsill. 

Thank you dear Kathleen.  And thank you for the great lunch today, even to including a small Hot Fudge Sundae (I could not fit in anything larger).  It was all appreciated.
It was a great time to give you some quilt supplies that I know your kindred sisters in your town will be sure to make good use if you can't use them youself.  They were only gathering dust in my small apt.
We both shared a BD this month but I mailed her very small gift earlier because of the constant threat of snow that kept us from getting together sooner.

For those of you who know Kathleen, I want to report that since her neck surgery, she's lost a lot of weight, going from a size 22 to a size 10.  I could hardly believe my eyes when we met.  She looks terrific.  I felt guilty about gaining the 6 pounds of candy I gathered on my hips in the last 2 months from all that candy I've been making.  This latest batch (peanut butter balls) will be the last of it.  Lucky for me there are new friends here in our complex who are helping me eat the last of it.  I used up all my supplies and will not buy more unless a Holiday demands it.

The white daffodils are beginning to blossom in our garden.

Even those in one of the 4 by 4 raised beds (we have 8) are in bloom with other greenery sprouting.

I'm eager to see what flowers will be blooming here.  I will only do up some containers for myself this year; like 2 or 3 tomato plants, a couple of leaf lettuces, and thyme.  They can all live on the back patio and I can easily take care of them there and water them from the rain water barrels kept for that purpose.   I'll leave the hard stuff to those with more energy and we have a wonderful person living here that keeps up the gardens every year.  With a small cash contribution, she makes the place look divine in all seasons.
I can only applaud dear Katherine for all her efforts on our behalf.

I'm thinking maybe Lithuania Bundies on the menu for tomorrow or Saturday.  I have enough meat defrosted I think.  I've got a craving.  I really love these cravings because they are usually for things I don't often make.  You see, I really hate to cook.  Yes, I will admit it, I don't like cooking at all.  I cook only because I really want something or its for my family because they asked or I'm desperate.  I would rather quilt or read  or garden than cook. 

I'm a basic-cooking type person, nothing fancy in my repertoire.  Meat and potatoes are pretty much my usual fare and these days its more likely to be meat and salads so I don't have to think of which way I want to cook my potatoes......though I have to say, I really love potatoes in most forms.  Nor do I want any squeal or squeak from my meats so I leave the red and pink innards to others.

I think well-done meats stems from my youth.  In those days (1940s and 50s) we cooked our meats well because we didn't want the possibility of critters or contamination in our meats. There was a real horror, I remember, of pork and the sickness from thoroughly-uncooked chops and the like.  In fact, my Mom would put some water in the fry pan, about a half inch, and cook the chops in it til the water disappeared which assured the safety of the meat.  Then she would fry them to finish off.

And ground hamburger had to be cooked well, too.  The invisible critters were on the surface of steak cuts so when cooked, they were killed, but in the grinding effort, those beasties were spread all thru the hamburger so no one, in my family at least, ate any hamburger with the least bit of pink in its center.  Well-done was the word around our house.  And we all stayed healthy.
To this day I prefer well- done, though a steak can be medium-well done.

Have a nice day.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

A Pair of Canada Geese Visited Our Garden Today.

We had a lovely surprise today, Penny and I, when we took our suppertime walk today.  A pair of Canada Geese were browsing in our back garden.  With our approach, they wandered further along to the safe distance of the dam's parking lot beside the reservoir.
They weren't taking any chances with this human or her canine companion.  We made a quick visit to the garden and then I went inside to get my camera.  I didn't want to miss this chance for photos.

The river was running fast from the melt further north.  Snow and ice is fast making its way down the river these last couple of days.

Even with the sluice gates open to take the run-off, the water was running fast and white.

Our visitors got braver and came closer to the garden.

Then while one kept watch and didn't move except for eyes that scanned for danger, the other was able to graze on the new-growing grass at the end of the garden lawn.

In the meantime, Penny kept busy by checking out one of our birch trees and the new daffodils just blooming.

Our gardens are improving.  There's daffodils and now the iris greenery is starting to push thru the soil.  The Pampas Grass has all been cut back to make room for new, long rushes.

Its so nice to see flowers finally blooming.  A sure sign that spring has arrived.

Here are the other paper-bark birches with more daffies nodding their pretty heads.

It was a nice day to sit out and read on one of the patio benches.  Penny investigated all the trees and then settled to snooze by my feet as I read a book.  The sun felt really good even tho it didn't get above 60F today.  There was also a crisp breeze.  But much nicer than the winter winds and gusts of just a couple weeks ago.  And I'm not sorry to see the last of our snow.

Have a good day.

Friday, April 14, 2017

We Took a Walk By the River Today

I really love living beside this river.  There are changes to see now and then, from winter ice to snow laden reservoir to ducks in the river to the sluice gates open and loosing the heavy waters from spring melt further north.

On the right you can see the white froth from the roaring waters coming thru the open sluice gates earlier today.  The sluice gates are beyond the calm of the reservoir in the foreground.

In my walk across the bridge, the sluicing has made the white water run heavy and the rocks that live in that froth are hidden from view today.

The river above the falls, as you can see, is smooth and blue but the waters below are running with white water.

Here are the falls later today when the sluice gates were closed again.  You can no longer see the white water in the upper right in this photo, just the normal fall of Little Falls waters.
Where you see the stretch of yellow painted fencing, is the fishing area in the reservoir above the falls.

Our river is home to many species of fish, including Atlantic Salmon, land-locked Salmon, brown and brook Trout, Alewives, River Herring and Shad.  The latter three are on the menu of both Osprey and Bald Eagles and they fish the river for sustenance making exciting viewing for the humans.

As for human fishing, the river is known to give up 3-6 lb. brown trout, even up to 10 lbs.  April, May and Early June is great fishing time for the fly fisherman and also those that spin fish with lures and worms.  The reservoir I view from my living room windows brings fisherman starting in early spring, trying for a tasty catch.

Happily, I'm not a fish eater so I leave them to the Osprey and Eagles.

Have a nice day.

I Found a Fairy.

Yes, I found a fairy I could incorporate into my 'Flowers in Season' wallhanging and added it this morning.  When all the leading is done, it will be a good fit, I think.

Here's the plan to date.  I need to get started on leading.  I think there's enough greenery after all.  I don't want to drown the art of the flowers.

This is a sketch of a cat I will use in my next quilt art.  I'm thinking black cat for Halloween and making it a festive piece of holiday art.  Stalking on the windowsill with a view of pumpkins in the field outdoors.  That would suit the premise.  I can easily install this sketch into my proposed scene that's brewing in my brain.

Thank you to a dear friend, Christina, who sent me the sketch book for my recent birthday knowing I love to draw my patterns myself.  This is the 3rd cat I drew, but the others I will save for other garden art with flowers and butterflies.  Thank you again Christina.

Its sunny and bright outdoors today in the 50sF.  Dog Penny and I are going out soon to sit in the sun and she can dawdle in the garden while I sit and read on the bench.  A nice way to spend a half hour or so before plunging into my indoor projects.  I have lots of leading to do on two wallhangings now so that should take precedence before I get into the Halloween project.  Sometimes I get ahead of myself but I'm reining myself in today.

In the meantime I've seen the daffodils starting to bud out in the back garden and the rhododendrons in the front garden are looking eager to start.

Have a nice day.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

All Flowers Are In Place in WH

My wallhanging is coming along.  I have all the flowers tacked in place.  Now its time to find some more greenery to add and a fairy.  The leading will come after everything is in place.
Here is 'Flowers in Season' to date.   They are all Irises and Roses.  Some greenery is needed before starting to do the leading.  Also finding a fairy to add to the mix. 

We had a lovely sunny day today but not the 70F they predicted, only in the high 50sF.  But that's OK.  The weekend will be warmer and the 70sF may hit us on Sunday, which is Easter.  What a nice thing for all the little children that dress up for Easter church.  Do they still do that? Dress up?
My kids were always dressed to the nines with white patent leather shoes and a frilly dress for my daughter with matching coat, hat and white gloves and a little suit and tie for my son.  Those tiny suits were adorable in my day, the 1950s and 1960s.

Have a good day.

Monday, April 10, 2017

'Flowers in Season' continues.....

I worked on 'Flowers in Season' today and got 2 of the Iris bits tacked down.

Adding all the bits piece by piece takes a lot of time and effort, but I'm getting there, slow but sure.

This is the original pattern I drew freehand but have since changed the shape of the vase and added background greenery for more fullness.

Its been a lovely day here today, in the high 60sF and no wind so sitting out and reading a while with Penny, my corgi, checking things in the garden, was a good thing.  I'm wearing shorts, that's how lovely a day it is today.

Have a good evening friends.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

'Flowers in Season' Wallhanging is in Progress.

Its a marvelous day outdoors, in the 50sF and sunny.  Penny my corgi dog, and I went to the garden to sit in the sun and I read for awhile. 

Then it was a Kentucky Fried Chicken lunch in our Gathering Room for some of us on my floor.  Mmmmm good.  I haven't had KFC for months and months and I've always loved it.  There were only 7 of us, but it was a fine gathering.

I thought I would take a nap after such a fine lunch, but instead my sewing was calling me.
I worked on 'Flowers in Season' instead.    I have some of the background greenery and some of the leaves and stems tacked onto the piece.

Here's a closer view of the work.  I shall be starting the flowers tomorrow.  Now if only I can decide what color Iris goes where and what color for the roses in the vase.  Decisions, decisions!  I go to sleep thinking about such things, but its a lot nicer than worrying about the fate of the world and my future. 

I hope others of you enjoyed a fine day today as well.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Homemade Hash Browns

I enjoy hash browns in the mornings, when I'm having an early brunch.  Making them myself brings an added flavor you can't find in the frozen ones.
A good time to prep hash browns is when making my potato salad.  I peel and cube more than I need for the salad and when its boiled and tender, I separate some for each production.

Heat some oil in a large skillet and add the boiled potatoes.  Then add a few tablespoons of butter.  The butter will add a distinct pleasing flavor to your hash browns.  Salt and pepper the contents to your taste.  I also add some season salt for a bit more flavor.

Flatten down the potatoes so they have good connection to the skillet.  You want them to brown well.  Saute these flattened and don't turn til they have some good color on the underside.

I lift a corner to see how the underside is doing.  When I like the color, I flip the potatoes over to cook on the other side.

When the color is to your liking, on both sides, they are done. 

I place mine in a covered container to use as needed for the next few days.  They are fine reheated in the microwave. 

Have a nice day.