Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

Dear Mom,
Last night, My Hero and our Young Lady teamed up again this year to carve pumpkins. Needless to say, they are pretty pleased with their efforts!
They loved the Minions from Despicable Me 2 and have been planning their pumpkins for weeks.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fingerless mitts

Dear Mom,
As a gift for someone dear to me, someone whose heart is so warm that her hands Must Be Freezing, I've knit some pretty fingerless mitts.
The pattern is from the book Knitting Everyday Finery , and the pattern is Flying Geese Mitts.
The pattern instructions are well written and the mitts were knit quickly in a couple of evenings. I used worsted weight Shepherd's Wool. I cannot say enough very good things about this wool. Made in the USA (Michigan), Very Soft, excellent price, lots of yardage. I can probably get a second pair of mitts from the skein. In fact, I think I need a pair for myself, especially with the weather having taken a preference for cold and damp.  Blobs of fat almost-snow drops have been plopping out of the sky on and off the past couple of days. And the only good thing I can say about that is I have lots of warm hand knits I enjoy wearing!

Monday, October 21, 2013

To Everything There is a Season

Dear Mom,
There is a Frost Advisory tonight, which means today is the day they plants come in off the screened porch and find their spots inside for the winter. I like making things cozy, but I will miss using the porch. I spent many relaxing hours out there this summer.
The coming frost will be the end of the zinnias. I snipped a huge bouquet of the last of the best of them and brought that inside, too. I've harvested the dried seed heads for next year's garden.
This summer I filled the flower box outside the kitchen window with lavender. I do enjoy looking out at the flowers there, and this year had the added pleasure of smelling the lavender. Emptying that flower box is depressing. And looking out at the barren flower box all winter makes me feel the cold weather even more. I decided to fill the box with the beautiful things Mother Nature has in my yard. I don't know how long it will stay looking nice, but I am pretty proud of how it looks right now.
I clipped some Norway spruce branches that were laden with pine cones, picked pine cones off the ground,
added some colorful oak and maple leaves
and some hydrangeas and poked in a few dried Black-eyed -Susan heads.
I harvested a bit of basil before the frost hits it- enough for a new recipe I'll try this week. I am not ready to buy "fresh" basil at the grocery store yet! In hopes of keeping it through the winter, I brought in small pots of basil, chives and oregano despite my not having any luck with that in the past.
More evidence of my reluctance to let go of fair weather: I have things drying out on the clothes line. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that I am pretending to dry things out on the clothesline. There are a few items out there right now, probably wondering how long I'll leave them hanging, all cold and damp. It may have started sunny, but it is definitely grey out there now. And NOT getting warmer.
As much as I don't like the snow....the days ahead are the days that completely validate knitting and  wearing wool sweaters and socks and shawls, and knitting more and more wool sweaters and socks and shawls.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Happy B-Day

Dear Mom,
Today was damp and drizzly and little bit cold. I barely roused myself to do much more than nap. But napping with a dog curled behind your knees is the best sort of nap I know. (And yes, napping with Olive curled behind my knees means I let her on the couch. Just this one time. Until she is fully healed and then she can nap there as much as she wants!)
Now that it has been gifted to you, I want to share the Bee version of Chickadee that I knitted as your birthday gift.
Except for the dark brown used for the bee motif, all the yarn in this sweater is my own handspun. The body is lambswool dyed with Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum) harvested last fall from your gardens.
I stumbled upon some bee motifs  HERE, and the knitter generously shared her charts. I used one of those, and tweaked it to fit within and replace the chickadees in the original pattern. This way I could change the motif without changing any increases in the yoke and the fit of the sweater.

don't know why this is blurry
The buttons are salvaged from a Goodwill sweater.

And Bonnie Jo? I know you want one. I have the yarn for it already. ( Not handspun though. I don't want to make you wait that long.)

We had chicken noodle soup for dinner tonight. Delicious homemade soup made from scratch and instinct. Four skinless chicken thighs simmered until the meat fell off the bones.  I glopped a healthy spoonful of vegetable broth base in the water while the meat was simmering and I gave it a couple of glubs of some cranberry apple wine.  I used about 3 T of the homemade onion soup mix I keep on hand and chopped up 3 carrots and about 2 cups of celery, added the rest of a box of penne pasta, and man-o-man is this soup wonderful. 

Be warm!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

This is embarrassing

Dear Mom,
At least someone finds my Halloween decorations scary!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Favorite Things Friday

There is a new blog listed over there to the right, on our blogroll.
The MOM of "I'm Gonna Tell Mom!" is now sharing her memories, gardens, recipes, photographs, plans, words of wisdom, creative endeavors and blessings at Holton House.
Because she is one of my favorite people, it only stands to reason that her blog should be one of my favorite things.....

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Where There's a Will.....

Dear Mom,
In a desperate and unusual display of willfulness, Olive ignored all the impediments in place and climbed onto the couch.
And while it is clear that she has had enough of what she considers unnecessary and silly physical restrictions.....
She does know to be ashamed of this rash act.

But then.....

Boredom and pent up energy made THIS happen within hours of the previous photos:

This was the new cushion in her crate. 

I am off to the pet store to replenish our Kong supply. ( But NOT to buy a new cushion!) I'll be keeping peanut-butter-loaded, frozen Kongs in rotation. 

A good knitter suggested some mental activities to keep Olive occupied, and emailed me a wonderful list. Unfortunately, Olive would only focus on the treat in my hand and get so excited and wound up about FOOD, that the purpose of engaging her mentally in hopes of wearing her out without wearing out her elbow was defeated. I haven't given up. I think the only way she will learn a new trick is to add it to the string of tricks she already knows! She sees the treat and immediately (and without command) sits and high fives.  Sometimes it is sit, high five, sit, stand, sit, high five and lie down. And all I really was trying to get her to do was focus on my nose. 
I am not complaining. I have had a really smart dog. And even though I miss that trouble maker, I am very appreciative of my sweet, if not-so-smart, Olive.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tuscan Portobello Stew

Dear Mom,
Our super healthy dinner last night was so delicious that I have to share the recipe.  This is another winner from the Special Diabetic Issue of Taste of Home magazine. Did that sentence even make sense? How about the Taste of Home, Special Edition, Diabetes family friendly cookbook? I cannot even find a link to it on the world wide web.

The weather says soup and bread to me. But there is a New Normal in this house and bread is just not happening at every meal anymore. ( I could be sad about the bread, but the extra weight and blubber and half of a person I was carrying around with me was making me sadder.) This Stew was flavorful and filling and I did not even miss the bread. It was also easy to prepare and quick to fix. I haven't had it as a leftover yet, but I am hopeful that it is as good if not better on the second day.

Tuscan Portobello Stew
The recipe says it Makes 4 servings but I think it makes more.

2 large portobello mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 T olive oil
1/2 c white wine or vegetable broth (I used the broth and saved the wine for my glass)
1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups chopped fresh kale
1 bay leaf
1 t dried thyme
1/2 t dried basil
1/2 t dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
2 (15oz) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

In a large skillet, saute the mushrooms, onion and garlic in oil until tender.
Add the wine or broth. Bring to a boil and cook until liquid is reduced by half.
Stir in tomatoes, kale and seasonings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 8-10 minutes. 
Add beans and heat through. Discard bay leaf.

Nutrition Facts: 1 1/4 c= 309 calories, 8g fat (1 g sat fat), 0 cholesterol, 672 mg sodium, 46 g carbs, 13 g fiber, 12 g protein


Monday, October 7, 2013

Feeling a little TOO good

Dear Mom,

Between the pain pills and puppy-hood, Olive had a sudden burst of wildness last night at 7:30, and before I could stop her, she did a dangerous high speed figure 8 through the dining and living rooms, which ended in a loud YELP. It was all over in about 6 seconds. And on the eve of suture removal. Needless to say, The Limp was worse and The Surgeon Would Not Be Getting a Good Report.
I iced her elbow for as long as she let me, which was about 5 minutes, maybe less, during which time I considered duct taping the ice pack to her elbow and around her chest. Instead, I put her in her crate and had 2 glasses of wine.
So here we are, back home, sutures removed, inflatable collar deflated, with continued restrictions to her activity. Despite last night's misadventure, the surgeon is pleased with Olive's progress. I declined the offer to refill her pain meds. I think they have her feeling a little Too Good. Thankfully, today is the last day for those. As it is, I worry that she may have an addiction to cheese and pain killers and before I know it I'll be looking for the canine equivalent of The Betty Ford.

We return for a hopefully last post op visit in 4 weeks.