The Fairies are Back!

Have you wondered what happened to the Fabled Fairies of Thanksgiving? They made an appearance several years ago, along with a Butterball turkey. Covid19 put a stop to family gatherings for a while, but now it’s time for the Fabled Fairies of Thanksgiving to come out of hiding and help us again!

 Thanksgiving Dinner? No problem! I’ll call in the fairies. They’ll do everything.

The laundry fairy washes, dries, and presses the table linens, including the cloth napkins. If she’s feeling generous, the sheets and towels might get folded, too.
The turkey fairy will practice her specialty and make sure the bird is cooked and carved just in time for dinner. White meat and dark, it’ll all be juicy and savory and leave just enough leftovers for sandwiches and a turkey noodle soup.
The baker fairy will take care of pies, pumpkin and otherwise. He’s an expert on flaky crust, selected spices, and the perfect portion of whipped cream. Don’t let that Simple Simon guy get in the way; the kitchen’s too small for anyone who begs to taste the wares.
The brownie — the cunning little house elf — will clean the home thoroughly, put the leaf in the big table, and get the extra chairs out of the basement.
I wouldn’t dream of neglecting the wine fairy: the sommelier so tiny she only recommends, never lifts, a bottle. Her taste is impeccable. Now if we could stop her before she over-imbibes and falls asleep on top of the piano…
Did I mention the decorator fairy? She’ll fix the fireplace mantel with something tasteful and seasonal before she makes sure the couch and rocker are properly arranged for the annual holiday gladiator contests known as NFL football.
The ambiance fairy keeps the wood fire crackling in the fireplace, the aromas wafting deliciously through the home, and the family discussions neutral and apolitical.
The kitchen fairies: really, there must be a whole crew of these talented sprites. One to do the shopping early and avoid the crowds, another to make sure the cranberries are perfect (and local, of course), and a magical maestro with the potato masher. Then we’ll need a feisty fairy, one with attitude — yes, you, Tinkerbell, you can make the coffees.

Mom, you can send the fairies over to my house now that we’re hosting the annual family Thanksgiving dinner. Let them know that I’ll have their room ready and their favorite cookies baked. If they arrive on Sunday there should be enough time to get everything done.

Wait. What do you mean…they’re…not….real?

Share and Enjoy !

Shares

Distraction and Harmony

I arrived at the clinic a wee bit nervous for my third ultrasound guided knee injection. Don’t look it up; you’ll shudder. The first was fine, the second a week later more painful, and I imagined the third injection would increase the pain factor.

Well, Expert Doctor asked me how my weekend had been. I told the doc and nurse all about our weekend in the Minnie Apple for barbershop chorus competition. Amigo’s chorus gets better every year. Two of the quartets associated with our chorus came away with trophies, too. Add to that the simple pleasure of being surrounded by vocal music at a high competitive level all weekend long and–

The shot was finished before I knew it started.

On the medical side: I’m walking much better than I was six weeks ago when I could barely cross a room without tears. The set of three injections made a major impact.

On the musical side, the weekend was wonderful. Next up: Veteran’s Day program and Christmas concerts.

Share and Enjoy !

Shares

Guerrilla Gardening, Chipmunk Style

 

Rogue Sunflowers

I planted cherry tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and banana peppers in pots on the deck this gardening season. The chipmunks, however, had other ideas.

Indeed, that’s a sunflower – three sunflowers, actually, in with the cherry tomatoes. I didn’t pull them out because, well, sunflowers! I have no idea where the seeds came from. The closest sunflowers I know of are about half a block away. Those chippies sure get around.

Readers, did you get any interesting volunteer plants this year? Any rogue anything?

Share and Enjoy !

Shares

Eating the Opponent – The Tradition Continues

The New Orleans Saints were beating the Packers 17-0 when Chuck’s cousin in Texas posted “Did y’all forget to eat the opponent? What happened to the Packers?”

No, we didn’t forget. We had rice and beans with Andouille sausage (yum!) for supper, and we’d ordered Cajun specialties at a nearby pub for lunch on Friday. The Packers just weren’t showing up – yet.

Those of you who follow the NFL know the rest. Jordan Love led the Packers in a dramatic comeback win, 18-17.

This week, we’re working on Detroit. The Lions look good this year (wow), so I hope the Packers show up for all four quarters. We did our part with pasties (good Yooper main dish from the Upper Peninsula) followed by Coney Dogs the next day, with Vernor’s Ginger Ale (first served in Detroit) to drink.

Milwaukee Brewers are playoff bound. It’s early in the season for the Packers, but it’s never too early to start winning. Go! Pack! Go!

Share and Enjoy !

Shares

Problem Solving – It’s What I Do.

I ordered a number of books for my Kindle – nothing unusual here. When I’d finished reading one and went to download the next, I discovered something unfortunate: my Kindle did not play nice with the house wifi. Everything else in the house worked just fine with our network, so I knew I didn’t need to reboot the router, yada yada yada, or anything like that. I went for my backup: establish a mobile hotspot with my phone.

Nope. We made some adjustments in our plan recently to save a few bucks, and one of those changes meant that I needed to pay to set up a mobile hot spot. Damn. This would not work.

Last time I had this problem, I stuck my Kindle in my purse when I went to Petunia’s apartment. Her wifi and my Kindle were fast friends. Success! But I can’t impose on Petunia every time I need to download a book. Think. Think. Think. Where can I find free wifi for a few minutes to update my Kindle library?  Coffeehouse, maybe. Local fast food joint. Doc’s office? Convenience store?

We ended up in the parking lot at our credit union. Logged in easily, and then watched the downloads commence. Chatted a little, planned our evening, and when all the books I needed (five – don’t judge me, I read a lot) had finished, we headed home.

Thanks, credit union. If you notice me in the parking lot and I don’t come in, I’ll be downloading Kindle books. Nothing to see here, folks, just a reader who needed a creative solution.

Share and Enjoy !

Shares

Memorial Day and the backyard

Ah, Memorial Day. Ceremonies, parades, and somber reminiscence.

And maple seeds. The helicopters have arrived! Chuck saw me picking up a handful and announced, “The Next Season of the Compostermom: Maple Seeds!” and well, he isn’t wrong.

I love the idea that there’s free food in the backyard. I cooked burdock roots a few weeks ago, just to say I did it. The smaller roots were more tender and tasty, so I’ll remember that in the future.

Now that the seeds are falling, I’ll pick up as much as my knees can handle, and I’ll roast them. These roasted seeds can go in anything that might call for sunflower kernels or pepitas or similar yummies. Trail mix, bread, cookies, you name it.

They don’t last forever. Maple seeds are seasonal, at best. I’ll roast as much as I can handle during the next few weeks, and we’ll be set for most of summer.

The Next Season of Compostermom? Probably weeding season. If I want tomatoes (and more!), I need to weed.

Say, readers, do you have a backyard in which to forage? What do you find there?

Share and Enjoy !

Shares

Rhubarb galore!

Rhubarb thrives in a cool spring. A snowstorm on the first of May qualifies as cool, if not cold, right? My rhubarb sure thinks so. It’s sending out shoots right and left and center, and going to seed, too. I keep pulling the stalks that are flowering, and the next day I ask myself, “Self, did I miss that one yesterday?” Truth is, the plant wants to reproduce, and it keeps trying.

Yesterday I spent much of the day picking, cleaning, and chopping  rhubarb. I filled the sink with stalks, topped the compost heap with those huge leaves, and ran two batches through the food processor. Eventually, I dumped all the chopped rhubarb into a big bowl and covered it up for the night.

Today I tried three new recipes: Rhubarb Slush, Rhubarb-Ginger Jam, and Rhubarb Pie Filling. The slush was pretty easy. It’s in the freezer now, and I take it out and stir it about once an hour to prevent it turning into a block of rhubarb-flavored ice.

The Jam and the Pie Filling should have been easy. After all, I’ve made jams and jellies for years, and pie filling is just like a chunky applesauce, right? Right – sort of. I managed to print both recipes with metric measurements. Our stubborn United States insists on using the old fashioned “customary” measurement system, so I had to work to interpret the amounts on these two British style recipes. Fortunately, I have a scale that can measure in grams, and my glass measuring cups have metric measures on the side opposite the customary.

The end results were excellent. I’ll definitely make these again. In fact, I may need to do it again in a few weeks if the weather continues and the rhubarb continues to grow like a bush. The metric recipes, in fact, were for small batches. I will probably double them – or more, if the rhubarb plants keep thriving.

Readers, I wouldn’t mind hearing your rhubarb stories. The plant (a vegetable, not a fruit, I’m told) can be legendary.

Share and Enjoy !

Shares

The Garden Begins!

My knees hurt.

Why do my knees hurt? We had a couple of really nice days – warm, dry, sunny days – and I knew there would be rain and cold on the weekend. I pushed myself to work outside as much as possible, and now I’m really achy and sore. It’s a good kind of achy, though. It’s the kind that makes me say to myself, “Hey, self, you’ve really accomplished a lot. You’ve earned a rest.” A rest, and a little ibuprofen, and coffee, and peanut m&ms. Right? Right.

During those two nice days I got outside and dumped compost on several sections of garden. I pulled up a lot of creeping ivy (Jenny or Charlie? Don’t know, don’t care), and spread the compost where the ivy had been.

The barrel near the garden edge is planted with spinach now. This barrel, scavenged from my old office before it could hit the dumpster, has grown kale, parsley, and more. This year it’s spinach. Lettuce is ready to grow in a long and thin planter that hangs off the deck railing. That’s an easy location; we can step outside and gather a little for a salad or sandwich any time we want it. Fresh lettuce: yum!

I have some larger pots ready to host peppers (jalapeno, mainly) and cherry tomatoes. The weather isn’t consistent enough to put them out yet, but when it warms up mid-May, I’ll be ready.

Meanwhile, I’ve left Earth Month recommendations behind, but I’m practicing what I preach by preparing to be a little more sustainable every day. Hey, readers, have you started playing in the dirt yet? What are you doing outside?

Share and Enjoy !

Shares

Spring Show Weekend!

Let’s take a weekend off from Earth Month and look at what’s going on around the O.K. Chorale. Chuck’s spring model train show is done, and we were all focused on the barbershop chorus’ spring show. This is a Big Deal. Pre-pandemic, the guys would put on two performances – an afternoon and an evening show, often selling out one or both. Then came Covid19.

Covid19 cancelled everything. Shows, rehearsals, social gatherings, and the works. Singing was a super spreader event, so in-person anything was off the calendar completely. Eventually, Zoom rehearsals and social events began. After a long, long stretch of rehearsing through their computer screens, the guys were able to gather and sing – as long as they wore masks. Vaccines became available. Virus numbers went down. Concerts became possible once again.

In 2022, the spring show came back. Yesterday, the 2023 spring show came back with a full crowd and a great concert. They had a James Bond parody theme called James Blond; Anyone Does it Better. The bumbling James staggered his way through a casino, totaled the Aston Martin, and gave an excuse for lots of songs. The audience loved every minute.

It’s a post-pandemic relief to have the chorus on stage again. This is a bunch of amateurs who love to sing and do it pretty darn well. Amigo thrives in the group, as do many, many others. We are all very grateful to have this part of our lives back in place.

Share and Enjoy !

Shares

And more Earth Month! Go, Green Freaks!

From Earth Month Challenge: 30 Easy Actions:  

Day 14:  Read the Directions on Products

By reading the directions, you can avoid overuse. For example, you probably don’t need as much detergent in the laundry as you think you need.

But I’m not focused on reading packages (or manuals) right now. We are having a rare streak of warm, very warm days, and I’m getting outside every chance I get to do yard work and garden prep. So far today, I’ve loaded up a few large containers (five gallon ceramic crocks, for example) with yard waste and compost. This fills each one about half way. The rest will be potting soil, and I will transplant pepper plants and cherry tomatoes into these containers so they’re easily accessible for cooking and salad-making.

On that note, I wish I could find the manual for the worm farm set-up sitting in my garage. It’s a perfect example of good intentions being the way to you know where. In a handbasket, no doubt.

Stay tuned for more eco-friendly actions throughout April – or go to Treehugger yourself!

Share and Enjoy !

Shares