Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ten on Tuesday - Blueberry Time

This week's Ten on Tuesday topic is your 10 Favorite Things To Do With Blueberries.
  1. Blueberry pie - I tried this recipe from Carole last weekend, and it was delicious. No runny filling!
  2. Stain your white blouse with blueberry splatters while cooking the filling for blueberry pie. Maybe not really one of my favorite things, but it was inevitable.
  3. Blueberry muffins - This is an excellent recipe, even without the topping. I like to tell myself the muffins are healthier if I'm not sprinkling extra sugar on top. :-)
  4. Blueberry banana bread.- This used to be the only way I made banana bread, but with only two of us at home to eat it, I haven't made it in years. Maybe it's time...
  5. Use them in fruit salad.
  6. Blueberry pancakes
  7. Eat them plain! 
  8. Celebrate National Blueberry Month - It's July in the US, and August in Canada.
  9. Treat insanity - I was surprised to find a blueberry entry on WebMD, and even more surprised to read that "some people inhale the fumes of burning dried blueberry flowers for treatment of insanity." ?! Also not really one of my favorite things, but quite amusing nonetheless. 
  10. Blueberry jam - I used to make jams and jellies with my grandmother every summer. I really enjoyed it, but it did seem like a lot of work, especially sealing the jars with hot wax. This recipe for blueberry freezer jam looks so easy I might even try it. There's even a low or no-sugar version!
I hope you get a chance to enjoy some blueberries in your favorite ways, hopefully without any burning dried blueberry flowers!

Monday, July 27, 2015

E is for...


Justin enjoying a blue lollipop.

Ryan enjoying strawberries.

I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent organizing photo albums!

Friday, July 24, 2015

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Tomato time!
I found the first three ripe ones in the garden today, which is plenty

for my first tomato and mayonnaise sandwich,

and two left to slice for dinner. 
 I hope nobody eats them this afternoon... :-)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Book Bingo - Two Months In

We're two months into Summer Book Bingo (I'm playing by Mary's May 23 through September 7 rules), and it's time for me to give myself a progress report. It feels like I'm making reading progress, so I hope I don't feel differently once I've written it all down here.

What I'm Currently Reading:
What I've Read So Far:
What I Plan to Read Next:
Unplanned Squares (So Far):
  • Found in a used bookstore
  • Graphic novel
  • Currently on the bestseller list [I am really surprised by how many crappy (imho) books are on the NYT fiction bestseller list. I don't think I'll be reading Grey!]
  • That you chose because of the cover
  • Cozy mystery 
I had hoped to complete most of my books by the end of this month, which would leave August for a relaxed reading of my "At least 800 pages" choice, Centennial, but I don't realistically see myself finishing three current reads plus those five pesky unplanned squares in the next eight days (especially because this is supposed to be fun)! There are still more than six and a half weeks (47 days!) left, so I think I'm on track to cover my card and still not have to read/behave like a crazy person.

How's your summer reading? I hope everyone finds some time for a good book or two, enjoyed on the beach, front porch, or relaxing spot of your choosing, no matter whether you're participating in Book Bingo or not!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wayback Wednesday

Way back in the beginning of June we did go on vacation, visiting Ryan in Fort Collins on our annual trip before the start of his summer teaching and research schedule. I'm always happy to see Ryan (because it doesn't happen often enough) but I also really enjoy Fort Collins for a variety of additional reasons.

Beer Tours


Fun Sights and Sounds in Old Town
(Jazz Duo on a tricycle)

The Handle Bar Bicycle
(We did see this, but I was too busy staring to take my own video.)

Flowers in the CSU Annual Flower Trial Garden


Looking for good rocks on hikes

Encountering wildlife on hikes

Snow-Covered Mountains

I'm already hoping and planning for a long weekend return visit in October.
I have more breweries to tour and more good rocks to look for!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ten on Tuesday - AAA*

Today's Ten on Tuesday topic is 10 Favorite American Artists, or, if you prefer, 10 Favorite American Paintings. This is an interesting one that I'm betting might just be related to Carole's Heritage Museums and Gardens visit.
*Awesome American Art 
So, my 10 Favorite American Paintings:

1. The Big Oak, Andrew Wyeth
My mother loved Christina's World, and took us to The Philadelphia Art Museum many times to see it, along with lots of other Wyeth works. This is one of my favorites because it's so realistic.

2. Niagara Falls, William Morris Hunt
Every time I've been to Niagara Falls, I think the effect of that much water rushing over the abyss of the falls is almost dizzying. This painting captures the colors and that feeling for me.

3. Long's Peak, Estes Park, Colorado, Albert Bierstadt
I love this view in real life and I love how Bierstadt captured it.

4. Dark Hollow Road, Taylor Oughton
My husband grew up on Dark Hollow Road and my mother-in-law still lives there. As soon as I saw this painting at the Michener Art Museum, I recognized the scene. It really does look like that in the fall.

5. Peaceable Kingdom, Edward Hicks
I like the sentiment and idea that this painting conveys.

6. Freedom from Want, Norman Rockwell
Another painting that shows a scene I like along with the accompanying emotions.

7. Oriental Poppies, Georgia O'Keefe
I appreciate this painting because O'Keefe captured the colors of the poppies perfectly. I can't even do that in a photograph of my poppies!

8. Cape Cod Morning, Edward Hopper
Another painting that I like because of the colors.

These last two are my very favorite American paintings, by artists unknown to most of the American art-viewing public. I'm lucky enough to know them and love them!
9. Bedded Elk, Jim Becker
My brother-in-law painted this for us as a wedding present, on a wicker tray that he rescued from the trash at his great-grandparents' farm. Jim is no longer with us, so it's even more special, but I think of him every day when I see it on our mantel.

10. Self Portrait, Justin Becker
Justin had an art teacher in middle school that seemed to delight in thinking up difficult assignments, and then criticizing her students endlessly. For this one, he had to do a self portrait in the style of another artist, and his assigned artist was Georgia O'Keefe. He agonized over this for weeks, but after being frustrated to the point of tears, he completed this wonderful painting. I love his creativity and use of color, and the fact that he didn't let this difficult teacher get him down completely. She may have succeeded in sucking out most of his enjoyment in art that year (kind of like an art-dementor?) but I love his painting and enjoy it every day when I see it on our dining room wall, so Justin wins!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

C is for ...

Campari! D is for Done!


I thought about using E and F for Egads! and Finally! but decided to save those letters for later.

Raveled here.

Monday, July 13, 2015

In the Orchard Today

We don't really have an orchard; just six dwarf fruit trees that are difficult to mow around. In the past five or six years since we planted them, they have only provided enticement for the neighborhood deer, but absolutely no fruit. Imagine my excitement today when I spied
something growing.

 Two apples!

 An apricot!

More apricots! Right now, they're hard, green, and look a bit beat up 
(maybe from hail storms we've had over the last several weeks?) but there are 
eleven of them, so the fruit crop is looking better than it ever has. 

There's probably a saying about don't count your fruit until it ripens, 
but things are looking pretty good in the orchard today!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

In the Garden Today

A bushel of string beans. This is actually a half bushel basket, but my back
 says that it has bent over to pick at least a bushel (maybe even two)!


 Zucchini flowers

Cucumber blossoms are even prettier.

Tomatoes that grow larger every day, but no hint of red yet.

Brown-eyed susans

and some purple Coneflowers that seem intent on taking over

But the marigolds are still managing to bloom in spite of the encroaching Echinacea.