Three Things / Thankful on Thursday

Thankful on Thursday

I have been sitting here and contemplating what to write about tonight. There are things in the works that I’m not ready to share yet and things I planned and haven’t been able to begin. Still, there is much to be grateful for.

One: I am grateful for the skills that my mother started me on when I was a wee child; hand-stitching from the age of two or so, for one. Knitting and crochet and embroidery for more. I feel so deeply happy when I knit and crochet; I feel connected to such a long line of women in my family who all did the same, either to keep their family warm and cosy or to be creative or, in most cases, both. Last winter i crocheted an enormous throw for my friends in Tacoma. Out of cotton yarn. It began as an idea for a light (ha!) summer wrap, something to keep  one’s back warm when sitting by an evening campfire. And it morphed into this:

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I used two yarns; one teal and the other a variegate with teal, mandarin orange and white. I started in the centre, crocheted once around, then joined the second yarn. I just kept alternating yarns in a lovely spiral. I changed the pattern a couple of times, too, but now I wish I’d written down what I did. I would like to try this again one day, but with three yarn colours. I did find at first that the variegate interfered with the clarity of the pattern. Next time I will choose solid colours only. AS you can see, it’s five feet across or more. I’m still amazed that I created this in about two months, in the midst of other handwork and with only two to four hours a day, some days not at all, too.

The second thing I’m grateful for is my renewed love of sock making.  When I was in my twenties, my lovely mother in law gave me a pair of work boots for Christmas. I was living with my oldest son and his dad on one of the Gulf Islands and we walked everywhere. They were wonderful boots that fit me exactly and I have never forgotten her thoughtfulness. But I needed some warm socks to go with them. I didn’t than have the patience for knitting with fin yarns and I had some pure wool rug yarn, so I took a men’s dress sock pattern and did the math. The resulting pattern was a perfect fit and I had those socks for many years.

A few weeks ago my cousin and I were driving to Vernon for some of the weekly sales shopping and he kindly took me to Armstrong along the way. Armstrong is a small town about twenty minutes from here, not far off the main highway. We went to The Twisted Purl Yarn Studio and I bought some Jamieson & Smith pure wool two ply jumper yarn in five colours: black, burgundy, red, pink and a sort of sage green. I had not stopped to think what I might make, so gave the colour selection less thought than usual,; the selection was small for my taste and I simply picked colours that I thought I could use successfully in Fair Isle type stranded knitting. A few days later I decided I needed a pair of wool socks and the adventure began. The colours aren’t quite what I like, but I think they are working out fairly well. In any case, they will keep my feet toasty warm.

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AS you can see, I’ve successfully turned the heel and am about to begin knitting my way up the leg. The other sock is ready to have its heel created, too. There are a few errors in the knitting; While doing the hearts motif I was listening to Runrig on my headphones and lost track of the counting, so some of the hearts aren’t quite right. By the time I noticed it was too late for frogging. And while doing the heel, the pattern required using short rows with a wrapped stitch at the beginning and then picking up the wrap with the stitch and knitting or purling them together. Sounds easy, right? Well, try doing that with black yarn in the late evening and under rather dim lighting. Not to mention that my eyesight is not too good at present. However, I got through rather well, I think and the heel looks fine to me.

Today, with snow coming tonight for the firs time this autumn, we went to Vernon again so that I could buy a pair of thick work socks, some heavy work gloves for shovelling snow and the like and some more candied ginger. My cousin is a very kind man and made time to take me to the Twisted Purl again, where I put in an order for a few colours I feel I need before I begin the next pair of socks and another ball of the black for this pair. The Purl was out of the black but ready to make another order, so I asked for not only the black but also a medium green, a slightly golden yellow and I think another colour. And as long as I was in the store . . . I bought these:

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Two balls of dark green, one of a light blue, one of  a darker blue and one each of the three reds I’m already using in the current socks. We were in a bit of a rush to get all the shopping done and get home before dark, so I didn’t want to take time over the colours and order more. I think I can make these work, though. I have a happy pattern in mind for the legs of the next pair and I’ll share that with you all once I get to that. It’s all part of the plan for next year . . .

The third thing I’m grateful for today is my odd knack for baking ‘on the fly’; adapting recipes that I’ve never made before I make them and then having it all work out so well. Usually, anyway. Yesterday my cousin’s wife, Cousin S, gave me five bananas she had brought home from her work as a school custodian. They had black spots on the skins but were still firm. She mentioned that she had been thinking of banana bread and had Googled for a recipe, finding one for Chocolate Banana Bread. I offered to whip that up, as she rarely has time for baking and after lunch I set to. I added chopped walnuts, whole wheat flour and wheat germ to the original recipe (I like to maximize nutrition as much as possible). I doubled the recipe so that I could use all the bananas and when I found the batter a bit dry I added some yoghurt. In the end, we got twenty four muffins out of the recipe. I chose to do muffins instead of a loaf as it makes it easier to pack one for lunch and, wrapped individually, they keep very well in the fridge. They turned out scrumptious, especially hot from the oven with butter after I split them open. The chocolate chips didn’t hurt, either; they formed wee volcanoes of deliciousness that I’m sure you can imagine.

I will share the recipe here, likely tomorrow. It was very easy and well worth it.


Chocolate Banana Muffins 

INGREDIENTS for a single recipe: makes 12 muffins or one loaf.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4  cup wheat germ

1/2 cup cocoa, preferably not processed with alkali

1 tsp baking soda rounded slightly

1/2 tsp salt (less if you like) The original recipe called for sea salt, but we don’t have that, so I used regular table salt.

3 large brown bananas – 1.5 cups mashed

(I find there is a more pleasant and mild banana flavour if the bananas aren’t too ripe, but I abhor waste, so use whatever you have)  🙂

1/4 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled

1/4 cup oil (I used safflower)

Note: you can use all butter, all oil or cut it back and substitute yoghurt or milk for part of the liquid.

3/4 cup packed brown sugar (if you measure the oil and butter first, then the brown sugar in the same cup, you will waste less oil/butter). This will work with less sugar.

1 large egg at room temperature (I didn’t see this recipe in time to take one out, so I used a cold egg. You could use 2 smaller eggs if you don’t have large.)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 to 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 to 1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 to 1 cup raisins (large are great and for special occasions, you can soak them in rum or brandy first; the alcohol is eliminated during baking, leaving only the flavour)

Optional for topping: chop some chocolate chips and walnuts together. You would need a few tablespoons of the chopped mix.

Optional (if needed): plain or vanilla yoghurt OR milk

INGREDIENTS for a double recipe: makes 24 muffins or two loaves.

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2  cup wheat germ

1 cup cocoa, preferably not processed with alkali. I used a couple of heaping tablespoons more; we like chocolate around here.

2 tsp baking soda rounded slightly

1 tsp salt (less if you like) The original recipe called for sea salt, but we don’t have that, so I used regular table salt.

5 – 6 large brown bananas – 3 cups mashed. I confess I didn’t measure them. Hence the yoghurt added at the end.

(I find there is a more pleasant and mild banana flavour if the bananas aren’t too ripe, but I abhor waste, so use whatever you have)  🙂

1/2 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled

1/2 cup oil (I used safflower)

Note: you can use all butter, all oil or cut it back and substitute yoghurt or milk for part of the liquid.

1.5 cups packed brown sugar (if you measure the oil and butter first, then the brown sugar in the same cup, you will waste less oil/butter) This will work with less sugar.

2 large eggs at room temperature (I didn’t see this recipe in time to take them out, so I used cold eggs. You could use 3 – 4 smaller eggs if you don’t have large.)

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 to 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 to 2  cups chopped walnuts

1 to 2 cups raisins (large are great and for special occasions, you can soak them in rum or brandy first; the alcohol is eliminated during baking, leaving only the flavour). I didn’t use raisins this time; cousin M has requested them for next timre, as he loves the large raisins we buy.

Optional for topping: chop some chocolate chips and walnuts together. You would need a few tablespoons of the chopped mix.

Optional (if needed): plain or vanilla yoghurt OR milk

Variation: I think these would be wonderful made with chocolate chips and chopped candied ginger, too. But I love candied ginger! lol

METHOD:

Heat oven to 350 F

Grease one or two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans or one or two 12 hole muffin pans, I use a non-hydrogenated margarine made with olive oil. Safflower oil would likely work, too. I like the margarine because it isn’t absorbed so much by the muffins / loaves.

In a medium sized bowl mix the flours, wheat germ, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl mash the peeled bananas with a fork or a pastry cutter.Add the butter and oil. Stir until well mixed.stir in the brown sugar, egg and vanilla extract. Beat well with a wooden spoon until smooth.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, folding in carefully. I usually add the dry mix in three portions; it makes the folding in easier. Don’t overmix.

IF the mixture seems too dry, add a few heaping tblsp of plain or vanilla yoghurt. Milk can also be used. Use your judgement; less is more sometimes.

Fold in the chocolate chips, walnuts and raisins.

Using a large serving spoon or a tablespoon (a small metal measuring cup would also work, I think), spoon the batter into the muffin cups or the loaf pans.

Optional: Spoon a little of the topping mix onto each muffin or top the loaves with it, if using. I didn’t and they were fine without it. It’s my idea, not from the original recipe; I just thought it would fancy them up for a special occasion.

If making a loaf, the original recipe calls for baking it for 50 – 65 minutes. I’d test them from about 30 minutes on, using a toothpick or table knife. When it comes out clean, remove from the oven, let cool for 5 – 10 minutes, then remove to a rack.

If making muffins, bake for about 15 – 20 minutes and then test to see if they need more time. Every oven is different. I had mine in a 400 F oven for 25 minutes and it was a wee bit too long; the chocolate didn’t burn, but it would have if I’d not checked them.

These muffins are fantastic eaten hot, split open and buttered. You may want to make tea, coffee or your favourite hot drink to enjoy along with them.


I have more to tell you, but it will have to wait. It’s well after midnight now and bed is calling me . . .

Correction:

I didn’t link to The Twisted Yarn’s Three Things on Thursday post. And a good thing, too! I was doing my best to get back to more timely posting and typed that from memory. Actually, the Thankful on Thursday posts belong to Mrs. Snail. My apologies to both ladies.

It’s too dark for me to type properly as it is. I’ll add that tomorrow, too. In the meantime, do share your Three Things / Thankful in the comments, if you feel inspired to do so. Love and warm hugs to each of you. I hope you are all doing well.

A final addition: This is what I woke up to today:

And, as to my Peace Poppies for Kendal; they arrived in time. In this photo you can see two of them quite clearly (the ones with the red bit around their black centre):

The second photo shows the WWI medical tent over which the poppies were draped after being fastened together by some wonderful volunteers.

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Martha s Original Christmas Cookie (biscuit) recipe

Sorry I had to leave out the apostrophes in the titles; no idea what I did, but this laptop is very touchy and all of a sudden began producing an accented è instead of the apostrophe. I am having trouble with the slanting line for fractions, too, (1é3) so have writtern them out. arrgghhhh

sigh . . .

First tray in the oven . . .

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

:Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper to save on cleanup and extra fat. Trust me, the cookies have their fair share of calories! And that is why I prefer to make recipes like this once a year for a feast, then get back on the straight and narrow; well, somewhat straight and narrow, if I have to be completely honest 🙂

I am adding my notes as I go along, but will put just the necessary items in a list at the bottom. That way you can copy them and print as you like.

It is a good idea to take the butter out of the fridge and let it soften to room temperature. I used Olivina, unhydrogenated margarine, as it stays soft even in the fridge.

In a medium sized bowl mix the following dry ingredients:
2 c flour
(Mum used white, so I did that when making the cookies as gifts in her name. Myself, I would be more likely to use whole wheat, maybe some rye, a bit of wheat germ, etc. But then they would be MY original cookies, not hers. 🙂
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
In a large bowl (I used my small bread bowl, but it is fairly large in size)
Cream two thirds cup butter, softened (or you can use margarine of good flavour)
Add two thirds cup golden brown sugar a third at a time, continuing to cream the mixture
Whisk in two large eggs and cream some more
Add 2 Tblsp milk and mix, then add
1 tsp. vanilla (we prefer the real vanilla, not the imitation)
Method:
Add the dry ingredients to the wet a half cup or so at a time, mixing thoroughly.
Fold in:
One half cu:p chopped walnuts
One half cup chopped almonds
Three quarters cup chopped maraschino cherries
Three quarters cup mixed candied fruit peel
One and a half cups sultana raisins
Stir until fruit is well mixed in, then drop by rounded tablespoons onto the parchment paper. These cookies do not spread, so can be fairly close together.
For smaller (and more) cookies, use rounded teaspoons of dough
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes – do not over bake! I suggest making a few as a test run first to be sure of the time. I baked mine for 12 minutes when I had tablespoons of dough and for 10 minutes when I had teaspoons of dough. Size does matter!
Remove to wire racks to cool, then pack into containers or zip lock bags for storing. Better hide some; they do not last long . . .

A closer view

Here are the easy and more readable instructions.

Martha s Original Christmas Cookies

Dry Ingredients:
2 c. flour
One tsp. baking powder
One half tsp. baking soda
One tsp. salt
Wet ingredients:
Two thirds c. butter
Two thirds c. brown sugar
Two large eggs
Two tblsp. milk
One tsp. real vanilla
Fruit and Nuts:
One half c. chopped walnuts
One half c. chopped almonds
Three quarter c. chopped maraschino cherries
Three quarter c. mixed candied fruit peel
One and a half c. Sultana raisins
Method:
Set Oven to 375 degrees F.
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or grease lightly with butter or margarine
Mix dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl
Cream wet ingredients in a large bowl
Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ones, mixing well between each addition
Fold in nuts and fruit
Drop by rounded tablespoons on to cookie sheets, spacing fairly close together
Bake 8-10 minutes – do not overbake! Try a few first as a test batch, then adjust baking time for your oven and altitude.
Let cool on wire racks, then pack into containers or zip lock bags for storing
These are excellent hot from the oven with cold milk, as we would have them on baking day as soon as we were home from school and changed out of our school clothes.

Cookies cooling and snack plate set up

Cookies cooling and snack plate set up

Cookies cooling and snack plate set up

 

 

3 quotes in 3(?) days/periods of time/weeks/??? Post #2

I think I should warn you . . . a cuppa won’t last through this post; best make a big pot of tea, coffee, whatever suits you today . . .

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Above is a half-grown magpie rescued by the Crafties. I was there visiting and had the joy of feeding it and holding it for most of the time I was on the front porch.

The Three Quote Challenge . . .

Well, I did warn you that it might take a bit for me to finish this challenge . . . 🙂 (and to learn more about it, visit Pauline & the 3 Quote Challenge and you can follow back -or forward- to some of the many others who are taking part). Pauline threw the gates open to volunteers, so feel free to join in. Maybe let Pauline (and Apple Pie and Napalm) know you are coming to the party . . .

Back in 1970 I had a wonderful woman doctor who introduced me to alternative approaches to health and healing. A few years later she had her license taken away by the medical association, not for causing any harm, but for “unorthodox practises”. Being a woman doctor AND unorthodox . . . oh, my!

Among the sources and ideas she shared with me was a book about Edgar Cayce, now widely regarded as the father of holistic healing and medicine.

His work has helped me ever since then and I have always had positive results from applying his recommendations for  physical healing. But it was his suggestions for mental, emotional and spiritual growth that have helped me the most.

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Canada Day, 01 July

 

 

 

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The past weeks have been very challenging for me; I took my Mum to the ER on the 13th of July. As it turned out, she had a serious inflammation in her lower left leg and both lower legs had been swollen for some time, something she was able to hide for quite a while. Since at first we were told it might be staph, or strep or a super-bug, my RN sister, who had been here for a visit just days previously, flew back to help me thoroughly clean most of the condo. It was a massive job, especially for someone who has been extremely sedentary for the past three years (that would be me . . .)

Once done the cleaning, my sister and I were able to get some much-needed organizing done, along with some unpacking. The place looked SO much better by the time she had to leave.

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See . . . ? The front hall, formerly half-full of boxes.

Mum came home on the 22nd, my sister returned on the 23rd, along with our last living Auntie and the Celebration of Life for my Aunty who passed away in April was held on Saturday the 25th. People brought photo albums and it was good to see new photos of my older family. Here are a few: IMG_9905

My maternal grandparents, around the time of their engagement and marriage, probably 1910 or ’11. They met and married in North Dakota, had two children, then moved, along with her parents and several siblings, to Saskatchewan.

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My grandmother, standing, whom I never met, as she died in 1933. She loved her hats and I wish at least one and some of her lovely clothing, had survived the years. That’s one of her sisters sitting in the chair,


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My Aunty when she was young.

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My maternal grandparents and the first seven of eleven children. One died at birth and the girl with the black curly hair died at ten years. My Mum is the baby here, held by her mother. It was the day she and her next older sister (in the chair beside the eldest girl) were christened. The wee girl on the right, with her Dad’s arm around her, is my Aunty that I stayed with for so much of the past three years. Behind them is one of their early homes.

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This summer we have had very nice weather for the most part. Often coolish, rarely baking hot, just what I like. But not much rain and we could really use some. We had two thunderstorms this past week or so and I loved the light-show, but rain would have been most welcome . . . we seem tyo be teetering on the edge of a drought and that’s scary. The storm above was lovely to watch as it approached over the hill/berm to the west, but didn’t bring much moisture with it.

The Celebration went well and I met relatives I knew only by name and from hearing stories about them through the years. It was good to see others that I had not seen for more than six years, too. My cousin (the younger of my Aunty’s two sons, gave a beautiful eulogy, although he had a hard time getting through some parts.

By Tuesday, the relatives were all gone home again and life began to return to normal, or NiRmL, as I think of it these days.

Then I developed swelling in both my lower legs, a fair bit in the left leg. And then what looked like a pressure sore developed, then another, both just where my short socks’ elastic presses. Then the spots joined and began spreading around my ankle . . .

(hold on, there’s a reason I’m sharing all this)

But first, while looking for a quilting pattern, I stumbled upon this post, put up five years ago by Nan from Pots & Pins blog:  her recipe for Butter Cream Scones

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Of course, first thing I did was to mess around with it, sort of like the Water Rat in The Wind in the Willows, thinking to myself in a parody of said Rat, “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing—absolutely nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about with recipes. Simply messing,” I went on dreamily: “messing—about—with—recipes; messing—”

And so I swapped out 1/4 cup of the flour for 1/4 cup of wheat germ, and swapped 1/4 of the baking powder for an equal amount (more or less) of baking soda, then at the last minute I added a few drops of lemon juice to the cream . . . like I said, simply—messing about . . . and the results were beyond scrumptious; my Mum, whose appetite has not been what it once was, loved these, warm and buttered and topped with jam. The first batch was gone the next day, so I made another . . . Two of those were given to a visiting relative and the rest somehow—just—vanished . . . Yesterday we finished off the third batch and I plan to make more tomorrow. Yes, they are that good!

I have been thinking of other variations that are possible, too, but so far we are so happy with this one it’s all we want. But if the sugar was cut way back and grated cheese added to the dry mix, along with some chopped savoury herbs or maybe some jalapeno peppers chopped very fine . . . now that would be a perfect accompaniment to a winter soup or stew. Savoury cheese scones are wonderful served with butter and jalapeno jelly, too . . . Or the dough could be dropped into a pot of simmering chicken soup by the tablespoonful to make most excellent dumplings . . . or . . . Well, anyway, one must leave something for the cold winter months, mustn’t one? Besides, what I did instead deserves its own post, but won;t get one . . . it will simply have to be content with a mention here:

I sliced some fresh strawberries and cooked then with a little water and berry sugar, let it cool, then added more sliced berries and mashed them a wee bit with a strong fork. Ileft the pot on the stove to stay warm, but with the heat turned off. I heated the scones in the microwave, split them, spooned the berry mixture and syrup over  both halves, then topped with whipped Natrel lactose-free cream. A slice of berry as garnish, plus an attempt at artful garnishing with a spoonful or so of extra syrup, and we had a dessert fit for queens and empresses . . .

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So;,if you have the care of someone whose appetite needs tempting, I highly recommend these; we love them (if that wasn’t obvious already . . .)

Back to the Three Quote Challenge . . . sort of . . .

As some of you know, I’m not one for conventional medicine unless maybe if I were to break a bone or the like, or if I simply couldn’t figure out a problem . . . so I did some online research, seeing as how my reference books are all living in the Land of Somewhere still . . . and from those results and from my memory of treatments that have served me well over the years, I came up with a plan: I have begun walking daily, usually with my good friend C, who drives over most mornings to join me. This gives us both a chance to debrief about various events in our lives, which is so helpful.

I’ve returned to a veggie-rich alkalizing diet along with a few other tried and true alkalizers. No need to wait until I have an actual infection, I say . . .

In addition to walking, I am using castor oil on both legs, along with gentle massage. Yesterday I used wet packs of epsom salts and sea salt, dissolved in hot water. And today, when C dropped by with four mojitos for us (for today and tomorrow), she did some energy work on my foot, and there was much less swelling for the rest of the day and through the night.

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fresh Lime and Mint Mojito from The Tea Place

The Tea Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada is the most fantastic food place I’ve eaten at in decades; My friend C took me there the first time and we’ve been there as often as possible since. The bubble teas are exceptional.

Last time C drove me around for several hours doing errands while we visited, we went to The Tea Place for lunch. There were salmon avocado wraps on the menu, but not the paninis I loved last summer. When I mentioned this to the owner, who was waiting on us, he immediately said that he could make that for us, and he did. Salmon, avocado and just enough wasabi to make its presence known. (this mix would be wonderful added to a green salad, making it into a full meal)The panini, along with a small bowl of Thai curry chicken soup, was as wonderful as ever. With it we had a fresh Lime & Mint Mojito, with slices of lime and sprigs of mint in each drink. Non-alcoholic, it was the most refreshing beverage I’d had in ages. I kept my mint to start my own plants (which is why C showed up yesterday with four more!) and by luck(is there such a thing?), I’d just purchased a bag of organic limes at the grocery store. I plan to try hot Mojitos this winter, too . . .

We finished up with a shared piece of Red Velvet cake and left happy!

If you are ever in Edmonton, I highly recommend at least one visit to The Tea Place (and no, they don’t even know I’m mentioning them; I just like to promote small businesses that are exceptional in nature and performance.)

NOTE: I started writing this on Tuesday, 11 August, but now it’s Wednesday 🙂

I got up this morning and there was almost NO swelling in either foot or leg! I was able to walk faster, so we went nearly a quarter block further in our 15 minutes, then turned around to come back. There is a wee bit of swelling in the left foot now, as I’e been at the computer for a while and the position I work in is not optimal. But I;ll put it up for a bit after we eat.

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This is the Mountain Ash tree that I can now walk past in our 15 minutes; it’s gorgeous, but I’m wondering (based on the number of berries) if we are in for a hard winter . . .

We also pass by the most beautiful, inspiring flower garden on our walk and one day we stopped and crossed the street to photograph it. It wasn’t until C commented that I saw the fenced veggie patch in the middle and towards the back.

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What a wonderful way to use a front yard instead of planting a hay crop, then working to keep it three inches tall . . . I know the photos don’t do it justice; use your imagination . . .

All right, I hear you! on to the Quotes . . .

Edgar-Cayce

There are many quotes from Edgar Cayce that have meant much to me over the years, but I’ll only share two today:

There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, that it doesn’t behoove any of us to speak evil of the rest of us.

It’s so easy to point fingers and criticize; so much better to hold out a helping hand or at least put that hand to better use.

I first came across this in reading a book about his work, but I don’t think it originated with him. Worth thinking about, in any case.

The other quote has been my favourite for over forty years:

Be content, but not satisfied.

To me, this means finding a way to be happy where you are, whatever the situation, while at the same time doing what you can to improve things, make progress, however you want to put it. I had sort of forgotten about the ‘be content’ bit and so began my slide into a too-long stay in the unhappy land of Overwhelm.

Another lesson learned, and about time, too. Pauline, the Contented Crafter, has taught me quite a bit about contentment on a daily basis, whatever your situation, and I think sets a great example in her practise of not getting up in the morning until she has found something to be grateful for. I need to do this myself, I think.

Well, there’s another post coming with more quotes. In the meantime, how about some music?

A beautiful acoustic love song: The Beat of You with Iain Bayne of Runrig, Paul Eastham of Coast and Douglas Chisholm of Wolfstone.

A bit more rockin; is Hopeless Wanderer by Mumford and Sons, from their latest album, Wilder Minds. Cute banjo segment, I thought. Wilder Minds, indeed . . .

Delta Blues, a couple of hours of old style classics.

Glenn Gould’s Bach – The Goldberg Variations

John Prine in 1980 singing about the horrors of strip mining: Paradise. This one’s more like a home video, but cool to see him as a young man. Here’s another of my favourites by him: Hello In There. So true . . . old age and loneliness . . .

An old favourite is Al Stewart singing Roads to Moscow

A bit of fun is called for after that . . .

Hush Little Baby

  • cello:Yo-Yo Ma
  • vocal:Bobby McFerrin
  • violin:Mark o’Connor
  • contra bass:Edgar Meye

and although I’ve posted this before, here it is again:

Ave Maria – Bobby McFerrin teaching a Master Class

bet you won’t be expecting this one . . . Come Together

but you will be expecting at least one song by Runrig, right?

A fun start to this, an impromptu blues jam, with great guitar by Malcolm Jones, during the sound check, segueing into The Cutter

You won’t be surprised to learn that attending a Runrig concert is high on my bucket list, may they play so long . . .

Well, that’s it for now, my friends . . .

March, April, May . . . part One

Wow, do I have a lot of catching up to do . . . but Mum’s computer is hooked up now and I can use it when it’s free, so here goes . . .

First of all, thanks to all my lovely readers for your comments, especially on the death of my much-loved Aunty. A loss is always difficult, even when expected. We seem to expect death to come; just not ‘today’ . . . I’ll catch up with replies to comments soon, now that things are settling down to some degree.

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Can’t remember if I posted a picture of this sweet bunny. I think I did, but he’s cute enough to share twice. Selma from the Eclectic Home and Life blog posted the pattern. Very quick and easy, they make lovely ornaments, bunting, etc. This one will be attached to the project in the following photo. I haven’t done any more on that project, ’cause it won’t be used ’til next winter . . . and you know, I’m all about the deadlines . . .

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While I was staying with the Crafties back in February, March and half of April, I ‘appropriated’ this cup for my morning coffee. Here it is, sitting on the coffee table while I work on one of the CAL blankets. I was struck by the colours of the cup, scissors and the table, as seen in the morning sunshine.

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Mrs. Crafty scored a huge box of assorted dollies and every day there would be a few sitting in the sink for  a bath and shampoo. Quite fetching, aren’t they?

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Below is the hand of the youngest Crafty granddaughter, busy working on something for me, to be part of my project that will travel far from here. More on that once I have the rest of the makings . . . Young Miss C was helped by her lovely big brother Master Z. The creativity seems to have skipped a generation, but is alive and thriving in the grandchildren. Wonderful to see!

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I finally finished CAL #1, and here is the second row of the edging just being finished.

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The third row of edging . . .

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This wee Scotty dog sits on a small table outside the room that I slept in at the Crafties’. I took the picture to share with Selma after she posted a pattern for a sweet little Scotty brooch. Isn’t he cute?

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This is a gallon jar, probably once holding pickles or mayonnaise; sometime later it was decorated by a talented folk artist. It found its way to the Re-Use-It Centre, and leapt off the shelf into Mrs. Crafty’s welcoming hands . . . For now it sits on a shelf at the foot of the bed I slept in. It’s so nice to be surrounded by handmade, home-made items. I can just feel the love, can’t you?

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Below you can see how I finished off CAL #1 – with a lovely hot pink ruffle!

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I rather like it and I do hope the little girl who will receive it likes it, too. It’s large enough to use on her bed even into her teens. She’s not very tall, so that was easy.

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Above, the house where Doc Martin and the lovely Louisa were to spend their honeymoon; I’m SO tempted to move to Cornwall and take over this place! It reminds me in some ways of a couple of the homes I lived in as a child.

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I borrowed this from a friend’s post on FaceBook; nice to know I’m safe 🙂

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One of the middle Crafty granddaughters; this is the girl I was teaching to knit. She’s been doing quite well with it and her piece was quite a bit longer when she left for home the next day.

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In the last couple of weeks I stayed with the Crafties I interrupted my  work on the three CAL blankets to follow the project that Selma’s class had moved on to: a ripple stitch item; for some, it was a blanket, but a couple of us chose to make a pillow. Mine is actually a pillow cover, for the pillow I used behind my back when I sat in the old recliner at my Aunty’s place. I ended it with a border of my own design, then realized the border wouldn’t show up once the piece was folded and stitched. So I added the white rows at the other end and now the border stands out just right. I’ll have to take a picture of the finished pillow; I rather like it.

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Two of the  antique dishes owned by the Crafties’ son and his fiancée. The brown lustre dish is meant to hold develled eggs around the edge and I assume a bowl of something in the centre (or crackers? or ???). The clear glass is a beautiful dish, probably meant to hold sweet treats at a ladies’ tea.

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A bottle of root beer, whose cap (and another) I have saved for Narfie7’s wall for Stevie-Boy. I hope root beer counts as a ‘beer’ . . .

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Thanks to Jess the Rabid Little Hippy for this section. She shared a picture of a waffle pattern baby blanket she had made (I think it was her first ever crochet project, too!); She kindly included a link to the pattern site and I just couldn’t resist . . . So this is part of one of the CAL blankets now.

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My Mum found this gorgeous towel in her things when she moved here after staying with my youngest sister for two and a half months. It looks rather old, but not antique. I’m planning to write out the pattern, once I find myself with more thyme . . . Thank heavens for spring and summer, eh?

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Some of the best banana bread I ever made! (and I’m not exaggerating, either!) I used a recipe from my Mum’s old Women’s Institute Cookbook, published back in the ’50s to celebrate British Columbia’s 100th anniversary. Most of the recipes have the ingredients in no particular order, so I missed something important when I started mixing things up; I saw ‘3-4 bananas’ at the end of the list, and rejoiced because I had exactly four that badly needed using up. So I mashed ’em and smashed ’em and mixed them with sugar and all the other good things. I had the wet items mixed and the dry items stirred and before I began melding them, I decided to go over the ingredient list one item at a time, just to be sure I hadn’t missed anything . . . and there in the middle was ‘one cup mashed ripe bananas’.

Oops!! Now what? I definitely had more than one cup; still, undeterred by fate, I mixed it all together, then added another half cup of flour or so, plus a spoonful more of baking powder. When I took them out of the oven I turned them out on a rack, as you can see by the clever pattern of indentations on the tops. Once cool, I cut into them, buttered the slices (no law against gilding the lily, is there?) and both Mum and I declared them the best ever!  If anyone is interested, I would be happy to post the recipe. Just let me know.

I’m going to stop here, as I have quite a bit more to go and I really don’t want to leave you all exhausted by such a huge post after the long months of drought . . .

Much Love and many Blessings to each of you; you are always in my heart and mind. More soon . . .

Another Update

Hi, everyone! I started this a while back, then later did a lengthy update. When I tried to cancel adding a photo, WP froze and lost all the update. I gave up for a while after that. But no doubt you are wondering what’s up around here . . .

The original bit:
First, thanks so much for all your comments, support and thoughts in general. I’ve been super-stressed and feeling overwhemed for a while now. I think I’ve turned the corner now, though. It’s been challenging, but many have much larger challenges; I didn’t mean to sound quite so “poor-me” as I obviously did. So . . . back to ‘keeping on keeping on’ 🙂

Still haven’t found a container and flurries are forecast for later this week. Not likely to get snow that sticks, luckily.

In the meantime . . .

Mum has been given three months notice, which is not an eviction and requires no reason to be given. That’s good, as it means her perfect rental record will remain clean.

Also, she will be allowed to give one month’s notice so long as we are out by the end of January.

Mum is looking for a place to buy, as that will be cheaper than renting in the long run. But she’s keeping an open mind.

So . . . big changes coming up, eh? Good thing most of the packing has been done already. 😉 I’ll continue with that next week

That morning:

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It was gone a few hours later. Whew!

On Thursday the 6th of November four small towns in Alberta had record high temperatures; the highest was 19.6C.

On Friday, the evening news warned us of a big cold front coming down from the North.

On Saturday, we woke to:

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and by evening it looked like this (from my Aunty’s east-facing suite)

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and

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and this (from Mum’s west-facing suite):

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Meanwhile, progress continued in fits and starts; a shipping container was located and purchased, to be delivered (I thought) in the afternoon of Monday, 03 November. However, several failures of communication occurred (is Mercury retrograde or something? It seems to be speeding backwards lately . . .)

These will give you an idea of what I’m talking about:
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In the end, after several phone calls to/from Mr. and Mrs. Crafty, who were waiting to open the gate and direct the truck, we learned that it had been booked for the following day . . .

So . . . back they went the following day (a drive of an hour or so each way). Again, they waited outside, this time in steadily cooling weather. More phone calls . . . turned out the truck, making its first delivery of the day, had gotten stuck in deep mud somewhere near Lloydminster, way north of here. At first, there was hope that the driver would be able to get unstuck, return to the yard (south of the city), load my container and deliver before 5:00 pm. Didn’t happen that way, so we re-scheduled . . . to tomorrow, Monday the 10th, when the temperature is expected to be between -12 and -15C. But it will be the first load of the day, so is expected to arrive about 10:00 am.

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This morning, facing east.

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The eastern balcony . . .

On Friday, the 14th, with temps expected to be between -10 and -17C, the Crafties will pick me up at 8:00 am and we will go get the 26′ U-Haul truck, proceed to my storage units, load up anything I can live without ’til spring and then drive north to the property. We hope to be able to back up to the container, extend the ramp right into it, then hustle everything inside. If all goes smoothly, we will drive back to the city, return the truck and then spend the remainder of the day warming up, crafting and watching a movie or two while enjoying some take-out. No-one will want to be cooking by then!

Remember the wee Bavarian afghans I am making for my grandchildren? The first two are in a box on the balcony, but here are the latest two:

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Pretty, aren’t they? I haven’t finished the large ‘Violets in the Snow’ one, or the (meant to be equally large) multi-coloured one or the smaller multi-coloured one. I have one more white and blue afghan to make, then three more for related babies (related to me, I mean). 😉

By the way, I managed to re-pot all our houseplants and pruned the Happy Hibiscus, too.

AND . . . while I love the Golden Goddess chai that Wendy from Quarter Acre Lifestyle introduced us to a while back, making it is a bit fiddly for me. So here’s what I’ve been making:

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I start with some kefir, thanks to the most Diligent Dorcas. This goes into a Magic Bullet container, but you can use your blender, stick blender or what-have-you . . .

Throw in a banana, then a teaspoon or more of nutritional yeast, a shake or two each of ginger, turmeric and cinnamon. I use about a quarter teaspoonful of each, but you can adapt amounts to taste. Add some honey or your favourite sweetener and top up with kefir. Blend well and enjoy. If you like it quite cold, add a couple of ice cubes before blending. If you want it hot, I’d say pour it in a pan and leave it on the stove for a few minutes. I haven’t tried that yet myself . . .

Have a great week, my friends, and remember . . . “Choose Joy” as one of The Contented Crafter cards says.

Still keeping on . . .

Hi, everyone! No photos, sorry (no time); next time I should have some.

Still not done with the packing, but getting close. The team is coming tomorrow!! and they hope to be done in one day. I sure hope so, as I’m back at my Aunty’s the following day and I need to get things ready for that. Mum will go to my sister’s for the day, but will take a small suitcase in case she has to spend the night. I’m going to hover in the neighbourhood in case I am needed. I don’t really want anyone moving the large antique table or the many loom parts without my being there to supervise.

Once they are done and gone, we start the process of bringing things back in, sorting and arranging. No comment . . .

I did take Saturday off and spent it with Mr. and Mrs. Crafty, with a few hours at their daughter and son-in-law’s ‘farm’ near Westlock, north of here, then on to see their new property. It was slightly windy and the sun was warm; we walked all the way around the ten acre plot; fairly rough as we followed the new fence line. The back is against Crown land, which to me is ideal; it’s like having a park without the taxes and maintenance . . . We saw stumps scratched by a bear and a few deer tracks; a few other markings that I couldn’t identify. No wildlife, though, and only a few small birds. It was so good to not hear any sound of humans for so long!

They won’t move out there for probably four or five years, but they have a good neighbour who keeps an eye on the place for them. With the new fencing up, the ‘quadders’ can’t drive across the land anymore, which is good, but there’s always a chance of someone coming through the fence. I hate that such thoughts must even cross my mind. When I was young, we never locked the house and my Dad left the keys in the car while he and Mum did the weekly shopping. Better than now, I think.

I didn’t want to take the large Bavarian with me to work on after we got back (the Crafties smoke and the smell gets into fabric and yarn), so I took two balls of yarn and began another Bavarian that will be one of those slated for the grandkidlets. This one’s not as fancy as the large “Violets in the Snow” one; just the standard, simple two-colour work.

My Aunty was just up again to visit with Mum, so I had enough time to write a short post. Now she’s off home and I’m back to bagging and shifting . . . Dorcas the Dutiful (my kefir) will be going into the fridge tonight, so I hope she is ready for a cool rest, too.

I’ve not kept up with comments, but will likely catch up once things settle down again. I apologize for that. I do read them on my iPhone, so don’t feel you have cast your seeds to the wind . . . I’ve dropped in on a few blogs, too, but not as much as I’d like and have not left comments. In spite of the weather about to descend on us, I’m sorta looking forward to this winter and to staying in, knitting and crocheting, who knows??

Love to you all and thanks for hanging in during this time. I appreciate every one of you so much! Hope your autumns and springs are bringing you many blessings . . .  ~ Linne

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It’s been very hot here this afternoon, so I spent some time at the computer listening to music; then realized I could have done a proper post . . . oh, well, a short one isn’t so bad, is it?

We’ve also had a fair bit of smoke coming down from fires in the Northwest Territories; enough to make the sky hazy and I can feel it when walking or hauling stuff up and down stairs. Not too bad, though. Apart from my weight, I’m pretty healthy still.

I have written in my organizer from Pauline! It’s so lovely and she was so kind to make it for me, I can’t bear not to write in it; this is a first for me. I hate to think of how many lovely blank books I have bought and then simply stored, afraid I would ruin them with my handwriting. It’s not too bad, actually, but my Mum’s is still gorgeous; she went to school when you had handwriting practise weekly right through grade 12. In my time, it only went to grade 4. sigh . . .

Too hot to cook and I have resorted to bought cole slaw . . . cold and fast, at least. Also iced bought blended coffee drinks. I know; I swore off coffee a while back, but have not been sleeping so well and found myself dozing off right after breakfast . . . I had a lovely stroke of luck after my PhiloFriend and I (see below) walked around the lake; we went to a fast food outlet for iced drinks; I ordered the coffee one, but the girl got it wrong (darn speakers at the drive-through) and gave me hot coffee with mocha and milk added (no sugar, though). When my friend pointed out the error, they suggested I keep the hot drink rather than them tossing it out, then hurried and made me the cold drink I’d wanted, insisted on not letting me pay for it – I was quite willing, as I’m fairly forgiving of people making errors. And I WAS keeping the hot drink! I put the hot one in the fridge later on and enjoyed it this morning, with, alas, some sugar tossed in. Kept me awake and going all day!

Mr. and Mrs. Crafty took a car load of yarn and ‘boxes’ of projects to their cottage last Friday morning. I’d spent all Thursday getting ready for that. Thursday was lovely and very cool, so I had plenty of energy. I planned to spend the rest of Friday packing, but had no boxes with lids . . . grrrrrrrr  So  after I got back from the bi-Friday library run I kept on sorting and discarding and did get stuff done. Then yesterday (Saturday), my Philosophical friend took me to a liquor store and we filled her trunk and backseat with nested boxes. To thank her and to let us catch up (haven’t had a visit for well over a month), we went for pizza. Not my usual choice, but this was amazingly good! A thin, whole wheat crust and a veggie topping that included artichoke hearts. Mmmmm! And afterwards, we went for a walk around the man-made lake where I walked with another friend year before last. I haven’t been there since and was a bit dismayed to find I wanted to sit four times, just to catch my breath. Of course, it WAS quite hot still . . . but lovely just to be outdoors, hearing birds instead of traffic.

Today I’ve done lots, too. And now that I can see that it isn’t as bad as I’d feared, it’s a bit easier.

There have been other stresses, though; some I can’t post about. One very sad thing for me is that a very dear friend is dying in BC and it’s hard to think that I won’t see him again in this life. I think it’s been six years since I was back and I have always tried to get to Abbotsford to visit him and his wife (they have moved since I was last there). She is my age and he is 20 years older, so this is not exactly unexpected. Still, we always expect these things to happen another day, not today, don’t we? I have known this family for almost 40 years and they are the sort of friends where we don’t email or phone, but when I show up at their door, it’s as though no time has passed . . . we share so many basic beliefs and the whole family is very dear to me. Their four daughters are the sweetest ever; one of them was the first Mum I was ever a doula for. (I think that’s a badly worded sentence, but can’t figure out what I did wrong . . . oh, well, as Churchill famously said: “This is the sort of English up with which I will not put”  . . . but you may have to . . .  🙂  )

So today I got through most of what I have had stored in the long hall storage area and have several boxes nearly full and ready to tape; those will go in the storage unit that Mum and I share. My PhiloFriend will haul them for me once I have a load ready. So I’m making progress. Since I’ve already moved so much into storage, it doesn’t look quite as bad as I first envisioned. I’m learning to take a break when I find myself tossing things into the box without making a decision as to whether I will actually need/use it. That’s helping. So is cold water.

The best thing about going through stuff is finding the things that I knew were ‘somewhere’ . . . including the instructions for the reversible crochet that a few people asked for back when I posted photos of it.

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Ok, I lied about no photos, but these are re-runs, so really they don’t count 🙂

No time to type it out tonight, but soon, I promise. I have it sitting out to remind me . . . It’s very, very easy, so after you have done a couple of Bavarian afghans, you might want to try one of these, too. This is very good for a pram or cot blanket for a wee one. And it looks gorgeous! I was given the pattern by a bus driver back when I was manager for a Lewiscraft store in Sherwood Park (a neighbouring town, about an hour and a half to two hours each way on the bus). I haven’t finished any of these (nothing like ‘out of sight, out of mind’ is there?), but they will go to the Crafty house and be dealt with in due course. After the Bavarian bevy is done. I did find some smaller skeins of white that I think will do, so I can see at least one more child-size afghan in the near future.

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More double-sided crochet pieces. It works best (or so I think) when the two yarns are a good contrast, either in shade or in colour.

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I also found the knitted hood/cowl/whatever thingy that I was free-forming a year or two ago (no photo, sorry) . . . and this shawl that I began when I was first going to my Aunty’s, remember? Those are also going to the Crafty cottage . . .

. . . and a-whey we go . . . (nope, I’m not apologizing for that one  🙂  )

I made a huge amount of kefir cheese, thanks to Christi‘s Diligent Dorcas, who just keeps cranking out the kefir (about a cup a day or so) and gave away four jam jars of whey; two to the Crafty’s for soaking their feet after a long day of whipper-smipping grass on the new acreage; they are clearing where the driveway and the home will go. They are buying a simple garage package, then will do the finishing work themselves, as they are both so handy with finishing carpentry, tiling, whatever needs doing, really. The other two jars went to my PhiloFriend to use in her bath. Once this is done, I’m planning on a long, cool bath myself, with some of that whey; it softens the skin amazingly; I use about a half cup in a tub of water and sit and read for an hour or so. I shower before I fill the tub, so my hair is clean; then I put some of the whey on my hair, pin it up and leave it to dry. Usually by the time I’m out again it’s stopped dripping. The whey acts like a very soft hair gel.(read about it on one of the kefir sites) and I like the bit of extra body it gives.

‘fraid I’ve been pretty lazy of late . . . instead of figuring out what to add to the kefir cheese to make it more appealing, I’ve been buying light cream cheese (I like the garlic and herbs one, also the smoked salmon . . . yum!); I add it to the kefir cheese at about 2 parts kefir cheese, 1 part bought cream cheese. It tastes pretty good on my toasted bagel, but I’m going to try it on steamed veggies and pasta, too, once it’s cool enough to stand cooking again. I add a fair bit of garlic powder to the garlic and herbs variety; nothing extra for the salmon, though. I love smoked salmon . . .

Well, that’s all the news that’s fit to print, as they used to say . . . hope all of you are getting the weather and temperatures you enjoy most, along with some downtime for crafting, reading and general relaxing . . . summer or winter, it’s good to have that . . .

And now for something a wee bit different:

Joan Baez, singing  “Diamonds and Rust

and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

and “Birmingham Sunday

. . . on a lighter note: The Corries singing “The Food Blues