Saturday, August 5, 2017

My Gardens Now

I want to show you what my gardens look like now. The previous posting shows my front garden just planted. All three have grown a bit since then.

The back garden on the left side

The back garden on the right.

The front garden. Compare it to the previous post.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

2017 Front Garden

On the left front are the peppers; behind them are two tiers of snapdragons and the azalea behind them. You can see the bleeding heart and the wave petunias. Way in the left back are hollyhocks. Coming forward you can see foxglove, lupine, maybe you can pick out the phlox, snapdragons and bee balm.

Ah! It's gardening time again.

It took me two days to till the soil using my three-headed garden weasel. On the first day, I was half-way through the weeding/tilling process when I had to quit. Two days later I finished the clean-up and was ready to plant. I used to do the entire front in one day. 

A trip to Garden's Dream, here in Enfield, is always exciting. I know where the perennials and annuals are. I know which greenhouse has my tomatoes (that's for the planter on the back deck) and which greenhouses have whatever else I'm looking for. The wave petunias are always in the same place.

This year the bee balm is fazing itself out in the front garden. There isn't much left and I wonder if it heard me say I was going to rip it out in favor of some other hummingbird attractor. I took out two white phlox and gave them away. At least I hope those were the white ones. I'll know when everything starts to bloom!

The new plants are: ornamental peppers, hollyhocks, foxglove, snapdragons, lupine, and wave petunias. The only plants left over from last year are the bleeding heart, pink phlox, bee balm and the azalea. When the azalea finishes flowering, I will transplant it to the back garden. It is not doing well where it is.

No pictures of the back gardens yet. The bee balm is spreading nicely away from the original plants and the original plants have died off leaving me room to plant other flowers. There are new snapdragons planted in back only because I bought a flat and had plenty of them left over after I planted the front. I have more plants to buy for the back, such as New Guinea impatiens, more foxglove, and whatever else I see that excites me. My two sons gave me a pink False Spirea, which will not get very big, so that is in already.

And I have the railing boxes on the deck that need planting. I think I will go back to red geraniums with vinca vine in between the plants. The tomatoes are already in and growing like crazy.


More to come, for sure.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Cookies




You’ve no doubt heard of “The Perils of Pauline”. This journal entry is more aptly titled, “The Baking Blunders of Beverly”. Ok, so it doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

I’ve had this recipe hanging around for some time now and I finally bought the cranberries and cardamom (have you seen the price of cardamom?) with the intention of making them soon. Soon came this afternoon. I had never made cookies where I had to refrigerate the dough, roll it out, roll it up and refrigerate again.

The recipe is properly called Cranberry Cardamom & Citrus Pinwheel Cookies. I read through the recipe (apparently very quickly) and started.

Combining the cranberries, nuts, brown sugar, nutmeg and cardamom in the food processor was no problem. This was set aside.

The next step was to beat the butter then add the granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Then add the eggs and orange peel and keep beating. Then it said to add the rest of the flour. What did it mean “the rest of the flour?” There had been no mention of flour at all up until now except in the list of ingredients. What? Ok. So I dumped in the flour and did the best I could. The dough was extremely stiff…so much so, I turned it out of the bowl and kneaded it in by hand.

Then I took this blob of dough, wrapped it in plastic wrap and put it into the refrigerator.

I turned to the counter and saw the cranberry mixture sitting there. Oh, crap. I forgot to add that. Out of the refrigerator came the blob of dough and into the mixing bowl where I proceeded to begin kneading the mixture into the dough. That’s when I remembered that this mixture was the FILLING! Too late.

I reread the recipe and noticed it said to divide the dough into two halves before wrapping each half in plastic wrap and refrigerating for an hour or so. Oh, alright! I cut the blob in half, wrapped each one in plastic and put them in the fridge (and hoped they would disappear before I needed to do anything else).

A couple hours went by and they were still there, so I took them out and proceeded to roll them (one by one) into as flat a 10” x 10” square as I could. Since I didn’t have any fill to spread (remember I made it part of the dough) I just rolled the dough out then rolled it up and wrapped it again in plastic and back into the fridge they went (maybe this time they would disappear).

They didn’t!

As directed (finally did something as directed) I cut the rolled-up dough in ¼” wide pieces and baked as directed (ah ha…the second thing I did as directed). The recipe said the yield would be 60, but I got about 70…the difference being, I suppose, the fact that the filling was part of the dough!

There were several casualties as some of the cookies crumbled as I removed them from the cookie sheet. These went into a dish to be eaten as I baked the rest. Not bad!

They taste ok. Good enough for me to enjoy with my afternoon coffee. Since I used gluten free flour (as suggested in the recipe) I can eat them without feeling guilty about them affecting my thyroid function.

Would I feed them to someone else? That depends. If it was someone who knew me well and loved me anyway…probably. Otherwise…no.

Will I ever make them again? That’s a big PROBABLY NOT! After I finished baking, I Googled the recipe and lo and behold, I found the corrected recipe where it mentioned adding flour. 



Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Monday, January 30, 2017

Slipcovering An Old Hassock – Part 7

Almost there!

Today, I was able to attach the piping to the top piece and attach the four side pieces to the top. The corners are a little tricky, but I will be able to make those look good after the rest is done. Just cosmetic.

All that’s left is adding the piping to the bottom short side pieces; then the “skirt” will be added to that and it will be DONE! 

Right now, I’m exhausted more from tension (as I travel into the unknown) than anything else. 😌



That's it for now. Hopefully, I can finish it tomorrow. Then I can turn my efforts to tearing apart my entire utility area to locate and get rid of any places where the mice have been lounging. It used to be "Damn Squirrel." Now it's "Damn Mice!"

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Slipcovering An Old Hassock – Part 6

I’ve been playing with my new sewing machine. My biggest frustration was threading the needle. It has an automatic needle threader and it worked like a charm the first time I used it. The next time I couldn’t get it to work. So I took the needle off the shank, used a manual needle threader, and put the needle back where it belonged. I really need to call for an appointment to have my cataracts evaluated.

I’ve also been trying to figure out the markings on the plate behind the needle. The marks aren’t the easiest to see, but I think I’ve figured out where the 1/2 inch line is. Next, I have to find the zipper/piping foot and play with that.

I’ve been adjusting the stitch tension and length and I think I’ve got it where it needs to be.

On to pinning on the paper patterns.

The first piece is pinned down


All the pieced pinned
I pinned down every piece; cut them out; took some muscle relaxers for my back! 😉 Just kidding. It was not the most comfortable place to be pinning and cutting but it was the least disruptive. Why didn’t I use the nice big table down in my work area?

This is why
This is why! This is the table I could have used. It was easier to work from my knees next to the bed than moving all that stuff and then putting it all back again.

Next will be sewing everything together. Maybe tomorrow.


Until then…

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Slipcovering An Old Hassock – Part 5

There will be a brief delay while I learn how to operate my new, magnificent machine!



 The paper patterns are all done and ready to be pinned onto the fabric. I decided to make sure all was well with my sewing machine and it’s a good thing I did.

When I made the cushion covers for my car, I noted that the thread would bunch up under the fabric, but I ignored it. Now, I find the bobbin will not wind. This is critical. A few years ago I had my machine refurbished, but apparently it has deteriorated again.

I bought this sewing machine in 1978, while I worked at J. C. Penney, in an attempt to establish a credit history. I still had to fight for a charge card in my name (but that is another story for another time).


 I went online to see what was available and at what prices. Then I went to Jo-Ann’s and Michaels. Michaels did not have any machines on display. After talking to a sales associate at Jo-Ann’s I came home to think about it. This morning I went to Jo-Ann’s expecting to order what I wanted, but the Singer “Talent” was in stock. Took it home, along with a hard case.

While I was going over the owner’s manual, I received a call from one of my Angels and she said, “Did you get my email”? No. I hadn’t been online. “Well, I bought you a gift certificate at Jo-Ann’s. I thought you were going to order it”. I explained about it being in stock.

Long story short, the email came through with my gift certificate information. I brought the sewing machine back to Jo-Ann’s for a credit, then bought it again using the gift certificate. By the way, Jo-Ann’s people could not have been more accommodating!

There are no words to express how grateful I am. W.O.W.

Give me some time to figure out how to properly operate the “Talent”,  and there will be more progress.