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I'm never bored. If I'm not knitting or spinning, I'm gardening or reading. Always up to something!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

How to Like Cauliflower

My husband's tired of hearing me nag encourage him about eating vegetables. It's a bit easier to introduce new foods to my step-son who's on a health quest himself. I joined Weight Watchers a couple of weeks ago and I'm doing well on it now that I've got the tracking thing down. I'm still tracking with "My Fat Secret.com" because my naturopath would like me to keep the daily carbs to around 50. It's become a bit of a project but so important to my overall health. You see, the doctor explained that those of us with MS tend to also have cardiovascular events more frequently than the average individual because of high rates of inflammation. What???? My cardiologist didn't think that was a problem. My naturopath believes it's a BIG problem. So I'm trying to jazz up vegetables that my family doesn't want to eat but I do. So here's the latest go. First, you all know how much I love my cast iron pan. I told my step-son that I'll gift him one whenever he sets up his own place. Here's what I did: I washed and split a cauliflower into flowerettes. When they were dry I tossed them with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper and garlic powder. I sprayed the pan with avocado oil and go the grill to a roaring 450 degrees. I spread the cauliflower in one layer in the pan and roasted it with the grill top down for about 5 minutes or until browned. Then I flipped them over and did it again. Then I turned the heat down and turned the middle burner off completely. I checked the veg after a few minutes with a fork for tenderness. The outside was crisp and the inside was sweet and tender but still a bit firm. Mushy cauliflower is not to my taste. I loved it, my step-son loved it enough to request the method I used. My husband has such an aversion to healthy vegetables that it's going to take a while. My son had no problems taking his portion and adding it to his own. I will never give up. I just won't.


Monday, July 25, 2016

High Mountain High

My husband and I were invited to spend a few days with my daughter's family in New Hampshire last week. This was my first view of the little pond a short walk from the cabin. Mount Chocorua is in the background.






Day-trip to Mount Washington Cog Railway

View from Cog Railway coach on Mt. Washington




Mount Chocorua - music and poetry have been composed in honor of your beauty and grace. Legends have been passed down, your high peaks climbed.  Here's a view from another of your lovers.
                                           

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Pretty Knitting


This shawl reminds me of a summer afternoon in my grandmother's wicker rocker.




It's raw mulberry silk blended with baby alpaca and soft as a cloud.
My grandmother was not a knitter but she tatted beautiful lace and would have loved that I knitted something so fussy and feminine.


Gram had a lovely formal garden around her modest clapboard cottage.



She'd put on her beach shoes, black shiny bathing suit with the skirt and walk the beach with me and my brother at low tide for hours picking up shells.
I miss my grandmother. I am a grandmother.


Friday, July 1, 2016

Water-sparing Gardening


Cheyenne Spirit Cone flowers





Coneflowers with Lavender





Wasabi Coleus



Self-watering deck boxes



I just can't keep up with watering. I don't want to have to water every day. And it's not kind to the environment to use precious resources thoughtlessly. So I try to place plants where they will be the happiest with the least amount of water and effort from me. So the Cone flowers, Lavender, Rosemary and Thyme are in the sunniest, driest place in the garden. The Cone flowers are prairie natives and are accustomed to dry heat. Lavender, Rosemary and Thyme thrive in sunny, Mediterranean conditions and need little coddling. How it ever survives in England where it's so beloved, I'll never know.  The shade-loving Hydrangeas still need a drink now and then (especially in what are near-drought conditions here in Connecticut). I use potting soil that helps retain moisture in all my potted plants and water them near the base of their stems to help avoid evaporation. The deck railing boxes get some afternoon sun but have a reservoir in the bottom to keep watering to a minimum. As the gardens surrounding the house become more and more shaded with heavily canopied hardwood trees, more shade-lovers will get planted, tree branches professionally thinned.
Another sock finished - Crazy Foot sock yarn in the "Birch" colorway

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Kitchen Stitching Again

Kate and I are back for another go at podcasting.  Enjoy!
Here's the link: Kitchen Stitching





Friday, June 10, 2016

Self Care - Who Needs It?

My garden is still full of weeds. The patio needs to be swept. The windows all need washing. I see lots of things around the house that need my attention. I am retired and should have plenty of time. Is there ever enough time? I was having some new medical problems last year so I stopped working out in the pool at the Y. When that health issue was remedied I didn't go back. So all winter, I chastised myself for not working out. I cursed my flabby waistline, my double chin. I felt sorry for myself when I thought about turning 64 this summer. I worried about the possibility of my MS worsening as I age. Instead of applauding myself for the things I do, i.e., keep a decent house, cook a tasty dinner from scratch with fresh veggies every night, spin lovely yarn and knit nice warm clothing, I beat myself up about the things I can't or won't do. Why couldn't I cut myself some slack? Things all get done eventually. Or maybe they weren't worth the trouble. So last week, I smartened up. I stopped complaining about not working out and re-joined the Y. I feel more optimistic already. One by one the weeds are getting pulled out. I bend down and pull a few here and there as I walk by. There's no other way. I'm not going to blanket spray growing things that decided they like it here. Dead plantings from last year are getting dumped into the compost bin, their pots washed out and replanted. If vegetables don't ever get into the ground, I'll throw in some flower seeds and make a meadow. There are plenty of farmer's markets with bigger tomatoes than I'll ever grow. One by one, my chores will get done. I'll check them off the list in order of importance to my health and my family's well-being. But first, I'll work out. And enjoy the lovely things that come back every Spring and pretty much take care of themselves. And take a lesson from them.

Our grandson's graduation from 8th grade - A Priority





Friday, May 27, 2016

Bloom Where You're Planted



The older I get, the more I appreciate the plants in my garden that just "show up" every year. The gorgeous fern in the top picture just landed near the house as a humble "weed". I moved it into the shade garden and it's thriving. No coddling or coaxing. Not even barely a spritz with the hose in the hottest, driest days of summer. As much as I love roses, they're not getting any special treatment. I even forgot to cut them back so they're going to get hacked as soon as they bloom. They live in the sunniest, hottest area, on the far side of the garage where they don't even get admired. But they will bloom where they're planted because they're in the right environment. Isn't that the same with people? I can be happy where I am - I can "bloom where I'm planted" as long as I'm where I belong.