Monday, October 5, 2015

Homeward Bound

This is a beautiful song, sung beautifully. I promised myself I wouldn't listen to it while he was gone, but Justin left Montana yesterday and is now homeward bound. Since he's out west, he decided to stop and visit Ryan in Colorado. The first eight hundred miles of his trip are completed, and I was glad to receive his text (even at 1:08 am).

Only 1,803 miles to go!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Ten on Tuesday

Today's Ten on Tuesday topic is 10 Things You Wish You Could Learn Instantly. For some reason (perhaps because of my TV watching in the 1960s and the fact that these are wishes), I'm imagining Samantha Stevens' magical nose twitch or Jeannie's crossed arms and blink accompanying this instantaneous learning.


So, I wish I could learn instantly:
  1. How to read faster (and comprehend more)
  2. How to knit faster (and make fewer mistakes)
  3. How to be more understanding and maybe even less judgmental
  4. How to procrastinate less
  5. How to enjoy painting (walls, not pictures) and the even more odious task of prep. work for painting
  6. How to take better photographs
  7. How to make pad thai 
  8. How to enjoy cleaning
  9. How to make flamework glass beads
  10. How to be more patient (yes, I see the irony in this one!)
These are all things I would like to learn in a flash, but sadly have never put forth
 the necessary time and effort. I highly doubt that it's even possible to enjoy
 painting and cleaning!

What are your instant learning wishes?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Ten on Tuesday

Fall is my season. I love almost everything about it and there is so much to love. The heat and humidity of summer are replaced by crisp, cool weather, and leaves are turning. It is a season of turning inward and getting ready for winter, and for squirrels to chew their way into my attic to stash their nuts (that is something I don't love.) One of the great things about fall is the food, so today's Ten On Tuesday topic is 10 Foods You Are Looking Forward to Eating Now That Fall Is (almost) Here.
  1. Apples - Of course these are best and most available in the fall. Bring on the Winesaps!
  2. Baked Apples - While mine aren't quite as good as my grandmother's, they are still delicious in the fall. 
  3. Cider - Fresh from my favorite farm stand, this is the quintessential taste of fall.
  4. Jewish Apple Cake - I got this recipe from my mother-in-law over 30 years ago and always look forward to making it in the fall. 
  5. Beef Stew - The aroma of this simmering in the crockpot smells like fall to me.
  6. Sausage Corn Chowder - This recipe* came from my sister. I love how it's thickened with ground oatmeal, making it one of fall's best thick and hearty soups.
  7. Wild Rice and Chicken Soup - This recipe from Sheri at The Loopy Ewe is the best creamy chicken soup I've had. 
  8. Chili - Everyone has their own favorite way to make chili; mine is pretty much like this recipe. It's great made in the crockpot with venison.
  9. Pumpkin Pie - My favorite pie, made from the recipe on the label of the Libby's pumpkin can. 
  10. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins - Pumpkin and chocolate chips sounded like an odd combination when I first came across the recipe, but these muffins are absolutely delicious, especially warm from the oven. There may even be a batch baking in the oven as I type this!
* I've never seen this recipe anywhere else, so here it is in case anyone wants to make some delicious soup.

Monday, September 14, 2015


This weekend was the Garden State Sheep Breeders Sheep and Fiber Festival. It's tiny
 (compared to Rhinebeck or MD Sheep and Wool), but that's a good thing in my book. 
There are four barns to wander through, full of sheep and yarn.

I was surprised and happy to see the sheep below in the show ring. I pass them every day on my walk, sometimes giving them a friendly pet and scratch behind the ears. 
They won best ewe and ram, so I will have to congratulate them tomorrow.

There was a Sheep Dog herding demonstration that fascinated me for almost an hour. 
The dogs were incredibly well-trained, and the relationship between the 
dogs and their trainer was really something to see.

There was also yarn! I only bought one skein, but I may be experiencing buyer's remorse 
(as in I'm sorry I didn't also buy the yarn for Cypri.) I will probably be ordering from
 Seven Sisters Arts in the near future. Her yarn bases feel wonderful 
and the colors are really stunning.

I bought the skein of 7SA Meridian on the top, hoping it would match the Casbah
 on the bottom for Clockwork. I've been looking for a match for over a year and 
this is the closest I've come, but I'm reserving my final decision
 until after I wind and swatch.

It was a very nice way to spend a Sunday!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Sometimes You Eat the Bear...

and sometimes the bear eats you. There were several comments on this post where I mentioned that one of the things I did was eat bear for the first time. Some of the commenters had already tried bear, and others were curious about how to cook it. Still others may have wondered about me but were too polite to say, "You sound like a crazy person!" So, to anyone who's curious and/or has a bear in their backyard or freezer, here's what I found and what worked for me.

We were the lucky recipients of 30-40 pounds of bear meat. We do eat a lot of game, but I had never tried or cooked bear before. I used some of it to make barbecue (good, but almost indistinguishable from beef when the flavor is masked in barbecue sauce) and cooked a roast in the crock pot (for a long time; trichinosis and toxoplasmosis are issues with bear). The meat has an interesting reddish color, long fibers, and a pleasant taste (not gamey, but with lots of “depth”). This black bear probably had a diet high in berries, grass, and roots, which may have contributed to its flavor. I think I would choose it over beef and would highly recommend it if you get a chance to try it some day.

Here are links to the most useful article/recipes that I found:
Bear: A Meat Worth Trying
Bear Recipes  I made the one entitled “Bear Recipe” from Jeff Brunenn, a little more than halfway down the page.
Black Bear Recipe Guide  I haven’t made any of these, but think I may try the Grilled Spiced Tenderloin next.

I’d be really interested in hearing about your experience if you try bear (or really any other game). I still have about 25 lbs. in the freezer and my husband wants to use some of it to make sausage. I’m not anxious to try that; because of the possible trichinosis and toxoplasmosis I want to make sure that whatever we eat is cooked properly. See, I'm not really so crazy!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Book Bingo - the Post-Game Edition

I finished reading for Book Bingo 2015 about a week ago, and managed to cover all my squares. Here's the post-game assessment.

I read a couple of extra books, just for my own sake. Across the Great Barrier filled my Western square, but since that is the second book in a trilogy, I reread the first, Thirteenth Child, to refresh my memory. My Young Adult Novel, On the Far Side of the Mountain, is also the second in a trilogy, so I reread My Side of the Mountain first. 

I had three 5-star books, twelve 4-stars, seven 3-stars, and four 2-star books. (The covers below are arranged in descending order of the stars I awarded.) I found out that I'm not a big fan of light and fluffy mysteries and it will probably be a long time before I read another graphic novel. Reading Kent Haruf's last novel was bittersweet, but I also read some great first books, some excellent non-fiction, and was really pleasantly surprised by Stephen King. All in all, it was a pretty good summer for reading!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Ten on Tuesday - Labor Day

Today's Ten On Tuesday topic is 10 Things You Did This Weekend, and luckily, I think I did at least 10 things this weekend.
  1. Made potato salad for a family picnic. This was for 25-30 people, and gathering data from recipes told me I should use anywhere from 6-30 pounds of potatoes. I went with 10, and that was perfect.
  2.  Picked watermelons from the garden.
  3. Ate watermelon from the garden.
  4. Went to a family picnic. This was my husband's family, and included some people I had never met in person or hadn't seen in more than 35 years. It was an interesting experience, in many ways!
  5. Knit quite a bit.
  6. Ate bear for the first time. Delicious! 
  7. Read quite a bit.
  8. Walked quite a bit.
  9. Mowed the tiny bit of lawn that isn't dried, frazzled, and dead from drought. It only took me about 10 minutes. :-(
  10. Took inventory of my big freezer, and after finding that I had 30 packages of frozen shredded zucchini, I made this and this, and enjoyed them with this:

You're probably not on the edge of your seat reading about all my excitement this weekend, but any weekend that includes knitting, reading, and beer isn't too bad in my book!