Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Not One Word...

...did I post here in August, but I was very busy. We had a mini family reunion for Hal's immediate family the weekend of the 8th and then my brother visited for 3 weeks. I picked him up at Detroit Metro about 1:15 on the 12th and dropped him off at 5 am on September 1st. We didn't really go anywhere except for a couple dinners out and grocery shopping, plus a trip to Joann's Fabric store so he could buy some jewelry supplies for his wife. Otherwise there was a lot of dog walking, eating and smoking salmon. It was fun though.

I spent yesterday and today hanging out with Hal's sister before I head back north tomorrow morning. Yesterday we did a bit of shopping, ate lunch at Amigo's a little hole in the wall Mexican restaurant, did more shopping, picked up a Hawaiian pizza from Hungry Howie's, rented a movie, The Second Best Marigold Hotel (which was very enjoyable) and had a bottle of white wine, Leelanau Cellars, Winter White.

Today we went out to T.V.'s dinner on Fort St where we both had the biscuits and gravy with poached eggs for breakfast. Right now SIL is taking an on line class required for her nursing job while I work on the shawl I started for her this past spring. We are having a good time though.

Didn't take many photos as my brother and I didn't really go anywhere, but I did take a couple of dog photos, (imagine that!) just for grins.

yes, they are still digging!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Little Food to Look At

We did a bit of smoking this month and I discovered fruit salads are really easy in summer with all the fresh fruit at the markets. And you don't have to add anything to the fruit. (I'd never made one before because I figured there was more to it, like needing a sauce. I know, weird.)  Hal and I smoked a pair of pork butts to make pulled pork for a family 4th of July party. Oddly, I don't have a photo of the final product, at least not on my camera. Nor do I have a final photo of the ribs we did recently. But they all tasted damn good.

However, here are photos of one of my fruit salads, with MI blueberries, green and black grapes, watermelon, honeydew melon, and cantaloupe. A dinner salad we call a Cobb salad in which I changed the ingredients a lot, this time it had baby shrimp, smoked chicken, and the usual other salad ingredients, and dried currants. Used a bleu cheese dressing.
fruit salad
Cobb salad
Here is our second whole smoked chicken since we started smoking this year. This is one of our own chickens rather than a store bought.
And here is a photo of something Hal wanted to try though we didn't find a lot of decent info on the internet. He smoked 2 venison back straps. I am very glad to say he wrote down everything he did because this was the BEST DAMN BACKSTRAP I HAVE EVER EATEN. And I've cooked a lot of venison backstrap over the years. It was tender, practically melted in your mouth, the flavor was incredible, I can't wait till we try this again. We had some snow peas from my garden and pan fried potatoes.
Best venison EVER

I Made an Apron!

It's a horrible picture, but I made an apron the other day.
Those ties wrap all the way around
Butterick 4945. I wanted something with lots of coverage, the store bought ones tend to be skimpy in the upper region where all the splatters seem to occur. I even added an inch in height for more neck coverage. I got the material on sale at Joann's probably around $2 a yard, needed less than 2 yards. It is apparently leftover from Valentine's Day, but I thought the dogs were adorable. As Hal says, "it's very bright,"
cutting out pieces

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July Garden Update

Summer is here. A type of summer we haven't seen in a couple of years. It is HOT and HUMID. Yesterday it hit 94.1 F, the day before 93.3. Humidity has been above 60%, but we aren't getting the rain we need so I've had to water the gardens a lot. Unfortunately, my 75 foot hose broke up when it was accidentally left outside this past winter so until I buy a new one I've had to lug a watering can to the cucumber garden. The cukes have been suffering consequently and the vines on the longest are barely a foot long. I'm afraid it's another bad year for cucumbers, no pickles this year unless this change dramatically.

My zucchini plants on the other hand are doing marvelously well over in their new location on the other side of the snow pea fence. I haven't had such healthy plants in years. And to think they're mainly in sand with a spade full of composted dirt underneath.
Have had a pretty good crop of snow peas this year, too, the heat is finally getting to the last of them which happen to be the variety Oregon Sugar Pod II. Huge pods but even when I forget to pick them thin and the peas are forming they still cook up nice and tender. I shall definitely have to plant them again.
Zucchini in front of snow pea fence
Still waiting on my one and only bean planting to make beans, there are flowers but barely any beans yet. Those are the Jade variety, The Masai was total crop failure except for 2 plants. And I tried planting twice.

Got some green cherry tomatoes and slicing tomatoes. No idea when those will ripen, not this week apparently. They're all in pots so it's easier to keep them watered.

And I haven't done much with flowers in years, I'm just lucky some I planted are so resilient (even though the false sunflower are prone to powdery mildew.
rudbeckia with false sunflower in the back
Someday, I'll get back to weeding. Maybe when the heat breaks. (and today's high was 90.3)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I Made Another Skirt!

This time I made a less fitted, longer skirt with an elastic waistband and drawstring. I think I should have not worried so much about fitting my hips and done what all the books I borrowed said to do about this type of skirt and go by the waist size. It's definitely a bit baggy on me but as it's a summery, lightweight cotton it's not that noticeable (I hope). I did take about a quarter inch in along the side seams which helped a little.

This skirt also has a flounce. It's like a ruffle only it uses less material and it's not gathered. For the heck of it I pinned the pattern pieces together and the flounce wasn't the same length as the hem which drove me nuts for at least a week. I asked on a sewing message board and did a lot of web searching and read up on flounces in all the library books I borrowed. Everything I found said they should be the same length. I figured it might have something to do with part of the flounce (it's a long curved rectangle) being cut on the bias, so I did a small test piece in muslin and indeed, enough of it stretched to fit.
But I was also adding a couple inches in length to the whole skirt which would change the flounce length and as I didn't know the math behind that difference, I couldn't adjust accordingly. So I erred on the side of caution and added more than I needed which made attaching the flounce and cutting off the excess a bit of a pain. It wasn't a perfect solution, but again, it's probably only me who will be bothered by it.

Tonight I finished the skirt and though it's another lousy photo, here it is. Hopefully, I'll have a better photo soon.
Simplicity 1807