Hello dear friends! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend. So saddened to open my computer today and read of the mass murder of so many young people. I will never understand how someone's ideology can justify such an act. Must be a type of mental illness involved. All I can say is that I pray that those that have suffered will be comforted. Amen!
So there, that's off my chest. It has been a strange week here weather-wise. How about you? On Tuesday it was so cold that I had to wear my light winter coat but on Saturday it almost reached 90 degrees. In between it has been perfect with temperatures in the in the lower 70s with a nice breeze. Perfect for getting some gardening done and painting the lawn furniture. We are using up cans of paint but came up short to do one chair. At a garage sale they had a can of oil-based brown paint for free. Perfect! Brown wouldn't have been the color I would have chosen but it goes nicely with the red chairs. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow!
Speaking of gardens, here's the first rose of the summer:
Which lead me to the first question I've been asked recently (This post will be a sort of question and answer session)
How do get your roses to grow?
I'm a lazy gardener. I ignore all advice to prune them to the first five-leaved offshoot, deadhead them as the blooms die, feed them bone meal, cover them in the winter, etc. I have no patience with coddling plants. All I do is cut off any dead wood after they start to come to life in the spring. We have had a problem with some sort of bug eating the leaves, so every once in a great while I spray the leaves with Thuricide, which is bacteria that kills all those little nasty leaf eaters.
What do you grow in your vegetable garden?
We don't stray from anything too unusual. Just your basic tomatoes, peppers, greens, green beans, carrots, eggplants, and peas. Oh! and pumpkins and squashes. And let's not forget the potatoes! We also have a rather large asparagus bed, blackberry and raspberry bushes, Concord grapes and of course rhubarb. Which leads me to question number 3 ....
Regina asked if I would share some rhubarb recipes as she too has rhubarb coming out of her ears
Two rhubarb recipes I made this week are rhubarb squares and rhubarb tea First the simple one:
Rhubarb Iced Tea
2 C. rhubarb, diced
1 C. strawberries, chopped
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. water
6 C. brewed black tea
Combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and water in a saucepan. Cook until rhubarb is soft . Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Add rhubarb concoction to the tea and refrigerate. Serve over ice. Very refreshing for a hot day.
Crust and topping:
2 1/2 C. flour
1 C. sugar
1/2 C. chopped nuts (optional)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 C. cold butter
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 C. chopped rhubarb
2 C. chopped strawberries
2/3 C. sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla
Combine the dry ingredients for the topping. Cut in the butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in egg. Press half of mixture into the bottom of a 13 X 9 inch pan.
Combine the filling ingredients and pour over top of the crust. Top with remaining crumbs/topping. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. I like to make a glaze of the remaining lemon juice and confectioners' sugar to pour over the crumbs while the bars are still warm..
A few more recipes that can be found on my blog are rhubarb flip (my favorite), curried rhubarb lentil stew and rhubarb muffins. I can't believe how many times I've written about rhubarb! Another question about food:
Someone wanted me to share a typical menu and how we keep our grocery bill so low. We eat seasonally and from our garden. This week we harvested lettuce, spinach, arugula, cauliflower, herbs, asparagus and of course, rhubarb. Here's what we ate this week:
Meatless tacos made from our own dried beans made into refried beans, lettuce from the garden, home-canned salsa, etc.
Kidney bean Joes, made from some of the beans we cooked up for the tacos and a salad from the garden.
Pork chops (from the grocer's reduced for quick sale bin) roasted potatoes and asparagus (our own) and salad (our lettuce)
Big Mac Salad. A man's salad. 1/2 lb. ground round (browned) lettuce and onions (our owned home grown), tomatoes, pickles (our own canned) and shredded cheddar cheese and the special "sauce" (1/2 C. mayonnaise, 2 tbsp. ketchup, 2 tsp. mustard, 2 tbsp. dill pickle relish. Combine and refrigerate. Pour over salad)
This Green Goddess Melt sandwich with a side of saute asparagus.
We ate out twice this week which is very unusual. Once we ate at Subway (love their veggie delights and about every third visit we get enough points to get a free sub) and on Friday a dear friend invited to be her guest at the local fish fry. BTW, here's how our garden is thriving:
This is a strange question but I get asked quite often what products I use on my skin.
The truth of the matters, I am fortunate that I just have good genetics. As I sat with my mother as she rested in hospice, I couldn't help and admire her beautiful complexion. Hardly a wrinkle on her face and she was in her 90s. The one thing she taught us was to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. We girls would always sit on the her bed and watch her dress, which always started with a liberal application of Avon's Youth Dew (?). I use whatever moisturizer that is the cheapest, as I discovered that it really doesn't matter what I use, it's more important how often and consistent I am in applying it. Always apply it immediately after getting out of the shower. Right now I'm using Vital Care Vitamin E Creme, a brand I found on the bottom shelf at Walmart. I rarely wear foundation, so whenever I feel my skin start to dry out I slather more on throughout the day. And I do mean slather. I don't massage it into my skin, but let it absorb. I also noticed recently that I'm getting a bit of crepey skin on my neck so I've been taking collagen tablets. Seems to be doing some good. I avoid sunbathing and that sort of thing, mainly because it bores me to bits. As you can see from question # 4, I am a firm believer in eating a lot fresh vegetables, particularly green leafies, which have lots of vitamin K. We also walk at least three miles a day at a brisk pace which keeps the circulation going and perspiring cleanses the pores. Something strange I do is to only wash my face at night (using a homemade scrub of coconut oil and sugar) and I try not to use hot water when rinsing, because hot water is very drying.
The other odd sort of question I hear a lot is why do I wear skirts only?
Firstly, I don't wear skirts all of the time, I do on very rare occasions wear jeans, but to be quite honest, I do not find pants comfortable. No matter what my weight or size, they just do not fit me properly, as I have a womanly figure. Plus I do not like how revealing they are to my big bay view if you get my drift. I'd much rather have my ankles be the focus of attention. There's a thrift component to wearing skirts also, as it is easier to find pretty skirts that fit in the thrift stores and garage sales, than it is to find a nice pair of well-fitting trousers. Plus skirts are only $2 at our local thrift store as opposed to $5 for pants. But the most important reason for wearing skirts is that I just like how they make me feel. When I'm wearing skirts, I'm conscious of my feminine nature, it causes me to talk and act more quietly and serenely, in other words more like how I feel a lady should conduct herself.
Question 7 & 8
What are you reading and what's on your needles?
I'm still plugging away at the shawl I wrote about eons ago. As it is a rather complicated pattern, I've found I just don't have time to sit down and concentrate on it, so rarely do I work on it. I just brought out a crewel embroidery kit that I bought at a garage sale years ago. Embroidery is my first love and it can be done in spurts and fits.
As to what I'm reading, I'm afraid this will sounds rather dull or pretentious, depending upon your point of view; I'm reading the King James version of the New Testament. After years of listening to various debates about the legitimacy of the many translations of the Bible, I decided it was time to pull out my grandmother's old circa 1910 King James version and begin reading it. I really like the New Century version for understanding but feel compelled to slog through all the olde English phrasology. While it is poetic, I do find myself drifting off or having to reread certain passages many times to grasp their meaning. Probably why the old Shakespearean language has turned many people off to reading the Bible in the first place. Do the have Crib Notes for the Bible? Ha! I still turn to the modern translations for understanding but it my understanding that some of the new translations omit or interpret wrongly, so that is why I am trying. Anyway, it is slow going as this particular Bible was printed in the smallest type known to man. But I like knowing that it belonged to my paternal grandmother.
Have you stayed with me thus far? Congratulations! You deserve some sort of medal!
THE question I get asked everyday, and without end is:
What are you up to?
I lead a very boring life, I'm afraid. Rarely does anything fascinating happen to me and that's the way I like it. Most of my days are filled with the routine of daily life, cleaning, gardening and cooking leave me with very little free time for exciting endeavors. We have been garage sale-ing on the weekends, which is always fun, but I've discovered that the best deals are right in my own neighborhood. On the way to the store I stopped in at a sale next door and bought the remarkable piece of garden folly:
It the perfect height for a washstand in our guest cottage/ shed (the facilities are primitive). And of course, we repainted the lawn furniture as reported at the beginning of this post, if you can remember that far back! Ha!
The garden takes up most of our days, between the weeding and watering. Or just sitting outside and listening to the birds and church bells.
I'm watching Escape to the Country on YouTube. A British house hunting show. At first I had a few moments of wistful envy that I couldn't live in such a picturesque area, but then I reminded myself that I do live in an adorable little cottage in a quaint little village by the sea and am surrounded by beautiful gardens. What more could I want? Which leads me to the last thing I've been up to, and that is visiting. The warmer weather brings out the people and Ran and I spend a fair amount of time each day just visiting with neighbors and friends. Life is so good!
Well, I hope I haven't bored you to bits! If you have any more questions feel free to ask. Here's an extra big hug for sticking with me through this post!