Category Archives: Cooking in my kitchen

Halcyon Days and Sock Love

David and I celebrated our forty-eight wedding anniversary this past week.  We decided to take a whole week from weekend to weekend to celebrate.   It’s been a long week.  We wanted to go antiquing, but most of the antique stores we went to were either closed or more like junk sales than antiques.   We wanted to go to a Daylily farm and it rained cats and dogs on us.  In fact, it rained almost the entire week.  We did manage to get to Olive Garden for dinner which was very good.   But it was still all good.  When you have been married to the same man for almost your entire life, you don’t expect fireworks all the time, but we did do fireworks one night in our driveway with some old firecrackers and bottle rockets.  There were people shooting off fireworks all around us.  Some people don’t like this time of year because of all the fireworks, but I love it.  We have had a lot of fireworks in our marriage.  Some good.  Some bad.  As we looked back on our life together, we both feel it’s been a pretty good life.  When I said, “I do,”  I meant it and still do.

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We did get to Streamcliff Farm again and had lunch with our older son and his friend.  I managed not to buy any flowers this time, but I was tempted.  I don’t know what they feed their plants, but all the flowers are huge.

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We couldn’t get over how big these begonias were.

After lunch, we went back to the daylily farm, it wasn’t raining, and yes, I bought some daylilies.

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It’s called New Creation Day Lilies and do they ever have a lot of daylilies.  You picked the ones you wanted and they dug them for you right then.

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The first day we went there, it was raining, as I said. This lady was out in a garden picking off the dead blooms.  She had a bucket full.

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This handsome fellow strutted around crowing and keeping his hens in a row.

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There were several roosters and they were all crowing up a storm.  I love hearing roosters crow.  When we went to the Virgin Islands, chickens roamed all over and you could hear the roosters crowing.  It was such a pleasant sound to me.  It sounds like country.

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The day lilies were gorgeous.

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I brought one of these home with me.  Along with four others.

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We drove through storms during our drives.

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We laugh because we have driven through so many storms in our lives and made it out alive to tell about it.

What’s life without a few storms along the way?

It wasn’t all play however.  Our rhubarb just keeps on growing and we keep on picking it.  I have made two batches of strawberry rhubarb jam.

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The first batch was eaten up almost instantly.  We had company and there was a teen-age boy who really, really liked this.  We went through a couple of jars at that meal.

We have been trying to trap a groundhog that has made its home under our front porch.  This is what we have caught thus far.

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Several bunnies that we let loose back into the yard.

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And this.

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He/she was not a happy camper.  Don’t know whether it’s a male or female and I’m not going to check.

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His/her day was not going as planned. David took it over to the woods across the street from us. Hope it doesn’t find its way back.

Still haven’t caught a groundhog though.

But we do have a lot of these and this one is becoming a sort of pet.  Coming to eat under our bird feeders every evening.

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Peter Rabbit and Farmer MacGregor is no where to be seen.   You’re safe with us, Peter.

Remember when I went to see Susan Branch at a book signing in Cincinnati?  Her husband was handing out seeds from their wisteria vine that grows at their house.  I planted the seeds and now I have two of these.

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I am hoping they will grow and produce flowers one day.

Okay, I can’t get away without writing about socks.  My fingers have been flying and socks have been coming off the needles in record speeds!

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All different sizes. That little sock.  That’s my daughter’s size. She has very tiny feet.  In fact, her next pair I have to make a little bit smaller.  She wears children’s socks.  She certainly doesn’t take after me in that respect.

I peruse yarn webpages like I use to fabric pages. My quilting has been laid by the wayside for a time.   I cannot stop knitting socks.

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I keep buying yarn.

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I really, really like these yarns I got the other day.  All variegated and different shades of color.

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I have knit one sock from this and I absolutely love it.

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I’ve got me a lot of sock loving happening in my future.    Yippee!  I never thought I would ever get the hang of knitting socks, but now that I have, it’s really very simple.  Of course, anything is once you know how to do it!

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Speaking of gardens.  My garden is not doing too shabby.  These are some daylilies I have had for years and divided and planted all over the yard.   I got the first ones at a grocery store.

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I love my Summer garden.   Every year it surprises me.  When Winter gets here, I will think I will never see this again and then, it happens like a miracle every single year.

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I wish my mother could see my garden.  She loved her garden too.  Perhaps she can see it, but then, she’s in the most beautiful garden imaginable as I type.

I will leave you with a picture of what I call the “Screaming Tree.”  When the doctor’s house next door to us was torn down, they also took out deadwood out of an old tree and just left its carcass.

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Every time we pass it I think it looks like it’s screaming.  As if it cannot believe they tore down that beautiful, old house.

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What do you think?  Bye.

 

 

 

Four More Days

 

I really wish there were two months between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The four weeks between seem to be a whirlwind of activity.  I just came up for air today since all the gifts are wrapped and I won’t start preparing for Christmas dinner until Wednesday.  Today I have been knitting and watching movies on tv.  It’s rained all day so it’s been kind of nice and cozy here with the tree lights shining, the fireplace flickering and my needles steadily knitting my very first pair of socks.

This past weekend we shared Christmas with part of our family.

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Four boy cousins, who, when they get together, start the wrestling.  Running after each other, climbing on each other, jumping on each other, until someone cries and then they settle down for a bit until they start in again.  I just sit there and laugh, because they are really having a good time together and since they don’t see each other very often, I am glad to see they like to be together.  By the way, I made that quilt on the wall for my daughter several Christmases ago.

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Meanwhile, our granddaughter stays blissfully out of the fray.  She tolerates the boys and that’s about all.

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Santa was there.  David loves to wear his Santa hat and go “Ho ho ho.”

We opened gifts.  Here is something I made.

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A barn quilt made from Lori Holt’s Vintage Farm Girl book which I am in love with.

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Each barn block has another small quilt within the block.

It was a fun day.   Our son-in-law made homemade strombolies which were delicious.

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This is my first sock I am knitting.  I got all excited about knitting socks after reading Lucy’s blog, Attic24, where she knit her first pair of socks.  She crochets beautifully, too.  I have never knitted on circular needles and these are teeny tiny ones, but I have caught on pretty fast and actually am enjoying the process so far, but the dreaded heel will be coming up shortly where I will have to knit a heel flap and turn the heel and pick up stitches and then knit to the toe and do something called the “kitcheners” stitch which is really kind of worrying me because I would hate to get this far and make all kinds of mistakes in the latter process.   I wish I could have an experienced sock knitter sitting right by my side while I start the process so if I start to make a mistake she could tell me so.  I have been watching youtube videos of the process, read all kinds of lessons on the process and I am still rather confused as to how the whole heel thing magically comes together.  I’ll let you know if I make it though.

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I knit on the sock until my hand gets tired and then I take up my other needles and start knitting a scarf.

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I just finished this scarf. It’ a lot longer than shown as I have it folded.

I plan to learn how to crochet in the coming year.  Everyone on my Christmas list plan to receive one of my creations next Christmas.

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Burning candles to brighten up the dull days.  This is my favorite scent to burn during the Christmas season.

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We have an artificial Christmas tree so this makes it smell like we have a real one in the house.

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A friend gave me this cute snowmen the other day which holds tea lights.  I kind of have started a new collection of snowmen.  I didn’t mean to, but I seem to have several now, just like my Santa Claus collection.  When people find out you like something, you start getting that something quite often whether planned or not. I love this new little snowman and he will be decorating my house for Christmases to come.

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Found this little Nativity set I purchased several years ago and set it up.

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I can put this one out and know it can’t be broken. My Jim Shore Nativity had an accident one year and one of the donkey’s ears was broken off which a certain grandson hid under the couch and I found it there later.   David repaired the ear and that nativity is placed up high where, hopefully, it can’t be broken.

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Made potato and sausage soup and it was soooo good.  Think we will have it for leftovers tonight.

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Baked snickerdoodles and it wasn’t long before this happened…..

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A hand stole in to take one.  These did not last long.  I made three dozen sugar cookies Saturday and they are all gone, but it was because I gave them to our grandchildren to take home.  I think I ate one of them.

I have to tell you about a cleaning solution I saw on Facebook.  I tried it and I was amazed at how well it worked.  Here is the recipe:

2 oz. of Dawn liquid (1/4 cup)

4 oz. lemon juice(1/2 cup)

8 oz. white vinegar( 1 cup)

10 oz water(1 and 1/4 cups)

Put in a glass jar and shake it up.  I use a canning jar and canning lids.

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This was two batches and I already had used some for cleaning.

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I have these blue Ball jars I plan to store it in.

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I guess you could use another dish washing liquid other than Dawn, but then you wouldn’t have this pretty blue cleaner.  I have used it on cabinets, floors, the refrigerator and a toaster that was really greasy and I had tried to clean it with just soap and water.  This is what it looked like after a cleaning with this.

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It was sparkling, although I do see a few places I need to apply the cleaner again.  You can clean your oven, walls, windows, just about anything.  It is a little soapy, but I spray it on, let it set, wipe it off with a clean cloth and it seems to work well.  It smells fresh, too and is safe around animals and children.   Anyway, if you don’t like harsh cleaners, this is one you might want to try.  I give no guarantees, just that I had success with it.

In closing I will show you how hard it is to take pictures of your grandchildren all at the same time.

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Notice our granddaughter never moved, but stayed posed, while the boys were up to their usual shenanigans.

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Four more days and another group will gather at our house for another day of fellowship and fun.  Hope your days are merry and bright.  XOXO  Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

Another Summer Day

I have so been enjoying this Summer.  It is going way too fast.  In another week, many children will be going back to school.  I find that kind of sad. I remember when Summers were long and lasted for months.  My grandson told me he was kind of glad to be going back to school which made me happy.  If he is glad about it, then it’s okay with me.

I can’t tell you it’s been an eventful Summer.  One lazy day has melted into another.  David and I have been busy at many things and yet, it seems we have done nothing.   Many of our days include this….

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Someone is almost asleep on the turtle raft behind us.

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Someone told us once that it was like swimming in the Garden of Eden in our pool.  I guess it kind of is.  Flowers, birds and butterflies surround us as we swim.

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Belle enjoys being in the garden although she and Bonnie spend most of the hot days under the deck where it is cooler.

We watched this while swimming the other day.

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The most beautiful butterfly with a large wingspan.  We didn’t know what kind it was.  Maybe someone who knows could leave a comment.

It flitted from flower to flower all afternoon.  David and my daughter chased it with their cameras trying to get some good pictures.

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I post all these flower pictures because I know that before we know it there will be two feet of snow in our yard and I will think we will never have beautiful flowers again.

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David and I did manage to do some antiquing a couple of weeks ago. We found this really eclectic antique store in northern Indiana.  It had just about everything you would want to see or buy.

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Inside these doors is a wonderland of antiques and fun objects.    I could have stocked up on so much chicken paraphernalia.  We almost missed this place as we thought it was in town, but it was off the beaten path and we just happened to see a sign for it outside of town.

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This giant tin man stood sentinel out in front of the store.

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I baked again.  I love baking fresh bread.  It is so much better than store bought.  My favorite sandwich is a hamburger on fresh, homemade bread.   Can’t do that too often, but once in a while it is a treat.  We are getting tomatoes out of the garden now and that just adds to the lusciousness of a hamburger sandwich.  There is nothing better than a slice of a fresh tomato with a little salt sprinkled on.

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Made some potato soup.  I think I am getting hungry writing this blog right now.  Unfortunately, the soup is all gone.

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The last fresh rhubarb crunch of the season.   I froze a few packages of rhubarb and this winter we will have some more of this.

David and I have done something I never thought we would be able to do.  I can’t tell you what it is yet, but soon I will be able to write about it.  I am so excited that we have done this.  And no, I am not pregnant again!!  Impossible!

I will leave you with a couple of selfies I tried to take with Molly Marshmallow.   Let’s just say, she made it difficult as she kept licking my face.  Love that dog.

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Here’s to Summer, pups and beautiful butterflies.  Bye.

 

 

Knee Deep in Summer

I love Summer. Always have.  My first memories of Summer is playing with my brothers in the yard on the swing set I believe Daddy had built.  It was made of wood which is why I believe he built it. I would sit in a swing on that swing set waiting for the school bus to bring my brothers and sister home from school.  Under the big walnut tree, swinging back and forth and watching for the yellow school bus.  Then when I got to go to school, I looked forward to Summers and all the freedom we had as children on the farm to play and explore and help Daddy and Mother with chores and gardening.

I remember one Summer strolling down the gravel road to my sister’s , who lived just about a quarter of a mile from our house, singing “June is Busting Out All Over” from the musical State Fair.  Dogs walking beside me about half way and then they would turn back and go home.  We always had dogs which is why I think I love dogs so much.  Mother did not have to worry about anything happening to me with the dogs along.  My sister lived across from a big woods and anytime I went to visit her, I always made sure I was home before it got dark because the woods spooked my at night.  I just knew something or someone would run out of them and catch me.

Summer was picking strawberries in the garden, gathering eggs,  helping Daddy with the hay bailing by helping put the bales in the big red barn.  He would drive the tractor and wagon stacked with hay bales in through the big center doors of the barn and my brothers would throw the bales up into the hayloft.  I would help by dragging the bales to where they were to be stacked using a kind of hook to grab the bales.  Summer was hours of badminton,  weeding in the garden, playing with new kittens in the barn, playing baseball in the barnyard and taking hikes with my brothers.  It was time for swinging in the porch swing kicking it back and forth as I read a library book.  Playing hide and go seek and kick the can and battle stations( a game my brothers made up where we ran  every time we saw a car coming down our road.) Oh, Summers were wonderful.  It was catching lightening bugs in jars and taking the jar to my bedroom at night and watching them flicker off and on.  It was swimming in the little pond my brothers made by damming up a little stream that ran through my Daddy’s woods.  I never thought of snakes or anything else in the water, it just was fun to play in it. It was playing Davy Crockett at an old cabin behind Daddy’s farm where my brothers and their friends threw walnuts at each other as I hid in the cabin pretending they were Davy Crockett fighting the Indians.

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My mother was a gardener and I got the gardening gene from her.  I love the flowers of Summer.

We have had so much rain the flowers have grown big and blowzy  all over the back yard.  See the new fence David is building to keep Molly Marshmallow out of the garden?  It almost disappears with all the flowers around it

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Bonnie stays near the water bucket on these hot Summer days.  She is twelve years old this Summer.   Seems like we just got her as a pup.

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And what does Miss Molly Marshmallow have in her mouth?  I hope it isn’t another baby rabbit.  She keeps all wildlife out of our backyard which probably is a good thing with all the flowers and vegetables growing there.

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It’s pretty big, isn’t it?

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It’s her chew bone that weighs about two pounds and she carries it around like it was nothing, but as long as she is chewing on it, she isn’t chewing on something she mustn’t.

Because it has been raining so much, I have had some time in my shop working on a few projects.

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This barn quilt.

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A chicken in the barn door.

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Chickens marching across my shop.

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And more chickens.

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I especially love this polka dot chicken.  Everyone needs a polka dot chicken.

 

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Or two.

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I bought a retractable clothes line, they call it a dryer. Ha.  Just have to find some place to hang it now.  I have yearned for the smell of sheets fresh off the line on our bed for a long time.  I will just have to hang them where Molly Marshmallow cannot get to them.

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I baked bread the other day in tiny loaves.  Six of them.  Three were regular bread and the other three were these….

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Cinnamon bread.  Yum, yum and yum.  It didn’t last long around here with David’s sweet tooth, or mine for that matter.  I plan to bake again this Saturday.

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I will leave you with a picture of a big spider web that was built at the top of our back door.  Big enough for David to walk into.  And a poem.

COBWEBS

By E.L.M. King

Between me and the rising sun,

This way and that the cobwebs run;

Their myriad wavering lines of light

Dance up the hill and out of sight.

 

There is no land possesses half

So many lines of telegraph

As those the spider-elves have spun

Between me and the rising sun.

Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rhubarb, textiles and a Really Cute Quilt Book

Enjoying your Summer?   I am enjoying it so much, except for the really hot days that seem to sap all my energy.  We are going to be in the nineties for the next few days and I am not looking forward to it.  That is possibly why I love Alaska so much.  I was never hot while I was up there.

We have had a bumper crop of rhubarb this year.  For years I tried growing it, but never seemed to be able to until the last three or four years and now it is growing very well indeed.  We had rainy, cool weather earlier, which rhubarb loves, and it grew and grew. I think all the chicken poo and composted cow manure I put on it last fall helped too.  I have made rhubarb pies before, but this year I tried something different.  Rhubarb and strawberry crunch.  I have used this recipe for years to make apple crunch.   Now it is David’s and my favorite way to eat rhubarb.  Here is how you make it.

First you go out in your garden and cut several stalks of rhubarb.

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Wash it well and then cut it up into small pieces.

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Doesn’t look like much after this, does it?  But then you do this.

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You get these luscious strawberries that your husband found at Aldis and wash and quarter them.

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You mix them all together with sugar.  I used one and a half cups for two pies.

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I also mixed in about a half cup of flour to thicken it because rhubarb makes a lot of juice when it is cooking.  I think I could have added just a little more, but David says he likes the juice.

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Then you get out your pfaltzgraf? pie plates.  Don’t have any?  Well, just any ol’ pie plate will do.  I spray canola oil in them, but you can butter them if you want to add even more calories.

Now for the crunch part.

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Mix one and 1/2 half cups of flour,  3/4 cup of sugar, 1/4 tsp. of salt,  one tsp. of baking powder together.

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Take two of your disproportionate eggs that you found under your free range chickens.  Don’t have chickens?  Any chicken eggs will do.   Break them into the flour mixture and stir with a fork until well mixed.  Then add 1/2 cup of canola oil.  (Do not use olive oil in this.)  I have always used canola oil so that is the only thing I can tell you will work.

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Your dough will cling together which is exactly what you want it to do.

Now here is the tricky part.(Or not, but you may think it is.)

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After filling your pie plate.  And I mean full, you pat the dough all over the top of it with your bare hands.  Try to cover everything.  You will think you don’t have enough dough, but it will cover it all if you work at it.

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Now it is ready to bake.  Wait a minute.  I like to sprinkle sugar over the top as this is not sweet enough yet.   When I make apple crunch, I sprinkle both sugar and cinnamon on the  top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 to 45 minutes or until top is golden brown and dry to touch.

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Now I doubled this recipe because I had enough rhubarb to make two pies.  Doesn’t this look yummy?  Sorry, both of these are gone already.  We had company and someone really loved this enough to eat two helpings.   It’s really so good.

If you have been reading my blog for even a short time, you know I love fabrics.  I have been in love with textiles ever since I was a girl when I sewed my first doll from an old sock my mother gave me.  I have been in search of fabrics and things to make with it ever since.

I also love ironing.  I was cleaning out a dresser this week and found some old handkerchiefs I forgot I had.  I have collected old handkerchiefs for years and have a lot of them.

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I washed them and ironed them.  I love to iron.  Yes, I know, I am a throwback, a crazy woman, someone you must think has too much time on her hands.  There is just something about taking a wrinkled piece of cloth and making it smooth.

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How could I have forgotten these beautiful handkerchiefs?  How could women blow their noses on them?  They use to, you know.

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Also found some curtains I bought at an auction years ago.  I think I will hang these in my shop.

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I washed and ironed this fabric I have had for years that we sold in our quilt shop years ago.  I am working on doll quilts and this will be the backing for some.

 

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I am using a lot of 2 and 1/2 inch blocks for these doll quilts.

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I got this perfectly darling, wonderful quilt book in the mail the other day.  I have been looking at it a lot the past few days.  There are so many wonderful projects in it.

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It is written by this very talented lady.  I have been reading her blog for years and she has written some of the cutest quilt patterns and designed some really pretty fabric.   She is a farm girl like me and her book is right down my alley.

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Sorry for the poor quality of my pictures, but if you can see, this is a really, really cute barn quilt.   Inside each block is another smaller block where the barn door should be.  I am loving this.

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This is another version and this is the one I am working on now.

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This is another one.  There are many quilt blocks to make.  Boy, am I going to have fun.

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This is my  attempt at my first barn quilt block.   A lot of tiny pieces.  This is going to be FUN. Did I already say that?  You are probably thinking, this girl needs to get out more.  No, I just love quilting and cute patterns like this.

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Oh, oh, oh, look at this darling chick quilt made with one of the six inch block patterns.  What a cute baby quilt this would be.

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This pattern was worth the entire cost of the book for me.  A chicken quilt.  I have made a chicken quilt before, but this one in pastels is just so, so, have I said cute enough?  This one will get made by me.

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Here are a lot of 1and 1/2 inch squares cut ready to make this six inch block.

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Inserted into a barn block this will be, well, CUTE!!  Have I gushed enough about this book and the cute patterns?  I am just so glad I decided to buy this pattern book.  It has already given me hours of happiness.

Now to the garden.  My vegetable garden already looks like a weed patch although you can see the tomatoes, pumpkins and sunflowers above the weeds.  I go out occasionally and pull a few weeds and a few hundred more grow up to take their place.  I have never seen weeds come up and grow so fast before.

My flower gardens give me so much pleasure.  In my little kitchen garden(kitchen garden used loosely as the only edible plants growing in it is the rhubarb.)

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I am not sure what this is called anymore, but I know it just keeps spreading more each year.

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Hiding among the foliage I found this lily reaching for the sun.   Behind it is perovskia and love in the mist.  This garden holds mostly blue flowers and this lily stands out like a sore, but pretty, thumb.

Here’s to rhubarb crunch, textiles and a quilt book that sends me over the moon.  Bye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pups, Patterns, Planting and Pain

What do all these have in common?  Not much, except for the pup and pain bit.  Let’s just say Molly Marshmallow and I have had a few altercations in the past few days.  We are trying to teach her not to jump up on us and bite our heels as we walk and it has been a very slow process.  Add to that that Molly simply loves to dash at the fence where the chickens are encaged and we are ripe for some excitement.  Add to that that she slipped right by me when I opened the gate to where the chickens were  and began chasing the chickens and all heck broke loose.  I’m just saying.  David was splitting wood up in the front yard and he said I yelled so loudly he thought I was right next to him!   I mean the neighbors a quarter of a mile down the road probably heard me.  Molly was dashing from chicken to chicken and she got either Penninah or Jemima down.  I could just see chicken feathers, chicken heads and blood everywhere and that’s when I went into action.  I happened to have a plastic bucket in my hand I was using to carry water to the chickens and I winged it at Molly with all my might.  It knocked her for a loop and she went behind the compost pile to hide and that’s where David found us.  Me holding Molly at bay and as I looked back, I saw the chickens nonchalantly sauntering into their other pen.  I ran and shut the gate and that’s when Molly ran out.  That’s also when I realize I had hurt myself somehow.  I had pulled muscles in my right leg I didn’t know I had.  I suddenly could barely walk or stand on my leg.   I don’t remember falling ,stumbling or otherwise during the excitement, but I did something.  David had to help me into the house.  I was just getting over a pinched nerve I had at the back of my knee since Thanksgiving and now I am crippled again.  The thing is, it feels better to walk than to sit down or lay down so maybe that is good.  I will have to keep active.

Anyway, Molly seems to be a little more subdued these last couple of days.  She actually sat beside me and allowed me to love on her and pet her all over without trying to bite.  She really is a sweet dog and doesn’t mean any harm, but she needs to learn that her teeth are not for biting or eating chickens.   And the chickens?  Those dorks don’t have a care in the world and have forgotten all about it.   Me, however.  Pain city.  This too shall pass.

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” I didn’t mean to hurt you, Mom.”

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Look at that sweet puppy.   Wouldn’t hurt a flea.   Ahem.   All the dogs have learned to sit and wait for their dinner.  No, they are not looking at David with adulation.  They are looking at their food dishes and wishing he would hurry up and put them down.  See how big Molly is getting?   She is the one in the middle.  I can hardly tell her from Belle from the back anymore.

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The hens have been laying a little lazily lately.  Alliteration.  But, still, we have plenty of eggs. I made egg salad the other day.  I don’t know why, but I use to think making egg salad would be hard.  Here’s how easy it is.

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First I boiled the eggs.  Boiling eggs is easy.  Let them come to a boil and then let them sit in the hot water for about twenty minutes or so.  If you ever boil eggs and the yolks are green, it’s because you have boiled them too long.  Put the eggs in cold water and peel them.  Fresh eggs do not peel easily.  If you want pretty deviled eggs, use older eggs.  My eggs are always fresh. Since it didn’t matter how pretty the eggs were in this dish, I didn’t mind that they looked this way.

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I take a potato masher and begin mashing.

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Until the eggs are mashed finely.   I add salt and pepper.  Not much.

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Then mix in mayonnaise(I use Miracle Whip).  Stir thoroughly.  I don’t like a lot of mayo in my egg salad.  I want to taste the eggs.  There’s a fine line between too dry egg salad and too wet egg salad, but that is up to you and what you like.

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And there you have egg salad.  It doesn’t last very long around here and I can go out and get fresh eggs any time and make it any time I want to.  That’s the blessing of having your own chickens.  I always tell people if you have chickens, you will never starve because you will always have eggs and if you raise chicks, you will always have chickens.  I fixed chicken and noodles yesterday from chickens I did not know personally.  My chooks will die of old age.(Or murder from a pup.)

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Seed catalogs are coming in almost daily now.  I’m pretty sure what I am going to plant this year.  Pumpkins, tomatoes and flowers.   I really don’t feel like having a big vegetable garden this year.

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I get a lot of my seeds from Wildflower Farm.  It’s based in Texas and sells seed by the pound.  A pound of zinnia seeds goes a long way.  I had zinnias planted everywhere last Summer.  I also had lots of sunflowers which the goldfinches loved.  I will probably plant some of those again.

I have been working on a new quilt top.  I love the pattern in this one.  I need to make forty-two squares.  Here are just a few of them I have already made.

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I call it Garden Quilt.  This will do until I can plant my real garden this Spring.  Bye.

 

Bees and Honey

I am going to include another Hoosier Girl story from my past, but before I do I would like to show a few pictures of the goings on at our house.

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I still commune with my chooks although they haven’t been getting as much attention lately as I have had many things to do. See Penninah and Jemima at my feet?  They stand there and chatter to me looking to see if I have brought any treats.  All I had in my pocket this day was a dog biscuit so I gave it to them.

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Of course when one hen gets something, they all gather to get their own treats.

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I am Queen over all I survey and these are my subjects!  Ha.  You should be here to hear the clucking and talking they do when I am around.  I don’t know if they are happy to see me or wish I would get out of there so they can go about their business.

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This is Ada, the Australorp.  Isn’t she beautiful?  You can’t see in the picture, but she has the most beautiful teal feathers among the black ones.  She has started to squat, as chickens who are getting ready to lay will do.  I think she may have already begun to lay as I am finding some very small eggs in the nests.

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Beautiful Abigail, the Silver Laced Wyndotte.  She is gorgeous and I think she knows it.  She is the biggest hen now.  David says she looks like a nice roaster and I just say, “Not going to happen.”  I don’t think she is laying yet.

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Here is a normal size egg next to a new layer egg.  In time the hen will lay bigger eggs, but she’s just a beginner.  Their eggs still taste good.  I have noticed the yolks are almost orange now.  I have fed them the last of the marigolds and I think that is why.

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Molly Marshmallow continues to grow.  She is a very active little puppy.  She drags up all kinds of things onto our back deck.  She brought a huge board with a nail in it the other day and I was afraid she was deconstructing one of our buildings, but David said it was just a piece of wood she had found behind the shed.  Nothing would surprise me with this dog.

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She is so sweet and wants attention all the time.  Still working on that nipping.  See those teeth?  They are like little razors and have drawn blood.  Belle, in the background, has felt those teeth a few times and Molly gets a good nip back sending her whining.

 

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When the weather starts to get cooler, I have the urge to bake.  This is pineapple upside down biscuit.  It is delicious.  If you were here, I would give you a piece.

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I cannot keep these in the house and it is not because I eat them.  David is hooked on these and eats them all.  I don’t really like them because I think they taste like paraffin.  He has gone through three bags, but I’m not saying anything.

Now for my story.  Remember, these are stories from my childhood and it is how I remember them.  My brothers and sister may remember things differently, but this is my story and I’m sticking to it.

Bees and Honey

By Kate Pentecost Craig

Katie woke up to a long, warm Summer day ahead of her.  She stretched in bed and lay quietly for a few minutes listening to the noises of the awakening house.  Mommy had been up for hours.  She always got up at 5 o’clock to read her Bible and drink her morning cup of coffee in peace before all the children came running down the stairs.  Katie always wanted to be able to get up that early too, but Mommy discouraged her from doing so.

Now Katie got out of bed and pulled on a pair of shorts and a tee shirt.  She took the stair steps two at a time and jumped off the last two steps.  “Good morning,” Mommy said to her,   “What do you want for breakfast?”  Katie had been fixing her own breakfast since she started school. It was almost always the same, tea and toast spread with peanut butter or tea and cinnamon toast.  Sometimes she would have a glass of chocolate milk.  While she was eating, Daddy came  in from the barn. After washing his hands and sitting down at his place at the head of the table, Mommy poured him a cup of coffee and placed half a grapefruit in front of him and two slices of toast.  Daddy almost always had the same breakfast too!

“What are you going to do today, Snicklefritz?”(Daddy’s pet name for Katie) Daddy asked.

“Play!” said Katie as she jumped off her chair and ran out the kitchen door.  Once outside the whole big world waited to be explored.  Katie began to run out to the the side yard when she saw a strange sight on the clothesline.  A big black mass of moving objects hung suspended on Mommy’s clothesline.  Bees were flying around this mass.  Katie ran laughing right into the swarming bees.  Back and forth she ran flailing her arms and hitting the flying insects.  Not one stung her.  She then ran into the house yelling, “Come look and see what is on the clothesline.”

Mommy and Daddy came out the back door while Katie made a dash toward the roiling mass again, but Daddy called her to get back to him.  “Those are swarming bees,” said Daddy.  “There must be a queen bee in there.  They were too busy swarming to bother stinging you, but you are a very lucky little girl.”  Katie wanted so much to run among the bees again, but she was not allowed.  Her brothers came out to look at the  swarm.  It was a very strange sight to see so many bees piled on top of each other.  In the center of the mass somewhere was the queen bee.

Daddy went back inside to call a man he knew who kept beehives and sold honey.  soon the man arrived to collect the bees.  He put on a big hat with a mesh face protector.  He wore long sleeves and gloves.  He had one of his wooden hives with him.  Carefully he put the mass of been into the hive and closed the lid. “Your little girl was very lucky the bees were swarming,” said the man.  “She could have been very badly stung.”  Katie hung her head, but inside her mind she was thinking about how much fun it had been to run through all those bees!

 

Several weeks later the man came back to their house bringing a gift.  He had jars of fresh honey, some of them with the comb in them.  Katie stuck her fingers into one of the jars and pulled out a piece of the honeycomb.  The sweet golden honey dripped from it.  She stuck it in her mouth and chewed the delicious sweet comb.  When she had sucked all the honey from it, she threw the comb away.  She was glad the bees had chosen their yard in which to swarm and she was glad to have some of their sweet honey to eat all summer long on her toast and ice cream.

Hope you have a wonderful day. And don’t get stung by any bees!  Bye.

Oh, Frabjous Days!

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The halcyon, golden days of Autumn are upon us.  Summer ends tonight.  It seems like a dream that happened long ago.  So much happened and yet, I felt we should have done more.  Picnics, walks, auctions(not one) were in our plans.   I did the walking.   Two 5ks under my belt.   Now that the weather is cooler, I know I will walk more.  Especially since I have another dog to walk.

Speaking of dogs….

 

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Molly Marshmallow is growing by leaps and bounds.  She doesn’t nip at our heels as much anymore and has learned to sit for her treats and has been on a one mile walk with me.  She is learning to behave on the leash.   That said, she has managed to do some damage.

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Let’s just say Molly tripped me up a bit and I fell on the steps and got bruised.  It looks worse than it is.   I was just glad I didn’t land on her when I fell.

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Miss Belle has been doing a good job training Molly not to bite.  Let’s just say Molly has yipped a few times after nipping Belle on the nose.  Belle would have been a good mother.

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Getting several of these butternut squashes from the garden. Since I don’t eat them very often, I will store them and cut them up for the chickens this winter.

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We’ve picked nine of these from the garden and there are another nine or ten still ripening.

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It was nice to be able to decorate our porch with our own pumpkins this year.  The best year I have ever had for them.  Usually, if I am lucky, I will get one good one to grow.  It’s all that chicken poop, I’m telling you.

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Tis’ the season to burn candles.  Our house smells like this right now.  Delicious.  Makes you think I’ve been baking all day.

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I’ve made twelve of these mini loaves in the past two weeks.  It’s pumpkin bread and it’s addictive.  I will not be making it again for a while.  I cannot walk that much.

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Into each life some rain must fall and we had to bite the bullet and buy a new furnace this week.  Our old one was eighteen years old and would have cost half the cost of a new furnace to repair.  Funny, when we replaced our first old furnace eighteen years ago, it had been in our basement since the 1950’s.  Now we are told a furnace’s lifespan is about fourteen years.  They sure don’t make them like they use to.

I managed to fit in a porch party before it got too cold.  Our Sunday school class came for a candlelight dinner of lasagna, homemade garlic rolls, salad and angel food cake with Cool Whip and strawberries.  A good time was had by all I think.

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This gal brought some of the best salad dressing I have ever eaten.  She gets it in Georgia.  Her husband, the fellow on the right, plays softball in Florida every year and they go down there often and she found the dressing in a store on the way.  I am going to ask her to buy me a case of it the next time she goes!

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I love fixing food for people.  Everyone cleaned their plates.

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These are friends and he is our Sunday school teacher.  Last time I had everyone over, I fixed fried chicken.  He went in the hospital the next day with a heart attack.  I felt so bad, but I think it was going to happen anyway.    I haven’t heard anything bad yet since this meal, so I think he survived my cooking once again.

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I have been going through some old National Geographics that we have had for years dating back to the seventies.  I quit taking it years ago, but after looking through them, I think I want to subscribe again.  Anyway, I had been looking for one particular one for years that had an article about Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland.  So funny, but when I brought a few in from our shed where they were stored, the very first one I picked up was the one I had  been looking for.  Eureka!

I so enjoyed reading about Lewis Carroll or Charles Dodgson which is who he preferred to be called.

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He remained a bachelor all his life finding himself more comfortable around children than adults.  He made up whimsical stories and nonsense poetry for them  I have always loved his poem  Jabberwocky.  The tongue twisting lines were fun for me to read as a child.  He made up words, frabjous being one of them meaning wonderful, elegant, superb or delicious.

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Alice  in Alice in Wonderland was based on this little girl who was Dodgson’s neighbor, Alice Pleasance Liddell.

I will leave you with Autumn garden scenes.

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Hope you are having a frabjous day.  Bye.

 

 

How to Bathe a Baby

Today I will give you instructions on how to bathe a baby. It’s really very easy.

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First you get the shampoo, a towel and a bowl for rinsing.  A Cool Whip bowl is the best to use.  It reminds you of delicious desserts you ate while you are bathing the baby.

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Oh, did I neglect to tell you the baby was a puppy?  Yes, Molly is getting her first bath.  We didn’t bathe our other two dogs when they were pups and therefore it is impossible to bathe them now. It is dangerous to even try.  So, Molly will get regular baths so she won’t be afraid when she gets too big to handle.   First you get the puppy wet.  Keep the water and shampoo away from her eyes.  This also works with human babies.

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Then with very rapid motions you put shampoo on the puppy and rub it all over her until she is a bubbly little furball.

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Continuing to wash the puppy until your hands almost disappear, you get her nice and clean.  So far the puppy does not know what is happening to her.  She only tried climbing out of the tub once.  But, as you can see, I can move fast and kept her in.

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Then you gently rinse the puppy under the faucet because it is faster that way and gets the soap off her really well.

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By this time the puppy is resigned to the fact she is going to have to endure this just a little longer.

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Then you take a clean towel and begin drying her.  She loves this and makes moaning sounds as I rub her.

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Here she is.  A nice clean puppy who smells like baby powder.  Or as David says, “She smells like a baby’s butt.”   Then you sniff her for about a half hour and rub her dry and think how adorable she is.

Molly has made herself right at home here at the Craig house.

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She sleeps among the shoes.

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She and I both slept on the couch the other day.

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She sleeps with the chickens.  See the black Australorp?  She cosied as close as she felt safe by Molly and laid there for a while.  I am trying to get both chickens and puppy used to each other so Molly won’t want to eat them later.

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The chickens were very curious about her, but didn’t allow her near.

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She sleeps with Bonnie.  I’m rethinking that extension cord right there where she can reach it.  She hasn’t found it yet, but I’m not taking any chances. I have puppy proofed my shop as well as I can, but I am sure she will find something I never thought of to chew one day.

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Yes, she sleeps a lot and I have a hundred or so pictures of her doing so.  I just can’t resist.

Lest you think all I have done since we got Molly is watch her, play with her and walk her, I have done other things.

I picked our first pumpkin out of our garden this week.

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This is one of twelve or thirteen we have seen in the garden.  This is one of the small ones.

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I tea dyed some lace for a project and hung it out to dry in the wind.

I also finished my Christmas sheep quilt top.  I really love it and can’t wait to show it to you.  I finished knitting another hat.  I finished a book and began another.  I did laundry.  I started a new quilt.  I fed and watered the chickens.  I gathered eggs.  I went to church.  I took a walk.  I baked an apple crunch and a rhubarb crunch, both of which have been eaten in a matter of days.  I would say I dusted the house, but I would be lying.  I cleaned up after the pup.  My shop floor looks like I have a real baby with all the toys scattered all over.  I cooked lasagna.  I baked a chocolate chip applesauce cake that I forgot to put vanilla in, but it still tastes pretty good. I made three trips to the vet with three dogs.  I had to hold Bonnie down while they trimmed her nails.   I sat in the air condition because it has been so hot and humid.  I would rather be outside, but I am getting a lot of hand quilting done on a quilt that I hope to have finished next week.  I did a few other things, but the pup has had a lot of my attention this week.

Here’s to bathing babies(human or canine.)  Bye.

 

 

Beautilicious Beauty

Sometimes I get so busy, I forget to notice the flowers in my garden until they have come and gone. Stop and smell the roses, Katie.  So I went into my garden to photograph all the beautiliciousness that is going on right now right under my nose.

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Zinnias.  Next to peonies zinnias are my favorite flowers. They are so easy to grow and come in every color in the rainbow.

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Almost like a dahlia.  So pretty.

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Love, love this salmon color.  I think I painted a room that color once.  But we called it Pepto-bismo pink.

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I get my zinnia seeds from Wildseed Farm out of Texas.  I order them by the pound and you really get a lot of seeds in a pound.  I can have zinnias all over the yard.  How can you not smile when you see this sunshiny color in the garden?

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Two of my favorite colors together, pink and white.

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Hard to believe this……

Will turn into this in a day.  Sunshine from a seed.

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Why don’t people believe in miracles?  They happen right under our noses every single day.  A seed in the ground grows into a beautiful flower in a matter of weeks.   That’s miraculous to me.

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Cleome.  An old fashion flower that I have all over the garden.  Some I have planted.  Some that have reseeded themselves.  They are such good little plants.  David does not like them close to the pool because they like to droop over and drop their seeds right by the patio around it.  So I try to keep them a good distance from the pool, but they still creep back sometimes.

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They look good beside the zinnia bed.

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I want to get this imprinted on my mind so that this winter when I am looking out at a foot of snow on the ground and everything is white, brown and grey, I will know that one day there will be an abundance of colors once again. God is good. He sends Spring to us when we need it most.

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I found three new plants at a grocery store this week.  This I thought was a cone flower or echinacea, but after I planted it and read the message with it I found it was a rudbeckia or black eyed Susan.

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It didn’t look like any black eyed Susans I have grown before.

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This is a coneflower.  A white one that I have never seen.  I have a red one, a green one, an orange one and the ordinary pink ones that I have grown for years.  I hope this one will multiply like the pink ones do.

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I am going to try to grow this crepe myrtle.  I always thought they were more of a southern plant, but this one says to mulch it well in the autumn to overwinter it.  So we shall see.

I do grow vegetables in my garden.  I have dozens of tomatoes almost ready.  I can’t wait to bite into that first red, ripe tomato still warm from the sun.

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More green beans than we can eat.

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Pumpkin blossoms dredged in egg and flour and fried in butter.  Yum. What I couldn’t eat, the chickens loved.

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We have pumpkin vines taking over the garden and into the flower beds.  There are several pumpkins growing.

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I’ve seen a couple of these big ones.  I never get over the excitement of finding these in the garden.  Sometimes I have good luck with pumpkin growing and some years, not so much, but so far, this has been a good year for just about everything.  I think letting the chickens scratch in the garden over the fall and winter and leaving their, ahem, fertilizer, has really made the garden the best ever.  They will do their work again this year. Such good chickens.  I love those little girls.  I will have to show you our two new ones soon. They are still being kept in a cage right now to protect them from the bigger chooks, but in a few weeks we will clip their wings and let them out.  I let them out one day and they flew up onto the gate.  Can’t let them do that with the dogs around.

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Do you like butternut squash?  I don’t know why I planted these other than I just like to grow them.  They are good cut in half, sprinkled with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon and baked in the oven.

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This is the pumpkin vines coming right up to the fence saying, “Let us out.”  They don’t listen to me and come right on over and spread over everything.  The good thing about that is that I have less lawn to mow.

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Belle in the garden.  I have always said the backyard garden is the dog garden because I don’t get too upset when they walk through a flower bed or eat a few blossoms.  Belle likes to smell the flowers too.

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Bonnie has been with us for ten years and ever since she was a pup she has been right beside me when I plant and weed in the garden.  She’s a flower child dog.

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We keep a small patch of clover for the bees.  Actually, it’s so I don’t have to mow here!

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I’ve given David a new project.

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Years ago we bought this old soda shoppe chair at an auction and I have wanted to do something with it.  So…..David is taking it apart and I will sand it and paint it(David will sand and paint it)and David will add a new wooden seat to it and then I will add something else that you will have to wait to see when it is finished.  I can’t wait to show it to you.

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Meanwhile, I am working on this, but cannot show any more because who I am making it for is nosy and reads my blog(you know who you are.)   I am really liking how this is looking and I hope I can get it done before Christmas.  I have five other quilts looking at me and saying, “Finish me!!!”  So many quilts, so little time.

Here’s to gardens, flower child dogs and the One who made them all.  Bye.