Friday, October 31, 2014

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Eye Candy In The Garden






My garden is a JOY especially when I focus on the beauty of nature and not the garden work that needs to be done. My garden will never look like so many of the pristine photos on the blogs. So, just enjoy with me.

Have a Great Day.

Mary


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Brining Last Nights Dinner And Some Bourbon

Those pork chops are brining in fresh apple cider (in season now), kosher salt, crushed juniper berries, bay leaf and ice water. I have brined a holiday turkey years ago (when that technique became popular) with good results but never have I brined pork. Just as with turkey, the brining creates a more tender and flavorful meat. But, I must say the sauce for these chops has outstanding flavor.


I read this interesting recipe on Olla-Podrida blog. She has a fabulous food blog. And, the photography is outstanding. Check this recipe out from HER BLOG. I had to change up the recipe because I did not have the same ingredients handy. I substituted the allspice berries with juniper berries. And, I used beef broth in place of the chicken. It worked out fine. 

And, since I was making only two pork chops (they were huge) I made only half of the Bourbon Sauce recipe. Next time I will make the full recipe. It is just that good. I used a cast iron skillet because it goes into the oven for ten minutes after the chops are browned. 


The sauce is made after you take it from the oven after you place the chops on a warm platter.Be sure to deglaze the pan with the bourbon and broth and reduce the sauce as the recipe directs. It's easy. Just be patient.



When finished you will have a wonderful flavorful dinner entre. You must try it. SO EASY AND SO GOOD!


Thanks to Olla-Podrida for this wonderful recipe. It helped me to get back in the cooking mode.

Happy Eating.

Mary

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I Did It - Finished

Another check-off on my To Do List.

This was challenging. A lot more challenging than the last time I worked in a tight space under a sink. My body is a tad bit more resistant to crawling far enough into a tight space to see what I have to do. Many times I will use a mirror to see, but then I have to orient myself to the reversed image. 

Leakey faucet all fixed!


These water lines also had to be removed. 


Success! However, I think I need to buy a larger crescent wrench.


It's all back together and no unwanted water anywhere. I know I have made this look very simple but I had a few more steps (like working with silicon, etc.) to put all of the parts of the faucet together.


Just another pretty picture of the hand painted sink.


I might as well show you how I painted the bathroom cabinets when I remodeled a few years ago. It is called a crackle finish. It turned out nice for a first attempt!


When I get the bathroom back in order and cleaned I will post a picture. I certainly do not get as much done in a day as I used to.

Someday I hope to get back to some crafting. Maybe, some crocheting or knitting with the cooler weather.

Hope you are warm and cozy on these cooler days.

Mary

 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Afternoon Outing

It was so wonderful to get out of the house last Friday after hearing about my friend passing. We headed toward The Amador Flower Farm in Shenandoah Valley in Plymouth. Shenandoah Valley is well known in California for their fine wines. There are miles of beautiful vineyards and tasting rooms. The Flower Farm sits in the middle of all the vineyards. We have been there several times. In the summer the flowers are in full bloom and gorgeous.


But, on our way we stopped in Sutter Creek at Susan's Place Wine Bar and Eatery for a delightful lunch. Now, I had been there in the past but it had been a long time ago. If you don't know about this place you probably would pass through town and miss out on this lovely experience.


It is on a side street (Eureka Street) and from the front you have no idea what a delightful and comfortable restaurant awaits you.

 Can you feel the Ambiance?


One of the Days Specials was Corned Beef Hash on Vegetables and I had to try it along with Cream of Asparagus Soup. I have never had anything like it - and  - it was delicious! The flavors were interesting, subtle and very tasty.


Much to my surprise my coffee was served on a tray with a Coffee Press (quite English - don't you think?) and it was very good.


My friend selected Shrimp Sesame Salad for lunch which he enjoyed.


Along with a couple glasses of wine and we were all set for total enjoyment. Oh, and we did succumb to having desert but we shared. Less calories - right!


With full tummies we traveled through the vineyards to the flower farm. By now the daytime was slipping away and when we arrived they were starting to close. I was not able to visit the gift shop and nursery. But, that was quite fine with me because I wanted to see their Pumpkin Patch which is quite extensive.

                                              (google)
                                                                         
 The Farm is quite Huge. The nursery specializes in Daylilies as you can see on the sign.  I think this gives you an idea of the expanse of this beautiful nursery. When the daylilies are in bloom it is almost breathtaking.






                           (google)
The nursery carries a wide varieties of plants.

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The weather was wonderful, sunny with a beautiful blue sky.



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A Great  Crooked House. So fun!

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Maybe, this should be my Halloween costume! Not.

It was a great outing and was good for my soul. If you know what I mean.


Mary

Saturday, October 25, 2014

And Now - Were Was I

Oh yes, Stuck in a Snow Storm on a two lane roadway with my Friend.

I decided that we should just sit in the car for awhile and think, pray and plan. Tow trucks had been called but that wasn't any help for they could not get to us, remember SNOW everywhere. And, it continued to snow more and more.

By now, it was very dark outside. We sat for about 30 minutes and then I decided to try one more time to get out of the side of the road even though the truck in front of me and the one behind me had not been able to get back on the road. I concentrated very hard on accelerating just enough for traction without spinning the wheels. IT WORKED! I had to cross the middle yellow line to get enough traction and then I was able to get back in my lane. My friend was cheering me on which really helped! Their were very few cars moving about. But, there were just enough track marks in the snow for me to use. The many trees along the roadway sheltered the road somewhat from the snow. In my head I can still hear myself saying out loud - We're out! We're out!

The remainder of the trip was very slow and it continued to snow. A road trip that usually takes about 45 minutes to drive, took us about four hours. Many, many people did not get home that night. We were very tired and stressed, but, Oh, so thankful! Eventually the snow stopped but it took days for everything to get back to normal, Whatever Normal Is.

My friend and I shared many experiences together but I believe this was the most remarkable. A lot of them were just FUN, FUN, FUN. I miss her. I am blessed to have had her as my friend!



Mary


Walking Beside Me

My Friend has passed and is no longer in pain and will be reunited with her loved ones who have gone before her. I received the phone call shortly after posting to my blog yesterday. Her family was around her and her final days were peaceful and she was kept comfortable. Words elude me but my emotions are vast.


Sylvia lived a full 79 years of life filled with huge challenges. But, my greatest memory of her is that we "Always had FUN"! Even though we had different viewpoints on many aspects of life we "Just Got Each Other". There was never a time we couldn't share "our secrets" with each other. That kind of a friend does not come around very often.

My most recent vivid memory of our life experiences together was two years ago (2012) after her cancer diagnosis when I took her to the hospital (45 minute drive) for a routine diagnostic test that required light sedation. We needed to be at the hospital early and would not be able to leave until 5 to 6 PM. It was in the month of January during a year that this area experienced an unexpected heavy snow season. Anyway, after we arrived at the hospital and my friend was taken to the back by the nurse and I enjoyed "people watching" and reading a book.

I think it was about 2 PM when snow started to fall and I watched the parking lot and my car from the waiting room window. Soft fluffy white snow flakes were drifting down and the color of the cars and surrounding area was quickly turning white and whiter and whiter! For me, a little snow is fun. But, this was starting to look very daunting to me! Many of the patients were being discharged as their procedures were completed. The snow continued to fall without any interludes from the time of the first falling snow flake.

Now then, I am a California girl with absolutely NO experience driving in the snow. What to do?  Well, do what you have to do, the little voice in my head was saying. Through the years I have learned how to be quite independent out of necessity but this was a FIRST ONE FOR ME.

Walking through several inches of snow with only fair weather shoes I eventually got to my car. Using a scraper that was in my trunk I managed to scrape and scrape snow off of the car and get into the door and slowly, very slowly drive to the hospital discharge door and pick up my friend.

By now, the parking lot was clearing out and a lot of the hospital support staff had been advised to go home. The snow was continuing to get deeper and deeper and I had a horrible time getting out of the parking lot. There were no tire tracks to try to follow. Slip and slide was the name of the game!

We eventually make it to the highway but it took a long time with traffic jams and cars sliding all around. A couple cars made complete circles when their cars started to slide. The traffic signals were of no help! Oh, and I did not have snow tires or chains and most vehicles did not. I crept slowly along the highway like a snake watching as many cars were sliding into the embankments or onto the side of the road. NO SNOW PLOWS!

All seemed to be going along quite well even though my body was getting tenser and tenser. But my friend was able to snack on some banana nut bread that I baked the day before and brought for her because she had not had anything to eat all day because of the medical testing.

By now we were successfully driving slowly along on the two lane road and praying for strength. All of a sudden the road was quite icy and the truck in front of me slid into the snow berm and the truck behind me also. And, then me. After "trying to gather my wits" I made several attemps to get my car back on the road to no avail. By now, it would have been nice to have a restroom nearby to visit!

My friend and I continually talked positively to each other throughout the hours we were trying to get home.

And, tomorrow I will be able to finish this story about ME AND MY FRIEND!

Tell someone special you love them!

Mary


Friday, October 24, 2014

Lifes Challenges


My neighborhood Best Friend is in Cancer Hospice Care and living with her daughter two and a half hours from my home.

If you have followed me for a while you may remember my postings from the end of December 2011 when my friend had surgery because of CANCER. It has been such a hard long road of ups and downs since that time. I have not blogged very much about her even though I have been involved in her journey. For several months she has been in and out of the hospital. I have missed her deeply for quite some time. This is extremely difficult so I won't write much. She has been my "mischief buddy" and good friend for around ten years. Next Wednesday, I plan to go to see her even though it is a long drive. Cancer is such an Ugly Disease! Prayers for courage and faith are welcome.

ON ANOTHER NOTE. Lily has started having unwanted symptoms of her heart disease. I have a call into the Vet for guidance in her care. Prayers welcome.

Until next time, Touch The Ones You Love.

Mary



Thursday, October 23, 2014

Please Hand Me The Wrench

If you are a home owner or holder of a mortgage you know home repair and maintenance is a continual process. I am a strong believer in preventive maintenance which I believe is economically beneficial. The outside of my house is in need (not critical, yet) of a total paint job. I guess I will be readdressing that topic another time, probably again in the spring.

For now, my focus is on my lavatory faucet. There has been some water leakage to the cabinet below the sink. Thus, I have taken everything apart! And, that was not an easy task. There isn't much room under the sink in the cabinet. I had to disconnect the water lines. However, my biggest problem was not being able to see clearly with my regular glasses. Once I went to get a pair of "drug store" reading glasses which I already had, I was able to quickly remove the coupling nuts with a crescent wench.


It was my intention to replace the gasket that fits between the porcelain sink and the faucet. However, they are no longer available from the manufacture (Delta) even though it is only about 8 years ago that I upgraded the bathroom. I am sure I will figure it out. Perhaps, I can use the used gasket as a template to make a new one with soft pliable rubber. And, of course, use some silicone.  I'll keep you posted.


But, let 's focus on this beautiful hand painted sink. I purchased it through Ebay at a very good price when I was renovating my kitchen and bathrooms a few years ago. It has held up very nicely, as long as I use a soft scrub cleanser. I enjoy the beauty of the sink every single day!

As long as I am in "the mode or mood" I have to replace the over vanity light bulbs. I guess I don't have to think about it much because the last of the two just burned out. The other bulb went out quite some time ago. I might as well replace with "green" bulbs since they finally have come down in price, a little.

REPAIR WORK -  NO CRAFTING!     <#  #> 
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Well, that's all today from this little Handy woman!

Please Take Care Of Yourself.

Mary


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

In And Out

The garden is always beckoning me. And, today is no different. I always have a project (or ten) that I want to work on. And, it is such beautiful weather to work in the garden. The garden is rolling along into another season and rapidly changing in colors and needs.

I have given a name to my collage - - - IN AND OUT.

It looks like the White Chrysanthemums are on their way IN AND the White Dahlias are on their way OUT.


The Bumble Bees have been very busy gathering all the pollen they can get from the dahlias. It makes me happy to see the bumble bees in my garden especially since they are in decline. I have noticed a difference in my own garden through the years.

                                            (google)

These Chrysanthemums grow over 5 feet tall. I really don't know why "so tall". A few years ago I bought them at the grocery store that had little 4 inch pots of chrysanthemums at the front that were from the local High School Horticulture Department. Boy oh boy, did I  get my monies worth? Look at all of those buds and that is just a portion of the large head of flowers on those 5 foot tall stems.


As the days get shorter I will sadly miss my hours in the garden. Usually, by this time of year I am more than ready for the end of the gardening season. But, this year has been so different with being banned from the garden for more than two months as my ankle/leg injury healed. My ankle has healed well, however, with the change in barometric pressure with the seasonal change I am reminded of the incident by some discomfort that I did not have when the weather was warmer.

I hope to soon be able to get some propane gas for my living room fireplace/heater and then my warm and cozy evenings will begin with the seasonal change. 

I am doing well and Lily has adjusted to her medical treatment and seems very happy!

Take Good Care.

Mary 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Call Me Crazy + Won't Be First Time

Over the week-end we attended an interesting (to me, anyway) event about an hour and a half from home. It was  - - - - - -


For quite some time I have been intrigued with Vintage Travel Trailers and Glamping. I guess you could say I am a dreamer along with being a little crazy. If you don't know, it's been said (tongue in cheek) that Glamping with a Vintage Trailer is nothing more than having a "Big Girl Playhouse". Just take a look!

Aren't these the cutest? Perhaps, a little too tiny! But, cute, none the less.


Now, a couple photos of the inside of the Route 66 themed trailer on the right.


Not a bad little kitchen area for the available space. I am sure every 1/8 inch space counts!



Theme Decorating is very popular. It sure gives you a canvas to be very creative on a small scale basis.  The Route 66 trailer is small at about 11 to 12 feet long! It's hard to believe. And, it also has a bed!

We saw many trailers at Trailer Fest, probably more than one hundred. The festival included all types of trailer, not only trailers of Glampers.

Here are a few photos of Vintage Trailers from Google that I am admiring. The above photos were taken by me as I had to document my experience in that tiny trailer.

It seems that the 50's and 60's Shasta 13 to 14 foot long trailer is a very popular model among Glampers. I like them too.

What a Pretty Tidy looking set-up.


Very Crisp and Colorful painted interior.



And, a Cozy Bed area.



Fun for the Holidays.


A little Shabby Chic decor.


This is a Beautiful Trailer and Decor. Click on the link and check out her most recent Acquisition. It is Fantastic. You've got to see it. Now, that is definitely Glamping!


And, how about a little Retro? Do you like flamingos?


This Little Chic is Simple and Sweet.


And, a Very Relaxing and Pleasant setting!


Now, this is taking Mini a little to far. Don't you think? I suspect there is a little photo-shopping here.



But, LOOK. I even found something for my Great-Grandson! How cute is that? Do you see his dog?


I hope you had some fun with me as I spent some time "Being Crazy".

I have always had GOALS. Who knows! If you don't think (dream) it, It certainly is NOT going to happen.

What are some of your dreams

Never Stop Dreaming.

Mary 


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Some Additional Special Photos

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Mother's Day 2012

Mother's Day 2012

Happy Family (2014)

Happy Family (2014)
Grandma Pride

Valentine's Day 2013

Valentine's Day 2013

High School (1957) Friends Of Mine On The Left Live In New York and We Met In Canada In 2013

High School (1957) Friends Of Mine On The Left Live In New York and We Met In Canada In 2013

Bud Mietz

Bud Mietz
1928 - 2014