Saturday, April 30, 2011

New projects/garden update

I'm making "Little Dresses for Africa" from a site I accidentally found when searching for Singer bobbins. has a download pattern and instructions for  sizes 3-12.  They are simple to make and you can knock one out in about an hour using scraps of material.  I'll send these to Nancy and she'll mail them to Africa for the little girls to proudly wear.  Nancy has her own TV sewing program that I also came across accidentally one day. 
I also found some simple patterns for chemo caps.  There are so many free downloads for charities.

Was talking to a woman I met at the pack-n-ship one day.  She asked me to make covers for wine boxes so she can sell them.
 red wines
white wines

Garden update

 I picked the second head of red leaf lettuce today and our radishes.  Pickling cukes are breaking through as are the summer squash.
 planted 3 garlic.....only 1 made it
sweet peas seem to be surviving........haven't seen anymore deer
 making a salad with our lettuce and radishes

It's been so many years since I've eaten foods that were grown at home and with retirement, I am able to appreciate the gifts of the land. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

a few addition pix....

These are the photos that John took.
 the little flower girl

Right after the wedding when we were standing around talking and taking pictures, the flower girl got into the blue dye that was put into the ponds to give them a soft blue hue.  She had the blue dye stain all over her arms and her dress.  She probably still has it on her arms today.

 after the vows
 Pictures from the Four Seasons Restaurant

 Taelor with her two brothers
 the bride's cake
 the groom's cake
It looked like a real Xbox from where we were sitting.  I didn't know weddings had a bride's and groom's cake.  They had quite a few little traditions of their own that they brought to the wedding.

 cutting the cake
 the couple's first dance
They were both so tired at this point that you could see the fatigue.
 father/daughter dance

 Matthew removing the garter
 Richard caught it............Carolyn gasped!
 The DJ blinded folded Richard, removed the young lady who caught the bouquet, and replaced her with Taelor's great-grandmother.  She was a good sport and enjoyed the prank.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Finally....bear sighting!

My hip ached during the night and I couldn't get comfortable, tossing and turning, and kicking Cliff.  So I hobbled into the kitchen, took a couple of arthritis strength at 3:30 AM, and headed for the front bedroom where I could stretch out or pile pillows under my leg.....whatever it took to ease the ache.  I didn't get much sleep between the aching and Maxine purring with contentment because I was sharing her bed.  About 6 o'clock I figured it was too late to try and go back to sleep and sat up looking out the window.  The sky was a heavy overcast and at 6 it's still dusky here because we are only about 30 miles east of the central time zone.  There was a motionless dark shape right outside the window which I stared at wondering what we had placed out there.  Then it began walking!  Finally............I got to watch the black bear.  It was a fairly good-sized bear, probably about 250 pounds.  It walked around to where the feeders were, I brought them in last night, stood up and stretched up against the tree as if a feeder still existed. I watched it lumber around the garden sniffing the ground and returning to each placed where a feeder hung on its previous night raid.  There was still one small feeder that I overlooked last night hanging on a crook but it was empty so all the bear did was bat it bending the crook to one side.  What an awesome sight!  At one point the bear looked up, spotted me watching from the window and  walked toward our porch, turned around and then picked up its pace as it headed back up the hill and into the woods.  I was able to watch it for about 10 minutes before it spotted me and left. Actually, I was quite surprised to have seen it at 6AM............making me wonder how many other mornings now it has been out roaming around when I get up and hit the coffee button. 
Wasn't the bear cooperative to pose like this!?
This was about the size of the one I watched.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"someone's been eating my porridge!"

 From the kitchen window, I noticed the feeders were thrown around the yard.  Earlier when I let Max out on the porch, I put the gate back up to hold her in until the sun comes up.  There was no wind in the night so I couldn't figure out how the gate was knocked down.  It's possible the bear wandered up onto the porch, too.  When Maxine goes out in the morning, she always sniffs everything to see what's visited her porch in the night.  Usually, it's just a neighborhood cat that sleeps in one of the chairs or walks across the table.  I see clay paw prints some mornings on the cushions or on the table.  But this morning she hesitated at the door with her nose up in the air and cautiously approached the outside. 
 The bear had to have climbed the tree to rip this squirrel-proof feeder right off the wrought-iron extension. The extension was pulled away from the tree and is hanging at an angle. The bear emptied the feeder, then rudely left it in the driveway.
 The plastic seed holder was ripped away from the base so it could be emptied.
Then the bear moved on and drank most of the water.  I had just cleaned and filled this last night.

Right now we have the doors and windows opened and Max is laying on the mat at the kitchen door watching three young deer eat fresh green leaves. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

First Lettuce!!

I picked the first head of red leaf lettuce this evening for Cliff's sliced turkey wrap.  For about the last six weeks we've been enjoying locally grown spinach and lettuce from the Candy Mountain Farmers here in Murphy.  What a comforting feeling to be able to go to the garden and get food.  Brings me back to the days of living at home in Hudson. 

Went back to Wayne's Feed and Grain this morning after our hour walk. Then before the rain, we planted peppers,  Roma tomatoes, some sunflower seeds and I still need to plant watermelon, cantaloupe, and sweet potatoes.  When I get all these planted., I'll go back and get a few eggplants and anything else that looks good.  Then I thinned the beets and the radishes a little more.  Radishes are close to being ready to add to our salads.  Tuesday is predicted to be very rainy. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Blessings and a Happy Easter to all.

We were invited to have Easter dinner with Dutch, Kathy, and their cat, Moe. Cliff runs with Dutch at Bellview Station 17 and like many of the people we've met here, are from South Florida.  They moved here in 2007 and don't miss a thing about the crowded highways and the fast pace of city life. They're only a couple of miles from us and their home sits about 2000 feet up the mountain overlooking a breathtaking view of the mountain range.  Temperatures reached mid 80's with a light breeze today.  Sitting on their open porch, we could see flowering dogwood and wild orange azaleas for miles throughout the woods.  We had ham, turkey, homemade macaroni and cheese, green beans with bacon, apple-cherry pie and white cake with coconut. 

As always............we miss family during the holidays.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

We went to our doctor Monday for our follow-up and cholesterol check.  I was going to be really depressed if I hadn't lost a few pounds and improved my cholesterol numbers because we've been doing longer walks and making some healthy lifestyle changes.  Cliff's been cutting down on his portion size and eating meatless meals a few time a week.  He never knows what he's eating until after the meal is finished.  Then we critique the new recipe and decide if it's a "keeper" or if it gets crumbled and trashed.  Some recipes use lentils and other legumes and some call for scrambled soy or gimme lean.   The latest recipe is Japanese miso soup, a keeper and  I've added it to my recipe section.  (I'm still learning and editing the buttons from time to time.)

The new numbers were worth the effort and the doctor was pleased with the results.  Cliff dropped 5 lbs and I lost 6 in only about six weeks of discipline and mindful eating.  My HDL was up and the LDL was down with total cholesterol down to a safer range......all without any cholesterol Rx for me.  Cliff's numbers had also improved.  I was so disturbed with BCBS's refusal to pay for a Rx that didn't cause any muscle pain, that I was determined to do it on my own if I could.  Also, watching Mark change his lifestyle and set new healthy goals encouraged me to challenge our way of thinking about food and exercise.  After all, we have the time now so no more excuses...............

The dogwoods have been in full bloom for weeks now and can be seen along the roadside and deep into the woods.   From our back porch, they are scattered throughout the forest and surrounding the vegetable garden.  In a few weeks, the sweet white blossoms will drop and  fresh green leaves will flourish, leaving only memories until next spring. 

We have two resident hummingbirds now, a female and her pugnacious partner.  He seems to follow me where ever I go.  Yesterday I was down in the garden planting cucumbers and he came at me like a B52 bomber.  In the front flower garden as I filled the feeders with safflower seeds, he scolded me from a nearby branch.  I told him he had better watch it because I'm the one who fills his food trough with sweet nectar and plants the foxgloves and other attracting flowers.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Garden Progress

So far April has behaved more like March.  Some days the wind gusts knock the potted porch plants over and blow the little goldfinches right off the feeders.  Today was mid 80's with a warm drying breeze.
 Cliff bought the garden tool that looks like a medieval weapon to loosen the soil around the plants.  It's easier than hoeing.  But I still have achy hands and blisters from loosening the soil again for the squash hills.
 Chinese cabbage and onions. 
 Lettuce is looking good.  Won't be long before it'll be in my salad bowl.
 Broccoli heads are about the size of quarters.
 Potatoes and a row of radishes.  I thinned the radishes today and may have to thin more out later.  I hate having to choose which ones live and which ones get cast aside.
 Last evening I spotted two deer down by the garden and now I know why.  This year is trial and error.  Once I find out which plants the deer like, we'll fence in an area for those vegetables next year.
 My path from the garden up to the house.  It's a workout putting the tools away and returning to the house. Also the medieval weapon laying on the ground. 

 I've pull so many rocks from the garden that I'm able to build a wall at the front of the house
 Just planted two foxgloves near the birdbath because the hummingbird loves them.  For now the birdbath is sitting on concrete blocks because the old stump that held the bath rotted and crumbled. 
For Christmas Cliff bought the green squirrel-proof feeder (left-hand corner) and it's truly squirrel-proof.  It has to extend 16" out and hang 16" down for it to be effective.  We've watched the squirrels try to manipulate the feeder with their little hands but they're not successful.

Some of you have asked for Matthew and Taelor's address so you can send them a wedding card.

Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Bush
2504 Larkin Rd  apt. 264
Lexington, KY 40503

Monday, April 18, 2011

Matthew and Taelor's Wedding

We just returned from Waverly, TN after attending Matthew and Taelor's wedding on Sunday.  Days before, that area had destructive thunderstorms pass through adding more tension to the wedding jitters.  We all  watched the forecast hoping that the 17th would be dry and sunny for their outdoor ceremony.  Sunday the weather cooperated with mid 70's, sunshine, and a breeze.
 Matthew at the gazebo.
 Carolyn, Matthew, and John
 Richard, Matthew, and Chris

 Cliff, Matthew, and me.
 Before the wedding...posing for outdoor pictures.
 Taelor's bridesmaids
 Waiting for the ceremony to begin.
the ring bearer
There was an adorable little flower girl but the picture is too blurry.
 Taelor being escorted to the alter by her father.
 Beginning the ceremony

 Vows and rings.  They were set up with microphones so we could hear the "I do."

 Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Bush

 Taelor's parents, Matthew & Taelor, Keri, Matthew's mother, John and Carolyn

 Taelor and Matthew Bush
 Their dance
 father/daughter dance
This was the DJ!

It was a long day for the two of them after posing and holding smiles.  They were exhausted and ready to get on to Gaitlinburg for their honeymoon.
John took some great shots that I will post later.  It was a lovely wedding but I can't believe Matthew is married.