Planting…….

Spring is in de air, La Da De Da da…..Spring is in de air…” Jabber gaily sang this morning. 

Not that it is, it’s just that she’d LIKE for it to be.  Occasionally, these past couple of weeks, we’ve had a whiff of spring.  Yesterday was perfect for a, oh well, you know……7 and a half mile walk downtown, which is what Vanna

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and I did (doesn’t everyone?)…….but today it’s overcast, looks like rain and the forecast is for……colder weather.  Two weeks ago it snowed, but who is looking backwards? 

(How, you might ask, could a 110 year old and her friend do that—walk 7 and a half miles?  Well, we PLANTED one foot in front of the other!  I don’t think I’ve ever walked that far in my life.  Vanna has, though, so she led the way.  The other question might be why?  Half Marathon coming up.  That’s why.  I make no promises.  Just keep tryin’.)

What to do, what to do?  I have spring fever!

“I am NOT taking another 7 and a half mile walk with you today!” grumbled Jabberwocky.  “You guys can’t even count stop lights or read street signs like you’re told to do an’ you get lost all the time.  Never mind being lost in the park, you get lost on the streets!  Lost in translation!”

Which is sadly the truth, even if there is no translation.  Evidently neither Vanna nor I can count stop lights.  Too busy jabbering away…..

So today, with a spurt of energy this morning, I dutifully put the corned beef and potatoes and carrots and onion in the crock pot for tonight and roasted a bunch of vegetables I’ve been meaning to do and made breakfast.  (I’ll post the roasted vegetables recipe in a moment.)  And now, I’ve STILL got spring fever, but less energy.  So……..

I planted the lettuce. 

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Thing #1 is almost going to bolt and I’ll need to cut off the offending sprout.  The others were looking like they want to be planted, so they got put into a pot of soil and watered and fed, too. 

Noticing packets of lettuce seeds lurking about in the basement, leftover from previous years no doubt,

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I put together another pot and lightly sprinkled the lettuce seeds into it.  It is covered with plastic wrap (after watering) and slid under a glass-topped table on the deck.  We’ll see what grows, if anything!~

image  The seed packet DOES say “guaranteed to grow”………

Here is an update photo of the onion pot:

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Do you think I should leave the tops or cut them back?  I don’t know.  Help me out here!

I’m a lazy gardener.  It has to be easy, it has to be quick and it can’t ever get my little paws too dirty.  Amazing that things want to GROW any way—like people, I suppose—just give ‘em a chance.  And so I have.  Grow little seeds, grow!  As for you, bigger plants-from-cuttings, I’m amazed at your progress.

And I have to say, frankly, I’m amazed at my progress, too.  Mostly it’s due to my friends, like Vanna and the rest of the Y-Knots, who keep me going—even if we are lost, we just keep on keepin’ on and sooner or later, we find our way.  And even when we ARE lost, we have a good time.

What about your spring fever?  Are you planting—either seeds or one foot in front of the other or both?

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

 


Thumper, Vanna and Jabber’s Walk in the Park Adventure

Yesterday morning, at the break of dawn….oh, alright, it was 8:30 if I HAVE to be honest about it,

Vanna,

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Thumper,

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and Jabber

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took a walk in the park.

Not just any park, mind you.  The dreaded ‘mountain’ walk. 

Oh, alright….it isn’t actually a mountain, but if one is of a certain age, it seems like a mountain with its 10% grades and I swear it is uphill both going and coming…..but I digress…….on with the story.

Leader,

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as encouragement, said, “Walk for something………”  Leader runs for coffee. (Leader ought to be called Tigger because she bouncy-bouncy-bouncy jumps and lightly bounces all around us, back and forth, just like Tigger in Winnie the Pooh when she is with us.) Today we were on our own.  We, of course, walk for muffins.  We have our priorities……….

So, Leader had said, “do the usual route……” assuming that we KNEW the ‘usual’ route and once up could get down. “Oh, and do the upper loop at least twice,” she added.

We are dutiful followers.  We did the upper loop twice.  We were proud of ourselves!  Okay, now down the mountain we galloped. 

Oh, alright, not really. (You are such sticklers for the truth!) 

We walked down the hill which was, as previously mentioned uphill all the way, too.  (The waiting muffins were looming large in our minds about now……)

During the course of our trip down the mountain, we met Sadie, the three-year-old Golden Doodle who was busy searching for moles.  She was taking her person for a walk.  We stopped and talked with her which is how we found out how old she was, what breed she was, and that she enjoyed finding moles.  She has rabbits at home which she carries about in her mouth, not hurting them, and has been known to carry a mole back to the person’s car—still living, mind you, she just wanted to bring it home to play with.

But, I’m digressing again……….

Sadie WAS busy, and so we parted ways and proceeded on down the hill.  We came to a fork in the path—there are MANY forks in the paths on the mountain.  Jabber said, “Leader told us to always go down and to go west!” and so we proceeded, after a brief discussion of which way WAS west, and on we went.  We repeated this decision-making process several times.

I pointed out what I thought was Peagram or maybe Kingston Springs, only about 8 miles from our home, and on the horizon, I thought I saw Dickson?  (This was in jest, my friends, not really.  We had not gotten off the darned mountain!  But it sure seemed like it……..)

About 30 minutes later, we found we were in an area which did not look familiar.  It didn’t take 30 minutes to get UP the mountain, but it was taking a long time to get down……hmmmmmm?

Were we LOST? 

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No.  Couldn’t be.  We saw signs of civilization—there was a rest area marked, ‘Closed for the Winter’ but we rested there anyway, closed or not.  And regrouped.

Just then, we spied Sadie driving home with her person.  Vanna flagged them down.  Admitting that we were lost, we asked directions.  Sadie seemed to pity us and conferred with her person…………or maybe she asked if she could take us home to play with, I don’t know.  (We would not have fit into her mouth, anyway, and she was not of the temperament to do that………..)

So we hitchhiked with them as Sadie and her person drove us to familiar territory, still a bit of a hike back to the parking lot, but at least we knew where we were.

And then we went for coffee AND muffins which Vanna had provided.  And from there to a yard sale.

(I know what you are thinking—WERE the muffins worth walking for?  Answer:  yes!!)

We had lots of fun!  And we had lots of exercise. 

Which only goes to prove that the Y-Knots can make an adventure out of anything, and brings me to the poem running about in my brain……….with apologies to John Lennon…………

Throg hilly grove and burly ive,

Big dailies, grass and tree,

We clobber ever gallop,

Vanna, Thumper and me.

(and sometimes Sadie)

 

What’s for Supper?

“An’ what’s for ‘sert? An’ are the kids comin’?” inquired Jabber about noon yesterday.

Hmmmm, I had to think about this.  It was chilly outside, but sunny.  Late winter, with the days getting longer, but still feeling that we needed comfort food.  The kids WERE coming for supper and I wanted to make something a bit different.

Shrimp N’ Grits!

Required a run to the store, but thankfully it was Wednesday and “old people’s day” so I get a 5% discount at Publix being the ripe old age of 110.  Good! 

(And a note about this discount:  first of all, the checkout folks always try to make me feel younger by not immediately offering to give me the discount. Anyway, that’s what I choose to think.  Secondly, I’ve actually been carded which is somewhat of a hoot!  But truthfully, I want my discount, so I always inquire if they’d calculated it.  I’ve noticed the past few times, they no longer look at me inquiringly but just say, “Oh, YES!”  I don’t want to contemplate what this means.)

There I go digressing again and all you want to know is what’s for supper.  So, here goes:

First, decide what is for dessert, the most important part of any meal, of course.  So I dug out a box of frozen cookie dough lurking in the freezer from the holidays and proceeded to bake them:

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Cranberry walnut and chocolate chip.  Made up a big batch.  Pretty tasty, although I refrained from sampling because while the cookies were baking, one batch after another, I was

image  Cleaning the shrimp.

And

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And……….

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And, I took a minute to do this:

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Yes, I planted the bottom of the onions in the onion pot.  Notice that I now have another sprout coming up from the onions I planted earlier!  I watered them well, and went back to the kitchen to proceed with supper………..

Drain cleaned shrimp well and lay out on a paper towel.  Blot well.  Place shrimp in flour, salt and pepper and toss around.  Lay out shrimp in another dish or cookie sheet while you prepare the rest of the ingredients:

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Sautee the mushrooms and onions as directed in a bit of bacon grease.  I turned off the burner and set these aside when they were softened. 

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Next, I made the grits—YUMMY! 

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Cover and place in a warm oven, but not hot.  You just want to keep them warm until you serve them.

Now, chop up the salad and add tomatoes.  Start another lettuce growing by placing the bottom of the Romaine in water.  (See previous posts on Lettuce.)  And cut up your French bread, wrap in foil.  You can heat that up right before dinner is served.

image  I topped salad with cheddar cheese.

Clean up, wait for the kids to show.  Around here, we’re never sure exactly when, but when I say I’m cooking supper, they usually DO appear!  Sure enough, they did…………so then, I turned the oven on to heat the bread and proceeded to heat up the mushrooms and onions in the pan…….

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Then I added the shrimp and browned them. Finally you add the chicken stock and other ingredients to finish the shrimp.

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Shrimp N’ Grits, salad, French bread and cookies.  It’s what’s for supper.

Recipe:

(Note, I doubled this recipe to serve six people because…….we love Shrimp N’ Grits.  I did have a little bit left over, but not much!)

Shrimp and Grits (makes 4 meal-sized servings)
Chef:  Bill Smith
Crook’s Corner
Chapel Hill, N.C.
SOUTHERN LIVING (unsure of date)

2 cups water
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
¾ cup half and half
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup regular grits
¾ cup shredded Cheddar cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesean cheese
2 Tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon hot sauce
¼ teaspoon white pepper
3 bacon slices
1 lb. medium-size shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sliced mushrooms
½ cup chopped green onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon hot sauce
Lemon wedges

Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan, gradually whisk in grits.  Reduce heat, simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes or until thickened.  Add Cheddar cheese and next 4 ingredients.  Keep warm

Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 Tablespoon drippings in skillet.  Crumble bacon, and set aside.

Sprinkle shrimp with pepper and salt; dredge in flour.

Sauté mushrooms in hot drippings in skillet 5 minutes or until tender.  Add green onions and sauté 2 minutes.  Add shrimp and garlic, and sauté 2 minutes or until shrimp are lightly brown.  Stir in chicken broth, lemon juice, and hot sauce, and cook 2 more minutes, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet.

Serve shrimp mixture over hot cheese grits.  Top with crumbled bacon and sprinkle a few chopped green onions on top; serve with lemon wedges if desired.

Small Bathroom Redo

This week Bob, the Painter/plumber/electrician and decorator has been locked away upstairs in the bathroom.

I know, I know, every February/March I seem to lock Bob up in a closet or a bathroom or sometimes a bathroom closet.  It’s getting to be a habit!  His wife is most understanding, only asking I allow him to come home for supper and to feed his horses and sleep and then, voila! Bob is back again.   Amazing guy, eh what?

“Yes, ‘tis,” commented Jabberwocky who nobody asked for an opinion, “’Cause after the first time, you’d have thunk Bob woulda’ said no way, yet he seems to rather LIKE being locked up in closets and bathrooms and when he leaves, things are definitely changed for the betters.”

Well, never mind Jabber.  Wait ‘til you see what he’s accomplished this time!

First, the before pictures of the upstairs bathroom:

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The geranium/bunny theme was the décor for 11 years.  I liked it, it was a lot of fun, but it was getting a bit dated.  One of the biggest issues with this bathroom was that the toilet ‘rocked’ and did not operate as it should.  We’d had it looked at, but were told nothing could be done.

Well, they did not know about Bob!

The major benefit to having him redo the bathroom was that he reseated the toilet and worked on it so that it now operates very well.  This required that he build a platform for the toilet itself as the floor tile was uneven. 

image  See the platform in distressed black around the base of the toilet.

He also installed a new shower head with a removable head so that the shower itself can be sprayed for cleaning. 

I know you are wanting to see the finished bathroom, so here it is:

As one turns down a short hallway, this is what one sees:

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At the opposite angle:

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And directly to the right,

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image  A yard sale mirror ($15), light from Lowe’s, standing towel rack from Lowe’s.

image  A towel ring or bar to the left of the mirror would have blocked a small portion of the mirror itself.  Bob removed the large plate glass mirror (in one piece!) so that this more updated  mirror and light fixture could be installed.

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Daughter had presented me with the Chinese Rooster picture two years ago.  She got it for me when we took our first “Girls’ Longest Yard Sale Trip” and she paid $1 for it.  I have not had a place to display it.  This bathroom is perfect!

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The clock is a recent yard sale treasure as are the circus juggling sticks and metal wire basket.  I’ve had the croquet balls and cake stand for a while.  They seem to add the pop of color needed.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

 

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The vanity base cabinets were painted black and then distressed with a glaze.  Bob changed two of the knobs for these bin pulls which matched the knobs.  (I had them leftover.) 

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The cabinet above the toilet was glazed and Bob outlined it with the glaze.  This makes it look old, but is not so dark as to overwhelm the small space.  Towel bar space is at a premium in this bathroom.  We purchased a double towel bar which helps significantly.

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I chose a plain black shower curtain (Bed, Bath and Beyond for about $20) and there is the new shower head.  The bath mat was also from Bed, Bath and Beyond and provides softness, texture and a carry through of the black.

image  The mat has the cushioned underside, too.

The back side of the door is glazed as well as the nominal baseboard in the room.  Here are more details:

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Bin pulls and knobs were already silver.  We purchased some silver spray paint with the rough finish and Bob painted the hinges, door knobs, and switch plates and waste basket so that they coordinated with the overall look. 

The walls are painted a pewter which is one shade lighter than the bedroom nearby.

I am pleased with this look—updated, a bit European, and neutral.  While I would not like a lot of cabinets done in this finish, I do think it is an interesting bathroom look.

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(Note:  the shading over the toilet is a reflection from the camera.)

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Lettuce Report

I know you have been holding your collective breath waiting for an update on the lettuce experiment. 

No?

Oh, alright.  But I’m going to give you an update anyway:

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Thing 1:  15 days and it’s now 4 1/2 inches high (the leaves).

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Thing 2:  13 days (I think) and it’s now 3 1/2 inches high.

And the bottom of the lettuces look like they are sprouting roots, so soon it may be time to plant them in soil.

The onions?  Well…….nothing so far other than the one sprout (which had occurred prior to being planted) is looking healthy enough:

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I just moved the onion pot outside as it looks like the weather is going to be more moderate.

 

New Rug!

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To replace this one:

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Because the colors are better in the room and with the dining room rug in the adjoining area:

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Estate sale!  I was very happy with the purchase.  Rug was purchased at an Estate Sale at half the price the sellers had originally asked.  Often sellers will mark their leftover merchandise down on the second (or last) day of their sale. 

(Snow was coming down Saturday morning, the second day of the sale, but you know the old adage “neither rain nor snow nor dark of night will keep US from our appointed rounds.”  Yes, that is the Brocanters’ mantra!  I had to wait and take a chance that the rug would not be there the second day—but it was waiting for me when we walked in as soon as the sale began that snowy morning.   Cupcake, another lady, and I rolled it up and placed it in the Brocanting van for its trip home.)

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The rug rode with us to one more sale at a church which had individual sellers INSIDE.  Boy, that was a delightful sale.  We were warm and toasty while we shopped around a large open area for treasures.  And yes, we all found some!

This is one of my treasures………..

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A girl can never have too many Christmas trees, right?

Onion Done Yet?

(Aren’t you done yet?)  No.

“You are really into trash, aren’t ya?” commented Jabberwocky and for once, she’s right.

Encouraged by the Lettuce Experiment, a couple of onions in my kitchen decided they, too wanted to participate.  I’m not kidding.

Last night I discovered that two onions, just laying around in a basket on the counter, were eager to participate in a similar experiment.  One had already begun to sprout, right there in the basket:

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The other had begun to decompose:

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So, of course I had to plant them first thing this morning!

First, cut them in half, so I had four to plant.

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Next I took them to the basement area, located an empty pot and some Styrofoam peanuts and some potting soil and planted them!  They’re on the deck now………….well watered with a bit of plant food and with a layer of coffee grounds on top of them, too, for good measure.  (Do not plant very deep, leave about 1/4 inch soil on top to cover.) 

The onion which was already sprouted was planted flat portion down, the other side of it was flat side up as the bottom portion of that side was the original root.  Did the same with the onion which was decomposing.

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Now we wait!

(And yes, the pot came from a sale last fall.)

Thing 1 and Thing 2

Lettuce experiment:

Thing 1, Day 8:

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Thing 2, Day 3:

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Each water glass received about 1/8 teaspoon of liquid plant food yesterday.

So far, so good…………

Meanwhile, this is some of the snow which fell yesterday, melted a bit, then froze over the edge:

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Lettuce Try an Experiment

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Cut off the base.  Put it in a small glass of tap water so that it is fully submerged.  Change water daily and be sure it gets enough light.

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And then on day 7…………………

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And so I gave it some plant food……….to be continued………

Birthday Gathering

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Here is the Birthday Girl, Vanna!

We do not like to let birthdays go by without some sort of celebration.  We had a small gathering for Vanna yesterday at Girlfriend’s house.  Doesn’t Vanna look gorgeous!  Yes, we do think she’s a year younger indeed.

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Cupcake with her “Miami” shirt on was there.  Turns out Cupcake was under the impression her shirt said “Miami” instead of “Maine.”  No problem.  I thought, at first, her shirt said, “Maxine.”  None of us are very literate it seems.  Oh, alright, some of us are.  Some of us aren’t!                                                            

 image  Thumper.

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The ever mischievous Girlfriend.

(Definition:  playfully naughty or troublesome: behaving or likely to behave in a naughty or troublesome way, but in fun and not meaning serious harm.  Yes, that’s Girlfriend!  Except for the time she got the Brocanters kicked out of a sale, but that’s a different story.)

We put together a bucket of Love and a mop for Vanna as a gift.  Yes there is a story to this, too, but I won’t get into it here.

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She was thrilled ? with the gifts. 

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Here is Vanna modeling her new apron.  How stylish!  We aren’t sure Vann had ever seen an apron before, but she seemed to adapt very well.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          image

Of course there was cake!  A delicious one, too, made by Girlfriend.

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image  Thumper is serious about her piece of cake!

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So is Cupcake.  After all, cake is just another form of ‘cupcakes’!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

HAPPY BIRTHDAY VANNA!

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