Sunday, July 16, 2017

Twelve Egg Whites Later


My favorite recipe for ice-cream requires six egg yolks, and my housekeeper's sense of thriftiness requires that I save the whites.  Fortunately, egg whites freeze well.  I took advantage of a cool morning today to use up a dozen egg whites by making 12 little white cakes and one larger cake called a Princess Cake, which is essentially a white pound cake.

All tidily packed away in the deep freeze.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Steadfast


When I was very young, lace was that decorative stuff one had on one's party clothes and sometimes on petticoats.  It was awfully pretty, even if it could be a little scratchy.

When I was very young, one of the very first flowers I was taught to name was Queen Anne's Lace.  Queen Anne was nobody I knew, so that part didn't matter, but I was enchanted that lace could be both a dress trimming and a flower.

I still am.  Opinions and enthusiasms formed early in life can be remarkably durable.  Which Queen Anne has the honor of the flower named after her is apparently open to debate.  It still doesn't matter to me.

Although considered a weed, I always allow a few plants of Queen Anne's Lace into my flower beds.  In this area we have a local mutation that has a distinct pink cast to the umbels, as the little "flowers" are more properly known.  Once fully open, the pink umbels fade to near white, but are still a slightly different white than the non-pink variety.


Thursday, June 29, 2017

It must be summer


I'm not sure when pickled eggs became a summertime treat for me.  I grew up in a household where red beet eggs were the norm.  At some point in my housekeeping career, though, I strayed off into the wild territory of your basic barroom pickled eggs.  I make them right around the summer solstice so that they're ready for July 4th and picnics.

You can eat them straight up, or you can make them into the best egg salad you'll ever have.  Extra points for making your egg salad sandwiches with homemade bread.

Picked Eggs

For the brine
2 cups cider vinegar
2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. pickling spice

1 dozen hard cooked eggs, peeled  (I like to use medium eggs, which you may have to hunt for - the big grocery stores rarely carry them.)

Bring the vinegar and water to boil, then add the sugar and salt.  Simmer until the sugar dissolves, then add the pickling spice and simmer for a few minutes.  Let cool to room temperature.

Drop the eggs into a quart canning jar and pour the brine over.  Make sure the topmost layer of eggs is covered with the brine.  Put the lid on and tuck into a corner of the fridge for about a week.

Plan to eat them in a week or two - much longer than that and they get rather tough.

Monday, May 22, 2017

All Folded Up


It continues to be a mystery to me how the irises manage to fold all those petals up into such small buds.  I have a couple of ill-informed theories on how they do it, but I prefer the mystery, I think.

And then they open and have their own faux fuzzy caterpillars to keep them company.


Friday, April 21, 2017

Pelargonium baby pictures


A couple of years ago I decided it might be nice to have geraniums growing on a window sill during the winter.  Simply buying a couple of potted geraniums was entirely too easy, so I bought some seed.  And then I got distracted by other things.

Early this spring, when I was desperately looking for reasons to get out of the house and spend a little time in the potting shed, I came across the seed packet.  Two year old seed?  What the heck - why not give it a go!

After several month of careful tending, I've ended up with eight plants in four, four inch pots.  I was intrigued to see how early the leaf markings developed.  And they already have that geranium smell, the cunnin' little things.

 I notice now that one of my chickadee neighbors has thoughtfully planted a sunflower seed in one of the pots.



Thursday, March 23, 2017

Spring in Name Only


I made myself a new shirt to celebrate Spring, and I wore it on the first day of Spring, and I was cold all day.  Heck, we had a frost last week.  Still turtleneck weather, I guess.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Accidental Portrait of a Lone Orange


Sometimes my iPad finds its own subjects.  I like this one of the cheerful orange against the calm wave-like grain of the wood bowl.  The bowl was made from a tree on my parents' property.

Monday, February 20, 2017

On the Edge of Transformation


This is one of my favorite moments in sewing: the place where one can take a deep breath before construction begins.

The pattern has been selected and altered.  The fabric has been purchased, washed, and ironed.  The layout recommended by the pattern company has been studied and possibly improved a little.  The box of pins has been accidentally dropped on the floor, sworn at, retrieved, and reloaded.  The contortions required to cut clean inside curves have been negotiated.

This stack of pieces begins to reveal the garment it will become.  After a cup of coffee, I'll cut the notches and thread-mark the dots, squares, and other landmarks.

And when the signs are auspicious, I'll start sewing.

 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

When centuries collide

The passage of about 150 years means that the ratchet and pawl on one of my old looms are not always on speaking terms.  Thank goodness for Vise Grips (first patented in 1924.)

A good day is one on which the number of pairs of Vise Grips one owns is greater than or equal to the number of needs one has for them.

Today was a good day.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

I'm sure it made sense when I wrote it down


The blackboard in my work room has accumulated a fine collection of...things.  Some of these make sense now, and some surely made sense when I wrote them down.  The random fractions are particularly opaque to me now, but I'm afraid if I erase them I'll need them.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Snow Drifts into Everything

From the NOAA Winter Storm Warning posted this morning.








It even gets into our words.  (You just can't see it here because of the white background.)


The snow also does a good job of covering the lilac bushes in front of the house.



Friday, January 6, 2017

Self check-out - a solution in search of a problem

I loathe self check-out.  Loathe it.  There was a time when the big box home improvement stores tried to go fully self check-out, but I noticed recently they've backed off from that and have brought back a few human beings.

Today at the grocery story the clerk minding the self check-out terminals hooked me in before I could sneak past her to the express lane.   And you know, she had trouble with the process.  She couldn't get the frozen orange juice to scan (nobody can.)

From a user experience point of view, you have to be seriously wall-eyed to be able to keep track of what the register terminal wants as opposed to the payment terminal, which, unlike the example above, is easily two feet away.

Why do we think it's a good idea to abandon the social contract between the well-trained customer and the well-trained check-out clerk?  My responsibility is to bring bags that stand up by themselves and to put all the cans of orange juice together on the belt.  The clerk is responsible for memorizing all those mysterious produce codes and for balancing the weight evenly across my bags.

I want my check-out clerk, darn it!