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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

June . . . catching up . . . and still blaming Dani :-)

It’s hard to believe it’s been three weeks since I posted last. Stuff just got away on me. I’m ok, just frustrated in several areas. I’ve been thinking of moving to here, so I could get back to ‘normal’ any time I liked.  😉

It’s only fair to warn you, though: this is a very, very looooonnnnnnngggggggggggggg post and you may want to clear your calendar for the morning, then fill your bucket of tea before commencing reading . . . just sayin’  🙂

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Boomdee asked what we liked best about June and I’d have to say the photo above is my answer: deliciously cool. misty. moisty weather! Finally, the spring I have been hoping for for years! I’d nearly forgotten about Steeleye Span until recently, so am enjoying them again. This is an old nursery rhyme that I’ve always liked.

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Ice in May.

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Amazing cloudy skies through June this year . . . sorry, I was going to make them into a slide show, but imported everything and feel too lazy to remove and re-import 🙂

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One morning we woke up to real mist! Was I happy!!

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More amazing skies!!

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Just what I needed, eh? I found these for peanuts at a mall table run by a woman from the Philippines and her husband.  The first time I met her, a few years ago, they had a large butter churn, much like the crocks used for making pickles and such, with its wooden dasher intact, along with the lid. I can’t tell you how much I long for that churn. Of course, it wouldn’t do me much good just now; I don’t know anyone with a cow. One day, though. She knows I want it and now it’s kept at her house ‘so it won’t get chipped’; I think she’s waiting for my lotto ship to arrive . . . me, too!  😉

So on the left is a salt spoon, to be used with a salt cellar (usually one was set at each place at the table); in the middle a lovely wee butter knife and on the right an old Gerber baby spoon. So maybe this is a sign that there is a baby in my future?  🙂

So, if you haven’t been here for a while (don’t blame you; I haven’t been here for a while, either!), you may not be aware of the gorgeous Bavarian crochet afghan addiction being fostered by Dani of the Teddy and Tottie blog. Bit me, but good!

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Number two afghan, done and dusted! This took me a week of pretty steady crocheting.

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Remember this one? This was number One afghan. It took me about a week and a half.

And now for something completely different . . . (well, maybe not completely different):

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This is number three Bavarian afghan and it’s nowhere near done! It’s a long story and a longer afghan . . . I made the first afghan to use up two huge balls of acrylic yarn I’d given to my Aunty for knitting tuques or scarves, but she’s not knitting anymore and besides, felt the large balls were too intimidating, so she gave them back to me. Of course, once I saw how lovely these afghans are, I decided I’d make one for each of my five and a half grandkidlets. This meant, of course, that I would have to purchase more large balls of yarn. Two for each afghan, in fact. I did have a couple in my stash, which helped, but not the colours I planned for the kidlets . . . so I picked up a few lovely colours over a few visits to The Store I Will Not Name. But they were out of white; No worries, I’m patient. After a few trips I wasn’t quite so patient anymore, though. The second afghan was nearing completion and I had all these colours just begging for white . . . What to do? Well, Mrs. Crafty took me to a larger venue of TSIWNN, where we found only beige, no white . . . Now what? Ok, off we went to The Craft Store I Will Not Name, where we found large balls of white yarn . . . but not quite the size I needed. I bought four balls anyway, thinking it might work. Nope, they don’t! In the meantime, my Mum had found a ball of lovely purple. Now this was the same brand I’d been using up / buying, same label, same gauge, everything, it said . . . except that in fact it was a far lovelier texture and a smaller diameter yarn. Grumble, grumble, grumble . . .

Still, it worked alright with the white yarn that I hadn’t returned, so I began this:

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Hard to tell, but that dark colour is a gorgeous purple; much like a dark pansy. I think it may end up being a  ‘keeper’. Like I need more ‘stuff’, right? Oh, well . . . 🙂

And then I started afghan number three (above), using the colours I had in stock, but with the white centre. If I find any white yarn in time, I’ll incorporate a couple of white rounds farther out. So this one, being in the same style, but with such a different colour combination of colours, is going to be much larger and will be a gift to my son and daughter-in-law so that they have one that matches those of the kidlets.

So you see, I am using up my stash . . . I can hear you laughing, you know . . .

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. . . and more amazing skies . . .

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those are all of the Happy Hibiscus, which has borne and lost at least six blossoms to date and still has seven buds and maybe more . . . I’ve had this plant since 1991 and this is the first year I’ve had more than two blossoms . . . maybe my pruning a few weeks ago scared it into trying to be more attractive . . . whatever the reason, I’ve been rejoicing in these lovely blooms, short-lived though they are.

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Anyone familiar with the term Honey Moon? No, not the post-wedding variety . . .

Give up? Well, it’s what they call a full moon that occurs on a Friday the 13th. For some reason, Mum’s computer is acting up; the screen going suddenly black, then a message that the drivers failed, or some such, then it returns to ‘normal’ (no, not the town!); ’til the next time, anyway. I thought I wouldn’t be able to give you the link to this, but after I hit it with a rock re-booted it, it resumed working as if it were ‘normal’. Ha! I am not fooled . . .

Anyway, I missed seeing this, thanks to  those clouds I’ve been so thankful for, and I likely won’t be here to see the next one, but this photo gives you a good idea . . .

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Thought we were done with sky photos, did you?  🙂

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Three birdhosues painted and decorated by Mrs. Crafty for her son’s garage. Cute, eh?

On Thursday (the 26th) I spent the day with Mr. and Mrs. Crafty, helping their son and his fiancée to move. They have sold the wee old house that he bought five years ago and has renovated with the help of his talented parents, and they have bought a home in a better neighbourhood, near a small shopping centre and a school. Next year they are getting married and after that plan to begin their family. She’s very crafty, too, and a lovely young lady. We had a long, but productive day with five people, two cars, an open backed pickup with a trailer plus a truck with a canopy. I’m not sure how many trips we made. After seven pm another son in law arrived home and brought his truck to help as well. It was good to have two strong young men when it came time to bring things like the freezer up from the basement . . . I’d forgotten what a 35-year old can do and still have energy for pull-ups from the garage rafters . . .  I was picked up at 8:30 am and got back home just before midnight, but we stopped  for pizza around seven and after that there wasn’t much I could help with. I pulled a muscle in my left knee somehow about three weeks ago and then spent three days flat on my back to give it a chance to heal. It seems to be doing ok now, though. Still, by evening on moving day I needed a hand to get up off the low-slung futon couch . . . I hate that! I couldn’t help remembering back when I had horses and could jump on bareback so easily . . . in fact, once I was teaching a city friend how to do it and of course showing off just a bit . . . I swung up and over and landed flat on my back on the ground on the other side . . . I still get a laugh out of that memory . . . Pride and all that. eh?

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The new place has a huge garden, which I not-so-secretly lust after . . .

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Lovely yellow roses at the new place . . . with the most aromatic lemony scent; I wish I could add ‘smellies’ here sometimes . . .

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The skies were so impressive that evening . . . someone actually asked me if I had just gotten a smartphone, I took so many photos . . . only to share with you, of course 🙂

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Some of you will remember these two when they were much younger . . . two of Mr. and Mrs. Crafty’s grandkidlets; they came to supervise as their parents helped move stuff.

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This bench was given to the young man by my mother when he bought the house. It used to be a park bench, I was told, but had been loaned to friends on one ofmy sisters for an indoor bench. Then it was put out in the yard and lost all its varnish and paint. Now the wood is quite weathered. The fiancée plans to do a bit of restoration on it, but sadly it will never be what it once was.

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Lovely young hands . . .

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Oh, my! What are these? 🙂

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I love that blue in the evenings . . .

and the Maxfield Parrish blue that follows, ever so briefly . . .

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. . . and a lovely silhouette of a lovely tow and a half year old . . .

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While hauling boxes, somehow I broke my index fingernail in two places, both cracks going right into the quick. After two bandaids were applied and lost in short order, I became resourceful and turned to duct tape. Worked for me . . .

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Not a very clear set of photos, but these were a handful of lilacs picked by the ‘Awesome’ young man who is pictured above. Picked especially for me to take home and share with my Mum. One of my favourite spring blossoms . . .

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After a day of taking it easy, today I was packing up my own things, to be moved to the storage unit downtown.  A great deal, but not all, of my current frustration comes from having to deal with a condo board that simply has no care for health and safety, but is very invested in how things look, even if we are the only ones doing the looking . . . Instead of waiting until Mum either dies or moves out to repair all the ceilings that are stained from a series of leaks (the roof had been repaired, but not well; it took several years before the board broke down and had a new roof installed), we have been told that all the ceilings are to be scraped, then new texture applied and after that, paint. This means that we need to move much of our belongings out so as not to impede the workmen. So we are boxing up Mum’s things to go out on the balcony and I will just take my stuff to the storage. Apparently the board chairman has said that we ‘have too much stuff’ in the place. No thought for our situation or that we are willing to be somewhat inconvenienced so as to stay near to my Aunty, who is Mum’s older sister.

It’s not as though we have stacks of rotting newspapers; then I could see the concern. No, we have looms (several, but only one small one set up), supplies for weaving, knitting, crochet, beadwork, painting (fine art and folk art), embroidery, sewing, quilting (including a quilting frame designed and made by my Dad), also Mum’s keepsakes from over 90 years of receiving gifts and collecting things of interest, beauty and usefulness.

Books, of course, and finished items. Some antiques from the days when Mum and Dad bought, refinished, repaired, then sold them on, keeping the things they fancied the most. It’s hard to imagine living a full life and not having anything to show for it.

I asked the landlady to find out from this man exactly how many items we are allowed to have, as ‘too many’ is so vague . . . we don’t think we have too much; and we don’t expect others to have what we have. Each to their own taste, we say.

Well, apparently not . . . so I will be removing nearly all my things and putting on hold my plans to make more items for the store. I’m going to bring back Mum’s things from the storage unit we share, then empty my smaller unit into it, so as to have only one.

I wish some of you lived near to me; I will be giving away  some of my supplies. I gave Mrs. Crafty nearly a full blue recycling bag of fancy yarns on our last visit, but there is much still to part with. It’s quite disheartening, really, but needs must, as they say . . .

I know some will have wondered at my sudden silence through this month. I meant to post an explanation, but simply had no heart for talking about it all. I’m getting over it now, though. just another stage, I think. There was more than my personal stuff, though. I felt very affected by the 70th anniversary of D-Day this year, that same week, three young RCMP officers were shot and killed by a mentally ill young man. I was so incensed by our prime minister’s words at the funeral, where he talked about ‘evil’. This from a man who has removed nearly all the protection we’ve had for our waterways for many decades . . . who has allowed some of our resources to be sold outright to China, who has entered, on our behalf, into a contract with China that we cannot break for many years . . . and so on . . . His lack of compassion for the killer and his parents, who had warned the police and had asked for something to be done to stop their son, but who were told that nothing could be done until he ‘did something’. I can only imagine what they are going through now. I know how I would be feeling if it had been one of my sons and I had been unable to avert the tragedy.

So, all in all, a rather sad and discouraging month for many reasons, yet with the eternal hope of spring and youth breaking through nonetheless. After all . . .

cat that one friend

One positive thing I did this month (after wearing my jeans ’til the side seams were parting company) was to buy several pairs of new jeans and T-shirts to match. Clothes may not make the woman, but I actually enjoyed the shopping once I figured out where stuff was. In, pick things up, go pay, get out . . . my idea of perfection when it comes to clothes. Now, book shopping, or tools, materials, anything like that and I can be in the store for hours . . . 🙂  I’ve been known to get into the bookstore, find a book I can’t afford, sit on the floor in one of the aisles (yes, I know, inconsiderate to other customers, but I’m at the mercy of books at all times) and just get lost in the story . . . When I found out that The Secret Garden wasn’t the only book written by Frances Hodgson Burnett; that The Little Princess was still in print, I visited my favourite bookstore in Victoria (BC) every week and read a chapter each time. The staff were all readers and understanding, so I was never bothered about my odd habit.

6 million people U need one

While packing, I ‘found’ a piece of black fabric with a pattern of small pink roses that I’d meant for a long dress. So while out with Mrs. Crafty looking for white yarn in TSIWNN, I bought two metres of plain black cotton which will become the yoke and perhaps the sleeves, with the rose-patterned fabric forming a collar and cuffs as well. I have some black velvet that was meant for the bodice, but ah hour of searching at the storage unit only yielded a dark purple velvet, so I’m resorting to the cotton. When I find the black velvet, it will be used to make short vesty sort of garment to wear over the dress. While looking for the velvet, I also found a box with some of my patterns in it; that box is now waiting for me in Mr. and Mrs. Crafty’s attic.

4 out of 3 people Math 01 Love this!

I just looked over this post and am a bit appalled to see that the photos are all bunched up and then there’s this long bit with no pictures at all. Sorry about that. No time to fix it properly and if I don’t post tonight, who knows when I’ll get back to it? Besides, there are comments waiting for my attention . . . 🙂

  being an adult not working so me . . . 🙂

In case you are missing the music, here is a link to one of my favourite spring songs:

The Lambs in Springtime, sung, of course, in Scottish Gaelic by my favourite rock band

. . . and a rousing version of An Sabhal Aig Neill, performed at the Hebridean Celtic Festival held in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis on 17 July, 2010. Sung by Runrig and accompanied, then followed by, the Drums. If you love drumming, give it an ear . . .

And, on the subject of challenging days . . .  The Bricklayer’s Song by  The Corries.

Thanks for listening (if you are still with me after all that . . .). I feel better now.  🙂

Fun, thanks to Dani of ‘Teddy and Tottie’ fame . . .

Oh, did that title give it away? Darn!  🙂

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That’s the front, as it’s grown over the past three weeks (well, I didn’t touch it during the middle week, so during the first and third weeks). Thanks to Dani’s tutorial, it didn’t take me long to get the hang of this new technique. A couple of bits took some thinking, then it all became clear . . . Anyone else working on this (besides Pauline)?

I thought I’d have two photos to add tonight, but alas . . .

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See what I did? One and a half circuits back, I made only eight double trebles in the corner; there should be twelve . . .  so guess what I’ll be doing later on . . . that’s right, ripping out one and a half circuits . . . I do count carefully, so I must have been chatting with my Aunty and not paying quite enough attention for just a minute or two . . . or else I was distracted by the news last night (more likely, now I think back).

Knowlton Nash, a well-respected tv journalist for several decades and anchor for “The National” before the current anchor, Peter Mansbridge, died yesterday at the age of 86.

A good age, I know, but still . . . so many people I’ve looked up to for much of my life are moving on . . . and I miss them. Mr. Nash covered so many of the events that helped to shape my life and thinking; the Cuban missile crisis, the Kennedy election and later assassination, Che Guevara, so much more . . . He was my first image of a good journalist and now Mr. Mansbridge carries on in the same manner.

Anyway, not much else to report and not much time left tonight. We had a lovely windy storm last night and today it was deliciously cloudy and we had a big downpour earlier (the sky darkened so that I wouldn’t have been able to read indoors) and then another, longer one from just before supper. Rain and the leaves are beginning to appear, not to mention the grass greening . . . makes one believe in spring!

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I’ve made bread again, using less of the rye flour. Still ended with dense, low loaves; still, they taste wonderful and I’ve made some kefir cheese and mixed it with bought chive cream cheese; I spread that on the ‘rye’ bread and it’s perfect with a cucumber, onion and tomato salad! I’ll make bread again this week, but I think I’ll only add rye flour to part of the dough this time. I like bread tall enough for sandwiches. 🙂

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Have a great week, everyone! I’ll be back to reply to comments soon. 🙂

Music for you:

Runrig and the Drums

Runrig and the Drums playing An Sabhal Aig Neill (Neil’s Barn) followed by the Drums @ Hebridean Celtic Festival, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis (17/07/2010)

Woody Guthrie playing ‘All You Fascists Bound to Lose’

Pete Seeger singing ‘Which Side Are You On?’

this last was sparked by a picture on Facebook today:

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Feta Cheese – it’s easy to make it yourself . . .

After reading about Rabid Little Hippy’s goat coming home and then rabid herself going to a workshop on cheese-making http://rabidlittlehippy.wordpress.com/2013/06/17/life-is-good/, I was delighted to find this post on the ‘Mortgage Free in Three’ blog: http://mortgagefreeinthree.com/2013/06/homemade-feta-cheese/ Good pictures and clear instructions.

Then I looked up my favourite bought feta (was called Dofo, but they were bought out by someone else; the cheese seems the same now, which is good news for me); sorry, I do digress, don’t I  😉

Anyway, I found this: http://gourmet.lovetoknow.com/Difference_Between_Feta_Cheese_and_Goat_Cheese

where they say that technically, feta is made from at least 70% sheep’s milk and up to, but not exceeding, 30% goat’s milk. I doubt there’s a lot of sheep’s milk around, but I bet if you used 70% goat’s milk and up to 30% cow’s milk, you’d get a tasty cheese. Worth trying, I’d say.